We Are Communication Architects

Building brand awareness through content creation and community engagement.

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

February 10th, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 2/10: Share Your Saved Images on Snapchat, How to Land a Job Even if You Don’t Have the Experience & More


Social Media

How to share your saved images on Snapchat

“Snapchatters rejoice! It is possible to send an image from your Camera Roll in Snapchat. With the ephemeral messaging app’s Chat functionality, you can send photos and screenshots to your friends directly from your smartphone’s photo gallery.”

Voce Insight – The Snapchat app for iOS and Android enables you to share images from your camera roll with your social media friends. In order to enable this feature, head to “Settings” menu, click on “Privacy,” then “Photos” and toggle to “on” for Snapchat.

Google and Twitter Join Hands for the Return of Real-Time Search

In the Q4 earnings calls, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo confirmed the deal with Google, but he also mentioned that it would still take some time for real-time results to start appearing in search pages. With 288 million monthly active users, Twitter intends to reach even more people than before with this deal with Google and get new users signed up to their service.

Voce Insight – Real-time search with Google and Twitter has huge benefits for consumers and marketers. Users can find the most up-to-date information about natural disasters, trending topics around the world, etc. Brands can capitalize on this by watching for trends to interact with, and by trying out the new ad display opportunities that real-time search will bring.

Public Relations

Tips for effective storytelling

“A new infographic from LookbookHQ and Beutler Ink titled “Effective Storytelling” gives marketers some much needed reminders about what it means to tell a story. We’ve never had so many tools and toys at our fingertips to help us tell our brands’ stories. Here are some tips to help you take advantage of them.”

Voce Insight – If you only have time to skim this infographic on information overload, one idea you should retain is “show, don’t tell”. Rather than relying on verbose, tired descriptions of innovation, disruption, or insight, give your reader strong examples and let them make their own inferences. This will make your message shorter and more effective.

4 PR Lessons from Disney Princesses

“We know the songs, princes and goofy sidekicks, but what we failed to realize while watching Disney movies are their hidden PR messages. Walt Disney was seemingly preparing us for future communications careers; it’s amazing how much you can incorporate these fairytale lessons into daily life as a PR executive.”

Voce Insight – Our favorite Disney princesses taught us important lessons to become a successful Public Relations pro. As Walt Disney has taught us, every story has a lesson that can be applied to our lives, both personal and professional. PR pros should consider heeding every warning Belle, Ariel, Snow White and Cinderella have taught us. Non-verbal communication is just as pertinent to a brand as verbal communication: Actions speak louder than words. After all, the princess always gets her happy ever after.


6 Tips for Millennials on Communicating with Older Generations

“Joining a new company is hard enough. When you’re also in your first management position as a fresh-out-of-college millennial, there might be a little extra trepidation when getting started. As a millennial, there will be times when your suggestions aren’t taken seriously and when references or jokes are lost on you. It comes with the territory. But millennials also possess distinct advantages in the workplace — specifically, a different viewpoint and a great level of comfort using new technologies and mediums.”

Voce Insight – As a millennial, you more than likely work a bit differently than your more experienced counterparts, which doesn’t have to be a challenge. Intelligent managers will recognize the value of a younger voice. As long as you have data to support your new ideas, you will be seen as an important asset for the future.

Don’t Have Enough Experience? How to Land the Job Anyway

“Although hiding behind email is tempting, face to face communication is still important in the office. Do your part to improve the team’s collaboration and productivity by actively communicating throughout the work day. Young professionals who communicate effectively are valuable assets and will stand out among their peers who rely on technology.”

Voce Insight – Rome wasn’t built in a day – neither will your career. Envision where you want your career to be in a few years, and start living it, talking it and looking the part. Dress for the position that you want, not the position that you have. Understand what skills you need for the position you want and gain them. Not only does this show initiative, but you will learn the skills you need to get to where you want to be.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

February 3rd, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 2/3: Super Bowl Tweets, Things College Teaches You About the Real World & More


Social Media

Super Bowl XLIX generates 28.4 million tweets

“Super Bowl XLIX was the biggest Super Bowl ever on Twitter, generating 28.4 million tweets, the company announced Monday.”

