6 tips to help you build a strong network

As the old saying goes, it’s all about who you know, not what you know. Building a strong network of like-minded professionals and friends gives you the advantage both before and after the interview process. These days, sometimes knowing someone who works at the company you are applying for is the only way you’ll get an interview in the first place. But don’t fear! Here are some tips to help you build a strong professional network.

  • Use professional social media sites

Build your network and reach out to other people using professional sites like LinkedIn. Most recruiters use LinkedIn and it is a good way to highlight your network and skills.

  • Have a unique business card

Even in a digital society, business cards are still useful. By having a business card that is a unique color, shape or design, you can stand out from the rest of the traditional cards.

  • Attend a networking event and arrive early

Networking events allow you to meet people you otherwise might not have been able to meet before. If you get there early, chances are there will be fewer people there and it will be easier to converse with someone.

  • Listen to what other people say

Introverts, this tip will be especially helpful for you. If you listen to someone else’s story, you can not only learn more about them, but also establish a strong connection. If you are comfortable speaking with them, don’t be afraid to ask them about their personal lives and their families.

  • Set reasonable goals

For example, if you are attending a networking event, try to talk to at least five people. Or if you are not attending an event, reach out to five people on LinkedIn who are in your industry or work at a company you would like to work for.

  • Follow-up

Networking experts suggest you should either email, text or call someone within 48 hours of meeting them. This will help create a lasting first impression.

Sources Used:

http://money.howstuffworks.com/business/professional-development/10-networking-tips-people-hate-networking.htm#page=10

http://career-advice.monster.com/job-search/professional-networking/networking-tips-for-shy-people-hot-jobs/article.aspx

 

Pitch Please: 7 Ways to Get A Response

Pitching is one of the most important aspects of public relations. You, as a public relations professional, are essentially selling an idea. A good pitch can help get reporters interested in your angle and hopefully lead to coverage. Reporters are busy people and do not have time to respond to every pitch inquiry that they receive. Want to make your pitch stand out and get a reporter’s attention? Here are some tips that helped me secure interest from reporters.

  1. Make it interesting and newsworthy

Read over your pitch and ask yourself two questions: Would someone else find this interesting? Is it newsworthy? If your pitch isn’t interesting or newsworthy, revise it before continuing.

  1. Be concise

No one wants to, or frankly has the time to, read a long pitch email. Keep it as short, yet still effective. Once you spark their interest, you can send a more detailed follow-up email.

  1. Tailor the subject line and pitch

Hook reporters with an interesting subject line. If you are targeting reporters that are in the same area as the client, mention that. Always address your pitches to the specific reporter. No one wants to read a generic pitch.

  1. Compliments are key

While you are researching reporters and potentially contacts, look to see what they have written about in the past. Before you start in with the pitch, it always helps to leave them a compliment such as: “I enjoyed reading your article about XX. This story about XX might be something you are interested in.” If they have written about your client before or a similar client, be sure to mention that.

  1. Follow-up

If you don’t get a response the first day, try forwarding the email and try again. If you send a few emails and do not get a response, follow-up with a phone call.

  1. Utilize feedback

If you get a few reporters who decline your pitch, find out why they did. Is it a boring angle? Was it not newsworthy or relevant? This is easier done when on the phone, but negative feedback is better than no feedback.

  1. Be persistent

Pitching can be downright frustrating and uncomfortable, but don’t give up. If an angle doesn’t work, then find out why and change it. There are many ways to tell a story. Be persistent, but not annoying.

10 Tech PR Acronyms You Should Know

Whether you love them or hate them, acronyms really do save time typing and getting ideas across quickly and efficiently. If you are new to public relations, you might not know all of the important acronyms. Here is a list of some crucial acronyms and definitions to help you better understand the PR lingo.

  1. B2B-Business to Business: Companies that sell to other companies rather than a company that sells to consumers. Example: A software application company that provides a platform for Fortune 500 companies to turn their website into mobile applications.
  2. B2C-Business to Consumer: Companies that sell to consumers. Ex: Apple
  3. EOD/EWD-End of Day/End of Workday: PR is a very deadline-driven industry. If something is assigned EOD it means the task or project needs to be completed by the end of workday.
  4. IPO- Initial Public Offering: This is when a company decides to go from private to public and make its stock available for purchase by the public. This is the first time the owners of the company give up control by allowing their shares to be purchased by outside stockholders.
  5. KPI’s-Key Performance Indicators: These indicators are used by businesses to evaluate factors that are crucial to the success of an organization. Ex: net revenue
  6. RFP-Request For Proposal: Companies send out RFP’s when they are looking to do business with an agency. Different agencies fill out the RFP questionnaire and then submit a “bid” to try and secure the company’s business. PR firms can also be proactive participants and find and apply for RFPs.
  7. SEO-Search Engine Optimization: This is the process of maximizing the number of people that are visiting a specific website by making sure the site is listed at the top of results returned by a search engine. For more information about how to make your website optimized check out Google’s search optimization starter guide.
  8. UMV-Unique Monthly Visitors: This is the number of visitors who visit a website in a month. This number can be good to find when pitching an opportunity to a client. The higher the UMV, the more popular the website is and the greater potential of the story gaining traction.
  9. VC-Venture Capital: This is money provided by investors to startups and small businesses. This investment can be risky, but can yield to long-term potential if the business is successful.
  10. WFH- Work From Home: This one is pretty self-explanatory, but if you are lucky enough to work remotely, take advantage of it.

