Polina Opelbaum

    • Member Type(s): Expert
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      Media - Freelancer
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      Media - Print Journalist
      Media - Student Journalist
      Media - Web-only/Blogger
      Media - Other
    • Title:Community Services Specialist
    • Organization:ProfNet
    • Area of Expertise:social media, editing, writing

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    How to Pitch Health Care Reporters

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014, 4:20 PM [The Q&A Team]
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    Dear Q&A Team,

    I am interested in pitching health care reporters. I want to know what type of story ideas I should and shouldn’t pitch. I’m looking for the best time to pitch health care reporters. Any other tips would also be appreciated!

    Infectious Ideas


    Dear Infectious Ideas,

    On Dec. 3, I attended an event hosted by HPRMS about pitching health care reporters and editors. The event was moderated by Nancie Steinberg, senior vice president of Hill+Knowlton Strategies and president of HPRMS. The panelists included:

    Here are some helpful highlights from each panelist:

    Irina Ivanova

    Crain’s NY Business covers anything and everything that impacts the business community in NYC. Our readers are small-business owners, entrepreneurs, and  decision-makers in their fields. Our coverage tends to be less consumer-focused and more about how something will affect somebody’s business. We write about politics and policy, but as it impacts the business. I mostly write for Crain’s Health Pulse, which is a daily subscription newsletter. It is all about business and healthcare in NYC. The newsletter has four stories every day, and we write all of them and don’t link to anywhere else. If you want to pitch us, it has to be in NY and has to have a business angle. I find stories by being on Twitter a lot, reading financials and press releases. I read every single email that I get. My tip is to do your research. Make sure you pitch what the reporter covers. My email is iivanova@crain.com.

    Dan Goldberg

    Capital NY was bought by Politco. We cover politics and policy in a variety of different topics. I cover health. We tend to focus on how policy is affecting business and politics and the decisions that are made within the city and state. We are a subscription model like Politco, so our audience tends to not be individuals but hospitals, health systems -- anywhere where there is a group of people. I generally look at data stories. We look for stuff about something coming in front of the city council or state legislature, or something being lobbied for or against. I have a free newsletter that you can sign up for, which will give you a good idea of the stories I cover. The newsletter is a good place for PR pitches that are not a full story, but more about someone being promoted or winning an award. My tip is if something has been in the news, it probably has been written. As a general rule, unless it is a story that you think will keep moving forward or you have a fresh angle, a reporter will most likely not cover that same story. My email is dgoldberg@capitalny.com.

    Jessica Firger

    I write the content for CBS News Interactive. We produce general consumer news content every day. We do a lot of study stories. The studies that I tend to choose are typically more general. For example, we covered a mammography story yesterday. We wouldn’t necessarily cover a less common cancer, because our audience is probably not going to our site for that. I do more enterprise stories, and I find my own but also look to PIOs for ideas. When I say enterprise stories, I mean longer features that I can spend a day or so doing and would translate well into video. Stories about patients are of high interest. For a bigger feature, I probably wouldn’t consider a story that doesn’t involve a patient. If you book a morning or evening story with the CBS Network, I would be interested in an email that gives me a heads up, because it would be great to collaborate. I also welcome pitches that have a possibility to include photos. My email is jessica.firger@cbsinteractive.com.

    Meredith Engel

    We really like inspiring patient stories. We do a lot of study stories as well as diet and fitness stories. I am always reachable by email and rarely answer my phone. One email is OK and then a follow up email, but after that it’s probably going to be a no, unfortunately. We love the NY angle, but we also cover inspiring stories from overseas and other states. My tip is to make you sure you're pitching the right outlet -- I don’t work for the NY Post. If a main competitor has a covered a story, then that’s not really a selling point for me. We love exclusives and it’s a great way to get into the paper. My email is mengel@nydailynews.com.


    How do you feel when your colleagues receive the same pitch that you also received?

    Engel: If it doesn’t work for me but it might work for my education team, then I am happy to forward it on to them. I would try to not simultaneously pitch, send it to me first and then try someone else.

    Ivanova: I think transparency is best. Be very clear in your email that you are also sending your pitch to another colleague, so I can check with that person.

    Goldberg: I am fine with it. It doesn’t bother me.

    Do you find an interest in press releases that come over the wire?

    Goldberg: I use them sometimes. Also, I am sometimes surprised by the ones that come over the wire that no one emailed to me. The releases that I find most helpful are acquisitions and business-related news.

    Do visuals make or break a pitch?

    Engel: They definitely help and don’t hurt.

    Firger: For me, it is always a yes. The fewer stock photos I can use the better. If it is a new technology, then it needs to be translated visually in a way that will be interesting to the general reader, otherwise it may be a tough sell.

    Ivanova: We do photos and videos on paper and online. We have a photographer and videographer, so we like to do our own stuff. If we’re considering a story to do for the Web or paper, the possibility to get a visual can make or break it.

    Goldberg: For a pitch for us, it doesn’t really matter whether you have photo or video.

    Is there a particular day of the week you prefer to get pitches?

