Global PR Tips for Students

This was originally posted to the Sparkpr blog.

During my PR studies in the UK, I was fortunate enough to take part in multiple global PR projects, as part of Globcom where collaboration was the real key to success. Despite being young and full on enthusiasm our efforts often fell flat, mainly due to our disconnected approach to global communications. It’s with this in mind I wanted to present some compelling approaches to global collaboration for PR.

No matter what your geographic location or time zone, PR activities are centred on communication with your team and client. Thankfully, working in a global technology agency with some of the most forward thinking and exciting technology start-ups, it’s second nature to have the right tools for smooth collaboration.

If you are in PR, working remotely or not, you need to know the best tools implemented to stay connected and on point.

From pitching new biz to making a big global announcement, and even just staying in touch with your colleagues-in-crime the below recommendations should give you a head start over your peers in the world of global PR.

Pitching New Biz

The best pitches will be innovative, but digestible enough for the client to easily understand. Present your team as experts in the field with a sleek and compelling deck.

Prezi is a cloud-based slide presentation platform that is arguably more visually engaging than Power Point. Each presentation can be easily shared via a URL and can be accessed anywhere.

Top Tip: Prezi is perfect if you have a captivating, story-like narrative to your pitch. Take advantage of the cool slide transitions to illustrate your PR journey.

On the day of the pitch, it’s always best to have someone present in person, but sometimes budgets or timeframes can’t accommodate this. In these instances, have your team use a video conferencing platform like Vidyo (a cloud-based technology). Seeing your potential client’s faces is second best than actually being there, but way better than staring at a computer screen.

Top Tip: Make sure you test the Internet connection ahead of time. There’s nothing worse than having your carefully planned pitch turn to into baffling noises because of a lousy connection.

Developing Materials

You’ve won the client—congrats! Now it’s time to deliver.

Getting ahead of a big announcement is crucial, and that means developing an arsenal of press materials. Make sure your team compiles everything seamlessly—from press releases to FAQs, executive bios to messaging documents, and even company vision statements. It’s not an easy task to undertake alone, that’s why communicating and collaborating efficiently with your team will make these assets more dynamic in the end.

Google Drive eliminates the cumbersome editing process with multiple versions of a document. Keep all your documents updated in real-time, map out timelines and strategies, and keep track of who is working on what.

Top Tip: Have you ever used the chat function? In the top right corner, use the “Comments” button to see who has made updates, inserted comments and leave notifications.

Aggregate all your assets in a Google Drive folder. You can set each document to be private or public, and editable only by users whom you select.

Top Tip: Make sure you backup your Google docs regularly in case a team member accidentally erases all your hard work.

Box is another brilliant cloud-based management tool that makes collaboration super easy if you have a large team working on an account. You can synch it to your computer so that updates are made in real time without having to upload and download version after version.

Collaboration on the Go

PR can have you working out of the office almost as much as you’re sitting in front of a computer. It’s very important to utilize the most efficient tools for collaboration on the go. Moxtra, for example, allows for great real-time collaboration on documents by organizing your work into handy binders. It’s a newcomer to the space and has a great app-interface that integrates between desktop, iPad and iPhone editions.

Top Tip: Not hands free whilst on-the-go? Leave a voice annotation with Moxtra on any document to give feedback to your team.

Whatsapp is another easy-to-use messaging app that is great for global collaboration. It allows you to message within the app and avoid pesky international charges. While it’s easy to use and reliable, it’s much more efficient for quick communication with your team.

Top Tip: Create individual chats for each project so you can manage the workflow in an organised fashion.

Making an Announcement

Imagine your announcement has shifted and you only have an hour before the embargo lifts to fully brief your target media! What do you do?

MailChimp has the answer. This easy to use platform tracks email newsletters and can even utilize your existing Google doc spreadsheets. By creating an email with Mail tags, you can make sure your approach is still personal without spending hours working on each individual email. Furthermore, your whole global team can login to double check and edit these newsletters, and we all know in PR its best to double-check and even triple check!

Top Tip: Make sure you sync up with your global team members ahead of an announcement going live to ensure the time of the news release works for all markets and media targets that have been pre-pitched.

Any PR professional knows that the media landscape is changing, but at the same time so is the technology available for our industry. These tools allow you to show potential employers and current teams that you know how to execute and manage on a global level.

