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Confidence Strategies for Women in PR

Without a doubt, women dominate the PR industry. The numbers don’t lie. In 2010, Forbes reported that 73 percent of the 21,000 PRSA members were women.

Despite this statistic, men dominate upper management by 80 percent, as also pointed out in the report. Ready for another jaw-dropping number? 4.2 percent. That’s the amount of Fortune 500 companies where women hold CEO positions.

Success is not measured strictly by whom you know or how you dress. Confidence cannot be taught, but rather developed. Women need to stick together and continue to succeed in this world under male superiority.

With this in mind, there are five things women in PR can do right now to improve their odds of moving up in the industry.

Use Meetings Wisely

First impressions are key; many of which are made within the first few seconds of a meeting, many times from non-verbal queues. When you walk into a meeting, walk in like you belong – head up, smile, make eye contact, and keep your hands by your side, besides for making a firm handshake!

Speak recommendations as statements not questions. This lets others know you are confident in what you are saying, and that confidence will be reciprocated. Make sure you know the different between a brainstorming thought and a thoughtful recommendation.

Be Purposeful with Words

Show people you have been attentive during your research process as well as during your meeting, by engaging in appropriate, relevant conversations. If your idea is unique and you present it with ease, you will typically be portrayed as confident.

Know How to Use Silence

At times, silence has the ability to create an uncomfortable environment. However, when using it properly it can be a very powerful tool. After you make a recommendation, remain silent. This will allow the idea to percolate in the minds of your audience. Let people respond when they are ready, not when you are. Pay attention to their non-verbal queues!

Practice and Prepare

Have to make a speech or presentation in front of a large audience? Practice what you are going to say in front of friends or family prior to the event. Ask them for feedback. If you are too nervous at first to practice in front of people, practice in front of your mirror.

Doing a run-through before a big speech or presentation allows you to catch any errors or awkward moments so you can avoid these mistakes during the presentation. It also lets you determine where there is room for improvement, or what parts should be omitted.

No matter how experienced you are, practicing will never hurt you.

Know How to React

Don’t take criticism too seriously. Learn to let things go.

When your primary focus is upward mobility, don’t sweat the little things. Spend time on what does matter. This will help you build a thicker skin and will let you stray away from the need for constant feedback. You will be so confident in your own work that you will no longer need constant reinforcement from people.

Trust your instincts. If you feel that your meeting went well, it most likely did.

Learn when it is appropriate to apologize. Apologize when there is a mistake on your behalf, not when others simply disagree with your plan of action.

Now, go get ‘em ladies. Get that promotion you’ve been working for, that raise your deserve. Be confident!

PR Pros: Here’s what coming in 2015 in the world of PR

Public relations is one of those industries that is constantly evolving. With the recent move towards social media domination, gone are the days of just press releases and white papers. PR is progressing at a rapid speed, and there’s no chance of it slowing down in 2015. Here are some tips and trends to consider for the upcoming year:

Demand For Creative Content

It’s all about the quality, not quantity. Give the people what they’re looking for. Pushing out great content is only going to lead to increased social engagement, so why not? Continuously publish multiple worthy pieces throughout the day, every day.

Shake It Up!

Don’t continuously push out the same dull, tedious content across all platforms. Switch it up! If your audience constantly sees the same messages, they’re going to become bored. Make people dependent on your content, don’t leave them knowing what to expect day after day.

It’s All About The Visuals

Visual engagement will soon dominate every channel. Believe it or not, posts with photos create double the engagement rates as those composed only of text. Additionally, those with videos are shared 12 times more. So get creative with charts, infographics, memes, videos and other visuals!

Money, Money, Money

Paid, earned, shared and owned content approaches are here to stay in the upcoming year, with an emphasis on paid. More money is going to be poured into paid strategies to reach target audiences. By then, all social networking sites will most likely offer sponsored content placements (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram already do).

Social Media Merges With Public Relations

Many agencies still separate their marketing, public relations and social media teams. Many outside the industry typically group marketing and PR together, but that will soon change. In 2015 we will see a push towards greater joint efforts between PR and social in hopes of creating message alignment and engagement, and generating dynamic brand awareness.

