The Last Minute Internship

The most popular season for internships has already started, but that doesn’t mean its too late for you to get involved in a program. Whether your first choices passed you by or you put off applying till now, there are still internships to be had for those who are willing to look. Larger companies with more structured and established programs have already ceased to accept applications, so focus your search on smaller and midsize employers.

Start your last minute search as quickly as possible by contacting your campus career center. Many companies give these offices notice about available internship programs in hopes of having students steered their way, so they may have a list of positions that are still available handy. Professors also often know what is going on locally in their field and maybe able to help a student they have faith in locate a last minute internship.

If neither of these yield any promising options, then try tapping into your social network. Maybe your parents, their acquaintances, or even your friend’s parents know about a company that is still looking for interns. Don’t be ashamed of utilizing those contacts. Getting a job is often about knowing the right people and having access to such information.

Another option is to call companies that you would be interested in working for directly and ask if they have any intern slots open. There is always the chance that they didn’t receive as may applications as they were expecting or that an intern dropped out of the program. In some cases companies that do regularly run internship programs will create an informal position for a student with good references who shows a lot of interest in working for them.

Since many students prefer to participate in internship programs during the summer, the competition for positions with the most prestigious companies is already high. If you are unable to secure a coveted slot with a company you’re interested it, don’t sweat it. Many employers are now offering internship programs during the fall and spring semesters. Although this may require you to take a semester off or increase your workload, the end results are certainly worth it. You stand to gain a considerable amount of workplace experience and the possibility of a job after graduation.

Startups Need PR

In this post we will be sharing some expert advice from businesses that are at the cutting edge of PR. PR can be used in several different ways but more commonly it is a way for companies to grow. Startups need to create a buzz around their product or service and for this they need the expert help on a PR agency or company. This tactic is sometimes known as gorilla marketing.

This strategy is something that is ideal for startup companies looking to make a name for themselves and grow organically in a rapid fashion. social media and the rise in people looking online for information and consuming news online has created a unique situation where businesses are turning to digital over more traditional forms of marketing. This has also forced more traditional media platforms to adapt and become more digital

we spoke with the owner of an online startup Get Me My Mortgage about their need to build their presence online to compete in a competitive market. ‘being a startup in the mortgage industry is hard, the more traditional ways of taking out ads in papers and paying for air time on the radio are simply not as effective as they used to be. This led us to develop a pr strategy that allowed our brand to gain a following online and also authority within the industry which has helped us to organically grow without a huge cash investment.

There are hundreds of examples globally of start ups that have used online methods to boost their business. One of the biggest examples is Facebook started from a dorm room in mark zuckerburgs bedroom he used the harvard network to grow users on the platform and then users themselves invited and shared the site online until it took off leading to the creating of one of the biggest social networks on the planet.

If you are looking for a job in the PR industry it may prove beneficial to look for an interesting startup that may be looking to take a less experienced more affordable PR person to help there business grow.

PR Look-around: Who Are Your Public’s?

Sometimes, the most productive action in a complex world is to break something down to its basic elements. At the risk of sounding like PR “dalai lamas,” that’s how we approach public relations. PR is a surprisingly complex communications discipline, and therefore less understood by most companies than its more cut and dried cousin — advertising. But if you begin with our simple definition of public relations – not relations with THE public, but relations with YOUR publics — it leads to a highly focused first question to ask yourself in building a successful PR program: Who are your publics?
Sound too obvious? Well, it’s amazing how many companies and even PR practitioners fail to ask. Most of our potential clients are looking for publicity when they call us in to consult. That’s fine. It’s a big part of what we do. But first you have to know where to look for publicity to reach your publics. Should it be consumer, business, or trade press; Web sites; or broadcast media? And even more important, is publicity the only way — or even the best way — to reach them? That’s why you first have to think about who your publics are. Today, it’s as likely to be your competitor as your customer.
We define “your publics” as all the constituencies your company or organization must influence positively in order to succeed. Following is a list of potential publics and some ideas for reaching them with PR communications.

