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Building brand awareness through content creation and community engagement.

May 6th, 2015

How Beca Mueller Gets Things Done

Voce’s own Beca Mueller, she of the Star Wars fandom and amazing content strategy leadership, was put in the spotlight as part of PNConnect’s ongoing “On Workflow” series. See how Beca manages to-do lists, encourages her teams to think differently about their jobs and more right here.


About the Author
Chris Thilk works on the Client Services team, part of Voce Connect, developing and executing social media strategy. You can follow him at @christhilk on Twitter.

Filed in Voce People

May 5th, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 5/5: How to Craft the Perfect LinkedIn Summary, Skills Great PR Pros Possess & More


Social Media

How to Write a Perfect LinkedIn Summary

“The summary section requires brevity and critical thinking. You must boil down your essence to a tight few lines that people will remember.”

Voce Insight – The summary section on LinkedIn is basically an online version of your elevator speech. It’s the first impression that people will get when they visit your profile. Make sure it’s short and sweet, but still fully conveys what you do and what you can offer.

Everything You Need to Know to Set Up Your First Twitter Chat

“Before you start thinking about the what, when, who, and how, start with asking why. How does a Twitter chat support your larger social media goals? Why choose the Twitter chat format over routine publishing? Does a chat support your community building goals?”

Voce Insight – Twitter chats serve as a valuable two-way street between an organization and their audience but need to be planned right. If you go into the chat with an expectation that you can control (or should control) every aspect of the conversation, it will likely backfire. Take the time to understand how to execute a chat before you propose it.

Public Relations

5 Skills Great PR Pros Possess

“We listen to respond, not to understand. When PR pros are so focused on getting our own ideas out, we forget who’s talking and what they are trying to say.”

Voce Insight – Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were so busy crafting a perfect response in your head to someone’s statement, that you missed the next few things they said? It’s important to really listen when your client or boss is speaking to you. Listen to understand what they’re saying; don’t spend the whole time they’re talking trying to come up with the perfect response. You’ll do much better if you spend your time fully listening to the conversation.

5 Writing Questions You’re Too Embarrassed to Ask

“Writing isn’t easy, even if you have an ear for it and have built a long career on your ability to deliver clear, concise prose on demand. The blank screen never gets less intimidating, especially if you’re paid to write. Each word, phrase and sentence represents a difficult decision. And with each decision comes the question: ‘Do I really know what I’m doing?’”

Voce Insight – The best writes are unsure of themselves, and going through multiple drafts is to be expected. But if you’re sure of anything, it should be that humanizing context is crucial. Like the article suggests, make use of analogies and relate to your readers. No one wants to read stuffy corporate-speak.


5 Tips To Answer The Dreaded “Tell Me About Yourself” Interview Question

“If you’re going on a job interview, then it’s likely you are going to get the often dreaded “tell me about yourself” question thrown your way. This old stalwart of a question has been around for decades and isn’t going away anytime soon, which is why you better get comfortable answering it. While there is no wrong way to tackle it, hiring managers are looking to learn more about you than what’s on your resume.”

Voce Insight – The secret to responding to this free-form request successfully is to focus, script and practice. You cannot afford to wing this answer, as it will affect the rest of the interview. Begin to think about what you want the interviewer to know about you. It’s best to stay away from anything personal.

8 Ways to Stay Optimistic When Your Job Search Drags On

“A job search often begins with unblemished optimism. The perfect job has to be out there waiting for you. But as time passes, it’s easy to get upset over what feels like a hundred job applications submitted to countless companies, and endless hours spent updating your resume at least a dozen times. And you haven’t heard back from a single potential employer.”

Voce Insight – It’s not uncommon to get discouraged when you can’t seem to land a job. Feeling positive will help motivate you to continue with your job search. Also, your positive attitude will come across during interviews and networking opportunities, increasing your chances of making a strong first impression.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

April 28th, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 4/28: Facebook ‘Likes’ Losing Importance in the News Feed, Top Stressors in PR & More

Facebook Unprotected Speech

Social Media

If you’re horrible on the internet, Clear app could save your job

“Picture the scene — you wake up fuzzy-headed after a few drinks, grab your phone, and discover you’ve said something horrendous and offensive on the internet. Do you own up to it, apologize, try to grow as a person? Or do you download an app that will search through your entire archive of social media posts and comments to remove anything that could one day land you in trouble?”

