Study Abroad and Public Relations

A picture of a beautiful European building with words edited onto the picture that reads "Study Abroad and Public Relations"

The passport to public relations and communications is global. In a career that involves understanding everyone’s point of view and background, it is crucial to immerse ourselves well outside of our comfort zones.

Growing up with a Latin heritage in California gave me a general idea of a few cultural differences between two neighboring countries. However, it wasn’t until I visited Europe for the first time in the summer of 2017 that I received some of the biggest culture shock of my life. I found that the things that helped me most on my first solo journey were my willingness to adapt and ability to understand the environment.

Whether I was sitting on the sidewalk with my favorite tapas in Barcelona or watching well-dressed people bustle up and down the Underground in London, I couldn’t help but appreciate the different ways of life I would see in each city. Their unique lifestyles taught me the importance of understanding your audience in public relations. This reflects on how to choose your social media content, and understand your target audience, but most importantly, in my discovery for a passion in learning all about how the citizens of the world function, I found my calling. Travel public relations. I want to help people break down their own borders and come away with a life changing experience that is all their own.

My father got me a passport when I was five years old, and made the effort to take us somewhere new every year. I was lucky enough to travel across Mexico and Canada, but now I’m ready to be global citizen and public relations professional.

By:Roxanna Necoechea

Ad Campaigns Promote Body Positivity

A woman with tattoos and her hair in a pony tail kissing her boxing gloves

Companies are launching dynamic PR campaigns designed to motivate women to achieve greatness, whether it is being comfortable with their bodies or challenging gender stereotypes. Here are four ad campaigns that have positively impacted women of all ages:

 

  • Aerie launched Real in spring 2014, an ad campaign that refrained from retouching photographs of their models. Studies show that unrealistic, airbrushed representations of women’s bodies are negatively impacting women’s body image. This campaign was designed to show that diverse types of bodies are beautiful and change the perception that beautiful bodies are thin bodies. In addition to building young women’s self-esteem, it also boosted their sales 20 percent the first year alone.

 

  • The 2014 #LikeAGirl campaign by Always worked to challenge gender stereotypes placed upon young girls. Research shows that as young girls reach puberty, their self-esteem plummets. The campaign battled this issue by highlighting photos of strong, confident girls, in an effort to reframe girls unrealistic ideas about the “ideal body.”  This campaign is generating long-term brand loyalty by focusing on young girls who can identify with the campaigns messages and will need Always products for years to come.  

  • Barbie launched a campaign called Imagine the Possibilities, intended to show young girls that they can achieve anything. This video showed five girls playing with Barbies that represented what careers they wanted to pursue when they got older. As the video goes on, you see these girls become a veterinarian, professor, paleontologist and CEO.

 

  • Under Armour launched a global campaign called I Will What I Want that depicted photographs of ambitious women achieving their goals. This campaign celebrated bold women who persevered through  adversity and followed their dreams, regardless of backlash from others. With this global ad campaign, Under Armour gained a 42 percent increase of traffic onto their website.

 

Ad campaigns like these are improving women’s perceptions about their bodies. By showing diverse types of bodies, with stretch marks and freckles, girls are realizing that it is okay not to fit into the mold that society has plastered across the media.

 

With widening how they represent women in the media, these companies have gained more traffic and sales from the “normal” type of woman.

By Elizabeth Ernster

5 Ways My Blended Family Helped Prepare Me for the PR World

Taylor Pickle's family photo outside by a pool

PR agencies can easily become the people you spend the most time with and, in many ways, become your pseudo family. For me coming from an unconventional family background, I have been able to take those experiences and use them in a PR setting. PR life can be fast paced, hectic and unpredictable and so can families. I didn’t realize how well my family prepared me for the ups and downs of being a part of an agency until midway through the semester when there were deadlines looming and various projects needing to be completed.

  1.              Always expect the unexpected

Just when you think you have a plan you can always count on, the truth is that someone or something will come in and change everything. Being prepared for the unpredictable can save you from many late nights and your bank account from suffering those caffeine cravings.

