We Are Communication Architects

Building brand awareness through content creation and community engagement.

February 17th, 2015

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

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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.

Career

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

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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.

Career

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

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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.

Career

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

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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.

Career

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

January 20th, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 1/20: 2015 Social Media Predictions, 7 Ways to Land an Internship & More

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Social Media

Social Media Marketing in 2015: The Year of Quality over Quantity

“The role of the marketer is shifting quickly to encompass far more than it traditionally has. In addition to effective communication, marketers will be called to understand new and changing platforms, collect and analyze data, and find new tools to work more efficiently.”

Voce Insight – Instead of relying on a mass push of messages to get your point across, marketers should focus on developing quality content that is targeted to the interests of your particular followers. Your fans are being bombarded with brand content every day, so you need to make sure that yours stands out from the crowd. One great piece of content is better than publishing 10 pieces of mediocre content.

What Not To Post on Social Media: 5 Questions You Need To Ask Yourself Before You Publish

“A search phrase “fired over a Tweet” returns over 30 million search results on Google, all good examples of what not to post on social media. If you want to avoid getting in trouble with your boss, falling from grace in the the eyes of hundreds of fans, or costing your employer millions in legal fees, you should heed these warnings.”

Voce Insight – Is what you’re posting valuable to your followers? You want to be sure that you’re posting/ retweeting relevant tweets. Ask yourself why your followers (not just you, personally) would find the content to be valuable. Be mindful of timing: you don’t want to appear insensitive by posting an ill-timed Tweet, as some brands were accused of doing during the 2014 Ferguson unrest.

Public Relations

What a declining number of journalists means for PR pros

“Recent information from The Pew Research Center revealed that the number of current working journalists is the lowest it has been since at least 1978. As of 2012, the total newsroom workforce in America was just 38,000, compared to 55,000 just 6 years earlier in 2006. Simply put, newsrooms have been devastated by layoffs in recent years, and many journalists have been forced to find new lines of work.”

Voce Insight – If you’re thinking about getting into PR, it’s important to know that PR employees are now outnumbering journalists. This means the demands on their time are only growing. Appreciating this and respecting that they are likely always up a deadline will help build more productive relationships.

10 quick tips for better business writing

“Writing is the wrangling of thoughts to page—it is an arduous process that seeks to bring abstract ideas into the tangible world. Writing is valuable. It doesn’t just transfer insights, it creates them. And since ‘good words are worth much and cost little,’ choosing the right words is worth the price you pay in time (and sanity).”

Voce Insight – To highlight just one thought out of this list, pick the right words when writing. It’s better to convey insight succinctly, instead of using extraneous phrases like “essentially,” “basically,” or “in other words.”

Career

3 Habits Of The Ultra-Successful You Probably Don’t Do

“There are a few things that are certain when it comes to your mindset affecting your life and the results you get: Fear paralyzes you and prevents action. If you truly believed that you wanted (and deserved) something, you’d have it already. And if takes time, practice, and discipline to conquer the tricky, damaging thoughts that are holding you back… so you can unlock your true potential.”

Voce Insight – You won’t experience success by doing nothing. Success takes hard work and dedication. Start by visualizing your goals and then write them down. Make the most of your mornings before class by journaling, or doing something else that empowers you. By starting your day off in a positive way, you’re setting the course for a great rest of your day.

7 Sneaky Ways to Snag an Internship

“Individuals often hesitate to ask for advice because they do not want to appear incompetent. A study from Harvard University actually found that consulting others actually makes you seem more intelligent. Benjamin Kweskin, a senior at Washington University in St. Louis, walked into his career center to inquire how he could increase his chances for an internship at a top law firm in the area and walked out with an internal referral. After a strong interview with the firm, he landed an internship.”

Voce Insight – With competition fierce and opportunities limited, it’s important for students to be creative when it comes to looking for an internship opportunity. Step out of your comfort zone and talk to everyone you meet. You never know who will have a connection to an internship or even that first job. Who knows, that person you met on the subway could be the kickstarter to your career.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

January 13th, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 1/13: How to Make Your Twitter Stand Out, Finding a Job After College & More

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Social Media

How to Make Your Twitter Profile Stand Out

“Make an impact on your audience by crafting a sentence or two that convey your expertise. Choose the most important things you do; state them in a clear, compelling way; and then explain why your skills should matter to the visitor. The challenge, of course, is brevity.”

Voce Insight – Many people use social media to promote themselves and their business. If your profiles are outdated, you could be sending the wrong message. If you haven’t updated your profile in a year or more, you may not receive new connections, business leads, or sales. The key is to tweet consistently, without taking huge gaps between posts. Take advantage of trending topics on Twitter by including hashtags and links in your tweets, so people are only a click away from finding you.

