Karen’s PR & Social Media Blog

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May 24, 2013

Power of Internships: What PR students & professors need to know

I have had several conversations with students this year on the growing importance of gaining experience in the workplce as well as learning the latest tools, trends, and skills associated with the field.

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No, I am not talking about the new movie with Vince Vaughn or Owen Wilson titled “The Internship.” We have seen the term “internship” has also evolved, as well as the growing expectations students are asked to do and how many internships they need to do before they graduate. When I was in school, I was told you would only need to do at least one or even two if you were super ambitious. Now, the number has grown to as many as four to five. WOW!

So, what are some elements you need to know about internships today?

  • Know how to present yourself in the interview: Whether it is face-to-face or even a Skype interview, you need to be aware of how to present yourself and how to manage your reputation with your potential boss and maybe even future employer.
  • Internships are what employers expect to see from future job candidates:  Experience matters for employers, so if you know what you want to do after college, it is best to start early and get involved in internships as soon as possible. Also, definitely note some of the essentials when it comes to internships.
  • Understand what “experience” you want to get out of an internship: All internships are not created equally, and you really have to be aware of the culture and environment you are in and what your duties will be. Some interns get coffee, and others get to do actual hands on work and gain new skills in the process. For me, I had this chance when I was in South Africa working for Total Media. I got the chance to chat with the Fashion Director for Prada in Milan on my second day of the internship. Doesn’t get better than that! :)
  • Be aware of the great resources out there: There are many great resources out there for you to check out, and one is InternQueen, which I had the chance to listen to Lauren speak a while ago on campus at UofL.  She provides great tips for internships, resources for latest openings, and opportunities to work with her as well.

In summary, professors and scholars who are at universities have to be on the forefront not only for research and teaching opportunities, but have to also keep their eyes open for internship and networking possibilities for their students.

Engaging with professionals in the community in person and virtually is key. Being aware of what are the expectations from the profession for students is also important so we can make sure we are giving our students to experience and expertise in using various tools that will make them marketable.

This is actually one of the things I explored this year with two of my colleagues in PR (Tiffany and Gee) when we explored infographics. We did some research and wrote a paper, which has won the top teaching paper for the PR Division of AEJMC. We will be presenting our research in August. If you are interested in the actual infographic assignment, please contact me and I would be more than happy to send it to you.

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,


November 13, 2012

Guruism & Content Marketing: Things to consider for PR professionals

I had the opportunity to present this morning at the Kentucky Society for Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing (KSHPRM) Fall Educational Conference this morning at the Kentucky Derby Museum. Churchill Downs is a great place and right by the University of Louisville, and the group of healthcare professionals were very engaged and supportive.  My presentation focused on looking at infographics and what are some defining characteristics, best practices, and resources available.  It was a lot of fun! :)

My speaker bio for KSHPRM Conference

I had a chance to hear Stephen Moegling of Franklin Street Marketing discuss some of the emerging trends that are going to be impacting the healthcare marketing industry for the upcoming year (very insightful presentation!). Several themes were presented ranging from the rise of second screens (the evolution of mobile devices when it comes to getting information) as well as the rise of DIY healthcare.  You should also check out their infographic series dedicated to healthcare marketing – pretty fab!

However, there was one trend that caught my attention since this is basically where content marketing has been going and how we not only have to be aware of creating meaningful content, but repurpose and curate this information for our followers and audience members through our digital platforms, which Stephen referred to as being guruism. You can read more about it from this report, but it does bring about some interesting points. There are of course mixed perceptions when it comes to the term “guru” when it comes to social media practices. We have to be aware of what are some of the defining characteristics that make people influential not only on what they are creating, but also what they are sharing with their audiences.

Along with brand storytelling (Coca-Cola has done a lot with jumping on board with this trend), what we are seeing is the increase presence of brands not only taking ownership of their content and digital media sites, but also taking ownership as the go-to brand for knowledge and information.  We are living in a day of age where information is readily available to us with a click of a button, tap of an app, or a like on a page. However, one of the challenges we are seeing in PR and other areas dealing with social media is where to go with the most relevant and up-to-date information that is timely, relevant, insightful, and strategic.  These are individual sources that are extremely helpful and useful not only for practitioners, but also students and professors (:)) as well.

Based on this, some of the best resources and brands that have really distinguished themselves in this area not only producing great content, but sharing and marketing it as well, include the following:

In summary, more brands and PR professionals need to realize they have to have the ability to provide their own content and insights in business, but they also have to determine what information is out there and how to share this content in a strategic and organized manner.  Infographics, articles, blog posts, videos, reports, and other documents are just some of the content that can be shared. In order to establish ourselves in the field – whether it is in practice or even in research – we have to position ourselves in an area and provide our own commentary as well as share information and knowledge with others.  Doing these tasks over time not only engages individuals and simulates conversations, but it builds networking relationships that translates into a strong professional online and offline reputation.

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,


August 25, 2012

Tips for creating personal info graphics: Great opportunity for marketing CVs and resumes

Infographics are definitely a popular tool for public relations professionals when it comes to communicating data and statistics, explaining a particular process, or even present information from a timeline format. There are some really fancy info graphics out there by some pretty fabulous design companies, and there are others that can use some work.

I’m going to be presenting on the topic of infographics in a couple of months and teach a social media class at the University of Louisville next semester, so I wanted to try my hand in creating an infographic.  Deciding what topic or issue I would like to use for my first infographic was tough – but then I realized I should do one for my CV.