    Ivanova: We are daily so any day is fine.

    Goldberg: There isn’t a particular day.

    What would get one of you to attend an event where there is potential news?

    Goldberg: I generally first look at who is speaking.

    Engel: It depends on the speaker.

    Ivanova: The speaker is what I would consider first. If it’s a topic that I would like to know more about it or are readers would like to know about, then I might also consider that.

    How does social media play a role in finding and distributing stories?

    Goldberg: I have a very large Twitter list that I follow. I also follow a lot of health reporters in metro areas and national health reporters. If everybody is talking about something, that gives me a good sense that it's probably news. Since we have a subscription model, it’s not a primary focus for us when disseminating stories. We don’t tweet out stories behind our paywall, but we tweet the ones in front of it.

    Engel: We have a separate handle for the health section. We do tweet out the stories we produce and post them to Facebook. If a story is doing well and getting a lot of leverage, we may tweet it out again if it’s not very time sensitive. If it’s doing well on social, we might put the story on the homepage.

    Ivanova: I follow a lot of health reporters and institutions. If there’s something major going on, I would find all the people involved and follow them. When deciding if something is really a story, you really need to evaluate who is talking about it and how many people are talking about it. We tweet out a lot of stuff that isn’t in Crain’s health polls, just because it’s easier for people to read.

    Engel: I tweet some of my stuff, but we have social media editors who do it all day. I do use Twitter to find stories and see what people are talking about. I also search hashtags a lot. If something is trending, I definitely use hashtags to see what people are saying.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    How to Achieve Work/Life Balance

    Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 11:48 AM [#ConnectChat]
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    Whether you work for a large corporation or are self-employed, it may be challenging to manage all your work obligations with your personal obligations. Learning how to "shut off" and appreciate what's in front of you may seem easy, but doesn't always happen. In yesterday's #ConnectChat with Rachel Weingarten, lifestyle writer, style columnist and author, explained how to balance the demands of work and the holidays. Weingarten provided tips and tools that will help you manage your time and learn to disconnect. Here's a reacap of the Twitter chat:

    Can you please tell us a little about yourself?

    I have two simultaneous full time jobs, I’m a marketing and personal brand strategist and also a writer/columnist and author of three nonfiction books. My latest book is called “Ancient Prayer: Channeling Your Faith 365 Days of the Year.” And since I’m the proverbial shoemaker’s child going barefoot, my own website(s) is/are woefully outdated. I sometimes teach personal branding and cosmetics/fragrance marketing on the graduate level. I’m also on TV morning shows from time to time talking about style, marketing and my books. I’ve had a pretty colorful professional and personal background that led me to this point!

    Can you tell us more about your latest book?

    My book came out in September and if I do say so myself, it’s the perfect holiday gift. “Ancient Prayer” delves into the prayers and texts that have been used for centuries to find relevance for modern life. In one of my previous incarnations, I wanted to be a rabbi, of all things. (I’ve been among other things, a celebrity makeup artist and owned the first mini-muffin company with FDA approval. I’ve also I’ve had my own TV show about women entrepreneurs on CNN Money and been an Internet 1.0 entrepreneur.) When I sat down to write this book, I had come through a life-threatening illness and was rethinking my professional life. I’m child of Holocaust survivors and marvel at deep faith that kept my father going during one of darkest times in history. I wanted to tap into that faith more than anything, what keeps you going when it feels like you haven’t got much else.

    Is your book only for religious people, or can anyone benefit from it?

    I wrote “Ancient Prayer” to appeal to people of all faiths and none at all. Of course I write from my own experiences and personal history, but my background is just one part of me. I think that in the modern world we all struggle with similar big themes -- love, faith, success, especially now when there seems to be so much injustice and fear at times. I think so many people can benefit from reading my book and just reflecting on those big themes and how they can break down for everything from work to social media. At least I hope so!

    How can we not get frazzled during the busy holiday season and try to really enjoy the holidays?

    It’s hard not to get frazzled during this time of year. For some, it’s about remembering the deeper meaning behind the winter holidays. For others, it’s about reconnecting with the people you love. For still others, it’s cutting through the crush to buy everything in sight and instead concentrate on what’s meaningful to yourself or those you love. So perhaps the best thing to do is treat the holidays like any puzzle or even work project -- come up with a plan -- how much time you’ll devote to shopping, how much you will or won’t spend, how much time you’ll spend with relatives and how to respond (or not at all) to those well-meaning relatives who seem determined to cut you down to size. There’s so much about life that isn’t manageable, perhaps the key is to learning to manage expectations during the holidays. The holidays are a wonderful excuse to distill your feelings and emotions down to what matters most. Sometimes that gets lost in the retail shuffle and the old bad feelings that can emerge. Try to focus on the simple things -- hot chocolate on a cold morning and a gift that really means something. It doesn’t have to be life changing to matter.

    What about at work? Is it possible to balance holiday cheer with professional obligations?

