PR Start by Nick Lucido

How to start in the public relations industry.

Final Presentation from NMDL

I had my last New Media Drivers License class a couple of weeks ago, and our final project was a presentation on what we learned. I wasn’t a stranger to new media in the beginning, but I still learned so much. I think the most important thing I learned was, while I have some pretty solid knowledge of today’s media, tomorrow will be different. Keeping on top of things is important, but as the brilliant Shannon Paul once told me, the new wave of PR professionals will need to walk on the fence between new practices and old techniques.

I tagged all of my adventures under “New Media Drivers License” with this blog, and you can see more about the class here. Because I already some sort of preexisting knowledge about new media, my presentation was a little different than most of my classmates. I focused on these areas:

  • Your online brand
  • Ethics in social media
  • The power of an offline network
  • Continuing your education

Check out the presentation below or on my Slideshare profile.

I’m hoping to help out Derek Mehraban, the instructor, teach the course next semester, so I’m looking for some feedback from all of you. What would you like to see in a new media class? Does your school (or association) have some sort of indstruction on new media? Any best practices you’d like to share?

Thanks for the help!


Filed under: New Media Drivers License, Public Relations, Social Media, , , , , , , ,

Recap of NMDL

If you haven’t heard me brag about my New Media Drivers License class yet, here’s a post that will do a lot of bragging. It’s been a great nine weeks and I’ve learned so much about new media and how to use it. Each topic, whether it was Google AdWords or search engine optimization, took a lot more than reading the assignment description. I had to research and practice these new online tools. I learned a lot, but I also realized how much more I have to learn. I plan to continue my new media education through this blog.

Overall, I learned that the traditional public relations principles are the same online, too. This goes along with the new age of public relations – our generation needs to balance their knowledge of tradition methods with new skills. You can’t just know Facebook and studying cases from 1984 isn’t completely helpful either. The industry is changing quickly and by staying on the forefront, you’re offering high value to your clients or company.

Here is what I plan to present to my class when we meet again on March 21. I’m going to primarily focus on strategy vs. tactics. I blogged about this earlier and it still keeps me thinking. I’ll then talk about four main areas that I think are so key:

  • Creating a personal brand online. What are the rules of showing your personality? What social networks should you be on? How do you stay consistent?
  • Ethics in social media. What are the lines ethics in new media? How does ghostwriting play in social media? How does ethics play into your brand?
  • The power of an offline network. We’re good at making friends online, but how do you transfer that to an offline network?
  • Continuing your education. Why continue your blog? What should you be doing now?

We’re also reading Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds. It’s pretty intriguing and I’m hoping to refine my presentation skills before the final class. Whether you’re in advertising, PR, marketing or other fields, you’re probably going to be doing some presenting now and then. Check it out – it’s a pretty quick read.

In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be preparing a slide show and will definitely be posting it. Stay tuned. Until then, please feel free to comment on what you think I should include in my presentation.

Filed under: New Media Drivers License, Public Relations, Social Media, , , , , , ,

Social Media Etiquette

For someone just entering the social media sphere, like many of my friends and colleagues at MSU and PRSSA, there’s a couple of important things to remember. While there are many cool things about sharing content on Twitter and other social networks, it’s easy to make mistakes, too.

One of my favorite bloggers and colleagues is Shannon Paul. Not only did she write a great post on how not to be that guy in social media and did a presentation on it, too. Here’s the Slideshare version:

I’ve come up with some tips and reminders for the younger crowd on how to participate. I think many of us do know how to participate, but there’s some preventable errors we all make. Check out this list:

Consistency is key

As part of branding yourself, it’s important to be consistent. This doesn’t only apply to keywords, titles and social networking user names, but it also applies to your personality throughout the Web. Primarily, this is concerned with our wacky college lifestyle and how professionals use social networks. The biggest thing I’ve run into is my Facebook “personality” versus the “personality” I show on Twitter, LinkedIn and my blog. So, you have two options: keep Facebook for social uses, or add it to your list of general networking tools. I went with the latter. This article sums up Facebook use pretty well.

