Three Keys to Networking Success

CONTRASTPRSA defines our collective interest of PR in this way: “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” A key part of that definition is the phrase “mutually beneficial relationships.” Who are we as PR practitioners if we ourselves can’t create these bonds?

In the world we live in, connections are essential. They help us get the job we want, meet the people that will inspire us and market to the audience that is most receptive. If you’re reading this blog, I’m sure you’ve heard you’re supposed to network (the all powerful buzzword), but when you’re a fresh face to the business, it can be intimidating. How are we supposed to hold conversations with people with 25 years more experience? Make sure you’re executing these three tactics to make the most out of networking:

Position Yourself. Successful PR professionals are bountiful but when you’re looking to connect with them, they seem to be an elusive species. Luckily, there are many resources available to help with this process. The best way I’ve found to introduce myself to people I’d like to know is by utilizing my local PRSA chapter. Monthly luncheons and occasional happy hours provide the perfect venue for exchanging knowledge and business cards. Before attending an event, be sure to research organizations of interest and the key people within. This will help you find a way to start the conversation.

Follow Up. Meeting people that are doing what you want to do, and successfully, provides an invaluable insight into how to flourish in your dream career. After receiving those business cards and handshakes, don’t be afraid to connect with them in another venue – online. A Twitter follow or LinkedIn connection can help you absorb the expertise they share (and keep you on their radar for possible future connections). From here, you are starting to build on a solid foundation from people with various strengths, interests, and specialties that you can learn from.

Meet in Person. As PR professionals, successful or aspiring, most of us enjoy a cup of coffee or a cold craft brew from time to time. Although we all know the value of creating a strategic online presence, an in-person one is extremely important, too. These are where you can get into deep conversations and ask your burning questions. Some of my initial go-to’s were: “How did you get into this career?”, “Where do you get your news?”, or “What has been your most successful campaign and why?” No matter where you are in your career, face-to-face collaboration leads to unique points of view and possible paradigm shifts in your own work.

Building your network can be overwhelming, intimidating and time consuming, but with each connection you make, you grow your knowledge base and become the person that an inexperienced you was hoping to connect with.

Christine PielaChristine Piela uses her expertise in public relations, website development, and customer relationship management as the Digital and Social Media Coordinator at Svinicki Association Management, Inc. She attended the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Professional and Organizational Communication with her minor in Music. Christine is currently working towards other passions including improving her communication and leadership skills through Toastmasters International and is currently the Mentor Program chair on the Young Pros Committee for the Southeastern Wisconsin chapter of Public Relations Society of America. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

March 2015 #NPPRSA Twitter Chat Highlights: Preparing for a Crisis

Twitter Chat 3-18 SquareWe’d like to thank everyone who participated in the March #NPPRSA Twitter chat as we discussed crisis communications–how to prepare and how to react.  We would especially like to thank Jonathan Bernstein, President of Bernstein Crisis Management.

Join us again on April 15 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 March chat? How can you prepare for your brand’s vulnerabilities before a crisis? What can you do to minimize damage once a crisis hits?


You can receive FREE New Professionals Section membership for PRSA throughout March!

Lauren Headshot 1.3MBLauren 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.

Why Facebook and Twitter are Reviving PR

twitter-facebook-2When I landed my first public relations job in 2012, I sensed the field—and those within it—were experiencing a paradigm shift. Working next to seasoned professionals, I watched as savvy practitioners stumbled over using one of the most important public relations tools of our time: social media.

In my opinion, practitioners often lose sight of the purpose of public relations, focusing on output-oriented measures like the number of press releases sent out or the amount of media coverage received. Over the last three years, though, I’ve seen social media bring an exciting transformation to the field.

Thanks to sites like Facebook and Twitter, publics expect honesty, quick responses, interaction and engagement more so than ever before. Gone are the days of hiding behind press releases and media outlets. Social media makes public relations operate on real time. More importantly, social media has helped PR rediscover its relational roots.

This public-focused approach has transformed the way my company operates and executes its public relations strategy. If you’re interested in harnessing the power of social media for PR, here’s four ways to step up your strategy:

1. Use social media to refocus on relationships. I firmly believe that relationships are the glue that hold public relations and social media together. As practitioners, it’s our job to know, understand and advocate for our company’s or client’s publics. Social media offers us the opportunity to do all three on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis.

2. Use social media to empower your position. Social media makes the need for a public relations practitioner mandatory. In addition, in order for the company’s social media pages to align with the business’ goals and values, the public relations practitioner in charge of social media must have support and approval from the dominant coalition, making way for opportunists to discuss and make the presence of public relations known.

3. Use social media to facilitate two-way and symmetrical communication. Social media enables businesses to practice two-way and symmetrical communication with their publics like never before. In other words, answer questions, create opportunities for dialogue and get personal! Social media efforts flop without a human touch.

4. Use social media for environmental scanning. Used as a tool for analysis, social media allows for practitioners to listen to the concerns of consumers and other risk bearers. In fact, I’ve started to track every single complaint we get on social media. It’s a great way for me to detect trends and a useful resource when asked for customer feedback.

