The Principals’ Office: Non-writing Skills and Traits Essential for Public Relations

Principals' Office ImageRick Teitloff, Intern, Shank Public Relations Counselors

After missing a couple of weeks due to the fourth of July, I’m back in the principals’ office with David and Marilyn Shank – the principals of Shank Public Relations Counselors, Inc.

In this edition we discuss non-writing skills and traits essential to being successful in public relations. We all know that writing is imperative in public relations, but it is only one piece of the puzzle in becoming a bona fide public relations professional.

Rick (R): What’s the most essential skill for public relations?

David (D): “Thinking — recognizing and developing strategy that leads to why you’re writing something. Once you know your strategy and message, writing becomes the most important. The pecking order goes strategy, message, writing.”

R: Are there skills or traits that you must have that can’t be taught?

Marilyn (M): “No. Some skills such as problem solving, people skills and cultural awareness are more difficult to teach, but not impossible.”

D: “There are two things public relations professionals need that can’t be taught: an innate curiosity and assertiveness. You can teach somebody how to question things, but not true curiosity. An example: I was eating at a revolving hotel-restaurant. I’m a naturally curious person and wondered how the restaurant was able to revolve. I called the public relations manager of the hotel the next day and she told me it revolved on ball bearings. The company that supplied the ball bearings for the restaurant happened to be a client. I wrote a nice application piece that was used by vertical trade magazines. You can’t teach that kind of curiosity and assertiveness.”

R: What non-writing skills and traits do public relations professionals have to have to make it?

M: “Problem solving, strategic thinking, people skills, knowledge of media, cultural awareness, knowledge of government and the ability to work with different types of clients.”

D: “Flexibility. In public relations you’re going to encounter things you’d never imagine – don’t be afraid of new and challenging experiences. You have to be curious and assertive – ask why something does or doesn’t work. And you have to be mature – you’re not always going to get your way, and the way you handle those situations will dictate how far you go in public relations. Maturity is the key to handling those situations the right way.”

R: Are there any skills or traits that a public relations professional might need that aren’t necessarily obvious?

M: “Honesty with yourself and with your employer. In public relations, you have to work with a variety of clients. If you’re interviewing at an agency and they tell you you’ll be doing work for a certain type of company that you have a problem with, you’d better tell them. Nobody benefits when you get hired there and you refuse to work with the clients you’re assigned to.”

D: “You have to be able to do basic business mathematics. Return on investment, metrics, budgeting and analytics are important in today’s public relations. ‘I’m not a numbers person’ just doesn’t cut it anymore.”

R: Choose one skill or trait that you find the most important in an employee. Go!

D: “I’m going to give you two (apparently the rules don’t apply to David): business mathematics and a visual thinker – having the ability to project the strategy and tactics before putting pen to paper. Making a concept come alive graphically.”

M: “Media literacy. It’s important to understand all facets of the media, from traditional media to our social media.”

That does it for this week’s installment. What non-writing skills or traits do you think are necessary for public relations? What are your personal experiences? Let us know what you think!

The topic for our next installment will be the differences between goals, strategies and tactics in public relations! If you have any questions for David and Marilyn you can leave them in the comments below, tweet at us (@shank_pr #TPO) or stop by our Facebook page. If you found this helpful, make sure to share it with your friends and spread the knowledge!

Rick Teitloff is our summer 2013 intern. Rick is a senior at Ball State University and will be graduating with a bachelor’s degree in public relations in December.


The Principals’ Office: Paid vs Unpaid Internships

Rick Teitloff, Intern, Shank Public Relations Counselors


Like much of my youth, when I needed to be taught a lesson (which was more often than I cared for) I got sent to the principal’s office. I guess a whole lot hasn’t changed in the past 20 years. In this series I sit down with David and Marilyn Shank – the principals of Shank Public Relations Counselors, Inc. – and ask them questions about public relations.

In this edition we discuss paid vs unpaid internships. With our internship application deadline coming up (it’s Monday!) it only seems fitting that we let you know where we stand on the issue.

Rick (R): Do you think unpaid internships are acceptable or ethical?

