Public Relations Has Gone Viral

“Isn’t social media just a fad?” ask clients of PR practitioner Norman Birnbach. Some could argue ‘yes’ based on the various social media sites that have been popping up rather frequently over the past 10 years. But those who argue ‘no’ may have the upper hand in the argument. Let’s face it: social media isn’t going away. If anything it’s growing and developing, which some find intimidating, but others (especially those of our generation) wear a smug smile at the opportunity that we see lies within social media.
The biggest problem with social media is that people don’t know how to use it. Birnbach said most of his clients are looking for help with social media. As PR students we should take advantage of the fact that we are the generation of the internet. We are prime candidates to take social media and use it as a main tool. Social media is a huge resource. Take global PR Firm Edelman for example, their sales went up 18% last year with the aide of social media.

But enough general information, let’s look at the specifics:

1)  Location, Location, Location: We want our product, brand, or client to have as much exposure as possible in the best locations. Placement of your brand on the internet is a great way to provide a large amount of people with important information.

2)  Engage Your Audience: Whether it’s ‘liking’ something on Facebook, or retweeting a fact shared on Twitter…you are not only spreading the word, you’re making it interactive. Showing people what you’ve got to offer is one thing, but to get them to ask questions and share opinions FOR FREE is something any PR person would jump at. As Matt Hallaran said in his article “How Social Media is Changing Public Relations,”    “the sole ingredient in PR is customer engagement”.

3)  Quick Info:  PR professionals pride themselves on being timely. Quick and efficient responses that are full of relevant, new information are vital when dealing with social media. Social media constantly keeps you aware of what people are thinking, what competitors are pitching, and ultimately what your next move should be!

4)  Research Tool: Consider it a new source for conducting research. Social media is a gold mine for finding out “what’s hot”. Even those who are trend illiterate can do it. Twitter allows you search trending topics and go from there. Even monitoring the traffic on a company’s site could help dictate what and where costs should be spent. For example, if PR is increasing profits, perhaps a company can decrease their advertising budget, which in the end will generate even more profit for the company or leave money for expansion.

It seems that our list of PR strategies have only been elongated with the endless options that social media provides. Don’t view this as a drastic change to the field of PR as we know it, but more of a creative renovation.

Want to read more about this topic? While writing this I checked into some other articles, feel free to check those out as well: “Seven Ways Social Media is Changing PR “ by Matthew Royse on Spin Suck and Social Media change the way firms do business by Ashley Milne-Tyte on Marketplace.

Melissa Louis-Jacques, Junior, Music Merchandising Major and Public Relations Minor

The Importance of Social Media and the Internet in the Music Industry

The music industry is a rigorous one. There are many people creating music as solo artists or groups that it’s impossible to have heard of every group. Becoming a big name in the music industry is hard work and is something that has to be established over time. There are many steps that PR professionals in the music industry must go through in order to successfully establish their client in that industry and build worldwide recognition.

There are many big names on the radio and in the clubs today that are recognized worldwide (such as: Deadmau5, Carl Cox, Armin Van Buuren, Tiesto, etc.). These big names, in the electronic music industry, didn’t just appear overnight. There are many ways to promote an artist and build a loyal following other than filling a club. Of course making the dance floor one solid block of human body is a quick way to build a great reputation but that requires followers. So, how does one acquire a loyal following?

Many artists use social media websites as a tool in order to generate buzz.  Facebook and Twitter allow people to listen to the music that a producer or DJ has made in the comfort of their own home. Social media also allows people to see tour dates and places that the artist will be making appearances. The presence of social media allows artists to interact with their fans on a personal level,  directly communicating the message to the fan base. One should never underestimate the power of the Internet and social sites.

Music sharing websites such as, and are places where artists can be found promoting their songs.  You can hear new releases and remixes from a variety of artists all in one place. This is a great way for an artist to get noticed and to get his/her message out to the public. Developing a strong image on the Internet could even garner attention from a record label or media outlet.

The Internet is a very strong source of publicity in the music industry. If taken advantage of, and with the right amount of patience, the Internet will. help attract the attention needed to become a name said in the mainstream radio and nightlife scene.

James Sarris, Sophmore, Public Relations

What You Need to Know as a Public Relations Student

Between classes and internships, public relations students are constantly consuming information. We learn a number of PR tools, ways to reach audiences, how to write according to the AP style guide and much more. All this information can be a lot to consume and may occasionally slip our minds, but there are some aspects of PR that shouldn’t be forgotten.

As PR students, we want to make sure that we possess strong writing skills. Whether we are constructing a Tweet or a press release, we want to be on our A-game because the content that we write will reach many people. Even if you’re receiving perfect grades on all your class assignments there is always room for improvement. One way to better your writing is through reading newspaper articles. You can learn just by seeing how other writers construct sentences and the wording they choose to use. You also may want to try blogging which is a fun way to practice your writing skills while creating an online presence.

Another element we don’t want to forget is how to form an effective and strong PR plan.

  • The first step to a great PR plan is determining your client’s objectives. What are their goals? What are they looking to get out of the campaign?
  • Secondly, you want to establish your target audience. This is extremely important when it comes to choosing your communication medium and strategies. As PR professionals, we won’t get anywhere in a campaign without a specific audience to target.
  • Third, you want to determine which strategies are best for your client. Here you decide the overall tools that will go into your campaign (i.e holding an event or pitching to bloggers).
  • Finally, it is time to create and assign tactics to each strategy. If you decide to hold an event, what exactly does your event consist of? If you are pitching to bloggers, what are you saying?