    Probably not. Okay, I’ll amend that -- probably not entirely. I used to create/lead a lot of professional etiquette workshops and one of the things we discussed was that whole personality clash/balance thing. It can be hard to get through incredible work pressures while trying to plan holiday fun. Conversely, it can feel impossible to get through a holiday meal or get together without checking email or texts 34 times. I think setting boundaries for yourself can be the most important thing to do on both counts. Don’t forget to work when you’re being paid to do just that, but don’t forget to enjoy the not so simple pleasures of family and friends during holiday time.

    What role has technology played in finding a work/life balance? Has it made it better or worse?

    Instinctively of course, I’d say worse. But that’s what people thought when the light bulb and telephone and radio and TV were invented. But I do worry that people are so busy staring at screens and comparing their highlight reels to everyone else’s people seem to miss out on life’s smaller moments. Eye contact seems to be a dying art. So does flirtation and silly dinner conversation. That said, our hyper-connected lifestyle doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, so it’s time for us to figure out how to make that help us in the long run. Setting up apps for everything from making your greeting card lists to gift buying to travel to setting up autoresponders or putting your phone on sleep mode during family time can help reclaim some balance.

    Some businesses are doing more to help their employees have more of a work/life balance. Is that a trend you're following?

    Definitely. It's an ongoing trend. People used to make fun of the giant tech companies swallowing their employees’ lives whole, but then offering delicious food in the cafeteria or wellness programs that employees were too busy to enjoy. It’s fascinating to note the ways that companies strive to understand the off work hours of employees and try to implement rewards or wellness programs to make them happier. I think we're at the early stages of how far this can go. Companies are learning to treat employees as valuable, multi-faceted. We've evolved from a paycheck to person model where the business and business owners look for that deeper connection and a happier, more satisfied employee makes a better run company on the whole. Ultimately, that makes for a better economy. Or that's the hope!

    What are other benefits to a business where employees have a health work/life balance?

    I can't imagine that there are anything but benefits and fewer distractions. If you're understood and appreciated, you work better so things like yoga or meditation or executive coaching on the corporate level (something my sister Kiki Weingarten does) allow businesses to give their employees something other than simply a paycheck. So you're not dreading going to work, you know there might be happy surprises and hopefully you're not counting down the hours until freedom either. Your day is enjoyable and productive and it allows these employees to recharge during their stressful day and work happier and better.

    What about freelancers? How can they better manage their time, most especially during the holiday and end of year crush?

    Being self-employed, this is something that I struggle with on a daily basis. It’s hard to shut off at the best of times, much less when you’re the proverbial chief cook and bottle washer. For me at least, it’s setting guidelines -- no email responses after x o’clock; taking a weekly tech Sabbath. Maybe start by informing your clients that you’ll be out of the office in advance and try to finish up projects or at the very least inform clients or colleagues of when you’ll be back and ready to finish things up. The flip side is that as an obsessive freelancer, I also usually pick up a ton of business during the holidays. It’s a fun way to take advantage of the corporate culture that shuts down for much of December, but that’s my personal choice -- and I get to charge a lot more for those gigs!

    How important is to delegate responsibilities when it comes to achieving work/life balance?

    Crucial. But it’s as important to know which responsibilities can be delegated and also when to let go of perfectionism. It's also a lot easier said than done. That’s something only you know about yourself and your workload though. To quote the Disney song that has been seared into all of our ears over the past year -- it’s important to learn to “Let it go.” The pursuit of perfection is an impossible ideal. Understanding how to be great while still having a life is in my opinion, the more achievable and attractive ideal, and learning to delegate is probably your best tool in doing just that.

    Why do you think it's challenging for people to find a way to balance their professional with their personal obligations?

    For all of the above reasons and then social media magnifies the achievements of others. If it wasn’t already hard enough to keep up with the people you went to high school with or your neighbors, or evil coworkers, now you’re reminded of everyone else’s accomplishments on a daily basis.

    What are your best tips for disconnecting just enough but not too much over the holidays?

    I think that's the key. Figuring out what's just enough. I don't think it's realistic any more to think you can disconnect entirely during any point, even the holidays. Maybe set up twice a day to check in, and then schedule responses and calls and texts and stick to it. It's a huge relief not to be chained to your obligations. And maybe that's a takeaway for year round, so that you no longer allow yourself to wake up at 3:30 a.m. panicked that you forgot a work thing or neglected your kid. I'm a huge fan of things like Boomerang for Gmail, so you can at least seem to not always be available.

    You also tap into and go 0-120 mph during your most productive hours, could you talk about that?

    I think we all have our own weird work quirks and something that I've struggled with is accepting my work style. So even during the holiday, I might get immersed in work, but then I'm able to enjoy the guests and gifts the rest of the time. Maybe the key is understanding the evolved too tuned in worker and workspace also means more time to shut down?

    Do you have any tips or advice for people on the pressure to change at the beginning of the year?

    Don’t do it! My first instinct is to tell you to stop being so hard on yourself. You’ve developed into the person you are by understanding your best qualities. Of course we all feel so much pressure to change and to want to become better, so I say take baby steps. Start with one small thing and build from there. Fon’t change everything, just the parts that are no longer working for you.

