Why Aspiring PR Professionals Should Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of the most helpful resources for both aspiring PR professionals and those looking to hire. If you’re not familiar, it is an online professional network and job finder. People from all industries utilize LinkedIn to find their niche in the job market. But for the typical overachieving PR major, LinkedIn is the perfect form of social media to obsess over.

LinkedIn is the whole package. It is a source for content, talent, advertising, promotion and personal branding. It allows you to search by name, company, keyword and location. The possibilities are endless!

One of the coolest elements of LinkedIn is the recommendation feature. As a young professional, asking for recommendations from past employers or professionals is sometimes hard/awkward. But once you are connected on LinkedIn you can get recommendations in a less intimidating setting.

As well, LinkedIn is the ultimate networking tool. As undergraduate students, we are constantly told the key to success is: networking, networking, networking. You definitely don’t want to go and add random CEOs, but if you have met someone once or twice you can add them to your LinkedIn network. Who knows, it could come in handy later down the road.

Another way to build your LinkedIn network is by connecting with professionals via Twitter. If you really like someone’s work or want to make a connection with a certain firm or company, follow them on Twitter. If you see them post something interesting feel free to comment! Twitter is meant to be conversational.

Once you have several positive Twitter interactions with someone you can make the move! Direct message them and ask to connect via LinkedIn. It is always good to give them a warning that you will be adding them. As well, try to coordinate your LinkedIn and Twitter pictures – that way they will recognize your face.

LinkedIn is a great resource. But it is not worth much if you don’t keep your profile updated and stay active. Use it to your advantage and take on the PR world!

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#CalendarManagement

As my second to last term of college draws to a close, I want to share some inspiring tips on how to manage your calendar. Going into next term, my goal is to keep all of my events in line. For me, an organized calendar is a huge determinant of my success. Shout out to Sage Wedding Pros for the fantastic article that got me thinking! Managing your personal calendar and your professional calendar are sometimes pretty different. However, there are some key elements you can use across the board.

4 Ways to Manage Your Calendar: 

Write it Down

One mistake busy people make when it comes to planning is forgetting to write everything down. I know when my life gets really chaotic I have to keep my planner and a stack of post-its nearby so I can jot down important reminders. If you don’t write down all the details there is a better chance you’ll double-book – which is definitely a #PlanningFail.

Categorize

It is a great idea to categorize your life – it makes it easier to put on paper. Making some sub categories like: work, social, health etc. will allow you to section off your different tasks. Doing this will set your mind at ease and make your work less daunting.

Color Code

Using highlighters or colorful pens to identify your different categories will make your calendar easier to read. If you’re a person with a lot on your plate, the less time you spend staring at your calendar, the better. As well, using colors can brighten your mood and will give your eyes something interesting to look at as you glance through the pages.

Review and Prioritize

Lastly, looking back on last month’s calendar can give you great insight into how you want to spend your time going forward. Is your time being wasted? What can you do to better adjust your schedule? Sometimes you don’t realize how much time you are spending on useless things – and for busy people, we need to prioritize as much as possible.

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#Infographics: Less is More

Since I created an infographic myself I wanted to explain what I thought were the most important things to keep in mind while making one. I spent many weeks and made multiple drafts and now I want to share the five most important things I learned during the process.

5 Elements of an Effective Infographic:

1. Be Clear

The first thing to keep in mind when making an infographic is to be clear with your message. Your sole purpose in creating the infographic is to persuade your audience using visual data. Most people don’t take the time to read or research data these days so its super important to make sure your information is easy to read and displayed in an esthetically pleasing way.

2. Use Consistent Fonts

An infographic is not the place to try out Curlz MT or Comic Sans. Make sure you use a font that is easy to read and large enough. Usually a sans serif font works best for this type of situation. As well, choosing 2 contrasting fonts for your infographic is a good idea. That way you reader’s eyes are entertained, but its not too overwhelming that the information is lost amongst the fonts.

3. Don’t Forget Data

While playing with colors and graphics is fun, make sure you do not short your infographic in the data department. If you have no facts to back up your claims you will lose your audience quickly.

 4. White Space is Ok

No one enjoys reading a page full of cram-packed text, colors, and graphics. It is not visually pleasing and it makes the information less effective because it is lost in a clustered abyss. Leaving some blank space is a great idea because it makes your information prominent and your graphics pop.

