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Networking Tips for Newbies

Let’s face it, networking is scary. For soon-to-be graduates such as myself, even the word “networking” seems intimidating. However, networking really is key to making your career possible. Rather than attending hundreds of events to make maybe a few connections, it’s better to be strategic about your networking. Taking a systematic approach to networking and using a plan will help ease the tension and result in more meaningful business relationships.

Here are a few tips to help make networking more enjoyable and effective:

1. Find the right events.

Use social media outlets to find new events through your friends and local venues.

  • Facebook: Take an informal approach by joining a group or Facebook event.
  • LinkedIn: These groups are associated with specific industries and often post events. This can offer insight into specific group members’ professional experiences and interests.
  • Meetup: Use this site as a resource for finding groups in professional and non-professional contexts. Most of these groups meet regularly.
  • Eventbrite: This site provides a simple, categorized search and map of local upcoming events.

2. Arrive prepared.

Create a long-term plan by choosing the events most likely to be attended by the types of people you are looking to connect with.

When you have an upcoming event, do some research beforehand. Look at previous events by the same host or organization to see what they have to offer. Check to see if a guest or sponsors list is available. Then, see if you share common connections with participants and request an introduction.

3. Actively understand other’s needs.

When you get to the event, be sure to an approachable demeanor. It is likely that everyone is experiencing the same anxiety as you and acting relaxed will make others around you feel more comfortable themselves.

Take the initiative to start a few conversations or join group discussions instead of waiting for others to come to you. Introduce yourself or casually ask: “How are you liking the event?” or “What do you do?” Listen carefully to the dialogue so that you can align what customers need with what you offer. At this point you may present a more targeted pitch.

When you do exchange contact information and business cards, quickly jot down some mental notes about your conversation to help with memory recall later.

4. Stick around for the aftermath.

As the event comes to a close, remember that you don’t necessarily need to leave right away, especially if things are going well.

If there is an after party, gather some of your new connections and go together. If there is a lunch session, ask permission to join someone’s table. If there is nothing planned, take action and invite people to continue the conversation over dinner or drinks.

Later that evening, connect with the people you have just met on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. That way, you’ll have multiple channels in which you can communicate.

5 Ways to Kill Writer’s Block for Good

Situation: you have something to write – a challenging email, a brief or presentation about a new project, a post for your blog you have been struggling to keep up with – and a deadline to meet, but you are at a loss for words when you put your fingers to the keyboard.

What follows is a cycle of looking at the screen, walking away, writing a few sentences, deleting them, and then walking away again. Claiming “writer’s block” is an excuse that many of us use, but it is a problem that you have complete control over. The solution is to break this negative cycle by starting a positive one and to take action to obliterate writer’s block once and for all.

Here are 5 simple approaches to get unstuck:

  1. Allow imperfections. Lower your expectations for your first draft and give yourself permission to write poorly. The American poet William Stafford said, “There is no such thing as writer’s block for writers whose standards are low enough.” Having high expectations for your first draft will ensure your fingers freeze up and crush your confidence.
  2. Mind map. Grab a blank sheet of paper and some colorful markers. Start scribbling words and phrases about your message. Take a few ideas from your mind map and put them together to help form content.
  3. Record yourself. Maybe your issue is between your brain and your fingers. Speak your ideas into a voice recorder or even leave a voicemail for yourself. This helps to shorten the distance the message has to travel.
  4. Talk it out. Call a friend or sit down with someone face to face. Ramble to them about your idea, have them take notes, and restate what you said.
  5. Shrink the task. Mark Twain said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” Break your work into smaller chunks to make it more manageable: write the headlines, insert your bio, or drop in the page numbers.


Remember that you have written before, and you will write again. Start by choosing one of the tasks from this list, and you will be writing up a storm in no time.

10 Reasons You Should Still Blog – Even If No One Is Reading It

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was your blog. It can take a good couple of years to develop a solid readership of a blog. As a new blogger, you should not give up prematurely because you are not getting the kind of attention you had hoped for. If this is a long-term problem then there might be some issues you need to fix, but if you are just starting you should not give up. You should readjust your focus from the lack of readers to the content you are producing and how you feel about your creation.

Just because no one is currently reading your blog does not mean what you are doing is not worth it and that your content is not important. Here are ten reasons why you should stick with blogging even if no one is reading it (yet):

  1. The act of writing helps to shape and crystallize your own thoughts and opinions.
  2. The research you do in order to write helps you to stay on top of trends.
  3. It is hugely motivational and helps you work towards a goal.
  4. Blogging is something you have complete control over which is rarely the case in paid employment.
  5. Knowing that people will eventually ready your blog (even if they are not currently) forces you to aim for a certain level of quality.
  6. Getting into a regular rhythm of blogging is like making a contract. It is as if you have made a public declaration of your intent, and you’re more likely to stay the course if you’ve publicly committed yourself.
  7. It helps to consolidate your own knowledge and skills. The best way to internalize knowledge is to teach others how to do it.
  8. You are creating content that can be later used in your own speeches, presentations, workshops, and marketing literature.
  9. Whether you are an experienced writer, or looking to develop your writing ability, blogging allows you to experiment with different styles.
  10. You can build your own blog or website to host your posts.

Keep your spirits up, solo bloggers! By investing time and energy into your blog, the days of zero readers will become a distant memory. Stay focused on why you are blogging in the first place, and keep creating content!

Meet H&A’s Newest Intern, Allie!

A senior at the University of California San Diego, Allie Leachman will graduate in June with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a minor in Business Marketing.

During her internship, Allie will serve as an account assistant with several of the agency’s public relations and marketing clients. Her responsibilities will include client research, writing and editing press releases, and coordinating special events and community outreach.

Benvenuto, Virginia!

