Archive for October, 2008

Amazon Kindle: The Oprah Effect in Action

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
I keep tabs on Google Hot Trends through a widget on my iGoogle homepage—it's a fascinating look at the most popular Google searches from the past few hours. Typically, the top searches are driven by breaking news—often related to celebrities. Every now and then, a phrase will pique my curiosity, and I'll take a closer look to see what has caused the sudden spike in interest. Not surprisingly, Oprah has been the driving force behind multiple hot trends over time. Well, the "Oprah Effect" struck again on October 24, 2008, when the show featured the Amazon Kindle as Oprah's favorite new gadget. This is an interesting illustration of how mainstream programming and news can reach well beyond original content, driving interested viewers to search for more information, and inspiring bloggers to chime in with their own thoughts on the matter. Take a look at the spikes Oprah caused across the board when she featured the Kindle on her show—from search volume to blog posts to Twitter mentions. Google Insights for Search Kindle Search Volume: October, 2008 Google Insights Graph, Kindle Google Hot Trends October 24, 2008 Google Hot Trends October 28 BlogPulse Blog Mentions Over Time: Kindle BlogPulse Graph: Kindle Twitter Flaptor Trends Twitter Mentions Over Time: Kindle Twitter Graph: Kindle This may be an extreme example, given the influence of Oprah, but it's not an anomaly. It happens every day, to some extent. There are people searching for more information and talking about just about everything that appears in the media.

Demystifying the Job Application Process

Monday, October 27th, 2008
[display_podcast] offer me a job After receiving a number of questions about the job application process, particularly within agencies, I finally decided to sit down with Heather Crowley, a recruitment specialist at my company, Edelman Public Relations, to shed some light on how it really works. I’ve included a short summary of our discussion below. What happens after I submit an application online? The application actually goes directly to the inbox of an HR recruiter, then kicks back an auto-responder to the applicant to confirm that it has gone through successfully. What if I don’t hear back right away? Don’t be afraid to find someone within the company to reach out to and introduce yourself. Networking can only help you. How long does it usually take HR to get back after an initial application is submitted? This varies based on the position and timing of the need to hire. Timing may not allow the team to get back to everyone, but the application will stay on file for future needs that may arise. If don’t hear back right away, how often should I check in to let the company know I’m still interested? Once a month or once every three weeks, send a quick email to touch base and express your interest. What can I do to make my resume stand out? Proof read your resume and writing samples. It also helps to have a fresh pair of eyes review it before submitting. Check your contact information to make it is correct—if the HR team reaches out to you and the information isn’t correct, they may not reach out to you again. Research the company and opportunity you are applying to, and point out any transferable skills or relevant experience that you’ve had within the industry—such as internships and involvement with a local PRSSA chapter. What should I use for writing samples?
  • Press releases
  • College Newspaper stories
  • Blog entries
  • Short Stories
Keep samples to 2-3 pages maximum, and demonstrate that you understand AP style. If I have graduated from college, will I still have to go through the internship program? Even if you have your degree, don’t rule out the internship program. It’s a great way to network with the company, become comfortable with your role and gain hands-on experience so that you have the skills to hit the ground running when you become full time. The majority of the larger firms have very hands-on internship programs that will allow you to pitch the media, help with events and promotions, etc. What other misconceptions do you think people have about the application process? Be conscious of the title and qualifications required for the position you are applying to. Out of college, you will most likely be applying to one of the following opportunities:
  • Internships
  • Assistant Account Executive
  • Account Coordinator
If I am interested in more than one opportunity, should I apply to all of them? If you have done your research and find two or three positions that are relevant to your interests and skills, apply to them and then try to find someone within the company to follow up with. Be aware that each application will go directly to the recruiter’s inbox, so the recruiter sees each time you apply (so be thoughtful and don’t just apply to every available opportunity). If I am contacted for an interview, what comes next? Generally, you will get a phone call or email from the recruiter to set up an initial interview. For the interview:
  • Do your research
  • Be open about the skills you can bring to the table
Photo source: SOCIALisBETTER

Richard Riley: “The Top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010 may not have existed in 2004″

Friday, October 24th, 2008
xo keyboardMany thanks to Jeremiah Owyang for pointing this one out on twitter. View the video: Did You Know? Although opinions waver over which jobs are the most in-demand today, Richard Riley's prediction that the top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010 may not have existed in 2004 is absolutely relevant to the marketing industry. When I started college in the fall of 2003, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Digg, Yelp and Twitter didn't exist yet. MySpace and Wordpress were brand new. Students entering college today may very well be studying for jobs that won't exist for a few years, and at the same time, agencies that fail to implement continued education for their employees may very well become irrelevant. Photo Source: robertogreco

In Which I Proclaim my Geeky Love For Audio Books

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008
I finally signed up for an Audible account through the TWIT promotion—in part because I've just started taking part in a book club and I'm opting to listen to the books rather than read the hard copies (Is that cheating?). It also didn't hurt that Seth Godin released a free version of his new book, Tribes, through Audible last week. It's nice to be able to combine "reading" with the some of the other things I'm doing anyway—working out, walking to the grocery store or walking to work. For students, there's an even cheaper option out there for audio books—the library. I still use the library to this day, and it boggles my mind that more people don't take advantage of it. Are any of you doing this already? If not, why not?

