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Posts Tagged ‘tips’

March 26th, 2009

Tip Sheets – Great Free Publicity Online & Off

Tip sheets are essentially lists of a half dozen or so ‘tips’ that tell people how to do something or how to solve a problem.  They are a great way to get free publicity.  Traditional editors and reporters love them – they’re a ready to go piece that requires little to no extra work, and they cross into different formats (print, TV, radio, etc.) well because they can be used as short lists complete with bullet points.

Best of all, tip sheets are easy to write and can be pulled together relatively quickly.  Everyone has seen a form of a Tip Sheet in traditional media: “8 Ways to Lose Weight Fast”, “Top 10 Biggest PR Blunders of All Time”, “6 Proven Tactics to Lower Your Energy Bills”, the list goes on.

For those of you who spend time on, or are at least familiar with, the various online social networks (as any modern PR person should be) those types of titles should look familiar.  Go to the first page of Digg.com and at least two or three of the top posts will have titles similarly structured.

The ‘tip sheet’ tactic has crossed from traditional PR to new online mediums, except the online marketers and SEO types coined a new term for it: Link Bait.

Hey, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”…

5 Great Tips for Putting Together a Great Tip Sheet/Link Bait Title Article

  1. Use numbers in the title and try to work in words like ‘Best’ or ‘Top’ – the whole idea is to make it exciting and easy to digest.
  2. Be Concise.  The first sentence should give the instructions, the second sentence should explain them – that’s it.
  3. Avoid promoting yourself or your client too much.  The temptation is there, but people will not trust your advice if they feel they’ve been pitched to.
  4. Use ‘action language’.  The tips should read like well-written instructions, start off with a verb whenever its possible.
  5. Make it short and sweet.  Limit the whole thing to a page; you want there to be enough information to  actually be of use, but people will not read through a huge laundry list: 5 to 12 tips is a good guideline.

February 4th, 2009

Advice For The PR Grad – Interview Tips

It’s common sense to come to an interview prepared, but what exactly should you be ready for during an interview for a public relations position?

First of all, chances are that you’ll have to hand over your resume before you get an interview – so we asked for advice on making the best possible first impression.

“Show results, not just tasks.  Everyone puts – Wrote press releases, coordinated events, drafted articles, etc.  Very few (especially entry level) actually show results.  [Example - Secured feature story on the front page of the food section of The Tampa Tribune. Saw 30 percent increase in sales at the local restaurant.]  Show HOW PR efforts can be measured.” ~ Sandy D’Elosua- Senior Account Exec at RFB Communications

“Resumes are useless to find opportunities. They are solely a cliff note to an interview. Resumes should be used as conversation cards for your interviewer.  Resumes are lame anyway, use something more demonstrative that shows who you are and what you’re passionate about. Get a portfolio together – something that shows what you’ve done – how you did it, how it impacted people. If you don’t have materials for a portfolio, donate your time to a non profit and get them press ;-) Antoine Dubeauclard , President Media Genesis

“The most common mistake I see grads make when they apply for a position with us is not making the effort to find out who — by name — they should address their cover letter to. When I receive a cover and resume addressed to “To Whom It May Concern,” I don’t bother to read it, I just toss it. I figure if they didn’t take the time or make the effort to call our agency and ask to whom they should address their query, they are not someone I would seriously consider for even an entry-level job. I purposefully do not include HR information on our Web site for the simple reason that if you are really interested in working for our firm and have done your homework, which includes figuring out the proper HR person, then I might be interested in talking to you. The second most-common mistake is not putting your name in the title of the file containing your cover letter and your resume. If I am conducting a job search, I’m likely to get quite a few e-mailed resumes and letters. If yours is labeled “PR_Resume_Jan_09.doc” it’s going to get lost or I have to change the file name, which is a pain, and goes down as a mark against you in my little mental book. In college these days they spend a lot of time teaching how to write the perfect cover letter and resume, but they don’t spend five minutes on these two tips, which for me are opportunity killers because they demonstrate a lack of initiative and awareness. And don’t get me started on typos ….” Buck Banks VP NewmanPR

Dr. Michael Smith, Professor of Communication at La Salle University in Philadelphia says “Treat your resume like American Express used to have you treat their card – don’t leave home without it.  Take a stack of resumes (or resume summaries) wherever you go.  One of my former students got a good job in marketing while tending bar; a rep from the company he really wanted to work for came in and he “just happened” to have his resume with him.  She got it–and got him in the door.”

Perfecting your resume is a great first step – but what about advice for the actual interview?