7 Tips for Upping Your Social Media Game in 2015

“Share at least one post per day. Think of social media as flossing but with greater benefits: enhanced relationships, greater visibility, and, seriously, fun. These goals are eminently achievable, but they require consistent effort over the course of several months to see results.”

Voce Insight – It’s no secret that your social media presence can make or break your chances of getting an interview or job. Employers are increasingly using social media to screen potential candidates, so make sure your profiles are the best they can be. Make sure your profile is visually appealing with lots of compelling (i.e. appropriate) images, and try to post regularly. We’re not saying social media should take up your whole life, but if you want a career in it, social media should at least be on your priority list.

Public Relations

10 Things Young PR Pros Must Stop Doing

“Part of having a successful career is knowing when to listen and when to speak up. More often than not, young PR professionals don’t pipe up when they have a great opportunity. If you have a different idea or approach, want to question an idea or have valuable insight, speak up. If there’s an event or project you’re interested in, take the opportunity to say you’re interested.”

Voce Insight – It’s nerve wracking to speak up and input your ideas for the first time in a strategy meeting. Don’t let your age and lack of professional experience hold you back. If you feel you genuinely have a good idea, don’t hold it back. At worst, your boss will pass on your idea, but at best, you’ll show your boss that you have initiative and the ability to think proactively.

Online Tools that Help with PR

“HARO—or Help a Reporter Out—allows you to connect with journalists who are looking for experts to help them source stories. Their tagline is “free publicity” and that’s pretty much what it is. For instance, if you are an expert in ways to deal with insomnia, you can search HARO for journalists who are looking to talk to experts on the topic. You then send that person an email, “pitching” your expertise, and leave it to them to follow-up. It’s a great way to build your own PR, from a media relations perspective, and get yourself some local or national visibility.”

Voce Insight – Although this article is addressed to business owners, the list of tools summarized within is equally important for aspiring PR professionals. Make sure to familiarize yourself with these and other PR tools before you even get your first interview. This will make you look smart in the interview and even smarter when you hit the ground running after you’re hired.

Career

15 Easy Changes to Transform Your Career This Year

“As far as career resolutions go, there’s no shortage of things we can do better. As communicators, we are fortunate to be working in a field that is constantly changing and therefore challenging our skills and patience. With that in mind, I put together 15 activities that can set you up for a more gratifying year on the job.”

Voce Insight – Perhaps the best thing you could add to this list is a commitment to read every day. Before you can write, you need to read – and spending an hour or so each day on job-related reading will go far to ensure your success.

11 Smart Tips For Finding A Job After College

“Ask your professors if they have any contacts at places you might want to work. That’s how a lot of people I went to school with got great jobs in our industry at places they might not have been able to otherwise.”

Voce Insight – While your first job can serve as a springboard for your professional future, it’s not going to make or break your career, and it certainly won’t be your last. Instead of searching for your “dream job,” look for a job that will present you with challenges that will make you more marketable for your next job.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

January 6th, 2015

Voce Student Weekly 1/6: 10 Things We’ve Learned About Social Media in 2014, Career Tips & More

Social Media

Here’s How Chat Apps Are Becoming As Important As Social Media For Brands

“But, most importantly, McCartney’s account also sent private chat messages to each of its 10 million-plus followers on Line. There is no metric to quantify the engagement of that action, but the fact that most of those fans will have gotten a push notification with the message and link to Soundcloud (just like an SMS) gives you an idea that it might well have been hugely effective.”

Voce Insight – With the prevalence of chat apps on smartphones, marketers have a huge avenue they can use to pursue customers. The personalized nature of apps such as SnapChat and Line, means that businesses can connect with their customers on a deeper level. Fans can actively engage with a brand, versus just “liking” a post or having their comment be lost in a sea of other comments on a single thread. Brands should explore which app would reap the most benefits, and experiment to see if they see an increase in engagement from fans.

10 Things We’ve Learned About Social Media in 2014

“One of the best ways I’ve found to learn new things on social media is to try new things. We experiment, we make mistakes. We succeed, and we fail. And we get a better feeling for how things might work and the best strategies, ideas, and experiments to try next.”

Voce Insight – This article highlights some of the biggest social media lessons learned in 2014. Did you know that the words you use within your content could drastically affect how much social media traffic you get? For example, if you want more Facebook traffic, then using words like “when,” “tell us,” “submit,” “deals,” and “discounts” can help you get more shares, likes and traffic to your site.

