Flash Communications

Tales from a student-PR agency at Kent State University


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All hail the Queen: how Beyoncé influenced my PR strategies

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The lessons one can learn from Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter are endless.

In 1999, she taught us to be weary of a significant other who won’t acknowledge your relationship around others.

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In 2003, she taught us that you need one (or three), things in life: me, myself and I.

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In 2008, she taught us that a diva is a female version of a hustler.

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In her latest album, she taught us how to get in formation and to always be conscious of how to turn lemons into lemonade.

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Most recently, she taught society just how beautiful motherhood really is.

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While the life lessons Queen Bey bestows upon us all would be enough for me – her brilliant and strategic planning has impacted my professional development as well. Beyoncé has been in the industry since the ‘90s, providing constant innovation and inspiration for fellow artists and her fans.
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FlashCast Non Profit Internship Podcast

The latest episode of the FlashCast Podcast is up! This week, we interviewed two Kent State PR majors who have interned at a non profit, and they speak about their internship experiences, how they landed the internship, what they learned and what they wish they would have known before starting.

Questions or comments? Email us at flashcomm@kent.edu.

 


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FlashCast Corporate Internship Podcast

FlashCast6The Flash Communications staff has been interviewing students with internship experience to learn about their advice for current students. This week’s episode includes three students who have interned in the corporate field.

 

In case you missed our last episode, check out our public affairs episode here:

 

 

Do you have questions about any of our interviews or ideas about what you would like to see us cover? Contact us at flashcomm@kent.edu.


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Takeaways from YouToo Social Media Conference

Haley Keding shares her takeaways from the 2015 YouToo Social Media Conference

Haley Keding shares her takeaways from the 2015 YouToo Social Media Conference

A few weeks ago, I attended the eighth annual YouToo Social Media Conference where I learned about social media’s place in the professional world of PR. The conference was phenomenal, and I loved listening to keynote speakers Gini Dietrich, author of “Spin Sucks” and founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, and Mark W. Smith, mobile web editor at The Washington Post. Both professionals had great things to say at the conference so I wanted to share some of their tips on social content and ethics that stuck with me.

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Mark W. Smith opening the YouToo conference with “What IS Social?” Photo by @ebatyko

First off, it’s important to understand what makes social content good or bad. Smith said that when people scroll through their timelines and news feeds, they want short, quick information, so good social content is short, sweet and to the point. If readers choose to click on a link, he said they want to clearly understand what they will read and the experience they will have from that link. This is definitely a tip I want to use on my social media accounts- especially Facebook. Thankfully, Twitter has a 140 character limit, but on Facebook, it’s easy to write a paragraph or two- or five. When I post things in the future, I plan to treat it like a news lead; I’ll keep it to one or two sentences and get the main point of my post across clearly and quickly. I don’t want anyone to be bored with my posts or confused about what I’m telling them, so I plan to ditch the cutesy, fluffy intro for the sanity of my Facebook friends.

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Entertainment PR Tips from an Intern

PR Senior Amanda Knauer provides tips on getting ahead in event public relations

PR Senior Amanda Knauer provides tips on getting ahead in entertainment public relations

Since the day I heard about Allied Integrated Marketing when I was a sophomore, I knew I wanted to eventually intern there. Allied “builds impactful and results-driven campaigns for entertainment and lifestyle clients.”  The agency’s closest branch to me is in Cleveland, but there are offices all over the country (Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, San Diego, Boston, Washington D.C., and the list goes on). At the branch in Cleveland, the agency works basically with new movies coming out in theaters.

After applying and interviewing for the position this past December, I kept my fingers crossed as I waited for the phone call. You can imagine my excitement when the agency finally called and offered me an intern position. I saw it as a way to get my foot in the door. The entertainment sector is a tough one to get into when it comes to public relations.

So, although I have only been an intern at Allied for about a month now, I have learned and experienced many different things about the entertainment industry. Here are a few tips to being successful as an entertainment PR intern:

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Alternatives to Jumping into the “Real World” After Graduation

Hannah Hamner

Senior PR Student Hannah Hamner talks about alternatives to graduation

I’m a big advocate of doing as much as you can before settling down. I’m tired of hearing the term the “real world.” Your life is what you make it. Everything you do and find important is “real,” no matter what path you take.

We live in a society that pressures us to find a 9 to 5 job after graduation. Our parents, teachers and fellow students expect it from us. My question is: what happens if we don’t jump right into our field? Are we shunned from the business world because we decided to take some time for ourselves or do something not directly related to our degree?

The answer commonly, I have found, is “no.”

I’m planning on teaching English abroad for six months after graduation. Because this is a non-traditional approach to life after college, I’ve definitely had concerns about my future success, wondering if my hiatus will put me at a disadvantage when entering the workforce.

Half Obscured Sun Costa Rica

‘Half Obscured Sun
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Found on flickrcc.net

I’ve been in contact with various professionals through networking events and Kent State courses. Of the professionals I’ve asked, no one has had a negative response. In fact, many of them encouraged me to go off the beaten path, saying they wish they had taken that cross-country road trip or joined that band.

However, professionals were quick to say that you’ll benefit most from your experience if you can apply it your future career, so don’t think of that time as a just vacation period.

Teaching English will help my communication and leadership skills.

I plan on promoting private English lessons by creating a website and social media accounts that reflect my personal brand in addition to hanging flyers and purchasing an ad in a local paper or two. This will be good practice for the public relations world.

The professionals also stressed that doing something out-of-the-box will make you stand out. Not many applicants can say they went to Central America for an extended period of time and founded an ESL company, no matter how small it is. It will also show your passion for new experiences and add a worldly perspective to any PR agency or communications department.

My advice is, if you have any doubts about finding a “normal” job, think of the alternatives. It could benefit you, not only immediately, but in the long run.


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Networking minus the nerves

Public Relations major Caitlin Potts

Public Relations major Caitlin Potts shares her tips on professional networking for students.

One question we’re asked time and time again in this industry is why we chose to go into the PR field. Every person’s answer tends to be as unique as the individual. Personally, one of my biggest reasons is the forming of relationships.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not just about who you know. PR requires a lot more than that. However, a great deal of this industry involves making professional connections.

A few years ago, the idea of networking terrified me. I’ll admit it can still make me feel nervous or intimidated once in a while. I abide by the two ‘P’s: practice and preparation.

Practice makes perfect. I’ll never forget a few of my beginner networking attempts. Were people nice to me? Yes. Did they hire me? No. Should they have hired me? Oh, definitely not. And that’s okay. I gained experience and tested the PR waters by attending internship fairs and talking to professionals at PRSSA meetings.

Research, Research, Research

If you know you’re meeting with professionals, but don’t know much about them, find out what you can. Check out their LinkedIn pages. Where did they go to school? What former companies did they work for? What are their professional interests? Visit their organization’s website. What clients do they work for? What characteristics set them apart? If you can mention something specific or ask a relevant question about their brand, odds are you’ll impress them. Once you’ve established some knowledge, think about how it might relate to you. This will help when you converse.

It’s all in the handshake

Never underestimate the power of a confident greeting. Look a professional in the eyes with a smile and provide a firm handshake. Flimsy handshakes suggest you’re not ready to meet and greet. Avoid those.

Nail your Elevator Speech

An elevator speech is your go-to when first meeting someone. Hypothetically, imagine yourself walking into an elevator and finding the CEO of your favorite company standing inside.  You want to introduce yourself and refrain from gaping at the person. So what do you say? Try this…

  1. Hi my name is….
  2. I’m a (insert freshman/sophomore/junior/senior) PR major at Kent State
    1. I currently work at… OR
    2. I’m really interested in…

Make small talk relevant

You may only have a minute to catch a professional’s attention. Think with a clear, level-head. Remember you’re allowed to pause for a moment to gather your thoughts before answering questions. Avoid awkward moments. You want to be respectful, but not so professional that you’re boring. Practice comes into play in this part of networking. It may come very easy, or you may need a few trial runs, but you’ll get there.

Old School is timeless

Any PR professional will tell you thank you notes are important. Whether it’s an after an interview, a meeting, or they’ve done a favor for you, show your gratitude. If you can hand-write your appreciation and send it via snail-mail, it generates a good impression. Avoid email in this case, unless it’s your only option.

Networking leads to opportunities. When you connect with others, regardless of the industry, a window of opportunity presents itself. While it can be scary, it gets easier over time. Just remember to practice and prepare.