Travel PR: Where I would take a London blogger

By Taryn McCarthy

London is a phenomenal city. After coming to study here for a semester I have fallen madly in love with it and everything it has to offer. I’ve also grown an interest for a career in Travel PR, which I never had considered before. If I worked in Travel PR here, my job would essentially be to promote London.

 

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The view from Duck and Waffle. 

Most cities have their own Travel PR firm that works tirelessly to advertise the beauty and worth of their city, and draw in more people to visit. London’s official Travel PR company is called Visit London; it promotes tourism by illuminating the beauty of London.

 

So, imagining I am a Travel PR employee in London, I’ve rounded up my best list of beautiful and enjoyable places that I would take a blogger in London.

Morning Activities:

Duck & Waffle
Waffles at the top of a skyscraper? Yes. Please. Duck & Waffle
provides a spectacular view of London with amazing breakfast, and it’s open 24/7. The perfect place to take a blogger. I would probably take them here around sunrise because the view and food is worth waking up early for.

Afternoon Activities:

One (or more) of the London Markets

 

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Mac and cheese from the market.

The markets of London are one of the things that makes the city so unique. At the markets there are vintage finds, fresh food (lots of it), handmade goods, drinks and more.

 

My favorites are:

  • Borough Market: the best food
  • Camden Market: tons of vintage clothes along with good food)
  • Columbia Road Flower Market: hundreds of beautiful flowers, except it’s only open on Sundays!

London’s (free) Museums: Exhibition Road:

One of the wonderful things about London is all of the free museums.

Located in South Kensington, Exhibition Road is home to multiple museums and academic buildings. My favorite is the Victoria & Albert Museum, which is full of over 4 million pieces of arts & design.

Hyde Park

London is also known for its parks and squares all around the City. In Hyde Park you can find Kensington Palace, a pond, ice cream trucks, dogs and beautiful scenery.

Afternoon Tea: Sketch

It’s unusual to come to London without sitting down for some afternoon tea. While I haven’t been to this place myself (it’s a bit pricey), Sketch is one of the most aesthetically

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The perfect spot for afternoon tea. 

pleasing places to take someone for afternoon tea.

 

It’s constantly on social media, and these pictures explain why. One of the most instagrammed spots in Sketch is their bathroom, where the stalls are huge egg-like pods. Definitely an experience

Evening Activities:

Sunset on the Thames

The Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) is beautiful right at sunset, when the clouds turn into beautiful cotton candy colors, and reflect on the River. There are a collection of pubs, restaurants and cafes along the river which make for a relaxing and picturesque evening.

West End Show

London’s West End has been sprawling with talented actors for years with their bustling theatre scene. Taking a blogger to a theatre show is the perfect way to immerse them in a huge part of London’s culture.

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London has dozens of shows to choose from.

 

 

There are dozens of shows to choose from, some even have famous big screen actors in them, like Daniel Radcliffe. It’s especially easy to see shows because you’re able to buy discounted tickets from multiple websites like this one.

This post has only touched the tip of the iceberg with what to see in London. However, it includes the things that are extraordinary about London, such as the renowned theatre shows, various markets, afternoon tea and more. These things are what drive tourists to come to London and are what I would promote as a Travel PR employee.

All in all, Travel PR is a very important profession and firms can bring in lots of money to the cities they represent.

Three tips to maximize your PRSSA experience

Whether you’re a new member this semester or a seasoned PRSSA member who has been around for several semesters, it’s never too late to get involved and take advantage of all of the great opportunities PRSSA provides. There really is so much to get out of your PRSSA membership, and being an involved member is a sure way to kickstart a successful career in the PR industry.

Follow these three simple tips to maximize your PRSSA experience and make those dues worthwhile:

1.Join a committee

The committees are what PRSSA is all about, and here at the IU chapter, we have several to cater to every interest. This is such a great way to get real-world experience! And if you don’t have much experience with PR, don’t let that hold you back; this is the perfect way to learn. Attend every meeting you possibly can, pick a committee (or two) to devote your time to and pull your weight!

Aren’t sure you’re getting enough work to do? There’s always something to be done. Take initiative and ask the committee head if there’s something you can take off their plate. Here are the committees our chapter offers:

  • Programming and publicity: organize events and speakers for our chapter, and help to publicize those events
  • Greek Media Training: help plan and host a crisis communications training session for IU Greek chapters on campus
  • Ketchum: this is low maintenance and gives you a chance to submit PR campaigns for real clients
  • Fashion and Culture: choose from arts clients or fashion clients and aid in their PR work
  • Sports: publicize sporting events and activities around campus
  • Non-profit: work with local-non profits to aid in their PR work  

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2.Attend programming events

We plan events every semester for our members, such as the Young Pros Panel; agency tours; and resume and cover letter workshops. These events are specifically for our members to network and learn more about the PR profession.

