We Are Communication Architects

Building brand awareness through content creation and community engagement.

March 10th, 2015

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


Social Media

Are You a ‘Hash-Hole’

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

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

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

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

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

Public Relations

Your Quick Guide to B2C Public Relations

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

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

10 Ways to Power Up Your Press Releases

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

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


Infographic: Tips to Help You Ace Your PR Internship Interview

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

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

How To Ask For A Letter of Recommendation

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

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

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

March 3rd, 2015

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


Social Media

15 Ways You’re Probably Misusing Social Media

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

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

How Small Businesses Should Be Using Social Media

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

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

Public Relations

Email Etiquette for PR Pros

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

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

A Tiny College Offers PR Crisis Lesson Businesses Should Study

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

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


5 Cover Letter Mistakes That Lost You the Interview

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

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

5 Things You Should Never Do at Work

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

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

Filed in Career Development, Uncategorized, Weekly Reading

February 24th, 2015

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


Social Media

8 Social Media Mistakes That Are Killing Your Brand

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

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

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

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

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

Public Relations

4 Things PR Pros Should Never Say to Reporters

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

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

6 ‘House of Cards’ quotes that apply to PR

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

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

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


Best Advice: Listen, Learn, Lead

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

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

Why You Need to Have Friends at Work [INFOGRAPHIC]

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

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

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

February 17th, 2015

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


Social Media

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

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

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

How to Run an Instagram Contest: Four Easy Steps

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

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

Public Relations

5 Tips for Crafting a Successful Email Pitch

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

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

10 Ways PR Pros Can Make Clients Happy

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

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


How to Find Out About Work/Life Balance When Interviewing

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

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

The Career Benefits of Volunteering

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

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

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

February 10th, 2015

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


Social Media

How to share your saved images on Snapchat

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

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

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

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

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

Public Relations

Tips for effective storytelling

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

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

4 PR Lessons from Disney Princesses

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

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


6 Tips for Millennials on Communicating with Older Generations

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

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

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

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

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

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

February 3rd, 2015

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


Social Media

Super Bowl XLIX generates 28.4 million tweets

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

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

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

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

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

Public Relations

Is Being a Writer a Job or a Calling?

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

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

5 bad email habits that waste your time

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

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


5 Things College Taught Me About Succeeding In The Real World

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

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

How To Effectively Demonstrate Your Value In A Job Interview

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

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

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

January 27th, 2015

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


Social Media

6 Underappreciated Skills for Social Media Professionals

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

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

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

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

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

Public Relations

4 traits of great PR pros

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

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

Ann Friedman of New York Translates a Terrible Pitch

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

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


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

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

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

The Most Important Career Decision You’ll Ever Make

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

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

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

January 20th, 2015

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


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.”


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


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.


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.


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

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