A Semester with Sonnhalter

Interning in Public Relations

Archive for November, 2008

Why Blog?

Posted by sonnhalter on November 25, 2008

blog-to-blogLike I mentioned in my last post, I attended the PRSA Cleveland Chapter Student Day Luncheon a week or so ago when SONNHALTER sponsored a table at the event. The overall idea for the day is wonderful as I have already expressed. Networking is crucial to any young professional but I did not attend the event as a young professional trying to network. In fact I was only there for the luncheon/lecture portion of the day.

Ed Garsten, keynote speaker.

The speaker at the luncheon was Ed Garsten, manager, electronic media communications for Chrysler LLC. He discussed Chrysler’s application of social media.

I found his presentation to be very interesting because he focused on many types of social media that I use myself. Including blogging, Twitter, Facebook to just name a few.


His main focus was on blogging. First, he talked about several blogs that Chrysler has set up allowing them to reach many different audiences. Now blogging is becoming something I can relate too. This blog is the second blog I have written. The first has died off because I went to Italy the semester after I started a blog for my PR online class.

While listening to him I was reminded of some the pointers that my professor gave in class. Garsten outlined several tips on how to write an effective blog.

Blogging Tips

  1. Be transparent
  2. Set goals and objectives for your blog and stick to them
  3. Establish a voice for the blog and make it conversational
  5. Your goal is to make it interactive

These are pretty basic tips but they will make a world of differences in your blog’s success. Linking is by far the most important piece of advise in my opinion. Link to other blogs (that is one of ways a blog is ranked, so it is very important) and link to sites. Make sure you tag your blog also, so it shows up in searches. When you get the attention it won’t take long for it to become interactive and as long as you have certain objectives and you stick with them, you will keep your followers.

Check out one of Chrysler’s blogs:



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Networking It’s Worth the Effort

Posted by sonnhalter on November 14, 2008

handshakeIn college and in high school my professors, teachers and my parents have stressed the importance of making good connections. You will have an easier time getting into a program if you know the head of it. You will do better in classes if you make a point of getting to know the professors. And you will have a better chance of getting a job if you know someone in the office or have made a connection with the company in some way.

This was stressed even more for me today when I had the chance of attending PRSA’s Cleveland chapter Student Day. The event is open to college students who are majoring in some sort of communication and are interested in PR and in networking with professionals.

SONNHALTER sponsored a table at the event and I was lucky enough to attend and see the professional side of the event rather than the student side.

The Importance of Networking

PRSA’s Student Day invites professionals for a portion of the day so the students can interact with them and begin the networking cycle. Professionals get the benefit of meeting potential interns or employees. This is so important especially in today’s economy and job market.

I have always been told that jobs are obtained through word of mouth and that can be a hard truth. Hundreds of resumes are sent for open positions and what will make you stand out? Most likely your resume looks very similar to everyone else’s. Some pointers for an effective cover letter and resume.

The scenario can be very different if you have met with the firm. Student day offers students a chance to stand out. If you want to work at a particular firm, going to a networking event where they will be represented is a great idea. You can spend lunch chatting with the employees and possibly the boss from the company and showing them that you are more than a list of college accomplishments. Now when they receive your resume and your cover letter (that, of course, mentions the enjoyable time you had with them at the networking event) you are no longer just another name on the page but a person they can remember and relate too.

Find Other Ways to Meet People

It can be really hard to find these opportunities but you can easily start by checking with the local chapter of PRSA or if your campus has a PRSSA branch on their campus. If you can’t find a networking event or can’t find someone you wish to meet, with go straight to the source. Call the company you are interested in, and ask if you can shadow a professional or see if you can come in for a tour. This can take you very far in your professional career.

And FYI: Do this with other aspects of your life. Before you apply for college or grad school tour it and see if you can meet with a professor in your desired major and students in the courses. Always make it a point to go out there and meet people. You never know when that connection will help you later.

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Posted by sonnhalter on November 4, 2008

b2bBusiness-to-business is a term I wasn’t always very familiar with. I had heard it in school, mostly in my marketing classes, but never really understood it. In my PR classes, we mostly worked with nonprofit organizations so I didn’t get to tap into this aspect.

Now that I am at SONNHALTER though, I am getting to tap into this segment of the field and understand it in its entirety. SONNHALTER is a marketing communication firm that specializes in business-to-business communications.

What is B2B:

Now to tell you the truth, when I read on SONNHALTER’s Web site that they specialized in business-to-business I had to look up what that meant. (So I knew for the interview and see what I was trying to get into.) This is more or less the definition I found,

Business-to-business or B2B is when to an organization facilitates the sale of products or services to other companies.


What is PR’s Role:

PR plays a role in this like any other type of business. But there are some distinct differences that I have noticed.

The one thing you must get use to is writing for another business. Now you are probably saying, DUH, that’s a given. And yes it is, but it is something that takes getting use to. This is the first time I have had to write for a public that was another organization or business. In the past all my target audiences have always been part of the general public, not another organization.

This changes the writing style. You’re writing for someone who is very educated on the topic and knows all the organizations and organizations products out there. This makes things more competitive and makes your message more competitive. Trade magazines come into play here (read my post about trade magazines).

There are many aspects of each sector of PR and I only know a limited amount about some but I love discovering and learning the new facets of PR!

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