For me, it just clicked. It was two years ago and there I was, on the edge of my swivel chair in a large conference room, captivated by every case study and comment presented to me at a Porter Novelli shadow day. The passion, intelligence and friendliness of everyone I met caught me off-guard. I hadn’t expected to feel so connected to a firm’s values and work after just one shadow day. But while visiting the office to explore the world of PR that day, I realized that an agency like PN was exactly where I wanted to start my career.
My name is Katie Strasberg, and as a recent graduate of the University of Georgia I couldn’t be more excited to start life in the “real world” working in the consumer practice at PN Atlanta. Many internships and classes later, I like to look back on that shadow day a few years ago and realize how much I have experienced since – studying until all hours of the night, interning at what at the time seemed like the break of dawn, organizing numerous PRSSA events and reports… the list goes on and on.
But, over the past few weeks of interning, I’ve realized that even though I’ve grown since, what initially sparked my interest in PN two years ago still intrigues me and is truer than I imagined. Sure it’s one thing to hear someone present about how everyone in the office is talented, hard-working and supportive, but it’s amazing to experience it.
So for those of you in my shoes a few years ago, I encourage you to get out there and test the waters at companies, firms and organizations that spark your interest. Go to shadow days. Reach out to professionals for informational interviews. Participate in PRSSA or IABC networking events. You never know which encounter will click with you and lead you on a path to your dream internship or job.
Hopefully during my time as an intern I can give you a taste of what clicked with me here at PN as my “real world” adventure begins.
Sometimes, old school is better than new school. Now, I don’t propose that we break out typewriters or completely take the office back to the 1960’s, but I have learned over my internship that occasionally it is more efficient to pick up the phone than to send a message over that new-fangled internet.
I have to admit that in this technical age, our generation is a little too comfortable sitting back behind our glossy computer screens, buffered by firewalls and spell check, as opposed to picking up the receiver and having a direct, real-time conversation-offline. I too have been guilty of a slight phone-phobia, occasionally even ordering my take-out online.
My roommate and I sadly realized, however, after waiting an hour and a half for our Chinese food, that online systems can be unreliable when it comes to time sensitive matters, such as ensuring your won ton soup and moo goo gai pan arrive before the end of the primetime lineup. This holds especially true when you are on a deadline in an agency environment.
Why send an email that might be ignored for days when a simple question could be answered in minutes over the phone? A quick, two minute phone call could save hours of digging through confusing websites or waiting on responses to emails, making you a PR hero in crunch time.
- Sarah Colgrove
It’s safe to say that we live in a world dominated by online communication. When our parents and grandparents began getting Facebook accounts, I knew that social media was not a trend reserved exclusively for Millennials. From Facebook to Twitter to blogs, it seems that nearly everyone and every company has an online voice.
The ability for anyone to take part in online communication means that a lot of what is out there is simply noise that we easily ignore. Therefore, if I’m going to share my thoughts with the entire online world, I want to be sure that I am creating something valuable, not just noise!
An article posted on Ragen’s PR Daily last week outlined tips for creating a meaningful blog to break through all the online clutter. Here are the top takeaways from the blog, with a bit of my commentary sprinkled in:
- Coming up with a direct but enticing title is the most important part of your blog post: A title should catch your reader’s attention, but make sure it relates to your post. I always wait until I have finished my blog or article to come up with a title. That way I know that it relates—and I normally have an “ah-ha!” moment while I’m writing that provides the perfect title.
- The perfect blog post lets readers know immediately what they are about to read: I love a great novel, but I have to agree that when I am reading a blog, once it nears novel (or even short story) length, I lose interest. Especially for younger generations, online is synonymous with quick and easy. Readers will only give you so much of their time.
- Top-10 lists and rankings interest readers and give them a reason to read to the end: I don’t know what it is about a good top-10 list, but people seem to love them. Think about how much excitement and buzz David Letterman builds with his nightly top-10 lists—wouldn’t it be great to create that for your blog? The once-you-start-you-can’t-stop Pringles mentality helps maintain your readers’ attention.
- A great blog needs a lot of outbound links: Just because a blog is your opinion, doesn’t mean that you should refuse to back up that opinion. Links make your blog more credible and a better resource, more than just your opinion. They also help increase SEO, or search engine optimization, which is always a nice plus, especially for a corporate blog.
- Make your post look nice: Organizing your post nicely so that it is easy to read makes your reader happy and allows you to emphasize the things that are most important.
- Adding images or videos is crucial to breaking up text and keeping it interesting: One of the greatest things about publishing your content online is the ability to make it interactive. Try posting a video instead of typing out your blog to give it a since of personality. For businesses, videos make your company seem more personal and better optimize search engine rankings.
- A perfect blog post is concise and stays on topic: You came to this blog to read about…well, blogs. If I randomly started writing about cooking, you would be confused and probably stop reading. Each blog should be able to stand on its own and focus on what it claims to. There’s nothing worse than false advertising.
- Keywords are key: Using commonly searched terms and tagging them in your blog helps bring in more readers.
- Stay under 1,000 words—aim for 500 to 800: Online readers’ attention spans are only so long. Keep it short whenever you can.
- Don’t simply say what everyone else is saying: Blogs are personal. They should include opinion and insight. Readers are much more likely to keep coming back for more if you offer something new. Think about what makes you unique and apply that to your blog. Are you a jokester? Add a humorous commentary to your blog about (insert over-discussed topic here).
So to abide by tip number nine, I will leave you with this: like all writing, becoming a great blogger takes time and learning tricks like these. Find a topic that you are passionate about and make the effort to share your thoughts with the online world (parents and grandparents included!).
By Amanda Coppock