Category Archives: Advice

4 Things I Learned from my PR Internship at Make-A-Wish

By Abby Cousineau

“School can teach you a lot, but nothing beats real-world experience.”

abbby

Source: Abby Cousineau

I’m sure you have heard this phrase more than a few times in your life. And while it sounds cliché, there is a ring of truth to it.

This past summer, I spent my days working for an awesome non-profit, Make-A-WishÒ Michigan. While I learned a ton about PR and communications at a non-profit, here are the top four things I got out of my internship:

  1. Being a good writer is crucial

I can honestly say I wrote something every single day at my internship. Whether it was an email, a press release, a feature story or social media copy, it felt like I was literally always writing. At most non-profits, Make-A-Wish included, there is a small communications department that is responsible for pretty much everything PR/marketing related, so being a strong writer is important. You learn a lot of these writing skills in school, but nothing truly prepares you for your boss telling you she needs social media copy, a feature story and a press release by the end of the work day. Being able to write well, write quickly and being capable of taking one topic and translating it into multiple stories fit for different mediums is essential.

  1. Having solid research skills is almost as crucial as being a strong writer

During the summer, there were many times where I had to write about something I had no clue about. Being able to gather information and apply it to your project is a very good skill to have. Your boss will expect you to be able to find out what you need to complete the task on your own, and they will want you to be able to take that information and put it into something organized & clear.

  1. Event planning is tedious

Make-A-WishÒ Michigan puts on multiple fundraising events every year and I got to be part of & observe one of their largest events: the Wish-A-Mile Bike Tour. This event lasts three days, participants ride over 300 miles and there are multiple “mini” events that take place over the course of the weekend. I won’t get into the whole thing, but I got to see first-hand how event planning works at a non-profit. SO much goes into this process & it is extremely tedious. Communication between team members and extensive preparation has to be more than solid to pull off large-scale fundraising events. The weeks leading up to the Wish-A-Mile tour were hectic, but seeing everything come together in the end was truly magical and made all the stress feel worth it.

  1. If you want to work in PR, you have to be passionate about the company you work for

I think this is especially true if you choose to work for a non-profit, but working in PR in general can be exhausting. At my internship I saw my supervisors put in 15 hour days, push themselves physically and mentally for three days during the Wish-A-Mile Tour, and spend countless hours planning events, writing stories and working on design projects. PR can be draining, but if you work for a company you truly believe in it makes everything easier. There were a few times where I questioned why I was going to school for PR, but when I saw a kid get their wish granted, or talked to a parent on the phone and heard them cry about how grateful they were for the wish experience, it made me realize how powerful and meaningful the jobs we do every day really are.

Abby Cousineau is a senior at EMU majoring in public relations and minoring in graphic design and marketing. She is currently serving as president of EMU PRSSA and is excited to be leading such a creative and dedicated group of individuals. You can usually find Abby outside anytime the weather is nice or otherwise spending her time behind a computer screen, working on one of her design projects. Connect with Abby on Instagram @abcattt.
Advertisements

Straight from the Recruiters Part 2: Nailing your Interview

By: NinaMaria Badalamenti

In my previous blog I explained a little bit about my experience at Global Team Blue’s “The Dirt” and some insight I got from their recruiters on what they like to see in a resume. In this blog I will continue but giving you tips on what they said they like to see in an interview. So here are 3 tips on how to nail your interview.

1394744655-5-interview-blunders-probably-kill-job-prospects.jpg

Source: bluesignal.com

 

  • Do your research.

 

This is a big one. Doing research on the company ahead of time is very important. Having knowledge on the company going in shows your dedication and passion for the position. The recruiters will be able to tell that you spent the time to research and want know about your prospective place of work. Just take a little bit of time to explore their website and study up on their work and achievements. This shows that you’re excited to represent the company.

 

  • Ask questions.

 

When preparing for an interview you usually brush up on clever answers to common interview questions that you expect they might ask you, but what you don’t think about is questions to ask them. By asking the interviewer questions you are showing them that you are interested in them and the position. The recruiters of GTB made a point to emphasize this step because it means a lot and they don’t see many people do it.

 

  • Follow up.

 

Following up after an interview is a very crucial step that many of us may skip. The best way to follow up is to send the interviewer a thank you email within the next 48 hours. Make sure you actually put some thought into this and not pre-write it. Make it personalized to show that you really care and appreciate the time they spent with you.