Susan Strayer has 3 pieces of advice for getting prepared to give a great interview.  “1-Have examples ready about how you would get PR attention for a company’s product, service or event–you will likely get asked for an example on the spot in an interview. Do your research on the company so you’re ready to provide specific details.  Be prepared to share why you chose that strategy too. 2-Review examples of crisis (think peanut butter and salmonella) or embarrassment (think Merrill Lynch CEO’s million dollar spend on his office) and how you’d respond if you were the company’s spokesperson. 3-Create a portfolio with releases, tearsheets, photos from events, quotes, etc.  It doesn’t have to be extensive, but having something tangible you can bring to a networking meeting or interview allows you to share it live and get immediate reaction as opposed to sending a link by email later”

Allison Fogt, Account Manager for KiddPR similarly suggests that grads “Build a portfolio with samples of relevant class or internship work and any resulting media coverage.” She also says to “Make sure your personality shines through in the interview.”

“1-Really know the definition of public relations vs. advertising – 95% of the people i interviewed over the years could not give me a good definition. 2-Bring sample work even if its from a class you took. 3-Be prepared to take a writing test – writing under pressure and producing great work is a priority at a pr agency. 4-If you currently have a job and are asked when you could start working in the new position do not answer “immediately” as this will tell the interviewer volumes about your sense of loyalty, responsibility and sense of fair play.  If someone doesn’t give their former employer two-weeks’ notice I won’t hire them. 5-Speaking of references – come prepared with a typed list including contact information and offer it even before you are asked. 6-Be prepared to ask intelligent questions – don’t ask who the clients are or what exactly the agency does – if you don’t know this cancel the interview – time wasters are not appreciated and most certainly won’t be hired. 7-Bring something to take notes on – have a pen handy – if the interviewer gives you advice write it down – the way you handle information intake is a good indicator of how you will function as an employee. 8-Read as much as you can – newspapers, magazines – know the media outlets – if one more person tells me that they only read “People” I will just scream and find a new industry.” ~ Dindy Yokel

And then there is the advice on what NOT to do.  Sandy D’Elosua gives this advice that may be surprising to some grads.  “Never say you are a “people person” when applying for a job in PR.  This profession is all about writing, so it clearly demonstrates the applicant knows nothing about the profession when they walk in saying this.  I remember my first course in public relations at the University of Florida, the professor stood in front of the lecture hall and asked, “how many of you are people persons?” The majority of students raised their hands.  Then he said, “get out now; this is not the profession for you.” Also, “Stop saying, “I will be an asset for your company”… or “I will be a great addition to your team.”  After the applicant proves his or her worth, let the team decide whether he or she is an asset.  This could be viewed as off-putting to the person hiring.”

Jan Bracamonte, Director of Public Relations with Crosby-Wright sent us a DON’T for interviewing: “For many seeking jobs, they don’t take the time to learn about the agency before they apply. So, they send a generic cover letter and resume without first answering the most important question to the person hiring: “Why are you a good fit for my firm?” Yes, I want to know about you as a professional. But, know your audience and how you can benefit them.”

That’s it for today, tomorrow’s advice: Think Outside the Box

January 9th, 2009

New Resources Added to the PR Dashboard

The PR Dashboard has had a great start to the new year and we have a few new visitor submitted resources that have been added!

First up is Online-pr, a great site with lots of information on making your PR campaigns better and less expensive.  Someone also suggested Manta.com, a great way to gather background information on both private and public companies online.

Last up for this set of additions is AdHat, where you can enter a keyword, brand name or agency to find appropriate promotional campaigns on display. Great for inspiration and brainstorming!

We’ve had a great response to the PR Dashboard so far, and we’ll post new additions here from time to time, but we can’t list them all so make sure to check back often.  And keep sending in suggestions…

December 22nd, 2008

4 Tips for Choosing a Public Relations Firm

  1. Be clear on what you are expecting from the PR effort, in the same vein, be realistic about what PR cannot do.  Meet with a few firms in order to determine which will be best able to meet your expectations.
  2. Hire a local firm if you want efforts to be specifically directed to your area, they’ll be more in-tune to the local media and attitude.  However, if your campaign will be national or international, don’t limit yourself to firms only in your city.  Sitting down face to face with the firm on a regular basis isn’t as important as you might think, and you’ll want someone who is familiar and has realtionships with national media outlets.
  3. Ask to see sample campaigns from the firms you are interviewing.  You’ll be able to see both the quantity and quality of the work they’ve put out in the past.  Also, ask to speak with a few of their previous (or current) clients.  You’ll get to ask how the firm’s staff interacted with clients and whether or not they felt the firm cared about their business.  Valuable insights you won’t get from the actual firm.
  4. Try to find a firm that is familiar with (or specializes in) your industry and the medium you are expecting to use.  This way they’ll be ready to hit the ground running with your campaign.  If the firm feels they’ll need to do some research to become familiar with your business or a specific medium the campaign will end up costing more as you’ll be paying for that time.

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