The speakers and hosts are your future employers and they are doing real-world PR work, so take advantage of these awesome opportunities. Some events we have coming up this semester include (stay tuned for more):

  • Monthly mass meetings, including workshops of some kind
  • Feb. 21: Graphic design workshop
  • Feb. 23-25: Chicago agency tour
  • TBD: Dinner with alumni

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3.Utilize member benefits through nationals

Fun fact: only a small portion of your yearly dues go towards the IU chapter — for things like pizza nights and guest speakers — everything else goes to the national chapter so that they can provide awesome member benefits. What member benefits you ask? The PRSA website includes a full listing, but here are the high points:

  • Scholarships, awards and national competitions
  • Internship center (many employers advertise strictly on this site)
  • Leadership opportunities (chapter exec board and national)
  • PRSA JobCenter (for when you’re looking for that #adult job)
  • Discounted PRSA membership (again #adult stuff. Who doesn’t like saving money?)
  • Portfolio-building opportunities (write for the PRSSA blog and others)

benefits

Don’t just pay your dues and sit tight for your whole college career. Make the most out of your PRSSA experience. Ok, now go!

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Go the extra mile: 4 tips to make you stand out as a PR candidate

by Katie Hogue, co-director of public relations

It’s that time again…recruitment season! Every year getting a job or internship becomes more and more competitive. While most of you might already have the basics down (you’ve set up your LinkedIn, practiced interviewing etc.) you may still be looking for something extra to set you apart. If you really want to get your dream job, you need to be doing all you can to give yourself the best shot. Here are a few things you can be doing now that could make the difference between you getting your dream job and someone else beating you out:

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  1. Set up informational interviews

Reaching out to people you don’t know can be scary, but it can also help you learn about the company you want to work for and put you on their radar. If you have any contacts already in the industry, next time you are in their area, ask to take them for a 30-minute coffee break/informational interview to learn more about their job. If you don’t know anyone at your dream company, try using LinkedIn’s advanced search feature to type in the company you are looking for and Indiana University as the school to find people who work there that went to IU. It helps if you have a connection to someone when asking them for their time. If not, still give it a shot. Some people will respond, some will not.

Face to face interviews are always best. Be sure to have questions prepared to ask them about their career path, the industry in general and the opportunities at their company if they know of any. Just be careful not to make it only about the job that you want, which can be off-putting. If the conversation goes well, you can ask them to look over your resume or put you in contact with someone else in the company that would also be good to talk to. Sometimes this can lead to them passing your resume to HR or letting you put them down as a reference when you’re applying. Having an advocate on the inside can make all the difference! Sometimes it really is about who you know.

  1. Create your online portfolio

Some employers ask on their applications for you to submit a link to your online portfolio, others don’t, but it can still be a great way to showcase your work and personality. Setting one up may seem like a daunting task for those that are not very technologically savvy, but sites such as weebly.com and wix.com make it easier (and they’re free!). Be sure to let your personality shine through and attach examples of your work. Then include the link on your resume, Twitter and anywhere else that is applicable.

  1. Polish up your look

Yes, you have a resume, but is it one resume paper? These little details mark the line between the good and the great. Make sure that you invest in nice paper for your resume and cover letter. Other little details that go a long way are buying nice thank-you notes to handwrite after interviews, checking over your work to make sure everything is done in AP style and designing your own business cards. Don’t have any? Check out vistaprint.com, it’s one of the cheapest and most customizable options. Another popular site is moo.com. Get creative! 

  1. Engage on your social media

Studies have shown that about 93 percent of employers look you up on social media before hiring you. Everyone knows not to have any inappropriate photos or foul language; however, most people just leave it at that. Consider not just making sure your social media doesn’t hurt you, but make sure it helps you. Try following companies you are interested in working for and engaging with their posts. Stay on top of news (look at sites like AdWeek and PR Daily) and share your thoughts about interesting articles in Tweets and posts. This will not only show your professionalism, but that you are invested in the industry.

Doing these things don’t guarantee you the job, but they will certainly make you stand out and employers will take you seriously. You’ll be at the top of the pack and will be certain that you’ve done everything you can to make yourself a desirable candidate. Now go out there and get hired!

Five PR Lessons We Learned from Gilmore Girls

By Kelsey Harding

In honor of the highly anticipated Gilmore Girls revival season coming on Nov. 25, here are five PR tips we can learn from our favorite mother-daughter duo!

