PR Advanced, 2009, Part 2

March 17, 2009 at 5:18 PM (Happenings, work) (, , , , , , )

I’m officially a terrible blogger.  PR Advanced was LAST MONTH, and I still haven’t finished talking about it.  Granted, I disappeared for vacation, but I still should have wrapped up PR Advanced.  Rather than adding to the old post and having to re-publish it (drag, really), I’ll just link to the first post here and continue on my merry way.

Quick review for those of you just tuning in: BU PRSSA (Boston University’s Public Relations Student Society of America chapter) recently hosted a fantastic day-long PR and marketing conference at BU, featuring breakout sessions, a networking breakfast, a keynote address, and a career fair.  I attended, learned a lot, and met some cool people, to boot.

Last you heard from me on this conference, I was going over a few tidbits I picked up from HubSpot’s VP of Inbound Marketing, Mike Volpe.  I learned that I need to openly stalk the employers in whom I’m interested in hopes that their SEO will pick up my findings and commentary and hire me, and that if I ever want my blog to be taken seriously by said employers, I’m going to have to cough up a few bucks to buy my own domain name (sorry, WordPress!).

Now onto stuff you didn’t already hear from me: all links are not created equal!  Links to your page are online recommendations, but if you want the most out of your recommendations, context and presentation are key.  Mike went through a three-tier credibility rating system for links.  The first tier, and least credible is a bare link:  A lone link says nothing (okay, this may be a poor example if you are familiar with WordPress, but work with me).  How often do YOU find yourself clicking a link that’s just presented to you?  Even when my friends send me links via E-mail or chat, if I don’t already know what it is, I ask before I click.

The second tier is a link with anchor text: WordPress blog by Incrys.  Anchor text provides a little more credibility because at least now you have some kind of description accompanying the link.  This is only marginally more credible, and doesn’t do too much to bump your site up in search results.

Want to get oodles of credibility?  Convince a credible website to link to your page.  If I somehow managed to get Mike Volpe to link to my blog, not only would by viewership go through the roof, but my blog would also earn a much more prominent position in search results.  ::sighs::  Some day . . .

Social media is the digital cocktail party.  We still network through the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.  The only difference is that now we don’t have to shower beforehand (don’t get me wrong though: I am still an avid supporter of personal hygiene).  Use keyword searches to build your network online, get seen by engaging famous people online (like how I engaged Mike Volpe on Twitter* right after the conference – like so many others, I’m sure – AND he responded!), and promote your company’s content.  It was during this part of the presentation that learned of the delightful HubSpot tool known as, which measures “all that matters in inbound mareting.”  I briefly wrote about it earlier this month when I shared my Facebook and Twitter scores.

I left the breakout session suddenly feeling a little better about life in the workforce.  In highschool, I feared the workload that awaited me in college.  I always worried that I wouldn’t be able to handle it, and that I’d fail every paper I ever attempted.  I graduate in 61 days, and now I have nightmares about getting a job with a firm and not knowing the first thing about being able to make a pitch.  That said though, I’m doing just fine in college, and you know what?  I’ve done a great job with my internships.  Everything Mike covered in his presentation was either material I already knew or material that I knew I could pick up and master quickly if that’s what I wanted.  I’ll be fine in the workforce.  I just have to make my way into it.

The slides from Mike Volpe’s presentation are available here.

Immediately following our morning breakout session, everyone was herded over to the Photonics Building for lunch and the raffle.  Lunch was okay, and no one at our table won anything.  Nothing monumental happened.

We finished up with lunch and set off for our second breakout session of the day.  Once again, my companions and I had all chosen the same break-out session with Dana Lampert, CEO of  Dana and a couple others created Wiggio to make working in groups easy.  While in several groups at Cornell, he found himself  communicating with various group members via several means, from Google Groups to AIM to text messages to regular E-mail.  Wiggio allows group members to get in touch through various media, but syncs them to one site.

As fascinating as it was to hear about Dana’s idea and how the site came to be, I don’t think I learned half as much as I did in Mike’s session.  As it turns out, Dana actually has very little PR experience, and has not been working very much with new media, which I didn’t expect, given the nature of his company.  I respect Dana and don’t think I could ever accomplish what he has by the time I’m his age (after all, he has his own company and is two years older than I), but I’m definitely wondering how much I would have taken away from the alternate breakout session with Booze Allen Hamilton representatives.