5. Tell A Story

Lastly, remember that your infographic may make sense in your head, but in order to affect an audience it needs to tell a story. Lead your readers from one section to the next by revealing interesting facts and keeping to the point. 

Once you have checked all of these things off the list your infographic will be complete! Don’t forget to check for spelling or grammar errors as well. Sometimes your words get lost amidst the colorful graphics. When it comes to infographics, less is more. less is more

#MyInfographic

As a public relations student wrapping up my last year in college I have experimented with many platforms of communication. But by far my most challenging task was to create my own infographic. We were given complete freedom with this assignment and this is what I came up with.

Before I began this assignment I decided my hypothetical audience would be companies, who target women, attending a conference about enhancing their social media presence. Hypothetically I would present this infographic to them to persuade them to utilize Pinterest for their business. 

So, why should your company use Pinterest to target women? As the infographic explains, the majority of Pinterest users are women which is a great quality for companies targeting women. Specifically women are using Pinterest for shopping, inspiration and brand spotting. As well, almost half of online shoppers say they have made a purchase based on a recommendation from Pinterest. Since shoppers trust Pinterest so much for their personal choices, companies should trust that creating a professional Pinterest account and uploading pins of their products will increase their sales. Lastly, Pinterest users have a higher household income than other social media sites which makes it more likely that they are willing to purchase more frivolous items. 

In many cases, the true key to success can be utilizing Pinterest to market your products. 

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How to Implement Social Media Strategy For An Event

This week I found a really interesting article on Kelli’s Linky Loves that discussed how to promote an event using social media. One of the reasons I want to get into the event planning field is because I think the promotion side is super fun. Now that everyone is addicted to social media, what could be a better tool to use create a great image. Here are my takeaways:

Engage and Connect with Audiences

The basis of utilizing social media for an event is having an existing audience throughout your platforms. It may be hard to get the ball rolling, but once you have loyal followers, the rest will fall into place. To start this process you can follow people in your target audience on Twitter and Instagram. Some people may look at your account and choose not to follow back, but at least they are seeing your content. A good way to hook an audience is to always have something engaging and relatable on your bio. As well, keeping up by tweeting interesting or relevant things will make your followers more invested. Then, once you have locked down a good follower basis, promoting an event is simple. Using a consistent hashtag will create a hype and people will want to be in the know.

Generate Buzz

If your target audience has FOMO (fear of missing out) like most people do, then generating a buzz is the perfect way to get people to come to your event. A good way to do this is by using a consistent hashtag and keeping the details semi-mysterious. This will encourage people to dig deeper to figure out why there is so much talk surrounding your event. Once they figure out what it is, they will hopefully want to come.

Socialize your Social Sites

The last key element in using social media for your event is to streamline the information across all of your social sites. You never know how people will access your online presence. Keeping up on all forms of social media will show your audience you are serious about the event. It is unprofessional to not maintain your platforms. If someone happened upon an old Twitter account or outdated information it could make you seem unreliable.

All of these things are great tactics to use to promote an event before it occurs. But the last step is using social media the day of the event. Instagramming or tweeting during the event will make those who didn’t go regret it. FOMO is a real thing and it is a great way to get people to attend.

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5 Ways To Mess Up Your Wedding

It may seem like a no-brainer, but there are plenty of things you could do wrong when it comes to planning your wedding. Making sure you create a personal brand for your special day is the key to a #WeddingSuccess.

Picking a Bad Date:

One of the worst ways to ruin your wedding is choosing a date no one can attend. Maybe its an unimportant holiday or a Britney Spears concert, it doesn’t matter what the conflict is. Once you choose your wedding date it should be set in stone. Nothing is more awkward than having to change the date after the invites have been sent out. It will make your event seem unimportant and malleable which is not the type of image you are trying to portray for your special day.

Mother in Law vs. The Bride:

In the weeks leading up to the wedding you have to make sure the bride and the mother in law are in check. There are plenty of opportunities for disagreement and you want to make sure the wedding is conflict-free. Starting off on the right foot is always a good policy.

Public Displays of Anger:

Once you have the date locked down and the day has finally come, make sure you don’t ruin your wedding with an act of public frustration. No argument or fight is worth your weeks of hard work when it comes to your wedding day. Although you may feel frustrated because the bakery messed up your cake or you have a minuscule zit, it is never a good idea to freak out in front of wedding guests. Keep that to yourself.

