PRSSANC Was Fun

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A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the Public Relations Student Society of America National Conference in Boston, Massachusetts. Although I am only a sophomore I was eager to take this chance and run with it. Despite costing an arm and a leg, I enjoyed the experience as it motivated me as a student studying public relations and provided me with valuable insight into the world of PR. I would like to utilize this platform to lay out three reasons why I enjoyed the conference.

1. Networking

In the past, I have gone to networking events, but nothing too large. They were all in the Greater Grand Rapids area and the networking mainly took place between students, professors, and a handful of PR professionals. The National Conference was unlike anything I could have expected. Perhaps it was because most of the attendees were around the same age and therefore easier to interact with, but networking was extremely simply. There was no pressure to mix or mingle with those around you. It could be as simple as turning around, shaking a hand, and swapping social handles and you just made a connection in a foreign city. These connections were more than just a greeting and sharing names. These people you network with become the people that you explore the city with, attend panels and sessions with, and hang out with at the days end.

2. Panels

Just like general assembly meetings at our local chapter, the National Conference hosted sessions where a speaker would talk about a certain subject and their experiences in the world of PR. These professionals, who are well-known for their work, would offer valuable knowledge about starting a career, what a career would entail, how to manage some of the bumps along the road, and much more. The speaker would then open up the floor to questions from the audience. One of my favorite sessions was ‘The Transformation of PR” hosted by Mike Fernandez from Burson-Marsteller. He talked about his vast amount of experience in PR which varied from being one of the youngest and first press secretaries in D.C. to working with the soy industry. He mentioned that the way he got his start in public affairs was by wandering the streets of D.C., knocking on doors of public officials and asking for a job. Since I am interested in working in public affairs, I was going to ask how one might get a start in the field today, since knocking on doors doesn’t seem like a very viable option today. Sadly, I waited in line for the microphone, but never got my chance to ask my question as the Q&A was cut short due to another session starting soon. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the session.

3. Travel

I am not one who travels very often. I had, embarrassingly, hardly ever left the state of Michigan without my parents. I was excited, to say the least, to take the chance to travel without them holding my hand. Boston was a beautiful city that seamlessly integrated modern buildings with the traditional architecture and history. Our hotel was close to the water, only a short walk away, which offered us an amazing view. I have never met more social squirrels in my life. All in all, it was a worthwhile and memorable trip.

References

Burson-Marsteller. (n.d.). Retrieved October 25, 2017, from http://www.burson-marsteller.com/

Fernandez, M. (2017, October 23). Mike Fernandez (@Cogit8). Retrieved October 25, 2017, from https://twitter.com/Cogit8

PRSSA 2016 National Conference. (2017, October 12). Retrieved October 25, 2017, from http://apps-prssa.prsa.org/events/Conference/

 

 

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Google Analytics and Me

Before this fall, I had never heard of personal branding. This changed drastically ever since I became an Advertising and Public Relations major at Grand Valley. Personal branding is crucial in this field, as knowing your brand and selling your brand to build your network is a huge part of APR. For me, my personal brand is built around how social I am in my life and my interest in all forms of media, hence the name of this blog, and my desire to become a PR professional. Media and the way people reach an audience is ever changing today, and it is up to me to stay informed with current trends to stay in the know.

As stated previously, I am an Advertising and Public Relations major, although, I have yet to declare an emphasis. I will most likely choose public relations as it is an atmosphere that I can see myself thriving in. My social nature makes public relation conducive to my growth as a person. However, it is nigh impossible to know exactly where one will end up in life. Therefore, it is necessary to become adequate in all aspects of the APR field. This will not only increase my knowledge of both sides, but, I will also become a more versatile employee. This versatility would be beneficial in developing my brand. Media is almost a living creature. It is so alive in the sense that it moves and changes, it talks to us and we talk back. With so much feedback, it becomes difficult to keep track of who is saying what and how to respond.

This is where Google Analytics comes in. This system acts as a translator between and advertiser and their target market. It is extremely user friendly and easy for advertisers and businesses to use. Imagine Google Analytics as the middle man. You have a website for a business that sells let’s say shoes. Now, what use is a website if you have no idea whether it works or not? This system allows you to respond to your customers that come to your website. Google Analytics provides you and your business with comprehensives data about what your customers are doing on your website.

