We Are Communication Architects

Building brand awareness through content creation and community engagement.

April 14th, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 4/14: Mastering The Art of the Tweet, Mending Reporter Relationships & More


Social Media

5 Tips on Mastering the Art of the Tweet

“If you’re in any way involved with an online business, the importance of social will have invariably been drilled into you by this stage. A simple Google search will also inundate you with more ‘guides to social’ than you’ll know what to do with. Analysis paralysis is more prevalent than ever in an age where we have access to, in many cases, too much information. It’s my hope that this post will ease your paralysis, for Twitter at least.”

Voce Insight – Of all these tips, limiting your tweets to around 100 characters might be the best. As the article points out, this lets people retweet or add on to your message without altering it. It also saves room for you to add a photo in before tweeting out if you choose.

Instagram Post Notifications: This Week in Social Media

“Instagram introduced a new feature that allows you to receive push notifications when your favorite accounts post a photo or video.”

Voce Insight – To get push notifications for someone you follow on Instagram, open his or her profile page and then tap the triple-dot button in the upper-right corner. Then from the menu, tap Turn on Post Notifications. Now, when that person posts a photo, you’ll be among the first to know.

Public Relations

4 Things Journalists Look for on HARO

One of the first rules of journalism is properly citing your sources. If a HARO response comes back and it’s just the person’s first name (or worse, a single initial) with no title or company website, I have no idea who that person is and whether he or she is a credible source.

Voce Insight – When replying to an inquiry on HARO, don’t make it impossible for the journalist to use your information. Make sure to provide all key identifying facts and figures, and answer their questions in quick, quotable answers. The easier you make it for the journalist, the more likely they are to use your response.

How to patch up a relationship with an enraged reporter

“If it appears a miscommunication has happened, it’s best to get on the phone and have a chat. Hearing a person’s voice gives you an opportunity to remember we are real humans trying to do our jobs and provides the asset of communication via tone.”

Voce Insight – As a PR pro, it’s important to remember that journalists are people, too. Reporters are bombarded by PR folk who are always towing the company line and trying to stay on message. It’s ok to let loose and crack a joke or show some personality. That is what helps develop relationships.


Don’t Set Your Own Career Ceiling

“The biggest thing is to never set an artificial ceiling for yourself. If you want more growth, don’t hide behind the belief that someone else needs to give you permission to do what you want to do. Your professional ceiling is set by you.”

Voce Insight – It’s important to remember that only you can limit how far you will go in your career. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Going above and beyond your regular job duties will show your manager that not only do you manage your time well, but also that you’re ready for the responsibilities that come with a promotion.

Pick Your Bosses Well

“You have to ask in a conversational manner so as not to make the person uncomfortable. But if you don’t ask, you won’t know until it’s too late. I’d rather raise issues now and see their reaction. They will either be intrigued by your questions and therefore you or they will be intimidated. Either way you gather information that you need to know for you to decide if you want to work with that person.”

Voce Insight – Having regular check-ins with your managers with direct conversations ensures that you are working well together. This also prevents miscommunications and makes an annual review less stressful.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

April 7th, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 4/7: Pinterest Launches New ‘Pin It’ Button, What Journalists Love About PR & More


Social Media

Pinterest’s launches new ‘Pin It’ button for faster bookmarking

“Pinterest launched a new “Pin It” button on Thursday that makes it faster for users to bookmark content across the Internet. According to the company, the new and improved button, which Pinterest users can install as an extension for web browsers including Safari, Chrome and Firefox, trims the number of clicks needed to save web content — articles, photos, and so on — from six clicks to three.”

Voce Insight – Pinterest is making it even easier to save things you find online, right from your Web browser. The new and improved ‘Pin It; button cuts the number of clicks it takes to save something from the Web in half. Before it took four clicks to save a Pin. With the new Pin It button, you can Pin to your board in just two clicks.

Snapchat Makes New Efforts to Push Out Third-Party Developers

“Third-party Snapchat apps are about to get a lot less reliable. The company is taking new steps to tighten security and limit outside apps’ access to its service, the company revealed Thursday.”

Voce Insight – For a company that markets itself on privacy, this is a great step in the right direction. By limiting third-party apps, Snapchat can further ensure that user data isn’t compromised and stays secure. By taking steps to prevent a “Snapocalypse,” the company will increase its appeal.