NinaMaria Badalamenti is a senior studying Communications. This is her first semester serving as VP of External Relations for EMU PRSSA.

Why You Need A LinkedIn Account

By Abby Cousineau

Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 12.16.59 PM

Having an updated LinkedIn account can help you find a job before you graduate college

You have probably heard your professors tell you million times to create a LinkedIn account. If you haven’t listened to them yet, now is the time to hop on the bandwagon and do it.

Creating a LinkedIn account can help you in a million ways, but here are the main reasons you need to create an account before you graduate.

 

  • Job Recruiters and Hiring Managers are on LinkedIn

 

According to the polling company, Jobvite, nearly 94% of recruiters say they use LinkedIn to find candidates. This means if you want a better chance of getting a job, do yourself a favor and create an account, it could help you get discovered by your dream company.

 

  • Networking

 

Having a LinkedIn account connects you with employers, current job opportunities and can help employers find relevant candidates (AKA you!). Getting a LinkedIn also helps you keep up with your peers’ professional accomplishments. Having a strong LinkedIn network could help alert you to job openings and could get you a foot-in-the-door if you know someone at a company.

 

  • Online Resume

 

We all know that your physical resume should only be 1-2 pages long, especially if you are a recent grad. If you are having trouble fitting all your credentials in the page limit, a LinkedIn account can help you greatly. Your LinkedIn profile essentially acts like your resume, and there is no limit to how much information or how many areas you can include. Try to put your most relevant skills and experiences on your hard copy resume and feel free to go more in depth on your LinkedIn profile.

 

  • Research

 

Having a hard time finding companies that are actually hiring? You can use LinkedIn to search for jobs in your area. Don’t waste a million hours searching Google, instead head over to the jobs tab of LinkedIn, select your city and the positions you’re looking for and rejoice in all the job opportunities before you. Oh, and the best part? Most of the time you can apply to the job with your LinkedIn profile. It’s the easiest job application ever!

 

  • Endorsements and Recommendations

 

Say farewell to the old-school recommendation letters and say hello to LinkedIn endorsements and recommendations. LinkedIn allows people to endorse your skills as well as have colleagues and bosses give you recommendations (testimonials which explain how awesome you are). These all can help confirm your abilities to recruiters and hiring managers who don’t know you personally.

Abby Cousineau is a senior at EMU majoring in public relations and minoring in graphic design and marketing. She is currently serving as president of EMU PRSSA and is excited to be leading such a creative and dedicated group of individuals. You can usually find Abby outside anytime the weather is nice or otherwise spending her time behind a computer screen, working on one of her design projects. Connect with Abby on Instagram @abcattt.

6 Things Incoming PR Majors Should Know

By Heather Pruitt

At the beginning of 2017, I was given the opportunity to become a Group Leader as a part of Eastern Michigan University’s Orientation program. As someone who loves interacting with people, and has a passion for Eastern, working this job has become one of my favorite things to do.

However, my favorite part about being an Orientation Group Leader is getting to know the incoming students. I am excited for them to find their place at Eastern, just as I have found mine, and to start writing their own story while they’re at college.

I enjoy talking with all students at FastTrack (the segment of orientation where students register for classes) but nothing gets me more excited than meeting a future PR major. Even though I have only encountered a handful, I am incredibly excited for everything that they are about to experience when they start PR at EMU.

While I am excited to see the students start their journey at Eastern, there is nothing that I want to do more than to tell them everything I wish I had known when I started. But with one short day, it can be a little intense for incoming students to register for classes, get their first taste of college, and be bombarded with advice about their program all in one day. So I decided to create a list of the six things I wish I knew about PR as an incoming freshman.

Learn to love writing.

When I started the program, I expected to exclusively be planning events, posting on social media, and standing up in front of my class giving presentations about the future of Facebook. While these aspects are apart of the Public Relations program, I was in the dark about how important writing is in the world of PR. Press releases, feature articles, crafting newsletters, and blog posts, are all incredibly important parts of PR. So learn to love writing, learn to love your writing, because it will become an important part of your life.

Start networking from the beginning

Within the first few weeks of starting my freshman year, I decided to join PRSSA. I’ll be honest- joining PRSSA freaked me out because I had to learn to network and get acclimated to college life. How was I, an 18-year-old, who was stressed about finding new friends, supposed to network with professionals for a career that was years away? I found that having someone in the program who I felt comfortable asking questions to, and getting help from, was reassuring. They can help ease any worries you have about entering the world of PR. Additionally, the earlier your start networking, the more people you come in contact with, which can benefit you in the long run.