Now, go forth and collaborate!

Joe Groves joined Spark as an intern in 2011 and has worked with a range of clients in consumer technology, ecommerce, B2B sectors as well as leading apps. Joe graduated from the University of Gloucestershire where he studied public relations and began his love affair with all things tech. You can find Joe tweeting at @joegroves.

5 Reasons You Should Seriously Consider Working Freelance

Guest Post by Ben Holbrook

1.       You Can Be Picky

Working in a traditional job role, often means you work with the same people day-in day-out.  This often makes people feel stagnant and bored. Working freelance allows you to pick and choose who you work with, meaning you can work with people that inspire you and help you develop. Freelancing allows you to work with a diverse set of people who will also appreciate working with a fresh face.

2.       Diversity

People working in steady jobs often get bored of doing the same things day in day out and often end up working on long, dull projects. Working as a freelancer means you get to be involved in lots of different projects in lots of different places. This keeps freelancers feeling fresh and excited about their work as they rarely work on something long enough to get sick of it.


3.       Work More. Earn More.

Anybody with a regular job knows how it feels when, no matter how hard you work, you still earn the same amount of money. This often discourages people and they stop pushing themselves. Working freelance means that the more you work, the more you earn. Surely this makes more sense!

 4.       You Decide When You Need  A Break

When you work for a company, they decide when you can and can’t take a holiday or a day off. It often means you end up paying more for travelling at “peak” travel times and staying in overcrowded locations. Working as a freelancer means you can decide when to take your holidays and days off. If you see a great deal, you can make the most of it. If your friend is getting married, you don’t have to worry about asking for time off.

It also means you can work at the times that suit you best. If you feel most creative at 2 o’clock in the morning why shouldn’t you be able to work then? Freelancing offers the greatest flexibility.

5.       Freelancing Is Easier Than It’s Ever Been

Years ago, freelancing was considered difficult because it was so hard to build networks and find work. It often meant hitting the road and trying drum up business, which was incredibly time consuming. Nowadays things are very different. The internet allows you to connect and work with people all over the world. If you can’t find work in your city, try the next city. If you can’t find work in your country, try the next country – all from the comfort of your home office!

There are so many websites and contracting agencies out there, all you have to do is set up your account and let them do the searching.  Not only has it become easier for freelancers to find work, but also for companies to find freelancers. Freelancing has never looked so attractive!

 Ben Holbrook is a freelance writer

If you start a PR consultancy, you need to know the following

Guest post by Paul Alfred

If you are looking into different companies and get fascinated by the public relations they have with investors, government, media parties, trade unions etc, you may look into making a career in the field of a PR consultancy. This field is a high paying job and area of expertise. It requires the capabilities of being creative, innovative and show skills in the field of new approach towards marketing tactics. These consultancies help define and maintain relationships with all the public related to an organization. Whether it is internal customers or external, the relationship building is quite important.

Working in the area of a PR consultancy is a good job, when you know you will get plenty of opportunities meeting people, celebrities; work with different companies, renowned and influential people. There is a huge personal satisfaction level when you know you have been able to satisfy your customers with the help of your PR services. So many steps have to be taken while bringing you with neck to neck of the competitor, quality providing PR consultancies.

  • Build your portfolio by trying to acquire worthy companies and fulfilling the requirement of building your reputation.

  • You have to acquire some experience so try to work with another PR consultancy to know what you can do.

  • The education matter a lot. It has to be related to the PR building and the skills required building PR through different strategies and skills.

  • Develop the skills required to do successful PR ship.

  • The most important thing to do while starting your career in the PR consultancy field is to know the job and the requirements of the field. This helps in identifying what to do and what to plan.

  • The clients you have are from the government, the trade sector, the investors and the media. One has to have the potential to acquire the cliental base with intriguing services.

  • Self-promotion is also one of the major aspects to consider. This can be done by banner ads on different websites, opening your own websites, word of mouth and attaching yourself with any good company you acquire as a client.

PR consultancy is a good field to work and to let the others know at what you are good. While the trend of acquiring consumers has changed from bulk audience to one on one relationship, PR consultancies are now blossoming and flourishing in this field.

Paul Alfred is a professional writer and has experience in writing articles on PR consultancy and online media domains.

How Social Media is Changing PR both in Practice and in Recruitment

GUEST POST by Carlo Pandian

Almost every day, the News is full of woeful stories of redundancies and long-term unemployment, especially amongst the young. Inevitably, those stories are typically sidelined with tales of hundreds of people applying for a small number of jobs. However, the statistics don’t stop young adults from striving to find a job in their dream career.

PR jobs are rapidly becoming one of the most popular career choices amongst University leavers, alongside Publishing, the Media and Marketing. As a result, PR recruitment is big business, as the industry moves to change with the times.

Back in the “good old days” as your Nan would probably call them, the words “Public Relations” and “PR” were synonymous with newspapers, magazines, television and radio, however, moving forward eleven/twelve years, and the world of PR is a completely different place.

What Has Changed?

The answer to this question is fairly simple, as it is of course all down to the Internet. Ten years ago, the Internet was sparkly and new for the majority of the population. Move forward to today, and interestingly, many Internet-based activities that were popular ten years ago, including perhaps even email, have been swiftly bashed into near obscurity by something called Social Media. Chances are that you’ve heard of it, and are probably a part of it, no matter whether you are a job seeker or a company looking to hire.

What Effect Has Social Media had on the PR industry?

Interestingly, the PR industry has probably experienced one of the biggest changes thanks to Social Media.

Firstly with the way PR works, because whilst in the past, companies could just advertise a product and completely control what information is given about a product to the audience, the rise of Social Media has pulled a lot of that control more in the direction of the consumer, with people sharing their real experiences and sometimes even grievances, regarding products.

As a result, PR has taken on a new genre of handling all feedback, in a very public forum.

In the sense of PR jobs, whether you are thinking of applying through PR Recruitment Agencies, or perhaps you are the PR Recruitment Agency yourself and you are looking to hire everyone from PR freelancers to the Project Managers, then Social Media has had huge ramifications for you too.

Barely a few years ago, before the Facebook and Twitter boom, PR Recruitment would have been managed solely from an office or the PR Agencies websites. However, today, many PR freelancers are looking for work in Social Media, meaning that this is where the PR Recruitment companies need to be, and they need to be highly visible and approachable.

Any company, not just PR-related, would lose a large amount of business if they are not happy to make the transition into the hands of the Internet.

Carlo Pandian works in London for a PR recruiter, drop him a tweet @Mediarecruit to talk about PR

Special Announcement: #PRStudChat Back to School Night on 10/19/11

A few of the questions that we’ll be asking our panel of professors and our community members will be:

Q1. What are the most effective learning tools used in the classroom today?

Q2. What are your favorite books and why?

Q3. How do you collaborate on group projects (social groups vs. physical setting)?

Q4. How do you integrate internships into the academic setting?

Q5. PRStudChat PSA – What hashtag or social media effort would you like to share with the community?

Q6. What are you learning inside of the classroom that you can’t learn anywhere else?

Q7. What’s your favorite assignment?

Q8.  What professor(s) have influenced you the most and why?

Q9. What sort of technology would you like to see professors using in the classroom?

See you on twitter 8:30pm EST #PRSTUDCHAT.

Find details on Deirdre’s blog:  PRSTUDCHAT Back to School Night

#PRStudCast 8.25.11 – Discussing Social Good and Blue Keys

Its my 21st Birthday and the Fall semester is just about to start up for many members of our community! What better way to celebrate than by bringing back the #PRStudCast?

My special guests were PR Rockstar Shonali Burke and one of the top young PR professionals Rachael Seda. In this episode we discussed social good causes, the Blue Key Campaign, and the importance of getting involved for a young PR professional.

You can purchase your own Blue Key here!

Before you go; in the comments below, please let us know what social good means to you. We will select our favorite answer and purchase a USA for UNCHR Blue Key on your behalf!

Hope you enjoy the episode,

Also, if you want to check out the cool stuff I’m doing at my new gig, visit the MBA@UNC site for their Online MBA program!

#TeamMeg A special post on the most important kind of relationship: friendship

Meg & I were college roommates back at American University many years ago. We were both in the School of Public Affairs and Delta Gamma sisters. We got in trouble once at the campus store for not wearing shoes and managed to survive for the first week of our sophomore year on a diet of bagels and beer ( the campus bank had switched over the summer and we couldn’t access our accounts for several days… bagels were only 45 cents and we made do!)