6 Tips For Making An Infographic Everyone Will Want To Read

An infographic is a unique way to make data easily understood and tangible. Nothing is more boring than reading a bunch of numbers in a chart or in a report. By making an infographic, you can highlight important sets of data in ways that are both visually appealing and understandable.

Here are six tips to help you create an effective infographic that people will want to read.

Tip 1: Use an website with infographic templates if design is not one of your strengths.

Below are some popular and free websites that provide templates and tools to help you make an awesome infographic.

Piktochart (Free): I’m a big fan of Piktochart because it is very user-friendly and has a lot of beautifully designed templates that can still be altered for your content. You can also design your own infographic from scratch and there are a lot of options for charts and icons to spice up your work.

Venngage (Free trial): There is a free 14 day trial, but if you decide you would like to purchase something for more professional use, this website might be a better option for you. This company offers three different packages: premium, education and team. The price ranges from $15 for a premium option for only one user to $29 a month for the education package for up to 35 teachers and students. The team option is $65 a month and allows for premium features for five users and the ability to share content between one another. Similar to Piktochart, Venngage offers many different templates and charts to work with.

Canva (Free): This free software can be used to make drag and drop infographics along with social media designs, presentations and posters. There are also templates, photos and icons that you can use for the infographic. This platform is the best for social media application.

Tip 2: Tell a story

Your infographic should tell a story or highlight an important issue. When designing your infographic, consider the purpose and why someone would want to read it. If you are unsure if your infographic helps tell a compelling story, have another person look at it and ask them what they think the story is. If their story is different from yours, adjust accordingly.

Tip 3: Use a simple design with consistent and relevant colors

By having a design that is simple and not overly busy, readers can focus on the data visualization and the overall story. Stick to a few colors choices that represent your story or issue and a clean design.

Tip 4: Solid stats

Use data from reputable organizations such as Pew Research, academic institutions, data.gov, UNICEF or the World Health Organization. Stats should be current, factual, helpful and reliable. Be sure to cite your sources somewhere on your infographic!

Tip 5: Size accordingly

According to Donna Moritz of Socially Sorted, the size of an infographic should fit the medium. She recommends a horizontal width of 735 pixels and a vertical height of less than 5000 pixels. Use a jpg format for faster download time.

Tip 6: If you like it, share it

If you are proud of your infographic, make that known and share it on social media. According to Moritz, infographics that are shared on Twitter and LinkedIn perform better than traditional posts. Be proud of your work and share it with the world!

Sources used:

7 Super Tips for Creating Powerful Infographics

30 Places to Find Open Data on the Web

4 Analytics Platforms You Should Be Using

Why Analytics Are Important

Analytics are useful to see if a public relations campaign was successful or not. By comparing the beginning statistics to the end statistics, you can see if your organization’s efforts (and the money that was spent) was worthwhile. Here are some important platforms you should be using to help uncover those key insights.

Multiple PlatformsMentionScreenshot

  • Mention (Paid, but offers free trial): This platform monitors several platforms including the web, Twitter, blogs, Facebook and
    YouTube. Mention can be useful in public relations campaigns because it
    can identify potential outlets and coverage opportunities. After the
    campaign is over, it can help to generate a report with the results.

simplymeasured screenshot

  • Simply Measured (Paid, but offers free trial): Simply Measured allows users to analyze their brand across popular social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vine. Some highlights of the platform include ways to measure your brand’s Instagram engagement and trends and a Facebook Competitive Analysis to compare your brand to other competition.

Twitter

  • 8707477520_d31729788d_oTwitonomy (Free): This website analyzes your Twitter profile and breaks it down into an easy grid like format with key statistics. It shows the most influential users that you follow in terms of most retweeted, most replied to and most mentioned. Twitonomy shows your most retweeted tweets and your most favorited tweets. This platform is free to use and good to gain some insight about what tweets have been the most successful in the past.
  • TweetReach (Free): This can be used to see the estimated reach of the number of people who could see your tweets. You can look up an account, a hashtag or a keyword. It does not provide as much information as Twitonomy, but it could be helpful for some.tweetreachscreenshot

Theranos: How long is too long when responding to allegations about your company?

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The backstory:

Recently, the Wall Street Journal  questioned Theranos Inc.’s founder Elizabeth Holmes that her $9 billion dollar company wasn’t using its own technology. The WSJ tried to get ahold of Holmes for five months before she finally agreed to an interview this past week.

What is Theranos?

Theranos is a company that could potentially change the way blood is drawn. The theory behind Holmes’ brilliant idea is with only a small finger prink and a few drops of blood, Theranos’s technology can test for over 240 diseases ranging from cholesterol to cancer. This idea has made Holmes worth $4.5 billion dollars at only 31 years old.

