To The New CCPRs On The Block

“Back to work on Monday. Don’t know where the summer went. But looking forward to an amazing new school year with 80 new future PR professionals.” – Barry Waite

GAWD, that’s a lot of new students coming into the corporate communications and public relations program at Centennial College this September! It will be one year since I enrolled in CCPR and it was the best decision I made in my life so far. I made new friends, went to a lot parties, made connections in the industry and learned the best way possible, HANDS ON! Since I’m now an alumni of Centennial’s awesome program, like a big brother, I want to give you new CCPRers some tips (maybe tricks?) on your post-grad experience to make it awesome!

1. Make friends with your fellow CCPRers: During the first few weeks you’ll be introducing yourself to your fellow colleagues. You’ll get to hear where everyone came from, their experience, their passion, and where they want to end up. Make sure you talk to everyone, even people in the other block! Not only are they your fellow students but they’re your first PR contacts. Sure you’ll be closer to a few people than others but never break relationships. Plan lunch outings, a happy hour after class, or even a secret santa at school. The friends you make at CCPR will be ones you have for the rest of your brand new career! Enjoy yourself and remember everyone is in the same boat.

2. Everyone is in the Same Boat: You’re in post-grad for a reason, you want to start your career. That goes the same for all your peers in the program. Try helping out your peers if they are stuck on an assignment or if they need help on Photoshop and InDesign. I had someone in the program who was charging people for a copy of the Adobe CS program and I didn’t think that was nice. So the next day I downloaded the whole program and gave it to everyone for free. If you have any knowledge in the PR or social media world share them with your friends. For example, during the internship search, if you see an agency that one of your friends would like then let them know. In the end everyone will have an internship so don’t worry.

3. Teachers = Mentors: Post-grad is nothing like your first year at University. Everyone is mature and the teachers are really there to help you get your career started. Teachers like Barry, Donna, Clowater, #Paolo and Vivienne are just some of the mentors who will guide you through the program. Feel free to talk with any of them about your PR goals or struggles with CCPR. The assignments and projects that you get won’t be useless because you’ll able to put the best ones in your PR portfolio. Remember, nobody knows the PR world more then your teachers.

4. Social Media is Your Voice: Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogging are going to play a big role in your path to becoming a PR pro. If you haven’t already, start a Twitter account right now! If your Twitter is locked, that’s a bad move. Follow all the PR agencies and PR pros around Toronto. If you find an agency that you really like engage with them to get noticed. When you tweet think how you want to be presented in the PR world. So tweet out PR news, social media trends, and fashion/entertainment (if you want to work in that industry). You will be using Twitter a lot during your time at CCPR. Like Twitter, blogging is very important in PR. Writing blog posts can help you develop and practise your writing skills. Blogging will also help you write short and sweet and keep your creative mind going. [Tip: you will be writing blog posts as assignments so start your blog now!]. Honestly, I could talk more about blogging and social media but I’m not going to drag this on….just click here.

5. Dress To Impress: Now I’m not saying to wear a suit and tie but please don’t wear sweatpants to school or really crazy revealing clothes. Your teachers and peers will notice your attitude, habits and the way you dress. You will get told that image is everything and you can make a great impression by the way you present yourself. Keep in mind that people at PR agencies are very fashionable so remember to dress for the career you want. [Tip: take a really professional photo for your LinkedIn/Twitter profile]. Check out the blog post, Dress For The Career You Want! for men and women fashion tips on how to look your best.

The first four months will be a little crazy with a lot of assignments overlapping each other but don’t worry you’ll do great! Barry will send you a lot of volunteer opportunities and I highly suggest you go to as many as possible. If you are looking to join CPRS or/and IABC do it because you will get a student discount, but it’s not necessary. CCPR was a lot of fun because of the awesome people I met in the program so don’t be shy and connect. I still hang out with people from CCPR and it’s always a blast!

Good luck CCPR Fall Semester 2013!

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‘Spun Out’ – A TV Show about Public Relations

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There’s been a show about the advertising world (Mad Men), a show about journalists (The Newsroom), and now us PR practitioners finally have a show!

The new comedy sitcom, ‘Spun Out’, follows a disgraced writer Beckett Ryan who joins King PR, a public relations agency staffed with people who can spin everyone’s problems but their own. After accusing a famous author of stealing his book with disastrous results, Beckett turns to King PR for help, and quickly realizes that the agency needs someone with his charm and wit just as much as he needs them to help him earn a little forgiveness. No matter how bizarre the cases are that the agency takes on, they pale in comparison to the workplace romances, rivalries, personal successes, and often hilarious failures of the close-knit and dysfunctional colleagues at King PR.

“Tackling the highs, the lows, and the bizarre in the fast-paced world of public relations, ‘Spun Out’ is a hilarious rollercoaster ride that dives into the dysfunction of close-knit colleagues,” said Phil King, President, CTV Programming and Sports.

The cast of ‘Spun Out’ includes Dave Foley (Dave, the boss of King PR), Paul Campbell (Beckett Ryan), Rebecca Dalton (Stephanie, daughter of Dave), Al Mukadam (PR shark Nelson), and JP Manoux (Dave’s ever-loyal assistant Bryce).