    Is there a place for spirituality in modern life?

    More than ever, yes there is an absolute need for tapping into spirituality in modern life. I think that as we become even more industrialized and technologically reliant, we have that huge gaping void that needs to be addressed. I wrote my book to allow people to have one short moment in their otherwise busy days to reflect simply on their inner being and how that core connects them to this crazy, messy world. I don’t think you have to believe in a deity or all-knowing being to be spiritual either. But there’s more to life than the next iPhone and sometimes it’s already inside you (and inside my book, which is Barnes & Noble exclusive). Some more about me and the book can be found here: ancientprayerbook.com

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    10 Career Tips From Marie Claire's Editor-in-Chief

    Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 2:36 PM [Event Recaps]
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    On Nov. 22, New York Women in Communications Foundation hosted their annual Student Communications Career Conference. The conference consisted of various panels pertaining to the communications field. I had the pleasure of attending three of those panels as well as a luncheon keynote given by Marie Claire’s editor-in-chief Anne Fulenwider.

    If you missed any of the panel recaps, you can read them here:

    PR, Advertising & Marketing

    Breaking Into Fashion & Beauty

    How to Build Your Personal Brand

    During the luncheon keynote, Fulenwider provided a top 10 list of things she has learned during her career. They are:

    1) Put in your time and do the hard work.

    2) You have to show up. It’s about creating your own luck. You need to show up and see what happens.

    3) You need to throw yourself into whatever you're doing and work hard. On the weekends, turn it off and do something you like.

    4) Work doesn’t feel like work when you enjoy what you're doing. You’re going to work for a long time, so don’t be bored.

    5) Seek new experiences. Do things to keep your curiosity going. Curiosity is the opposite of complacency. Complacency is the killer of good ideas.

    6) Remain useful in the most positive way.

    7) Make people notice you. You have to point out what you've accomplished. Your hard work deserves recognition. You need to be right and brave. The times I have been most bold are the times I have been the most successful.

    8) Stick with it. There are many variables in your life, so it’s crucial you hold onto something for yourself. Work can do this. Work is going to forge your life and expose you to new people and different lives.

    9) Work helps you with financial independence, which is empowering. The odds are you will live long and never know what will happen, and financial freedom can really help you.

    10) Do the things you're afraid off. Don’t ever let the reason for you not to do something be fear. You have to intellectually dismiss fear.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    How to Build Your Personal Brand

    Monday, December 8, 2014, 4:16 PM [Event Recaps]
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    On Nov. 22, New York Women in Communications Foundation hosted their annual Student Communications Career Conference. The conference consisted of various panels pertaining to the communications field. I had the pleasure of attending three of those panels. If you missed the last two panel recaps, you can read them here:

    PR, Advertisting and Marketing

    Breaking Into Fashion and Beauty

    The third panel was called Building Your Personal Brand. The panelists included:

    • Nicole Ryan (moderator), co-host of VH1's Morning Buzz and host of SiriusXM Morning Mash Up;
    • Amy Cao, curator of FiftyThree Inc. and creator and host of Stupidly Simple Snacks;
    • Kimmie Smith, founder of Accessory Expert;
    • Kris Ruby, president/founder of Ruby Media Group; and
    • Aly Walansky, freelance lifestyle journalist.

    Is attending events an important part of networking?

    Ryan: Networking has been one of my saving graces. It’s one of the main things that has helped me do what I do. My manager dragged me to a red carpet event that I didn’t want to go to and that’s how I landed the job at VH1, from the people I met there. If you have no one to go with you to an event, still go and meet people. It is so important.

    Walansky: There are about half a dozen media events every night and sometimes you don’t feel like going, because you're exhausted. I have definitely gotten a lot of assignments from people I have met at events.

    Smith: One of my favorite photographers that I love working with came from a referral from a really good friend. There is also an organic thing that happens when you aren’t actively networking.

    Cao: You don’t only meet people at parties or events, but you can also meet people on airplanes and trains. You strike up conversations and meet people who may be able to help you. I tell my team that you should always tell people what you want and aspire to. People might remember you for later -- even if they may not know of a current job opening. Don’t be afraid to express your wishes for yourself, because people do want to help you.

    Ruby: I think you have to walk through the fear when networking with people. You should also think about how you can be of service to that person. Ask that person questions about themselves rather than thinking what you can get out of it.

    What is the best professional advice you have ever been given? 

    Ryan: The first rule in radio is to be liked. Just be nice to everyone. Everyone thinks that when you are building something you have to be a jerk. You need to get people to like you, so they want to work with you.

    In radio they would have a girl on the show to just fill in that chair. When I first started doing the show, they were looking for a girl to do that, but I wanted to break and change that. I didn’t just want to be someone to laugh at the jokes, but I wanted to make the jokes. I wanted to be the one to come up with some great topics and stories. 

    Walansky: You don’t necessarily even have to attend an event, but if you see someone’s work that you like, follow them on Twitter. They may follow you back, and now that’s a connection you made.