  1.              Adaptability is your best friend

There comes a time when you have everything completed and put all your time and effort into completing a task. And, at a moment’s notice, things change. Being able to adapt to last minute or major changes will have a huge impact on how successful and smooth your life in PR will go.

  1.              Communication is key

We spend a majority of the day communicating with all different kinds of people and in order to get quality work done efficiently, having a solid foundation of communication will change your life.

  1.              There’s always a positive

In many cases taking away a positive can be hard to do, especially knee deep in edits and last minute client changes. But taking away at least one positive thing from the situation you find yourself in will help alleviate negative attitudes and unwanted stress.

  1.              Keep calm in a crisis

There are times when you can’t avoid a crisis. But, how you handle the crisis initially can set the tone for how you and your team will overcome it. Having the ability to stay calm when faced with a dilemma will help you in producing the best content possible for your client.

By Taylor Pickle

Four Necessary Elements of a Great Website

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With technology growing increasingly important in our society, websites have become a big part of marketing. This causes many businesses to just slap something up on the web and hope it works, but there are some techniques to helping your website be more effective. Here are four necessary elements to any great website:

  1.     Aesthetically appealing

Websites need to have a tone that matches the feel of the website. The look of a website is very important; it tells your audience what you are about. For example, at Tender Loving Coffee, a client I have worked with, we spent a lot of time understanding what their company is about before developing their website. They are an inclusive, positive, fresh environment and we wanted their website to reflect those feelings.

  1.     User friendly

A website should be easy to navigate. If your audience cannot figure out how to find the information they need, then it is not a well-designed site. Websites need a simple design for anyone to know how it should work.

  1.     Call to action

If you do not have a purpose for your website, then what is the point? A call to action button or slogan is a vital element to any website. The audience should be directed to complete a task such as: donate to your cause, buy your product or learn information about you. There needs to be a reason for your website to exist or people will just look elsewhere for what they need.

  1.     Mobile-friendly

According to Smart Insights, 71 percent of Americans use the internet on a mobile phone. If your site is unable to be viewed on a phone or other mobile device, then you are missing out on a big demographic. It is very simple to add a media query into your coding when creating a website, and I suggest that you consider that when creating a website.

With so many websites popping up every day, you want your business to stand out. Try out these necessary elements when starting up a great website for you and your business.

 

By: Emily Rench

 

Three Steps Employers Can Take to Shrink the Gender Wage Gap in PR

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Even though 70.9 percent of public relations professionals are women, women are still getting cheated in the workplace. On average, male PR executives earn $125,000 a year while women make $80,000. The average yearly salary for gender nonconforming individuals and minority women is even lower.
Why are women making less?

Some believe that women choose to work less hours, prefer working jobs that turn out to have lower pay or have docile personalities that make it tough to succeed in higher paying jobs. These beliefs imply that women could shrink the pay gap if they worked harder. While working harder might help some women, it’s unlikely to help others.  Not all women have the time and resources to work harder, longer hours.

What can employers do to shrink the gap?

  1. Offer both parents paid family leave

The US is the only industrialized country in the world that does not provide paid family leave to new parents. Currently, women who cannot afford to take unpaid time off, have to choose between their children and their careers. It’s no surprise that women’s wages decrease by about 4 percent with every child they have. Providing paid parental leave to both parents makes it possible for both parents to share caregiver responsibilities. Mothers who share parental responsibilities equally with their partners have a much easier time balancing their careers with their home life.

  1. Flexible work schedules

Another workplace policy that holds women back is inflexible work schedules. Studies show that fields that offer the most flexibility with work schedules have the smallest gender wage gaps. This is likely because women typically take on more parental responsibilities. Mothers who struggle to balance their caregiver roles with their work schedules typically need more flexible hours. Unfortunately, those flexible positions tend to pay less.

