This coming week I am presenting to an American University undergraduate class, COMM 301. (Full disclosure: I am doing this as a part of my internship course). I am talking about my internship at Environics Communications and about writing this blog. I have a lot to cover in a short amount of time but my hope is to present something useful to the class. So, what would you, as an undergrad, want to hear from a PR graduate student who is about to complete an internship and graduate? Let me know what you think!
A co-worker at my internship told me that a very important part of a blog is a blogroll. I had never really noticed one on a blog but after she pointed it out, I noticed a few on some of my favorite blogs. So, I have yet to make a blogroll. The main reason I haven’t created one is that I honestly don’t read a ton of public relations blogs. So while I continue to expand my repertoire of PR blogs, I thought I would talk about blogs I check on a regular basis. These blogs are about some of my favorite topics: food and fashion. I love checking out new recipes and people’s daily style choices. I hope you enjoy some of my favorites!
I don’t have a ton of friends who blog but I really enjoy checking in on my friends who do blog:
And of course, the office where I intern, Environics, has an awesome blog!
So what are some blogs you love to check out? Do you have any public relations blogs you’re obsessed with?
See Post #Blogroll #Environics Communications #Cupcakes and Cashmere #What I Wore #Mrs. O #Bakerella #Slow #Our Life in Food #I Have Excellent Taste #Try Defying Gravity #Hitched #Doing Vered Big Things #I Draw Square Circles #PR #Public #public relations internship
The longer I spend in school and the more experience I gain through internships, the more I understand the importance of research. Research may seem like an obvious component of school but it is also a crucial part of any job or internship, especially in public relations. Take today for example: I did research for two new projects and three current clients at my internship, I did research for my capstone and I even did some research for this blog post. Some of the research I did today overlapped even though the topics were not related and that is because research is key in every project for your education or for your job. So below are some of the essential research tools for school and interning in public relations:
1. Google. This one might seem totally obvious but it may not pop into your head immediately if you are working on an “important” project. A Google search can explain key concepts or it show you how to layout a professional document you are unfamiliar with. Always start a project with a general Google search to see what is out there, it will help you avoid reinventing the wheel.
2. CisionPoint. CisionPoint is a paid content database that helps public relations practioners obtain information on reporters and media outlets across the country. You can narrow searches based on location, topic, audience metrics, and much more. Cision has become my best friend in my internship.
3. American University Library. The AU Library’s database of journals, books and newspaper archives has become my lifeline. There is an unlimited amount of information in many forms that can shape any research. Although AU’s library is not available to all, you can check your local or university library for some awesome resources.
4. Institute for Public Relations. In my research today, I came across the Institute for Public Relations. The Institute has an entire research branch with topics ranging from Crisis Management to Reputation & Trust to Philanthropy, all related to PR. I am excited to explore the site more and integrate these sources into my toolbox for PR research.
These are just some of the ways I do research for my internship and for school. What are ways you find new information?
TIME magazine named the 140 Best Twitter Feeds this past week. The list is divided into many categories including corporations, authors, celebrities, and fictional characters. Some of my personal favorites are Southwest Airlines and Threadless (my favorite t-shirt company). There were only four or five Twitter feeds on the list that I actually followed. I found a few more that the list made me want to follow like Lord Voldemort and Tracy Jordan. The list definitely missed some of my favorite Twitter players like Kate Spade (my ultimate Twitter obsession) and Ben & Jerry’s (my ultimate dessert obsession). What did you think of TIME’s 140 Best Twitter Feeds? You can still vote if you think each feed should be on the list. Check it out!
As I mentioned last week, my capstone is about the use of social media by emergency relief organizations during a natural disaster or crisis. Last week at my internship, I was lucky enough to be asked to work on a crisis plan for a client who was interested in updating their use of social media during a crisis. I took my experiences and research from my capstone and applied it to an actual plan for a client. Through research for corporate crisis communication (for the client), emergency crisis communication (for my capstone), and some general readings from a class, I found a few social media pointers that are important to remember no matter what kind of crisis you are working with:
1. Immediacy is key. Social media response to an on- or offline crisis should ideally occur with in an hour of the crisis event. The sooner you respond on social media (with accurate and appropriate messages) the easier it will be to recover from the crisis.
2. Use new and conversational posts. All posts on social media should be engaging to stakeholders, facilitate conversations and shouldn’t be technical. Social media is an opportunity to engage your stakeholders in a conversation and show them your side of the story. The easiest way to do this is to use different statements for social media than you would use in a formal setting. Use the same key message on social media and you can always add links to your statement (written or recorded), but engage your audience, address their concerns, and invite comments.
