Study Abroad

Hey all! This semester has been the hardest so far and I am incredibly busy. I have just recently been accepted to Boston University’s Study Abroad PR Internship Program for this summer in Los Angeles. This really is a dream come true, but scholarships are very limited. Any help would be genuinely appreciated!

Help me go abroad!

For more information about the specific program, click here!

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Why Taylor Swift (And Her PR Team) Are Awesome

Not only do I love me some Taylor Swift, but her PR strategy pending the release of her newest album, 1989 was simply brilliant. And from her chart topping singles, hundreds of thousands of likes, and the 1.287 million copies of her album sold in the first week, it looks like any PR professional could take some lessons from the TSwift team.

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Taylor went beyond the realm of pure publicity and did something more when promoting her album; she spoke directly to her fans. She made it special. Taylor used both teaser and countdown strategies uniquely to warrant great attention. Her posts were subtle and coy, always leaving her fans wondering what the melody was, or maybe even which ex-boyfriend the track could be about, but her PR team isn’t complaining. Using consistent social media blasts ensures that for an extended period of time, your product is what your fans see all over their newsfeed, and not just the same post, something new each day.

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Starting a countdown too early or too late may result in either not enough people hearing about your product release, or a steady decrease of hype, neither of which are desirable. Swift set a timeline. 13 days for her 13 tracks on 1989 is very fitting, but it is also an ample amount of time to create buildup. (Not to mention the news that she took all of her music off Spotify, but thats a different story.) However, in every case, make sure your team has a crisis management team set and ready to go, just in case your news is leaked earlier than expected.

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The aspect that was my personal favorite of Taylor’s 1989 campaign was that she used visual storytelling. Combining handwritten lyrics with a doodle, an airplane window, and other visual symbols, gives more depth than text on Facebook or Twitter would. It presents the fans with a window into how personal songwriting is for Swift and allows her to convey her lyrics the way she intended people to hear them. Putting a picture with your words is the strongest approach to take.

Of course Taylor’s PR Team are masters at marketing and PR, but what they really mastered here is the art of making the publicity of her 1989 album not at all like marketing or PR. Fans can tell when a product release feels too gimmicky or forced. The best part of Taylor’s countdown is that she took, wrote, or was featured in all of her posts. Although Taylor Swift is a mega-superstar, the way her team manages her Instagram account by putting up pictures of her cats, her drawings, and sometimes downright unflattering photos of Swift makes her feel more like the girl next door. Fans tend to appreciate stars that they can feel like they can relate to, which makes Taylor Swift not only successful in the industry, but also as a role model and a feminist.

Way to go Tay, you keep doin’ you.

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UPDATE: Reaching the End of 2014

With the Fall semester at Boston University coming to a close, I thought I would give you all an update on the final and continuing projects of the different associations and clubs I am a part of:

Starting with:

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HCBU has been a huge success this semester. We are currently a Platinum Chapter but we are working hard to reach the level of a Pink Chapter, the highest ranking of all the chapters across the country. Here are some Facebook Page statistics that show how far we have come from the beginning of September to now:

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We have a great PR team of 7 girls who post articles from our newly redesigned website every day of the week. My day is Thursdays, so like Her Campus Boston University on Facebook to keep up with our chapter! Here are some examples of my favorite posts from this semester:

We have also hosted several events this fall including: 10600405_10152863951006062_8573167965414417225_n 10520600_742562529155986_2750209106310975723_n 10380290_744527318959507_1562270209913208091_n

Becoming a part of Her Campus has given me a chance to get to know so many great girls, attend fashion shows, makeup tutorials and learn so much from the women who work at HC National and other intelligent and strong women in other fields as well. I look forward to working on the Events and PR team in the spring too!

Next:

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Being a member of the Boston Chapter of PRSSA has been very helpful and I highly recommend becoming a part of a PRSSA chapter near you if you are interested in PR. Every week, we have a guest speaker come in to talk about their role in the PR world. This semester we have had guests from CONE Communications, Burson-Marstellar, ContentLEADMSNBC and CEO Fred Cook of Golin:

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And when we arent having amazing guest speakers teach us, we teach each other through workshops that help with proper networking, body language, and presenting techniques:

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I did also end up joining the PR Advanced committee. I post articles on the PRAdvanced Facebook page about public relations tactics, blogs, and advice columns. Our actual website is currently undergoing major redesign but I am very excited for our conference in February! Our theme this year is Breaking Barriers. I will make sure to update my blog when our website goes live.Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 12.50.55 PM

And then,

310633_117059375064934_1153205059_n All semester, we have been preparing to showcase our semi-annual fashion show: Shanghai Whispers. I would like to give a big congratulations to all of our designers, models, and FAB members that have made this semesters’ fashion show go off with a bang! The fashion show was a huge success, from our beautiful venue at Hotel Commonwealth, to the small, but important gift bags given to all attendees including goodies from Sephora, Jack Wills, Valentino, Neiman Marcus, and Michael Kors. Here are a few snapshots from our fall fashion show, Shanghai Whispers!

