PR Defined.

The definition of PR is consistently changing. When PR professionals are asked to simply put what they do, its difficult. And how many times have we heard that the worst word to include in the definition of what PR is — spin.

Those who practice PR know what they do, and those hiring PR professionals think they have an idea of what they do, but how do we explain what we do to people with no relation to our field? Well look no more, the Public Relations Society of America has come out with a finalized definition of what public relations means.

According to the PRSA, the definition is: “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

I’ll admit, that does seem like quite the mouthful, and isn’t probably what I’d say when asked what I do, but it is good to refer to!


Pros & Cons of PR Agencies

As I have begun the search for a job in PR, I have found myself looking at both PR boutiques and agencies. Not really knowing the difference and the benefits of either, I found the article on PR Couture incredibly helpful. The article makes and explains and entire list of the benefits and cons of PR agencies.

Taking straight from the website, the pros listed were:

  • Ability to learn from and work on multiple accounts
  • Surrounded by the best in the business/not a lone wolf
  • Dynamic work environment due to account mix
  • Learn how to pitch and acquire new business

the cons listed were:

  • Less of an ability to just make things happen, need client approval
  • Being on the outside means missing out on “water-cooler” conversations
  • Titles matter, agency politics can be a struggle
  • Billing time

The list was beneficial because it certainly allowed me to see the differences between a boutique firm and a PR agency. Depending on how you work and what you want to be able to do in your job, figuring out whether an agency or a boutique will be crucial.

Trashy vs. Classy: Self Marketing

In lieu of my 2 most recent posts, I have decided to stay on the topic of self marketing. On this weeks, Linky Love, an article about celebrities tweeting caught my eye. I personally follow some celebrities on Twitter, but seemingly not the notorious ones.

I stand by in my other posts saying that I agree with individuals, like my self, and celebrities self marketing — reaching out to the public, connecting with people on a more personal level, but the article I read exposes the negativity of celebrities taking self marketing into their own hands.

In the article, “Dear PR People: Please Stop Letting Celebrities Tweet” the issue of celebrities tweeting and having a negative backlash is far too common. More often that not, celebrities tweet something controversial and public out cries occur. As the famous saying states, not all publicity is good publicity. When celebrities tweet controversial, rude, and insensitive subject matter, millions of followers instantly read it, causing a major need for damage control.

As much of a fan as I am of celebrities relating to fans, and as much as I believe in the freedom of speech, celebrities are caught in a gray area, where they have to be very weary of both.

The article states it very well, “for every tweet that gets deleted, 9 more show up in its place.” This explains the cycle of a single outrageous or controversial statement being tweeted, and then the immediate and plentiful tweets apologizing and retracting the statement.

As long as self promotion stays classy and personally beneficial, it’s a positive tool, but when it turns negative and trashy, it turns self marketing into a dangerous tool.

Roberto Cavalli: fashion icon and now a blogger?

This week on Linky Love, an article was shared regarding Roberto Cavalli’s new hobby…blogging! Who knew that a fashion icon who doesn’t even tweet would start to blog. His blog so far has focused on his travels, his love life,  and his couture shows, all of which he has called his adventure.

Personally, I find it admirable that a man of such reverence, such popularity and such social positioning still takes the time out of his day to connect with his fans and the patrons of his clothing line.

Cavalli’s actions have a direct correlation to world and profession of public relations because despite his media empire, he individually has made an outreach to his “clients”. In relation to the article I posted and discussed last week, this just emphasizes the fact that personal marketing is key. As long as you don’t over advertise yourself, or worse, falsely advertise yourself, their is no shame in promoting yourself and your capabilities. Garnering that from this article was incredibly useful to mean and I know it is something I will carry with me and use in the future.

In Cavalli’s situation, he doesn’t need to “get his name out” or advertise who he is, but his outreach is key to his self promotion as a likable and in a sense relatable person.

As a newbie in PR, tips and advice are all around us, but sometimes have to be derived differently that just being told. By looking at Cavalli’s blogging habits in the way that I did, I was able to learn a useful practice.

Lure them In…with Social Media

This week on PR at Sunrise, an article regarding the techniques and skills of landing a new client via social media was presented. It was an interesting take on old school vs. new school ways of acquiring media attention and garnering new clients.

In “The Art of Landing New PR Clients via Social Media“, the author of the article supplied social media guidelines that are imperative to having a professional web presence. A few on his list are:

– Always present yourself professionally, even in your personal social media accounts- you NEVER know who will view your profile.

– Increase visitors and contacts by including your your social media sites in your email signature, website, advertisements, and on business cards.

– Follow and friend your media and pr contacts and keep them informed of client story, photo and pr opportunities.

Currently, social media is one of, if not, your strongest marketing assets. As an emerging PR professional, social media guidelines and how to present yourself favorably online is key to the success of girls like myself getting the internships and the jobs we want and strive for!

A Little Space, Please.

We’ve all heard of “helicopter parents”, those parents who can’t seem to let their children do anything fully on their own — the one’s who try to have control over every little aspect of their children’s life.

This issue used to only be prevalent in the classroom as kids, but in the past few years helicopter parents have been making appearances on college campuses. If that weren’t enough, an article this week on NPR, exposes that helicopter parents are now following their children to work!