David (D): “This is a complicated issue. The terms paid and unpaid can mean different things. Some internships pay students through experience and genuine learning as opposed to monetary compensation. If an intern is unpaid, the internship must still be beneficial to the intern. For some not-for-profit companies it is a completely different story. But unpaid internships just aren’t for our company.”

R: Do you think this issue should be addressed by the PRSA or the U.S. Government?

D: “Both the PRSA and the Department of Labor have addressed this issue and have stipulations that must be met by the employer’s internship program to have unpaid interns. So I think that we currently have a fair system as long as the rules are being followed.” – Check it out here!

M: “Beyond the duration of the internship, some laws should be looked at. One that affects small businesses is state unemployment laws. Indiana should take a look at that one. But as far as the internship itself, I think the current rules are enough.”

R: Do you foresee a change in legal policy?

D: “It’s supply and demand. With the current system there are plenty of unpaid interns. As long as companies can do it, they will. And as long as students accept unpaid internships they will continue. I don’t see any changes in the near future.”

M: “I agree with David. I think it will be market driven. We won’t have any changes until we are forced to.”

R: Why do you pay your interns when you don’t have to?

M: “It’s the ethical thing to do. It also allows us to keep everyone in the race. The most talented intern candidates are most likely going to want a paid internship. There are also students who are putting themselves through college and can’t afford to take an unpaid internship. So it really opens up the door for the talent.”

D: “We have a responsibility to help students. We don’t want working here to be a hardship for our interns. Interns walk away from Shank Public Relations Counselors with professional experience and some money in their pockets. Studies also show that paid interns go on to have more job offers and higher starting salaries. An internship is not a one way street. We learn from our interns just as they learn from us. So getting those top candidates is truly important to us.”

R: Do you think paying interns affects their quality of work?

M: “Not really. It may keep interns a little more motivated, and if nothing else it encourages them to submit their time sheets on time!”

D: “I don’t think so. And it absolutely shouldn’t. The quality of work starts in the interview process. We carefully select who we put through that process and only choose quality candidates. So paid or unpaid, we would get quality interns.”

That does it for this week’s installment. What are your thoughts on paid vs unpaid internships? What are your personal experiences? Let us know what you think!

The topic for our next installment will be non-writing skills that are essential for public relations! If you have any questions for David and Marilyn you can leave them in the comments below, tweet at us (@shank_pr) or stop by our Facebook page. If you found this helpful, make sure to share it with your friends and spread the knowledge!

Rick Teitloff is our summer 2013 intern. Rick is a senior at Ball State University and will be graduating with a bachelor’s degree in public relations in December.

The Principals’ Office: Crisis Communications and Management

Rick Teitloff, Intern, Shank Public Relations Counselors


Welcome to the inaugural post of our new, regular blog series, The Principals’ Office! Like much of my youth, when I needed to be taught a lesson (which was more often than I cared for) I got sent to the principal’s office. I guess a whole lot hasn’t changed in the past 20 years. In this series I sit down with David and Marilyn Shank – the principals of Shank Public Relations Counselors, Inc. – and ask them questions about public relations.

For our first edition we decided to discuss crisis communications! This is an area where public relations professionals can prove to be invaluable to a company. It is also an area that Shank Public Relations Counselors has extensive experience and knowledge.

Rick (R): How important is crisis communications and management and why?

David (D): “Crisis communication and management is critical. A crisis happening is not a matter of if, but when! And when that crisis comes, you better be prepared. I can’t emphasize enough how important crisis management and communication is.”

Marilyn (M): “I agree completely. The way a company manages or mismanages a crisis can end up costing millions of dollars or the entire company itself!”

R: Should all companies have a crisis plan template?

D: “Each company should have a crisis plan, but not a template. Each crisis is different and there is no cookie-cutter template that is a fix-all.”

M: “Companies shouldn’t have a template, but a plan to help guide them through the process. Companies should also always have a back up; a plan a, b and c.”

R: Should companies try to go it alone or bring in professionals?

M: “If a company has a capable staff of their own and a plan, then they could possibly handle it on their own. But if they don’t have staff with experience in crisis management then they certainly need to bring in professional help.”