When is it OK to tweet?

Sharing information is one of the best things about social media, but it can get you into trouble. If you caught the story about an agency employee posting a negative tweet regarding the city where their client is located, it’s a perfect example about posting the wrong thing at the wrong time. The recap is here. It’s good to have a personality online, but make sure that when you’re sarcastic or joking around, people won’t always take it as a joke.

Also, especially as an intern or entry-level employee, it’s important to make sure you should not be revealing or announcing any client information that should not be revealed. If you let any detail slip, it might ruin your media or audience outreach strategy. Whenever you post something about your client online, make sure it’s OK with your supervisor.


When anyone asks me why I’m on Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc., I say that I like reading and finding new information.. basically, a news junkie. And that’s the beauty of the Internet – you’re able to find all the information you’ll ever need. But remember, share other information more than you share your own content. You’ll quickly find out how soon you lose credibility if you shamelessly self promote yourself all day long.


As interns, it’s cool to share the projects you’re working on with your fans. But just because you are an intern doesn’t mean you don’t have to disclosure your affiliation with the client. Frankly, it’s not ethical when you fail to disclose the relationship. Be honest and upfront when you’re working on a client project and make sure that you’re not getting your company into trouble.

Networking – old school style

As a student, you’re probably using social media to build your network and learn. I know I am. Make sure that while you’re building your network online, you’re doing it in the right way. Remember that relationships are built through conversation and helping others out. These same principles apply online, too. For some tips on how to take this network offline, I wrote a guest post on Rachel Esterline’s blog about the importance of an offline networking – check it out.

One last rule of thumb

In my public relations techniques class last week, we talked about ethics regarding media relations. We came to the conclusion that if you don’t want your e-mail conversations or any other written communication on the front page of The New York Times, then you probably shouldn’t be saying it. The same goes with social media. If you’re talking about how drunk you were last night or how much you hate your boss, chances are all the wrong people are going to see it. It’s not a chance you should be willing to take.

There you have it, some tips and advice when it comes to social media. Any other tips? Have you seen these mistakes being made?

Filed under: Professional Development, PRSSA, Public Relations, Social Media, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Social Networking

There are many posts, columns and articles out there about how to create your own brand online. I’ve read a lot of advice on the subject and learned a lot. I’ve also learned that you really have to find out on your own.

Before I share some different Web sites that I believe to have great value, I encourage you to go through this (if you haven’t already). It’s a presentation by Marta Kagan. This really is hilarious and worth an entire read-through. Also, use it as a guide – even if you’re not doing this stuff for a business. As a general guideline, make sure you are consuming and sharing others stuff before your own.

  • Twitter – microblogging. Some argue it’s a way of life. No matter what, there are many conversations occurring on here and this site is especially important in building your brand online. Connect with me on Twitter here.
  • Facebook – connect with people by friending and maintaining a profile. Facebook is moving in the general direction that most of these services are moving – sharing and consolidation. What’s the point of having 30 profiles on different Web sites when you can update and maintain everything from one? One day, Facebook really will own the world. This scares me, too. Connect with me on Facebook here.
  • LinkedIn – I like to call this the professional Facebook. Connect with and recommend your business connections. This is a great way to keep in touch with people. Connect with me on LinkedIn here.

