January Twitter Chat Highlights: Taking Your Career to the Next Level

Twitter Chat HighlightsWe’d like to thank everyone who participated in the January #NPPRSA Twitter chat to start off 2014 by discussing ways to step up your game in the workplace. We discussed some helpful topics this month including evaluating a company’s culture, how to prove the value of professional memberships to an employer and how to get up to speed quickly when assigned a new client.

Join us again on February 6 for our next #NPPRSA chat and stay up-to-date with PRSA New Professionals on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

Review highlights of the chat below. What did you learn from the January chat? How can you gain employer support of your professional development opportunities? In what ways can you increase collaboration with co-workers and other departments?

Lauren Rosenbaum

Lauren Rosenbaum is the PRSA New Professionals Social Media Co-Chair and Co-Founder of Soversity, a public relations and digital marketing company. You can connect with her on Google+LinkedIn or Twitter.




November Twitter Chat Highlights: How to Succeed as a New Pro

Thanks to everyone who participated in the November #NPPRSA Twitter chat to kick off PRSA New Professionals Week, discussing how to succeed in marketing and public relations as a new professional. We encourage everyone to get involved with PRSA New Professionals Week, November 11-15, and discover helpful resources, such as the free webinar, “What Your Boss Wants from You but Won’t Tell You” on November 11 at 3 p.m. ET.


Join us again on Twitter in December for the final #NPPRSA Twitter chat of 2013.

Review highlights of the chat below. What did you learn from the November chat? How can you show initiative as a new professional? What are some good ways to use resources wisely and find new ones? How can you stay involved within your community?


Lauren RosenbaumLauren Rosenbaum is the co-founder of Soversity, a public relations and digital marketing company. You can connect with her on Google+LinkedIn or Twitter.

Inside Corporate Communications (for a PR Agency)

Keep Calm and Hire A PR AgencyAfter graduating college, I was torn between searching for jobs in-house or at an agency. I knew I wanted to work in corporate communications, but the advice I received from PR professionals, professors and classmates was to try the agency route first, since there are more entry-level opportunities. Given the economic climate and difficult job market, I took that advice, but through a twist of fate found myself in a role I never even knew existed: in-house corporate communications for a PR agency!

Every day is an adventure, and there are many new skills and lessons I’ve learned through my experience so far. There’s no such thing as a typical day, but my main tasks include supporting new business opportunities, helping teams craft industry award submissions, drafting internal and external communications materials, pitching trade media, event planning and managing website content and social media properties.

The best part about working in corporate communications for a PR agency is the ability to learn how both roles function. Everyday I watch my colleagues on the account side working hard to service clients while I’ve been able to support them through corporate communications. Even though we have different roles, many of our tasks are similar (e.g. research, media lists, event management) and as new PR professionals, we’ve all learned to master the art of multi-tasking and time management—key skills needed in PR!

So as you embark on (or even just consider) a career in corporate communications, here are three tips I’ve found to be helpful in this role:

  1.  Learn as much as possible about your organization and industry. Working in corporate communications, it is vital to know everything you can about the company: its products or services, its leaders, its mission, its employees, etc. Typically, the corporate communications team serves as a liaison between the organization and external audiences, with the head of the team taking on the role of company spokesperson. If reporters or potential clients contact our team looking for information on a campaign we ran in Paris, a global offering that just launched or a new client in New York, it’s our job to answer their questions or at least be able to refer them to someone who can help. Thus, the more you know about your company, the better equipped you’ll be to respond to inquiries. The best way to learn about what’s happening is to talk to your colleagues and find out what they’re working on, pay attention to emails and updates sent around the office and study the firm’s website, policies, case studies and credentials, anything that will provide background information to give you a deep understanding of your company’s business.
    The same goes for the industry. For example, in my role I need to know the ins and outs of what’s happening in public relations, the latest news from our competitors and new developments and trends that might impact our business. It’s important to become an expert in your field so you understand and can speak with accuracy and authority to internal and external audiences. As a bonus, you will be seen as a vital asset and go-to person for others within the company who may have questions on what you’ve learned!
  2. Develop excellent writing skills. Whatever tasks are thrown your way, it will most likely involve writing. From press releases to internal announcements to case studies, I spend most of my days writing and editing various communications materials. Being able to write well is one of the most important skills a PR professional should have (this is also applicable to other PR roles). Your writing will improve over time but definitely take advantage of every opportunity to practice. If a colleague needs an email or press release drafted, offer to take a stab at it. Once it’s finalized, ask to see the final version so you can compare it to your draft and see what changes were made. This will help you learn what you need to improve upon for next time.
  3. Network. Get to know as many people inside and outside the company as you can. Networking is an important tool we hear about time and time again, but it’s truly essential in the corporate communications role. Start building relationships from day one with your colleagues. I’ve been given the opportunity to support new business pitches, award submissions and media relations efforts across practices and across offices. With each project, I am introduced to someone new, and that person becomes a great resource for the future when a similar project or request arises. The same is true externally. I’ve built relationships with PR trade journalists in order gain visibility in the media. Most importantly, don’t just reach out to someone when you need something; show an interest in their job, and figure out how you can work together so you can both meet your goals.