    Smith: You need to check in with yourself and not inundate yourself with things that aren't about your personal brand. I personally like to do a little short-term and long-term goal to make sure I am where I am supposed to be. 

    Ruby: Turn every "no" into a "yes." When you work in PR, you deal with rejection all the time. You really need to make sure to push things forward. 

    Cao: Surround yourself with people who inspire you and make you want to do your job better. I rather hang out with people who inspire me and build relationships with them then spend a lot of a time with a lot of people who aren’t as inspiring.

    As women, has it been challenging doing what you’re doing?

    Walansky: I started my blog eight years ago when people didn’t even know what a blog was. Most people think that having a different schedule as a freelancer means being unemployed. It is really hard for some people to understand that you may work different hours, and it takes a while for people to respect what you’re doing. It is really a journey.

    Cao: I work in technology and startups, which is a mostly male-dominated world. There are many steps being taken by women within and outside that world to empower women to go into engineering and math. It is important for women to remember they are not alone, because we are all in it.

    Ruby: I work with many male corporate executives, and I feel pretty lucky that I have been treated as an equal. There will be things that are said that will make you feel uncomfortable and you may not like, but you really have to think about the situation. You really need to think about whether that person has an issue with you as a woman or are they just saying things in a weird way -- and can you look past it.

    What piece of advice would you give your younger, first starting out self?

    Walansky: I would have gone to networking events in college. When I started freelancing, I knew nothing and no one. 

    Ruby: I would say to be more understanding when you work with other people. For example, I work at a very fast pace and I expect everyone I work with to work at the same pace. I am realizing that this is not going to happen. You need to magnify someone’s strengths versus focusing on their weaknesses. If I could do anything differently, it would have been to take some more management classes.

    Smith: I definitely would have done internships. I didn’t do any when I was college.

    Cao: Get as much as work experience as you can. When I hire people now, there is a big difference between those that have work experience and those that don't. I would always pick the person that has that work and internship experience and has dealt with different personalities in the office, etc.

    What recommendations do you have for prospective employees?

    Ryan: For us, it is important to have a person come in and be a self-starter. We want you to come in with ideas. It is also important to be creative and think outside-the-box.

    Make yourself invaluable. Don’t ever put yourself in a position where someone can do your job better than you. This is why I never like anyone filling in for me, because you want to be the only one that can do that job and do it the best. You also want your boss to feel the same way. There are no problems, but there are only solutions.

    Walansky: I travel a lot, so if I am going to hire interns to go to events for me when I am not in town, they may not be able to text me and will need to handle things themselves. They have to act in a way that represents me, as well as bring back the content that they need to write about it.

    Ruby: Keeping up with the pace of the industry is very important. Many interns are looking for an internship program to be very structured the way school is, but in the real world it is anything but that. You need to make that up on your own, think about where you can add value and bring that to the company. 

    Smith: Crunch time is the most important thing to me, because when things go crazy I need the person to think of how we can fix things and make everything look seamless. If someone freaks out during crunch time and it's debilitating the process, that to me is so glaring, because you have one shot.

    Cao: It is important to have a can-do attitude and be able to turn those “nos” into “yeses.” Not everything is going to go smoothly, but if you can make it smooth for your boss, you are going to be invaluable. This is when you will be rewarded.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    Tips for Breaking Into the Fashion and Beauty Industry

    Friday, December 5, 2014, 2:26 PM [Event Recaps]
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    On Nov. 22, New York Women in Communications Foundation hosted their annual Student Communications Career Conference. The conference consisted of various panels pertaining to the communications field. I had the pleasure of attending three of those panels, which I will post recaps of this week.

    The second panel was called Breaking Into Fashion & Beauty. The panelists included:

    • Stephanie Scott (moderator), CEO and communicator-in-chief of First and Last PR;
    • Jennifer Walsh, founder of The Beauty Bar and Pride & Glory;
    • Marie Griffin, president and owner of Griffin Marketing & PR;
    • Yvonne Lee, brand analyst for Macy’s Merchandising Group; and
    • Lauren Indvik, editor-in-chief of Fashionista.com.

    What tips do you have when preparing for an interview?

    Griffin: Here are my tips: 1) Before your job interview, it is your responsibility to identify what you are really good at. 2) Have some focus about what you want when you go to a job interview. 3) Do your research and know what’s happening in the company. 4) Be early to an interview. 5) Be prepared for how to dress for the interview. If it is a super trendy company, than dress that way. 6) Ask questions during an interview. Write a thank you letter on the elevator on the way down from the interview. I really like the hand-written thank you note.

    Walsh: I like to wear the nail polish or makeup of the brand where I am interviewing. If the interviewer comments on your nail polish color or eye shadow, you can tell them it’s their brand, and this is a great way of introducing yourself. It is also important to highlight what you love to outside of work. For example, talk about if you volunteer or have a hobby.

    Lee: It's important to convey why you love all the leadership roles you take on outside of work and how you are going to apply them to the role you are interviewing for. Learn as much as you can about the job prior to the interview. If the job description is a little vague, learn about the company.