Clients/Customers

This is usually the first-tier audience — the individuals or companies generating revenue for your business. To reach them with your PR program, find out what consumer and business/trade publications they read, what TV channels they watch, what radio stations they listen to, what consumer or business Web sites they visit, and what trade shows or conventions they attend. If possible, learn how they prefer to receive information — by e-mail, snail mail, fax, or in person. For smaller companies or for salespeople who have one-to-one relationships with customers or clients, gathering this data is as easy as asking them. This can even be helpful in building those relationships. For companies with mass audiences, it’s a great topic for focus groups or customer survey questionnaires. This intelligence becomes the basis of a well-targeted list of online and offline media and of venues for speaking engagements or live chat sessions.

Potential/Former Clients and Customers

Often existing client/customer media and venue lists are equally successful for reaching prospects, particularly if prospects would have the same profile as clients. This may not be true if you’re launching a new product or service that would appeal to a broader or different audience than usual. But choosing media likely to reach the new target audience can offer a cost-effective way to test a market. Also note that companies often overlook the value of communicating specifically with former clients and customers. Regardless of why the relationship ended, today’s a new day. Try sending a positive press clipping about your company with a brief direct mail letter asking for the opportunity to re-introduce your firm.

The Media

The most successful online and offline media placements happen when companies view the media as an important public. The best way to do this is to fully understand the needs of journalists and the differences in those needs across media platforms. In other words, what you provide to a Web site editor may be different than what you offer a magazine freelance writer, or a TV or radio producer, or a newspaper journalist. Journalists in all media tell us that the communication tool most overlooked by PR people is common courtesy. For goodness sake, when you get them on the phone find out if they’re on deadline before you launch into your pitch. It goes a long way toward getting positive media attention.

Analysts

We’re not talking psychiatrists here, but the financial analysts who follow particular industries for investment or venture capital houses. They watch who’s turning up in trade publications, industry Web sites, and national business pages. If you’re headed for an IPO or a new round of venture funding, make sure your press releases get to the right list of analysts. Ask your commercial wire service to send your releases to their analyst list as well as to print, broadcast, and online media. Most will do so — often at no additional cost.

Current and Potential Employees

Has anyone noticed we’re in a tight employment market? For the past several years, we’ve been adding consistent messages to our clients’ PR communications that are geared to make job seekers say, “Boy, that sounds like a great company to work for!” Positive press clips should definitely be given to prospective employees. It’s a wonderful thing when a media story about your company helps fill a key position.

Suppliers

Often the best product lines are offered on an exclusive or territorial basis. The competition to handle these moneymaking lines can be stiff. If you need to establish yourself as the “go-to” distributor, dealer, reseller, or service provider for a top supplier in order to succeed in your market, you’d better make a special effort to get into the trades or onto a conference seminar panel to let them know you’re a key player.

Alliance Partners

Many companies are growing through alliances with business partners, in addition to growing organically or through outright acquisitions. PR communications and media stories can be a great way to signal the market that you’re open to productive alliances.

Advertisers

Many organizations are looking for advertisers to help defray the costs of Web sites, newsletters, and other marketing vehicles. PR messages can be as influential as page views in convincing potential advertisers to reach their markets through your company’s outlets.

Web Site Visitors

By making it easy for Web visitors to discover whether your site has information of interest to them, you’ll win friends. Make it even easier for them to send your URL or Web pages to friends or colleagues who would be interested — even if the primary visitor is not. In other words — use your Web site for networking.

Influencers

PR is the marketing approach that builds credibility for you and your company. Anytime you build credibility with someone who already has credibility with one of your publics, you’re exponentially increasing the chances that your publics will hear good things about you from credible sources. Influencers can be anyone from trusted professionals — lawyers, accountants, investment counselors – to your customer’s mother.

Referral Sources

This public is similar to influencers. However, in addition to saying nice things about you, these people can actually send you business. Business, professional, and industry organizations are often the best places to find referral sources. Get those speaking engagements, or otherwise appear to be a recognized expert in your field. Referral sources should also know that your business ethics are unimpeachable and that you get the job done. It’s risky to refer someone. If it doesn’t work out, it’s usually the referrer who takes the blame.

Competitors

In this day of mergers, acquisitions, and industry roll-ups, make sure your competition knows how good you are and thinks well of you. There’s no need to be adversarial to be a strong competitor — and it can really pay off when US Widget and Thingamagig, LTD become Widgamagigg International.