Voce Insight – Let’s take a moment to appreciate Katy Perry’s halftime performance. It was such a huge moment that it generated 284,000 tweets per minute when it ended. Brands have the opportunity around major events like this to publish contextually-relevant updates that become part of the general social media conversation around them. But for every “Dunk in the Dark” there are dozens of updates that go un-remarked upon or may even come off as off-brand and potentially offensive. This year, for instance, while McDonald’s was heralded by some for their real-time commentary not only on the game but even ads from other companies, it could have easily backfired and become spammy.

What You Need to Know About Facebook’s New Call-to-Action Button

“Your audience on Facebook can include current customers who Like your page to stay up-to-date with your latest news and announcements or new customers who are discovering your business for the first time. The new call-to-action button gives you the opportunity to connect with all of these different audiences in a brand new way.

Voce Insight – With the addition of the new call-to-action button, Facebook is returning some power back to brands. Brands should experiment with the buttons and see what kind of return they can get. Have an awesome video you want to showcase? Try the “watch video” button. With no cost to use the button, there is no risk and only reward for using this new feature.

Public Relations

Is Being a Writer a Job or a Calling?

“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people,” Thomas Mann said; and it is good that no beginner suspects how torturous writing is, or how little it improves with practice, or how the real rejections come not from editors but from our own awareness of the gap yawning between measly talent and lofty vocation. Fear of that gap destroys writers: through the failure of purpose called writer’s block; through the crutches we use to carry us past it.”

Voce Insight – Since writing is such a large part of public relations, constantly inspecting and improving your writing skills is a prerequisite for success. As Thomas Mann said, and as the author of this article elaborates, writing can be difficult. However, knowing that it is difficult is the first step to good writing. This is something to keep front of mind the next time you are struggling with an assignment.

5 bad email habits that waste your time

“If you’ve checked your email recently, there’s a big chance you’ve felt overwhelmed or even frustrated by it. We’ve all been there, and we all know how annoying this can be. For many people, this is even the sign that email just isn’t as good as it used to be, that email is broken. But what if email could be fixed just by changing the way you deal with it? Here are five ways to overcome the bad habits that rule your inboxes.”

Voce Insight – We all know that email can easily take up an inordinate amount of our time each day. Lightening the load of messages a bit will help us become more productive. Above all, this means embracing clarity and brevity in your emails. Expressing yourself well in short, efficient emails will ultimately prevent further messages from flooding your inbox. If you still feel like you can’t convey what you need to via email, a walk over to your colleagues desk or a quick phone conversation is a great alternative.


5 Things College Taught Me About Succeeding In The Real World

“Whether you’re competing with yourself to do better, or competing with a hundred other applicants for that one internship, you’re going to find that no matter how hard you think you’re working, it’s always important to go a little bit further. The real world tends to work the same way; competition never leaves us, especially when searching for that job or working in that entry-level position, it never hurts to work harder than you already are.”

Voce Insight – One thing college should be teaching you is the importance of clear communication. Figuring out exactly what your professor expects from an assignment is the surest way to excel at it. The same goes for employers. Assuming that you’re on the same wavelength as the person evaluating your performance is never a safe risk to take. College teaches us to approach professors and employers with a shameless need for clarification as to what they expect from us. It’s the most efficient way to get anything done right.

How To Effectively Demonstrate Your Value In A Job Interview

“In my recruitment job, I’ve noticed that one of the most common reasons for candidates getting rejected after their interviews is that they don’t provide enough relevant, tangible examples of what they’ve done in their current/previous job that would be relevant to the position they are applying for.”

Voce Insight – Talking about your past accomplishments is a great thing – as long as it’s relevant to the job you’re applying for. Don’t shy away from talking about your accomplishments. You may feel as if you’re bragging to the employer, but a job interview is not the place to be humble. Remember, the employer is looking for an excuse to give you the job. It’s your duty to sell yourself and why you deserve the job more than the other applicants. Be proud of your accomplishments and skills!