However the accuracy of these tests is not conclusive and Theranos employees have reported that in 2014, only 15 tests were conducted on Theranos’ product “Edison” and the rest of the tests were conducted on other companies’ equipment.

Theranos states that its practices abide to all federal regulations and the company has not exaggerated its achievements. The company has declined to acknowledge that Edison can only perform 15 tests and will not disclose the actual number of tests Edison can do because of “trade secrets.”

So, what’s the problem?

The biggest issue with the five-month delay is why? Holmes lack of response, up until now, is very suspicious and does not make Theranos or Holmes look good. Now Holmes and Theranos have completely changed their story including the methodology about how blood is actually drawn.

According to Fortune,  “In the (Wall Street) Journal article, the newspaper notes that a sentence saying “many” of Theranos tests only require a few drops of blood was removed in recent months and that Theranos’ lawyer said the change was made for marketing accuracy. However, Theranos says the lawyer was misquoted and the company changes its website regularly.”

What Holmes should have done:

Regardless of whether or not Theranos used its own technology, Holmes should have addressed the issue five months ago. Waiting too long to address a complaint makes both Holmes and Theranos look bad and could be perceived as covering up the truth. In Holmes most recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, she claimed that Theranos will be publishing a document that would have important details regarding this issue. As great as that is, the document and Holmes response should have been five months ago and not last week.

Why responsible advocacy is important

Companies, like Theranos, need to practice responsible advocacy to regain the public’s trust.

According to Ethics In Public Relations, there are three steps companies can take to adhere to this.

  1. Consider the harms and benefits to the organization’s stakeholders that can reasonably be expected to result from the organization’s actions.
  2. Maintain respect for stakeholders and provide background information necessary to make informed decisions.
  3. Let the stakeholders know of the potential harms and benefits of any action.

10 Things I Wish I Would Have Known Before My Summer Internship

This past summer I had my first real internship at an international public relations agency in the beautiful city of San Francisco. Although I had worked other jobs before, this internship was a good introduction to my post-graduate future.

Here are ten tips I wish I would have learned before starting my internship.

  • Befriend your coworkers
    • Your coworkers are some of your greatest resources. They have more experience than you and can answer many of the questions you may have. When you start out, introduce yourself, ask them some questions on their personal life and background and connect with them on LinkedIn. It’s always nice to have people to get lunch with too!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
    • If you don’t know how to do something or need help, ask your coworkers or mentors. It is better to ask and correct the issue than having to start all over.
  • Put the cell phone away
    • Unless you absolutely need your phone, put it away. Some meetings may be boring and although it’s tempting to use your phone, but you should be listening and taking notes instead. Phones are distracting and you can live without it.
  • However, don’t be afraid to call people on the phone
    • For some reason, people are afraid to pick up the phone and call someone (don’t worry I get nervous too). Sometimes a short phone call is much easier than an email chain and practice makes calling strangers a lot less awkward.
  • Excel Grids are your friend
    • During my three month internship, I probably made or updated around 20 grids. Learning shortcut copy/paste tools and filtering, you can make your life a whole lot easier.
  • Your boss is a valuable resource
    • Your boss is there to help you.  Do not be afraid of him or her. If you are having an issue with a project or need guidance, just ask, but remember they are busier then you are.
  • Podcasts make commuting more exciting
    • If you have a long commute as I did, listening to music gets old really fast. Try downloading some podcasts. My personal favorite was the podcast Serial, but check out the iTunes podcast store for inspiration. There are podcasts on all sorts of different topics and most are free.
  • Bring a lunch
    • Eating out everyday (especially in a major city) can really add up. By bringing your own food, you can save money and eat what you want to eat.
  • Don’t forget to take care of yourself
    • As crazy as work gets, it still is important to get enough sleep and exercise. According to the Mayo Clinc, those who exercise regularly have a lower chance of developing diseases, have more energy and are in a better mood.
  • You are a valuable asset
    • Even though you may feel useless at times since you are just an intern, don’t. You are special and there is a reason you were hired. You have to start somewhere. Don’t ever forget that.

Welcome!

photo Unlike traditional industries, technology is ever-changing. New companies and products are blossoming literally overnight.

This blog will highlight some of these movers and shakers in the industry and how public relations can help guide these organizations to success.

Here are 5 reasons why you should read this blog:

  1. Are you interested in or work in Public Relations?
    1. Whether you are a student still in school or already work in PR, this blog will cover important public relations tips and discuss current events in the PR field.
  2. The blog posts will cover different topics every week.
    1. Some future weekly posts will include general career advice, information about jobs in tech PR, important acronyms and basic data analytics.
  3. Do you like learning about technology?
    1. Whether you like it or not, technology is changing daily. Are you interested in learning more about innovative products and start-ups or big tech companies? Then this blog is for you!
  4. You will learn something new.
    1. You can impress your friends and family with your newfound knowledge.
  5. You’ll make my day.
    1. Do you like something I posted? Feel free to leave a comment or tweet to me @NatalieMangan.

Happy reading!