Not Utilizing Social Media:

This is definitely not a top priority, but if you are trying to #brand your wedding you should use social media to your advantage. Using a hashtag on Instagram and Twitter weeks leading up to the wedding and of course day-of is a great way to get people excited. It may seem vain, but its your wedding day! You want high attendance and high anticipation.

Unclear Wedding Invites:

Lastly, making sure your wedding invites are not only correct but are super clear is extremely important. You want the date, place and time to be the most prominent information. As well, utilizing save the date cards months before the wedding can be a good tactic to make sure your guests have it on their calendar from the start. As well, the invites are a good way to show your personal #brand for the wedding. A picture of you and your husband or some decorative embellishments that fit your theme are both great ideas.

Ultimately, with the right amount of planning, there should be no problems. So get out your planner and get to it!

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#SochiProblems

This topic might seem a little out of place, but I think the relevance and timing makes it worth discussing. Amidst all of the Olympics hype, there are actually some serious #Problems arising in #Sochi. That being said, this year’s Olympics are wreaking a lot of havoc in the Twittersphere and in the news. After arriving to Sochi, olympians, reporters and vacationers started noticing the poor conditions in the city. Weird bathrooms, dirty hallways and poor quality housing are consistent elements during this year’s games. Not to mention that the whole city looks like it is under construction.

Initially, surprised guests took to Twitter to make fun of these poor conditions and release the tension. But as the tweets and Buzzfeed articles continued, people started realizing the seriousness of these conditions. This resulted in a lot of argument over such a simple hashtag: #SochiProblems.

I always think its really funny when societal problems are rooted in something as harmless as Twitter. I mean, shouldn’t social media just be left for innocent discussion? Well in our society, Twitter now hosts deep discussion and debate – we are taking things to another level. Although its great people are able to share opinions and talk about public problems, mixing humor with serious issues is a lot of times insensitive, especially when most social media is opinion-based. It becomes a huge problem when people start believing everything they see online.

#SochiProblems has definitely become a topic of discussion. Most Twitter users are still tweeting jokes about Sochi, but some have started retaliating and bashing people who are using the hashtag for comic relief.

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After reading these, you can see how bad the living conditions are in Sochi. If hotels are really in that bad of condition, I can’t imagine how the citizens of Sochi live themselves. Issues with drinking water and plumbing to this extent are very scary. We should not be tweeting about #SochiProblems in a comedic manor.

Everyone has caught on to this issue and opinions are forming. Many people think tweets like this are offensive. But the funny part is, the tweeting hasn’t stopped. People are using #SochiProblems as if there are no problems surrounding it. As the Olympics progress I am sure there will be more drama in Sochi, but its interesting to think all of this started with just one hashtag.

#CelebrityWeddings

This week we are taking a look at the public relations of some of the most expensive #CelebrityWeddings. The weddings come in all shapes and sizes, but the PR is always solid when it comes to big money like this. These events may seem completely perfect from the outside, but as time passes, the problems are revealed. I have found that when it comes to celebrity weddings, the juiciest PR stories usually come after.

 1. Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills

This celebrity wedding was definitely one for the books. But could we expect anything less from Sir Paul McCartney himself? The total cost was a whopping $3 million and included a $150,000 fireworks show that guests enjoyed in the skies outside of The Castle Leslie in Ireland. Of course Ringo Star attended amongst other celebrity guests. Although the marriage didn’t last, the hype surrounding the couple lives on. A simple Google search shows tons of articles about the divorcement and lots of hot details about their tragic break up. The craziest part about this is that there is nothing positive said about the couple or the wedding. The drama took the spotlight and Heather Mills will probably always be the “ex-wife”.

 2. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes

Tom and Katie were married in 2006, also in a castle – but this one is in Italy. One of their biggest expenses was wine and champagne, which is a great way to spend $180,000. The wedding was picturesque and the couple looked stunning! Only positive things were released about the event. Usually celebrities try to keep quiet about their wedding, but Katie and Tom allowed the attention and it worked out to their benefit. Now, when you search about this event you can see tons of stories talking about this wedding being the event of the decade! The detail is endless and it is clear that the media is in favor of this couple. Very interesting to look at this PR success!