    Indvik: Most of the work we do is online, so many times people end up sending writing clips over email, which is fine. However, when you bring them with you, have them organized and ready to pull out. Also, come with story ideas to an interview. In addition, I want to know that you read industry news and know about certain writers and their point of view.

    How do you establish a long-term relationship with your clients?

    Griffin: On the PR side, when I hear clients who want to sign for three or six months, they are not for me. When I sign a client, we get married. I know this is something for a long period of time. I am all about the deliverable. When you sign up for PR, you are basically signing up to be a professional cheerleader. You really need to believe in that client.

    Do you think people need to pursue an MBA in this field?

    Griffin: Everyone has their own path. Some people are intended to be in school forever. Some people are intended to be in school for 15 minutes.

    Lee: For my company, while we do look at your college background, I am not sure it is as important for post-college. Perhaps for upper management levels, it is necessary to get an MBA. However, if you thrive in school, then go for it. If not, then find another outlet.

    What publications do you suggest following?

    Griffin: I try to read as much as I possibly can when I wake up in the morning. I skim what’s happening in the Wall Street Journal, NY Times and WWD. Those are three things I know I have to be a part of, especially if I am going to be asked to be on air that day. You need to read and listen all the time.

    Lee: I like Refinery29. They cover a lot of fashion but also tie in current news. I also really like Mashable.

    Indvik: Know what new platforms are coming out that are relevant to what you’re publishing or marketing. I use Feedly to keep track of the news. This way I don’t have to open up the NY Times and other publications I follow every day.

    What suggestions do you have for someone look for entry-level positions?

    Griffin: This generation has a million opportunities. There is always an opportunity to keep moving forward. Stay focused on knowing yourself. You are own your project. Get many stick-it notes and put them on walls. Put your strengths on one wall and on the other wall put the things you need to work on. Open up job descriptions and start crafting where you belong in that world -- and based on what interests you.

    Lee: Our college recruiting process is very good. If you see our recruiters at career fairs, then come over and talk to them. Put your best foot forward and be as enthusiastic as they are.

    Indvik: I think it is very easy now to form relationships on social. There were two students who responded to my stories a lot and we followed each other and built an organic relationship that way. When they emailed about an internship or position, I already knew them and had a relationship with them.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    Upcoming #ConnectChat: How to Achieve Work/Life Balance

    Thursday, December 4, 2014, 8:45 AM [#ConnectChat]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    It's challenging enough to find a balance between your work life and personal life without the holidays, but when you add holidays into the mix, you are forced to find ways to manage everything all at once.

    For our next Twitter Q&A, lifestyle writer, style columnist and author Rachel Weingarten will explain how you can manage professional obligations with personal obligations during the hectic holiday season. She will also discuss how some businesses are helping their employees find work/life balance, whether spirituality can assist you in this mission, and much more.

    To participate in the chat, join us on Twitter on Tuesday, Dec. 9, from 3 to 4 p.m. EST and follow the #ConnectChat hashtag to follow the conversation between @rachelcw, @ProfNet and the rest of the chat participants.

    If you cannot join us on the day of the chat, you can find a recap on ProfNet Connect the following day. We hope you will join us!

    About Rachel Weingarten
    Weingarten is an internationally recognized lifestyle writer, style columnist and award-winning author. She’s a prolific freelance writer and weekly style columnist for Parade.com, and contributes to outlets including Jezebel.com and The Guardian, along with top-tier publications.

    Weingarten is the author of three nonfiction books: "Ancient Prayer: Channeling Your Faith 365 Days of the Year," "Career and Corporate Cool" (an Entrepreneur magazine pick for book of the year and CareerBuilder pick for most interesting career book of the year) and "Hello Gorgeous! Beauty Products in America ’40s-’60s" (a NY Public Library book of the year/book for the teen age). She has also ghostwritten a handful of other bestsellers.

    Weingarten has written for top media outlets including CNN Digital, Esquire.com, Forbes Life, Fortune, Men’s Health, Newsday, Crain’s New York Business, Newsday, USA Today, Yahoo Finance and many others. She is regularly quoted about business, marketing, pop culture, trends, and style in publications ranging from The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times to Glamour and the Associated Press.

    Weingarten frequently appears as a trends, business and style expert on top morning TV shows like Good Morning America, ABC News, The Today Show and also created and acted as the on-air talent for a show on CNN about women entrepreneurs called Enterprising Women.

    Weingarten’s day job is as a marketing strategist and personal branding consultant. She leads personal branding workshops at NYU, has lectured about the history of the beauty industry at FIT, and created business etiquette and style workshops for Fortune 100 companies.

    You can find out more about Weingarten at: ancientprayerbook.com

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    The Truth Behind the Online Behaviors of Millennials

    Tuesday, December 2, 2014, 4:24 PM [The Q&A Team]
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    Marketers realize that Millennials are a powerful group with a lot of buying power. For marketers to target this group, they really need to understand their online behaviors. What's really important to Millennials when it comes to social?