Have you ever considered doing PR for a PR agency? What other questions would you ask?


Stephanie ManasStephanie Manas is a corporate communications specialist/senior account executive at Ogilvy Public Relations, providing business development and internal and external relations support to the global communications agency. Previously, she held positions in theatrical PR at Boneau/Bryan-Brown and book publicity at Penguin Group USA. Prior to that, Manas interned at FleishmanHillard, The Broadway League and 451 Marketing. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communication and economics from Boston University. Manas is the co-chair of the marketing committee for PRSA-NY. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter. For more information on Manas, check out her recent Q&A in Syracuse University’s Newhouse PR blog.

Eight Questions to Ask Before Accepting an Internship

Once again internships are prominent in the news. Just last week, we learned from an article in the Atlantic that barely one-third of the U.S. Senate pay their interns. The White House also was recently chided about not paying interns.  Even the foundation of the COO of Facebook has finally and reluctantly relented and has announced that the foundation will begin paying interns.

I have written before about the internship on behalf of the Public Relations Society of America and have not changed my opinion one iota. Internships are legitimate work and should be compensated. PRSA is so adamant about the issue that it published an advisory nearly three years ago for its 30,000 members about internships. As noted in a past post  on internships, PRSA believes it is ethically improper to employ anyone who adds real value to a public relations agency or department without compensating them for their work – whether that compensation is monetary or in the form of educational credits. If billable work is being performed by an intern, he or she deserves some form of legal compensation.

There was a time many years ago when internships were employed by organizations to give back to society by offering summer employment to students in disciplines related to their academic studies. Later, the internship evolved to a way for organizations to solve interim staffing issues. On the candidate side, the internship was a way to get practical, real-world experience in the field that would supplement academic training. Somewhere along the way, internships started to be viewed as a volunteer function and organizations treated them as such.

Let’s be clear though what constitutes volunteerism. Helping a charitable organization tend to the needs of the underserved is volunteerism. Assisting an organization to sell books or some other product or service is not.

As young professionals, your goal is to secure a full-time professional position in public relations. Here are several metrics for evaluating the efficacy of internships after you have graduated.

  1. Is the internship a paid position? And is it well above minimum wage? This is a critical question for which the answer is simple. If it is not paid, steer clear.
  2. Is the compensation reasonable for the role? You should expect no less than $25 per hour, particularly if the job involves content creation, including writing releases, case studies, blogs, speeches, tweets, Facebook posts and yes, even questions for Quora or content for Pinterest.
  3. Is the internship/job a 40-hours-a-week gig and/or are you expected to put in inordinate time that is not compensated? Most jobs are reasonably 40 hours a week or at max 50 hours. Investigate if there is the opportunity for paid overtime or compensatory time.
  4. What is the probability that the internship will lead to a full-time position? Assuming you excel in the job, will the employer agree to put it in writing ahead of time? As Ronald Reagan once said, “trust but verify.” If a permanent position is not in the cards, make certain other conditions are sufficiently compelling to make the internship worth your time and labor.
  5. Is the organization a leader in its category, whether a non-profit, corporation, institution or agency? Your credibility, integrity and personal brand are all built on your associations. Make certain that the organization is a thought leader or at least “reputation safe.”
  6. Will the internship help to appreciably increase your skills, broaden your understanding of the field and augment your network and sphere of influence? These are all vital characteristics that should be inherent in your investment in the internship. If they don’t contribute, think hard and long before you accept.
  7. Can you use the content you create as part of your portfolio? Will you be able to take credit publicly for your intellectual labor and resulting product? It is wise to have some evidence that you can use to validate your accomplishments.
  8. Will your employer give you time for other pursuits, including volunteer work, professional affiliations and networking? Don’t be chained to your desk. Make sure there is adequate freedom to network, volunteer and attend to other professional endeavors.