 

For example, a mother might not be able to stay late at the office in attempts to balance her full-time job with her parenting responsibilities. This could require her to take a job that allows her to work from home, even if it pays less. A father with less parental responsibilities might have more time to spare, giving him the freedom to work overtime to make more money and possibly get promoted. Both partners work in PR, but the man has more opportunities to make a higher salary and gain a higher position.

 

PR firms have the opportunity to allow for greater job flexibility by giving employees the opportunity to work from home. This could prevent working mothers from having to quit higher paying jobs to take lower paying positions for more flexible hours. If companies want to help close the gender wage gap, allowing more flexible schedules to accommodate employees with busy home lives could be a solution.

  1. Hold diversity trainings

Employers can organize agency-wide, mandatory diversity trainings to show employees that the organization is committed to an inclusive work atmosphere. Studies show that organizational climates for diversity and sexual harassment are linked to whether or not organizations hold diversity trainings.

 

Diversity trainings can help by increasing individual’s awareness of their biases. This ultimately creates a more inclusive work environment by helping employees be more understanding and supportive of each other’s different backgrounds and home lives.

 

How long will this take?

These three steps won’t solve the problem of unequal pay overnight, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

Written By: Hannah Stevens

The Art of Self-Editing

An open notebook with an empty page with a pencil and glasses on it, there is also a magnifying glass, camera and pottos all laid on a map

If you want your editor to love you, turn in clean copy. It is as simple as that. Not only will you win over your editor and they will possibly buy you lunch, but it makes both you and your editor’s lives easier.

Think about it.

The cleaner the copy you turn in as a writer, the less changes you have to make later on. It also allows your editor to turn your copy around quicker. This means you avoid a grumpy, sleep deprived editor at your Monday morning meetings. And everyone wins when the case of the “Mon-daze” is avoided.

So, here are my five tips on how to write clean copy and earn a free lunch from your beloved editor:

  1. Take a Step Back
    After you have finished a new piece of writing, leave it for a few hours before making your first round of edits. This allows you to become unfamiliar with your piece allowing you to read it objectively.
  2. Read Your Writing Forward, Backward and Sideways
    Read your writing over and over again. You obviously can’t read your work sideways but reading it backward disrupts the narrative flow, which helps you catch mistakes you’d normally skim over. Read your writing starting with the last paragraph, working back up to the beginning.
  3. Read it Out LoudScream it if you want but just make sure to not get a noise complaint. Reading your work out loud allows you to keep your brain from automatically correcting mistakes.
  4. Have a Colleague Look it OverThe more eyes on a piece before it reaches your editor, the better. If you have people willing to read your work, take them up on it. There is a good chance that they will catch mistakes that you have been subconsciously skimming over.
  5. PENCIL TAP
    Take the tip of that writing utensil that is going out of style and tap on every single word. This helps slow your brain down so you don’t fill in the blanks when you edit your work. It makes your brain focus on each individual word rather than your brain trying to predict the rest of the sentence. If you follow these five tips, you will be enjoying your favorite pizza place or preferred coffee joint in no time. And all of it will be at the expense of a happy editor.Written by: Dylan Wakefield 

How to Be An Inclusive Writer

As an aspiring public relations professional, words are a big part of my job. From press releases to Instagram posts, my words matter and they affect a lot of people. That being said, here is a resource guide for being an inclusive writer:

Race: When we, as professionals, are writing for a diverse audience, we are first representing our clients, first and ourselves, second. We must take into account that our audiences are diverse and may not have experienced the world from our vantage point. We do not want to offend our readers, plus, we have our clients’ reputation on the line with every keyboard click. Research always needs to be done when writing about race. Here are four different resources in regards to writing about race. These resources provide you the opportunity to break out of your bubble and be a more conscientious and inclusive writer.