Public Relations

5 Things PR Pros Do That Journalists Love

“I have a handful of PR contacts (you know who you are!) for whom I will bend over backwards simply because they’ve gone out of their way to be friendly. These are the people who ask me about my interests outside of work, comment on something funny I shared on social media and talk to me without constantly trying to pitch me. If they’re in the area, I’m always happy to meet these people for coffee, drinks or even puppy play dates. Even though we’re professional contacts, it never feels like work to help a friend.”

Voce Insight – It’s important to remember that journalists are people just like everyone else. Just as you wouldn’t like getting constant requests from someone with nothing in return, neither do journalists. While you don’t want to waste their time, don’t forget to be “real.” Make sure you’re giving just as much as you’re asking for, or else your relationship will eventually sour.

60 Twitter tools for PR and marketing pros

“Whatever your client’s industry–be it organic farming or interior design–Topsy will give you the number of relevant tweets and trends and then list out the most popular tweets. It’s a great resources for finding interesting content and relevant twitter accounts to follow.”

Voce Insight – You can get a lot out of Twitter as it is: It’s an excellent network to find experts, read interesting articles and jump into conversations. But sometimes PR and marketing pros want to do more. Check out this article for 60 useful Twitter tools for PR pros.


Interviewing Strategies That Convert to Job Offers

“Throw out the idiom, “practice makes perfect.” Practice makes nervousness and kills confidence. In reality, job seekers who frequently interview do so because they encounter excessive rejection. This hurts confidence and optimism which erodes interviewing performance.”

Voce Insight – 3. Learn how to focus. We can’t begin to tell you how important this one is. Candidates often don’t think about whether they are actually answering the questions their interviewers ask. Make sure you understand what is being asked, and get further clarification if you are unsure. Don’t ramble on and on about something irrelevant to the question you’re being asked.

Glamour EIC’s Cindi Leive’s Career Tips: Ask for the Job You Want

“Being firm and clear is the key to managing: “The big challenge for me was learning how to be firm and clear. It’s very reassuring for employees to understand what is expected of them. Otherwise, how will they know that they’re doing a good job? Finding a way to do that while also creating an office that is warm and friendly and engaging is a balancing act that it took me a while to master.””

Voce Insight – Balance is key when it comes to your job. It’s a balancing act to know how to be polite, but firm. It’s a balancing act to know when to bring work home with you and when to say home time is home time. Whenever you find yourself swinging too far in one direction, take some time to reevaluate your priorities and achieve a greater sense of balance.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

March 31st, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 3/31: Periscope, the Resume Skills Section & More


Social Media

As Twitter Introduces Periscope, Tech Titans Bet on Live Streaming Video

“The premise of Periscope, Meerkat and others is simple: Capture video of yourself doing anything from exploring a new city to playing with your dog, all using nothing more than your smartphone camera. The apps notify others that you are streaming live video of yourself, and you can share it with your friends and followers.”

Voce Insight – As Periscope joins the cavalcade of live streaming apps to gain major attention, it will be interesting to see how individuals, journalists and brands utilize it for breaking news or broadcasting events.

3 Things We Learned About Social Media Marketing When Zayn left One Direction

“In a social media context anyone has the power to spread misinformation and lies about you or your brand. By being the first to share news, you inherently become the most reputable source on the matter. As people share your announcement, other, less reliable sources will fade into the background.”

Voce Insight – One of the hardest parts to get right of any social publishing program is how to handle breaking news, specifically whether to curate or not. Remember that even if you can’t be the first one out with news there’s still a significant advantage to being early in the RTing/Sharing timeline. It helps establish you or the brand you work for as a source of news, which has long-term benefits for the entire program.

Public Relations

PR, Advertising Execs Say ‘Integrate or Die’

“The worlds of public relations and advertising are colliding. Traditionally limited to their own silos, the two industries have increasingly decided to integrate in order to keep up with the demands of evolving clients and their customers.”

Voce Insight – Although advertising and public relations have their own domains, they have been colliding online for some time now. Understanding where these lines are blurring and how it affects the long term image of a client will help you target and coordinate your efforts.

Marketing 2.0: What Does This Mean for PR Professionals?

“Working in public relations as a PR specialist requires the innate ability to showcase brands while promoting companies in a positive light. Understanding marketing 2.0 and how to effectively move forward with new tactics and methods is a way to outshine competitors while making a professional name for yourself within the industry.”

Voce Insight – Sending press releases online is one of the quickest methods to gain momentum and to get others talking about your company and the products, services and content it has to offer. Optimized press releases can show up high in search engines when anyone searches on Google, Yahoo! etc.