Our final session before the career fair was the keynote address, presented by Gary Sheffer, the Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs at General Electric (my apologies for not having a better link for Gary).  Mom would have loved Gary’s address: much of it had to do with reputation.  Our speaker defined it as “the sum of perceptions of the people who care” (and for those of you who are curious, my mom defines it as “that which will make or break whether or not you live happily ever after”).  As we all know, GE has had to do some serious reputation-defending as of recent.  Having an interest in crisis management, I found a lot of what he said fascinating – except the part where he described bloggers as “people who sit in their basements in their bathrobes and slippers with a cup of coffee at the computer.”  I took offense to that: not all of us have basements, Gary.

As Gary described GE’s reset, I was truly impressed.  GE didn’t have a makeshift facelift.  GE underwent a total overhaul in order to adapt to the new media universe.  I was only utterly disappointed to learn that GE, like so many other companies, had no intentions of hiring this spring.

I tried to keep my expectations in check as I navigated my way over to the career fair, and I was wise to do so: almost everyone was looking for interns.  Not an entry-level position (or otherwise) in sight.  I met with some great people, though, and hopefully one of my new contacts will help me get my foot in the door somewhere soon.  In the mean-time, I’m going to keep on hunting.  And blogging, of course.

Whew!  Finally wrapped that up!  Thanks again to BU PRSSA for organising such a wonderful event!

Oh, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Celebrate responsibly – I’ll be doing just that at Faneuil Hall tonight, so stop by and contribute to the merry-making!

*I’m not sure if this man (Mike Volpe) loathes me by now for name-dropping every sixth line or so, appreciates my linking to him even though I add about as much credibility to his site as a 16-year-old tech geek, or just finds this mildly amusing.  I’m guessing if I tossed all three possibilities into a blended and poured the result into a shot glass,  I’d have my answer.  Whatever, he’s a cool dude.

Today’s Tunes
“Franco Un-American,” NOFX
“Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya,” Dropkick Murphys
“Some Celtic song by Bonnie Portmore” -the Little Wanderer as she browsed YouTube for more Irish songs
“A Long Way to the Top,” AC/DC
“Tessie,” Dropkick Murphys
“I’m Shipping Up to Boston,” Dropkick Murphys
“Kiss My Irish —,” Flogging Molly
“Seven Nights in Ireland,” Reckless Kelly
“The Blood of CuChulainn,” The Boondock Saints
“If I Ever Leave This World Alive,” P.S., I Love You
“Amazing Grace,” Flogging Molly
“Cadence to Arms,” Dropkick Murphys
“Seven Deadly Sins,” Flogging Molly
“Irish Pub Song,” Flogging Molly
“Drunken Lullabies,” Flogging Molly
“The Green Fields,” Dropkick Murphys
“So Cold In Ireland,” The Cranberries
“Kiss Me, I’m —-faced,” Dropkick Murphys
“Cry of the Celtic,” Flogging Molly
“Ireland,” Garth Brooks
“When Irish Eyes Are Smiling,” Dennis Day
“Blood and Whiskey,” Dropkick Murphys
“Fields of Athenry,” Dropkick Murphys
“St. Patrick’s Day,” John Mayer

Today’s Distractions
Braveheart trailer


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PR Advanced 2009

March 3, 2009 at 9:35 PM (Happenings, work) (, , , , , , )

I probably should have blogged about Saturday’s outstanding conference earlier, while everything was still crisp in my mind, but by the end of the day, I’m pretty sure that most of my brain had leaked out my left ear.  I was exhausted, and I was only an attendee.  Having organised substantial events in the past, I think I have a pretty good idea of how tuckered out the organisers must have been.

I have no excuse for not writing Sunday.  The most productive thing I did on Sunday was creating a LinkedIn account.  Oh, and I scored my Twitter and Facebook pages.  And I made a nice lunch (complete with cookies for dessert) for myself and the little wanderer.  I may have even finished off the rest of those pesky bottles of Ocean Spray cranberry juice and Smirnoff strawberry vodka (okay, so that wasn’t much of an accomplishment: there was less than an ounce of vodka left).  Most of Monday was spent frozen. But I still acknowledge that I took a mini-vacation, and I’m sorry for holding you all at the edges of your seats for so long.  It was cruel of me.  I’ll never do it again.

Okay, so I’m probably lying.

And now, without further ado, my experience at PR Advanced 2009: Innovation Through Leadership, hosted by Boston University’s Edward L. Bernays chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA)!

PRAdvanced 2009 was a single-day PR and marketing conference planned, organised and executed by BU PRSSA, the university’s on-campus public relations club, featuring a networking breakfast, breakout sessions, a keynote address and a career fair.  As soon as I learned of the career fair, I became intensely interested in the conference, but as it turns out, the whole conference turned out to be an enlightening, beneficial and enjoyable adventure.

