PR Start by Nick Lucido

How to start in the public relations industry.

Trying Something New

As I continue to transition in my new position with Edelman, one thing I’m already finding is I don’t have as much time in the day to peruse news articles and share them via Twitter, Friendfeed, etc. Trust me, I know this is a good thing. Technically, this is my first 40-hour per week gig; for the past couple of years, I’ve always balanced jobs and internships with classes, so I’m used moving around all day.

So, in an effort to continue to share what I feel is relevant to future and current PR pros, I’m going to try something new. I’m going to bookmark a couple articles per day via delicious and automatically post these to this blog. You can check out this feature here.

You know I love feedback, so let me know what you think. I’m here to help, and I hope this will be another tool that will accomplish that.

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Filed under: Social Media, , , , ,

2008-09 MSU PRSSA

Two things have been keeping me away from blogging: moving to Chicago and applying for Teahan awards for the MSU PRSSA Chapter. Our group had a particularly great year, so one of the things we did to recap the year was put together a video.

The highlights:

-We were names Outstanding Professional Student Organization of the Year by the MSU Department of Student Life

-Our Bateman team finished second in the country — sweet!

-We got some national recognition for our innovative social media practices here

-We’re all over the Web — check us out on our Web site, follow us on Twitter, view our photostream here and watch videos we make here

Overall it was a great year and I got to work with some pretty incredible people. Although I won’t be on the board next year (per my duties on the national level), I’ll be there in spirit. Good luck guys!

Filed under: PRSSA, , , , , , ,

Social Network Separation Is Bad

One thing I see more and more often is students who use different social networks for different reasons. For example, using Facebook for a crazy college lifestyle and keeping a professional blog. To me, it doesn’t make sense. Here’s why.

You’re findable

Even if you’ve changed your name on Facebook or use some kind of alter ego for other social networking profiles, don’t risk it. Here are some stats from an MSNBC article I want to throw out:

“According to a March survey by Ponemon Institute, a privacy think tank, 35 percent of hiring managers use Google to do online background checks on job candidates, and 23 percent look people up on social networking sites. About one-third of those Web searches lead to rejections, according to the survey.”

When it comes down to it, there are many more applicants to any one job, so don’t hurt your chances by taking a risk online.

profiles

Linking up

When I put up the new design on my blog, I added my Facebook profile badge. Before, I always thought Facebook was for my personal friends because I have personal information on there, but isn’t that the case with any social networking site you’re part of? Now, I’m open to networking on any of my profiles. Once you get over the initial “I want to post something really inappropriate” hill, it’s not so bad and helps your reputation in the long run.

Remember when Facebook changed and everyone thought it looks like Twitter? And Friendfeed‘s recent makeover to make it look more like Twitter? I think social networks are going to continue to converge (to some extend). Networking professionally on one site but avoiding conversation on another just plan looks bad.

Choose one side

When Facebook opened up to more than those with a .edu address and I started getting friend requests from professionals, I quickly learned about the importance of keeping a professional online profile — no matter what you’re using.

I recommend choosing one side; there’s no point of using some sites professionally and some sites for fun. This, of course, brings up the question of authenticity: do you have to show a different personality that who you really are? Not at all — just keep your illegal habits out of sight.

Be smart

I’m sure many of you already know what you put online is open for anyone to view. I just want to emphasize how important it is to be consistent and clear with your social networks. You never know, it might end up helping you get a job.

So, do you use different social networks for different reasons? Why? Do you think college students should be in a different category since they will be looking for jobs? All thoughts and comments are appreciated.

Photo by M. Keefe on Flickr.

Filed under: Professional Development, Social Media, , , , , , ,

What If You Start PR Later In College?

During the past couple of weeks, I wrote a series of posts on how to prepare for PR in college. The advice was directed at a hypothetical freshmen about to enter PR studies in college, though the advice can be applied to different parts of a career in the field. Now, I want to write to a more realistic crowd — the sophomores, juniors, seniors and new graduates who just found PR.

Before I start giving some advice, I want to make it clear that you don’t need to have four years of solid PR experience in college to get a job when you graduate. Sure, it would be nice to do all of the things I mentioned in the other posts, but is it completely realistic to do what I recommend each year? Not for everyone. If you start PR even as late as senior year, you can still get off to a great start to your career. Here is what I recommend:

Draw on past experiences

If you were pre-med, philosophy, math or even underwater basket weaving, it’s important to draw upon past experiences and apply them to the public relations field. Chances are, if you majored in biology before you changed to public relations, you have some interest in science or technology. The great part about this is you can use this to your advantage. As a public relations practitioner, you’ll probably represent a company or organization that does things the public won’t understand — and that is where you come in. When you can bring a specialized background to the PR industry, it makes you that much more valuable.

Tip: Apply what you’re learning in other classes to your PR career — it will help you to be a more effective practitioner.

Get solid public relations experience

Although you may be worried about catching up in classes, especially if you changed majors later in college, it’s important to immediately seek solid opportunities that will help you enhance your public relations skills. You will be able to get the most out of an internship if you have a mentor guiding you throughout your time with that company/organization and if the program is somewhat structured. Sure, there are exceptions to those, but if you can find a company with some talented professionals and value their interns, you will probably have a good experience.

Something I forgot to put in my last posts is a list of resources of finding an internship. So, here are some great places to start:

  • You college’s career network will probably be the most helpful in finding an internship near your college, unless you’re in a big city.
  • PRSSA JobCenter is the job bank of National PRSSA. It’s a great resource with tips and job postings.
  • EntryLevel-PR.com is a great resource for finding internships and full time jobs.
  • Reach out to your own network — make sure people know you’re looking for a job/internship and you never know what might happen.