D: “And even if a company does have internal staff, bringing in a consultant will bring a different, sometimes more objective, perspective. This can be especially helpful in emotionally charged crises, such as incidents involving human casualties or injuries.”

R: What’s the most important thing to do in crisis communications?

D: “Get the facts right as you have them while being immediate as possible. Don’t speculate, don’t BS, stick to the facts.”

M: “You have to be available and you have to state the facts.”

R: What’s the most important thing to avoid?

M: “You can’t hide. You have to make yourself available and manage the crisis. Also, never, under any circumstances, put things ahead of people. If there are casualties in the crisis, the people don’t want to know that you will be back to work tomorrow. Empathize with those who have lost loved ones and leave it at that.”

D: “Never speculate! If you have an explosion in your factory and you know people are injured, don’t say ‘we have around 45 injured workers.’ Stick to what you know, ‘we have workers who were injured in the explosion. We’re not certain how many, but we will let you know when we have that information.’”

R: Is “no comment” ever acceptable?

D&M (simultaneously): “No!”

D: “Absolutely not. Not only is it bad practice, but studies have shown that saying ‘no comment’ causes people to assume guilt. You can use different terminology to get your point across and be credible.”

R: How important is internal communication in a crisis plan?

D: “Internal communication is extremely important in a crisis. Unfortunately, it is often left out of crisis plans by companies. Good plans include how information will be disseminated from the top down or the bottom to the top. Everyone from the CEO to the stockholders, investors and employees.”

M: “Having internal communications in the crisis plan ensures that everybody knows what the protocol is as far as the lines of communication are concerned.”

R: What is the timeline for responding to a crisis now?

D: “The timeline has drastically changed. It used to be the 24 hour ‘golden window’ to respond to a crisis. Now it’s more like 24 seconds! As the crisis is happening witnesses are taking pictures and video, uploading them to social media and sending them to media outlets. How crises are handled in today’s digital world is a topic all of its own (hint).”

That wraps up our first edition of The Principals’ Office. What do you think of the new concept? Did we pull it off? What do you want to see on this blog? Let us know!

The topic for our next installment will be the hot topic of paid vs. unpaid internships! If you have any questions for David and Marilyn you can leave them in the comments below, tweet at us (@shank_pr) or stop by our Facebook page. If you found this helpful, make sure to share it with your friends and spread the knowledge!

Rick Teitloff is our summer 2013 intern. Rick is a senior at Ball State University and will be graduating with a bachelor’s degree in public relations in December.

The NBA Classroom for Public Relations

Rick Teitloff, Intern, Shank Public Relations Counselors


Last night I felt the air being sucked out of Indianapolis as the Miami Heat put a beat down on the Indianapolis Pacers to the tune of 99-76 in game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals. The city was noticeably quieter. My Twitter and Facebook feeds were filled with optimistic messages like, “until next season Pacers. Proud of you!”

 Even in losing, the rebuilt Pacers provided some great lessons for public relations.

1. Even the best of us can make big mistakes – own up to them and move on    

Roy Hibbert is a young up-and-comer in the NBA. He also made the biggest headlines after game six by using a gay slur and profanity at the post-game press conference. He even taunted the League with an, “I don’t care if I get fined.” And fine him they did. This mistake cost him $75,000. That’s a decent chunk of change even for someone who made $13.67 million this year.

To his credit, Hibbert owned up to his mistake. The following day he issued a statement apologizing for his inflammatory remarks and reached out to former NBA center Jason Collins via Twitter. Collins is the first male to come out as gay in a major US sport.

Lesson to take away: Chances are that at some point in your career you’re going to make a mistake. In public relations our mistakes are often seen by many people – one bad comment can go a long way. The important thing is how you respond to those mistakes. The best way to handle them is, like Hibbert, to admit your fault, sincerely apologize and put that sincerity into action.

2. You can put together a great campaign and not get the desired results – learn from it!

The Pacers exceeded expectations this season. If you asked people at the beginning of the season if the Pacers would be in the Eastern Conference Finals, most people would have laughed.

But the Pacers found their stride and played well. Better than expected. They knew they were good and their goal was an NBA championship. They put together a beautiful campaign, but they didn’t attain that ultimate goal.