Voce Insight – Let’s face it. Almost all of us have posted something we wish we hadn’t on social media. Clear, currently in beta, could potentially save your job! Clear connects to your Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts. The app searches for both blatantly offensive terms, as well as terms that could be offensive.

Facebook Likes don’t go as far as they used to in News Feed update

“Posts highlighting what a friend Liked or commented on will either show up lower in your News Feed or not show up at all, according to Facebook. The move was made based on user feedback.”

Voce Insight – Based on user feedback, Facebook announced that posts highlighting what a friend Liked or commented on will show up lower in your News Feed or it won’t show up at all. Users will probably welcome this change happily because who really enjoyed seeing what posts their ex-boyfriend engaged with.

Public Relations

6 of the Biggest Stressors in PR

“Why is it that calls with bad news come in on Fridays at 4 p.m.? Crises mean day-to-day work must stop. People have to come together, communicate clearly, figure out the root of the problem and find the solution, and act to remedy the situation.”

Voce Insight – PR seems to continuously top the “most stressful jobs” lists. However, despite the stress of the job, PR is also one of the rewarding careers you could have. For example, working on a high-level crisis communications plan may be the most stressful time in your career, but to be able to point to a successful campaign or to an instance where you helped to educate someone through your work can be worth the stress.

Tips for Reaching the ‘Help Me Help You’ Phase of Client Relations

“Yes, the onus is on us as PR professionals to educate/strategize with clients and to alleviate the burden on their end if they’re strapped for resources. However, despite many of our best efforts, we have all experienced a client (clients?) who just doesn’t make it easy on us to shape what they want the market to know into stories journalists want to use. That’s when we all cry out in private or out loud: “help me, help you… Help ME, help YOU!!”

Voce Insight – When you join an account, one of the first things you should be focusing on is not only getting to know your immediate contacts at the company, but also all the other major internal PR players and the biggest challenges they face. And when you’re not sure of what a client needs, ask them rather than waiting for them to tell you.


5 Secrets for Doing an Affordable Internship in a Big City

“If you aren’t doing it already, you need to keep a close eye on your cash flow. There are so many apps that help you manage your personal finances, such as Budget Ease, Mint and Billguard, that have features such as finding coupons, keeping track of payment history and budgeting systems that all promote safe spending. Plus they’ll help you stay on top of your bills so you won’t get stuck with late payment fees.”

Voce Insight – Interning in a big city comes with big expenses, but even bigger opportunities. Make the most of your money by looking for free entertainment options and taking advantage of student discounts and coupons. It may seem impossible to afford living in a big city for an internship, but the potential career gains make it worth it.

My Coworker Follows up on Emails in Person if he Doesn’t get an Instant Response

“I have a coworker (mostly a peer, but depending on the project, I’m sometimes his supervisor) who always follows up electronic communication verbally (coming over to my office to ask me if I’ve seen it, or something like that) or through interoffice messaging if I don’t acknowledge it within like 15 minutes. With work turned in through our team’s online tools, he’ll frequently send me a notification via the app, send an email or IM, and tell me verbally.”

Voce Insight – One of the most important aspects of getting to know a coworker is adapting to their communication style – electronically or otherwise. Depending on their workload, physical proximity and use of alternate tools like IM, everyone corresponds differently. Whatever the case, it’s never good policy to badger someone into responding to a non-urgent email.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

April 21st, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 4/21: Offline Social Skills to Use in Social Media, Career Tips for Students & More


Social Media

8 Offline Social Skills You Should Carry Into Your Social-Media Efforts

“If you need to sound off, do it offline. Oversharing isn’t unique to social media. Some people tend to do it in the workplace, too. When done online, however, it’s a lot more public. And the ramifications could be a lot worse.”

Voce Insight – Be friendly! While you don’t want to go crazy with emoticons in a professional email, it’s important to read and reread your emails to ensure that your tone comes across the way you want it to. Tone is extremely hard to decipher over text, so make sure there isn’t anything in your messages that would come across as wrong or rude.

Twitter Expands Direct Messaging

“Twitter announced Monday that its users will be able to change a setting on their accounts to allow anyone to send them a private message. In addition, if a person follows a big account — for example, from a company like United Airlines — the Twitter user can respond to messages sent by that account even if the account, United in this case, does not follow that individual.”

Voce Insight – Twitter is now giving you the option of receiving Direct Messages from people you don’t follow. This is great for larger organizations who can now reply to people even if it isn’t following that person. Twitter experimented with DM’s in the past, but on Monday the company officially announced that it had started offering this option to all of its users across the globe.

Public Relations

A 5-step process to guarantee a rock-solid media list

“Assembling a rock-solid media list requires that you take preliminary efforts before starting the building process. Think of a media list as your blueprint and the pitch as building the house. The media list should be detailed, well-organized, highly targeted, and specific. You must check and recheck every measurement.”

Voce Insight – The easy way out in assembling a media list is taking the shotgun approach, including everyone you can possibly think of for outreach. However, you’ll more than likely spend more time in the long run performing follow up if your initial outreach is not targeted correctly. It’s very important to do your research first and understand which journalists are waiting to read your message, rather than delete it.

How Can PR and Marketing Learn to Work Together?

“Marketing and PR each play substantive roles in accomplishing your company’s goals and objectives. Marketing traditionally has focused on driving sales to customers while PR has traditionally been geared toward building reputation and trust. While they remain distinct, the two disciplines have to work together in many ways—without overstepping the shifting boundary that separates them. Therein lies the challenge.”

Voce Insight – PR and marketing can learn a lot from each other, especially when it comes to integrated campaigns. Marketing can learn the art of effective storytelling from PR. Marketers look at how leads are nurtured, how campaigns have impacted SEO, and test content to figure out what has the most impact. Successful companies value the integration of both marketing and PR.


5 Tips for Communications Students and Recent Graduates

“It’s never too early to start internships. Many PR and marketing firms want job candidates to have experience on their resumes. Unless you already know which company or industry you’d like to work in, internships are a great way to test your options, helping you decide which types of positions you thrive in—and what positions you loathe.”

Voce Insight – You’ve got to put in the extra work in order to set yourself apart from your peers. Do as many internships as you can prior to graduation, go to networking events, join Twitter chats; the more knowledge you absorb now, the more valuable you’ll be to a company down the line when you’re ready to apply for your first career job.

Top PR Job Hunting Mistakes to Avoid [Infographic]

“For all intents and purposes PR people should be among the elite when it comes to acing a job interview. With messaging at the forefront of communications, PR pros can easily transfer their skills from controlling the messages of brands and clients to presenting their personal brand to a potential employer. Unfortunately, the interview is often the last leg of the race when it comes to landing a new job. It all starts with sifting through what’s out there with services like LinkedIn and PR News’ Job Center, not to mention personal networks of colleagues and contacts.”

Voce Insight – One of the most difficult reasons it’s hard to accept rejection in the job market is not knowing all the reasoning that went into a prospective employer choosing someone else. However, this is also the reason why you should let it go and move on to the next opportunity. And once you land the interview, gain confidence by understanding your prospective employer wants you to be the person they hire. They want to see you succeed in the interview – all you have to do is prove them right to bring you in.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

April 14th, 2015

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


Social Media

5 Tips on Mastering the Art of the Tweet

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

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

Instagram Post Notifications: This Week in Social Media

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

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

Public Relations

4 Things Journalists Look for on HARO

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

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

How to patch up a relationship with an enraged reporter

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

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


Don’t Set Your Own Career Ceiling

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

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

Pick Your Bosses Well

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

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

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

April 7th, 2015

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

Social Media

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

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

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

Snapchat Makes New Efforts to Push Out Third-Party Developers

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

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

Public Relations

5 Things PR Pros Do That Journalists Love

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

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

60 Twitter tools for PR and marketing pros

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

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


Interviewing Strategies That Convert to Job Offers

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

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

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

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

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

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

March 31st, 2015

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


Social Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

Public Relations

PR, Advertising Execs Say ‘Integrate or Die’

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

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

Marketing 2.0: What Does This Mean for PR Professionals?

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

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


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

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

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

Resume Skills Section: What Recruiters & Hiring Managers See

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

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

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

March 24th, 2015

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


Social Media

How to Craft Headlines That Draw People to Your Content

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

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

Instagram finally puts together its own collage app, called Layout

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

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

Public Relations

What is the difference between marketing and PR?

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

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

3 steps to get ahead with PR internships

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

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


7 Things Job Seekers Do That Instantly Turn Employers Off

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

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

10 things companies look for in PR hires

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

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

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

March 18th, 2015

Your Personal Brand, Your Story


Cafe Convo-2

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

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

Let’s go over those three questions.

What is your story?

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

What do you want to be known for?

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

Are you and your story interesting to others?

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

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

How would you present it in-person?

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

About the Author
Randy Ksar works on the social media team at Voce. You can follow him at @djksar on Twitter.

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

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