According to the article, “Helicopter Parents Hover in the Workplace“, more and more parents are having an alarmingly prevalent presence in the office. The article states that parents have become so involved that some have phoned into the human resources department to advocate on their child’s behalf.

The point made in the article that really stood out to me was one made by a boss who said that “those types of interventions [those of parents] can backfire, it definitely does not show great leadership or decision – making skills”.

I found this article somewhat shocking because I couldn’t believe that parents went as far as to do this. An integral part of growing up is gaining independence and learning how to manage it, although helicopter parents might mean well, they’re actions are actually counteractive.

Pin that Interest!

Admittedly, I am an avid Pinterest user. Although, I avoided joining for as long as I could. But once you start pinning, you never really stop.

Pinterest has gained popularity like wildfire, almost everyone I know has a Pinterest and is a big fan. It’s a virtual idea board, where other people’s ideas are on the tip of your fingertips. It’s a giant sharing network, where people can view the ideas, tastes, preferences and styles of all their friends and even some strangers.

The range of content on Pinterest is also mind blowing. Everything from recipes, to DIY face masks, to photos of foreign countries, to pictures of pets is on Pinterest. The amount of content available would take an individual years to collect, but instead, there it is, all right in front of you.

This week on TechCrunch‘s website, they reported that Pinterest had hit a record high 11.7 million individual visitors this month. According to the research of comScore, “Pinterest would be the fastest site of any kind to hit 10 million monthly uniques in the U.S.”. This research shows how content sharing is one of the more activities. Take a look at the introduction and now prevalence of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and FourSquare.

Although I held out on Pinterest for a while, I am glad to say I joined!

Ms. Know-it-All

Recently, on PR Couture, a book advertised caught my eye. Ready to Launch: The PR Couture Guide to Breaking into Fashion PR was a focus on the site.

I am personally not aiming to work in the fashion PR world, but many of my friends are. The fashion world is a fast paced and tough field to place into. This book seems like just the thing for any PR student interested in entering the field.

The tagline of the book is, Transform Your Passion for Fashion Into a Successful Career. The summary provided by Amazon states that the book “is an information-dense, fun-to-read adventure through the fast-paced, ever-evolving world of public relations in the fashion industry. Written particularly for those just getting started (public relations undergraduates, entry-level practitioners), Ready to Launch is the only career guide tailored specifically for aspiring fashion PR professionals. A definite must-read for anyone considering a career in fashion PR, marketing or a related field, the book charts the course from education to internships and interviews, touching on personal branding, reputation management and setting a long-term career vision for ongoing success”.

Although I am not a fashion focused PR student myself, I might read this just because it seems full of good tips and beneficial information, useless for PR in general. As the focus of my blog is to seek and provide what I can for girls like myself, I found this book especially fitting. No matter where you go, a little advice and direction can never hurt.

I’ll Try My Best

In close to relation to last week’s post about the handbook to PR, an article on linky love followed closely. Recently, Ragan’s PR Daily posted an article titled, “10 Ways to be a Dream PR Intern“. I personally, would like to send a large shout out to the person behind this list, we newbies in PR appreciate you.

The best and most useful aspect of this list is that they are recommending you do things that are easily within reach. The tips simply advise you to be an honest, diligent, hard worker who will provide a lot to the team and whose presence will be noted in a positive way — no one ever needs a useless and rude intern. Luckily for me, good manners are what I was brought up with and I am no a consistent and avid user of them. But, what this article did make me realize is how imperative manners are in the work place — especially as an intern.

No matter how hard your day might seem at your internship, chances are, your bosses day is 5 times harder. So by being perky, helpful and useful, your positivity radiates through out the office which helps to boosts your co-workers day.

And as an intern, never forget that you are still an intern. Yes, maybe you have scored a great internship, but always be modest, and never toot your own horn in the office. Your co – workers and boss have given you a tremendous opportunity and you are there more than anything, to learn.

How are we Supposed to Know?

Currently a young woman who is soon to be emerging into the professional PR world, I have found myself with a lot of questions. Most people have a stereotypical idea of what PR is, based off what we see on TV and such, but sometimes I find myself wondering what I am really going to be doing and where!

For anyone seeking a new position, especially one professionally, questions arise. So where’s the handbook? Most of my female classmates agree that we have so many questions but aren’t quite sure where to get the answers. I’m all for being adventurous and spontaneous, but the consistent feeling that you’re winging it isn’t exactly desirable.

In my blogroll, I supply several sites that are aimed towards young women in the professional PR world. They address some of the issues we are exposed to and also offer good advice and resources. Clearly, part of growing up and joining the work force is supposed to be nerve-wracking and confidence shaking, but it’s nice to have some sort of reference.

Recently, I found the site NYC PR Girls. This blog is backed by four emerging PR girls who have found themselves asking the same questions as I have. On their site they supply the NYC PR girls guide, (did I hear a hallelujah?)

In their guide, the NYC girls cover what they call, the basics. A few of which are the PR girl Do’s and Don’ts, how to learn and talk in PR Jargon, How to travel like a savvy PR girl and how to complete the perfect follow-up. The topics go on, but each is thoroughly completed and very helpful. I was quite relieved on finding this, because despite these girls are not published or professional speakers, they’re like me, and girls my age in this field, and therefore relatable.

So to all my fellow newbies in PR, I have found us our handbook!