So, after working on my CV for a couple of hours, I finally finished my very first infographic.  Here it is:

Here are some of the lessons I learned in the process of creating an info graphic:

  • Define your goals and objectives for the infographic:  What is the purpose of this graphic?  Who is your audience and how are you going to present this information?
  • Content is definitely key – but personalize it with appealing visuals:  Think about what you want to share with your audiences in terms of information.
  • Look at other infographics for inspiration:  Check out Pinterest or even Visual.ly to see what you like, what you think is pretty cool, and what are some techniques you can do yourself.
  • Don’t stress if you are not a graphic artist:  My sister Karla is definitely the artist in the family for sure. :) What you have to realize with infographics is the fact it takes time and practice to perfect them.  This first infographic for me is a start – but I hope to learn more techniques and design skills to improve my future infographics.
  • Become a student of infographics:  Look at online resources and books (like “The Power of Infographics”) to help you improve your skills and knowledge when it comes to infographics. This way, you will be able to pass along this knowledge to your students, colleagues and friends, and fellow PR professionals.

I hope you all are having a wonderful day!

Best Wishes,


August 4, 2012

Keep Calm & Pin On!: How to use Pinterest strategically for PR Professionals

Pinterest has been a site where people have gotten their inspirations and ideas for a variety of events and celebrations.  From weddings to parties to fashion/home decor/food creations – this site has it all!  However, when you look at these possibilities for social and personal interests, the question arises on how Pinterest can be used for professional reasons.  I have used Pinterst for both personal and professional interests.

I have items for travel,athletics, and food (of course) ideas, but mainly I have used it as a visual bookmarking platform to save and share info graphics related to various topics. Kristin just wrote a great post on how to use infographics for engineers – these are a great way to communicate visually your data and insights related to your campaign or research study. It is a great platform for visual thinkers – so this is something to keep in mind.

Gini Dietrich also had a great post for PR pros on how they can use the site for their PR efforts, ranging from incorporating this into the employee social media policy to steps to measure the impact of Pinterest pins for your client and brand. Here is a list of some of the tools you can use to measure the impact of Pinterest for your brand from Social Media Today. Understanding the size of the image that will be displayed on Pinterest will also be good to know as well.

With all of these in mind, here are some things to remember when you are using Pinterest for professional reasons:

  • Think before you pin: People not only follow just one board, but all of your boards on Pinterest.  Keep this in mind in regards to your online reputation.
  • Show personality as well as professional interests:  People want not only information you can use themselves, but they want to see who you are as a person as well.  Have boards for travel adventures, cooking recipes, fashion and shopping, athletics, hobbies, etc.
  • Share insights with followers you know will be interested in your content:  Use Twitter or Facebook to share videos, infographics, or other useful visual content that may be helpful to others.  I have done this with Twitter, and people have been very grateful for these resources for their own classes and even practice.
  • Like all social media platforms, you have to be consistent with content:  If people are expecting you to have content on a regular basis, you need to make sure to provide it.
  • Use the Pinterest Mobile App:  This is what I primarily use – and look for various categories that may be interest you and search for content.  I have found the technology category to be very useful for social media infographics.

Here are a list of people I follow on Pinterest who have been very generous with sharing their content and insights about various topics of interest (ex. social media, public relations, etc):

  • PR News:  Great information related to their articles and updates – plus they share updates for their events and tips for inspiration for PR professionals.
  • Social@Oglivy: Fabulous infographics and what I really like is the fact they have organized their boards very well – extremely helpful!
  • Tom Kelleher:  PR professor at the University of Hawaii – has done a great job in using Pinterest to share not only infographics, but also use the platform to share stories and visuals from his Communication department at the University of Hawaii.
  • Patrice Cloutier:  If you want the latest developments of crisis communications with new media and mobile technologies, Patrice always has the latest developments on Pinterest.  Ranging from articles, infographics, and videos – Patrice is a must follow for crisis communication professionals on Pinterest.
In summary, Pinterest offers many opportunities to not only connect and share great information, but it is also a platform to extend your online reputation by sharing more content with your established followers on other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Personally, I have been using Pinterst and Twitter together to share great infographics to build networking relationships and also practice social media curation in the process.
Hope you all are having a wonderful day.
Best Wishes,


February 6, 2012

UPDATES in social media and pr for 6th February 2012

My sister Kristin posted this on Facebook and I thought I'd share!

Here is what I am reading today:

“Whether you spent yesterday in a crowded establishment with strangers or in a cozy living room with close friends, many of us were busy watching the biggest game in football for the year, the Super Bowl.  What makes this year different than last? Well the social media element is no longer an added bonus but an engrained part of the game.”

Will Ferrell made a commercial for Old Milwaukee Beer that ran only in Nebraska!

“The New York Giants won the Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday. Here are 10 social media lessons you can learn from the team: …..”

“On Friday, Coca-Cola sent out a small warning over Twitter: the bears are taking over, the company told its followers. “Don’t be alarmed.”

It’s all part of Coke’s bid to win the battle for eyeballs in the Super Bowl, but that battle has gone beyond TV. On Sunday, the bears sent out messages on Twitter and Facebook (FB-Q), inviting customers into an online Arctic cave to watch the game with them as they reacted to big plays and laughed at the funniest ads.:

“There are two kinds of Super Bowl fans: those who watch for the football and those who watch for the advertisements.

For those who prefer the sport, there were a bunch of great plays in Sunday’s game you may want to watch again online — Ahmad Bradshaw’s accidental touchdown comes to mind. For those who prefer the ads, we have just what you were looking for: All the ads from the 2012 game, together in one place.”

“Chevrolet said it received a letter yesterday from longtime rival Ford Motor Co. asking  that it not show its Super Bowl commercial for the Chevy Silverado pickup. The spot, which depicts the end of the world, touts the Silverado as the longest-lasting, most-dependable full-size pickup truck on the road. In making its point, the General Motors Co. unit has a laugh at Ford’s expense.”

Here is a nice infographic on the discussion.

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