Public Relations

12 Words and Phrases You Should Never Use

“You know: This verbal filler annoys Brian Chandler, president of Commonwealth Public Relations: “The phrase ‘you know’ is being used all over the place in interviews and by talk show hosts. It’s worse than saying ‘um.'” Suzanne Thornton agrees, writing, “I am appalled when a speaker begins or ends every sentence or comment with, ‘you know.'” Caroline Kennedy once used the phrase 138 times during one interview; it made her a target of mockery for the New York tabloids.”

Voce Insight – It’s easy to fall into the pattern of using “buzz words” and overly common phrases. Students and PR professionals should work to eliminate these words and phrases from their vocabulary. We’re all guilty of using these at some point, but eliminating them will allow your vocabulary to grow, and keep you from inadvertently offending someone.

New Year’s Resolutions for PR Girls and Guys

“I am a big believer in trying to figure out what I can ACTUALLY accomplish in the New Year. Yes, I would love to make a million dollars, hire 25 new employees and create a worldwide empire. However, unfortunately, I am just not there yet. When I make business resolutions, I try to take baby steps to get me where I want to go.”

Voce Insight – When forming goals, especially New Year’s resolutions, it’s important to make them specific and achievable. For example, instead of deciding to “improve your writing”, you could make it a goal to secure 5 pieces of positive feedback from a professor or boss on your writing skills. When the bar is clearly set, it’s easier to keep it in your sights and know when you’ve reached it.

Career

How To Turn 2015 Into A Year Of Career Success

“Begin by seeing yourself as a competitive product. Take inventory of your strengths, weaknesses and differentiators, and then challenge yourself by facing any weaknesses and making improvements. What books can you read or seminars can you attend to improve your professional skills?”

Voce Insight – The start of a new year is the perfect time to visualize and verbalize your career goals. Write down your successes, write down your failures. Tell everyone you know where you want to be this year, next year, and several years down the line. Those people can help keep you motivated toward your goals, and also lend you a helping hand if need be.

7 Strategies To Get More Recruiters To Read Your Resume

“Did you know that you only have 5-6 seconds to capture the attention of recruiters and hiring executives in your resume? That’s how long they take to review resumes on average, and it’s not much time at all to interest them in your candidacy.”

Voce Insight – For starters, it would be good to have a job/ internship in mind before building a resume. Without a job description to work from, it’s impossible to tailor your skills and accomplishments to fit the employer’s job requirements. Prospective employers only skim resumes. They make a quick “yes” or “no” decision based on seconds of reading. So do yourself a favor by writing easy-to-read sentences.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

December 23rd, 2014

Voce Student Weekly Reading 12/23: YouTube GIFS, Why You Shouldn’t Quit Your Job Search Over the Holidays & More

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Social Media

YouTube Finally Lets You Make GIFs Without Leaving YouTube

“If you have ever created short, looping animations, you will appreciate the simplicity of YouTube’s tool. At the top is a film scrubber, which displays a series of frames from the video above. The frame tool moves along the strip as the video plays above and can be grabbed and dragged to any point in the video. It defaults to a three-second grab, but can be stretched out to six seconds or condensed to 0.3 seconds.”

Voce Insight- An embedded GIF tool will make it easier than ever for brands to create quality GIF content. Once the tool becomes readily available, brand content managers should test it out to see how GIF’s supplement their usual content. This tool is a great asset, and will go a long way to simplifying GIF creation.

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Quit Your Job Search Over the Holidays

Employers aren’t solely hiring seasonal workers; they’re also hiring regular full-time employees. Last year, employers hired about 40,000 more people in December than in January 2014. Clearly, employers are looking to hiring employers before the new year begins.

Voce Insight – Take advantage of the countless holiday parties and networking events to connect with new people and rekindle relationships with old colleagues and employers. Whether it’s a party at work or a community holiday event, be sure to make an appearance at networking events over the holidays. Also, while others are taking a break this holiday season, it’s the perfect opportunity for you to snag up interviews and land a job!

Public Relations

How to Avoid Journalists’ 5 Worst Pitching Pet Peeves

“Pitching journalists without understanding what they cover—or even glancing at the publication’s site—will not only annoy the recipients, it’ll also ruin your chances that future pitches will be well received. Compounding that mistake only exacerbates things. Your persistence will be regarded as a nuisance.”

Voce Insight- Time is an extremely valuable commodity for a journalist. Don’t waste it by sending pitches they will never be interested or have time to read. Keep your pitch short, sweet and concise. Don’t make the journalist have to dig through a massive email to find your “story,” instead present it to them in quick, easy to read bites.