Gender and Sexuality: Gendered language haunts the English language. We use gendered language everyday. It is ingrained in us to say, “policeman or mailman.” Sometimes, it is hard to identify gender-neutral terms for words that we say everyday without a second thought. One way to work in gender neutral terms into your everyday language is by using the singular they/them pronouns. If you are addressing someone and don’t want to assume their pronouns, a good rule of thumb is to use they/them. I have provided a resource along with other links below:

Ability/Disability: Often, means of ability are glossed over by media or negatively portrayed to emit a sense of shame. Instead you could use, “people with different abilities.” Avoiding stigmas around abilities will not only make your writing more inclusive, it can help empower people. Here are some resources to consider when writing about people with different abilities:

As professionals in a fast-paced environment, research before writing is KEY.

Being able to write in an inclusive manner can make your audience feel welcome and safe. It will create a sense of trust and transparency around your company and that can greatly improve its relationship with the public. When a marginalized community can see you took the time to include them, you raise the standards for  companies around you.

As professionals dedicated to the ties between company and community, you CAN do better to be more inclusive. My hope is that this resource guide can be used as a stepping stone to successful inclusive writing.

Other related writing style guides:

The Creative Process

Things to keep in mind – Videography

Videography requires a lengthy process which involves a lot more than just picking up a camera and recording. It’s important to make time for the creative and collaborative process. The more time you spend working through and agreeing upon an objective, the less time it will take you to reach your goal and have a successful outcome. Take more time during this process to fully develop a clear concept.

The first thing you will realize when it comes to the creative process, is that it involves an extraordinary amount of patience. The pre-production process is a slow process. You have to carefully plan out where you’re going to shoot, who or what you’re going to shoot, the lighting, the audio, and many other things. These all take time to plan out and you might want to move more hastily but you have to remember that, “good things take time”.  It’s better to film your production with careful planning and have it be successful. As opposed to rushing it and having to go back and re-do things due to mess-ups or difficulties. It might be a slow process but  try to enjoy it and just know that it will pay off when it’s all said and done!

Sometimes, your client or boss may not exactly know what they want. During these times, you will have to step up and take charge. Many of the decisions made during pre-production, film creation, and post-production will be influenced by your vision and voice. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you have an idea that you believe will better capture the image or deliver the message. However, you need to remember that you are trying to create their vision. So be respectful and try your best to guide them through your creative process so that you can work well together. It’s important to balance your process with what the client needs. Keep your goals in mind but also make sure that you reach your client’s goals as well.

Be confident! Get over your fear of being judged or being wrong. We all start being creative from a young age and often times, others tend to discourage us. You’ve experienced this during your time in school and even out of school. You won’t always be able to get everyone to like your idea or to agree with you. However, it’s important to be confident in yourself and your work. Confidence and a positive attitude can go a long way.

Just remember to work hard and have fun! You have the power to create a piece that not only meets your client’s needs, but that also satisfy yours.

Written by; Braulio Martin

Clients That Seem Challenging Are The Most Fruitful Experiences

In a perfect world, every client you have would be, well–perfect. Whether you’re working a summer job, a rigorous internship for school or have been with the same company for years, there are certain clients that seem to take more out of you than your time and effort.

According to the article Coping with difficult clients – three common types written by Rachel Antman from LMV Group, the main types of difficult PR clients include the “busy bee,” “authoritarian” and “scapegoat.”

The busy bee is usually a great client, but so overwhelmed with other tasks that public relations falls to the side, creating slow turnaround and challenges getting critical information to the practitioners on time.

The authoritarian likes control, so much so that the PR professional is no longer seen as a strategic asset but an assistant, making the work less successful than it could be.

Last is the scapegoat. This client tends to take all the credit for good work, then doesn’t bat an eye when blaming the PR agency for every failure.

When working with these types of clients, it’s important to remember that all of your experiences can be fruitful when you actively look for the value in them.

I. Personal Growth

Personal growth is different for everyone—it takes going through certain situations to learn how you can become a better person. Working with a difficult client is a sure way to figure out personal areas needing improvement.