Join PRSSA

Joining PRSSA is great way to start networking and to learn about PR. It allows you to learn how to network, as well as give you information about subjects that are relevant to the PR world. Joining PRSSA also gives you the chance for great leadership opportunities in and out of the organization.

Invest in a ‘professional outfit’

When I started college, I had no idea what clothes would identify as ‘business casual’. I didn’t even know when or why I would need them! I found that it is important to invest in clothing that is appropriate for the occasion. While it may not be frequent when you start college, there will be occasions that require you to dress in business casual and possibly business professional. Make sure that you are prepared and have outfits that fit criteria. Having the wrong outfit can leave the wrong impression! However, if you are unsure about what outfits are business casual or business professional, there are lots of ideas on Pinterest!

Make time to do a little PR everyday.

Make an investment to look at a PR blog a few times a week to stay updated with the ever changing world of PR. There are some professors who like to use current events as teaching points for their classes. When you are up to date, it gives you an advantage to speak up in class, and really helps fuel class discussions. Additionally, if you don’t have a lot of time I recommend subscribing to Help A Reporter Out (HARO). HARO is an online database that helps journalists with upcoming stories. They send you emails several times a day with topics that are relevant. This is a great way to stay updated on current trends.

Set out a timeline of how you want things to go.

It is one thing to know that there are goals you want to accomplish in college, however, it is another thing to achieve those goals. Create a timeline of what you want to do in your college career, and set dates to accomplish those goals by.

Heather Pruitt is a junior majoring in Public Relations. This is her first year serving as VP of Member Relations.

The Power of Pinterest for Businesses

By: Nicole Raymond

Everyone knows social media is extremely important for organizations to engage with consumers and draw attention to their business. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are some of the top performers when it comes to marketing through social media with millions of users, but many businesses overlook social media such as Pinterest.

Pinterest has seen exponential growth and marketing opportunities since its inception as a beta site in 2010, and it continues to grow and evolve as a strong social network. Let’s take a look at the features Pinterest has available for business and marketing uses.

pinterest business login.JPG

Source: Nicole Raymond

BUSINESS ACCOUNT

Pinterest has a business account to accommodate many types of businesses, large and small, for free. To sign up for a business account through Pinterest, users enter an email address, password, business name and an optional web address. Utilizing a business account instead of a personal account will allow the user to unlock more features that will help with marketing.

ANALYTICS

Overview:

When you sign up to Pinterest with a business account you have the ability to see your post analytics. You can track your Pinterest boards and pins to see how content is measuring up and which topics are the most popular with viewers. The analytics tab also allows you to see how many people your content has reached over average monthly viewers and monthly engagement rates. Pinterest analytics also allows you to connect your website through HTML code to see all of your pin analytics including click-through rates, saves and much more. At the bottom of the Pinterest Analytics page is your top impressions, saves, clicks and the pin type for the last 30 days.

Profile:

Analytics for your Pinterest profile will allow you to see your average daily impressions as well as average daily profile viewers through your own customizable timeframe. This will allow you to see how certain days and time frames work best for potential customers. The profile analytics page will also allow you to see the top impressions, clicks, saves and pin type of posts and boards within the last 30 days.

People You Reach:

This feature on Pinterest Analytics allows you to see your audiences and analyze the people that see and act on your pins through average monthly rates. The site further breaks down your audiences for you by country, metro, language and gender and even include this helpful hint for better analyzing data to better your business .

Helpful hint

Source: Nicole Raymond

ADS

Pinterest for Businesses has an advertisement feature that allows your business to pay for more users to view your pins. It also has, as you may have guesses, built in analytics for those ads. Ads create traffic and engagement to reach audiences, while allowing you to measure success, failures and compare the two. Pinterest Ads will also help you stay on top of all that needs to be done with reminders and other helpful notifications. The analytics will help you determine which pins are most popular so you can create content similar and drive more traffic to the right places.

Built-in analytics and ads to social media platforms continues to grow in popularity and Pinterest has all the tools needed for a successful promotion or advertising plan, in an easy to understand format. With the immense popularity of the site, I think the tools available will continue to help marketers of all sizes succeed in their Pinterest marketing efforts.

