Following up on last week's 5 Questions post that featured Tim Zhang of City365.ca, Dunn PR's communications and marketing consultant, Sunny Chiu, sat down with Tim for a chat in our first video blog post (and our first video interview in Mandarin!) Tim took time from his busy schedule as CEO and founder of City365.ca to tell us about how his popular news and information website got its start, the future of media in Vancouver, and tips for PR people hoping to get their stories on his website.Read More
If you’re a regular social media user from Vancouver, you’ve probably heard of Vancity Buzz. Launched in July 2008, the popular website is one of Vancouver’s best read blogs today with impressive signs of engagement as readers share Vancity Buzz posts widely.
With more than 35,000 followers on Twitter and 11,000 likes on Facebook, Vancity Buzz is right on the pulse of the city with everything from major local events to health and fitness news featured.
We recently caught up with one of the website’s co-founders and editor, Karm Sumal, and talked about what makes him tick and advice he has for PR pros trying to get their stories on VCB.
As the co-founder and editor of VanCity Buzz, what do you love most about being the man behind one of the city`s top websites?
There are many things I love about working on VanCity Buzz but I love meeting new people the most. Starting this website and carrying it through its transition from a small time blog to a much larger city website has given me the opportunity to meet a lot of great people.
In the process of meeting new people, I've built some great business contacts, learnt from them and most importantly made some life-long friends.
Keeping Vancouverites in the loop on all kinds of local happenings, tell us how the site got started.
Vancity Buzz got started in an East Vancouver basement roughly 4 years ago. At the time myself and co-founder, Manny, knew nothing about the Vancouver blog scene. We jumped in head first and adapted to the challenges that were thrown our way. As time went on, I realized I have a great outlet to showcase the city I love so much and the website became a passion project, something that holds true to this day.
We have some exciting ideas in the pipeline — stay tuned.
Any kinds of posts, type of content that is especially popular with your readers?
Our readership is quite diverse and as such all aspects of our website garner a lot of readership. If something fails to garner readership, we usually tweak the formula or simply scrap the idea.
Posting updates on everything Vancouver, as it happens, how does your team keep up?
Our team is working 18 hours a day to stay on top of things. From time to time we'll miss things but if it's a big deal in the city, it will find its way onto the site. Smart phones and social media are our friends when it comes to staying in the loop.
Any tips for PR pros contacting you with the hope of landing their news on Vancity Buzz?
Be proactive and learn about the people you’re pitching to. Read the media kits and check out website ranking sites to see the validity of the numbers being thrown around by some of the sites out there.
Oh, and please no mass, generic emails. :)Karm is a busy guy, and we’d like to thank him for taking the time to answer our questions! Be sure to follow Vancity Buzz on Twitter and Facebook to stay in the loop with Vancouver news and happenings. You can also follow Read More
Careers in public relations are in demand. Earned media is becoming increasingly important, and the ubiquity of social media means that companies need communicators more than ever. New grads and students recognize this demand and are flocking towards a PR career.
Recently, we asked our Twitter followers what blog topics they’d like us to write about, and one student wanted some tips on how to stand out from the competition. We’re happy to provide our thoughts. Here are some tips for students and new grads on how they can get their foot in the door.
1. Know the media landscape.
Digital media is becoming increasingly important, but for many industries, traditional media relations still plays a significant role. Be prepared to demonstrate your knowledge of local media when interviewing for a PR position.
Consume all type of media (blogs, radio, print, etc.), and notice what stories make the news. If you’re interested in doing PR for a specific industry, note the name of the journalists and bloggers who cover that industry and follow their stories. Use tools such as Pinterest to remember blogs or media outlets you come across.
More importantly, start engaging with media and bloggers on Twitter and other social networks. It’s easier to pitch media later if you already know their beats and personal interests.
2. Take control of your online presence.
Recruiters and other professionals you meet will almost always Google you, so make sure you are aware of what comes up when they do.
Although it might sound narcissistic, setting up Google Alerts for your name can help ensure that what is published online is factual and flattering.
If you don’t like what you see when you Google your own name, consider approaching websites for guest blogging opportunities and open your accounts on prominent social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn.
If your name isn’t unique, use search engine optimization(SEO) tactics to help your profile prominence on Google.
3. Show a positive attitude.
What you share on social media platforms counts. Do you frequently complain about your job, projects, and assignments? Do you tweet about procrastinating? Is it your regular practice to post inappropriate jokes?
Authenticity is important, so strike a balance between showing some personality and maintaining some level of professionalism on social media.
4. Write, write, and then write some more.
As a PR pro, writing is one skill that you will use everyday. For example, communications with clients, journalists, bloggers and colleagues are done primarily through email at most agencies.
Practice makes perfect, so write often. Know the difference between active and passive sentences, and learn when to use them. Aim to be concise, and learn how to edit your own writing to flesh out awkward sentences.
Also, practice writing for different mediums. Writing a press release differs from drafting a blog post or crafting a tweet.
To demonstrate your writing skills, you might want to maintain a blog. Doing so also allows you to showcase your expertise on a topic. Blogs rank well on search results, so they can also help enhance your online presence (see tip #2).
5. Develop tech skills.
Videos and images drive engagement on social media platforms, so employers and clients prefer new grads who can produce these types of content. Take the time while you’re still in university to learn about the latest video and photo software.
A working knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite is helpful not just in producing content for your employer, but also in creating documents such as your cover letter and resumé.
Most websites use the content management system WordPress, so play with this platform. Although PR pros are not expected to be programmers, knowledge in HTML and CSS will improve your efficiency.
6. Connect with other PR pros.
In a city like Vancouver, the old adage “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know” applies.
Start networking with PR professionals as a student. Thanks to Twitter, this is now easier than ever. See what kind of topics they tweet or blog about, and if appropriate, reply with insightful comments.
Remember to eventually take it offline. Don’t be shy about asking for informational interviews. Most professionals are happy to ‘pay it forward’ and give you some time out of their day — just make sure the interview is brief and you come prepared with specific questions.
Volunteering is a great way to meet other communication professionals in Vancouver. Trade organizations such as the BC Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators and the Canadian Public Relations Society Vancouver offer opportunities to volunteer your expertise. Non-profits also appreciate PR volunteers.
A career in PR is rewarding, and we like seeing passionate young professiona....Read More