Category Archives: Social/Media Relations

Engage in PRSSA: 6 Ways to Participate in National Initiatives

PRSSA has developed National Initiatives we work toward as a Society. We are always moving forward as a Society and work to achieve more each year.

PRSSA National Committee and Headquarters staff at the 2011 National Conference.

Here’s a little background into six PRSSA National Initiatives that are available to members they might not be aware of. For the full list of National Initiatives, check the PRSSA website.

1. Apply for PRSSA Scholarships and Awards

Each year more than $20,000 is awarded to members and Chapters who exhibit outstanding public relations skills. Members sometimes forget about these special opportunities for Chapter members to receive recognition and funding for their education. There are many scholarship deadlinesapproaching this spring.

2. Contribute Original Content By Writing for FORUM, PRSSA Blog or Chapter News

Any PRSSA member or Chapter can submit content to be published by PRSSA National. These opportunities include feature articles for PRSSA’s tri-annual newspaper FORUM, blog posts and non-traditional format articles for the PRSSA Blog and press releases for PRSSA Chapter News.

3. Attend PRSSA National Events and Regional Conferences

PRSSA offers numerous events nationally and locally that connect members, build professional skills and expand networks. These events include National Assembly in March, Regional Conferences across the United States in the spring, Leadership Rally in June and National Conference in October.

4. Be An Ethical Professional

PRSSA promotes ethical practice by asking our members to adhere to the PRSSA Code of Ethics and to review the PRSA Code of Ethics. PRSSA also recognizes ethical leadership by requiring ethical practice and discussion through many of our scholarships and awards.

5. Experience Real-World Public Relations Work in a Student-run Firm

Working in a university student-run firm allows members to learn agency practices by interacting with real clients and real situations. If you do not have a firm, you can always start one at your university. Student-run firms looking for more credibility and experience can apply for National Affiliation. For questions on student-run firms, contact Vice President of Professional Development, Jessica Noonan.

6. Compete in National Competitions Like the Bateman Case Study

PRSSA offers several competitions each year, all of which provide you the opportunity to work with real clients. Through these competitions, members can apply public relations problem-solving skills, achieve recognition and compete with other students at the national level. The Bateman Case Study Competitionoffers the opportunity to create and implement a full public relations campaign each year.

How have you participated in PRSSA National Initiatives? What are your favorite ways to be active in PRSSA?

This is a guest post from FORUM Editor in Chief, Amy Bishop, and Vice President of Public Relations Lauren Gray.

This is courtesy of PRSSA National Blog.

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5 Secret Strategies for Finding Your Perfect Job

In my experience, not ONE of the jobs I scored in my public relations career was a public listing or posting. This may be the case for you, as well. Here’s how you can find and even create your dream job beyond the want ads.

Lorra Brown, assistant professor at William Paterson University.

1. Seek People

Ask yourself where you really want to work and identify the person you would love to work for. Check out their blog, read their client releases, follow them on Twitter, Google them, research them on LinkedIn. I’m not telling you to be a stalker, just do your research. Armed with this information you can then write a short cover email (or Twitter comment) about something they’ve said, written or done. Indicate you would love to learn more about their work. Once you’ve started a dialogue, seize the opening by dropping a note about an idea or question you have. Finally, email your resume and your well-written cover letter explaining how you would be an asset to their organization.

2. Follow Industry News

Pay attention to the public relations, advertising and marketing trade publications. When you see a big client win for an agency, write a note of congratulations. Most likely the company or public relations firm will need to staff up to service this new client. Send in your compelling cover letter and resume showcasing how you will be the perfect addition to help serve this new client.

3. Read The Business Section of Your Local Newspaper

Every week, newspapers include new executive appointment announcements. Even now (and I’m not looking for a job), I drop a note of congratulations to new corporate communication and public relations executives I read about in the paper. Many have become guest speakers in my class and host sites for my students’ internships.  This can work for you, too. This also works if you read a newspaper article and see a quote from a company spokesperson. With the Internet or professional sites liked LinkedIn, these executives are easy to find.

4. Be Patient

Take the time to develop a relationship with professionals. Don’t just ask for a job. Instead work to show who you are — that you are insightful, intelligent and good at tracking and spotting trends.

5. Personalize Your Outreach

If you do reach out via LinkedIn, be sure to include a personal message like, “I read about your new client” or “I loved your quote in The New York Times.” Also include a short sentence about who you are and why they should care about your message.

With some creativity and initiative, you truly can find a job. Most of the best jobs do come from word of mouth and networking. Happy hunting!

What advice do you have for students seeking their dream job? How can they establish connections that will make a lasting impact?

Lorra Brown is an assistant professor of public relations/corporate and strategic communication at William Paterson University. She is also a former executive with Ogilvy Public Relations and Weber Shandwick. Brown blogs career advice and lists job openings on her website.