If you decide to go the internship route while you job hunt, exercise caution in doing internships that do not help fulfill your career goals and strategy. What other red flags have you seen associated with internships? Have your internship experiences proved valuable in your professional growth?


Gerard CorbettGerard F. Corbett, APR, Fellow PRSA, is 2013 immediate past chair and CEO of the Public Relations Society of America; chair and CEO of Redphlag LLC, a Silicon Valley Strategic Communications Firm; and the PR Job Coach.  He can be reached at gerard.corbett@redphlag.com

This Labor Day, Escape the Cubicle to Learn

One of the things you hear the most from employers and employees is the need for experience. When you get your first job, you have experience from your internships and college public relations/marketing classes. As you add years onto your career, you gain the experience from working with clients, writing media advisories and releases and researching potential clients.

But, the office isn’t the only place you gain experience. As a matter of fact, it’s absolutely paramount to get out of the office to really broaden your horizons. Your experience grows when your mind can take in knowledge outside of the “four walls.”

The office is for work, a large percentage of the time. While I learned many things in the office, I grew as a professional outside of it. As a solo public relations pro, my knowledge has grown exponentially not being in an office setting.

Here are some things you can do to expand your professional experience.

  • Twitter chats: Twitter chats may seem very obvious these days. You can learn a ton from Twitter chats and network at the same time. Many of the chats have seasoned pros run and/or take part. Chats I recommend are #brandchat #solopr #NPRSSA (obviously) and #PRStudChat. You will always learn something important from these chats. Make it a point to try and participate when you can. #BrandChat and #solopr take place weekly; #NPRSSA and #PRStudChat are monthly.
  • Conferences: The great thing about conferences is that most companies will pay for you to go because it is part of your professional development. Never miss out on an opportunity to go to one, no matter the size. Whether it is a local PRSA conference or something like Social Fresh, you will grow as a pro by listening to what these experts have to say. Again, it’s the perfect place to network.
  • Podcasts: I love podcasts. Even though I don’t ride the train any longer, I still make the time to download and listen. My business is better for it and my experience is as well. “The Human Business Way” by Chris Brogan is outstanding, as is “The Social Media Marketing Podcast” with Michael Stelzner. You can listen to them on the treadmill, in the car or on a beach (learning and relaxing!).
  • Webinars: Some of these are free; some require you to pay. The good thing about webinars is you can see if the topic may appeal to you before signing up. Look at what PRSA has to offer or check Twitter and Facebook to see what companies like Vocus, Marketwire and Ragan may be offering monthly or weekly.
  • Blogs: While last on this list, it is certainly not least. Blogs are an important tool for information and learning. It’s a good bet that a PR/social media/marketing pro has a blog. Good folks to check out are Deirdre Breakenridge, PR Breakfast Club, Shonali Burke, and SpinSucks. You’ll get a mix of traditional knowledge as well as build up your new tool arsenal.

Gaining knowledge is up to you. Don’t rest on what is in front of you; look beyond the now, and see the future. YOUR future.


Jason MollicaJason Mollica (@JasMollica) is the president of JRMComm, a public relations and social media marketing consultancy. He combines knowledge of the broadcast news industry, traditional public relations expertise and today’s new and innovative social media tools. Mollica operates his own blog and has guest blogged on several others, including the respected Ad Age-ranked PR Breakfast Club, Ragan.com and PRSSA’s Progressions.