PR Crisis Management, Internet Style

So there you are. It’s around 5:30 in the morning, and you’ve still got another two hours to sleep before you get up for another day in the office. Then the phone rings, and it’s your boss: “WE ARE ON THE COVER OF ONLINE BUSINESS MAGAZINE!”

Welcome to crisis management, Internet style.

Back in the old days, crisis management meant dealing with the press, and disseminating information based on how you wanted to appear. You had plenty of time to get your facts together; you could call several meetings with key advisors, and when you were ready, issue a statement that explained exactly what happened, the way you wanted it explained.

That doesn’t fly anymore.

This is the Internet, where rumors, true or not, can bring down a company within minutes. Information (or disinformation) can spread across the world in seconds. And in this day and age, where the news industry is not only encouraged to send out news the second they get it, but actually rewarded when they do, the days of fact-checking and multi-sourcing information to prove its accuracy are over.

If you’re in charge of safeguarding your company’s message, and keeping it pristine to the public, how do you handle the Internet? How do you perform public relations in such a way, that the end result not only saves face, but prevents those rumors from starting in the first place?

What follows are guidelines for how to survive an Internet PR crisis. Not rules, because each crisis is different. Not a playbook, because you’ll still make up most of it as you go along. But guidelines, designed to help you get through the initial strike of “Oh, no…”

  1. Shut your emotions completely off. Before you do anything else, know that this is not about you personally. It never is. Regardless of whether you’re the PR manager for hugebigcorporation.com or the president of mylittleidea.com, this is not about you, and this is not personal. For whatever reason you’re in a PR crisis, you need to think logically, outside of the company. You need to think like an observer, not like someone in the middle.
  2. Get all key management on the phone, and promptly get them to shut up. Fact of the matter is, there are as many opinions on what happened or didn’t happen as there are employees. That being said, you need to establish one company policy, and require that it’s followed. This means that you designate one person, and one person only, to be the point person with the media. This is usually the Director of PR, but I’ve seen it be marketing people, or CFOs. You do not want the CEO to speak right away. The CEO needs to be running the company, you don’t want him or her wasting time answering every reporter’s question. Once the company has a firm line on what to say, the PR point person can offer that information to the media, allowing access to the CEO on a case-by-case basis.
  3. Don’t lie. If you don’t know the answer, don’t answer it. An “I’ll get back to you on that” is always a better answer than a made up one. The fact remains, if you lie about something and you’re quoted on it in the media, it’s going to be with you for the rest of your company’s life until you’re caught. And usually, you’ll be caught a lot quicker than you imagine. Simply say “That’s a good question. I’m going to check on it and get back to you in 20 minutes.” Then do it. Do not leave the reporter without a call back. Even if you call back to let the reporter know that you’re still looking for the information, that’s better than leaving them hanging.
  4. Have a press release ready to go if needed, then don’t send it out. A big mistake that many companies make is sending out a release before all the facts are out, basically saying nothing. This leads reporters to print what they have, and miss out on the bigger picture, because you haven’t given them the bigger picture. Have the release ready to go, and over the course of the day, keep adding to it. If the crisis is small enough so a press release isn’t warranted, then simply keep it on file. It’ll be good to have for the next time.
  5. Draft an internal e-mail that you read to employees. Do not send it out if you can help it. If you have an organization all in one office building, call them all in for a conference or meeting. If you send out an e-mail to the entire company, it will get to the media. Don’t ask how, and don’t waste time trying to understand where the leak came from. Just accept that it will happen, and don’t send out anything that you wouldn’t want to see in print. If you have numerous offices or sites, try to arrange a conference or video call, either via phone or satellite feed. You’re doing this to keep morale up, to explain exactly what happened, and to remind your company, yet once again, that they should not be speaking to any media. You can’t reinforce this last line enough.
  6. Make sure your voice mail message has alternate ways for the media to reach you. You need to be 100 percent completely accessible to the press for as long as the crisis lasts. If this means canceling personal plans, so be it, or at least be reachable and ready to respond on a moment’s notice. All media employees here have alternate phone, e-mail, pager, and cellular information on their outgoing voice mail. In addition, all employees have access to the Internet from home, allowing them to keep in touch with the office at any time, day or night, weekday or weekend.
  7. Stop into the chat rooms and message boards and read. What is the public saying about your company? If you’re public, what are the market Web sites (Yahoo, Morningstar.com, etc) saying about you in their chat rooms and message boards? How can you use this information to craft a well-worded response to the media? Note: Do not, under any circumstances, respond to any messages or chat requests, no matter how tempting it might be to do so. Online bulletin boards and chat rooms are not the place to preach your company’s philosophy or try to prove your innocence. Just read what other people are saying, and try to gauge reaction.
  8. Keep upper management updated. Over the course of the day, send out a few brief e-mails, offering a few updates as to what’s going on, and what’s expected to happen. By keeping upper management updated, you’re allowing for a better flow of communication throughout the company.
  9. If you don’t already use one, consider hiring both an online and offline clipping service to follow what’s being said about your company. Luce and Burrell’s are two such services, but there are many more out there. These companies will track all forms of media coverage, both online and traditional; about your company and selected keywords you give them.
  10. Remember that there is no such thing as “off the record.” There are a few journalists out there who will try to befriend you during this nightmare, and ask you things like, “Wow… Listen, just between you and me, what really happened?” Next thing you know, that’s their headline. There is no “off the record.” Consider anything you say to a journalist fair game.
  11. Always remember rule 1: It’s not personal. You’ll get through this, and by tomorrow, it’ll be some other company’s turn in the fire. Smile, always maintain professionalism, and most importantly: work the problem and find the solution. The incident has already happened. Don’t rehash, focus on what you’re going to do to fix/prevent/make better the situation.