A Weapon for Readers

“There is something predatory, cruel even, about a pen suspended over a text. Like a hawk over a field, it is on the lookout for something vulnerable. Then it is a pleasure to swoop and skewer the victim with the nib’s sharp point. The mere fact of holding the hand poised for action changes our attitude to the text. We are no longer passive consumers of a monologue but active participants in a dialogue.”

Voce Insight- Reading with purpose (and a maybe even a pen in hand) is an important part of becoming a better writer. Dissecting the writing of others will help you improve your own – in pitches, reports and contributed articles.

Career

5 Interview Killers: Don’t Let These Behaviors Sink an Interview

“Everyone knows that you should arrive early for an interview. It’s important to show that you’re punctual, that you’re eager about a job. But past a certain point (20 minutes early? 30 minutes early? An hour early?), earliness starts to seem like you’re overeager. It can be awkward for the hiring manager, who might not be able to help feeling like they’re making you wait.”

Voce Insight- Like everything in life, moderation is key. While it’s important to arrive early for an interview, you don’t want to arrive too early, at the expense of making the hiring manager uncomfortable. Likewise, while most advice will say to be yourself and stay natural in an interview, you still need to stay professional with your mannerisms and speech.

This Christmas Movie Can Help You Find A Job For Next Year

The struggle that the main character, Jack Frost, goes through the entire movie is figuring who he is and what he’s meant to do…Which is essentially the same core struggle we all go through in life.

Voce Insight – Your work life and your life life are never going to be completely compartmentalized. As you evaluate what jobs to apply for, make sure your true interests and skills align. This will set up you up for success more than any amount hours you put in.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

December 16th, 2014

Voce Student Weekly Reading 12/16: Gift Guide for Social Media Lovers, Possible ‘Dislike’ Facebook Button & More

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Social Media

A Holiday Gift Guide for Social Media Lovers

“The majestic social media lover, someone who is on top of trends, tech-savvy and spends a lot of time plugged in. While these are great traits from a career perspective, they don’t always make for an easy gift target. What do you get someone who knows about everything as it launches in real-time?”

Voce Insight – Besides the fun items on this list, any of the books included would likely help you add weight to your words on social media. Reading about your field and those who helped start it will set you apart from many of your peers.

Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook is ‘thinking about’ a dislike button

“Everyone feels like they can just push the Like button, and that’s an important way to sympathize or empathize with someone,” Zuckerberg told the audience. But there are times when you may want the simplicity of a one-click response but a “like” doesn’t feel appropriate, he added.”

Voce Insight – This would be a significant move for Facebook – having the ability to express other sentiments other than “like” could open many more possibilities for social media professionals and their clients. It would be wise to start thinking about how your content could garner more than just “likes.”

Public Relations

5 terrible headline habits

No matter whether it’s a sign in Times Square or a post on a fast-paced social media network, headlines compete for attention in a crowded landscape. Make your headlines more attention-grabbing by avoiding the worst headline habits.

Voce Insight – The headline is the most important part of your press release. As you’re starting off your career, you want to ensure that you don’t pick up bad habits that will linger with you in the future. Try to avoid stuffing the title with too many unnecessary keywords. Search engines are limited to the number of characters they can display in index results, and filling the title with the same keyword can have a negative impact on SEO.

Follow This 3-Step Process to Land Your Dream PR Internship

“Use the subject line “you were once a college student too.” This subject line also works if you say “college graduate.” This line is unique and relatable, so your chances are high they will open it. Keep the email short and sweet – less than a paragraph. Say who you are, why you admire them (nothing cheesy, do some research), and ask if you can take them for coffee (pick somewhere near their office and convenient for them) to ask them a few questions.”

Voce Insight – These days, the competition for an internship is fierce. It’s important to do whatever you can to stand out from the crowd. Instead of just sending a regular email with your “your name Resume” in the subject line, try to be creative. That creativity may mean the difference between your email being opened, or tossed in the trash.

Career

Setting Yourself Up for Success: End of Year Goal Setting

“Come up with three things that you would like to accomplish within the next twelve months. Be sure that they are realistic and attainable. Next, write them down. I like to place my goals somewhere I will see them daily, like hanging on my bathroom mirror or as the background on my phone, so that I have a constant reminder of what I am working towards.”

Voce Insight – As 2014 is coming to an end, we want to encourage everyone to set goals for 2015. Whether you have graduated and are looking for a job or if you’re finishing up your undergraduate career, it’s important to set achievable goals. Having a clear vision of the end state we are trying to achieve before we take action to reach our goals is the key factor in accomplishing any goals that we set. Using one sentence or a concise paragraph, write your career vision. Consider writing a short vision statement along with a short description of how you currently see yourself accomplishing it – reaching your vision.

