Young PR Pros

In this episode, our hosts offer tips and advice for young professionals looking to strike a healthy balance between work and life.

Direct download: EP118Done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:48pm EDT

Episode 117: The Future of PR

In this episode, our hosts discuss the future of PR. Our industry is always changing, as professionals it is important to always be on top of what is new – not to change our strategy every five minutes, but rather to ensure the tactics we use continue to connect with our audience.

As young professionals, it is even more important to be on top of trends. As the “young” ones in the office we may be called upon to provide information about the latest social media trend.

While our host Kristine D’Arbelles attended a conference in Minneapolis, she ran into a good friend of the podcast, Shel Holtz, founder of the FIR podcast network and host of For Immediate Release, one of the longest running podcasts on communications and PR. Shel was presenting on the future of PR. Kristine sat down with him after his presentation to ask him a few questions.

Shel had some good insight to share. Our hosts dive into some of the trends he presented:

  • Messaging: the number one trend in social media?
  • Dark social: what is it and how can PR and communications professionals deal with it?
  • Facebook strategy: a pointless exercise, we explain why.
  • Content strategy: how to build one in 60 seconds or less!

Young PR Pros wants to thank Shel Holtz for taking the time to share his insight and knowledge on the future of PR and communications.

Direct download: Episode117Fin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Episode #116: Concrete Steps to Help Learn from your Mistakes

Kristine shares a story about getting caught with an unlicensed image on her blog. She was sent a letter from a lawyer and had to pay a fee. The image was from a post published in 2011, she had just launched her blog that year. Ignorance is not an excuse to break the law, however. So she paid the fine and added this to her important list of lessons learned.

This episode is about all those times we made a mistake and learned a valuable lesson. But Young PR Pros goes beyond just being aware of your mistakes and dives into the learning. If you make a big mistake – that gets you fired, humiliated, etc. – you are never going to make that mistake again, because it stays with you. But what about those smaller mistakes, forgetting a grammar law in your writing, forgetting to include someone in your email, or miscommunication an idea.

Young PR Pros' Concrete Steps to Help Learn from your Mistakes

  1. Make notes while you are working. If you are half way through something and its hard and you regret the path, jot it down. Refer to those notes at the beginning of a new project.
  2. Post-project or debrief meetings are super important. If your employer doesn’t host them, be the person to suggest it. Use this as a learning opportunity to see what your colleagues see as a success and what they see as failure.
  3. Admit your mistake. You can only learn from a mistake after you admit you've made it. As soon as you start blaming other people (or the universe itself), you distance yourself from any possible lesson.

Listen to the full episode for more concrete tips.

Share your opinions by writing a comment below, or on our Facebook Page, send us an email or audio note at, or send us a message on Twitter @youngprpros.

Direct download: YPPEpisode116.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:16am EDT

In honour of the traditional 1900s English Christmas carol, or for those born in the 80s - the Bob and Doug Christmas classic, we thought we would do our own 12 Days of Christmas. Listen to the full episode to catch Young PR Pros' 12 Days of PR Christmas. 

We divided the 12 days into three categories: books, movies and activities.

1. Four Books You Need to Read Over the Holidays

Day 1: Get the motivation to pursue your passion by reading No Fears, No Excuses by Larry Smith (note: forgive Kristine for her mistake, she says No Fears, No Regrets in the episode).
Day 2: How will you measure your life by Clayton M. Christensen will give you the inspiration and wisdom you need to achieve a fulfilling life.
Day 3: Meg Jay argues that 30 is NOT the new 20 in her book The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter - and How to Make the Most of Them Now.
Day 4: Brush up on your grammar through the delightful sense of humour of Lynne Truss in her book Eats, Shoots and Leaves.

2. Four Movies You Need to Watch Over the Holidays

Day 5: Ex-machina will keep you on the edge of your seat in this future world where AI is taken to the next level.
Day 6: Kristine suggests watching a classic movie that has been referred to in a lot of pop culture references, Good Will Hunting.
Day 7: You can't go wrong with superheros and PR. Hancock follows Jason Bateman who discusses the fine art of grassroots outreach, reputation management, and even a CSR campaign.
Day 8: Iron Lady takes you through the life of the infamous Margaret Thatcher. The movie gives you a glimpse of the behind the scenes of political PR.

If you have time, check out these honorouble mentions: The Queen and The Devil Wears Prada.

3. Four Activities You Should Do Over the Holidays

Day 9: Read a physical newspaper on Christmas Day and New Years Day. Find out what is making the front page of national and local newspapers - you will find out a lot about your society.
Day 10: Take a yoga class. Ross believes if you don't have your mind right, then your business or professional life won't be right either.
Day 11: Learn more about your family. We often forget that some of our best allies are right next door, or in the same house. Learn about your family history, do you actually know what your Uncle Roger does for a living? All this information is very useful, because you never know when you will need professional help from a family member. Maybe your Aunt Sue is an entrepreneur who lived through the recession of 2008 and kept her business alive, how did she do it? 
Day 12: Of course, listen to this podcast. But we won't be hurt if you listen to other amazing podcasts out there right now, such as Undone, Crimetown, Freakanomics, and The Revisionist History.

We are off until the New Year. Thank you a thousand times to all our fans and listeners. We can't wait to spend another exciting year with you. We are already filling our 2017 calendar with shows on topics like learning from our mistakes, the future of PR, how to balance life and work, and more! Stay tuned!

Share your opinions by writing a comment below, or on our Facebook Page, send us an email or audio note at, or send us a message on Twitter @youngprpros.

Direct download: EP_115-Christmas.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:06pm EDT

One of the benefits of working in the industry of public relations, communications and marketing is the ability to be creative. We work in a unique world where our job is to find creative ways to tell a story. 

In this episode, our hosts share their secrets on what they do to cultivate their creativity. What is our creative process?
We start with sharing the coolest projects we worked on and the project that brought out the best in our creativity. 
  • Ross used Pinterest to connect with foodie bloggers to promote a new candy in Canada. 
  • Julia built a video-greeting card with a short marketing pitch from the company's CEO. 
  • Clare, being too humble, decided to share a cool project she was privy to at a previous job - it involves a recipe book. 
  • Kristine built a mobile game to teach young drivers about the dangers of distracted driving.
Then we talk about the tools we use in our creative process. Here are some of our favourite tools:
  • Reddit, find out what communities are saying about the topic of your project or story
  • Buzzsumo
  • Bullet Journaling, the new way to journal. Some professionals claim they are more productive with the Bullet Journal. 
  • Conferences, trade shows or professional development events 
  • Taking notes, jotting down ideas outside your work day. Ideas and creativity don't always come in a formal brainstorming meeting or between 9 to 5. 
  • Tumblr
  • Hashtags 
  • Evernote
  • Bookmarking articles 
Finally, we talk about our favourite campaigns. Campaign we look back on with awe, campaigns that inspire us to be creative.
  • Ross loves the Old Spice guy campaign
  • Julia is a sucker for Apple
  • Clare thought the podcast The Message was brilliant 
  • Kristine goes back to Apple's 1984 commercial - innovation beyond its time
Our final top tips for being creative:
  1. Research what your audience is saying about your topic/product.
  2. Focus groups are an important tool to help make sure your creative idea resonates with your audience. 
  3. There are no stupid ideas. There are bad ideas, but not stupid ideas. When it comes to creativity you can't fail, you just need to think through things a little better. 
  4. Ask yourself what hasn't been done. The best ideas are new and revolutionizes an industry. 
This episode was brought to you by The Voice, IABC Ottawa's premium podcast. Join Sherrilynne Starkie and her cohosts, Tina Barton and Angela Prokopiak, as they provide expert insight and practical tips with the help of some of North America's leading marketing and communication professionals. Tune in to their 2017 season where they will cover topics such as content marketing, employee engagement, reputation management and more.
Thanks Sharon Cheung for the shout out. Sharon is a long-time listener who has used Young PR Pros to get industry insights and tips on transitioning from role to role. 
Also thanks to Shel Holtz for the shout out. Shel is a young at heart professional who listens to Young PR Pros to find out what the young professionals are saying/thinking today. 
Direct download: EP114FIRSTDRAFT.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Episode #113: Making career choices

The average person will make a career change approximately five to seven times during their working life. With an ever increasing number of different career choices, about 1/3 of the total workforce will now change jobs every 12 months. By the age of 42 you may have had about ten jobs, says Career Change Statistics.

With this new landscape, making career choices can be overwhelming. Young PR Pros hosts Kristine D’Arbelles, Ross Simmonds and producer Clare Bonnyman discuss tips and advice on how to best approach making a career decision.

Some of the advice you will hear in this episode includes:

  • Don’t make decisions based solely on money, says Kristine. Money is important to assess the type of lifestyle you want, but just because a job pays more doesn’t make it a better fit for you and your career goals.
  • Don’t be afraid of making a decisions, and don’t beat yourself up for bad decisions, says Ross. All decisions will make you feel a little uncomfortable, because with every new opportunity there is a certain level of uncertainty. Sometimes you just have to trust your gut.
  • Get to know corporate culture, says Kristine and Ross. You will spend more hours at work than hours with your family. So make sure the company you choose to work for shares similar values. Don’t be afraid to interview employees, or even ex-employees (to find out why they left).

In this episode, Young PR Pros also introduces a new segment, the Book Report. Kristine is the first to present and she chooses Larry Smith’s No Fears No Excuses.

Thanks to Sharon Cheung for giving us a shout out in this episode!

Share your opinions by writing a comment below, or on our Facebook Page, send us an email or audio note at, or send us a message on Twitter @youngprpros.

Direct download: EP_113_FINAL_MIX.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:30am EDT

Episode #112: The Entrepreneur’s Show

Once upon a time, there lived this driven young man who dreamed about becoming an entrepreneur. One day, he used all his allowance to purchase different coloured do-rags and sell them out of his locker at school, turning his allowance money into pure profit!

That young man’s name was Ross Simmonds, host of Young PR Pros.

In this episode, Ross takes the hosting chair as our resident expert on entrepreneurship – giving Kristine a break.
Given our recent episode on the definition of PR, it was fitting to start off the show by stating the definition of entrepreneurship. Merriam Webster Dictionary defines an entrepreneur as a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money. But Young PR Pros knows that it is so much more. Some of the words that come to us when we think of entrepreneurship is: freedom, accomplishment and passion. What words would you add? 
In this episode we talk about what you need to make the leap to entrepreneurship: factors you need to consider, and tips and advice for starting out. We also explore fears, what prevents people from becoming an entrepreneur and how can they overcome those hurdles. 
We pull from outside experts, real young entrepreneurs trying to make a living today as entrepreneurs: Bryant McNamara, Darcy Boucher and Kate Headley. Listen to the full episode to hear their tips and advice for young entrepreneurs looking to break into the world of PR and communications. In fact, a lot of the advice works for any entrepreneur.
Finally, Ross himself gives us his expertise and offers some great advice for aspiring entrepreneurs:
  • Learn to say no.
  • Do your research and ask yourself: is there someone in this world that would pay for this product/service?
  • Don't wait, start reading up on entrepreneurship now. Listening to the podcast is the first step. 
  • Multitasking is a myth. 

Don’t forget to tune in to the entire episode; don’t miss our Lessons Learned segment at the very end.

We want to hear from you, what did you learn from this episode?

Share your opinions by writing a comment below, or on our Facebook Page, send us an email or audio note at, or send us a message on Twitter @youngprpros.


Direct download: Episode_112_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:13pm EDT

Who can relate: you introduce yourself to an acquaintance at a friend's party. They ask you what you do for a living. You say you work in PR. You get a blank stare and most people respond with: oh so like advertising, or my personal favourite, you must spin the media.

Well Young PR Pros has had enough, so we sat down as a team and put together our own definition.

First, we reviewed a few definitions pulled from various sources online.

Public Relations Society of America: Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics

Canadian Public Relations Society: Public relations is the strategic management of relationships between an organization and its diverse publics, through the use of communication, to achieve mutual understand, realize organizational goals, and serve the public interest using the news or business press to carry positive stories about your company or your products; cultivating a good relationship with local press representatives.

We discussed what each definition had done right, and what they had missed. Then we made a list of key terms that needed to be included in our own definition:

  • Adaptability
  • Relationships
  • Cultivate
  • Strategic
  • Process
  • Diverse

We combined all our key terms and came up with...

Young PR Pros' definition of PR

Public relations is a strategic communications process to build and cultivate mutual beneficial relationships between organizations and their diverse publics, while remaining adaptable to the publics interests and needs, all to serve the greater good of our society.

What do you think? Did we miss anything? Do you agree with our definition? If so, why or why not?

Now that we have a definition, we need to know what skills are needed to fulfill this explanation of PR. Young PR Pros ran an online poll and asked you, the audience, what you thought the most important skills are for young professionals entering their first job?

The top three were:

  1. Writing
  2. Multimedia
  3. Awareness building

We closed with our favourite segment of the show, Lessons Learned. But, we want to hear from you. What did you learn this week?

Share your opinions by writing a comment below, or on our Facebook Page, send us an email or audio note at, or send us a message on Twitter @youngprpros.

Do you have plans this summer? Don’t forget to visit and catch up on old episodes. Go back to class September with fresh new ideas and succeed in your career.

Direct download: YPP_EPP_111_FINAL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Direct download: Episode110.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

It is just Kristine D'Arbelles and Clare Bonnyman this month. Clare is finished her internship in Thunder Bay and is back in Toronto. Anyone hiring? Clare is pretty awesome.

Taking a little break this month, we look back on some evergreen lessons and replay our episode on tips for entrepreneurs. At the end of the show, Kristine and Clare are surprised to learn some new lessons. We share them with the audience.

Some of the great advice you will find in this episode is:

  • Entrepreneurship is the best thing for your career and will make your resume stand out.
  • Technology has made consulting easy – build a worldwide clientele.
  • Build up a reputation for yourself – build your brand through social media and blogging. You don’t need to be an expert, just be out there.
  • Companies nowadays – mostly non-profits and small businesses – don’t have big budgets and look for freelancers and consultants all the time.
  • Find work through networking, RFPs or job boards.

Listen to the full episode and then share your opinion.

Are you an entrepreneur? How did you make the leap of faith?

Share your opinions by writing a comment below, or on our Facebook Page, send us an email at, or send us a message on Twitter @youngprpros.

Do you have plans this summer? Don’t forget to visit and catch up on old episodes. Go back to class September with fresh new ideas and succeed in your career.

Direct download: Episode109-1_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:02pm EDT