Virginia Eastwood, a senior at San Diego State University, has joined H&A as an intern account coordinator.

Graduating cum laude from SDSU in May with a Bachelor’s degree in Television, Film, and New Media, and a minor in Business Management, Virginia will assist clients with writing and editing press releases and media advisories, client research, and special event planning.


San Diego: The Left Coast’s Beer Capital

While cities like Chicago, Seattle, and New York may have their own fair share of delicious coffees and flatbreads, San Diego is celebrated as the hub to one of the most prized creations of all time.

As the “Craft Beer Capital of America”, San Diego is a community of home brewers, beer enthusiasts, and craft brewers. This art not only paved way for a new kind of delicious culture for its locals, it has lit up the path for a promising future in beer tourism.

Nowadays, no trip to San Diego is complete without a visit to at least one of the hundreds of breweries this city has to offer. Stone Brewery, Ballast Point, and St. Archer are only some to name, and the beauty of this industry is that not one is the same, and not one can ever be quoted the “absolute best.” Where the competition is high, it all depends on your personal taste—whether it be Stouts (try Ballast Point’s Spice/Herb/Vegetable stout, the Indra Kunindra), Belgian style IPA (Le Freak by Green Flash is rich and zesty), or Pale Ales (the Oatmeal Pale Aleby Monkey Paw is odd, creamy, and delicious), there’s a place for your pallet and preference here in sunny San Diego.

But what does this mean in the PR sense? Beer tourism, festivals, brewery and microbrewery tasting rooms are all creating the perfect opportunity for further expansion in tourism and the hospitality industry. Coffee shop dates are being replaced by microbrewery tours; dinners are now accompanied by an entire assortment of craft beers on an intricate wooden platter. It’s safe to say that San Diego is just getting started, and thankfully, there are no signs of slowing down.

Reporters Still Prefer Email Over Social Media Pitching

These days, as we approach the peak of the digital era, traditional articles are replaced with 100-word Tweets, and not many are waiting around for the daily paper to get their news. There is no doubt that there are drastic changes in the way we communicate, even within the workforce. According to a recent social journalism study conducted by Cision, more than 94 percent of journalists use social media during the course of their days, and about 27 percent of journalists use social media platforms for more than 2 hours per day.

However, the report found that journalists still prefer their relationships with PR professionals over the use of social media to conduct publicity and journalism affairs, as the survey found that 81 percent of the journalists still preferred contact via email instead of social media platforms. The telephone was the second preferred method with 30% of respondents, and social media took third place at 24 percent. It is clear that although social media use is on the rise, traditional methods like emailing are still preferred in order to keep the professionalism and integrity of the industry in tack. Social media is a fast, fun, and laid-back way of sharing news and stories, however, when it comes to producing news articles and communicating within the industry, old traditions trump this new age frenzy.

PR and Pro Athletes: What Do They Have in Common?

Although these industries might seem a football field’s length away from one another, those working in the PR industry might be surprised to learn that they share many of the same qualities with professional athletes.
In the world of professional sports, athletes are constantly faced with not only physical challenges, but mental challenges as well. Quarterbacks are forced to quickly remember alternate play options, base runners must make difficult decisions whether or not to commit to stealing bases, and golfers practice the same pre-swing rituals each before each and every hole.

Here are five examples of how PR pros and athletes are neck and neck in their professions:

1. They are always working toward reaching their next goal
It’s a well-known fact that Michael Jordan got cut from his JV high school basketball team. It was with drive, determination and countless hours of practice that has garnered MJ as one of the most talented athletes of all time.
Similar drive and focus can be found in the work of PR professionals. In the case of pitching, crafting the perfect pitch takes countless hours of practice, perfection and more often than not – rejection. Instead of giving up, constant practice has divided the quitters from the “greats” in any hall of fame.

2. Pros require outstanding leadership
Whether you’re an account manager of a PR firm or a general manager in the Majors, the responsibility to constantly motivate and challenge your team is yours. A strong leader who understands and utilizes individual strengths is crucial in finishing the season with a winning record.

3. Strategy, strategy, strategy!
Playbooks and planning serve as the foundation for any successful season and campaign. Both require time, patience and concentration in laying out a plan that is going to secure a “W” at the end of the day.

4. They are always watching the clock
Just like an NBA or WNBA team always knows to have their eye on the 24 second shot clock, the same goes in the event of a client crisis. When a client’s reputation is at stake, time is of the essence. PR teams have to work with their own “shot clocks” to send the right messages to the right outlets – before it’s too late.

So whether you start your mornings off by lacing up your cleats or opening your laptop, both professional athletes and PR pros must practice quick reflexes, strategy and determination to clear the day’s hurdles.

Legal Image Takes First Place in San Diego Press Club’s Excellence in Journalism Awards

Legal Image, a division of Heying & Associates in San Diego, took home first place in the San Diego Press Club’s Annual Excellence in Journalism Awards for a website behalf of client Cahill & Campitiello, a Carlsbad law firm.

“Our goal from the very beginning was to take the Cahill & Campitiello site to the next level, pushing the envelope to illustrate the point that this is not typical your law firm website,” said Jan Heying, President of San Diego-based Heying & Associates. “C&C isn’t your traditional law firm, and they aren’t afraid of taking risks. We knew their website had to absolutely reflect their unique practice and approach to working with clients and we think we hit the mark.”

Among the largest regional competitions in the United States, the San Diego Press Club’s Excellence in Journalism Awards honors journalists and public relations professionals for work in print, broadcast and online journalism. With more than 1,300 entries, awards were presented in 136 categories. The judges included journalist from Press Club’s from throughout the country. The San Diego Press Club was founded in 1973 and has more than 400 members.

To check out the C&C site, visit cahillcampitiello.com