1. Problem Solving & Crisis Management

Nobody particularly likes it when problems come up, least of all Lorelai Gilmore. However, as PR professionals, dealing with crises and day-to-day problems for our clients is just part of the job. As we can learn from countless case studies, such as the infamous Toyota recall of 2010, it’s much more effective to own up to mistakes and come up with a plan to improve public image than to try to cover things up.

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2. Do Your Research

Channel your inner Rory Gilmore and hit the (figurative) books before starting any new campaign, fact sheet or news release. It’s so important to know your client’s mission statement, target audience, intended outcome, event details and so much more. Think of research as the foundation for the rest of your PR work.

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3. People Skills are a Must.

Our dear Paris Geller may not have been cut out for the people-oriented world of public relations. The PR field involves constant communication with your clients, your co-workers and journalists, just to name a few groups. And to be successful at that communication, professionals need to develop strong listening skills, flexibility, persuasion and patience, among others.

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4. PR is a Lifestyle.

Granted, the girls were talking about pizza here (#relatable), but the main point still stands. As you dive more and more into the world of public relations, the skills you learn, from the ways you solve problems to writing in AP style, start to seep into your everyday life. It’s truly not a just a job, it’s a lifestyle.

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5. And, of course, coffee.

No Gilmore Girls list would be complete without coffee. Where would Lorelai and Rory be without their daily cup from Luke’s in the morning? Where would PR be without caffeine-fueled professionals? Luckily, the world will never have to know.

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IU PRSSA FAQ’s

By Bailey Briscoe

Each semester, we receive a lot of questions about PRSSA, the IU chapter and the benefits of becoming a member. With the deadline quickly approaching to pay dues, we thought we would answer some of those questions for those that are still on the fence.

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The 2016-17 executive board.

What is PRSSA?

There are multiple Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapters around the country (and in Argentina, Colombia & Peru). The Beth Wood Chapter (that’s us!) is one of 14 chapters in Indiana alone. PR professionals who saw the need for a community founded the first PRSSA chapter in 1967. Each chapter follows this mission:

“The Society’s mission is to serve our members by enhancing their knowledge of public relations and providing access to professional development opportunities; and to serve the public relations profession by helping to develop highly qualified, well-prepared professionals.”

PRSSA is a pre-professional (meaning it prepares you for the real, professional world of PR) organization that caters towards those wanting to enter into a PR-related field after college.

What do my dues cover?

The $65 payment mostly goes to nationals (the big boss of all the PRSSA chapters). Our chapter only takes $10 to put towards things like bringing in professional speakers from out of town, catering mass meetings and funding agency tours or national conference each year.

What activities can I expect to participate in?

Let’s use last year as an example. Some of the activities we hosted were:

  • Half Day with a Pro: Students shadow individuals in the workplace for a half day, which is a great networking opportunity. Companies see this as a way to recruit top talent.
  • Young Pros Panel: We bring in a panel of speakers who have just recently graduated from IU and got jobs in the area. They tell us about their hiring process, the companies they work for and the type of work they do.
  • Resume workshop: A career advisor hosted a workshop with us to tweak our resumes and provide tips for applying for jobs/internships
  • Design boot camps: We had a series of workshops centered around teaching the ins and outs of various programs used in the PR industry, like InDesign and Photoshop.
  • Chicago agency tours: We took a group of students to Chicago for the weekend and lines up several tours of PR agencies. Students were able to network and get noticed by individuals in the industry, plus see what it would be like to work at an agency.

Just to name a few.

How will this organization help me with my future career?

You will have many opportunities to network over the course of the year. This means meeting people that could potentially hire you one day (seriously, many members have

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PR agency tours are just one of the perks of being a PRSSA member.

gotten jobs or internships because of PRSSA).

As a member, you can sign up to be on committees. Our committees work with real-world clients here in Bloomington to solve their PR-related issues or provide PR advice. In the past we have helped our clients with press releases, social media, branding and more. We have a variety of committees to fit everyone’s interests, also.

After college, you can join PRSA (for real professionals) and continue getting similar benefits. P.S. Most employers pay for your membership fees, so this shows how important it is to the industry.

Do recruiters care if I was in PRSSA?

Yes! We’ve heard from many companies and PR agencies that say they disregard applications if they know the school has a PRSSA chapter but involvement isn’t listed on the individual’s resume.

So, why should I join PRSSA?

If you want to have a job in PR post-graduation, this is the organization for you to get involved with. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to gain experience and add to your resume. At the same time, you really will be preparing yourself for a career in PR. The things you will do as a student will impress your future employers and help you get hired.

Panelists
Alumni of PRSSA at IU come back for the “Young Pros Panel” and give students advice on a career in the industry.

In addition, you will be introduced to a network of professionals in the industry who will be happy to help you succeed.

Need more convincing? Check out this post by our current chapter president.

I’m convinced. How do I sign up?