Here’s a couple more services to take your social networking to the next level:

  • WordPress – host your blog here. It’s a great site that tracks all the stats you’ll ever need and has many useful tools.
  • Google – using such apps as Google Reader, Google Groups, etc. make Google social. You can use these apps to share information and contact each other.
  • Friendfeed – combine pretty much everything you’re doing online to your feed. I think Friendfeed is the future of social networking because, like Facebook, it is a way to combine everything easily. Brian Solis wrote a great post about the future of Friendfeed here, and I agree with him.
  • Pandora – play streaming music online. I love Pandora because it is nice to find new music as well as hear some favorites. And yes, this is social networking, especially because you can hook it up to your Friendfeed. You can check out my feed here.
  • Delicious – bookmark your favorite Web sites, articles and blog posts. I installed the Delicious Toolbar for Firefox and because this is hooked up to my blog and feed, people can check it out. Oh yeah, make sure you connect this with your feed, too.
  • Flickr – post and share photos. I wish I took more pictures and had a camera phone so I can use Flickr more, but I don’t. People find this service helpful because it is so easy to share and to post on different platforms.
  • StumbleUpon – find and rate information on the Web. For more information on how to use it, click here.
  • Scribd – upload and share documents with friends. I have seen people use this for group projects (Google Groups can do this, too) and other things. I think this will be gone soon because of how much easier Google’s programs are.
  • YouTube – watch videos online. Come on, there’s something for everyone here!
  • Slideshare – connect with some brilliant minds and share their presentations (or create your own). Look above for an example of an incredible presentation on Slideshare.

It probably seems like a lot of work to maintain all of these accounts, but I’ve found that once you do all the signing up, it’s pretty easy. I don’t spend hours updating and maintaining my profile on each of these services, I simply use them when I need it.

What else do you use? What doesn’t work? Where is the future of social networking? For me, the trick is consolidation.

Filed under: New Media Drivers License, Social Media, , , , , , , , ,

Breaking Down the Walls

For me, 2009 is going to be a year of breaking down the walls. I’m talking about changing the traditional college paradigm that has resulted from the increasingly competitive job market. 


More then ever, students are pushing themselves through difficult curriculums, taking on leadership positions in student organizations and getting a job or two. The days of going through college and getting a sweet job are over. Hopefully there is no one out there that honestly believes that.

As a result, college is competitive and stressful. The college setting is meant to test and prepare us for “real world” situations, so the question then becomes is the real world as competitive and stressful? 

As students, sometimes we get caught up amidst the competitive atmosphere. We’re all competing for the top internships, the best grades and ultimately the best jobs. Too often we forget about our peers and their own professional pursuits. I was always taught to treat others the way I want to be treated. Just like in social media, cultivating relationships with your colleagues takes time and work, but it pays off in the end.

Here are my goals (note: not resolutions) for breaking down the walls this year:

  • Build my network and share it. I love networking and meeting new people. My friend puts it best: “I can’t keep my PR legs closed.” This year, I want to connect the good people in my network with the other good people in my network.
  • Improve this blog so that it does help people. I like to share what I learn, who I meet and new trends with you guys because I learn from you. I hope to continue to product worthwhile content and please let me know if I start going senile.
  • Look beyond the short term and always look for the long term. Questioning old practices and replacing them with new, more effective practices is what I’m going for. 
  • Connect Michigan PRSSA students with each other. I’ve been in contact with some really great people at other Michigan PRSSA Chapters and we all share in similar pre-professional pursuits, so why not help each other out? I had dinner with Jared Bryan from Wayne State University and Stephanie Scheer from Eastern Michigan University and I’m looking forward to working with them over the next couple of months.

This past year, a friend and mentor of mine, Jennie Ecclestone, who happened to be the MSU PRSSA Chapter President at the time, nominated me for a Central Michigan PRSA award. Typically, the award goes to a senior who has dedicated him or herself to their PRSSA Chapter and made a dramatic impact. Even though I and a couple other people nominated Jennie, her recommendation that she probably put a lot of time and effort into got me the award. This completely selfless action taught me more about leadership then any conference or book. Jennie was breaking down the walls and she will always have a friend and colleague with me. 

When it comes down to it, people make the difference in my life. I’m lucky to be surrounded by such dynamic, dedicated and funny people. They keep me sane and drive me nuts. But because they have help me so much in my career, I would do anything for them. Public relations and other industries are often based on who you know, not what you know. I hope I will be able to repay the favor to Jennie somehow.

