Name: Tressa Robbins
Bio: A country girl at heart, who loves the city, I’ve worked in marketing/public relations, consultative sales, and media relations for the better part of over 20 years. The skills acquired from these positions come in handy in my present role as Implementation Vice President at BurrellesLuce and in my role as President of the St. Louis chapter of PRSA. This is an exciting time of change in the world of media and public relations, and I hope to initiate conversations that will assist and support public relations professionals in the industry. In my personal time, love the outdoors, boating, fishing, camping and being mom to my three dogs. Twitter: @tressalynne; LinkedIn: TressaLynne; Facebook: BurrellesLuce
Posts by Tressa Robbins:
- 94 percent of recruiters use or plan to use social media to recruit and vet candidates
- 78 percent of recruiters have made a hire through social media
- 42 percent have reconsidered a job candidate based on their social media activity
- Use consistent profile pictures across your various platforms
- Claim vanity URLS on all profiles that you’re able to
- Pay attention to your bio—this is your professional “elevator pitch” to sell yourself, but should also include some insight into who you are as a person
- Create and use vanity email and professional signature blocks
- Cross-promote public profiles so they are tied together
- You can’t be everywhere so pick a couple social networks or other digital outlets and put all of your efforts into making an impact in those areas
- Invest time participating in LinkedIn groups, Google Plus communities, and industry-related Twitter chats
- Connect –follow, friend, and like other professionals
- Share posts (socially) and other content created by companies you are interested in
- When you comment on blog posts or online articles, make sure you use a consistent name and link back to one of your public profiles.
- Participate in the blogosphere by reading and commenting or asking questions on pertinent blog posts
- Aurrice Duke, Vice President, Midwest Recruiting for PR Talent
- Nick Sargent, Manager, Intern Program Coordinator for Standing Partnership
- Shannon Gerli, Manager, Human Resources for Osborn Barr
- Monique Matthews Wolford, Senior Recruiter, Global Talent Acquisition for Monsanto
- Jeremy Cockrell, Director, Integrated Producer (Creative) for Osborn Barr
- Agency and corporate recruiters alike are looking for real world experience. This can be in the form of internships, student-run firms and volunteer activities.
- Gerli advised researching and knowing the company’s culture so you may follow the appropriate path. For example, a publicly held corporate environment or large global agency atmosphere are going to differ from creative shops.
- Duke advised clear, concise but effective explanations on resumes. She also stated there should be NO typos, and good use of white space—not too ”busy.” This is especially important where an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) is used.
- Cockrell suggested focusing on accomplishments and results versus just descriptions.
- Wolford added that your results should be metrics-driven. She recommended you build a bridge between what you’ve done in the past and the position for which you’re applying.
- Sargent stressed that both your cover letter AND resume should be customized to each position. NOTE: This is especially important when ATS is utilized—your resume should include the key words/phrases from the job description, where appropriate. Never lie!
- Educational, but in a different way
- Emotionally Engaging
I’m teaching a class on blogging this semester at Southeast Missouri State University. As we discussed the importance of images in blogging and storytelling, I told the class, “Just because it’s on the Internet does not mean it’s free!” I explained that you must attribute any image you use back to its origin. Unfortunately, that was not explanation enough and apparently caused confusion. As I struggled to explain more thoroughly, I thought there have to be others out there with this same perplexity!
“The law automatically grants full “copyright” over any creative work a person makes unless otherwise stated.”
Copyright law is incredibly complex. Adding to that complexity is the fact that most of the laws governing copyright were written long before the World Wide Web. Regardless, here are some tips and best practices.
If you are unwilling or unable to pay copyright royalties, you have essentially three options:
1. Use free public domain images.
2. Use Creative Commons® images.
3. Use your own photos or use images you’ve created (from scratch—you cannot modify someone else’s image and call it your own)
Copyright.gov explains that a work of authorship is in the public domain “if it is no longer under copyright protection or if it failed to meet the requirements for copyright protection. Works in the public domain may be used freely without the permission of the former copyright owner.”
These types of images are ideal for blogging or educational use. Works may also be public domain if their copyright has expired or if they are uncopyrightable. Even public domain images should be attributed to and linked back to the source. Two sources for finding public domain images are The Public Domain Review and The Getty Open Content.
If you can’t find public domain images that fit your needs, you can use Creative Commons-licensed images – as long as you correctly attribute according to the terms of the license under which the image is offered. Some Creative Commons images only require attribution and link-back, others are only available for non-commercial use, or may be used but not altered. This infographic by adityadipankar is a great “crash course” in Creative Commons:
There are a number of sites where you may find usable images. Creative Commons and Wikimedia are two. My personal favorites are Flickr and Google Images—but you have to filter on only those with a creative commons license. For example, on Flickr it’s at http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/ but on Google, you have to go to the advanced image search and scroll down to “usage rights” and choose “free to use or share.” Keep in mind, Google protects itself with the warning:
So, you found a usable image but aren’t sure exactly how to properly attribute the photo? This blog post (by Peter McDermott) does a great job of explaining and demonstrating:
The bottom line when looking for images to use in your blog posts (or web page, portfolio, etc.)… as Benjamin Franklin said, “When in doubt, don’t! “
What sources do you use for finding images? What advice would you add?