Tip: Find several diverse experiences before you graduate in order to make yourself more marketable and find out what you want to do in your career.

Get active in social networks

The beauty of using Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed and others for professional use is the ability to build your network so easily. Reach out to public relations professionals, especially at companies you would like to work for, and communicate with them. Another really good place to be is PROpenMic. It’s a network for public relations students, practitioners and faculty members — check it out.

With all of the joining and networking you will do, it’s important to maintain a sense of professionalism. Talking about how drunk you got during the weekend on your Facebook profile used to be OK when Facebook was just for college students. That’s not the case anymore. Know that what what you put online is fair game for potential employers and bosses to read, so make sure you think about what you post.

Tip: Get online and start participating in conversations. You’ll be surprised at how much you can learn from a strong online network.

Get active in PRSSA immediately

Even though it might be intimidating to join an organization with students already active in their profession, know that many people are in your same shoes. Here is my advice on how to maximize your PRSSA membership later in college:

  • Don’t be afraid to take on leadership roles on the executive board and on committees. By building relationships with peers and learning from them, too, you’ll be able to learn and grow.
  • Attending National Conference, National Assembly and Regional Activities are great ways to help you get caught up from what you missed for the past couple of years. I’ve heard from a lot of people that these conferences ignited their interest in the public relations industry. I mentioned this before, but make sure to network with your peers β€” someday, they will be your colleagues.
  • If you have the opportunity to work with members of PRSA, do it! If you can serve on a committee or help plan an event, it’s a great way to get to know some pros.
  • Applying for national awards is not just for the members who have been in the organization forever. Apply for them, and at least they will be good practice for the future. The link to the awards is here.

Tip: Get active in PRSSA immediately and start building a network of students and professionals.

No excuses, play like a champion

Is studying public relations at all like Wedding Crashers? Maybe. I like this quote and I think it applies to this situation perfectly. Even though you joined the game a little late, it doesn’t mean you have to stay miles behind the rest of the crowd.

Tip: Don’t make excuses — get active in the public relations industry.

And here is what my Twitter network had to say:

@kellee_m Start networking as soon as you can online, in person, in class and in student organizations.

@sheesidd Immerse yourself in social media & read trade publications like PR Week.

@heatherhuhman Intern ASAP – it will help you land an entry-level job after college sooner. Plus, it will confirm your interest in the field.

@aribadler The best thing you will ever learn is that you haven’t learned enough, so never consider your learning completed.

@maryhenige Need to understand business in order to advise C-suite clients.

@aubzim join PRS(S)A, volunteer, write! Never too late for gaining experience. Work on worthwhile causes; don’t spread yourself too thin

@ssiewert you don’t need 5 internships to succeed! Immerse yourself in the industry, get involved in PRS(S)A, build a network, write a lot.

@AmberMShinn Me: late-in-college PR person. Tips: Get as much varied PR work experience as possible; be willing to volunteer to get it.

What advice do you have for PR students getting active later in the game?

Filed under: Internships, Professional Development, PRSSA, Public Relations, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Share

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.

Disclosure

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, , , , , , , , ,

Learning from the Critics

I don’t remember exactly how I came across this Web site, but I did last night. It’s called PR Watch and it is run by the Center for Media and Democracy. Here’s how they describe their organization:

“The nonprofit Center for Media and Democracy strengthens participatory democracy by investigating and exposing public relations spin and propaganda, and by promoting media literacy and citizen journalism, media ‘of, by and for the people.'”

Ouch.

Then there’s this video featuring John Stauber, co-founder of PR Watch, who makes the argument that PR = Propaganda. Watch it here.

Double ouch.

I respectfully disagree for plenty of reasons, but that’s not why I’m writing this post (I’ll be writing posts on this later). After searching through the site and reading what they have to say on some different PR companies and campaigns, it’s easy to throw it away as garbage because we’re on the other end of the spectrum. I’ll argue that it’s important to listen to what they have to say in order to improve the industry.

So, as PR practitioners and students, we can take this in one of two ways:

  1. Do any combination of: whining, blaming, disagreeing, fighting, etc.
  2. Respect their opinions and move forward.

I’m thinking the second choice is a little better. The Ogilvy PR Digital Influence Blog has a post on how to deal with negative detractors in the social media sphere, and it’s pretty applicable to this situation. Here are their steps with my additions:

  1. Always say thank you. I like that they point out what they think is bad PR and bad ethics. It’s great that the industry is held accountable to PRSA’s Code of Ethics.
  2. Address the issue. Let’s acknowledge the faults and see what we can do to make it better in the future.
  3. Correct any misinformation. Opening channels of discussion to see what’s wrong and talk it out. I like to think that #journchat on Twitter is a 3-hour Dr. Phil episode that occurs each Monday evening where PR practioners and journalists talk about improving relations. I also think PRSA (and PRSSA) and SPJ should work together on this, too, as each both have ethical codes.
  4. Be transparent and honest. Even more important is regulating and enforcing these ethical standards.
  5. Opportunity is knocking on the door – it’s the future of the industry. Educating young PR professionals and PRSSA members on past mistakes can help make a better future. Teach us to take the right path for our careers.

I’ve found that you can learn the most from your critics. I’ve also learned that you can never learn enough. I’ll be perusing PR Watch and use it a guideline of things not to do in my career. Whether it’s accurate or not isn’t the point.

What do you think of PR Watch? Do you think it’s accurate? Can we learn from our critics? These are questions you should answer – here and in your career.

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

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