This is courtesy of PRSSA National Blog

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4 Tips for Great Storytelling: For Public Relations and Life

In PR News we often write about the importance of storytelling. So, we thought, why not go to a professional storyteller for some tips on crafting a compelling tale. Here, writer/performer Slash Coleman, currently at work on his second PBS storytelling special, offers four tips to maximize your storytelling efforts.

1) Up Close and Personal: Great stories allow the storyteller to connect with the listener in some way, and that happens best when stories are true and personal.

2) Emotion Is an Involuntary Action: The best stories in the world always have an emotional appeal. They inspire the audience to act, to think, to laugh, to cry or to get angry. This isn’t achieved by telling the audience what or how it should feel. If an audience is moved to feel something, they become more emotionally invested in a story based on that connection.

3) Conflict Is Good: Stories boil down to conflict. We crave that tension and a barrier between the hero and what he/she is seeking. That’s what separates a good story from just an anecdote that may be told at the water cooler.

4) Ready, Set, Action: Great stories don’t need a lengthy setup. Ideally, they should start right at the action. In other words, at the point where the main character is experiencing conflict.

This article is by: Slash Coleman of PR News

Original article can be found at:


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3 Commandments from a ‘Professional Intern’

It’s tempting to ditch my identity as an intern as quickly as I updated myLinkedIn profile, but the truth is I’m proud of the hard work I put in as an intern, and the insights I gained are just as useful as an entry-level employee.

SO… while you’re working your butt off as an intern to earn that first job offer, follow these three commandments I’ve learned from past supervisors and fellow interns alike:

1.     Be resourceful – Truth:  During the first week of your internship you’ll have a LOT of questions and you might not know who to ask for help.  My suggestion is to do as much research as possible before asking for help.  Read through previous documents written for your clients, pay attention to any emails you’re copied on, and try your best to solve problems on your own before reaching out to your supervisors.  When someone is explaining a project, don’t just sit there.  Take as many notes as possible so when you actually start working you’ll have a reference point, and pay close attention when you receive your supervisor’s edits.  You’ll make mistakes at first, but that’s okay!  Remember your mistakes and learn from them.

2.     If you see something, say something! (Thanks, CTA) – Believe it or not, internships are supposed to benefit YOU!  Depending on the internship, this can be easy to lose sight of, but it’s up to you to get the most out of it.  If you’re into social media, offer to help with a Facebook project.  If you want to learn more about media relations, volunteer to help your team with pitching.  In the same spirit, speak up if you find a way to make things easier for your team or the company as a whole.  Something as small as pointing out a spelling error will show you’re paying attention to detail.

3.     Own it – First, own your projects.  From start to finish, take responsibility for your work and become an expert so you can report on your project’s status at a moment’s notice.  You never know when a client will request an update (although, it will likely be a Friday at 5:00 p.m. J).  Second, own your deadlines.  We all have days when it seems impossible to cross things off the to-do list, so if you’re going to miss a deadline, let your supervisor know in advance.  This may seem daunting at first, but they’ll appreciate your honesty and more often than not they can adjust the deadline.  Last, own your mistakes.  Every intern I’ve worked with has a story of one mistake they were SURE would get them fired.  If and when this happens, don’t panic!  In my experience, if you can prove your ability to stay calm under pressure and find a solution, it’s worth more than never making a mistake in the first place.

I’m excited to (finally) have more responsibility in my new position and a chance to grow as part of an agency, but one thing I love about my job is the opportunity to work with interns and help them find their true potential.  I know I owe my success to those who have done this for me.

Good luck, and don’t give up!

Allison Bradley is an Assistant Account Executive in the brand practice at Olson in Chicago.  She recently transitioned from interning at Olson to her current position.  Allison graduated from Columbia College Chicago in December of 2010, where she majored in Marketing Communications with a focus in Public Relations.  She completed three undergraduate internships and two post-graduate agency internships.  


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Take Advantage of the Hidden Gems of PRSSA Membership

The benefits of PRSSA membership are invaluable resources for students. Some of those benefits may go unnoticed by members. To make the most of your membership, don’t miss “hidden gems” such as the PRSSA Internship Center, PRSA Jobcenter, PRSA webinars and PRSSA scholarships and awards.

PRSSA’s member benefits help build the foundation for a successful career. Image via

PRSSA Internship Center

The PRSSA Internship Center has several hundred internship opportunities posted from around the country and as far away as Japan and Germany. You can also build a résumé through the Internship Center and save internships to your account so you can apply later. Check out the “Career Resources” section for tips on cover letters, interviews, portfolios and more.

To access the Internship Center, you must be a dues-paying member and use your Chapter login code. Contact your Chapter President to obtain this code. If he or she does not have it, contactVice President of Internship/Job Services Joe Clarkson.

