Sunday, 27 January 2013

The Art of Infographics!

Popularity of Infographics
Lately on Twitter I have been drawn to tweets that present information in infographics. I find it easy to digest a variety of information in one quick read of an infographic and they usually cover topics that are useful or at the very least interesting. I could say that I am a little obsessed... But let me provide you with some reasons why I am not the only one obsessed with the art of infographics.

Some Examples of Infographics
Before I go any further, if you are still unsure what an infographic is, or if you want some inspiration before progressing any further, then here are some links that I recommend:
Here is a list of 40 infographics that cover a range of topics from coffee to typefaces.
This website has a new infographic every day on a variety of random topics.

Why Infographics Work Great for PR
In a world where we are continually bombarded by information, people need to compete to get their message across. This might mean using visuals that are easier to look at than mass amounts of text. So what to do? The answer is infographics. They make information and content fun. And unlike, say long, daunting journal articles, they are virtually designed to be shared through social media, making it not only easier to communicate the message, but to disperse it to readers and viewers.

While this in itself is interesting, it becomes even more interesting if you are like me a PR junkie. Yet another fantastic communication tool we can utilize for our strategies, our campaigns and our projects.

The other great thing about infographics is that they require little effort to make if using appropriate tools. And if you like to combine writing and design it gives you an opportunity to get creative. Also, because of the visual nature of infographics, they can be shared on Tumblr, Flikr and Pinterest, where that will be commented on, shared, pinned and saved for later. This gives them a far reach, a wide audience and a long (virtually infinite) shelf-life.

How to Make an Infographic?
Before you make your own infographic you need to know a few things about them:
-They are often higher on visuals than information
-They typically follow a story-telling formula
-They should be themed to be aesthetically pleasing (colours, fonts...)
-They are made to be shared (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.)

And if you want step-by-step instructions on how to make an infographic (I am not an expert, nor pretend to be) here is a great resource from Lewis PR blog. It takes you step by step through the creation process from deciding what to create one about to what type of graphic elements to incorporate.

Some Free Infographic Tools
Here are some websites/tools to help you make an infographic of your own.

1. Piktochart
This one lets you set up a free account with 3 basic themes and provides pricier options for people who are completely obsessed with making infographics. They also offer a guide to help create infographics.

2. was one of the most popular infographic tools that I came across. It has some pre-made themes or lets you make one from a blank canvas. Apparently it is free to use and it was the one that I tested out and it worked great, but you so have to sign up for an account.

3. requires you to sign up for an account. But once you do you can use there themes and create and share infographics in 4 easy steps.

This one is cool as it lets you create an infographic of your resume by connecting to your LinkedIn account.

And the Infographic
And to make things simple I have included an infographic that talks about well... infographics.
Infographic on Infographics; Infographic 101
Here is the link to this infographic to view the whole thing.

Links in this Post:
List of 40 unique infographics
Daily infographic
Tips to make an infographic
Piktochart guide

Saturday, 19 January 2013

The Art of Career-Building!

A lot has been said in this blog. Hopefully it has been helpful. At this point as we near the end of January we need to assess just how far we have come.

So let’s recap what steps have been accomplished thus far of each step:
1. Choosing the right career for you – is it PR?
2. Getting back in school for a postgrad certificate
3. Research the career and the industry
4. Understand the different career paths within your chosen career
5. Decide what skills you have, which you need and develop them
6. Practice being what you want to be, and do it professionally
7. Write a resume
8. Find an internship while you are still in school
9. Add Value to yourself by adding those extra touches like business cards and finding a mentor
10. Organizing your career goal and timeline so you don’t become overwhelmed
11. Brand yourself so that you stand out from other applicants

Quote about Dreams
So far we have covered a lot. And yet the next few steps will reveal where the true brunt of the work lies. There is a reason why you should start these steps in a certain order and in a certain fashion. Starting early ensures that when step 12 and 13 and 14 and so on come along you have the time to work on them and the basics covered. 

The reason why the next steps are so essential is because they require you to delve into the industry, meet people and maybe go out of your comfort zone. Some of the steps simply just require a lot of time and effort, while perhaps not yielding the best results.

This is why before moving on I need you to go back to steps 1 through 11 and determine if you have really done your best in accomplishing each of those things. Is there something you missed? Something you could have done better? Something you want to change and do differently now that you know more? 