We learned to deal with “roommate issues”; she’d set her alarm a half hour early so that she could snooze for 30 minutes… to country music. My Great Aunt Lenore would call and talk her ear off. I actually grew to appreciate country music. She grew to love Aunt Lenore. And somewhere amidst the fraternity formals, late night study sessions and weekends exploring DC, we became friends. Lifelong friends who know how to make each other laugh and will always be there for each other. Think of a very special college friend and you’ll no doubt understand.

Years passed and though we were still roommates our first year out of college, we went different ways. She got married and moved to Denver, and then back to her home state of Kansas. I moved to New York City, got married and moved out to NJ. But it turns out that time and geography simply do not matter. I can still make her laugh. She still has my back

Just over a week ago, as I was waiting for the train after a dinner in the city with some out of town friends who were visiting NYC for BlogWorld, I saw I had received a message on Facebook from Megan. I laughed, thinking that after all these years she and I still had this weird connection. She must have somehow known I was talking about her at dinner that night. (I had been telling Justin Goldsborough and Arik Hanson about her antics as a Jayhawks fan). Then I read the note. Standing in Penn Station I learned that this dear friend, sorority sister and mother of 2 beautiful young girls has been diagnosed with Cancer. It has spread to her liver as well as 2 places in her bones. She asked me to share the news with our friends, because she did not have the strength to do so.

The next week was a blur. Sharing the news I could not quite grasp with friends I had not spoken with in (far too many) years. Holding virtual hands as we united to try and figure out how we could make this all better.  I spoke with Meg’s husband, the head Tennis Coach at Washburn who was busy pulling together a team of doctors, specialists and supporters that could help. Like any great coach, Dave is doing everything he can to keep spirits up and beat the odds. The odds are not good. Every moment has become a precious gift for Dave, Meg and their daughters Alexa (8) and Nadia (5). Meg is not ready to say goodbye. We are not ready to say goodbye. Friendship is forever.  And I want Meg to know that she, and her family, will ALWAYS have our love and support.

So I’d like to ask you to be a part of #TeamMeg. Here is her CaringBridge site which includes a link to a paypal account. I know that everyone has a good cause, but I hope you will consider adding $2 to the account. Why $2? Well, I seem to remember a local $2 beer night when we were in college. And we always seemed to find $2 to buy a beer. So tonight, I thought, perhaps you would buy this incredible girl a drink, and toast to #TeamMeg.

Valerie Merahn Simon

2011 #PRStudChat graduation session

Thank you to all of the PR pros, educators and students who came out to celebrate our newest public relations professionals at the 2011 #PRStudChat graduation session. The Winners of the 2011 #PRStudChat Graduation Giftaway are….

Ian M. Bridgeforth Ian will be winning his choice of one of the on demand toolkits on

Harris Walker Harris will be winning his choice of one of the on demand toolkits on

Whitney Gonzalez Whitney is the winner of author Jenny Blake’s new book Life After College: The Complete Guide to Getting What You Want

More about Graduation Speaker Mark Ragan: Mark Ragan is CEO and Publisher Lawrence Ragan Communications, Inc. the leading publisher of corporate communications, public relations, and leadership development newsletters. Since the launch of The Ragan Report in 1970, Ragan has provided the professional communicator and executives with timely, practical, and relevant information that few others can match. The Ragan brand now includes over 16 targeted newsletters in the areas of employee communication, organizational writing and editing, sales and marketing, media relations and motivational management. In addition to our newsletter division, Ragan produces several communications conferences, workshops, and senior-level forums throughout the United States. Ragan conferences draw more than 3,000 professionals annually and provide attendees with access to leading communicators, best practices and rich networking opportunities.

More about author Jenny Blake: In LifeAfter College: The Complete Guide to Getting What You Want., published by Running Press, Jenny provides a life road map applicable to recent grads and seasoned professionals alike. Jenny writes the popular blog, which was voted #1 by readers in a national list of Top 10 Gen Y blogs and covers topics related to your career, finances, relationships and everything in between. She has been nationally recognized by Suze Orman and the Wall Street Journal as a leader of her generation. Jenny has worked at Google since 2006, serving as a Career Development Program Manager and internal coach.

More About PRStudChat