Students, Take Responsibility For Your Own Education

Monday, October 20th, 2008
Marc Hausman recently sparked a debate with his article Colleges Fail on Social Media, which was followed up by Auburn University Professor, Robert French, who stated Someone Claims: Colleges Fail on Social Media :: I Don't Agree. Both make valid points. There are, in fact, some communications students who remain uninformed about what social media is really all about, but this broad generalization against college education is unfair. There are also are a number of professors taking amazing leaps forward to educate their students, and even more students who are taking it upon themselves to participate and learn first-hand (which is, by far, the best way to learn social media). I started this blog to encourage students to take it upon themselves to learn through participation outside of the classroom. I've said it before, and I'll say it again—your college degree is not a free ticket to a valuable career. I didn't get my job at Edelman Digital because of the classes I took at Michigan State. In fact, I never took a single PR class in college. I got there because I participated, read blogs, listened to podcasts , started my own podcast, talked to professionals and read a lot of books. There are thousands of free resources out there to learn social media. Students who choose not to learn have no one to blame but themselves.

An Unconventional Career Path

Monday, October 20th, 2008
Doh! It seems I had a typo in my title, which I have now fixed. [display_podcast] City of Chicago Theresa Carter, founder of The Local Tourist in Chicago took a less conventional career path. She graduated with a degree in journalism at the age of 30, knowing that she wanted to work for herself as a writer. After September 11, 2001, Theresa moved from Indianapolis to Chicago to be closer to her son. She immediately fell in love with the city, but soon found that she was having some trouble with the city guide sites, and so she decided to start her own local directory for the River North area of Chicago. With a lot of hard work, The Local Tourist grew into what it is today—a wonderful resource for all things Chicago. I should also note that Theresa was recently part of a team that won an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement for Alternate Media/New Media Interactivity as a part of the NBC Street Team. So what's her advice for students? Networking in person is a big help. If you're looking for networking events to go to (and you should be), start with a basic Google search. If you're in the Chicago area, check out Theresa's site,, Metromix or Business Network Chicago. Mediabistro is also a great source for writers. Once you're there, don't just aim to meet as many people as possible—try to have real conversations with people and get to know them. Book Recommendations

Digital Marketing Set to Grow as the Economy Shrinks Total Ad Spending

Monday, October 13th, 2008
It looks like there may be some good news for those growing their digital chops. eMarketer recently published a study of 175 CMOs and marketing executives that says, in short, ad spending is poised to fall over the next year, but Internet marketing spending is predicted to have double-digit growth. The study does not specify where the digital spending will be allocated (online advertising, partnerships, social media, etc.), but this is yet another case for why you should expand your digital skills and learn to create fully integrated communications strategies to improve your chances of being employable in the future. Jobs opportunities will shift. Here are a few more graphs to think about.
digital AND (PR OR "Public Relations") Job Trends graph
digital AND (PR OR "Public Relations") Job Trends digital AND (PR OR "Public Relations") jobs
(PR OR "Public Relations") Job Trends graph
(PR OR "Public Relations") Job Trends (PR OR "Public Relations") jobs

Finding a Communications Job in Today’s Economy

Monday, October 13th, 2008
[display_podcast] I've been talking with a few people over the course of the past week about finding a job in today's economy, which inspired me to share my own advice with you on what you can do if you're looking for a job or considering looking in the next few years. Now more than ever, it's time to step up and stand out. The sooner you start doing some of these things, the better. Don't Be Afraid to Reach Out to Professionals Here's the secret that a lot of first-time job seekers don't realize—it doesn't hurt to reach out and ask people to talk with you or set up an informational interview. Most people shy away from reaching out because they don't think anyone will take the time to talk with them, or they think most professionals are too important or busy to take any time out of their day. You would be amazed by the number of people who would love to talk with you and give you advice. Just be persistent—sometimes we all get a little caught up in what we're doing, so we may need a little reminder from you to set up some time to talk. Take Advantage of Professionals Who Are Blogging Most agencies have at least a few people who are blogging. Look on the company website or do a search on Google Blog Search, Technorati or BlogPulse to find these people and start talking. Try it now—go find three blogs over the course of the next day and leave a comment on something you find interesting. Do the same on PR Open Mic—go find a conversation in the forum section that interests you and chime in. If you don't see a conversation that interests you, start one. Don't know what to say? How about asking a question—there must be something you'd like to know more about from other students, professors and professionals. Network in Person Many don't have the luxury of living in a large city where there are opportunities to network with professionals in person. In this case, the first thing you should do is join a college club related to your major and take the time to talk with any speakers who come in. Next, don't be afraid to travel to events. Here's one you might find interesting: AWNY Career Conference November 14 and 15, New York City I went when I was in school, and I met some very smart and helpful people in advertising and PR. Career Fairs You may also have to travel to find a career fair that is more specific to what you're looking for, rather than hitting up the mass career fair at your own university. I went to the Mosaic Career Fair in Chicago back in 2007. The companies were exclusively advertising, PR and marketing, and this was where I made the connections that led to my first job. To reduce travel costs, organize a group of classmates to go together. Some events offer group discounts, and it always helps to have a few people to split hotel costs if you don't know anyone in the city. Ultimately, don't be afraid to put yourself out there, and don't be afraid to fail. Leave a comment by calling in to +1 206-202-3519. I'd love to hear any questions or comments you might have.

Adjusting to Agency Life

Sunday, October 5th, 2008
[display_podcast] In the beginning stages of agency life, it can difficult to make the adjustment from the flexibility of a college schedule to working a full time job—and then some. Let's talk about how we deal with work-life balance in agencies.