For me, I have already made some changes. I constantly change my resume and I have done that drastically since the New Year. I also changed my business cards when I created my brand. That was the turning point. It was a time when I realized I needed to add some more oomph! But at the same time it wasn’t until that moment that I understood what branding yourself meant. That is why it isn’t one of the earlier steps. Another reason why it is step 11 is because it comes just before step 12 which requires all of these things to be done, especially your brand! I am not going to tell you what step 12 is now, but I will say you should stay tuned because it is an important one for students.

Step 12 coming soon! 

P.S. I love PR

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Sunday, 13 January 2013

Step 11 - Personal Branding 101

Branding for Yourself for Success

Personal BrandingPublic Relations is often behind great branding ideas. But branding is also a useful tool for job seekers. Because let’s face it, a job market is no different than a consumer market; it is like you’re a product on a store shelf beside other great products, striving to get the customer’s attention and make the sale. 

To be a successful job candidate, we need to stand out and show employers that we are a great product with a complete package. The package is part of the brand and it includes our look (the way we dress), our personality (the way we act), our education (what we know), our experience (what we can do) and our charisma (where we can go). These are like the features of a product. And like any product you want to be effective, stylish, durable and worth the investment. 

1.       Branding builds awareness & recognition

Awareness is all about getting yourself out there so that people can say ‘Oh yeah, I’ve heard of her. I hear she is great with clients.’ This is when awareness becomes recognition. This is similar to when someone gives you a strong recommendation. You are recognized for your accomplishments by others, why strengthens your claims about yourself as a job candidate. I am a strong believer that making others aware of your potential can often lead to great opportunities. 

2.       Branding builds relationships

“Public Relations is the strategic management of relationships between an organization and its various publics through the use of communication.” –Definition  of PR from CPRS

The fact that ‘relationships’ is a key element to the very definition of PR shows how important it is to each PR practitioner. And what some might forget is that we aren’t just responsible for building relationships (or brands) for the companies that we work for. We should be doing it for ourselves. This does two things. It shows we know what we are talking about when it comes to PR and it benefits us by strengthening our brand. 

Relationships are built through connections that make up networks. Networking is touted as the key word for 2013. And as a PR student I can say I have been told many time that networking is the key to getting a job and being successful in communications. But to elaborate on that, I think the networks we make reflect our personal brand, and shows how our brand fits in the industry. So ask yourself, are you building the right kind of network for your brand? 

3.       Branding builds success

Often times, PR efforts are used in conjunction to marketing and advertising to increase sales and ultimately the success of a company. So why wouldn’t we use this for ourselves. How many PR students have been told to make a 30 second commercial so as to ‘sell’ themselves? Isn’t that what our resume and the job interview are all about? Selling ourselves to the employer? 

Branding helps make sales because it also creates consistency. When you make your brand, you should therefore think about all aspect of the job hunt and the progression of your career. You don’t want to say one thing about yourself on your resume and then another in the interview. You don’t want to say you are a good at one thing in person, but then are terrible when placed to do it on the job. This would be false advertising. And the employer would want a refund. 

So how do you brand yourself? 

Here are some great tips on how to brand yourself from DanSchawbel:
1. Understand how others perceive you and how you perceive yourself
2. Define your unique abilities
3. Create a brand toolkit: resume and cover letters, business cards, personal blog, portfolio, social media profiles, wardrobe, email, all these things need to be consistent with your brand.

What to do and What not do do

Here are some great tips recapped from an article on creating your personal brand:
1. Publicize yourself and your voice – Create a blog or comment on LinkedIn group discussions
2. Research and know your competition – this doesn’t have to get ugly. Maybe you can actually help each other by sharing tips and pointers.
3. Be yourself – it’s easiest to create a brand for something real and genuine.

Here are the strongest pointers on mistakes to avoid from an article on LinkedIn Branding:
1. Being unprofessional - this includes in profile pictures
2. Lying about your skills or accomplishments
3. Not including all your links in one place (Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs)
4. Asking people who don’t know you to write a recommendation

Links in this Post:

What do you think about personal branding? Do you think it is necessary or an annoyance? Let me know by commenting. 

P.S. Good Luck with your brand!