Below are messages that were well suited for social media during a legal crisis. These posts are from Taco Bell during a lawsuit in regards to the quality of their meat. The first post could have been a little more conversational but the last two are spot on.
3. Social media monitoring is crucial. Every company and organization needs to know what is being said and posted about them. A daily (if not multiple times a day) scan of prevalent social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and relevant blogs is an important way to be prepared if a social media crisis occurs. Some helpful social media tracking websites and tools are Google Alerts, Technorati, and Mashable.
What are some examples you have seen of effective or ineffective social media use during a crisis?
My capstone (thesis) to complete my master’s program is about the use of social media by emergency relief organizations. I have spoken to professionals in the field and have researched social media in crisis and disaster situations.
In light of the recent disaster in Japan, I thought I would share some of the uses of social media by emergency and non-emergency relief organizations. Some of these uses have been discussed widely and others were brought to my attention through interviews for my capstone. There are many more uses of social media than I discuss here but these are a few that have piqued my interest.
Google has created a resource page specifically for the disaster in Japan. The page includes ways to donate, the Google Person Finder, message boards, transportation information, translation tools and much more. Mashable, a social and digital media news source, reported on YouTube’s launch of a Missing Person Finder channel to help people of Japan share information about people they are searching for. These tools are focused on content that users generate and then use, just like social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
Mapping tools are also of particular interest for my capstone. Although mapping is not a social media network, it is a way for people to connect and generate content in order to assist or be assisted in a crisis situation, similar to how social networking sites are used. Some mapping sites that were suggested to me in an interview include: Ushahidi, Google Map Maker and Open Street Map (although I will be honest, I have not mastered using them). Japanese people can post pictures and information to these sites, which will allow disaster responders to have a better idea of areas where there are large amounts of people in need if they are using these sites.
Finally, I have focused on how emergency relief organizations use Twitter throughout their communication about Japan. Here are some of the organizations I have been following (I have interviewed the representatives who run the Twitter feeds for some these organizations): World Vision, The American Red Cross, Catholic Medical Mission Board, and Doctors Without Borders.
What are some of the ways you have been following the natural disaster in Japan over social media?
I’ve been an intern four times during my undergraduate and graduate career and there is a lot to be said for surviving your first day at an internship. At your first day of an internship, you don’t know what to expect, what your co-workers will be like, what tasks you’ll have, if you’ll be set free on the office or if you’ll be asked to shadow someone. You may have a meeting with the head of the office or you may not meet THE boss until you have interned for a week or two. In that first day of your internship you can learn about office dynamics, standard company practices, and truly get a sense of how involved you will be during your time as an intern. Together with the help of co-workers at Environics, I have put together some handy first day tips to follow.
1. Overdress: Just like an interview, you want to dress as appropriately and professionally as possible. If you’re a little unsure what the office dress code is like, always err on the side of dressy. Some examples: & *All photos from Jcrew.com.
2. Smile: You will meet a ton of people on your first day. Do your best to remember their names and maybe what department they’re in but no matter what, smile when you meet each person. This will show your enthusiasm and excitement to be at the office.
3. Engage: When you meet people, if they have a moment, find out their jobs and let them know you look forward to working with them and helping them.
4. Take notes: You will learn a ton of passwords, codes, protocols, and tips on your first day at your internship. Make sure to have a notebook and pen as you walk around the office so you never have to ask for your email/computer/program password, it will be written down.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions: Everything you learn on your first day (or any day after that) may not make perfect sense. Asking questions ensures you understand what to do and it shows the project will be done accurately.
For some more tips on how to be prepared at your first day of your internship, check out the I Am Intern blog by the Intern Queen.
Hello and welcome to Living & Learning Public Relations! I’m Erica Goldfine, a public relations (public communication) master’s candidate at American University. I am also an intern at Environics Communications, a mid-sized North American public relations agency with offices in Washington D.C., Montreal and Toronto. I received my B.A. also from American University in Communication Studies and a minor in Marketing. I have lived in Albuquerque, NM, Washington, D.C., Jerusalem, Israel, and Beijing, China. I love trying new restaurants, traveling and I am looking forward to graduating in May!
This blog is a project for my internship class but it is my hope to talk about my passion and interest in the field of public relations as well as my experiences in graduate school and my internship. Throughout Living & Learning Public Relations I will post about the intersection of graduate school, interning, and PR. I also plan to post about interesting public relations campaigns and their techniques as well as best practices of new and old PR tools.
I welcome comments, questions, criticism, and ideas on this blog! Check out comment guidelines and my contact information to reach out to me or comment on the blog. I hope you enjoy the blog and I look forward to reading your comments!