    Social Media Club NYC had a meeting to discuss what makes Millennials tick. Here are some highlights from the meeting:

    - The perception of Millennials does not match what’s in reality.

    - Bob Knorpp likes to refer to Millennials as digital natives, because it means you grew up with technology and expect it to be part of your life. It also means that you can get what you want instantaneously without waiting for it.

    - What drives Millennials to participate online is the thought that they’re important and part of this media, as well as the ability to connect with people and broadcast their feelings.

    - Millennials are better at balancing the realities of technology with the realities of people in front of them.

    - Here is an article in Time about the secret language of young teen girls on Instagram: tinyurl.com/njf6nc4

    - Millennials are using different social networks for different things. They’re good at figuring out which network to use for a particular purpose.

    - It’s important for marketers to figure out their content and how they target Millennials is mobile optimized. It’s about giving Millennials some contextual service that is best delivered on their mobile device.

    - The Millennial demographic is most likely to attend an event that is sponsored by a brand that they have some real connection to.

    - Companies that don’t have employees have on social can cause Millennials to look elsewhere. Here is an article on LinkedIn about Millennials and companies: tinyurl.com/kuugq66

    - If companies tried listening on social and allowed employees to participate and engage with each other, this would give a much better impression to the outside world about the organization than any snippy tweet the company puts out during the Super Bowl.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    Advice for Women in PR, Advertising & Marketing

    Monday, December 1, 2014, 4:02 PM [Event Recaps]
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    On Nov. 22, New York Women in Communications Foundation hosted their annual Student Communications Career Conference. The conference consisted of various panels pertaining to the communications field. I had the pleasure of attending three of those panels, which I will post recaps of this week.

    The first panel was called PR, Advertising & Marketing. The panelists included:

    Here are some highlights from the panel:

    What did you learn the most from your first job?

    Woulard: I learned that when you start out, you are going to do a lot of grunt work. I also learned how to multitask and prioritize.

    Gutmann: After my first job, I realized that the people you spend many hours with are the people you’re surrounded with in the office, and it makes a huge difference if you like each other and are inspired by one another. Wherever you are, make sure you are inspired by what you’re doing.

    Shambo: Become friends with the right people in different departments. I would get out of my seat every two hours or so and go to every department. When they would ask what I needed, I would say, “Nothing, just dropping off a smile.”

    Stergiou: For those of you who don’t know what you want to do, that is completely OK. You need to touch everything, because it will feel right when you touch the thing that you are passionate about. It will feel natural.

    What are your top tips for networking?

    Stergio: You can really influence who you know at any age in your life. Put yourself out there and talk to as many people as you can, and sincerely listen to what they have to say. Also touch back in with people all the time, because you never know when the next great idea, connection, etc., will come from.

    Shambo: When you meet people, you really need to be genuine, because someone will sniff out the BS. Look for an opportunity, but don’t be an opportunist.

    Gutmann: I have often found that my relationships come from conversations that have nothing to do with what I do. Don’t be afraid to share a little bit about yourself and really connect with people on a personal level.

    Woulard: Make time to actually form a relationship with that person. Figure out what that person likes, how they got to where they are right now, etc. You can even invite them out to coffee/lunch. Of course, you want something from that person, and they are happy to give you that career advice, but remember it is a two-way street.

    What advice do you have for those applying for internships and entry-level jobs?

    Gutmann: Write thank you notes -- handwrite them, make them different and unique. I can’t tell you how many thank you notes I have received from a Googled template. Make sure it is genuine and explain why you enjoyed meeting that person. Also make it sincere and personal.

    Shambo: Utilize the resources you already have. Maybe there is a connection that you have that can refer you. Think about creative ways where you can search for job opportunities beyond the usual job boards.

    Stergiou: Really do you research. Look up the person you will meet and come in with ideas and ways to help them.

    Weisman: Some potential candidates for Likeable Media have taken out Facebook ads targeting  employees, saying something like, “I am so-and-so and applied for this position.” It is great because the person took the time to write an ad and market and advertise themselves.

    What’s the best advice you have ever received?

    Shambo: I try to think about all the possible questions that someone can come up with and I answer them in my email, so they come back with a “thank you” versus a thread of questions. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

    Woulard: Don’t underestimate coming in with a great attitude. If you have a great attitude about the small things you are given, it will let your boss know that you can handle taking on something bigger.

    Stergiou: Don’t just take the job that gives you a little bit more money. You really have to think about the big picture. Think about the culture of the company, if you want to be there, if it will get you to where you want to be, etc. You want something that will make you happy and you will love.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    The Q&A Team: Building Business Websites That Work

    Tuesday, November 18, 2014, 3:30 PM [The Q&A Team]
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    Dear Q&A Team,

    I just started a business. I have a small budget and am unable to hire external help. I am in the process of putting together my business website, but need help. Can you provide any suggestions for putting together a great business website?

    Need In-site


    Dear Need In-site,

    I attended the Small Business Summit 2014, which included some informative speakers. One of them was Eric Mason from Wix.com, who said he sees millions of small business websites built over the course of a year. He believes that you already have the tools you need to build your online presence.

