Tag: Public Relations

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.

The Public Relations Potential Of Reddit

Guest post by Andrej Hendelja

Social news sites are an excellent way for users to chime in and contribute on a particular story. Many social news sites feature rating and ranking system that allow items that interest the user base to filter up through the rankings. Digg was a forerunner of this model and helped pave the way for social news sites to bring the public information the mainstream media did not. In recent years, Digg has experienced a slow down and backslide in interest from the community. Reddit provides many of the same great benefits with a number of features. At present, Reddit averages approximately 35 million visitors per month.

Ask Me Anything (AMA)

A web user looking to build familiarity and their expertise should take a moment to start a thread in the Ask Me Anything (AMA) section of Reddit. Ask Me Anything provides a platform for a person to take their individual experience and expose it to a greater audience. It provides an excellent opportunity to help a person demonstrate their expertise and knowledge in a very meaningful way that could potentially build new business contacts.

Just how popular is the Ask Me Anything section of Reddit? Celebrity appearances from such people as Stephen Colbert, R.A. Salvatore, Bear Grylls, Louis C.K, Zach Braff, and many others have generated tens of thousands of replies in their respective discussions. A great opportunity exists for anyone with quality information to provide and a thick enough skin to deal with the Internet going public in that arena. The AMA section gives you the ability to reach out directly to build rapport and better relations with those people.

Making The Most Of Reddit’s Ask Me Anything

It is far too easy to incorrectly use a piece of technology if a person does not have a solid understanding of the impact. Woody Harrelson is one such example. A significant following of people posted an AMA request for Harrelson to chime in and interact on Reddit. He failed to show to answer any questions or interact at all. The result was a significant backlash against him for ignoring a vocal portion of his fan base that may have helped him reach different people. The mistake generated plenty of negative publicity around the incident due simply to Harrelson not responding to or understanding the ramifications thereof.

Moderation And The Community

The community at Reddit is self-policed in general. Quality information can be up voted while bad information can be down voted. Several different types of people and users come together to exchange information on Reddit, thus it is easy to find those passionate about some very obscure celebrities or topics. Junk content filters to the bottom of the pile efficiently as Redditors explore what is being offered.

The AMA section and community offer an interesting pairing of public relation building tools. On one hand, there are the positive interactions. On the other, you have trolls. It is not uncommon for disruptive people, known as trolls, to ask pointless questions or attempt to pick fights for the sake of causing chaos. Interacting with the public on Reddit guarantees a person’s path will eventually cross with trolls. All online communities have them.

Learning to ignore the trolls or counter their behavior with humor of your own are the only effective ways to handle them. Responding in anger or posting threats will just have them coming back for more entertainment. Be prepared to contain these negative interactions to keep the experience positive and potential damage to a minimum. “Don’t feed the trolls!”

  Andrej is a longtime Redditor and PR student doing marketing research for a Long Island elevator company.

3 fun activities for a public relations class

Guest post by Chloe Trogden

The spectrum of public relations goes far beyond just writing press releases. There are a variety of other aspects students must learn during their studies that are not only essential to the public relations business, but fun and interesting as well.

Whether you’re a public relations professor and you’re hoping to integrate new activities to the students in your classroom, or you’re a public relations student and you need to think of a good team project for an assignment, here are three activities you could try in a public relations classroom:

    1. Promote a fashion show

Contact a local clothing store and see if the owner would be interested in putting some of their clothing and products in a fashion show for the university or classroom. Ask the students to find out various information about the different items of clothing as well as pricing information, and then put together a media kit to give out to the attendants of the fashion show.

You could even go as far as contacting other students who would be interested in modelling for the show, (if the owner doesn’t already have someone in mind already), and then include biographical information about the models as well as photographs of each item of clothing in the media kit as well.

You could ask your university student organization if they would help organize the show by hosting it in a classroom or a lounge area in the school, or ask the business owner if they would be interested in having the fashion show in their store as well.

    1. Conduct a survey

Ask a group of students to write up their own survey on any topic of their choice, and then ask them to write up a series of questions to ask other students or even professors on campus.

Once the answers are complete, tell the students to put their results in a power point presentation with graphics, percentages, etc. and then do a presentation for the classroom once they are finished.

You could even ask students to record a podcast discussing the findings of the survey, or write a post about it on a blog as well.

    1. Promote a campus talent competition

Ask your students to venture out on the campus and see if any music or theatre students would be interested in participating in an upcoming talent competition. In order to promote the competition, the students will need to write up a media kit which includes all the biographical information of the competitors, and also write up a press release to submit to the university or college newspaper as well.

You could even go as far as asking the students to record the competition with a video camera, and then post the video files on a website or blog as well.



Chloe Trogden specializes in research involving all forms of college grants. She has compiled thousands of resources including teaching grants and Minnesota college grants along with many others. She is currently attending UNC Chapel Hill and is entering her Junior year in the fall.