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In addition to preparing for the fashion show, FAB held events all semester inlcuding workshops, fashion intern Q & A’s and two events that I was glad to help out with as an LF Stores Fashion Stylist:

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I have such a great time representing LF because it really is my favorite place to shop. Our stores try to stay ahead of the trends and keep all types of women chic and stylish from head to toe.

Finally,

I am excited to announce that The Buzz has launched the fall issue of our magazine. 10787885_1518840698386531_709440605_nFeatured in our magazine are several looks from LF and other popular retailers, celebrity look-alikes, and articles about everything from Instagram for foodies, and testimonials from our amazing study study abroad program, to what you will find when you visit the MFA in Boston.

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We also organized a pre-party with local refreshments, entertainment from BU’s a cappella groups, and a photo booth to kick off the magazine launch. The night ended with an afterparty event held at Naga nightclub in Cambridge.

Flip through our Fall Issue: Refined

I am extremely happy with all of the hard work and long hours that have been invested into each of these organizations to create stunning outcomes. I have never been so busy before, but the time was well spent. I will be continuing to work with all of these clubs in the future and make sure to post about our successes. Please comment or message me if you have any questions about how to get involved or start clubs like these at your own school, I would love to help!

How To: Be a Great Presenter

“Anyone… can read a list of features or give a stream of facts to an audience. That’s now what we need or want. What we yearn for is to listen to an intelligent human being who teaches, inspires, or stimulates us…in a way that is meaningful. And this is where the story comes in…” -Garr Reynolds Presentation Zen

Today, people can get the information they want about anything instantly. So, PR newbie, why should anyone listen to your speech, pitch, or spiel about anything? Speechwriting and presenting has become an increasingly significant aspect of the communications world. But is a great speaker born or made? I believe it takes both to make a great presenter. Most people strongly dislike getting up in front of people they don’t know, talking about a subject that they don’t know if people will be interested in, and attempting to look good doing it. However, you can be the most charismatic and confident person in the world, or not, but speech giving is a craft that can be learned and mastered. How to structure your presentation and hone in on great presentation qualities can be taught to anyone, and I’m here to give you a few pointers in the right direction.

Great presenters:

  • Act like a guide:
    • From the opening line to the ending destination, it is your job to pick up your entire audience at the same time and invite them to join you on a journey. Great presenters don’t just throw information at their audience. You will know you are successful as a speaker if at the end of your presentation, even if everyone doesn’t agree in what you have said, you have all still arrived at the same destination with knowledge of what you, as the presenter, believe in. Humor me with this Wizard of Oz analogy: It is like you are Dorothy and it is your job to take characters from all walks of life with you down the yellow brick road of your speech.
  • Keep things simple:
    • Some people try to overcompensate for knowing more than they need to know about the subject because of fear of sounding like they don’t know what they are talking about. Don’t be that person. Have one main idea. Any complex idea can be communicated in a simple way to the general public and in a way that makes people feel like it matters. The Gettysburg Address was less than 4 minutes long, but everyone knows what that speech was about. Keeping things simple makes for a lasting effect.
  • Convince the audience to listen:
    • Great presenters raise a need that the entire audience can feel. In your presentation, there needs to be multiple entrance paths to get aboard your speech. Offer multiple ways for people to start caring about what you’re talking about and meet the need that is relevant to your audience. A great presentation maintains suspense and tension with the audience. Tension keeps people listening, so don’t give anything away too fast and answer the right questions throughout your speech creating a build.

Learning how to create and deliver a great speech will put you leaps and bounds ahead of many people in this competitive field. Master speech giving, and you will feel like you can change the world. Put please, unless you are the next founder of a multi-trillion dollar company, leave the New Balance sneakers at home.

Here are the links to some of my favorite speeches by great presenters:

  1. Seth Godin
  2. Simon Sinek
  3. Steve Jobs
  4. Malcolm Gladwell

“Stories are the most powerful delivery tools for information, more powerful and enduring than any other art form.” -Nancy Duarte, Resonate

 

5 Ways to Pitch to an Editor (Without Totally Annoying Them)

As a PR pro, there will be times when you are so eager to share your news with an editor, that you might cross the fine line between being persistent and annoying. However, it is easier than you might think to pitch to an editor and come across as professional, and a great person to work with. Here are some surefire tips on how avoid this:

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and get responses from editors that look more like this:

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1.The 1:1 Ratio:

Assign one person to manage one pitch. This way, you are able to make sure that duplicate emails of the exact same pitch don’t get sent to the same person. Also, check your email list to make sure the company you are pitching to doesn’t have multiple email addresses for a single outlet (info@ welcome@). Making sure your emails and pitches are personalized makes your email stand out, too.