If you follow these steps, you will be on the right track to a successful PR campaign.

Last but not least, as PR professionals we need to stay with the times and know what “the story of the day is.” Our world is constantly changing and our audiences are changing with it. In order to successfully reach the public, we need to be aware of the most effective strategy to get the message out.

Currently, social media is one of the leading methods to reach the public. As a PR professional make sure you know the best ways to use websites such as Facebook and Twitter in order to benefit your client. Who knows what the next big thing will be, but make sure you don’t take too long to find out.


Daniele Natola, Junior, Public Relations

Brand Yourself: Stand Out Amongst the Crowd

Public Relations is a growing field, and the increase in jobs means an increase in competition. With more and more students graduating with a degree, standing out amongst the crowd is more important than ever. One of the best ways to stand out amongst the rest is to create a strong online presence for yourself. Build an online reputation that you manage and allow to grow. The goal is to show up high in a Google search. Promoting yourself to the right people online and using social media correctly can put you ahead, leaving a favorable impression among potential employers.

Many employers use Google to find out about potential employees. In a recent Career Builder survey, more than half of employers will use social media to screen job candidates. It is vital to screen yourself online and see what information shows up in an online search, before a potential employer does. Create credible and useful content to stay ahead of the competition. Show off your attitudes and attributes that illustrate your capabilities as a worker.

When creating a personal brand it is important to:

Know who you are– the first step in branding yourself is knowing and understanding who you are. Figure out what you want to be known for. What makes you different from everyone else? What qualities do you have that will make people want to follow or work with you. These are tough questions to answer but topics you will need to address to brand yourself.

Create a presence where it counts– Your personal brand should have a presence. Employers screen potential job candidates on websites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Being on these popular websites is not enough especially as a potential Public Relations professional. A blog or personal website sticks out.  A great example of this is Nick Schweers, the Digital Media Chair for PRestige Agency. Nick has an excellent website as well as a presence on multiple social media platforms. His personal brand is consistent on each platform.




Be Honest– We are college students and far from experts on anything, be honest about what you know and who you are. Employers will find out if you aren’t being genuine and a bad reputation is hard to fix.

Your personal brand will help separate you from the faceless masses and put you ahead in a job or an internship search.


Marise Montrose,Senior, Account Executive of Recruitment, PRestige

The Blackout: The Effects of a Social Media Blackout on a PR Student

Social media is an important tool for everyone in today’s society. For a young adult, it seems crucial to constantly stay connected. If you’re a young communications professional in the making social media quickly becomes your middle name.

Forgetting about all of this, I accepted a challenge to go at least one week without logging on to Facebook and Twitter. My answer to this challenge was to add an extra week just to prove that I could handle it.

Here’s what I learned about myself, and PR, in the past two weeks:

Where’s the news?

I didn’t realize how much I relied on Twitter for news until I deleted Ubertwitter off of my Blackberry. Normally, I let my traditional media consumption habits fall to the wayside because of social media. The blackout helped to bring a more active media consumer out of me. I visited news websites more often for updates and actually caught myself paying more attention to the 5 o’ clock news. In addition to the Chronicle (which I normally read), I found myself desperately searching for the Daily News to read. In my personal life, I was also absent for a few personal updates via Facebook. I can’t believe I missed a couple of birthdays and relationship status changes! Shame on me, right?

Where are my contacts?

These days, when we make a new friend in person, our first or second instinct is to add them to our social network of choice. PR professionals often add their new professional contacts after a successful networking situation. For the past two weeks, I added no one. I started a list of people to follow last week to make sure that I wasn’t missing out on any potential contacts or hurting any feelings. Also, it was incredibly frustrating to realize that there were some contacts that I could ONLY reach through Facebook or Twitter. I made another list to remember whose phone numbers to get after the blackout.

What’s the joke?

As anyone on Twitter knows, there are inside jokes and news exclusive to the site.  For example, artists give their Twitter fans a sneak peek of new music, and awareness campaigns gain a following on the site. Of course, I received none of the above. For me, this was just a simple case of being out of the loop until a friend would graciously fill me in. However, in the PR industry, failing to monitor the media especially social media can easily lead to an out of control situation.

I had homework before this?

On the bright side, I had more time to actually complete homework, PRSSA duties and more. I also had the opportunity to catch up on all the blogs and television shows (Entourage marathon!) that I had let get away from me. (Ironically, being off of Twitter actually made me miss a lot of the shows I wanted to catch up on. Usually, I would see a tweet about the show to remind me it was on!)

Isn’t there anything else to do?

The downside was clearly boredom. I had no idea how much of my spare time social media actually occupied. Without my favorite procrastination tools, I had nothing but extra time on my hands these past two weeks.

In the end, this blackout was a great reminder of the role social media plays in my life. It did not prove to be a necessity, but it absolutely serves many important purposes. Those functions can help to strengthen personal relationships; as well as help a public relations practitioner effectively do their job. Facebook and Twitter, respectively prove themselves to be irreplaceable in everyday life. I also proved to my challenger (my younger brother) that I could make it without Facebook and Twitter.  My real question is, in this day and age, why would anyone want to?

Nikki Croney PRSSA’s PR Director