Mobile Content

Smartphones and tablets are dominating the consumer market, and this trend will likely increase in the new year. Brands will depend on their mobile-accessible sites, so ensuring that content is translated properly is vital to ensure positive user experiences.

We’re also going to see a move towards social media apps created for the PR professional – apps to help us manage multiple social networking accounts and stay on top of the latest news. Many of us are already so dependent upon social media, so why not let it make our workload easier?

In many ways the upcoming year is going to capitalize on the trends we saw emerge in 2014. There are also countless new things to come in the ever-changing world of PR, so keep an eye out!

Coming Soon…Social Media in 2015

According to Hootsuite, one quarter of the entire world’s population uses social media. Last year alone, there were 1.2 billion Facebook users – that’s more than the population of the United States, Mexico and South America…combined! There were also 225 million twitter users and 150 million people on Instagram – that’s more than half our country’s population!

Social media is changing constantly, with exciting new apps, tools and partnerships. Are you in tune with the pulse of social media?

It’s All About the Benjamins!

We should have known that it wouldn’t be long before social media networks would be picking at our wallets. Don’t be alarmed, you will not have to pay to use these sites…yet. Rather, these platforms are making exchanging money between friends and family even easier.

Back in October of 2014, Twitter cooperated with Groupe BPCE, the second largest banking group in France, to allow those with a French bank account and a Twitter account to send money by posting a single tweet. Disclaimer, this is not an official partnership between the two parties.

During mid-November, the mobile messaging corporation, Snapchat, announced their partnership with Square, a mobile payments company based in California. The collaboration, called Snapcash, allows users to send money to friends through linked debit cards.

Apple also recently launched its own payment service. Apple Pay offers users an efficient, safe and private way to pay by adding a credit or debit card to Passbook on select Apple devices.

Facebook’s Messenger App will reportedly support payments…coming soon!

What’s Next?

Ever worried about getting caught using Facebook at work? Well, that may not be a concern for much longer. Facebook is currently developing a business-oriented version of the already popular social networking site that draws in 1.35 billion monthly users.

“Facebook at Work” will allow users to have both a separate personal and professional profile. The service includes old features like groups and a newsfeed, but will also include document cooperation.

The new version of the social network uses Microsoft’s Yammer and Salesforce.com’s Chatter as inspiration, along with veteran LinkedIn, and is expected to go public during 2015.

Keep An Eye Out For:

  • More social media and payment services partnerships
  • Facebook at Work
  • More niche social networks

We Want YOU – Who PR Firms Are Looking For Today

The PR industry is one of the most energetic, lively and stimulating industries you can join. But what exactly does it take to succeed?

We won’t waste time with the obvious. Be prompt and professional. Dress the part; don’t stroll into work looking like you got ready in the dark. Also, have a personality, and a pleasant one at that!

Here’s a few more of our favorite tips for the budding PR professional:

Be Punctual

My favorite motto is “early is on-time, and on-time is late.” It couldn’t be truer. Now, don’t pitch a tent and camp out the night before an important meeting, but make sure you’re arriving to these types of events early enough to show you’re organized and prepared.

Be Proactive

Do not be afraid to push the envelope. Consistency is great, if it has been successful; but look for missed opportunities to rebrand a message. Voice your opinions with confidence, even if it doesn’t necessarily align perfectly with the company’s messages. If it doesn’t work for the project at hand, it may spark inspiration for another successful idea.

Be Social

An understanding of the social media space is absolutely required. This doesn’t mean you know how to post a message, or upload a picture. You should know when posting these messages is most effective, which posts increase engagement and how to best reach your audience. Not only is the average person on these social platforms, but also so are agencies, brands, companies, organizations and all those on the administrative side of these groups. Social media is constantly changing. It’s important to stay on top of it.

Be a Writer

You do not have to be a New York Times best seller, but the ability to write clear and well is necessary. Having great ideas is simply not enough; you must be able to articulate them properly. Creative thoughts are only half the work if somebody needs to dictate your messages constantly.