2. Help a Reporter Out and Follow their Instructions:

HARO is a tool reporters use to help them sift through information and find sources and stories. They send out blast emails to PR companies with specific questions, and directions. Failing to follow their requests will result in losses for you and your company. Be sure to read their email very carefully and most importantly, stay on topic.

3. Put a Price on it:

While in some cases, including the prices may seem inappropriate, this is not one of those times, so don’t be shy about including prices! Including the price for your product helps editors decide where to place the item in the story and also if it is the right fit. Include a product introduction with pricing, images of the product and direct links to the product site.

4. Know Your Editor:

As a PR pro, you are taught to always know your audience. This includes editors, too! Make sure you have thoroughly researched recent stories both so that you know the gist of the company you are pitching to, and also to ensure you aren’t pitching something that has already been written about. It is particularly important to never pitch off-topic stories, wasting an editors time is a definite way to have your email sent straight to their trash bin.

5. Avoid Newsletter-Style Syndrome:

Don’t. Do Not. Send the same newsletter-style format of your new collection or product that you would send out as a blast email to your customers to an editor. Not only is this impersonal, these types of emails generally lack thorough product descriptions and background information about the brand, adequate images and pricing. Instead, personalize, embed images and links, and introduce your brand and product in-depth in order to give the editor all the essential information

 

Follow these easy steps to make sure you are at the top of your pitching game and a favorite among editors everywhere. Happy pitching!

 

Press Releases 101

At some point as a PR person, either as a student or professionally, you will have to write a press release. A press release is an announcement made by a PR agency issued directly to the media and other targeted publications to let the public know of a new product, development, or movement of a company or individual.

To have a proper press release, you must make sure it has several key components.

Required elements:

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Lets the press know when they are able to inform the media
  • Press Contact: Who the media should contact if they have further questions.
  • Headline: Most important element of the announcement
  • Subhead: Secondary message related to the headline
  • Dateline: Location and date of release
  • Lead paragraph (1/2): Specifics of the announcement. Who, What, Where, Why, When. Explain significance and impact of the announcement.
  • Paragraphs (3/4): Quote (approved by individual) by important people related to the announcement (CEO, President, Expert, Scientist, Government Official)
  • Boilerplate: A short “About” section talking about the background and current activity of the company, organization, or individual.
  • End with ###: Signifies the press release is over.

Here is a press release I constructed about if I were hired for an executive position at the leading PR Firm in the world, Edelman PR. (Fingers crossed that this becomes a reality one day!)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 11, 2014

Press Contact:
Anne Glynne
(617) 555-1234
anne.glynne@edelman.com

Edelman Hires Olivia Coflin as Global Chair, Creative Strategy

CEO Richard Edelman plans to take Edelman to the next level in innovation and perception

NEW YORK, Nov. 11, 2014— Today, Edelman PR announced the new hire of Olivia Coflin to the role of global chair, creative strategy. Previously at the position of global chair, brand strategist at Finn Partners PR, Coflin is now also an executive member of Edelman. She will now be the principal creative resource for clients and increasing Edelman’s creative endeavors across the board.

“In the world of PR, the rules are ever-changing. We must learn to adapt and become more than just the background of communication with individuals, brands and organizations. For more than 60 years, Edelman has prided itself with the innovative and creative members of our team, but I truly believe Olivia will be able to convey the very best creative strategy to our clients and be open to the many opportunities that are emerging in the marketplace,” said Edelman.

Coflin has been known for her ability to create a shift from the typical perception of PR and creating a better self-image for the profession. She believes that in order to do that, Edelman will benefit from taking the focus out of advertising and focusing more on creative and new multimedia and digital content. Coflin is a brand-marketing specialist and has expertise working with both corporate and agency firms. She has provided extensive counsel on award winning campaigns including Apple’s Campaign Think Different, and CoverGirl’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire campaign.

“Creativity can sometimes be the weakest link in a PR plan,” said Coflin. “I hope to use it as a strategic business tool and utilize different ways of thinking to fuel new content for our clients. I look forward to beginning a new era in PR with Edelman.”

