5 Back to School Tips and Tools for PR Students (and everyone else) - SHIFT Communications PR Agency - Boston | New York | San Francisco | Austin

5 Back to School Tips and Tools for PR Students (and everyone else)

Massachusetts College Goal Sunday 2009

As August winds down, college students return to campuses* around the country, I thought it’d be helpful to give you some back to school tips and tools that will help you get back in the swing of things.

1. Google Reader is gone. The mainstay of many a PR professional, it came to an inglorious end while school was out. There are dozens of alternatives, including this great roundup in Lifehacker. I personally use Feedly, as it’s available on many platforms and does a good job of making articles easy to share.

2. Install/bookmark the free writing service Slickwrite. It’s a great tool for helping you tune up all of your writing – not just PR-related, but any writing you’re doing. Slickwrite points out weak sentences, bad grammar, incorrect structures, and much more, for free.

3. Review your social publishing. While I don’t advocate spending a great deal of time on your “personal brand” beyond the basics, I do recommend a “responsibility review” every month or so. Take a look through your social media profiles and remove anything that’s clearly irresponsible to be putting out in public, or even better, ask a trusted friend to look at your social media posts with a fresh set of eyes. Shelly Kramer did a very nice piece in more depth on this.

4. Get in the habit of using Hootsuite. While many brands and companies use more expensive, more sophisticated social media monitoring and publishing platforms, a good many still use Hootsuite, which is affordable for college students. Being able to walk in on day 1 of a PR job competent in the use of one of the industry mainstays is a very good thing.

5. Get noticed by doing the work. If you want to showcase your skills for a future employer, there’s no better way to do that than to demonstrate that you’ve got the skills in a real world application. There are hundreds of local charities and non-profits that are struggling for any kind of PR help and would gratefully welcome your assistance in exchange for a portfolio that demonstrates your abilities. There are dozens of PR firms in every city looking for interns (including SHIFT). I’ll be blunt and honest: your degree is not enough by itself. In a highly competitive, tough market, you need to have a track record of your accomplishments, and volunteering or interning is the best way to create that.

Take these tips back to school with you to make the most of your studies of public relations, communications, and marketing!

(also, just so it’s clear, we are hiring for Fall Semester interns)

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology

* Yes, technically the plural in Latin would be campi, but it’s not generally accepted in English.

Download our new eBook, Cultivating Influence

Posted on August 21, 2013 in Public Relations, Technology

Share the Story

About the Author

Christopher S. Penn has been featured as a recognized authority in many books, publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, BusinessWeek and US News & World Report, and television networks such as PBS, CNN, CNBC, Fox News, and ABC News for his leadership in new media and marketing. In 2012 and again in 2013, Forbes Magazine recognized him as one of the top 50 most influential people in social media and digital marketing; Marketo Corporation named him a Marketing Illuminator, and PR News nominated him as Social Media Person of the Year. Mr. Penn is the Vice President of Marketing Technology at SHIFT Communications, a public relations firm, as well as co-founder of the groundbreaking PodCamp New Media Community Conference, and co-host of the Marketing Over Coffee marketing podcast. He is an adjunct professor of Internet marketing and the lead subject matter expert and professor of Advanced Social Media at the University of San Francisco. He’s the author of the best-selling book Marketing White Belt: Basics for the Digital Marketer.

Question about #4. You mention "more expensive, more sophisticated social media monitoring and publishing platform" being the alternative to hootsuite. I wasn't aware Hootsuite had direct competition, with the exception of Engagor. What platforms are you suggesting here?

Also, I am keen to better understand how companies' PR tracks the latest news released all around the world on their company. Is there a program for this?

Back to Top