4 Simple Ways to Stop Feeling So Stressed At Work

Our brains are constantly producing negative thoughts about ourselves and others, and we have a habit of reliving the past or ruminating about the future. The network of brain regions that generate this thinking originally developed to help us plan tasks, review the past and improve future behavior.

Voce Insight – WIth a high-stress job such as those in PR or Social Media, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and anxious. However, it’s important to take steps to combat that stress before you end up getting burned out. Identify your emotional triggers and learn what works best to calm you down, whether that be stepping out of the office for five minutes, going to the gym on your lunch break, etc. You will never 100% get rid of stress, but you can effectively manage it so it doesn’t control your life.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

December 9th, 2014

Voce Student Weekly Reading 12/9: How to Get Followers on Social Media, Top Global Trends in PR & More

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Social Media

Know What’s Working on Social Media: 19 Free Social Media Analytics Tools

The Riffle browser extension adds an overlay to the Twitter profiles you visit, showing stats like retweets per tweet and favorites per tweet as well as info on the top hashtags, mentions, and urls that appear in one’s Twitter timeline.

Voce Insight – This browser extension works in a way that’s similar to how Rapporative works for email, by providing an additional layer of information about the person you’re connecting and talking with. That can be a useful thing especially as you’re starting out so you can learn a bit more about your growing network and, in this case, can help you see who can truly be called an influencer.

How to Get Your First 1,000 Followers on Every Major Social Network

Many users on Twitter will follow back those who follow them. This is a popular strategy for those just starting out on Twitter to help connect with others, and thanks to Twitter lists, users can customize the information they see on Twitter, which makes following tons of people all the easier to manage.

Voce Insight – Gaining followers on social media platforms isn’t an easy task. For starters, you want to start by following likeminded people in the business. Surround yourself with a network of people that value your brand and expertise, so that you can become an influencer among them. You want to be sure that you post on your social channels consistently. Don’t let weeks pass by – remain consistent. Most importantly, a little light humor can go a long way toward humanizing your personal brand.

Public Relations

Top Global Trends in PR Today

“Because PR People are, in general, poorly read they fail in one other important regard. Thinking. If you read a lot then you will learn to think. Thinking – staying abreast of how to think – is what clients pay us to do. So often, even our best consultants, repeat what they have done for others and fail to reflect on what a clien needs because they do not think…think…think”

Voce Insight – There is a great deal of noise in the media landscape today, and a lot to read. Dedicating as little as 30 minutes a day to reading what your favorite reporters are covering, whatever trade publication is applicable to you, or anyone else who writes well and has something important to say will certainly help you in your career.

11 reasons why journalists don’t reply to your pitches

“10. You pitched like you were selling something. I see this often; it still makes me angry. PR is not advertising. Your pitch must be descriptive, compelling and persuasive, not pushy, self-promotional or obnoxious. Your pitch should be about the reporter and her publication’s needs, not your own.”

Voce Insight – Leave marketing language and advertising copy out of your pitch. Be genuine and straightforward with journalists. Get straight to the point and express why their readers would be interested. This kind of pitch respects both journalists’ time and their need to tell a story, rather than sell your product.

Career

How to take charge of your job search

Whether you’re looking for a promotion or fancy a complete career change, taking charge of your job search is a must. With a positive attitude, plenty of ambition and lots of hard work you’re sure to find something that’s worth getting up for every morning, so here’s how to land the role of your dreams.

Voce Insight – Everybody knows somebody. Within your existing network there are probably three jobs that would be appropriate for you, but the people who could help open doors to those jobs just haven’t thought of you. Make a list of everyone you know. Set a goal to touch base with three people you have not talked to for a year or more. LinkedIn is a powerful tool to easily connect with the right people. Search your target market based on your industry, qualifications, university and interests, and connect with the people who interest you.

How to Write a Cover Letter That Gets Noticed

Your cover letter is a business letter, so it should be businesslike. However, you’ll make a stronger impression if you avoid “business-ese.” Your tone should be intelligent, polite and professional, as though you’re addressing a senior colleague.

Voce Insight – One great step you can take when working on your cover letter is to do some research and try to find out who the hiring manager is. Greeting someone with their name, rather than “to whom it may concern” is an easy way to stand out. At minimum, you can write in your own voice, as the article suggests. Write genuinely, as you would to another person, rather than a nameless entity on the other end of an HR email list.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

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