For the Fresh Graduates: How to Get an Entry Level Job

“So, you’ve graduated and have that wonderful qualification behind you, but now what? You may have a great resume and that impressive education but how can you actually get your foot in the door? Well we have some words of wisdom for you that will hopefully get you on the right career path with an entry level job you’ll be happy with.”

Voce Insight – Graduation is right around the corner, and everyone is desperately looking to land a full-time gig somewhere. This article highlights very useful tips on getting an entry level job. Always remember that once in the process, don’t try to get yourself hired. Instead, try to not get cut. Trying to get hired makes you do things like make one phone call too many, share one piece of information too much, or go one inch too far over the line.

Resume Skills Section: What Recruiters & Hiring Managers See

“When you include a standalone Skills section on your resume, your readers see claims for your skills and experience, but no context. Lack of context causes all but the most naïve reader to feel skeptical about what you have written.”

Voce Insight – “Skills” section on resumes are slowly fading away. Truly, there is no context behind your skills that you list on your resume. Potential employers might even wonder if you just pulled keywords out of their job posting and plopped them into your resume. No one is going to write anything negative in their skills section, so it’s just a few words that may or may not be true. Don’t waste space by adding a separate skills section on your resume.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

March 24th, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 3/24: How to Craft Headlines, 10 Things Companies Look for in PR Hires & More


Social Media

How to Craft Headlines That Draw People to Your Content

“Do your headlines capture the attention of the right people? Need some good ideas to enhance your headlines? A great headline gets your audience to stop, read and share your content. In this article you’ll discover four ways to craft stronger headlines to engage your readers.”

Voce Insight – Surely you’ve heard the saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover.’ However, most people DO judge a post by its headline. A great headline convinces more people to read your copy while a poor one sends potential customers searching for somewhere else to spend their money and time. Headlines are so important that a single word can impact a campaign dramatically.

Instagram finally puts together its own collage app, called Layout

“Collage lovers on Instagram, it might be your lucky day. Instagram is rolling out Layout, a free, standalone app that merges multiple images into one. It’s available on iOS now (on the App Store), and an Android version is expected in the next few months.”

Voce Insight – As the article points out, this continues the trend Facebook started of creating companion apps, rather than forcing new features into one main app. Even if collage posts are nothing new to Instagram, this new app is sure to encourage more, and offers another avenue for marketers to engage their audiences.

Public Relations

What is the difference between marketing and PR?

“My definition of public relations is deepening the intensity of connection an entity (company, individual, organisation) has with the people who matter most to the success of their business, cause or issue. These could be your clients or customers, industry influencers such as analysts, bloggers or journalists; it may also be a local council, industry body or government authority if they’re somehow integral to the successful running of your business.”

Voce Insight – Defining public relations in relation to similar fields, like marketing, will help inform your daily decision making and larger scope planning. Recognizing the similarities and differences will also help you form a productive relationship with marketing departments of clients.

3 steps to get ahead with PR internships

“The more experience you have in different sectors, the easier it will be to know what you are interested in when it comes time to find full time work. It will also help you choose an agency or an in-house position at a particular company.”

Voce Insight – PR internships are great because they offer valuable experience and a feel of what your career will consist of. The more experience you have in the different sectors of PR, the easier it will be to know what sparks your interest when it comes time to find a full-time job. The following article lists three steps that will help future PR pros take advantage of internships and get ahead of the competition.


7 Things Job Seekers Do That Instantly Turn Employers Off

“Misspelling in the email, cover letter, or resume is a no-no. Employers expect professional communication, so double check all your written work before sending it out. How you present yourself in person, on the phone, or on paper all leaves an impression. If you show carelessness, what’s to say you’ll be any different on the job?”

Voce Insight – An interview is a discussion between you and an employer to find out if you can do the job. It’s your chance to make a good impression. However, there are certain rules you should follow in interviews. This article shares seven things that turn employers off, which you should NOT do.

10 things companies look for in PR hires

“A recent infographic from The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations at the University of Alabama offers highlights from interviews of some leaders in the PR industry to find out what they’re looking for in new hires. Here are a few examples of what they had to say. You’ll notice that one word in particular keeps coming up: Intangibles.”

Voce Insight – The value of PR is intangible, so it’s no wonder that some of the prerequisites for employment in the field are the same. To pick one such intangible, unending curiosity is a help. To perform their job well, PR professionals have to be continuously educating themselves about their clients and what field they operate in.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

March 18th, 2015

Your Personal Brand, Your Story


Cafe Convo-2

Whether you are looking for a job or trying to stand out as an industry expert, your personal brand is key. It’s the difference between getting the job and not,  the difference between making the sale and not. Social is all about relationships and if that prospect can’t see who you are as a person and what your passions are then you will not close the deal – plain and simple! When people think of their personal brand, they think of their social media profile but that’s only part of the plan. You need to take a step back and think about the following:

  • What is your story?
  • What do you want to be known for?
  • Is it of interest to others?
  • How would you present it in-person and online?