Saturday morning felt like nothing short of punishment as I rolled out of bed at 9.00 A.M. after the snooze alarm tormented me for the eighth time in two hours.  Groggily, I slumped out of bed and into the shower.  An hour and 20 minutes later, I was looking to the little wander for an affirmation that yes, I looked professional yet stunning.  At 10.21, I was out the door, not too concerned that I had nine minutes to get to registration.

By 10.35, I had arrived at the College of Communication (COM) to find myself at the end of the check-in line. The chapter president greeted me and handed me a folder, containing a selectively highlighted map of BU’s Charles River campus, a “Dressing for Success” handout (I cursed my deep fuchsia blouse upon reading “Colour plays a big part in a professional image. Traditional colours include red, navy, grey and black. Loud colours… may not be acceptable for a conservative office,” and then breathed a sigh of relief as my eyes made their way across “but could be more acceptable in a more trendy or creative environment.”  PR and new media are totally trendy!), a copy of “BRINK: A Social Media Guide from the Edge,” courtesy of PR-Squared authored by Todd Defren of SHIFT Communications, conference speaker biographies, a schedule of events, and a nifty pen from BU’s Development & Alumni Relations Student Alumni Council.  I checked in, signed up for my breakout sessions, and made my way over to the networking breakfast just in time for a bagel and a Dixie cup of Starbucks coffee and to meet up with a friend from my new media class and another friend from my BU Ballroom Club days.  After inhaling my bagel, the three of us found ourselves caught in a stream of aspiring marketing and PR professionals destined for the COM auditorium for opening remarks by BUPRSSA’s Heather Papsun, the event coordinator, and PRSSA’s Ceciliah Hughes, the National Vice President of Internships/ Job Services.  After 99% of the audience raised their hands in response to the question “How many of you use Twitter?” Ceciliah proceeded to inform us that someone had already created a hash tag for the event, #pradvan09, which we were encouraged to use throughout the day so long as we respected the speakers (of course).  And at that, we were off to our first breakout sessions.

My two companions and I were thrilled to discover that we had chosen the same morning breakout session, featuring Mike Volpe, Vice President of Inbound Marketing at HubSpot (and I snicker as I linked to those two sites knowing how little value it adds to either’s credibility: you’ll learn momentarily).  Although, as he pointed out at the start of his presentation, we were already decently versed in the importance of inbound marketing and the use of new media tools relative to his more common audiences consisting of more senior communications professionals, I still think he delivered an incredibly useful, informative presentation.  I won’t try to transcribe all of my notes to this post (since we’re already at over 903 words), but his presentation is available for download here.  I will review a few things that I found particularly noteworthy, though:

Looking for work?  Find what interests you, and write articles (or blog posts) about it.  If that industry is current on new media tools, then someone relevant is going to find what you wrote.  Even if what you’re writing isn’t exactly in line with the company, you’re showing that you’re knowledgeable, observant and interested.  For instance, I will now be keeping a closer eye on PR-Squared, and making a point of commenting on what SHIFT’s up to.

When creating a professional blog, don’t use a free URL from blog hosts such as Blogspot, WordPress and Tumblr.  Upon hearing this, I cursed my decision to print out 30 copies of my résumé showcasing my URL in the header only hours earlier (on the nice paper, too!!).  I later consulted my new media professor about my dilemma, and he put my fears aside: my blog is personal, rather than professional, and including the link still informs potential employers of my experience and comfort level in blogging.  Bless your soul, professor.

I want to share more about Mike’s wonderful lecture and the remainder of PR Advanced 2009, but I have to run to a networking event.  I will finish up tonight!

Today’s Tunes
“All for You (Full Band Version),” Sister Hazel
“Reasons,” Earth, Wind & Fire
“I Can Change,” John Legend
“House of Wolves,” My Chemical Romance
“Sleeping Beauty: Waltz,” CSR Symphony Orchestra & Ondrej Lenard
“Sway,” Lostprophets
“Better Brother,” Madita
“Pictures of You,” The Last Goodnight
“Number One,” John Legend
“Glow,” Nelly Furtado
“Ringa Ringa,” Slumdog Millionaire (Music from the Motion Picture)
“Hand In My Pocket,” Alanis Morissette
“Run,” Snow Patrol
“Slide,” Goo Goo Dolls
“Cocinando la Salsa,” Sonora Carruseles
“Black Hole Sun,” Soundgarden
“Heartbreaker,” Madonna
“Makin’ Whoopee,” Frank Sinatra
“God Only Knows,” The Beach Boys
“Take Me Back to Manhattan,” Anything Goes – 1962 Off-Broadway Cast Recording
“La Vie en Rose,” Alden David
“Flash,” Queen
“Georgia On My Mind,” Ray Charles
“Hey Love,” Stevie Wonder

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