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Sunday, 6 January 2013

Step 10 - 3 Tips for the Busy PR Student

Organizing Career Goals

Yes Step 10 already! It seems like the steps never end, but I think it is because starting a career requires a lot of work and effort. Now that January 2013 has arrived, I have decided this post will focus on time and how to make the best of it for 2013. I feel that now that I am in my second semester of my PR postgraduate program and graduating in April, time is starting to fly fast. But at the same time, with my internship starting in a week, I will have less time than ever. So the solution is to get organized and keep time in mind. Funny this comes around the New Year. I guess I could say my objectives are almost like resolutions.

1) Focus on Routines and Habits

First, with a new semester and internship starting, I will have to adjust my routines and habits around time. I have decided that the best way to do this is to start a habit of keeping a day planner. I have always used a calendar (yes a physical calendar that hangs on my wall, very old school) to keep track of important events and dates. But, I find sometimes it’s the little things that you forget. So a day planner will help me keep track of everything! Birthdays, deadlines, assignment due dates, internship days, volunteer stuff, etc. This is a good habit to start before entering the busy PR world. Because I know that in the work world, day planners are a must. Not to mention my parents got me a fancy leather planner for Christmas (I didn’t even ask for it, they must have known I needed help!).

2) Write it Down in a Schedule

I am determined to stay on top of my assignments despite the busy schedule I will have with also searching for a job. To do this I usually gather up a list of all my assignments for every class, including due date, weight of assignment in the class and the class it is due in and I write it all out chronologically. This helps me keep track of days when I have multiple assignments and it lets me know when I have busy weeks or slow weeks. Then I cross things off as I complete them. This will ensure I don’t run into any of those nights where you realize you have an assignment worth 20% due the following morning at 8 a.m.

3) Choose a Priority

I will set aside time to search for jobs, as this is basically my number one priority. This means I won’t wait around for job postings to come to me, but I will set aside time each week to actively search jobs out. This means setting aside time to contact people and answer emails back. I will also stay on top of the things that make me feel like a PR professional. I will periodically update my resume according to different job needs and I will set aside time to work on my portfolio of work. I will also keep my contacts organized. Here are some tips from PR Daily.

There, I got through the priorities of my career life (I won’t even bother with my other goals outside of career ones). I think the best way to hold yourself accountable to your goals is to tell other people or write them down. It motivates you and then other people can encourage you too. So that is what I have done with this post. 

Goodbye time wasting activities. Goodbye procrastination. These are the enemies and I must do all that I can do overcome them to achieve these resolutions. Will it work out? Only time will tell. Next, Step 11 I will talk about the different types of employers you can look at for a job in PR. 

P.S. I love how busy PR is!

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Wednesday, 2 January 2013

The Art of Blogging!

After starting my own personal blog this past fall chronicling my entry into the PR world as a student, I have done a lot of research on blogs and whenever a link comes to me (via Twitter mainly) about blogging it always catches my eye. Here I want to share with you some these links in case you too want to start your own blog or want to understand how blogging works. Keep in mind that in PR you may be blogging as part of your job, in which case these links may also prove useful.

Let’s start with the basics. If you have never written for a blog before there are methods to the madness of the blogosphere. Follow this link if you need an easy breakdown for starting a blog.

After writing the post, it’s all about making your blog successful. It’s hard to know how to do so if you don’t research tried and truemethods

The difference between blogging and content marketing? There isn’t really. Blogging is a medium for which you can deliver content and blogs need to be marketed. Therefore you can’t really blog without understanding the basics of content marketing. Here is a link introducing content marketing and here is one that talks about compelling content.

Blog is a short form for weblog, which came from logs way back in the day of writing with pen and paper. That means blogs are like a journal and each post an entry. Therefore the blog is a story and each entry is a chapter. This makes sense since people are drawn into your posts because of the content, but most likely come back for more for your storytelling (what happens next?). This is why I suggest this link for tips on making your posts more interesting. And if you love infographics as much as I do, check out this link for tips on storytelling.

After publishing the post, that’s it right? Not necessarily. You put in a lot of work to write that post so why not take it further? This link provides some unique and broad examples of suggestions for taking your blog posts beyond their initial purpose.

The best part about blogging is that it is a learning process and it improves your writing ability. If you are looking into blogging here is a great infographic to help you with your blog posts.

Blog Blueprint; Infographic

Finally if you want to take your blog to the next level here is a guide that is a little more advanced. 

What do you think of blogging? What makes a good blog? Let me know by commenting below.

P.S. I love PR and good luck blogging.

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