Let’s go over those three questions.

What is your story?

Just like a startup, you need an elevator pitch and you need to be prepared to say it on a moment’s notice in 60 seconds or less. That includes not just your work experience but who you are as a person, what your opinions are on trending pop culture topics and where you see yourself going in 5 to 10 years. It doesn’t matter whether you know or not but at least have a plan that you’ve put some thought into it. In telling your story, remember that you need to be authentic and honest. People need to believe you, you need to believe in yourself and needs to come across like you are passionate.

What do you want to be known for?

When a question like above is asked, people’s usual response is  that they are a pretty normal person and don’t really have anything to say. Well, then my response is “what is your goal?”. What do you want people to think when they hear or say your name. “Darn that Randy Ksar he is such a [adjective] [noun]“.  This is especially important if you’re transitioning in your career or it’s your first time joining a community. Let’s take the transitioning career example. Say you were an engineer focused on front-end web development for about 5 years and then decided to go into marketing.  How do you make that transition? First, you need get the necessary skills (of course). Second, your social network needs to be aligned around your new goals, both in terms of the profile itself and the material you’re publishing. After all, you don’t want to give the impression that you still have one foot in your old career.

Are you and your story interesting to others?

Full disclosure: I ask myself this question all the time. You know your friends that are the greatest storytellers? They  set the stories up perfectly and grab everyone’s attention, they have a good joke and then boom everyone erupts laughing! That is a skill in itself. Use that and other skills on social media, where engaging content wins and the ability to tell a story is key to success. The story that you share with others about who you are as an individual needs to resonate. If your personal brand and the content you write about doesn’t then why bother. Spend the time to talk with a few other people in your network about the proposed changes you are making to your personal brand. In addition, search for the industry experts and ask for 5 to 10 minutes of their time to get feedback. Here are a few questions I would ask:

  • If I were to change my profile to reflect this [enter in skill or request or theme] how would you react?
  • I’ve recently launched a new mobile app and want to give out product launch tips to entrepreneurs. Would this topic interest you?
  • What do you think of my new profile pic (Yes, that photo that you’ve had for 5 years needs to change)
  • Who are the top influencers in [industry A] and what makes them standout?

How would you present it in-person?

Public speaking is the world’s #1 fear. Not snakes or heights but standing in front of a crowd and speaking. With your personal brand and telling your story you have a good first impression to leave. Over my years, I learned by trial and error (jobs I got and jobs I didn’t) but also thru the help of an organization called Toastmasters. I joined back in 2006 when I was working for Yahoo!. I was hesitant on joining because I thought I was a good speaker but I found out within the first meeting that the honest and authentic feedback was refreshing and much needed. The presentation can be creative and engaging. Think different as the Apple ads used to say. How can you differentiate yourself from others in the same field? How can you make your style uniquely you? Where do you start in finding your style? Jot down three to five people that you admire on how they tell their stories. Pinpoint how they emotionally connect with their audience and see how your style can do the same. If there is one thing I want to remember from this post – emotionally connect with your audience.  It will make or break the way you build relationships at work and in the rest of your life.

Filed in Career Development

March 17th, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 3/17: How Millennials Get the News, 12 Things Successful People Never Reveal at Work & More


Social Media

Obsessing Over the Perfect Social Media Post is Ruining Your Life, Study Says

“About 58% of people surveyed said “posting the perfect picture has prevented them from enjoying life experiences.” Sound familiar? Trying to get that perfect concert photo, or just the right sunset pic sometimes interferes with enjoying the experience itself.”

Voce Insight – This survey/ infographic provides valuable insight into how people use social media to capture exciting life events. While a love of social media is key to having a career in PR/ Social, it’s important to not let social media use get in the way of real-life. So go ahead, tweet that picture of you at the beach, but then put the phone away and enjoy it while you can!

Snapchat Rising in Popularity With Youth

“Some 73% of Americans aged 12 and older use a social networking site or service, up from 67% last year, according to the latest annual Infinite Dial study. Among users aged 12-24, Facebook (74%, down from 80% last year) is the most popular platform, but Instagram (59%, up from 53%) and Snapchat in particular (57%, up from 46%) are gaining steam.”