Top Tips For Non Profit PR

In this article we will be sharing tips to help non profit organisations use PR to help grow there non profit. Marketing for a non profit is not all about funds. Hosting events, sharing your mission and story are key for any non profit to raise awareness of who they are and what they are trying to achieve. The non profit market is just as competitive as the SME sector because there are only so many charities that people can donate too.

A large percentage of funds are raised by the national charities due to their huge marketing and fundraising efforts. Unfortunately this can mean that smaller local charities sometimes don’t get the funds that they need.

So far all you small charities out their we have put together some tips on how you can stand out from the crowd and help to raise awareness of your mission in a cost effective way that you dont need a giant marketing team or budget to succeed.

  1. Define Your Target Audience

One of the most important things any non profit should be doing when it comes to PR and marketing is defining their audience. Find out exactly who you want to target and who is likely to support your cause. You will then be able to research where your target audience is, are they on social media? Which platforms? Are they reading the news online? If so which is there favorite website?

Once you know your target audience and where to find them you can start building contacts in those areas and creating content and marketing materials that will attract the audience

2. Take advantage of free social media platforms

If you are not on social media, your missing out. This is where you will be able to grow your following and get your message across to the right people. It is also great for local marketing if you are hosting or having an event then this is definitely something you will want to share with your network on social media.

3. Build Loyalty

The best way to make the most out of your marketing and PR is to build brand loyalty with your donor and supporters. Once people get familiar with your mission and become supporters then they will also become brand advocates for you, helping you to increase fundraisers, get more people to events etc.

Having a loyal social media following is key, the more people you have sharing your content the further your message will be spread.

Remember, persistence is key, to grow your supporters organically without a big budget can take time so don’t expect amazing results overnight. With a good mission and the right target audience it is more than doable without big budgets.

Different Kinds of PR

When starting out it is good to get an understanding of the different types of PR that you can get into. Choosing one doesn’t mean that you will be pigeon holed into this kind of job for your whole career, the skills you gain will be transferable into any kind of PR

We wrote a short guide to the different types of PR so that you can get a feel for which area you would be most interested in starting in.

Media relations 

If you are looking to write press releases, schedule interviews and even speak at press conferences. Media relations may be the right avenue for you. The main aim of media relations is to gain coverage and raise awareness of your brand or company through the media.

Media relations is about finding an angle that can peak the interest of the media with a story that they will want to cover. This gains your brand/Business essentially free publicity and will help to increase the brands recognition.

Essential skills for Media Relations would be someone that can find a story and hook that will get the media talking.