PRSA Jobcenter

The PRSA Jobcenter lists thousands of jobs nationally and internationally. The Jobcenter includes an advanced search engine where you can search for more than just jobs in the public relations industry, but in fields such as advertising, consumer marketing and strategic communications. For more career advice and help, visit theCareer Tools page.

Free Webinars

PRSA now offers free webinars throughout the year to PRSA members, led by distinguished public relations professionals and firms. Topics include leading issues in social media, crisis communication, market research, campaign techniques, leadership abilities and more. PRSSA members now receive free access to one webinar a month. Join PRSA for January’s free webinar on Jan. 19: Digital Media and Today’s Digital News Release.

Scholarships & Awards

One of the best things PRSSA offers is the many scholarships and awards made possible by the PRSA Foundation, Champions for PRSSA and other dedicated individuals. The recipients of these scholarships and awards can receive up to several thousands of dollars to support their education and garner national exposure.

Take full advantage of your PRSSA membership by participating in these member benefits! Make sure your fellow Chapter members are aware of these incredible benefits as well as PRSSA’s other member benefits.

What benefits of PRSSA are most valuable to you? What would you like to see more of from PRSSA?

This is a guest post by Vice President of Public Relations of PRSSA National Lauren Gray.


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Secrets to Getting Your Dream PR Job in 2012

PR concerns enhancing and maintaining the image of a business, event or high-profiled person.

Yes, that is sexy – which is why you strive to reach that dream job in PR.

A few weeks ago, PR at Sunrise published an article – “Do PR Students and Pros Want to Work In-House or at an Agency” – so I thought it would be a good time to share some advice on how to get that job you are looking for.

1. Know someone at an agency where you are just dying to work at? Spruce up that resume, network like no other and show your brand and worth. Reach out to your network, especially to someone who also receives an incentive for referring you! Pull together your own case studies and present them in a format that will turn the eye of even the most weathered HR professional.

2. Don’t just demonstrate that you know or understand a company’s culture and core values. Be ready to show that you are indeed a great fit for the company and how you both can be beneficial to each other. If you are reaching out to an in-house position, be sure to show how your experience in agency life can be a plus for an in-house job.

3. Look for those press releases that have contacts at an agency/in house job that you covet. Reach out to them – let them know that you are interested in their company and ask for a few minutes of their time to discuss the company and the best way to get your resume looked at. Once again… enhance your image! It takes a lot to secure that dream job, don’t be afraid to leap!

4. Infuse passion and truth in all that you do to secure your dream job. PR agencies and in-house departments look for that fire in each person that they hire.  Show them that you easily adapt but are truly passionate about the work and the image that you are striving to maintain on a professional and personal level.  Being confident about who you are, goes a long way in an interview.

5. Social Networking? Definitely a plus – don’t shy away from PRWeek and/or PRSA events.  Join those groups on Linked In with other PR professionals who may be the key to your dream job. However, do remember that you may be Googled at times, so always bear in mind that you are branding yourself at all times and you don’t want to lose the opportunity to secure that dream job for something foolish that may be posted.

Most importantly, remember that when scoring that dream job in house or in-agency is … never wait for it to land on your lap. Good luck!

About the Author
Lisa Hutchins is a human resources professional who has previously worked at leading PR firms such as Ruder Finn and Cohn & Wolfe. Her responsibilities included recruiting, employee relations, and miscellaneous employee changes. In addition to her HR experience, she has also as a PR pro on an array of accounts and campaigns, including GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer. Follow Lisa on Twitter via @lisahutchins.

 This post is courtesy of PR at Sunrise.

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PRSSA Job Shadow Day – A Reflection

By: Mark Gonzales

As a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America I had the privilege of participating in a job shadow with the UTSA Office of University Communications team. On November 9, 2011, I met with four great professionals who shared their roles and responsibilities within the university’s communication structure.

 Christi Fish, associate director of media relations, manages external affairs. She described how she manages media relations and how assignments are divided among the team in much the same way as in news reporting. Each member of the communications team has their own beat(s). Tim Brownlee, associate director of internal communications, manages internal affairs. He described his work in communicating with students, faculty and staff through e-blasts and through UTSA’s own online newsletter, UTSA Today. Omar Hernandez, public affairs specialist, manages social media and video production. He described his work in communicating university information through social media platforms that include Facebook and YouTube. Kris Rodriguez, public affairs specialist, monitors external news events. He described the importance of environmental scanning and how it helps keep the university aware of news events that may influence or impact the UTSA community.

The experience of being able to participate in the PRSSA Job Shadow Day gave me the opportunity to see pubic affairs in practice. The flow of the communications operation is a defined process with team members that have designated roles and responsibilities. They are directly accountable to the chief communications officer and ultimately the office of the president of the university. They define the identity of UTSA to the various publics that make up our university’s audience.