3. Elton John and David Furnish 

Lastly, Elton and David. I chose to look at this wedding because it has a few interesting factors. First of all, Elton John is a lovable legend so its bound to be an interesting story. But also, it is a gay celebrity wedding, which is sure to bring some different opinions to the table. Elton and David were married December 22, 2005 in England. The reason this wedding is so interesting is gay marriage was not legal in the UK until the day before the two tied the knot. That is one quick turn around! Clearly Elton and David were in love and ready to seal the deal, but it also says a lot that they married one day after it became lawful. It was a huge statement and people were very receptive of this. Their small gathering was classy and also took a stand for gay marriage. The media attention surrounding this wedding is all positive. It is clear that Elton’s popularity outweighs his sexuality any day.

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How to be #BusinessCasual on Twitter

There is lots of discussion when it comes to professionalism in the Twitter world. Whether you’re a student or a CEO, each Twitter user needs to take their own individual approach while tweeting. Different industries have different attitudes and focuses with their tweets.  Twitter is a place where groups of people create identities. As an aspiring wedding planner, I want to tweak my profile to appeal to the industry. There is a careful balance between too professional and not professional enough. I like to call this #BusinessCasual. Lets take a look and see what kind of Twitter-rehab could be applied to upcoming wedding planners, like me.

According to an article linked from PRos in Training, there are four main ways how to not suck at Twitter. Mashing this advice while keeping the wedding industry in mind is the key to my professional Twitter success (or #BusinessCasual).

1. Don’t just follow your friends

While this may seem obvious, many people seem to overlook this advice. Following lots of highly active Twitter accounts might clog up your newsfeed, but it also allows you to absorb trending information by just a simple scroll through your feed. The more wedding-related Twitter accounts I have followed, led to the more who followed me. This also allows for potential Twitter interactions or internship opportunities others who don’t follow these accounts might not see.

2. Always use Twitter handles

Tagging Twitter accounts in your tweets (no matter how big or small) is always a good idea. While it may seem like a shot in the dark, NOT tagging them is even more dismal – you’re for sure not getting any interactions. As well, I have found that when I use a wedding-related Twitter handle in one of my tweets, I get followers like @Weddingstar or @Sharibellaevent. Maybe because they thought my tweet had good content or maybe because my Twitter bio is business casual in the sense of professionalism. Either way, using the Twitter handle is what leads these accounts directly to my Twitter page.

3. Share links to content

In order to create an online presence, you must share content on Twitter. If you apply this to aspiring wedding planners, this is one easy task. There is plenty of relevant online information that could be strategically tweeted. Anything crafting, flower, dress, cake or venue related is all worth tweeting about. As well, linking other mediums like your blog or Pinterest account can increase your followers on multiple platforms.

4. Give something to your followers

Recreating your focus on Twitter is very important. Many users are tweeting for personal purposes which leaves room for the worst kind of unprofessional tweets. As I am trying to break into the wedding industry, my social media needs to reflect my passions in and outside of the professional industry – but it also needs to remain likable. Maintaining a positive image while also distributing content to your followers is a great way to show your worth. What are you giving your Twitter followers? Tweet something makes them not want to press the unfollow button.

Utilizing this advice in moving forward professionally is helping me understand the industry I want to dive into. Twitter is no longer a recreational source. It is a news source, a learning tool and a place where you can show off your business casual. USE IT!

#ForeignWeddings

This week we are looking at the PR of famous foreign weddings. What is more interesting than a beautiful wedding in a beautiful country uniting beautiful people? Although vanity may be the main motive for tying the knot over seas, when it comes to celebrity weddings keeping things discreet is also a benefit. After doing a little snooping, it seems like many celebrities travel to foreign countries to keep the hype down and from a public relations stand point, this sucks.

The issue with foreign weddings is simple: its too far away for drama. Celebrities are usually faced with the trials and tribulations of keeping their wedding under wraps. But when their wedding is in a different country, we all have less information and there is less to talk about in the media.

Lets take Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel’s wedding in Italy for example. The only articles, pictures and pieces of information that have ever been released about the wedding are totally boring. The couple looks beautiful and the wedding went super smoothly as far as we can tell. After their engagement in December, 2011, there was not much talk about the wedding until after the ceremony. HELLO magazine, ABC news and People are just a few of the publications that leaked “inside” photos and stories after the wedding. All of the articles were seemingly the same and framed Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel in beautiful light. That is the power of controlled information.

This trend is easily backed up by other foreign celebrity weddings like Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, and Halle Berry and Oliver Martinez. The most interesting stories are always post-wedding pictures or divorce rumors.

For celebrities, getting married over seas comes with many benefits. If the information is kept undisclosed then the PR remains purely informational – no drama and no misinformation. Maybe that is the way a marriage should be.

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