What other ways do you feel social media has impacted public relations? 

Audrey Roeder HeadshotAudrey Roeder works as a public relations coordinator for two of the nation’s top-selling master-planned communities. She’s an alumna of Texas A&M University and the University of Houston, where she received a Master of Arts in Public Relations. In her free time, Audrey enjoys exploring her city’s ever-growing restaurant scene, binge-watching Netflix with her fiancé and posting too many pictures of her Siamese cat, Sibel, to Instagram. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Three Ways to Let Analytics Guide Your Social Strategy

DAY SPAEvery PR pro knows a good online strategy is nothing without great content to back it up. Social media should not be overlooked when it comes to strategic planning. As more and more organizations incorporate social media into their overall PR strategy, it becomes increasingly important to create content that sets them apart from competitors and builds trust with audiences. There are so many great tools available (for free!) that can help guide social content to maximize its benefit.

Here are a few ways to use them:

1. Find the Right Time to Post. Timing is everything. The great thing about social media is its instantaneous nature, so messages can get out to audiences in seconds. But is it really necessary and/or beneficial to deliver every message in real-time? Social media users can be connected to hundreds of other users or organizations, and every post is competing for attention. Most PR pros work typical 9-5 hours, so it might seem like it makes sense to post a link to a new blog on Facebook during your work day. But if those who follow a brand on Facebook aren’t online during that time, the post becomes buried among a hundred others.

Tools like Facebook Insights allow organizations to see the demographics of their Facebook followers. One of the most valuable pieces of information is a daily timeline that shows follower activity peaks. Insights is completely free to business/organization pages on Facebook, and it can help pinpoint the best time to schedule posts. It may turn out that time is at 7:00 p.m. on a Friday evening. There are plenty of tools available to schedule posts automatically so the prime posting window isn’t missed because it is outside of traditional work hours.

2. Figure Out What Content Works. It can be easy for a social media strategy to place too much focus on building an audience. Social media is a tool to engage in conversations with an audience. If the audience isn’t responding, something isn’t working. A large fan base does not equal a successful social media strategy.

“While the number of page likes or Twitter followers seems like an obvious metric to track, it is important to measure reach and engagement as well,” said Katie Hinerman, Freelance Digital Marketing Specialist.

Twitter Analytics is a new tool available for organizations to measure the engagement of their Twitter content. The dashboard shows overall impressions (how many times a tweet was viewed), engagement (how many users interacted with a tweet) and engagement rate (ratio of tweets to interactions). A good social media strategy should include a plan for increasing engagement rate across all social platforms.

“Social media marketing as we know it is changing,” added Hinerman. “In 2015, brands are going to have a harder time reaching users organically. This is why it will be especially important to track reach and engagement metrics when measuring your efforts.”

3. Measure Your Success. A strategy can’t be created without goals, and goals can’t be deemed successful unless they’re measurable (Click to tweet!). A social media strategy is no different than any other part of an organizations’ overall communications plan. Once SMART goals are set, they should be measured and tracked for progress. Lack of progress toward a goal could mean efforts need adjusted.

Google Analytics includes statistics on web traffic referrals from social media accounts. If increased web traffic is part of a social media goal, this tool is the best way to measure progress. The results are offered in real-time, and a variety of time frames can be analyzed and compared. Google Analytics is free to use and offers several tutorial videos to coach beginners through the analytics process.

In a world where PR pros are already stretched thin and wearing many hats, strategizing and measuring social media efforts can keep everyone on the right track. Using analytics to guide social media strategy is a great way to make sure that too much or too little work isn’t being done. Knowing what content is most engaging and when audiences are looking for it maximizes the impact with audiences and minimizes the drain on staff. And that keeps everyone happy.

Jennifer MaterkoskiJennifer Materkoski is a graduate of Kent State University with a Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications with a specialization in Public Relations. She has worked as a writer and editor for both newspaper and television and as a member of a non-profit marketing and development team. Materkoski is the owner and principal consultant of a boutique public relations firm, Songbird Public Relations. She is an avid sports fan and a yogi. Materkoski resides in Wheeling, West Virginia with her husband and son. Find her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter @MrsMaterkoski. She can be reached via email at

Career Transitions Twitter Chat Highlights: Preparing for a Full-Time PR Career

We’d like to thank everyone who participated in the Transition Month #NPPRSA Twitter chat as we discussed ways new grads can plan and prepare for a full-time career in public relations.

May Twitter Chat Highlights PR Career

Specifically, we’d like to thank PRSA and Joe Cohen, APR. Joe is Chair of PRSA & senior vice president at MWW, a leading global independent public relations firm.

Join us again on June 5 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.

How can you enhance your current role by building upon previous experiences? What are ways PRSA can serve you as a new professional? 

Learn more about PRSA and the PRSA New Pros Section at PRSSA members can receive free PRSA New Pros Section membership with promo code AM14 when you join PRSA as an associate member.

Lauren Rosenbaum soversity prsa new pros prssa


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.