The science of neuroplasticity explains how your thinking can change your brain chemistry. Staying positive can not only help you get through the work, but also rewire your brain to help you deal with it in the future. Even though during client related conflicts it can be easy to wallow in negativity, a positive attitude will be better for the situation, the client and yourself.

Learning to take your failures as opportunities for growth is beneficial in the workplace and day-to-day life.

II. Positive Change in Work Ethic

With a poor work ethic, it can be difficult to get anything done and keep the morale of your team high. Even professionals with a typically strong work ethic can struggle under pressure when dealing with tough situations. By constantly instilling a positive work ethic in yourself, those around you will most likely notice and benefit.

When dealing with a difficult client, it can be easy to get caught up in your emotions rather than logically thinking the issues through. Separating your personal feelings from the situation can strengthen your work ethic and all the components that come with it.

Work ethic is a virtue that’s believed to enhance character and contains many different traits. Professionalism, humility, dedication, accountability and respect are a few key elements necessary for a strong work ethic. These qualities include:

Professionalism: Broad because it encompasses all other aspects of work ethic—not only how you dress but how you act.
Humility: By acknowledging everyone’s contributions, maintaining a sense of humor, always being open to learning and teaching with integrity and appreciation those around your will trust and listen to you.
Dedication: Being passionate about your profession and company, and not submitting work until it reaches perfection, those around you will notice.
Accountability: Set an example for other employees by taking responsibility for your mistakes, not making up excuses and not making the same mistakes twice.
Respect: By always treating your clients with respect—even the most difficult—it will show grace and the value of your personal and professional worth.

III. Reaching Common Ground

One of the most beneficial skills to have when working with clients is communication. Establishing control of the account in the beginning will help you understand not only what the client wants, but will give you the creative freedom you need to do the work.

“I learned you have to say what you want and what the client wants up front,” said Kasey Perez, community manager at TGC, “it won’t happen later if it doesn’t happen in the beginning.”

Taking control from the start will garner respect from the client and allow you to steer negotiations in the right direction. Sometimes, conflicting ideas between PR practitioners and their clients can get ugly and defensive. Manipulating the situation to your advantage won’t solve the issue and the real reason for some conflicts may lie below the surface.

Reaching common ground takes mutual effort between you and your client. Being able to quickly realize the conflict, take control of the situation and find a resolution that works for both parties is a skill that will be beneficial throughout your entire career.

By: Josey Lonzo

An Agency that Stands Out Among the Rest

Image courtesy of Finn Partners

There are countless impressive public relations agencies out there, but one stands out among the rest—Finn Partners. Headquartered in New York, NY, Finn Partners is a global marketing communications firm that was founded in 2011. They have 13 offices all across the globe—two of them located right here in California.

Named “Midsize Agency of the Year” in 2015 and “Best PR Agency to Work For in North America” in 2013 by the Holmes Report, it is no secret that this agency is killing the game.

Finn Partners has a mission to amaze clients with “the best of everything” through their commitment to collaboration and to “work hard and play nice”. The agency values creating a best-place-to-work environment, which builds a strong company culture—an important aspect of agency setting that is too often overlooked.

Nashville Public Relations Parent Firm Lobby, image courtesy of dvlseigenthaer

Finn Partners covers a large scope of industry sectors including: arts, consumer, creative, crisis communications, CSR and social impact, digital, education, health, mobile, public affairs, research, technology, travel and lifestyle and numerous intersections between.

Finn Partner clients have access to a full spectrum of expertise combined with collaborative and diverse solutions. Their website includes descriptions of each industry they provide service for along with detailed case studies and compelling metrics attached.

I have had the chance to develop a vast appreciation for PR work in an agency setting while spending the past two semesters interning with Tehama Group Communications. As I am graduating later this year, I have been constantly scanning through the websites of different PR agencies for inspiration and industry news. Reading through case studies and blogs—among other research—has been a typical activity throughout my job search, and I can always count on being engaged and informed about the PR industry when viewing this agency’s many platforms.

Written by: Cassie Porter