This year, I challenge you to break down the walls in your own pre-professional career. Ask yourself, “why the hell not?” Value honesty and listen to your peers. And most importantly, don’t forget your friends and colleagues. 

Photo by rulosblack on Flickr. 

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Public Relations in 2009

I’ve seen a lot of posts going around about social media in 2009, specifically ones from Brian Solis, Shannon Paul and Todd Defren. Check them out – those are some pretty solid posts. So in anticipation of the new year, I wanted to write about what I think is going on in public relations in 2009 – challenges, obstacles, what’s working and what needs to change.

From my perspective, here are some of the buzzwords within the industry for 2009:

Diversity of the industry

I see diversity as more than solely differences in gender, race and ethnicity. To me, diversity is just different kinds of people. In public (or people) relations, it’s important to keep in mind that when you are reacing out to a large audience, chances are that audience will be very diverse. Learning how to reach out to different kinds of people is key to successful public relations outreach.

Another point of interest – I was listening to a recent PRSA diversity podcast and heard a great discussion on the future of diversity in public relations. I discovered that 90 percent of PRSSA members are female – HOLY COW. The industry is definitely dominated by females, but it seems as though this gender gap will only widen. While I have my own theories why this is happening (hint: some of my friends call me a party planner.. yuck), it’s something that the industry needs to pay attention to. Also,

You can check out the PRSA Diversity Today podcasts here. They are full of great information.

New standards in PR education

Because public relations is a constantly changing industry, PR education needs to be constantly changing, too. I’m lucky to have a solid curriculum at MSU – we have a strong balance of PR academics and PR professionals teaching courses that are generally relevant and topical.

I think combining theory with practical experience is the name of the game for successful PR education. Last semester, I took a journalism class on writing for the media. It was a really great class because touched on some history and communication models in addition to working on a press kit for a Lansing-based non-profit. It gave the students the opportunity to build their portfolio right in class.


Is PR Social Media?

I’ll be honest – I don’t have an answer for you. And I don’t think that the answer is black or white. But I will say that knowledge and understanding of social media is becoming more and more important for the public relations student. It’s also becoming expected, too. One thing that us students sometimes forget is that we really do need to know the basics of PR, too. Solid writing skills, understanding business principles and office etiquette will still trump having 10,000 followers on Twitter – at least in 2009. We’ll see what 2010 has to offer.

Ethics for you and me

I think 2008 was a year of dishonesty and unethical behavior. Whether it’s the Madoff scandal or the Blagojevich drama or the Wall Street CEOs and their ridiculous bonuses; it hasn’t been a pretty year. I’m hopeful that corporations have learned to be honest, ethical and transparent – 2009 will be the year to show it. Now more then ever, public relations professionals are relied upon to build that trust. Mike Cherenson from PRSA talks about how important this will be for the professional in a PR Tactics article.

Advocacy for itself

Public relations professional often get tied up with client work that the industry often forgets to advocate for itself. We need to hold our colleagues and clients accountable to high ethical standards and make sure that the rest of the world knows we’re doing it.

The new wave of professionals

My fellow public relations students are tenacious, curious and dedicated. But as I previously mentioned, we need to remember the PR fundamentals, too. The future of the public relations industry, as I see it, balances old habits with new techniques. We can’t get too caught up in the blogosphere – we still have to go to class, right?

Call me an optimist, but I’m really excited for what 2009 has to offer the PR industry and PR professionals. While there are some challenges ahead, there is much to accomplish, too.

What else am I missing? Where do you see public relations going in 2009? Are you as optimistic as I am?

Photo by Rasso on Flickr.

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Why and How to Blog

To blog or not to blog. I’ve seen a lot of other bloggers discuss why they blog, and I want to chip in my own two cents.

