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Six Tips to Take You From College To Your First Job

Billy Madison in class

As a college senior, it’s easy to feel like the big fish in a little pond. While the underclassmen around you are fretting about dorm assignments and campus life, seniors get to worry about finishing up all the requirements to earn that sheepskin, preparing for the postgrad world with relevant internships and clubs, and finding creative ways to compete for those entry-level jobs. To help ease the transition, we came up with a few tips and tricks to help college seniors prepare for the “real world.” (more…)

Sarah K

Brevity is the Key to Successful Communication

Dug from Up says "squirrel"

In this day and age, capturing and holding someone’s attention is a tough business.

We have hundreds of things demanding our attention at any given moment: emails, texts, snapchats, a coworker’s birthday, a significant other wondering what’s for dinner – you get the picture. (If you spaced out during that long list, you’re not alone. I actually checked Reddit about four times while writing it).

A funny thing happens when you exercise brevity: people don’t mind listening to you. Well thought-out, brief communication shows that you respect and value others’ time.

CEOs and journalists have particularly harried schedules, so capturing and holding their interest is no small feat. Here are six tips to help you do just that:



Tips When Attending a Blogger Conference

Sterling had the pleasure of attending two blogger conferences this month, Type-A Bootcamp and BloggerBash. We were there supporting our client NETGEAR WiFi Family, promoting their mobile hotspots for AT&T.

Blogger conferences are as fun as they sound. There’s lots of swag, great networking, and a fantastic opportunity for vendors to have face-to-face time with bloggers that may want to write about their product.

Here are some tips for maximizing your time at a blogger conference:



Want the Perfect Story? Work with Freelancers

The journalistic community and the PR community have always experienced a fractious relationship. A while back, I blogged about how there is a 4:1 PR person to journalist ratio and shared tips to insert yourself in a news cycle by proactive pitching or drafting contributed content. While pitching purposefully and crafting your own content are effective ways to get published in certain outlets, making friends with freelancers is a great way to turn a pitch from “concept to story” in short order.



A Reflection on Brand Marketing and the 2014 World Cup 

I was in Brazil for the first two weeks of the World Cup and was lucky enough to be among the over 154,000 American ticket holders, the largest contingent of traveling supporters outside of the host nation. It’s estimated that over 40 million Americans streamed the games, up 44% from the 2010 World Cup. With such a large audience, it’s only natural that some brand marketing lessons should emerge, right?

As all good communicators know, reputation is forged by all stakeholders in the brand or organization, and soccer teams are no different. The players, management, and fans are brand representatives, on and off the field. Every player, fan, coach, manager, government, and organizing body contributes to — or detracts from — the team’s reputation with their words and actions.



Five Tips to Enhance your Brand Image


Every major brand has a distinct personality. While these companies serve similar customer needs, you’d never confuse Walmart for Nordstrom, Microsoft for Apple, In-n-Out Burger for McDonald’s, Holiday Inn for the Ritz Carlton, or Southwest Airlines for Emirates. Brands develop specific attributes, most of which are earned through their actions. Smart brands always look to improve that list of attributes in order to attract the type of customer they want to serve in the future.
Having helped companies develop effective brand communications over the past two decades, I’ve come up with a handful of tips to help you improve the way others see your brand. Taking time to really:



Live Tweeting at Conferences

texting at conference

The warm summer weather ushers in a flurry of high tech conferences and events, ranging from the consumer-focused Apple Worldwide Developers Conference and E3 to enterprise-focused events like GigaOm Structure and Fortune Brainstorm Tech. Thousands of people attend these events, with many more following the news from home. Leveraging Twitter enables conference attendees to share/discuss the experience with other attendees as well as their followers. For those who are new to live-tweeting at events, here are a few pointers to get you started:



Oops! PR Oversight Burns Goodwill with Om

Today should have been a great day for Acompli, the mobile email app provider that recently raised a $7.3M round led by Redpoint. Founder Javier Soltero is clearly excited about this news, and the TechCrunch coverage:
Unfortunately, the company forgot to tick at least one item off of their launch checklist: prepping Om Malik (or, now that he’s moved on to True Ventures, perhaps Stowe Boyd) at GigaOm about the App Store launch. Now, it’s not as though Acompli hasn’t been in touch with GigaOm over the past few months; the company briefed both Om and Stowe back in February when they announced funding.
The downside of this “miss” is having Om’s 1.38M Twitter followers see this tweet from Om today:
The world of social media is real-time, transparent and often emotional. Now, it’s quite possible that the upside of having 1.38M Twitter followers see Om’s tweet will result in a few thousand more Acompli downloads this week. (Then again, had they given Om the heads up, I’m sure there would have been a tweet from Om today as well – and it most likely would have been the congrats note with a link to a positive GigaOm story.)

As things stand, I’m guessing that it just might prove a tad more difficult for Acompli to get a GigaOm briefing or speaking slot at one of their future conferences. The devil, as they say, is in the details, so definitely make sure you don’t inadvertently ignore any of your top media/social media influencers at launch time.

Marianne O’Connor can be reached at marianne@sterlingpr.com. You can follow her on Twitter at @marianneoconnor.


The Art of Spinning (a) Yarn


In order to better motivate or engage with other people (customers, prospects, employees, investors, partners, suppliers, etc.), it is vital to pay close attention to how we communicate — the words we use, the tone we take, the emotion we convey, the storytelling format we choose, and the channels we utilize to share our thoughts and ideas.

I recently read an HBR interview with Robert McKee, a talented and widely respected screenwriting lecturer. McKee’s observations about the art of storytelling are clear and helpful. And they made me think: It’s high time we put the “telling” back into storytelling, and stop using PowerPoint slides as a crutch. Would you rather hear a well-crafted and earnestly delivered story where you root for the protagonist to succeed against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, or would you rather listen to someone read off of 25 text-heavy slides? (Rhetorical question.)