There are positive takeaways. They and the coach had a plan. The Pacers took huge steps in the right direction. After the game, analysts weren’t talking about how bad they got beat, they were talking about how bright the future is for the young team.

Lesson to take away: There will be times when you do some seriously great work that will not immediately get the desired end result. In public relations you can put together a marvelous community relations program and still lose the vote or have a great pitch to an important potential client and not get the account. The key to these situations is to learn from them. Look at what you did right. Examine where you can improve. Then look forward and apply these lessons to your future work.

3. Leadership and development is key

The Pacers entered this season as a young and inexperienced team. Enter Coach Frank Vogel. In only his third year as head coach, Vogel had these Pacers playing sound, fundamental basketball. He took the team back to the basics: defense and rebounding.

After mastering the fundamentals, Vogel allowed his more talented players to shine. He let Paul George loose in the NBA Playoffs, which took the play of the Pacers to another level and allowed them to make it to game seven of the conference finals.

Lesson to take away: I compare this Pacers team to the vast number of young public relations professionals and interns. We are a talented pool of people. We no doubt have the jobs we do because we have talent. But without leadership and development, those talents can go to waste. Here’s my gameplan:

  • Be curious, pick the brains of the people at your workplace and ask questions.
  • If you finish a project ask for more work – there’s always more work!
  • Ask to sit in on meetings.
  • Seek out knowledge, do research about the profession and learn even when you’re not at work or in class.

In my high school weight room we had a great motivational phrase written on the wall; “hard work beats talent that doesn’t work hard.” Plain and simple: listen, learn, work hard, succeed!

Want to be our fall intern? Here’s what you need to know

Rick Teitloff, Intern, Shank Public Relations Counselors

Even though I just started my tenure here as the summer intern at Shank Public Relations Counselors, we’re already on the lookout for our fall 2013 intern. For a full run-down of the objectives, job description and tips, visit our website. Here is the elevator speech:

Goals and objectives

  • to make the internship a learning experience by working with each person in the firm
  • to work on projects for both non-profit and corporate clients
  • to work on at least one project from beginning to end
  • to develop a professional portfolio

Intern job description

  • this is a paid internship
  • the intern will work 22-40 hours per week depending on class schedule
  • work closely with public relations professionals and complete work assigned to them by one supervisor
  • Be prepared to work

 Cover letter

Your cover letter is your first impression to a company. The cover letter needs to represent you. Be personable and honest. Personalize each cover letter you write; “to whom it may concern” is not an acceptable greeting! Put some effort into your application process and do some research about the company. I’ll even do you a solid- your contact here will be David L. Shank, president and CEO. Tell us why you want to intern here, why you would be a valuable asset and most importantly, back it up with examples. This is your time to shine! Lastly, always include when you’re going to follow up with a call…then actually do so.

Resume and work samples

  • include basic information such as your college education and related work experience
  • include real world experience, from extracurricular to writing for your campus paper or media
  • include relevant skills and a statement about references and a portfolio being available upon request
  • three work samples are requested…that means three!  But don’t include your 60 page term paper – keep the samples short and meaningful.

The deadline for submission of your cover letter, resume and work samples is July 1, 2013. Materials are to be emailed to The start date for the internship is the beginning of your fall semester.

Even though the deadline is July 1, it is my personal advice to get on the horse and apply as soon as possible. You may not be the first applicant *hint hint!*. Good luck to all of the applicants!

This is Rick, your Summer 2013 intern!

Rick Teitloff, Intern, Shank Public Relations Counselors

Hello friends of Shank Public Relations Counselors! I am the new intern in town, Rick Teitloff. I’m a senior at Ball State University majoring in public relations. I grew up in South Bend, Ind. (Go Irish!). My route from South Bend to Indianapolis has been a circuitous one. After high school I enlisted in the Navy and was stationed in Yokosuka, Japan. Since returning home from the Navy I’ve attended three different colleges with my final landing place at Ball State because of its nationally acclaimed public relations program.

One requirement of BSU’s public relations program is an internship.  Since I started college late I’ve been taking classes full time during my summer semesters to graduate as fast as possible (which I’m doing in three years), leaving me this summer to complete my internship. That means that I had to make that one internship count. That’s where Shank Public Relations Counselors came in.