I blog simply because I want to help other students like me. While I try to provide my own perspective on things, I like sharing what I learn. I also like learning from other people – students, professionals and everyone in between.

If you’re looking to start a blog, here are some basic tips:

  • Use It’s free, easy and all around awesome. You can see how many people are looking at your blog, where your blog is being passed around, and a couple other useful pieces of information. Honestly, it’s cool to see how many people look at your blog, but also can be depressing. Don’t let it consume you!
  • Name your blog. What’s your personal brand? It should apply to your blog. Make sure it’s SEO (search engine optimization) friendly.
  • Think about what you want to blog about. It doesn’t need to advance yourself or your career, but find that niche that you can write about. Here is a post talking about finding a successful niche.
  • Get involved with social media. Haven’t you heard me say this enough? Read other blogs, like a lot of other blogs, and start commenting on their blogs. Then get yours going. Start on and work your way around to find blogs that will actually help you out.
  • Once you start blogging, it wouldn’t hurt to hire a copy editor. I hate when something slips through my young and inexperienced eyes, so I have a couple “lucky” people that get to check over my posts. Go Becky and Christina! They rock, but they don’t have their own blog (yet).
  • Proof your work.
  • Find communities to interact with. I found homes with PR Open Mic, Brazen Careerist and 20 Something Bloggers. Just remember that it takes a lot of time to build relationships in each community.
  • Did I mention to proof your work?
  • Are your ideas new and fresh? Keep on top of new trends and ideas in order to separate your blog from the rest. Hopefully mine doesn’t poop out too much – that’s what you’re reading it, right?
  • Keep the party going. Try and post at least once per week. At the very least, keep on Tweeting and sharing to build credibility.

If you don’t like my ideas, here are some great posts on how to start a blog. They’re pros.

  • One of my favorite posts from Penelope Trunk shows how to start a blog.. on her blog.
  • Guest post on Chris Brogan’s site pointing out what bloggers are doing poorly and how they can learn from professional journalists.
  • Scratch that. CB has a whole section on how to blog here.
  • Here is what you don’t want to do as a new blogger from Jason Falls.
  • For more tips on writing in a niche, check out Coppyblogger’s post here.
  • A great guide on making your blog successful in 90 days from the Influential Marketing Blog.

So, whether you are an public relations student, a seasoned PR professional, an engineer, a mom or even a regular Joe, think about starting a blog. Clearly define what the blog is for, and start interacting. But don’t start a blog just to start a blog.

I’ve been surprised how much I’ve learned since entering the blogosphere. You can do it too. Honestly.

So what have you learned to be best practices since starting a blog? How do you find your nitch? If you have a new blog, post a comment – I would love to check it out.

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Intern Office Etiquette [Reminders]

I had coffee with some of the leadership from our PRSSA Chapter at MSU, including our professional advisors. Russ White from MSU University Relations, Kelly Rossman-McKinney of the Rossman Group and Jennifer Holton of the Michigan Department of Agriculture all gave their input on how we can make our students more prepared. The three of them all come from very different backgrounds in the public relations industry and we had a great discussion.

Some of the things we are planning for next semester include sessions on crisis communication, research and planning, media training, and others. But we also talked about one major thing students need work on: office etiquette.

I got some feedback from our advisors and Twitter, and I put together this list of things student workers in an office need to be more aware of:

  • You’re an intern, so act like one. Bring a pen and pad of paper wherever you go, ask a ton of questions, offer to help all the time and always have a good attitude.
  • Know how to interact with your co-workers. Talk and get to know with everyone in the office. If you work for a company with multiple offices, go work at the other offices. That’s how I landed my gig at the NAIAS starting next week.
  • It’s OK if your boss or anyone else asks you to get coffee. If they are in the board room and ask you to get coffee, consider it your access pass to the board room. Getting coffee for a superior is not a demeaning thing and no one is above it.
  • Moreover, you are not above doing anything in the office. Sometimes, you have to move the boxes, deliver notes and other not so glamorous things. Get over it.
  • Don’t be afraid to answer questions or make suggestions. Think it through before, though.
  • Answering the phones isn’t below you, either! I believe that every phone call is practice for the “real thing” – as a PR intern, I would make a lot of calls to the media and my phone experience helped a lot.
  • Don’t justify going on Facebook for hours at as time as “social media practice.” That said, try to stay as “billable” as possible.
  • Even though you’re an intern, don’t be afraid to ask for/take on more responsibilities.
  • Respect your co-workers. Don’t put the phone on speakerphone if you work in a cube and try not to have loud conversations on a break around co-workers who are working.
  • Don’t drink Diet Cokes that aren’t yours. But you should bring in leftover cake and other communal things to share. Hey, who doesn’t love a treat?
  • Especially with public relations internships, know and understand social media. You will be working with baby boomers and generation x’ers that don’t know how to use it but expect you to. Take on a social media project and be able to take ownership of it.
  • Always have something to do. If you aren’t assigned project, ask. If you still can’t find something, don’t be afraid to start your own project. Clean out the supply closet, create a company newsletter… anything to add your worth to the company.
  • As a college student, you probably live a crazy and wacky lifestyle, but never bring that to the office. Your co-workers probably won’t appreciate it.
  • After your internship, go back to the office once in a while and stay in touch.
  • Finally, you should never be “too busy” to help someone in the office. Refer to my “why I don’t say busy” post. Yuck, I hate that word.

It might sound blunt, but these principles help me every day. Truth be told, there is a large generation gap between our generation and past generations. Teresa Wu wrote a great guest post on Chris Brogan’s blog summarizing our generation. Although we may feel entitled to many things, we still need to adapt to the current work place.

All throughout high school, I worked both as a lifeguard and a swim instructor. Needless to say, I didn’t have any office experience before I started interning and working for The State News. I think alot of it has to do with your environment. If you learn from those around you, it will help you to fit it a lot more quickly.

*Southwest Airlines (@southwestair) contributed their thoughts to this post. Guess which airline I’m flying on my next trip?

Filed under: Internships, Professional Development, , , , ,

Tips on Generating Content

If there was one thing that held me back from starting a blog sooner, it was my fear of not being able to generate content. I quickly learned some things that help me come up with a post every couple days. Hopefully the information is useful, and remember that I’m still learning, too!

Here’s some things that I do to generate content for this blog:

Read new things.

You should already be reading up on your daily news from The New York Times, CNN and The Wall Street Journal. With so many things going on in the news, it’s hard not to draw blog posts from how it’s affecting you, your career or your industry. If you’re into PR and advertising, it wouldn’t hurt to subscribe to PRWeek and Advertising Age. I got each subscription for $50 – look for deals and promotions!

Besides your typical news outlets, it’s also important to check up on what your friends are tweeting and blogging about.  If you take it one step further and see what your friends’ friends are tweeting and blogging about, you will be introduced to a whole new realm of conversations. Join them and write about it.

Also, keep an eye on what’s going on with things that might relate to you. As a PR student, I try to balance my PR news and blogs with social media and career sites. Here are some new great finds:

  • Mashable is a blog with reviews and how-to’s of the latest Web tools.
  • The Creative Career is a blog by an MSU alum in Chicago with tips and tricks for those pursuing a creative career. The podcasts are pretty cool, too!
  • Having an unmotivated day? Check out Pick the Brain, a blog to motivate and inspire. It really is a great pick-me-up on those not so great days.

Meet new people.

Get off your computer. Get out of your apartment. Go meet new people.

If you’re not a social butterfly, it’s hard to walk into a room of complete strangers and start talking to people. When meeting someone new, find their twinkle spot. Get your mind of the gutter. The twinkle spot is that one conversation subject that really gets someone going. It could be about gardening, bicycling, swimming or even the new Nintendo Wii game. Once you find out what interests that person, you’re golden.