Be Prepared

Know exactly what you are applying for, don’t just memorize the company’s name. Firms know who did their homework beforehand, and who’s half-fasting the interview process. The biggest slap in the face is wasting someone’s time. Go beyond just the agency background – stay up-to-date on the progressing PR industry and be able to provide your insight on how to stay relevant in this sector.

There is a lot of excitement and opportunity in the PR world. The technology and strategies used are constantly evolving, forcing you to continuously adapt and grow as an individual and professional. So, do you think you have what it takes?

It’s A Tough Life for Brands on Instagram

instagramWe all know the picture-sharing phenomenon of today that is Instagram. With over 200 million monthly active users, and an additional 20 billion photos already shared on the app, it’s a gold mine for user engagement. Recognizing this trend, brands have started to dive into the Instagram landscape, using it as a new method for connecting with loyal brand followers. Michael Kors created the first advertisement on Instagram back in November of 2013. Since then, we’ve seen quite a valiant effort by brands to form some kind of unique strategy on the social sharing platform; but can they be successful?

Brands typically utilize technology applications to publish their messages on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Services like Hootsuite were created to ease the process of posting on these social handles. Instagram, however, has yet to adopt any kind of publishing API; so photo sharing on the app has remained a manual process.

What does this all mean though? It’s quite simple, really. Many of the world’s largest, most successful brands are sharing photos through their mobile devices. Simple right? It doesn’t stop with the click of a post, though. There are many questions to be addressed. For example, are your posts actually creating positive engagement, fueling your business and meeting your KPI’s? Without the technology to measure these activities, the manual process extends into tracking comments and likes, and keeping count of the brands followers are actively engaging with.

People love connecting through Instagram. If brands are going to survive on the platform, and perform at their highest engagement abilities, Instagram may need to reconsider the publishing process for the future.

Tips for Young PR Pros

Future PR Pros: How to Network & Prepare for a Career in PR while in College

As an aspiring PR professional entering corporate America, there are many different strategies to accomplish your career goals. Before anything else, remember this: you are your greatest asset. Recognize the limitless resources you have around you, and utilize them to their greatest abilities. Here are just a few tips to get you started!

    Networking is probably one of the most crucial resources you have easy access to within the professional world. This skill can easily be developed during your years as an undergrad; communicating with professors and academic professionals can potentially aid you in taking that next step into the corporate world.Networking is like a head start in your competitive job search. Once your undergraduate career is complete, and you begin looking to start your career, you become a single number in a sea of millions. How will you distinguish yourself? What resources will you utilize to set yourself apart from the next guy? It’s not always just what you know, it’s also who you know.Have a favorite PR or Communications professor? Network with them! More times than not you’ll find that these professors are willing to assist you in your career goals and serve as a valuable resource. Remember at one point these people were also young, aspiring PR professionals too!Find out if your college or university has a Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter. This organization is aimed at nurturing future communications and public relations professionals. Groups such as these are networking gold.
  2. Make yourself an elevator pitch
    No matter which career path you choose, the ability to market yourself is crucial. Make sure you always have an elevator pitch handy and ready to go. Keep in mind this is not a sales pitch, it is merely a concise and well-developed introduction to who you are and what you’re capable of.Make it short and sweet, only including the essentials, and don’t be scared to give it a little flavor! In other words, don’t sound like you’re reading straight from a script. Be human, and show genuine interest. That tends to go a long way in terms of being memorable.
  3. Always have questions, and good ones at that
    Always have questions hidden up your sleeve. There is no such thing as a dumb question, but there is such a thing as a careless one. Don’t memorize the same generic questions and spit them out to every PR professional you meet with. Have a few general questions in mind, and tailor the rest to the appropriate person, position, or firm you are connecting with. Help them envision you in this position or firm, and more importantly, their company’s future. Show them you’ve done your homework.

These tips are just the groundwork to building your future in the PR world. Always remember to utilize all the resources at your disposal, never burn any bridges and always show up three steps ahead. As you go advance through your career, you’ll certainly learn to value the connections you’ve made along the way, I can guarantee that.