Hi, I’m Meg! As the newest member of #TeamProsper, I’d like to officially introduce myself. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area before heading to St. Louis for boarding school and college. I officially moved to Cleveland in May 2017 and I’ve been enjoying getting to know the area over the last six months.
My passion for purpose-driven business began towards the beginning of high school when I was a member of the National Leadership Council, a program that accepts 20 students each year to study and practice servant leadership both at home and on service trips. One of the most memorable experiences from the program was our service trip to Peru. We taught classes in Spanish in a rural mountain school and helped the community with building projects, including the construction of a community greenhouse.
Those few weeks in Peru completely transformed the way I saw the world and I came home convinced that I would work for nonprofits. During my freshman year at Principia College, I took a few introductory business courses and decided to blend my interests by studying the way business can have a positive impact. One of my favorite initiatives in college was founding the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, where students can collaborate on projects and budding ideas with the support of faculty and educational resources.
Over the last few years, my professional experience has included social media management, communications, marketing, design, photography, and writing — all of which come into play in the agency environment. One of my favorite internships was serving as the communications manager for San Francisco-based B Corp, Bixbee, which provides a backpack full of school supplies to a student in need for every backpack they sell.
When I arrived in Cleveland, one of the first things I did was search for B Corps in the area. I was delighted to learn about Prosper for Purpose and even more thrilled to officially join the team in September 2017 as the production coordinator for brand and operations! In just a few months, I’ve had the privilege of working on several interesting projects in a variety of roles, giving me more exposure to the many facets of agency life. Most importantly, I appreciate being part of a company where our mission is at the core of everything we do.
Whether I’m planning an event, creating graphics, or covering ground across Cleveland to implement our strategies, I love knowing that each project enables our clients to maximize their positive impact. It’s so rewarding to turn creative ideas into tangible results, and I’m excited to be part of it.
Our 12 Months of Giving program allowed us the opportunity to work with three Cleveland-area nonprofits during the third quarter of 2017.
In July, we had the pleasure of assisting the Malachi House, a home that serves those who are terminally ill and provides them with a comfortable place to spend their final days. The Malachi House has a full-service kitchen, family dining room, living room, chapel, atrium, and incredible volunteers who help provide care to their residents in a comfortable and compassionate environment.
Our August pro bono client, Slavic Village, is a community located in the heart of Cleveland. Its rich history draws in people from all walks of life. People of all ages go to Slavic Village to experience all that it has to offer. From recreational activities to an abundant amount of housing opportunities and top-notch educational offerings, there’s something about Slavic Village that encourages people to stay once they’ve planted their roots.
In September, we worked with the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Since 1994, the Conservancy has been doing wonderful work to help protect our beloved national park. Through their youth programs, volunteer opportunities and more, they truly live their vision — “Connecting you to your national park. Preserving it for future generations.”
We thoroughly enjoyed supporting each of these amazing organizations. They are doing tremendous things and we can’t wait to watch them continue to make a difference.
As you finalize your content strategy for 2017, it’s important to recognize the value and importance of earned media in your plan. According to BullDogReporter.com, earned media placements “are regarded as the most influential sources of news and information when it comes to driving consumer opinions about brands and products and when driving sharing across social media and other platforms.”
So what is earned media? Brandwatch defines it as “the content and conversation around your brand or product that has been created by somebody else and published somewhere other than your owned channels.”
A white paper from Outsell, Inc. shows that “pull” methods are the most effective marketing methods, resulting in a shift away from intrusive tactics (“push” methods) to user-initiated behavior (“pull” methods).
Telling your story and explaining your ‘why’ is important, but having an influencer advocating for your brand builds credibility. Content published about your brand and secured media coverage give your brand third-party credibility. Earned media can also help your brand build trust with your community. When a consumer trusts a brand they are more likely to engage with it.
So how do you secure earned media? You need to go a step above sending out blanket press releases and media alerts. The first step is to do your research. Look at what your targeted influencers have covered in the past. What kind of stories have they published? What are they tweeting about?
Next, create a tailored pitch. Explain exactly why you think your brand or story idea will resonate with their audience. Then, build positive relationships with leaders in the industry. Ideally, by building a relationship with an influencer they will begin to reach out to you, making it easier for you to secure future coverage for your brand.
Leveraging earned content
So, you have valuable earned content. Now what? It’s important to consider how to leverage your earned content. After receiving permission to share, promote the earned content across all of your brand’s marketing channels to continue to increase the reach and impressions.
Focus on what happened after the earned media content was digested. Did readers to go the website? Like you on Facebook? Sign up for your newsletter? Make a purchase? Focus on engagement. You can also look at your share of voice. This will show you where you stand within your industry and against your competitors.
So what exactly does this all mean? Brands need to focus on content that engages their audience, and builds trust and credibility for their organization. Earned media has a proven track record of being able to do just that.
What role does earned media play in your strategy for the coming year?
How Agency Life Helped Define My Career Path
Public relations is one of the few majors that can provide you with endless career paths upon graduation. Nearly every industry imaginable has a need for public relations services, allowing students and professionals almost limitless options when it comes to choosing a career.
This summer during my internship at Prosper for Purpose, I had the chance to experience social media management, client research, PR writing and blogging, and media pitching. I even populated an entire website with content. Working at an agency gave me an idea of just how broad the field of public relations really is! For some clients, I strictly focused on social media, while other clients needed assistance with compiling media lists or identifying industry influencers.
Some days were more overwhelming than others and my project list always seemed to vary, but overall working at an agency proved to be a beneficial experience to really show me what PR is all about. Team Prosper has a combination of nonprofit and business clients, allowing me to touch accounts from different sectors and learn more about the various facets of public relations.