As promised in my last post, here are more tips from the St. Louis PRSA Career Development Day. Digital marketing maven and Director of Marketing at Cantor & Burger Staci Harvatin gave the luncheon keynote on building your personal brand.
To demonstrate why your digital personal brand matters, Harvatin quoted a few statistics from a 2013 Jobvite survey:
That certainly got the audience’s attention—pros and students alike!
She went on to say that an active brand is the best brand. Many recruiters use Twitter to vet candidates for their style, attitude and communication aptitude—soft skills, things that are difficult to determine from a traditional resume. Her tips to building your brand online included:
Harvatin suggests Googling yourself often—remembering to turn off “private results” so you are seeing what someone else would see. She even suggests setting up a Google Alert with your name so you can keep track of any mention of you (aka your brand).
Personally, I use the free version of BrandYourself. It tracks my search results and alerts me (via email) whenever the results change. It even offers a “search score” based on how many positive versus negative results are on my first page of Google search results.
Harvatin wrapped up her presentation saying that if you want your personal profiles (like Facebook) to be private, then lock them up! Check and double-check your privacy settings. If you are commenting on something that you don’t want to be associated with publicly/professionally, use a different email address and alias and do not link back to your professional persona.
In addressing why this matters, Harvatin concluded there are two major advantages( and I’ve added a third of my own):
1. You’re leaving breadcrumbs of content with which you want to be associate
2. You are building a REAL network of professional contacts
3. The more professionally active you are online, the more those activities push down less desirable search results
What additional advice would you offer? What strategies do you use to remain visible online?
For the fourth year in a row, I had the pleasure of participating in the annual PRSA St. Louis Career Development Day (formerly known as Pro-Am Day) on Friday, February 28. PRSSA chapters, as well as PR, communications and mass media students within a few hours’ drive, were invited to join us for this phenomenal professional development and networking event. Of the more than 100 attendants were students representing 11 different universities from both sides of the Mississippi River—and from as far away as Murray, Kentucky!
Prior to the luncheon and the afternoon PR pro industry roundtable discussions, the day kicked off with a panel of PR talent and recruiting professionals:
The panel was moderated by Sandi Straetker, APR, who posed some basic but essential questions before taking questions from attendees. There was a ton of good information and I was writing so quickly that my notes are nearly indiscernible, but here are some highlights.
Many PR students choose to double major or minor in journalism, mass media, advertising, creative design and other communications-related areas, so we asked Cockrell to briefly discuss how students and pros alike may showcase samples of their work. There are so many sites and tools out there it would be impossible to name them all but he suggested WordPress, Wix, Blogger and SquareSpace as relatively simple options with pre-created templates to choose from. However, if you’re leaning to the creative and design side, Behance offers the most customization (no templates). Cockrell suggested CodeAcademy as a great resource to learn basic coding. He noted that this skill will also give you a leg up on those candidates who have no coding knowledge.
Even if you have no real-world experience, you have options. You could create a made-up campaign and build a portfolio around it. (NOTE: Always disclose if it’s made-up work!) However, Sargent suggested an even better option would be to volunteer for a non-profit organization in event planning, media relations, social media, marketing creative, digital content—wherever you can get some relevant experience.
Finally, all job seekers should be aware of what can be found about them online. The HR professionals on the panel stated they do look at LinkedIn profiles but not a candidate’s Facebook page, as people are entitled to their personal lives—and they are prohibited by law to access any information that could be used in a discriminatory way. However, they admitted that personal and professional lines are now blurred so be careful and use good judgment about what you’re posting, and be very cognizant and diligent about your Facebook privacy settings. On the other hand, many hiring managers do vet job candidates through social media and indicated that business-appropriate Twitter (and Google Plus community) sharing and participation is encouraged.
Do your job hunting experiences jibe with our panelists’ advice? Do you have additional advice to offer?
PS – I told you there was a ton of great information! And this was just from the opening panel. Stay tuned for some personal branding tips and statistics from the keynote speaker in my next post.
You studied hard, joined PRSSA, did multiple internships, networked, graduated, networked some more and got a job. Phew! Now, you no longer have to worry about your LinkedIn activity, participate in that Twitter chat or attend local industry events, right? Wrong!
In case you haven’t already figured it out, the PR industry is like a big small-town. There aren’t six degrees of separation, in many cases there are barely three. It seems everyone knows everyone (or knows someone who knows someone). This tight-knittedness is capable of swinging the pendulum in your favor–or not. The choice, really, is yours.
How do you hold on to that network you’ve worked so hard to build? How do you continue to build that network, and make it work for you?