I was initially introduced to Shank Public Relations Counselors through one of the litany of emails our internship coordinator sends out from companies seeking interns. The email was informative and most importantly, stated that the internship was paid. That was enough to get me to look more into the company.

During my interview with David Shank, the company president, I got a really good feel for the vibe of the company and, of course, was shown their case of awards that is wider and taller than me.

There were many reasons why I chose Shank Public Relations Counselors. Most of all I could tell David was sincere and meant it when he told me I would be doing meaningful work and not be an extra set of hands to deal with small things they didn’t feel like doing. Being a smaller company, I knew I’d get a lot of hands-on experience being an integral part of the team, from planning to writing to meeting with clients. I truly believed that Shank Public Relations Counselors gave me the best opportunity to get the most out of my summer.

As you can tell, I have high expectations for my time at Shank Public Relations Counselors. I expect to be given challenging, meaningful work that will make me a better professional. I expect to learn different aspects of public relations, everything from the initial planning stages all the way to the implementation of the final strategy.

One of my biggest expectations is to learn interactions with clients. We can learn how to write and plan strategies in the classroom, but nothing can substitute true interactions with clients. How does the dialogue go? Where do you draw the line when you can tell that it’s not going to work with a client? How do you handle a call from a client about a crisis? I expect to learn how to handle situations like that. And I expect to give my portfolio quite a boost to make me a desirable asset when I enter the job market in December.

So far Shank has lived up to my expectations. After I got comfortable with the office on day one I was given assignments. Day two I was on-site at 7:15 a.m. corralling the local ROTC Color Guard at a Walmart store grand reopening.

In my first full week, the assignments have been constant and educational. I was just assigned a full assignment all to my own, which I was thrilled about. Most of all, working here so far has reaffirmed my choice in choosing public relations as a major and career path. Doing “real” work as opposed to hypothetical school work makes a huge difference. The work is much more fulfilling and exciting. So far so good and I’m looking forward to the next nine weeks here!

Facebook still the future of social media

Becca Grober, Intern, Shank Public Relations Counselors

An interesting infographic created by illustrates the changing trends in Facebook usage. Actual time spent on the site is decreasing among the younger population. The infographic attributes this break to users being too busy, a lack of interest and other reasons. I found the infographic and short article on

When I read posts as this, I scroll to the bottom and checkout the comments. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has a strange obsession with this, and this time I noticed something interesting.

A new large trend: everyone commenting about Facebook touts it for personal use but not professional use. A few of the comments read like this:

Screen Shot 2013-03-18 at 1.45.00 PM

How do we enter back into professional usage with users like this?

Today, we need to think of different ways to reach our audiences. Facebook started as a way to get dates. It transitioned into a medium used to praise yourself, and maybe your friends if you were feeling generous. For a short time, it transitioned into a platform promoting events, products and companies. Now we’ve circled back and professional pages seem to only use the medium for praising their employees or themselves.

Yes, attention spans are diminishing, but as professionals we’ve always risen to the challenge. Twitter came along and we conquered it. Instagram gave us a little more wiggle room. And now with social media as Tout and Vine we’re even more pressed for time.

What’s next? Revitalizing the great equalizer — Facebook. Facebook connects nearly every medium we use. We need to go back to promotion, but integrate with true communication. At the root of social media is social. Once we begin responding again we’ll understand it’s true capabilities.

Where does this social media consumption take place most? According to a blog posted by Chad Smith on Social Media Revolver for every 72 minutes of verbal chat, people use their phone for 94 minutes a day on other things, such as search and social media. Phones are much smaller than a computer or tablet. We need to condense our information for smaller consumption. Facebook already provides us with those capabilities and it continues to add the newest outlets to it’s list of apps.

My view of the future is continued convergence. For some of us social media is our only tool of communication, but it must be done right. It’s getting to an age where literature is abundant. Research, and learn how to intelligently use your media so that you don’t fall into the “what I ate for lunch today” trap.

For more opinions on the future of social media read Business 2 Community’s article, “The Future of Social Media: 50+ Experts Share Their 2013 Predictions.” The medium could go in any direction, but we hope you can decide your organization’s social future.