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Shadow Day Eye Opener

By: Anett Rodriguez, PRSSA member

Having the opportunity to shadow public relations professional Mr. Mario Ochoa, owner of Sammis & Ochoa PR, re-confirmed and cleared all doubts about what I want for my future and my career. This shadow day opportunity gave me a chance to look beyond the scope of textbooks and go into the real workplace environment. Mr. Ochoa not only showed me the ins and outs of the business, but he also showed me the internal structure of the company and how to use time in your favor.

Throughout the day I learned how to manage my emotions to the audience, and the importance of controlling my personal thoughts towards the situation. Something I learned is extremely important in this industry is the way you address people and how you respond to their concerns. Any little insignificant mistake can make the difference, by this I refer to any company’s reputation a public relations professional is representing. Anything whether it is grammar error, attitude, attention, and tone can be misinterpreted.

One strategy that Mr. Ochoa’s agency implements, is constantly editing papers. Any papers that will be released have to be approved and edited by several public relation co-workers; they have to be approved three times. If the paper has editing problems it goes back to the writer, is corrected and subject to approval again. This is an amazing tactic to prevent any grammatical discrepancies that might occur.

In addition, Mr. Ochoa explained how being constantly involved in media resources, could attract more clients, and people’s attention. He mentioned clients want to be promoted as much possible and that being involved in media resources and social network could significantly help the situation. Furthermore, he showed me how to use time wisely, and how having an organized agenda would help complete the tasks on time.

I really enjoyed this experience because I feel that I gained valuable hands-on experience. Today showed me the real “deal” behind the public relations industry. Shadow days are definitely eye-openers; they prepare you for the real business culture of a public relations career.







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How to Really Use LinkedIn – An Infographic

I am sure many of you have a LinkedIn profile, or at least have heard of LinkedIn. However, I bet you don’t use it to it’s full potential.  Here is an infographic about how to really use LinkedIn to market yourself to broaden your professional network.


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How to Become a Reporter’s Best Friend

A few weeks ago, I was pulling into my driveway, after a long week of work, when I received a phone call from a reporter I work with wanting a quote for a story. I spent the next two hours calling and e-mailing clients trying to gather a comment. I never did get a comment, but the reporter did express gratitude for the effort.

This little exercise reminds me of why some PR practioners maintain good relations with the media, and others don’t. Here are some points to remember for young PR executives.

  • Go above and beyond the call of duty. If a reporter calls you at 5 p.m. on a Friday, don’t hang up or blow him off. Do all you can to help him finish his story and get him sources. He will remember it in the future.
  • Don’t send them crap. An old boss of mine said the reason why our agency was successful in getting story placements was that we distributed well-written press releases. The press releases were often written like news stories and could be copied and pasted into a paper.  Not exactly great journalism, but in these days of thinning news rooms, reporters and editors love a press release that doesn’t need much work.
  • Understand the reporter’s beat. It helps if you learn about what subjects a reporter covers. If a reporter writes about politics and you keep sending him technology stories, you will soon find yourself in his dog house. Do some research and read about what kind of stories the reporter is covering. It will pay off in the long run.
  • Do some real networking. Ask the reporter to lunch or out to drinks, if he can do this, (this is prohibited by some papers); and spend some time talking about the industry and what is going on in his life. Don’t pitch any stories. Just spend some time getting to know the reporter and try to develop an actual relationship. They will end up liking you more than the PR rep who only calls when they want favorable coverage.
  • Broaden your scope. Send them story ideas that are not related to your clients. If they are looking for contacts, don’t always pitch your sources. This makes you a true media source and not just a conduit for your clients.

Old-time PR practioners may have already used many of these tactics, but these are useful tips for beginners. Use some of these tips, and you will soon end up a reporter’s best friend, and not the flack whose press releases go straight to the junk mail folder.

Manny Otiko, vice president of social and new media at Desmond & Louis, has worked in the public relations and journalism field for about 15 years as a journalist and a media relations specialist. His experience includes stints as a reporter at a daily newspaper, serving as a media relations specialist for a state agency and working for Southern California public relations agencies, Dameron Communications, Tobin and Associates and WunderMarx PR.

Manny has worked with clients in the public affairs, technology, education and economic development fields. He has secured coverage in publications such as The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, and Men’s Health.

Manny has been published in The Riverside Press Enterprise, The LA Sentinel, The LA Wave, The Washington Afro-Am, IE Weekly and Our Weekly. He is an active member of the Orange County chapter of PRSA, the National Association of Black Journalists and the Black Journalists’ Association of Southern California.

Read more: How to Become a Reporter’s Best Friend | PRBreakfastClub


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