Click this link below and complete the process to pay dues by October 25. Important: once you pay your dues, send a screenshot of your confirmation of payment to Kelsey Harding (kelmhard@indiana.edu). Once she receives this confirmation and fill out the Google doc, you will be an official PRSSA member!

  1. Copy and paste everything highlighted into your browser. Find PRSSA and add dues to your shopping cart. Link: http://soapay.3dcartstores.com/
  2. Pay and send screenshot to Kelsey Harding (kelmhard@indiana.edu)
  3. Fill out this Google Doc with your information.

Still have questions? Feel free to email iuprssa@gmail.com for general questions or any of the exec members

Tips to a killer LinkedIn profile, as told by New Girl GIFs

By Katie Hogue

Your LinkedIn profile is your first impression to employers before they even meet you. If you want to start off on the right foot or even get an interview, you have to ace the LinkedIn background check. Here are 4 tips to a killer profile that will help you #GetHired.

1. Get a good picture

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That’s right, it’s time to ditch the fraternity composite or high school senior picture you have in there now. Make it professional. Dress up in BUSINESS PROFESSIONAL clothes and clean yourself up. Your picture is the very first thing someone sees when going to your profile, and, like it or not, people are judged by their appearance. Using a professional headshot as your LinkedIn picture signals to employers that you know how to dress appropriately and will represent the company well.

#2 The summary is your chance to shine

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Use the LinkedIn summary to tell employers what your best qualifications are and why they should hire you. After your picture it’s the next thing they will see on the page as they scroll down. Use it to showcase your most important accomplishments and what skills or personality features differentiate you from the competition. After reading it, employers should feel like they know you and how you will add value to their company.

#3 Organize your sections by relevancy

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Not all employers will take the time to scroll all the way through your profile and read every section. Most likely, they will not. Therefore, you should put the most important and recent things at the top of your resume. Typically, relevant work and club experience should be at the top of your resume with honors, awards and skills in the middle. Information that isn’t as relevant to your job such as volunteer experience and personal details should be at the bottom.

#4 The details matter

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Make sure to edit your profile for spelling and formatting. Even if you have great qualifications for a job, if your profile is riddled with spelling errors and unstandardized formatting, it will discredit your expertise. Don’t overlook the small things, like making sure all your bullets are the same, spacing is even, verb tenses are consistent and capitalizations make sense. While it’s not necessary to use AP style, it might be a good idea to show that you understand the rules of writing press releases.

Overall, if you can make these few fixes, you will have a killer LinkedIn and get ahead of your competition. Now go get hired!

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Interested in contributing to the PRSSA blog? Email Bailey Briscoe (baibrisc@indiana.edu) for more info. 

Internship Spotlight: Katie Hogue, Starcom Mediavest Group

Katie Hogue, a senior journalism student specializing in public relations, talks about her summer internship at Starcom Mediavest Group. 

This summer I have had the opportunity to intern in downtown Chicago for Starcom Mediavest Group (SMG) as a search engine marketing intern. SMG is an advertising media agency under the larger umbrella of Publicis Groupe.

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SMG is an advertising media agency under the larger umbrella of Publicis Groupe. 

Working at an agency has been a fun and fast-paced adventure that I had not experienced before working on the client side. SMG is mostly staffed by young professionals and there is always a cool event around the corner, whether it is the Facebook Olympics or free Starbucks every Thursday. While there are lots of vendor perks for people working at SMG, they are certainly earned. The job comes with hours that are not just 9-5 (except for me as an intern) and clients can be very demanding. However, working with multiple clients with different needs is great for gaining a lot of experience very quickly.

My day-to-day tasks working at SMG mostly consisted of working with data for paid search ads. I would pull weekly reports for different ad campaigns my clients were running and provide insights and recommendations about how to optimize each campaign. The three clients that I helped with were Providence Healthcare, Fifth Third Bank and NAPA Autoparts. I also helped create ad copy for the ads we were promoting and keywords people might search on for each campaign.

In addition to various daily tasks, interns were given a capstone project to work on for the duration of the internship. We were assigned to teams of six and given the client Airbnb. Airbnb wanted our help with improving their mobile app and advertising techniques. We researched mobile innovation trends in the past, Airbnb’s competitors and what the future would bring in mobile. We created a plan for Airbnb to become the most innovative app by 2020 and presented our ideas to HR and Airbnb’s representatives.

Over the course of this internship not only have my excel skills improved tenfold, but I have learned a ton about SEM, advertising and agency life. Now that the summer and my internship are drawing to a close, I am excited to see how I can apply my new skills and what the future will hold.

Are you a PRSSA member with a fun summer internship? We want to spotlight you next. Email baibrisc@indiana.edu for more details.