Nicole Raymond graduated from EMU in 2017 with a Bachelor’s in Public Relations and served as PRSSA’s VP of External Relations from 2016 to 2017. Raymond will be starting graduate school at Eastern Michigan University to get a Master’s in Integrated Marketing Communications.

3 Tips to Get Into Grad School

By: Madison Harmon

Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 9.19.28 AM

Source: gradschool.duke.edu

Applying to graduate school can often be a very stressful time. Much like going to college for your undergrad degree, there are several steps you have to take to make sure you’re going to the get the most out of your college experience. Note that what you might have looked for in a college for your Bachelor’s most likely won’t be the same when you go to get your Master’s.

Here are three simple and easy tips for applying to grad schools!

  1. Excel Spreadsheets are your friend! It’s a great way to stay organized. Use it to keep track of dates, requirements, and to use as a checklist (I use color coding for priority items!)
  2. Visit! Just like undergrad, you’re going to be spending some time at this place so make sure it’s something you like! I’m personally sick and tired of Michigan winters, so I’m looking at schools in the Southwest to make a transition!
  3. GRE! Take advantage of the summer to study for the GRE – even though that’s not really what summers are for… But that extra preparation could pay off if you have a dream school in mind with stern requirements for the GRE score.

Madison is a student and loves learning no matter what she’s doing. She is both an optimist and a realist, which gets a bit hard to maintain! She is independent and self-assured, both in her personal and professional potential, and in her ability to find the bottom of those supposedly bottomless chips and salsa. Petter of dog bellies, ruler of quips, Madison is sure to make you laugh whenever you’re around her (or cry, but don’t take it personally). Ask her for brutally honest opinions, but never for directions. Madison can be reached at mharmon3@emich.edu.

United Airlines: How Not to Act in a Crisis

By: Hope Salyer

It’s easy to think about public relations as always being happy. With TV shows constantly depicting PR practitioners as publicists working in Hollywood, or always helping to plan a successful campaign, it’s easy to forget something practitioners have to face more than they would like: crisis communication.

We see companies going to a crisis constantly. Crises can range from something like the BP Oil Spill to the tween President Trump sent out about Boeing. In a more recent case, United Airlines was caught (and continues to be experiencing) a major crisis.

https://youtu.be/VrDWY6C1178 (Embed in blog post. The embed link can be found when you click on this link)

The above video showing a passenger on a United flight from Chicago to Kentucky being forcibly dragged out of his seat off the overbooked flight. Passengers were quick to share the video on social media, and from there it spread like wildfire.

While PR practitioners have to constantly be prepared for something like this for their own companies with the rise in social media, it’s more important for us a practitioners to look at United’s response. Responses from company CEO’s and spokespersons can be analyzed to show what a practitioner should do and should not do during a crisis.

The response from United’s CEO is a prime example in what not to do. In an article from PR Daily, Hinda Mitchell breaks down the issues with United’s CEO Oscar Munoz initial statement.

Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 9.13.59 AM

Source: twitter.com

According to Mitchell, the problem with Muno’z statement started with the first sentence. By saying “This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United,” Munoz ultimately gave off the impression he was feeling sorry for himself and United by writing this. Mitchell argues, and I would agree, that the incident was probably far more upsetting to the victim and passengers onboard than it was to anyone at United.

Munoz also says in his statement “I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers,” and “Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened.” There are two issues with these sentences. First, there appeared to have been no accommodation for this passenger from the video or statements released by United. Mitchell argues that the overbooked flight is a secondary issue. Because overbooking happens regularly, yet very rarely results in a situation like this, the issue is instead with United’s handling of the situation. The second issue, is with Munoz’s statement of “working with urgency.” Considering it took United 24-hours to respond to the situation, it is hard to fathom that United is working with urgency in response to anything in this situation.

Munoz’s statement is a prime example of what not to do in a crisis situation. Do you agree with Mitchell’s argument? What would you have done differently if you were United in this situation? Let me know if the comments below!

Hope Salyer is a senior public relations major and journalism and communication double minor. Hope is serving as the Vice President of Professional Development and Special Events and Programming of EMU PRSSA. This is Hope’s second year serving for the PRSSA E-Board. A Michigan native, she hopes to start her career working for an agency or local nonprofit in Michigan. Her dream is to become the public relations coordinator for the Detroit Tigers. Contact Hope on Twitter @hsalyer01 or by email hsalyer@emich.edu.