If you are a student struggling with where to go in the field of public relations, an agency internship may help you define your career path. I was able to add PR writing pieces to my portfolio, I published blogs (like this one!) on Prosper’s website, I conducted research for clients, and worked with PR software to build media lists – all new experiences for me! I also had the chance to sit in on team and client meetings, allowing me to see the business side of agency life in real-time. I attended client photo shoots, media preview days, and listened to weekly phone updates with clients. I learned about retainers and billing, project management, and the roles of account managers.
I still may not know exactly where my career path will take me after graduation, but working at an agency has allowed me to see that there are more job options than I even thought possible.
You’ve just launched an incredible new product—your brainchild that you’ve been dreaming up for years—but instead of feeling successful and proud, you feel defeated and confused. Inventory isn’t moving like it should be. But your website hasn’t crashed from a sudden influx of online sales. And it’s not that your product isn’t great—because, let’s face it, it’s perfect and you should be proud—so what is it?
Or maybe this sounds familiar: You’ve just graduated from college with a hard-earned degree. You busted your behind to master the subjects and prove that you are ready to further develop your education as a professional in your chosen field. You’ve carefully constructed a witty yet intelligent cover letter, spent a little too much time analyzing the font in your email signature and applied for dozens of positions, yet you haven’t landed your dream job. It’s not that you aren’t qualified—your degree and that perfectly punctuated cover letter prove you know your stuff—so what is it?
In a world where we’re routinely flooded by classified ads and perfect jobs are few and far between, there’s a secret sauce that can help differentiate you from the competition: networking. It seems so simple, but networking can help your personal brand grow exponentially in a variety of ways.
Now, for clarity, when we say brand this could refer to a company that sells a product or service, or it could mean you as a professional. Either way, networking provides the same benefits to individuals and organizations and is something we should all spend more time doing.
So, first things first: Grab a cup of coffee. (A blog post should always be read with coffee.) Now, prepare to learn how networking can help your brand grow.
- Connections. You hear it all the time: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. While nothing can replace having the appropriate knowledge, experience or skill, the reality is that people recommend people they know, like and trust. In fact, many of the best job opportunities are never advertised to the public, but are instead shared through networks. Having an ‘in’ can open the door to your dream job or create a new line of opportunities such as client leads, speaking and writing gigs, joint ventures and partnerships.
- Promotions. Having a solid foundation of people who like you and your brand is invaluable. Your network is your brand’s cheerleaders and they advocate for your success among their other networks. With their help, your brand receives a boost in reputation or sales, and ultimately your circle of influences widens.
- Resources. A network of like-minded professionals gives you access to a directory of amazing resources—for free. Your contacts become your advisors, offering information and advice you would normally have to pay a consultant for. They can keep you on track or share how they overcame challenges similar to those you’re facing. And, on the flip side, you can build a reputation as a knowledgeable and supportive resource by returning the favor.
- Friendships. At the end of the day, it’s nice to have someone who understands what you do. There are proven psychological and emotional benefits to having a friend in the business. In addition, a friend in your field can serve as a sounding board for new ideas or be there for a much needed pep talk. Plus, there’s an added bonus to having work friends: You have someone to take coffee breaks with during the day!
“But I don’t have time to go to networking events.” No problem! Not all networking requires attending an event. Social media platforms make for a simple and effective way to network not only with other professionals or audiences, but also with other businesses, making the possibilities of new connections endless. Five minutes and a few messages a day can get you in touch with individuals who can provide a wealth of knowledge and, of course, more connections.
You did your research, you nailed your interview and you were offered your dream internship. Now what? How can you ensure you have a successful internship?
Follow these five tips to impress your supervisor and optimize your time as an intern:
1. Treat your internship like a real job
2. Set goals
3. Ask smart questions
4. Get to know your coworkers
5. Challenge yourself
Treat Your Internship Like a Real Job
Above all else, acting professionally should be your top priority if you want to leave a lasting impression. This includes being punctual, dressing appropriately and following proper office etiquette. Being professional will show your supervisor you’re taking your internship seriously. It can also lead to a killer letter of recommendation (a powerful tool that can help you stand out when searching for a full-time job).
It’s also crucial to always, always, always turn in projects and assignments as if they were going directly to a client. Don’t expect your supervisor to check your grammar and spelling for you.
When we begin working with new clients, one of the first things we do is set goals and review expectations. An internship should start the same way. Meet with your supervisor to review your personal goals and clarify expectations. What is expected of you? What would you like to accomplish during your internship? This is the time to let your supervisor know what projects you’re interested in working on during your internship (Tip: think about what you would most like to showcase in a portfolio).
Ask Smart Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions (preferably ones that can’t be answered with a simple Google search). Asking questions shows you’re engaged and eager to learn. So speak up!.
Get to Know Your Coworkers
Take the time to get to know as many of your coworkers as possible. Networking is invaluable when it comes to searching for a full-time job. Building strong connections can also help when it comes time to ask for that invaluable recommendation letter. Learn about other positions, ask your coworkers how they got to where they are now and inquire about what else you can do to make yourself more marketable to employers.
The goal of your internship should be to learn and gain valuable real world experience. Don’t waste your time – or your employer’s time – texting your friends or scrolling through social media. Truly focus on developing your skills. Take on new projects, introduce yourself to someone in a different department or make a suggestion at a big meeting. Great things can happen when you step outside your comfort zone.
Looking for more advice? Check out our blog to see what two former interns had to say about their experience at Prosper for Purpose.