#PRStudChat Trust Agents Giveaway!

Tonight, the #PRStudChat community will tackle the issue of the mystery of the PR influencer and how to build trust online.  Ruder Finn, is sponsoring the chat session and their sponsorship will go toward several lucky community members receiving one of the most popular and important books on the subject… Trust Agents  @ChrisBrogan, co-author of Trust Agents, will be revealing his responses to our discussion topic tomorrow.

For an opportunity to win your copy of Trust Agents, just leave a comment responding to the question below no later than 9pm Friday, February 25th. The contest is open to all PR students, professionals and educators and the winners will be selected from those commenting below using randomizer.org. Please be sure to include your Twitter handle when responding.

PRStudChat Trust Agents giveaway question: Who is one influencer that has earned your trust online?

A little more about our sponsor, Ruder Finn (you can follow them on Twitter @ruderfinn):

Ruder Finn, Inc. is one of the largest independent integrated communication firms in the world. Through offices and affiliates worldwide, the agency serves the global and local communication needs of more than 250 corporations, governments and nonprofit organizations.


#PRStudChat community invited to celebrate #HAPPO anniversary

#PRStudChat students, alumni and professionals are taking advantage of the opportunity to meet in person at the Thursday February 24th,  #HAPPO (Help A PR Pro Out) one year anniversary celebration. The events will offer an excellent opportunity to “take some of those relationships we’ve built online and cement them by meeting the people in real life,” explains #HAPPO co founder Arik Hanson

In New York City, #PRStudChat co founders Deirdre Breakenridge and Valerie Simon will be serving as co hosts with Tiffany Winbush and “PRCog” for an informal #HAPPO Hour at Connolly’s Pub. The event will bring together PR pros who are actively seeking a new position, along with those who wish to mentor, find potential hires, or simply connect in person with those they have grown to respect online.

 “I’m really looking forward to the HAPPO event on Thursday night. It’s great to be a part of a community that helps create opportunities for job seekers to network, make new connections and to learn from other professionals,” shares Deirdre.

#PRStudCast host, Temple University Student Harrison Kratz agrees, “As a young student and professional I’m excited to attend my first #HAPPO event because not only will I get to meet new professionals and make new connections, but hopefully I’ll be able to use my experience to connect other professionals and students at the event as well.  It’s always a pleasure to help others find new opportunities.”

“The HAPPO Happy Hour is an excellent opportunity to connect the online network of candidates and employers in an offline environment,” says Sara Whitman. “Representing Peppercom as an employer, I know the candidates I’ll meet will be invested in the industry, and will be savvy with social media-  two qualities of immense importance in today’s market.”

A large number of employers who are actively hiring will be on hand, hoping to connect with talent from junior staffers to senior level pros in a wide variety of specialty areas. Top PR agencies including Burson Marstellar, Devries PR, MS&L, Peppercom and Makovsky and many more will be represented.

Meryl Cooper, managing director of the Home & Lifestyle at Devries Public Relations and author of Be Your Own Best Publicist will be stopping by with her collaborator Jessica Kleiman, Vice President of Public Relations at Hearst Magazines,to share some career tips to help PR pros use their skills for their career and will be giving away a copy of the book to one lucky attendee.

Of course networking is not simply for those looking for a job. As the professionals who support #PRStudChat know, it is important take the opportunity to mentor and learn from others in the industry

“Experienced PR practitioners have an obligation to pass on their experience, creativity and vision, as well as to learn new methods and ‘rules’ for communicating. Forums that facilitate the exchange of information and ideas — as well as passion for the profession –are more important now than ever,” said Lourdes Brezo-Martinez, director of communications at an international professional services firm and former journalist.

The New York event will be held from 6-8pm and is free. To get on the list, simply RSVP here

May 2010 #PRStudChat graduate Lauren Novo

The transition from student to professional can be a bit frightening… and very exciting. Florida State University 2010 Lauren Novo has started a new series on her blog, GEN-Y PROGRESS  to learn more about her peers transition from PR student to professional. With Lauren’s permission, we have been sharing the series on prstudchat.com.  We thought it would be fun to turn the tables on Lauren and see how how her own quest for a career in public relations is progressing.

What are you currently doing? Include your job title/responsibilities/location/etc.

I work at a public relations firm in Tallahassee, Fla., where I am in charge of managing multiple national/international sports business client accounts. My primary duties include creating and implementing traditional and social media plans for clients and generating new business for the firm.

How closely-related is your job (title/location/responsibilities) to your college major and what you planned to be doing after graduation?

I didn’t major in public relations; I actually doubled in media/communication studies and creative writing and thought I might be a columnist or reporter when I first started college. But by junior year, I discovered my love for PR and pointed all efforts toward securing a position at an agency after graduation. I knew I wanted to work with journalists and integrate new media into PR campaigns – so in that respect, my job turned out exactly as I’d planned.

On the flip side, I’m managing client accounts, writing proposals and bringing in new business. I never thought I’d have those incredible responsibilities so early in my career.

What tactics did you take before and/or after graduation to get to where you are today?

Before: I learned everything I could about social media (by participating and learning from industry leaders); networked consistently at professional luncheons and events; committed to blogging; treated my internships like full-time jobs; and since I wasn’t allowed to take the PR writing course (given my major), I sought one-on-one lessons with the professor to ensure my skills would be up to par.

After: I’ve made it very clear to my boss, colleagues and clients that I am fully invested in my job. My work email is synced on my iPhone (by choice) and I do what needs to be done regardless of the time or day. I also took a board position with the FPRA Capital Chapter to stay connected with the local PR community and to get more hands-on experience in event planning.

What tips would you give new graduates who will soon be facing the “real world”?

Learn how to stand out at a career fair. There are more job applicants than job positions available. Make a great impression in-person and then keep the relationship going through social media, etc.

Learn how to pitch. You will likely write many more pitch messages on the job than press releases and media advisories. Plan accordingly.

Get involved in professional development organizations. Don’t just show up to the local PRSA or FPRA event. Join a committee. Volunteer for an event. You’ll meet more people and add additional skill sets to your resume.

Don’t be afraid of creative job-search tactics. The economy won’t always be like this…but while it is, take the opportunity to try new things. If you can be a publicist for a client, you can certainly be a publicist for yourself.

What are your short/long term goals and what do you plan to do to accomplish them?

Short Term: In 2011, I want to grow my client base, pull off a successful Image Award event with FPRA Capital Chapter and become more comfortable with public speaking.

Long Term: I plan to pursue my APR and CPRC as soon as I become eligible. Ultimately, I see myself doing PR internally for an innovative, worldwide corporation or for a theatre in a large city. I’d also like to write a novel and get paid to blog one day.

As long as I stay motivated, continue to network and learn all I can about the business from those more experienced, I think I can attain each of these goals.

Anything else you’d like to contribute to this conversation?

Be proactive. You cannot be successful in PR if you aren’t proactive. This is true when it comes to getting a job, keeping your job and keeping your clients happy.

A lot of times, it comes down to anticipating the needs of others.

  • Trying to land a job? Research the clients the employer serves. What is going on with the clients? Are they blessed with ample media coverage but completely inactive on Twitter? Create a Twitter strategy to present at your interview.
  • Trying to pitch your client to a reporter? Do your research, find the right reporter and approach that reporter in a way that will resonate with him/her.
  • Your client hasn’t asked you for anything in awhile? Come up with a list of creative ideas and ask which they’d like you to tackle first.

Be proactive and your boss, colleagues and clients will value you.

Social Media Policy Questions: Considerations for January 19th Chat

As we prepare for our January 19th #PRStudChat session on Social Media Policies, we thought it might be helpful to spend some time considering some of the social media policy questions that organizations must address in creating a policy. Below is a post Deirdre wrote earlier this year that does a great job of outlining those key considerations.

Social Media Policy Questions

October 29th, 2010

I’ve been doing a lot of work in the area of social media policy development. The same questions keep surfacing in my conversations with executives at different industry associations.  Although, we see many of the two-page social media policies that are public facing, many executives are inquiring about their employees and what they need to know regarding social media participation, beyond the obvious “Rules of Engagement.”

Whether you have one social media policy for all to see, or you separate your guidelines into a policy that is employee related and the other becomes outward or public-facing, here are several questions/considerations that must be discussed with different officers and departments in your organization.

Employee Access:

Many companies have an open access policy to social media and different websites.  However, for those that don’t, are there any sites that are currently off limits and/or have limited use within your organization?  If so, these sites need to be discussed in a policy.  Also, what is the process/protocol for employee access to social media?  Can an employee just set up a social profile or account on behalf of your brand (whether the employee just wants to create a social media initiative or is asked by a supervisor or leader within the company to participate)?

Employee Conduct:

Although I’ve seen many policies with the best practices for the Rules of Engagement including:  know who you want to reach, write what you know,  contribute to your community, avoid starting fires, etc.  However, other areas of conduct relate to how employees are supposed to identify themselves.  What type of disclaimers does the organization require employees to make with respect to their own opinions and views when they blog and post comments?  What is your policy on the personal use of social media? How do you advise employees on using brand style guidelines when setting up profiles and creating content on behalf of the organization (to keep the brand in tact)?  How do you advise employees with respect to customer privacy and/or patient information if you are in the health care industry?

Account Management:

Setting up accounts, when only a few people in an organization are participating, is easy to manage.  But what happens when there are hundreds of employees who want to set up accounts? Do you have a process in place for creating profiles and social networking accounts?  Is there one department or officer (i.e., a Public Information Officer) who manages the accounts?  Is this person working in conjunction with HR, so that there is a central database of domain names and user names and passwords? What is the process when employees leave a company and they are in charge of a social networking site or account(s)?  Who is in responsible for changing a site’s user name and password upon an employee’s departure?

Legal Issues: (Continue reading the post at Deirdre Breakenridge’s PR 2.0 Strategies

May 2010 #PRStudChat Graduate: Stephanie Majercik

We’d like to start 2011 with an update from the Class of 2010. It has not yet been a year since the #PRStudChat Class of 2010 graduated, but these new public relations professionals are already demonstrating a passion for their career choice. Florida State University 2010 graduate Lauren Novo has started a new series on her blog to learn more about her peers transition from PR student to professional. With Lauren’s permission, we will be sharing the series on prstudchat.com. Today’s interview is with Stephanie Majercik, a May 2010 Canisius College graduate.

What are you currently doing? Include your job title/responsibilities/location/etc.

I work as an Account Coordinator at O’Keeffe & Company – a marketing, advertising and public relations agency in the D.C. Metro area. In this position I am responsible for supporting client teams from the bottom up. I am learning the ins and outs of agency life, client industries, and the greater public relations and marketing industries.

How closely-related is your job (title/location/responsibilities) to your college major and what you planned to be doing after graduation?

I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect fit. My goal was to find work in an agency and I had focused my search on Washington, D.C. and New York City. I am learning what it takes to be a professional, learning more than I could have imagined about public relations, as well as the industries in which our clients operate.

What tactics did you take before and/or after graduation to get to where you are today?

I started looking early in order to get a feel for what was out there. I networked as much as I possibly could, using Twitter of course, participating in online events such as HAPPO, scheduling informational interviews with professionals and attending other in-person networking events. After graduation, I continued to network in-person and on social media and spent a lot of time researching positions, companies and applying for jobs. Trust me, when you hear people say looking for a job is a full-time job in itself, they aren’t lying.

What tips would you give new graduates who will soon be facing the “real world”? Continue reading the post at Lauren Novo’s PR Journey


May 2010 #PRStudChat Graduate: Rachel Esterline

We’d like to start 2011 with an update from the Class of 2010. It has not yet been a year since the #PRStudChat Class of 2010 graduated, but these new public relations professionals are already demonstrating a passion for their career choice. Florida State University 2010 graduate Lauren Novo has started a new series on her blog to learn more about her peers transition from PR student to professional. With Lauren’s permission, we will be sharing the series on prstudchat.com. The first interview is with Rachel Esterline, an account executive and social media specialist at AGP & Associates in mid-Michigan.

What are you currently doing? Include your job title/responsibilities/location/etc.

I work at AGP & Associates, a marketing communications firm in mid-Michigan. I am an account executive and social media specialist. My responsibilities vary, but include: writing (news releases, Web copy, newsletter articles, direct mail, e-mail marketing and more), media relations, social media planning and implementation, trade show tactics, project coordination for clients and much more. I’ve also been able to write proposals, pitch new business and speak at conferences.

How closely-related is your job (title/location/responsibilities) to your college major and what you planned to be doing after graduation?

It’s funny how closely my job relates to all of the things I wanted to do. When deciding on a major, I bounced from marketing to journalism to business to advertising – and finally settled on PR. And, at my current job, all of these areas come into play. I actually prefer marketing communications over some aspects of PR (such as media relations). It’s not always what I expected to be doing though.

What tactics did you take before and/or after graduation to get to where you are today?

As simple as it sounds, the main tactic is to be proactive and ambitious. AGP had offered me an internship for the summer in 2009, but I ended up moving to Columbus to intern at Fahlgren Mortine. When I returned to CMU for my senior year, I contacted the CEO and took an internship there. In February, I asked if there was a chance I would be hired after graduation. I received the official job offer letter shortly afterward.

And, if it wasn’t for networking at a PRSA event, I probably would have never gotten an interview at AGP in the first place. One of the people I met at the event told the CEO about meeting me. There is some truth in “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

What tips would you give new graduates who will soon be facing the “real world”?

Continue reading the interview with Rachel at Lauren Novo’s PR Journey

How would you benefit from a $200 SWAGG Scholarship?

As a special gift to our community, SWAGG, our December #PRStudChat sponsor, is offering one lucky student a $200 scholarship toward their education!

All you have to is answer the question- How would YOU benefit from a $200 SWAGG Scholarship? Books, webinars, classes, technology, conference costs… Just comment below with your answer, the name of your school and your twitter handle, no later than Friday, December 17th. We’ll be using randomizer.org to select the name of the winner.

Please be sure to give a shout out to #SWAGG & say thanks for taking the time to join #PRStudChat in December, while they are busily in the process of rolling out a mobile app. The app lets friends give and receive gift cards from their smart phones, cutting down on the old-school plastic giftcards — relevant considering 60 percent of Americans will ask for gift cards this year (National Retail Federation). In addition, SWAGG is giving back through its partnership with Stand Up to Cancer. Every time the app is downloaded between now and Dec. 31, 2011, SWAGG will donate $1 to Stand Up to cancer up to $125,000.  You can find SWAGG on twitter @swaggmobile and on Facebook.

Happy Holidays to all. We look forward to seeing you in 2011.


Valerie & Deirdre

Update 12/18 9:35 pm: We have closed the comments and will be using randomizer.org to randomly select a winner from the list of those who have commented. Thank you and good luck to everyone who participated. We will announce the winner next week and will do our best to continue to offer many other opportunities for our community in the future!

“HAPPO” Thanksgiving (How you can Help a PR Pro)

This Thanksgiving there is a lot I am grateful for. Family, friends, health, a home, those in the military working so hard to keep us all safe, great teachers for my children, and a career  I love working with people who inspire me every day. I believe that a great career is not something to be taken for granted. My philosophy is to work hard, really hard. Strive to learn something new every day. Listen, contribute, and don’t ever cease to appreciate the opportunities you have; demonstrate your gratitude with an effort to pay it forward.

Last February, after watching so many talented students and seasoned professionals struggle to find a position in a challenging economy, my friend Arik Hanson and I decided it was time to do something. We both knew of employers who were looking to hire, as well as those seeking jobs, and thought that there must be some way to leverage our two most valuable resources (time and relationships) to make a difference. “HAPPO” (Help a PR Pro Out) was born.  An impressive team of PR industry leaders (including #PRStudChat’s Deirdre Breakenridge) joined the effort as “champions” turning the campaign into a veritable movement.

PR professionals, students, educators, and recruiters can all participate in the HAPPO community. Whether you are looking for a job, need to fill a position, or simply want to pay it forward and be that person who helps make a difference, I’d encourage you to get involved. Here are a few steps you can take to “HAPPO”

  • Become an active participant in the HAPPO LinkedIn group. Take a moment to post a job, you’ve seen. Know someone who has posted a position? Leave a comment or refer someone in your network who seems like a good match.
  • Follow the #HAPPO hashtag on Twitter. Share opportunities you know have and introduce great professionals to the many recruiters and hiring pros who follow
  • Be a part of the live Twitter event on December 8th from 8-9 p.m. CT. Our past events have succeeded in connecting people with new jobs. Talk about making a difference! The theme this time is New Year’s Resolutions for PR Job Seekers–How to land a job in 2011. HAPPO champs from across the country (we’re at 35+ now!) will contribute to the discussion sharing tried-and-true job-seeking tips, resume building suggestions and interviewing advice. Look for posts from some of the HAPPO champs across the country in the weeks ahead sharing personal stories and advice and share the suggestions
  • Volunteer or participate in our first-ever online and offline “HAPPO Hour” event. The idea? To get job seekers, mentors, recruiters, agency/corporate PR leaders, and folks generally interested in helping the HAPPO cause, together in person for a couple hours in a number of U.S. cities to talk about job search strategies, resume tips and other job-search-related issues. Arik and I working to organize this event right now. If you’re interested in hosting an in-person event in your city on Jan. 27, please contact Arik or I right away!

Deirdre and I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!