Building a Brand’s Voice: Why It’s Okay to Tweet About Scandal

Every Thursday night at 10 p.m., my Twitterfeed explodes.

I don’t personally watch Scandal, but apparently a ton of the brands I follow on Twitter (many of them in the fashion industry) have a social media manager or editor who does. When I logged onto Twitter, I found tweets from @DKNY, @StyleIT, @thePRwoman, @StyleRepublic, @psimadethis, @strategyDC, @ThisThatBeauty, @EatShopLiveNYC, @Pantene and TONS of others, live tweeting along with #scandal.

And that’s okay. In building a brand’s voice, it’s not all about constantly touting your product, service, or brand. If every tweet is a link to an article, an announcement of a sale, or an Instagram of your product, you may be building a voice, but that voice isn’t human.

In this changing online sphere, consumers are looking to interact and engage with brands. They want to see the human side of brands who share their interests and passions. Brands can and should absolutely be opinion leaders on Twitter, but if consumers can’t identify with them, they’ve failed in their social media efforts.

And that’s why tweeting about Scandal is great. Go where your fans are! If fashionistas are loving Kerry Washington’s style on #scandal that week, that’s where the fashion blogs should be. For example, @Pantene partnered with bloggers @StyleIT and @ThisThatBeauty to talk about hair trends on #scandal, using the custom hashtag, #WantThatHair. It’s genius!

What do you think about brands tweets about topics that are technically not relevant to their product/service? Yay or nay? Let me know by tweeting @staceyalevine!

PR Agency PRofile: Large Global Agency

Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to attend, through American University’s School of Communication, a lunch + learn site visit trip to a large international PR firm. The agency’s original office is located in Washington, DC – one of its 90 global offices – so we headed to Farragut Square last Wednesday for a visit.

Our group of 20 students had the opportunity to sit around a boardroom table, eating pizza and listening to presentations by various employees of the agency. We heard from a Senior VP, VP, Account Exec, and Asst. Account Exec, from four different departments. They really gave us a comprehensive looks at the values of the agency, the specific responsibilities of each department, the structure of account teams, and the factors that go into the entry level hiring process.

The trip was hugely helpful to me, so I’d like to share with you all some of the key insights and takeaways I learned today!

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1. Research is key. Analytics plays a huge role in shaping PR campaigns, because you want the work you’re doing to yield measurable results.

2. If you want to work in digital, you should naturally live + breathe a digital lifestyle outside of work. Otherwise, you won’t be up to date on the latest social media platforms, news, and technologies.

3. Hiring at agencies depends on winning bids for new business. Follow the news surrounding the agencies you want to work for – when they get new accounts, they’re more likely to be hiring.

4. When you need to send writing samples for an agency application, send: press releases, pitch letters, and online portfolios.

5. When interviewing for a job, there are a few things that can set you apart: a can-do attitude, willingness to go the extra mile, a flawlessly written resume/cover letter, showing that you’re a team player, and a good dose of common sense.

6. Things that won’t get you hired? Attitude/arrogance, vagueness and lack of detail in an interview, and being all talk and no content.

My New Online Portfolio

My New Online Portfolio

Today a friend sent me an invitation to join a website in its beta phase: www.pressfolios.com. After playing around with it for a few hours, I’m hooked. It’s an extremely user-friendly website that allows you to create an attractive online portfolio, something that is so important to have, especially when you’re applying for internships and jobs!

Click this link to check out the online portfolio I created – and if you’d like me to send you an invitation to try out the site, leave your email address in the comments!

5 Things My PR Internship Has Taught Me

Now that I’m about a month into my internship at a boutique PR firm in Georgetown, it’s time for a little reflection (and it’s midterms week, so let’s be real. I’d rather be blogging.) I’ve held internships before doing in-house PR, fashion, and event planning, but this is my first internship at an agency and to sum it all up: I love it!

With PR agencies come multiple clients, and with multiple clients come multiple stresses – busy, busy! But it also means you get to work with tons of different people, brainstorm new ideas, and as an intern, really learn about so many facets of the public relations industry.

So, here it is. Five things my PR internship has taught me so far:

1. Take advantage of your supervisor’s knowledge and experience. One of my supervisors also went to AU and did the BA/MA program I’m considering, so she’s been super helpful when it comes to making that decision. When it comes to your bosses, don’t hesitate to ask them about projects they’re working on and their perspectives on the industry. Mentorship is priceless!

2. The little things matter. This works in two directions: first, tasks you complete may be small but they fit into a much larger puzzle, so don’t take your responsibilities lightly and don’t treat tasks like they are below you. Second, feel free to ask your supervisors how the tasks you’re completing fit into the overall project they’re working on. You’ll understand and get a good sense of how an intern’s work really does matter!

3. Work hard, and be enthusiastic about it. In PR, of course you have to do things like package up samples and print labels. But doing your tasks well and showing enthusiasm for the work you do will let your supervisors know you care, and they’ll trust you more with bigger tasks. Only 3 weeks into my internship I had the opportunity to write an email pitch that is now being sent out to media lists!

4. Understand your environment. After spending some time at your internship you can gauge your environment. What’s the ideal time to arrive in the morning? When can you take a long lunch break and when do you need to shove down bites between tasks at your desk? When are your supervisors free to chat about your career options and when should you leave them alone to work? Understanding these things shows a different kind of intelligence that will be much appreciated!

5. Prove your worth. This one I’d say is especially important. At my internship I have 4 supervisors, and 2 of them started out as interns for the company! Just because your company won’t necessarily be hiring at the time you complete your internship, doesn’t mean they won’t be looking for new hires in the future. Prove your worth and stay in contact so you can set yourself up for potential job opportunities (and remember – people know people!)

What are some things you’ve learned from your fall internship so far?