If and when you get over this hump, meeting new people will let you see new perspectives on things. Incorporate those perspectives on your existing paradigms of your career, industry, etc. Not only will this help you improve, but it will also help your readers, too.

Join new organizations.

See a common trend yet? Besides joining the professional association of your chosen profession, don’t be afraid to join young professional groups, interest groups or even just-for-fun groups. These meetings and events often strike up some cool ideas.

It’s important to not limit yourself by having a narrow perspective on what you want your blog to be. Don’t have an agenda — keep your options open.

Listen to new information.

Listen first, talk second. A social media rule of thumb is to not ramble and self-promote. Remember, you’re here to learn and channel what you learn to create your own content. At Shannon Paul’s CMPRSA presentation (I was there in spirit!), she talked about 4 steps to joining the conversation:

Consume – Respond – Reference – Promote

Listening builds your credibility. Credibility builds your network. A larger network means a larger flow of information. When you consume all this information, you learn and are able to share your expert opinion.

In general, do new things. I am a big believer in jumping in the deep end of the pool. Immersing yourself in the conversation is the best way to learn. Hey, you might even have some fun along the way.

How do you generate content? Where do you get your inspiration? I would like to add to this list, so comments and suggestions are appreciated.

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Finding PR in Everyday Life

Internships. Love ’em or hate ’em, you gotta have ’em to get a job in public relations. The job market is getting more and more competitive, especially in today’s tumultuous economy. But it’s not just a solid internship experience that will separate you from the rest of the crowd. At the big agencies, they sometimes review more than 300 resumes for a summer internship. So besides an internship, what else will separate you from the rest of the crowd?

When it comes down to it, there are a couple of key principles that public relations practitioners must be proficient in.

  1. Strong communication skills
  2. Generating content for a myriad of communication channels
  3. Ability to adapt and learn

A huge part of public relations is communication skills. Where can you practice this? I think a better question is where can’t you practice this? Practicing AP style in regular e-mail conversation, papers for class and even on your resume is helpful down the line.

Generating content is something that you will have to do in virtually every function of public relations. This might include writing and drafting speeches, writing and editing articles for a company newsletter and generating content for a Web site. The best way to get this going is to get involved with a campus organization. It’s even better if the organization is not PR-oriented because this will allow you to build and develop a public relations system for the group.

Today, with the constant changes occurring in the public relations landscape, it is integral to keep up with the times. Read PRWeek, subscribe to blogs, join online conversations, join professional associations.. the list is endless. Support your own professional development and make sure that you are saving money to partake in professional development.

Besides becoming proficient in those three skills, there are several experiences you can have outside of a public relations internship are pretty important in making you a more well-rounded pre-professional:

  • Sales. Some love it and some hate it. Whether it’s telemarketing or working at your college newspaper, the skills you learn in sales are critical to pretty much any career. I work at The State News, MSU’s newspaper, in the advertising department, so I’m responsible for selling ads. Every day, I’m cold calling potential advertisers, building relationships with current advertisers and working with a team to accomplish individual and department-wide goals. It sounds a lot like PR, and it is.
  • Writing for different mediums. This is something everyone can work on, and I’m looking for new ways to try this out, too. Writing for your college paper is how a lot of great PR students get experience and I would recommend it, too. It’s also a good idea to try out alternative and online publications to get a feel for different writing styles. Maintaining a blog doesn’t hurt, either.
  • Usability of social media. Not only can you get yourself out there online, but this is also an open forum for networking. You can find and connect with new people.

In general, one who can draw from multiple experiences and can demonstrate a strong ability to learn new things is a pretty solid candidate for any position. As a manager in the ad department, I take part in the interviewing for new account executives. That’s what I look for, and that’s what a lot of recruiters are looking for, too.

*Most of this post comes from my favorite career-related book is Knock ‘Em Dead. They have a killer Web site with a FREE resume critique section. Check it out!

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