About Edelman

Founded in 1952 by Dan Edelman, Edelman has become the worlds largest public relations firm in the world. Current CEO Richard Edelman oversees his 5,000 employees in 67 offices across the globe. Recognized as one of Advertising Age’s “A-List Agencies” in 2010, and 2011, as well as “Best Places To Work” for the past four years by multiple publications. This year, Edelman was awarded with its seventh Cannes Lion in 2014 for the Grand Prix for PR. Edelman also owns several specialty firms including Edelman Deportivo (creative), Blue, (advertising), BioScience Communications, (medical) and Edelman Berland (research). For more information, visit http://www.edelman.com.

###

There you have it! All the tools and formatting practices you need to write your own properly constructed press release. Kind of makes you feel like Olivia Pope, right?

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(Note: The above is a fictional press release with no actual facts about my accomplishments or knowledge of the field)

The Great Debate: Agency vs. Corporate PR

Which is better?

Where do I start?

Is there actually a difference?

These are often the questions that many PR practitioners ask themselves when they are planning their strategic attack on job opportunities. But just like it took you time to find and wear in your favorite pair of jeans, it will take time to find the right fit of job for you in the PR world.

The Basics:

  • Corporate PR: Unlike agency PR, practitioners only have one client: their employers. Their work is focused solely around the company they work for, so a strong personal interest in the company is required because they will be your only client. With this, you will have the same people to answer to as bosses and leaders for every project. While it may take a little more time to negotiate new projects or campaigns, as an in-house rep, you will be able to come up with a truly organic idea and see it through from start to finish. Working in a corporate setting offers a deeper understanding of your business as a whole and it provides stability, but lacks variety.

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  • Agency PR: Practitioners have many different types of clients to tend to in terms of priorities, strategy, schedules, and personalities, often at the same time creating more diversity in skills and public relations techniques. In a PR agency, you have many “bosses” to answer to, from supervisors to project leaders, the CEO of your agency and also reps on your clients side that all need to be kept happy. Depending on the size and success of the agency, your career and benefits like health insurance could depend on the amount of clients you sign. However, you are often given a larger budget to work with and many team members to complete tasks. As an expert of all things PR, you are expected to stay ahead of current trends, technology and news.

Still stuck? Okay-

External Agency Pros:

  • Variety: You will be able to bring insight in from interactions with all of your different clients and discover your true passion points within PR. Learning to work with many different types of clients will create a well-rounded professional. The workweek will be ever changing and will keep you on your toes.
  • Time Management: Working in an agency will quickly teach you how to prioritize tasks, manage multiple clients at once, and learn as you go in a fast paced, sink or swim situation.
  • Creating a Network: Your colleagues in an agency will come from every background of PR and be masters in their field. Working with them will create diverse and knowledgeable connections in the PR field.

External Agency Cons:

  • Internal Ops: You are not as familiar as someone in-house would be about your specific client. You do not have a history of all internal client discussions or initiatives.
  • Forget the 9-5: Because of the long list of clients you will be juggling, working 9-5, five days a week is most likely not an option. You will probably be working longer hours and on the weekends, and vacation time might be harder to secure. You might also experience lower salaries, depending on the agency.

Corporate Pros:

  • Expertise: Working for one company gives you knowledge of the ins and outs of that company and therefore, you are an expert of what exactly your company needs to progress. You are able to focus on one brand and its assets and weaknesses and dive deep into its internal workings by interacting with different departments within the company to have it functioning at top notch.
  • Tangible Results: When you work in-house, you are able to really see the impact your work has on your business very clearly over time because you are involved with the day-to-day happenings, unlike an agency.
  • Employee Benefits: Because you don’t have as many bosses to answer to, you will be able to have access to seniorexecutives earlier in your career than agency professionals. Working from within the company makes it easier to forge relationships with the media. You may also be presented with more flexible work hours, health benefits, and possibly higher salaries.

Corporate Cons:

  • Limiting Experiences: Most likely, your boss will not be a PR guru and because of that, you will have less exposure to new PR techniques, experiences, and advancements.
  • Constant Consistency: Things happen a lot more slowly. It will take more time to create, negotiate, and execute your plan of action. In-house work can get very repetitive and the work environment tends to be more traditional and conservative, depending on the organization.

Don’t Rush It

Before deciding which course is best for you, weigh all of your options. If you are unsure about which side of PR is your favorite, maybe target an agency so you are able to experience many different aspects of the field. But if you know you work better in an organized environment where you don’t have to juggle tasks at the same time, head towards the corporate path.

Most importantly, be patient. Yvette Pistorio, the shared media manager for Arment Dietrich says, “I can’t say I prefer one more than the other, because they are so completely different. Both have their benefits and drawbacks.”

So think hard, aspiring PRers! Which type would be the best fit for you?

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