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

January 27th, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 1/27: How to Use Twitter’s ‘Discovery’ Tab, College Habits to Let Go of In Your Professional Career & More


Social Media

6 Underappreciated Skills for Social Media Professionals

“Being a social media professional means wearing a lot of hats, from writer to analyst. While people outside the industry might not see it, people in social media need to have a wide array of skills to succeed—far more than your casual social media user.”

Voce Insight – One of the most important skills a social media professional can have is the ability to write. Almost all social networks inherently involve writing. Many people think it’s easy to have a career in social media, but did you know a well-written caption on just one photo can make a massive difference in the success of your image? Isn’t it amazing how you can attribute revenue back to individual social media messages?

A Brief Guide to Using Twitter’s ‘Discovery’ Tab

“A nifty way to increase your Twitter circle, the “Who to follow” tab is well worth checking out. Based on an algorithm that makes super-personalized suggestions, we think you’ll find yourself clicking “Follow” on a good number of accounts that appear in this list.”

Voce Insight – Is your Twitter feed feeling a little stale? Break out of the rut by taking advantage of Twitter’s ‘Discovery’ tab. You can explore recently favorited tweets from people you follow, find new people to follow, and read tweets from popular accounts on Twitter. Who knows, you may find your perfect mentor just from developing a relationship with them on Twitter.

Public Relations

4 traits of great PR pros

“The table stakes for a good PR practitioner are pretty standard: deep media relationships are a plus; experience working in a newsroom is helpful; strong writing skills are mandatory; managing and developing a solid team is a must; event management is good; social media savvy is a requirement. Good PR personnel need to have each of those boxes checked, but there are four additional skills that separate great PR professionals from good ones.”

Voce Insight – Delivering bad news or illustrating a roadblock to a superior is always easier if you go into the conversation with a possible solution. In this way, speaking truth to power is less scary. You won’t have to fear the figurative “kill the messenger” scenario if you’re seen as a problem solver instead.

Ann Friedman of New York Translates a Terrible Pitch

“She’s [Friedman] more sympathetic to the daily struggles of the PR pro than many. At the same time, like any journalist, Friedman gets lots of lame pitches. On her tumblr this week, she translated a particularly glaring example; the post is a brutal but necessary read for anyone in this line of work.”

Voce Insight – Feedback from journalists (even brutal feedback), can be hard to come by in PR, so you learn to take it wherever you can. In this case, not reading the journalist you are pitching is bound to lead you to trouble. Instead, try referencing a past article from them and include a link to it. Express why what you’re pitching is important to them and their readers.


8 College Habits You Need to Let Go of In Your Professional Life

“If you’re about to start your professional life, prepare for early mornings, business attire and less free time than you’re used to. So, as you make the switch from undergrad to new hire, there are some lifestyle changes you’ll need to make to be successful. If you’re not sure where to start, here are 8 habits from your college life that you need to kick.”

Voce Insight – As much as we could wish, we can’t stay in college forever. There comes a time in every 20-something year old’s life where it’s time to grow up and let go of college habits that won’t cut it in the ‘real world.’ Go ahead and say goodbye to Thirsty Thursday’s because you can’t miss work as easy as you missed class. Clean up how you speak! You’re not in college, so leave the word ‘like’ back on campus. You don’t want to be presenting to your clients and using the word ‘like’ in every sentence.

The Most Important Career Decision You’ll Ever Make

“If you follow the “should” path over the “want to” path, you are gambling that the job you choose will make you feel good. A “should” decision might bring you money. But if your heart isn’t in the work, it’s eventually going to take a toll on your psychological and physical well-being.”

Voce Insight – When you’re in college, you’re going to hear all sorts of conflicting advice about choosing a career. What you “should” do and what you “want to” do are often total opposites. See if you can find a way to integrate the two. Maybe you love fashion, and your dream is to be a designer, but you’re more skilled at PR and writing. See if you can get a fashion PR internship and experience the best of both worlds.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

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