    Mason suggests you need the following to build a great business website:

    1) You need to be true to who you are when building a website. You need to understand yourself and your business, and this usually occurs from understanding your audience. Overtime you will start to change and evolve, but you need to continue to stay true to who you are.

    2) Ask yourself this one simple question: What is the one thing I want someone to do when they get to my site? I call this the “call to engagement.” You need to figure out that one simple, clear action that you want users to do.

    3) We are a DIY website, but this doesn’t mean that you should do it alone. Great websites are collaborative efforts. Don't be afraid and ask for feedback.

    4) Give your users time to breath and see what’s important. Have white space on your Web page. To create the best website, do it cleanly and crisply, and give things white space.

    5) Be bold when creating a website. Don’t be afraid to start a small business and put yourself out there. You also need to go big. Regardless of your business, I encourage you to use big images. Leave an impression.

    6) Think about the color palette and assets you want to put into your website. You can pick one or two color filters and use that for your images, so that all your shots start to look like your brand.

    7) The first thing is your customer. It’s important that your site is faster and flexible -- meaning it can be viewed on any browser and platform.

    8) You need to find a website platform that suits you. Regardless of the platform you use, you need to find the right match for you that allows you to build a strong business website. Do some research and find the one that works.

    I hope this inspires and helps you to build the perfect website for your business. Good luck!

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    The Q&A Team: Secret Behind the Rise of Ello

    Tuesday, November 4, 2014, 4:17 PM [The Q&A Team]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    These past few weeks, there has been a lot of buzz about a new social networking website called Ello. Some even questioned whether this would become the next big social network. Yet, what makes Ello different from other social networking websites? Why did it gain such popularity? We asked four ProfNet experts, and here is what they had to say:

    About Ello

    Rachel Nelson, an account executive at InkHouse, explains, "Ello is an invite-only social networking website that’s currently in a beta stage."

    Senior vice president of Levick Peter LaMotte adds, “Ello was founded on the premises of exclusivity and privacy where users must request an invite or be invited by a current Ello user. In September, users on eBay were selling Ello invites for $100 which only generated more mystique around the burgeoning social network. Ello also promotes its privacy policy, which states they will not collect your data without your explicit permission."

    In addition to being an invite-only social network, “Ello doesn’t rely on advertising revenue. It has a very simple and minimalist design and was made by designers and artists originally as a private social network for people like them," says Scott Monty, executive vice president of strategy at Shift Communications.

    Ello vs. Other Social Networking Sites

    LaMotte thinks, "Ello's promise of privacy sets it apart from the social media behemoths like Twitter and Facebook. While Ello may only be the latest in a string of networks attempting to take market share away from Facebook, they have the unique benefit over previous failed attempts by entering the market during the highest level of Facebook dissatisfaction and declining engagement."

    "Ello claims that while other platforms harvest user data for the benefit of advertisers, Ello will never do that. As you might imagine, there was a lot of skepticism about their ability to maintain that position over time. Last week, in response to that, Ello became a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) to ensure that it would retain its position of being an ad-free network," says Monty.

    What about the possibility of Ello taking over the social network scene?

    Wheeler Winston Dixon, the James Ryan Professor of film studies at the University of Nebraska, says, “I hope so; the promise of more freedom, less intrusive information gathering, and a genuine social experience may well do the trick.”

    Why Ello Became Popular

    Dixon believes that Ello became successful because people are tired of Facebook's invasive nature, its endless series of rule changes, its desire to catalogue every aspect of a person's life, and people have finally realized that Facebook is in fact a very efficient data mining machine, masquerading as a social network site.

    Dixon adds, “Ello promises -- at least for the moment -- to be more about people and their creativity, their ideas, and doesn't require a complete personal database from its users.”

    Nelson agrees with Dixon. She says, "Part of Ello’s popularity over the past few months can be attributed to good timing, in particular from two factors. First, Facebook was recently criticized for their 'real-name' policy. Second, Apple’s iCloud hack in September certainly brought increased attention and sensitivity to privacy and sharing concerns. As Ello’s founding philosophy centers on controlling information sharing on behalf of their users, the network is now benefitting from their distinctive stance and proactivity on a heightened issue.”

    Monty contributes another reason behind Ello's success. He says, “Ello played into the prevailing negative emotions felt toward social networks that are driven by advertising revenue. Users have long had to balance the flow of friends’ content as well as brands' content."

    Lessons Learned From Ello

    "The social networks’ fast rise to Internet stardom can teach us two things about effective communication," says Nelson. "First, giving people what they want -- in this case, knowledge and power when it comes to their own privacy -- can be an effective tool to draw people in. Second, for any startup, there is value in being true to a differentiated founding philosophy and communicating this to potential partners who will feel the same way and commit to supporting it moving forward."

    Another thing that can be learned from the rise of Ello, is that companies need to rethink their use of the social Web and form more meaningful relationships with their customers, says LaMotte.

    Regardless whether you think Ello will stick around, one thing is for sure, and that is the things that be learned from its initial success.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    image via flickr

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