Voce Insight – There’s been plenty of evidence streaming in that Snapchat is a rising social network, especially among teens. With the launch of the “Our Story” feature, Snapchat took its first big steps beyond the friend-to-friend photo messaging experience, offering a platform that could potentially appeal to paying customers like music festivals or sports teams looking to reach the Millennial crowd.

Public Relations

Media Relations: A Bureau Chief’s Perspective

“Many PR pros assume that they collaborate with journalists. For some journalists, however, that’s a false assumption. Howard Arenstein, the bureau manager for CBS Radio News in Washington, D.C., is among that group. “I don’t consider myself to be working with the PR industry,” he said.”

Voce Insight – Hearing from the media how they prefer to be contacted and what their pet peeves are is always valuable. More than anything, respect the audience of a particular journalist and work together to understand what interests them. This will establish your credibility.

How Millennials Get News: Inside the habits of America’s first digital generation

“A new comprehensive study that looks closely at how people learn about the world on these different devices and platforms finds that this newest generation of American adults is anything but “newsless,” passive, or civically uninterested.”

Voce Insight – Today’s readers, watchers and listeners are diffuse. They spread themselves across many platforms and do not necessarily go straight to news providers. Communicating with journalists is important, but understanding how their audience consumes news is even more meaningful for your career.


12 Personal Things Successful People Never Reveal at Work

“There will always be incompetent people in any workplace, and chances are that everyone knows who they are. If you don’t have the power to help them improve or to fire them, then you have nothing to gain by broadcasting their ineptitude. Announcing your colleague’s incompetence comes across as an insecure attempt to make you look better. Your callousness will inevitably come back to haunt you in the form of your coworkers’ negative opinions of you.”

Voce Insight – There’s a difference between being open with your coworkers and oversharing. Think carefully before you share personal details about your life. You never know when what you share could be used as ammunition against you.

5 Key Characteristics Of The Best Team Players

“From a young age, we’re told there’s no ‘I’ in team, and that teamwork is an essential part of success. Part of being on a team requires us to contribute something valuable to our teammates. There are certain qualities that all great team players bring to the table, and there’s no denying that the best teams want them.”

Voce Insight – If you’re hoping to land a job in the communications field, chances are you’ll be working in groups more than you think. When working in teams, it’s important to remember that everyone on your team has a role. Being part of a team environment means recognizing your role, as well as understanding the value of everyone else’s roles, so you may all integrate your roles for the purpose of accomplishing the team goal.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

March 10th, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 3/10: Hashtag Do’s and Don’ts, How to Ace a PR Internship Interview & More


Social Media

Are You a ‘Hash-Hole’

“#Not #only #does #this #make #your #caption #unreadable, #but #it #makes #you #look #incredibly #desperate #for #Instagram #love. There are clever ways to implement hashtags in your captions, and they can still get you likes or new followers.”

Voce Insight – People, please don’t abuse the hashtag. Tweets are restricted to only 140 characters. so you don’t want a hashtag taking up 50% of the letters in your tweet. There’s no limit to Facebook post length, but keep them short to avoid annoying your fans and friends. Hashtags are used to mark keywords or topics – not to be used #for #every #word #in #your #social #message. No, no, no. While they *used* to play an important role in search they are now primarily a way for users to categorize their messages and should be used accordingly.

Instagram ‘carousel ads’ let you swipe left to learn more

“Instagram broadened its options for advertisers on Wednesday with a new type of ad unit that lets readers swipe left to learn more about the brand or product. Called carousel ads, the product was developed after marketers clamored for a way to “tell sequenced stories in beautiful, compelling ways that lead to meaningful results for their businesses,” the Facebook unit wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.”

Voce Insight – This is another sign that Instagram’s meteoric rise is not lost on marketers. Brands will be salivating over 300 million users. As the author notes, Instagram has been cautious to roll out sponsored posts slowly, protective of the sites aesthetic. This will be an important trend to track as marketing activity on Instagram picks up.

Public Relations

Your Quick Guide to B2C Public Relations

“No amount of great marketing will get an audience to stay if you draw them in and then repel them with shoddy product. In order to keep your audience, you need to know your product from top to bottom. Find its weaknesses and cover them. Advertise its strengths so that you do not have to exaggerate to your potential customers.”

Voce Insight – Knowing your product and knowing what audience to target are huge parts of B2C public relations. While the concept may seem easy, knowledge about how your product will appeal to a certain audience is easier said than done. PR students can practice this skill by choosing products they see in everyday life and trying to break down the best aspects of the product, who the key audience would be, and how they could create buzz for said product. You may do this in some of your courses, but the more real-life practice you have, the better you’ll be prepared for your first internship or entry-level job.