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Clark, E. K. (n.d.). [Screenshot of Test Score]. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
To do this, Google uses Javascript, a form of source code, to track who is coming to your website and what they are doing there. This code lets Google find out where in the world your customers are coming from, what campaigns are working, and how customers use your site. It can even know where on your website that potential customers lose interest. You learn what pages of your website are not performing well and then take action to fix the problem.

Google offers another service known as AdWords that helps users form ad campaigns. AdWords can be useful to make your business known and bring people to your page. This service can provide data about your ads in regards to their click through rate, page quality, and how you get your ads out to the public. This can be extremely useful, however, with Analytics the two become powerhouses for a business.

So this may leave readers asking, “what if I prefer public relations over advertising?” Well, Analytics doesn’t have to be just for the advertisers. Think about it this way, you are helping a political campaign as a PR pro and your candidate needs someone to reach the community through their website. Here, Analytics can be used to show what portion of the candidates website is being focused on. There is a page on this hypothetical candidate’s website that regards their stance on environmental protection. Google Analytics can tell you that this page is getting the most clicks and is performing very well. Now you, the PR pro, can tell your candidate to focus on this issue to reach the community and boost their reputation with the people.

So, maybe my life does take a turn towards advertising. Maybe it stays on the track of public relations. Either way, Google Analytics will help me further my career and my brand as a PR professional who can reach others through the use of new technologies and media. This is why I became Google Analytics certified.

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Clark, E. K. (n.d.). [Screenshot of Passed Certification]. Retrieved December 14, 2016.

Perusing Possibilities: Finding Jobs on LinkedIn

It is safe to assume that, on average, people “waste” a lot of time on social media. It might be that you are scrolling through dozens of tweets on Twitter, liking your grandma’s status on Facebook, or double tapping your bestie’s selfie on Instagram. Maybe it’s all three, which just shows how often we use social media. Now, some people say that this has a negative impact, which it may. However, is social media has its many benefits, one being the ability to find a job. Let’s look at how social media has innovated the way we can discover jobs within our careers.

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LinkedIn [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved October 28, 2016, from https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.linkedin.android
Social media sites are forms of technology that has sucked us into the void, without a doubt, and at this point there is no way to escape. So why not use it in a more productive manner? LinkedIn is one platform that has changed the professional world. This form of social media has made it much easier for professionals to stay in contact with each other, discover jobs, employees, and employers. Through the use of this “professional Facebook” of sorts, I was quickly able to find a handful of employment opportunities. This took only about thirty minutes to gather a long list of potential jobs. LinkedIn makes it extremely easy to filter out the type of job that is being searched for. The positions I found fall within the realm of Public Relations and Communications. As a PR major at Grand Valley, I found it very interesting to take a a look at all the possibilities within my field.

Presence and Popularity on the Internet

Whereas many people are wary of their presence on the Internet and worried about leaving their “footprint”, being traceable on the Internet can have its benefits. Today, more than ever, employers are searching for their potential employees on the Internet and social media to dig up whatever kind of dirt, if there is any, on the person. Being present on the Internet can be extremely useful, as long as your presence is a positive one. A person must always be mindful of how they brand themselves on the Internet. A person can keep a positive image on the Internet through the use of social media, blogging, and professional tools. However, being there and being clean is not all it takes to be noticed by an employer or land a job. It can take a little more than that. Through Google, certain links and pages rank higher above others. If someone wants to brand themselves the proper way they will want to become the cream of the crop, the highest up, the most easily found. This will boost their credibility in the eyes of employers.

There are tools available that help people boost their presence and popularity on the Internet. One of these tools is known as BrandYourself.com. This helpful website can be used to boost one’s presence and also remove potentially damaging search results. For example, when my name, Evan Clark, is searched the results include a “Daniel Evan Clark” who is a sex offender from Florida. With the help of BrandYourself I was able to remove these potentially damaging search results. As stated before, the tool can be used to boost sites that include you. Meaning, social media profiles, news articles, videos, and more can be boosted to appear higher up when your name is searched. I boosted both my Twitter and my Facebook. To boost my Twitter account I did two things. The first thing I did was write a more complete biography that included my name, as BrandYourself suggested. The second thing I did was include my location that  would narrow down results if I was to be searched for. For Facebook, BrandYourself boosting asked that I fill out my education experience and also work experience. If I am to rise higher on the search results, I will need to continue boosting my related links.