1. My first suggestion is to not just attend your PRSA chapter meetings, but volunteer and get involved. As current president of the PRSA-St. Louis Chapter, I can tell you that having new pros on our committees are just as important as having senior pros. You provide a different perspective, and we need all viewpoints represented. In addition, You will work side-by-side with seasoned pros, who will get to know your solid work ethic first-hand and meet people you may have not have had access to otherwise. Volunteering is work, and creates work experience.
2. Participate in Twitter chats. Not just #NPPRSA, but other industry-related chats, such as #PRprochat started by Carrie Morgan, or the #SoloPR chat spearheaded by Kellye Crane. Not only may you meet your next recruit, but many senior pros participate in those chats as well. Doing this keeps you in front of your network, expands your network, and may even provide informational content you can later expand into a blog post!
3. Join applicable LinkedIn groups and participate in the discussions. Don’t feel like you can’t contribute if you don’t know the answers–ask questions, there may be others with the same question.
4. I’m sure you have certain industry-leading blogs to which you subscribe. Don’t just read those posts, comment and reply to other comments. Add value to the community. Warning: be careful to not over-do it; you don’t want to comes across as a stalker.
5. Finally, swinging back to #1 – involvement in your local PR organization. You should at least set a goal of attending one event per quarter (4 per year). And don’t just attend; make a point of introducing yourself to at least three new people at each event. Then, within a couple days of the event, connect with them on LinkedIn—reminding them where you met and thanking them for the conversation, then follow-up. The follow-up doesn’t have to be often but does need to be pertinent and professional.
A case in point: a while back I wrote a post on mentoring for BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog. In it, I mentioned that Lori George Billingsley, director of issues communications at The Coca-Cola Company and past PRSA Multicultural Communications Section chair, claims her mentor has been instrumental in helping her secure all of the PR jobs she’s held. That’s a pretty powerful testament to her networking, diligence and professionalism!
There’s no doubt that social media makes it much easier to keep in touch with people. However, no matter how much you keep in touch electronically, nothing beats face-to-face conversations to build your network!
Share what you’re doing to build and strengthen your network in the comments below.
This post originally appeared on the blog PRNewPros.
As public relations and communications professionals, we all create content. Writing is a core competency to this profession, and is frequently discussed with and emphasized to those preparing for a career in PR. While it’s still true that writing skills are critical, and are no less important than they were, storytelling is now more than just words.
At a recent IABC St. Louis and PRSA St. Louis joint event, Dave Collett, EVP and GM of Weber Shandwick St. Louis, and Chris Vary, VP digital at Weber Shandwick Southwest, offered examples and tips on how to create compelling content that stands out.
The world’s digital content is increasingly findable and sharable. There is a volume explosion occurring in social and digital content! Using content from an EMC Study called “Extracting Value from Chaos,” Collett and Vary showed a chart demonstrating the growth—about nine times what it was five years ago. In 2011, that was 1.8 zettabytes (new word for me—one zettabyte is approximately one billion terabytes, which in bytes is a one followed by 21 zeros). The study also estimates that by 2015, there will be 7.9 zettabytes of data in existence. These numbers are more than staggering, they’re overwhelming! With the amounts of content filling up cyberspace, your content must be as compelling as ever.
What makes content contagious? According to Vary and Collett, you should ask yourself why would people care, and why would people share? The answers should be that the content is:
They offered up several examples of wildly popular campaigns. Red Bull’s Stratos – Felix Baumgartner’s supersonic freefall from 128,000 feet – which broke all kinds of records (and not just the physical ones). This demonstrates Red Bull’s success with promoting a lifestyle, not just a product.
You don’t have to have those kinds of numbers for your campaign to be a success. Vary and Collett presented another example–Stratasys, a company that makes 3D printers. They “printed” a robotic exoskeleton for a little girl who couldn’t raise her arms. She dubbed them her “magic arms.” There was lots of media coverage and I dare you to watch the YouTube video and not get a little misty-eyed. (Note if you’re in a hurry, after the first two minutes, jump to 2:55 for the rest.) This is an emotionally engaging example of focusing on the human side and the product’s effect of on people.
Content doesn’t always have to be serious. Content doesn’t have to be expensive, either. It can even be irreverent—depending, of course, on your industry and organization’s business mission. Just take a look at DollarShaveClub.com’s brotastic and amusing “Our Blades are F***ing Great” campaign.
Vary and Collett stressed that while these are all YouTube examples, and video is a great platform, compelling content doesn’t have to be video. Mappings have been trending in the past year or so. Haven’t we all done the New York Times Online questionnaire that asks you questions about your vernacular and then predicts where you live or are from? Facebook offered up its own version of mapping with the NFL team allegiance charts. You can create features like this yourself by using the Facebook graph search, using U.S. census data, or another data source—the key is to package it in a compelling manner.
The bottom line is, it’s not just about awareness anymore. PR now creates awareness and engagement—actions, enrollments, sales, whatever—to support the overall business objectives of the organization. What are some of the most compelling pieces of content you’ve seen recently, and what aspects have you applied to your own content? How do you continue to create compelling content, and where do you find your inspiration?