‘Spun Out’ is created by Jeff Biederman (Life With Derek), Brent Piaskoski (According to Jim) and Brian K. Roberts (Everybody Loves Raymond), and is produced by Andrew Barnsley (Hotbox). Roberts will also be directing the show.

The CTV network as ordered a full-season of 12 episodes including the pilot shot in February – all episodes will be shot in Toronto. It’s perfect because Toronto is known to be one of the cities with the largest PR agencies.

So the real question is my fellow PR pros, will you be watching ‘Spun Out’? It does sound like a funny show and you have Roberts who produced and directed Everybody Loves Raymond behind the show. PR is known to be a fast-paced industry and stressful, so it will be interesting to see how they will add humour.

If you would pitch an idea of a ‘Spun Out’ episode, what would it be?

Facebook feeds us a Redesigned News Feed

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On Thursday, March 7, 2013, Facebook did some spring cleaning and announced a refreshed design of their News Feed. Most of the time when I go on Facebook, I just check my News Feed because I can get the information quick, so it was about time that things changed. Just like Facebook’s Timeline, the new News Feed is all about bigger content like photos – everything has been enlarged so it’s easier to see.

Facebook also wanted to “reduce the clutter” and give more control to the user, so on the new News Feeds there are different feeds which you can browse:

All Friends – a feed that shows you everything your friends are sharing.
Photos – a feed with nothing but photos from your friends and the Pages you like.
Music – a feed with posts about the music you listen to.
Following – a feed with the latest news from the Pages you like and the people you follow.

This new News Feed isn’t anything new, if you’ve been using Facebook on your iPhone or BlackBerry Z10, you’ll notice that Facebook brought that interface to the web version.

Facebook will be rolling out the new design over the coming weeks on web and mobile. These design updates will be available on your iPhone and iPad in the coming weeks and to Android soon after.

What does Facebook’s new News Feed mean for PR practitioner? Visual content will play more of an important role in terms of popping off the page. The update will be great for brands because images always play a major impact on engagement, so with larger images it should draw more clicks. It’s not only about images however, it’s important to take advantage of videos, polls, and sharing articles to interact with users.

Artists Announce New Album Dates on Grammy Night

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Probably the biggest and important night in the music industry is the Grammy Awards. It’s where all the artists, producers, DJs, A&R’s, basically everyone important come out and celebrate. The 55th Grammy Awards took place on February 10, 2013 and it was ok. It wasn’t the best Grammys I’ve seen. The performances weren’t that spectacular (except for Justin Timberlake’s), LL Cool J kept making the show about him, and most of the awards were handed out during the pre-telecast.

Being such an important night in music, this was the perfect time for artists to announce new projects that they’re working on. The media from all around the world is on the red carpet, all music bloggers are glued to their TVs, and their PR practitioners are in full force. Here are some of the big announcements that were announced at the Grammys:

So as you can see, these are some pretty big announcements coming from artists of this high calibre. Being a music blogger myself, I was excited to hear album dates and future projects coming from my favourite artists. Looking it at a PR perspective, the 55th Grammy Awards brought in 28.4 million viewers, so it was the perfect time make a big announcement like an album release date. You’ll also have thousands of people tweeting during the night, so when Drake told us the name of his new album, fans were already talking about it and bloggers writing posts about the name.

Unless you have wardrobe malfunction, or a shaky performance, it’s all good publicity for an album/tour announcement during the Grammys. Now if only Jay-Z and Kanye West announced their new albums!

Apples are Falling From The Tree

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Technology moves so fast that it doesn’t matter if you keep making the same beautiful products, you will fall behind. Biggest example, Apple.

Two weeks ago, Apple’s stock went down 12% (biggest fall to date) even though they had one of their best quarters to date. I’ve had the first iPod, switched from BlackBerry Pearl to the iPhone 3G, upgraded to the iPhone 4S, bought a Macbook Pro, and looking to buy an iPad Mini 2 (when released). No I’m not an Apple fanboy, they just knew how to persuade me into buying their products. It’s their style, design, attention to detail, and marketing that makes people buy Apple products. Many people also believed and trusted Steve Jobs’s vision. The biggest question that many people are asking is, can Apple survive post-Steve Jobs?

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I Do This 4 Jay-Z

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If someone asked me who would I do PR for? I would pick my idol Jay-Z. Not even that, I would love to work at his label Roc Nation. Just the thought of representing the hip-hop legend is insane.

This 4Jay-Z mixtape created by the greatest DJ I know, Lissa Monét, is a collection of some of Jay-Z’s amazing records. This isn’t just piled up and mixed kind of mixtape, Lissa Monét carefully chose these tracks because when you listen to the mixtape you can hear how much Jay-Z evolved as an artist.

My dream job is to work at a music label, and after I finished my CCPR program at Centennial in 2013, I can finally go after that dream!

“This 4 Jay-Z mixtape isn’t really about the hits, because we can play Jay-Z hits all day, its essentially about the lyrical versatility and growth of an artist who wasn’t ashamed of where he came from and wasn’t afraid to push boundaries do the impossible and keep people thinking.” ~lissa monét