Surviving the Holiday Season as a Communications Professional

Take some advice from blogger Amanda Emmer about important steps to take to succeed in this crazy holiday season!

By: Amanda Emmer

‘Tis the season to be jolly and kiss your coffee. That’s right, December is here, and everyone knows that it is one of the craziest times of the year. From corporate employees to baristas, everyone at work will be slammed during the holiday season. The PR and communications industry are also more demanding and stressful during this time of year. Luckily, I have some tips to help any communications professional survive the holiday season.

With all the holidays that take place during this time of year, there are many clients and consumers that want specific services. A lot of companies will be launching holiday campaigns, which means that communications professionals are busy with strategic planning, all the way into execution. Due to the nature of the holiday, there is also a lot of competition between companies that sell similar products and services. It is crucial for people in communications to grab consumers’ attention in the most efficient way possible.

PR is known to be a stressful job. In 2016, PR Week ranked a PR executive at #6 for one of the most stressful careers. As I finish my last week of my internship, I am immersed in the many tasks that must get accomplished in the next few weeks. Everyone around me is busier than ever, with more on their plate than usual. I have learned that PR is a very demanding job, even not during the holiday season. Some of these demanding aspects include research, detailed planning and reaching out to the press and other professionals. On top of that, it is important to make not only your clients happy, but also make your bosses happy.

Even though the job will get demanding and stressful, a public relations or communications role is very rewarding. To overcome the craziness of this holiday season, here are a few tips:

  • Maintain a positive and friendly environment – everyone is just as stressed as you are.
  • Take a deep breath and remain calm.
  • Remember to always take breaks. When possible, also take time away from the computer, as studies have suggested that it can contribute to stress. Try taking a walk outside or just around the office.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help, not only if you don’t know how to do something, but also if you feel stress and overwhelmed.
  • Try to relieve stress by writing everything down to get it out of your head.


  • Plan fun activities to do outside of work.
  • Don’t procrastinate! Waiting to the last minute to complete a task will only increase your stress.
  • Bring your favorite snack to work to reward yourself throughout the work day.
  • Listen to music throughout the day (if you can) or on your break.




International Association of Business Communicators Conference

Read about blogger Hannah Byron’s experience attending a business and communications conference and how it reminded her about her love for the field of communications.

By: Hannah Byron

After spending a semester abroad where I took all non-major courses, being able to attend an event focused on my major was a much needed reminder of why I love communications and am pursuing a career in this field. Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to both attend and present at the International Association of Business Communicators Heritage Region Conference with two classmates, Megan and Adrian, and our professor, Yvette.

I have attended one conference before, but solely as a student. This time, I was able to both attend the student conference, professional conference, and present during a panel session of the professional conference. We heard from a variety of public relations and communications professionals, from local to national organizations, and small and large companies.


From left to right: Hannah Byron, Megan Leon, Adrian Baker, Yvette Sterbenk.

There were two apparent themes emphasized throughout the entire conference: trust and storytelling.

Trust with employees, trust with stakeholders, and trust with society. Upon entering a career in corporate communications, I was fearful of the “Corporate America” stigma that comes along with the industry. However, it is experiences such as this conference that reiterate how the communications field is straying further and further away from this image.

Trust goes hand in hand with authenticity.

One of the keynote speakers connected a personal story about his disabled brother to the important role that we as communicators play in terms of authenticity. By using genuine storytelling to create meaningful campaigns and integrating personal stories into corporate storytelling, companies are able to make more personal connections with audiences.

After rummaging through the pages of notes I took during the three day conference, I compiled five key takeaways:

  1. Strategic communication is taking the important and making it interesting.
  2. Do less and do it better.
  3. Trust your employees to tell the most powerful stories.
  4. Today, everything internal is external.
  5. Communications is about overcoming the fear to try new things, so take the road less traveled by.

Our professor, Yvette, presented her research findings on why students decide to enter the communications field. My classmates and I helped with her presentation by sharing our personal stories and insights on why we decided to pursue communications majors.

While engaging in a dialogue about this topic, I was reminded of why I love this field so much. I find it ironic that I went to the conference to present why I joined communications, yet doing this also served as another reason why I love this adaptive and innovative career path.


The Promotional Powers of Social Media

Read about how companies and influencers can make the most of social media for promotional opportunities.

By: John Flynn

When the topic of promotion is thought of in today’s day and age, the first thing that comes to mind is social media. Social media is crucial for any company, brand, or influencer to have, but are they using it to their full potential? A major problem with the social media for many companies is that they have it, but are not using it in the correct way or using it with all of its features and stand out capabilities. I personally have worked as a social media intern at three very different companies with very different targets and products. From a security company to a dog collar company, it was challenging to make these brands stand out on social media. What I have found is the importance of being active with social media as a way to build and promote one’s brand, not just posting pictures and videos.


Just having social media accounts with posts is not enough anymore for an ever-changing and demanding technological generation. It was first used more as advertising with not much strategy behind it. Consumers and users don’t want to just double tap a photo of a product, they want to interact with the product and have a voice. With new features like Instagram Live and virtual Snapchat filter ads, it is more important than ever to think outside the box and have one’s social media stand out.

One industry that is changing the way promotion is partnered with interactive social media is the beauty industry. Many hair and cosmetic companies are turning to their social media pages to allow consumer input on the product and become their own promoters for their brand. By allowing social media followers to give their opinions, it breaks down the barrier of just seeing and buying and instead creates an interaction and connection in a new model for public relations. Social media was intended to connect, and with new features like Instagram Live, it allows a direct connection between brands and followers. CEOs and influencers can talk more personally with their fans through video chats, filters, and interactive posts.

John2A perfect example of using social media interaction promotion to the fullest is celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkins, the CEO of Ouai Haircare, going to her followers for them to pick the names and look of her products. Jen created a successful hair product company by using her social media as the tool to promote her products that are just for hair. She just recently had an Instagram Live where she gave her fans a sneak preview of a new hair fragrance line and asked them if they should be named after streets or cities. This five-minute Livestream made headlines, resulting in extra promotions, and brought in thousands of fans to chat about their ideas and input. This isn’t the first time Jen has asked her own fans to help promote and give their strong opinions. In the past, Jen has asked her followers which packaging option the company should choose, input on what is working and what is not for their products, and hiring her own fans to help with social media take overs. By opening up an interactive space on social media it has leveraged the company to new heights and success, with her own promotion tactics.


In sum, using social media for promotion is important, but the tactics of usage and interaction are key. Public relations and social media should be used for companies and clients to create a connection between the products and brand with their followers. It will be interesting to see what other interactive features will be added to social media and to see the new and innovative ways companies promote their products through social media campaigns.