Community relations

Community relations is all about working to develop or improve a companies relationship with a community or area. This is an important role that helps to keep a company viewed in a positive light by the general public. It can also help to improve a negative image if there has been one in the past.

This is usually done by supporting local projects or communities. Getting the public engaged with your brand and letting them know your companies ethical mindset and portray your company in a positive light through giving back to the community.

Corporate and social responsibility

Similar to community relations a corporate and social responsibilities is about changing or keeping a positive image of the company. This will mean looking at the internal workings of the company and being able to spot areas that can be improved to ensure that the company is being responsible and ‘playing its part’. Such as recycling policies, going green, carbon foot print. Its about spotting and changing any potential issues before they could negatively impact the business.

Public affairs

Public affairs will involve working and making contacts within the government and large organisations. This kind of PR is also known as lobbying and it is all about getting the government on your side to help your business or organisation.

Social media

Most companies these days use social media in some form or another, whether it is for raising awareness or answering the public on company issues.

Being quick to answer issues is key to gaining a good social media presence. It also allows a company to show a lighter side and help increase positivism towards a company

There are many other forms of PR that you may learn about but all forms will require you to be a good networker and quick thinker.

Getting Your First Job in PR

Starting out in PR can be tough, its a well respected path that lots of graduates want to take. There isn’t a huge amount of entry level PR jobs which makes competition tough. This means that every job that you apply for you will need to make sure your CV and covering letter stand out and show any potential employers what you can do.

There are a few different paths that you can take when looking for PR roles you can either go in house, working for one company on there brand/business or you can go the agency route. There are positives and negatives to both but ideally you are looking for experience and to learn so its best to not discount either.

Internships and Work Experience

If there are no trainee jobs for PR in your area you can look to gain knowledge and connections from work experience or an internship. While this is only suited to you if you can afford to not be paid. It will give you the opportunity to work with professionals in your field with experience that you can learn from.

Internships can also help you to get a feel for the industry and find out what you like or don’t like. This is useful to know before diving into a full time paid role where the pressure will increase.

What even is PR

Learning at university about PR can is quite different from the real world. Make sure that you understand the role and the industry as a whole. This will allow you to stand out at interviews if you can talk about the industry. Follow some journalists on social media or a thought leader in your area of interest and see what they are doing to make a name for themselves.

WRITE A GOOD CV

Hiring managers and recruiters are flooded with CV’s every day. To make sure you stand out you will need to get creative with your CV. Show off your personality and let them know you are keen to learn.

Tailor each CV and covering letter to the business you are applying for this will show them that you have put the effort in and really want to work there.

ATTENDING NETWORKING EVENTS

Network as much as possible. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account get one. Join in conversations on social media, go to conferences and soak up as much information as you can. You never know who you might bump into. Connections and networking are part and parcel of a PR job so its good to get that head start.

All in all stay positive and you will land your dream job eventually.

Top PR Tips For A Successful Career

Welcome to our PR blog. Today we are sharing some top tips on the best way you can start and progress your career in PR.

  1. Watch The News!

A common question in an exec level interview is asking about current affairs. If you dont watch the news or read newspapers how will you keep up to date with the latest issues and get relevant fresh ideas for stories. Throughout your career it is a good idea to follow key journalists and key your nose to the ground in terms of media. This will allow you to jump on a topic before everyone else does, keeping you ahead of the game.

2 . Always keep learning

No matter what industry you are in make sure you keep up to date with the latest PR news and tools that can help you be better. There is a wealth of information out there and it pays to do your research, especially when it comes time to progress to the next level of your career.

3. Learn to love Data

Data can be your best friend, consumers love statistics and data driven content. Ensuring you can find a story or angle in a data set will keep you ahead of the curve and allow you to use secondary data to find new angles that will get traction from your audience.

4. Learn to love writing

If you are just starting out make sure that you practice your own style and tone of writing this will allow you to build your own personal brand and gain a following of your own. Having a strong network that love your style will help you 10 fold in the future.

5. Become a though leader

Establishing yourself as a thought leader can be difficult but once you get to grips with a certain industry and you have a network of people you can help they will help you in return. Using their insights and expertise can help you to become more knowledgeable and the go to person on a topic.