Public Relations 2013: What qualifies as unique?

Becca Grober, Intern, Shank Public Relations Counselors

First off, I would like to introduce myself as the newest intern at Shank Public Relations Counselors. I’m Becca and I am a senior in my last semester at Ball State University. This is my fourth internship experience. I am an avid reader and like to pretend that I’m the next great chef.

While at Shank Public Relations Counselors my goal is to do something different with social media. Every Monday, we will pose a new question on Twitter and Facebook. We hope our followers, and others, will respond. On Wednesday, we will post our response on the Shank Public Relations Counselors blog. Friday, we will feature the most interesting answers. The goal is to start a conversation because after all, that’s what social media is all about.

Let’s start with something that I have been lectured about before at previous internships: the word “unique”. Unique is a word thrown around constantly. By definition, unique means to have no like or equal; unparalleled; incomparable. It can’t be qualified.

So, are any of our ideas really unique? The answer is probably no. For a concept, idea or strategy to be unique, it must be one of a kind. Most likely what you plan to do has already been done before. That’s not to say that it’s not a great idea or it won’t be successful. All that it means is that it is not truly unique.

In public relations, our best brainstorming is done through research. Inspiration often comes from others’ work and strategy. Picking and choosing pieces of many plans is how we develop our own plans. Our inspiration comes from others. We choose what works best for our client and create a strategy for their needs. While sometimes our combination may be unique, the individual parts don’t quite fit the bill of “unique”…they’ve probably been done before in one form or another.

Imitation can be considered the greatest form of flattery. When utilizing other’s ideas for your own planning, you are telling them that you admire their work. You’ve seen something successful and think to yourself, “Could that work for me?” Not everything in one plan will work the same in another. We transfer ideas to create the perfect equation for our client.

In that rare instance you may run across something that is “unique”, think about this: If there truly is only one of that thing, or the idea has only been used once, then it might mean that it’s not very good. When something works, it catches like wildfire. Everyone wants to say that they were part of the first wave. So, if it didn’t catch, maybe it’s because it didn’t work.

Job hunting in an ocean of “unique”

As I begin my job hunt I find the word “unique” around nearly every corner. Whether it’s employers looking for “unique” candidates or potential employees boasting about how “unique” they are, you can’t quite run away from the word.

If you are a potential employee utilizing the word “unique” or even the phrase “new ideas” in your cover letter, think twice. What new or unique ideas can you truly bring to the table? You’re presenting yourself to an organization that has most likely been around for a while. Have you thought of something they haven’t thought of or done yet? It is possible, but present your idea in a positive way. Think of it as something supplementary and not brand new.

On the other end of the spectrum are those employers who attempt to find the only unique job candidate to ever exist. The focus is lost in translation. An employer should look for individuals with skills and ability. The candidate should have knowledge of the industry and skills to match. The hope is to find someone who stands out, but is a good fit for the organization.

So what does this mean for the often misused, descriptive word? That’s up to you. I suggest we eliminate the word in public relations. Brainstorm with your employees. What exactly is your brand? How do you describe the company? How would others describe you? That’s how you should sell yourself as an organization. In the end though, you as the professional have to make the choice for yourself:

The question is not all that unique. What are your thoughts?

6 Do’s and Don’ts I learned about live-tweeting a candidate forum

For those of you who don’t know (and that shouldn’t be many of you) Twitter is not only used to monitor play-by-plays of your best friend’s week; it has also come in handy as a media source and is definitely playing a role in the 2012 elections.

To the surprise of some, the role of Twitter in politics does not just apply at the national level.  Local debates and forums gather attention as well, though it’s definitely not as excessive and may take a bit more effort.  Shank Public Relations Counselors enjoyed its own night of politics on Thursday, Oct 3 when we assisted in the coordination of the West Side Chamber of Commerce Candidate Forum.  By creating a hash tag (#WSForum12) specifically for the event, we anticipated and encouraged users to hop onto their social media profiles and join the conversation.