10 Ways to Power Up Your Press Releases

“Your press release should contain enough information to let customers and journalists know why your news is important, but is should also include a hook that encourages further questions.”

Voce Insight – There’s a fine line between teasing your audience and leaving out pertinent information. You want to provide enough of a hook to make journalists and customers want to reach out for more information, but don’t leave out so much information that your message gets lost. Put your key facts in the press release, but make it enticing enough so journalists will come to you for more.


Infographic: Tips to Help You Ace Your PR Internship Interview

“It’s a good indication that spring is just around the corner: the scramble among recent college graduates to land PR internships. Whether it’s for a corporate or agency gig, there are several ways to prepare for an interview and boost your odds of getting the internship.”

Voce Insight – The truth is most interviewers are going to know little about you beyond what they glean from a couple minutes of scanning your resume before you meet. The most important way to prepare is to research the company you are applying to and connect your past experience to your prospective role. In this way, you’re doing the hard part for the interviewers and showcasing your qualifications. Moreover, this preparation will increase your confidence and put you more at ease, making positive non-verbal communication effortless.

How To Ask For A Letter of Recommendation

“With spring break around the corner, now is prime time for college students to apply for summer internships. Having a letter of recommendation can provide your character backing and/or academic accomplishments to help a future boss understand what a superstar you are.”

Voce Insight – Asking your professor for a letter of recommendation is by no means an easy task. Prepare your email request to send it at least five to six weeks before the date by which the recommendation must be received. Don’t wait until the last minute. Professors lead busy lives, and you don’t want them to rush through your recommendation. Most importantly, choose a professor who can write a letter that includes specifics about your personal characteristics and accomplishments.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

March 3rd, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 3/3: Five Things You Should Never Do at Work, Email Etiquette for PR Pros & More


Social Media

15 Ways You’re Probably Misusing Social Media

“Don’t be the account that only talks about itself. Don’t be a self-centered know-it-all. Pay attention to what others are saying not just about you and your brand, but about their own products and services, too. Mine the media for knowledge and expertise as much as mentions, questions, criticism, and praise. Thank people for sharing your content and don’t forget to return the favor.”

Voce Insight – Listening is one of the most important aspects of social media marketing. Nobody wants to interact with the brand that only talks about themselves and their products. Take the time to respond back to fans; answer their questions, join in with their jokes, share their insights. Being authentic will go much farther toward bringing your page engagement, rather than blatant self-promotion 24/7.

How Small Businesses Should Be Using Social Media

“What do you hope to gain from social media? If a high follower count or an overnight viral post is your idea of social success, you may learn the hard way that those things in themselves are not guaranteed to bring you more business. Instead of a one-hit wonder, your main focus should be meaningful interaction, with the end goal of building a dedicated fan base.”

Voce Insight – Though the author addresses this article to small business owners, the lessons within are equally applicable to aspiring PR professionals starting out at a firm. Remember that likes and comments are the byproduct of meaningful engagement, and not the ultimate goal is most important when approaching social media.

Public Relations

Email Etiquette for PR Pros

“The “BCC” function is there for a reason. Seeing a lengthy distribution list is not only annoying, it’s also strategically unwise. Now I know what other journalists have seen the news and may write about the subject. As such, I have no interest in writing about the subject.”

Voce Insight – Many of the rules listed in this article may seem like common sense, but that they’re listed at all shows that breaking them when emailing journalists is still all too common. Before you start sending large amounts of emails each day, this is a good article to review and internalize.

A Tiny College Offers PR Crisis Lesson Businesses Should Study

“What happened after the article was released was a time of uncertainty for Shimer. The institution, with virtually no endowment and roughly 80 students, didn’t really know what to do. Do they vehemently dispute the findings? Use paid advertisements to help market its messages? What the college finally decided on was interesting: owning it.”

Voce Insight – Shimer College’s actions in the wake of being placed on a list of “America’s Worst Colleges” is a rubric for how to handle criticism. Acknowledging the critique, proving that you’ve read it and then owning the faults can persuade people to hear your side of the story. It shows a level of honesty and thoughtfulness that resonates.


5 Cover Letter Mistakes That Lost You the Interview

“Just like in any relationship, you don’t want to come off needy. It’s a turnoff and makes you sound inexperience and immature. Don’t beg for the job, prove that you are qualified and it would be a mistake NOT to interview.”

Voce Insight – Your cover letter is the first impression that a future employer will have of you. Don’t take the lazy way out and recycle your cover letter over and over to each potential job listing. While it may be more effort, take the time to personalize your cover letter to the unique hiring manager and job. A few extra minutes of time may mean the difference between landing an interview, or your resume landing in the trash.

5 Things You Should Never Do at Work

“Have you ever received a company survey that asks you to rate your employer (and boss) in the form of an “e-survey”? Were you told that the information you shared would be “confidential”? If so, you need to know there is a big difference between confidential and anonymous.”

Voce Insight – A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t want your boss to know what you’re doing at work, then you probably shouldn’t do it. Especially when it comes to your first internship or job, your relationships with your boss and coworkers are worth their weight in gold. Don’t jeopardize your chance for a good recommendation by getting caught IM’ing friends all day or getting caught in a lie. While it may be tempting to goof off at work from time to time, remember that every action has a consequence, and that little bit of “freedom” may have horrible repercussions.

Filed in Career Development, Uncategorized, Weekly Reading

February 24th, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 2/24: Play Music and Shoot Video at the Same Time with Snapchat, Things PR Pros Should Never Say to Reporters & More


Social Media

8 Social Media Mistakes That Are Killing Your Brand

“Posting the same types of content again and again can convey the impression that your brand is boring, uncreative or just not in tune with your audience. Instead of posting link after link or quote after quote, change things up by posting a wide variety of content.”

Voce Insight – If you end up landing a job in social media after college, it’s not easy. Start building practice now, starting with your own social media channels. It might seem obvious, but get rid of any negative posts and pictures! Future employers will judge you by the company you keep. Be sure to highlight the good stuff. You should certainly post things you’re interested in, organizations you care passionately about and community activities you participate in. Whatever you do, don’t stop on social media. This will slowly lead to killing your brand.

Snapchat Now Lets You Shoot Video And Play Music At The Same Time

“Snapchat has solved one of the most annoying problems with mobile video so you can finally record your dance parties, even if you’re the DJ. The feature has just rolled out to iOS with the release of Snapchat version 9.2.0, but has yet to appear in the Android version hosted now on Google Play.”

Voce Insight – If you’ve ever tried to record a Snapchat video of a song playing in your car, you know that it’s impossible to do if the song is playing on the same device that you’re Snapchatting with. Have no fear! Snapchat has solved one of the most annoying problems with mobile video so you can finally play your favorite songs and take a Snapchat video at the same time. Hallelujah!

Public Relations

4 Things PR Pros Should Never Say to Reporters

“Nothing encourages a reporter more than being assured of getting some numbers/stats/financials that can help tell the story. But what the PR department thinks is fair game for reporters the financial department may think is off limits. Make sure those internal relationships are airtight—and you know what numbers are ready for the light of day—before you start making promises to reporters.”

Voce Insight – “Under promise and over deliver” may be a cliché, but nowhere is it more true than when dealing with reporters. A relationship between a PR professional and a reporter can be extremely fragile. You don’t want one big promise to ruin your relationship with a particular reporter forever. Make sure to be very cautious in what promises you put in your pitch. It’s one thing to want to grab the reporters attention, it’s another thing to make promises that you can’t keep.

6 ‘House of Cards’ quotes that apply to PR

“‘Pay attention to the fine print.’ – Frank Underwood in season two, episode three

The devil is in the details. Read, re-read and read between the lines when you prep for media interviews, announcements or agreements. There is no such thing as a standard interview or a standard contract.”

Voce Insight – As the author points out early in the article, our work in the digital age is subject to the scrutiny of many people. This makes it even more important to be incredibly detail-oriented when writing or putting together a project. Reading your work aloud or asking for a second pair of eyes from a coworker when you think you may need one is a great way to guard against simple errors and weed out weaknesses before it’s too late.


Best Advice: Listen, Learn, Lead

“Seeking advice is of little value if you don’t make use of it – and you can’t do that unless you remember it. If you’re one of those people who is not gifted with a “steel trap” type of memory, find a way to quickly and easily create some record of the ideas and advice you garner. Thankfully, smart phones are great for this. Whether you record a message to yourself, write yourself a note or send yourself an e-mail, capture what you’ve learned.”

Voce Insight – Many people have heard the phrase, “be quick to listen, slow to speak.” That is extremely applicable when it comes to your first internship or professional job. This doesn’t mean never speak up or share your ideas, it just means spend as much time as you can absorbing the knowledge around you. Always take notes, and make sure to list action items coming out of every meeting you have. Those simple tips will go a long ways to ensuring that you get the most out of your internship/job experience.

Why You Need to Have Friends at Work [INFOGRAPHIC]

Having friends at work is great, it gives you something to look forward to when you get up in the morning and provides you with an incentive to actually come into work. You want to stay at work if you enjoy spending time with your friends that you have made there and it makes your job easier to cope with.

Voce Insight – Since we spend such a large amount of time at work, it’s important to build relationships with our coworkers. In PR especially, your coworkers should be the reason you get out of bed in the morning. Closer team members intuitively understand each other, care more about the work they collaborate on and are more willing to help with each others’ professional development. Whether its sitting down at the communal lunch table or hanging out after work every once in a while, make an effort to get to know the people you work with.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

February 17th, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 2/17: How to Run an Instagram Contest, Keeping Your Client Happy & More


Social Media

How to get the most out of Pinterest’s Guided Search

Pinterest’s relatively new search feature, Guided Search, is supposed to help you explore the site, “whether you know exactly what you want, or you’re just starting to look around.” In other words, Guided Search is a clever yet easy way to sift through Pinterest’s 750 million boards and 30 billion pins to find what you’re looking for.

Voce Insight – Now when you search for something, descriptive guides will help you filter through all the good ideas from other Pinners. Scroll through the guides and click on any that look interesting to navigate your search in the right direction. The Guided Search helps you make discoveries and find things you didn’t even know you were looking for.

How to Run an Instagram Contest: Four Easy Steps

The beauty of Instagram is that it doesn’t have as many promotion limitations as other platforms. That means you have the opportunity to be as creative with your contest concept as you’d like. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Voce Insight – Instagram is a great platform to use if you’re looking for customer awareness and engagement for your brand. It can also be a great platform for running contests. Choosing a great quality image and having clear, concise instructions goes a long way to ensuring you get a high amount of participation in your contest. You also need to make sure you follow Instagrams promotional rules since violating those policies can have negative consequences for your brand.

Public Relations

5 Tips for Crafting a Successful Email Pitch

When pitching a journalist via email, you have about five seconds to grab his/her attention—and that’s if it’s a slow day in the newsroom. A number of journalists admit to deleting emails from their inboxes in batches of 20 or more. In an era of shrunken budgets and understaffed newsrooms, communicators simply don’t have the luxury of time when trying to catch a reporter’s attention.

Voce Insight – Getting your content in front of journalists and influencers is tough. Not only does it have to appeal to your target audience, be of a certain merit and be ready at the right time, but it’s also got to be picked up by the right person. One of the most important things when writing an email pitch is the subject line. That’s the first thing a report will look at it and you want to make sure it’s catchy, yet straight to the point.

10 Ways PR Pros Can Make Clients Happy

Communication makes everything easier. Schedule periodical calls with your customers to share updates about how things are going and to ask how happy they are with your services on a scale from 1-10, 10 being best.

Voce Insight – Keeping your client happy is the most important task you will face in PR. If you can’t keep your client happy, then more than likely they will be looking for a different PR agency. Keeping communication open and consistent will go a long way to keeping a great relationship with your client. Make sure to respond to requests promptly, even if all you can say is “Let me look into this and get back to you.” A short response, followed by a longer response is much better than waiting hours to respond with the perfect response.


How to Find Out About Work/Life Balance When Interviewing

Traditionally, larger companies lean more towards the time end of this equation – whereas smaller companies may need you to wear various hats, so they value delivery. Either way, find out what the hiring manager values in this equation. And listen to his/her answer – if they come from a more traditional work environment and are essentially attached to their crackberry, they are going to expect that from you… which obviously won’t lead to much balance.

Voce Insight – One of the most common questions asked in an interview is about work/ life balance. While this is an important question, it’s even more important to listen to the answer you receive. At some point in your career, you may hit the crossroad of two choices: flexibility or the title. Some people prefer working strictly 8 hours a day, while others consider themselves restless if they aren’t consistently working or thinking of work. Whichever you may think you are, it’s important to get this question answered in your interview process before you accept a job.

The Career Benefits of Volunteering

Back in high school as we prepared our college applications, we were often asked (sometimes trite) questions about times we’d helped others, served our communities, or been selfless in the face of adversity. We thought to the times our parents had sent us on mission trips, the soup kitchens we’d helped organized, and the kids we tutored at an after school program.

Voce Insight – Volunteering will help you develop new job skills as well as apply current skills in new ways. For example, a mid-career professional who has worked in concert promotions could use her marketing skills to help an organization with their fundraising or other mission-based events. A college student accustomed to doing research for school assignments could volunteer to research an issue or demographic for a nonprofit.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

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