Lucky for me, my role in the night’s event was to live tweet on the @Shank_PR handle, which actually requires more brain power than you would think.  Yes, I use Twitter daily (maybe even hourly) for my own personal use, but live-tweeting an event is a whole new ball game. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts if you really want to engage your audience.


  • Utilize your hashtag: Create a memorable hashtag and don’t forget to use it! Not only will it help you reach users who want to engage in the conversation, but it also helps spectators follow the stream and stay connected.
  • Highlight diverse points: When live-tweeting a political event especially, it is essential to cover the points and candidates from all represented parties.  Make a conscious effort to quote people that you know are from different backgrounds and have opposing views.This way you’re sure to connect with a larger audience!
  • Keep the conversation afloat: Watch out for trending statements among audience members and then react to them. If a candidate makes a strong statement that triggered a lot of attention among audience members, don’t be hesitant to tweet about it and ask for the opinions of users. If it caused that much of a stir, you’ll want to tweet about it. Prime example: #bindersfullofwomen. That hashtag was trending for more than 24 hours after it was said.



  • Share personal opinions: remember that you are representing an organization or even your own firm when live-tweeting. Sharing an opinion that may be offensive or even contradictory to the views of your organization will only leave a bad taste in other people’s mouths. Not to mention, you won’t want to get in a cyber brawl over someone else’s Twitter handle.
  • Ignore your audience: This may seem obvious, but even tweeting a “thank you for sharing” or retweeting users will make a bit of a difference. Remember that you are live-tweeting to expand the event’s reach and to make connections. If you want to keep users engaged and excited, it is a MUST to interact with the audience.

Because the West Side Chamber of Commerce forum was the same night as the presidential debate (we scheduled first), I didn’t know how much attention our tweets would receive, however, we had good reach.  Just one tweet, which included a photo of two candidates interacting, received 6 retweets in a matter of 10 minutes! Some of those “retweeters” were candidates sitting on the stage.

Concentrated Twitter activity during large events has become common and is even more evident on a national level.  Just minutes after the West Side Chamber of Commerce Candidate Forum, Twitter blew up with 10.3 million tweets over a 90-minute period (highest Twitter activity in history) as a result of the presidential debate.  The same thing occurred on Tuesday during the second debate, though the numbers did decrease by about 3 million tweets.

Whether we like it or not, Twitter has become an influential factor in the 2012 local and national elections.  Not only do citizens use the site to share their own opinions, but candidates also utilize Twitter to voice their views and platforms.  Our presidential candidates have verified Twitter accounts, both of whom are active with their followers and that activity makes the difference.

It’s hard to deny the effect Twitter has made in educating younger voters on the issues surrounding the 2012 elections. Perhaps the recent increase in activity is a preview of how many young voters will be out on Nov 6.

Your Future in Journalism

Last month David and Marilyn made a visit to IUPUI to lead a panel discussion focusing on the future of journalism and public relations.  As a student approaching graduation, I’m extremely disappointed that I couldn’t attend, because like many, I get shaky and anxious just thinking about the job hunt. I think I speak for most when I say I know what my dream job is, I just need to know how to get there.

IUPUI students felt the same way as the most popular topic of the night was the journalism job track.  David and Marilyn addressed all the questions that soon-to-be-graduates are dying to know from “what should I include on a resume?” to “how can I stand out in an interview?”

For those of you who find yourself wishing on stars for a tell-all guide to the future, don’t fret. While I don’t have all the answers, David did share with me what he says to be the biggest key to success when applying for jobs: BE ADAPTABLE.

Remember that you can accomplish your dreams, but don’t hesitate to work toward those dreams by starting out in an entry-level position in your hometown.  Graduates need to mold themselves to fit the job before they can select a job that fits them. Besides, the best part of reaching your destination is the journey that got you there, right?

If you still find yourself hoping for another chance to hear Shank Public Relations Counselors share some knowledge, there is a solution.  Marilyn will be speaking to two classes at the University of Indianapolis this Friday, September 21, on the topic of what it’s like to own and manage a public relations firm.

Also, below are some helpful links for those PR and journalism students who are preparing for the next few months of applications and job hunting and want a little assistance. Good luck!

What Makes a Good PR Person:


Journalism Jobs:

Job Bank: