Monthly Archives: April 2010

Grand Finale

To all “New Beginnings” fans, its been a pleasure writing to you this semester. But as everyone knows, all good things must come to an end (well at least for a little while anyways). So I hope you enjoy my last blog for Public Relations Applications. It has been quite an experience.

This last blog is dedicated to the top 10 things I’ve learned this year about the practice of public relations. Here they are:

10. What is public relations?
I always thought PR was like advertising and the purpose of PR was to make people want to buy a product or accept a certain idea or come to an event. Well, that’s not technically the case. Public relations professionals work hard to create an open environment with their target audience, or “publics.” According to Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics, “Public relations is a process involving many subtle and far-reaching aspects. It includes research and analysis, policy formation, programming, communication, and feedback from numerous publics.”

9. Blog Commenting
This is a very critical practice to those wishing to maintain a successful blog. My advice is to find blogs that write about similar topics as your own. Comment on their blogs and hopefully they will comment on yours.

8. Using Social Media in Public Relations
It is important of public relations professional to keep up with their publics. In order to do this, it is a good idea for companies to set up accounts with different forms of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or engage in activities like blogging or podcasting. This way communication becomes 2-way.

7. Resume Writing
One of the most shocking facts I learned over the semester is that employers only give resumes 15 seconds before they decide which pile they go into: possible new hires or the trash. It is depressing, but not everything in life is fair, right. Because of this it is necessary to check out resume-building websites and utilize the luxury of building relationships though networking websites. 

6. Research is the Key
The most overlooked piece to the puzzle, yet probably the most important is research. In fact, when it comes to the RACE process, research should always take the most amount of time. There isn’t much more I can say about this because it should be a give-in. Make sure you know what you are taking about before you talk about it.

5. Press Release Format
Did you know most news stories aren’t even prepared or written by the journalists of the newspaper you are reading? I didn’t before I took this class. Many stories are created by a team of public relations professionals hoping to gain free publicity for a product, event, or idea.

4. Crises
One of the more difficult jobs public relations practitioners will have to handle are those dealing with crises. This section of the class was actually the one I became most interested in because of the variety of issues that can arise on a given day. The crisis I found most appalling was probably about the Wendy’s “Finger-in-chili” hoax. It was cool to see how Wendy’s reacted in such a positive way and worked its way back into the rankings of top fast food outlet.

3.  Twitter
I didn’t even want to think about this one. I was a Twitter-hater before this class, but now I really enjoy it. Although I probably don’t use it correctly, or in ways it should be used for public relations, I find that its a great way to let everyone know how you feel about something. I also find it very useful when I am thinking about going to a movie, and using the search feature to see instant movie reviews. I should have used it before paying 7 dollars to see Remember Me.

2. Just write
Kneale Mann said it best, when you start blogging, just write, but more importantly write about something that interests you.

1. Finding my way
After taking this class and taking Kneale Mann’s advice I started finding my way. I really enjoyed writing about public relations issues that were occurring in the world of sports, dedicating most of my PR connections posts to baseball, football, and basketball. Because of this, I have been looking up possible careers and internships with professional sports teams.

So if you survived reading all 10 items, thank you for keeping up with me. But lucky for you, you don’t have to read anymore.

The End.

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Approaching the Finish Line

Topic of the Week 16
Blogging Tips

I’m going to share something with you – I was nervous to take this class. At the end of the fall semester I decided to pursue a degree in Journalism/Public Relations and it was time to start my communication classes. For a few days while creating my schedule, I went back and forth, trying to decide if I was ready to take this class or not. Would it be too difficult? Would I just be terrible at “communication?”

As I near the end of the semester, I am able to reflect upon my decision to take Public Relations Applications and I can truly say I am glad I did. I learned about the basics of public relations, further defined my calling, and even learned about a PR technique that I am pretty sure I will continue for the rest of my life – blogging!

So for all of you future PR students, or those who like me, aren’t sure if you can handle  it, here are a few blogging tips to help you  out.

MY TOP 10!
10. Interesting titles make readers curious about your post and cause them to want to read more. Personally, when reading other students blogs, I tended to ignore those titled “T.O.W 7” because that told me nothing about the content.

9. Use bulleted lists for clarity and organization. Also allows your readers to gain important information quickly.

8. Import YouTube videos into your blog when necessary. Here’s how: find a video and click then “embed” tab directly below the video. Then copy the code. Finally, paste the code onto your blog, but be sure to paste it into the “HTML” section. This can be accessed on the top, right-hand corner of your text area. Then click publish! It’s that easy.

7. Import images onto your blog from Compfight.com.

6. Organize your posts by creating categories. And for those people who just love being organized, further categorize your blog posts using post tags. These organize posts into different topics.

5. Keep up with the classwork. This means actually following the syllabus and doing what it says is assigned that week!

4. When it comes to PR Connections, write about something that interest you. That way you will actually want to do them and have some opinions to share with your readers. For example, I tended to write about issues in sports.

3. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread! As you start blogging about other PR professionals, their names will appear on Google Alerts. Don’t be surprised if they visit your site too! Good grammar = Good impression!

2. Explore the blog world and when you find something you like, comment on it! It helps you create an audience.

1. Finally, when someone comments on your blog, return the favor and comment on theirs. This shows that instead of caring about yourself, you care about your audience more! And people just like that 🙂

I hope these tips help even the most novice blogger! Good luck!

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Making the Right Move

If you aren’t an avid sports fan like me who watches ESPN every morning, then you probably haven’t heard about Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Rothlisberger, a publicist’s nightmare. Here is the run down:
2006 Off-season: Rothlisberger crashes his motorcycle. He wasn’t wearing a helmet.
2009 Off-season: Rothlisberger is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in his Lake Tahoe hotel room. (Charges Dropped)
2010 Off-season: Rothlisberger is accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year old college student in the women’s restroom of a nightclub. (Charges Dropped)

After this latest sexual assault scandal, Rothlisberger has been suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for 4-6 regular season games, even though all legal charges were dropped. This has caused some confusion among certain ESPN analysts, stating that the suspension is too severe because Rothlisberger was not charged. In my opinion, this disciplinary action is exactly what Rothlisberger deserves. For example, he continues to get into legal trouble year, after year, after year, and it is obvious that he hasn’t learned his lesson yet. As an NFL player, especially one who is in a such a high leadership role and the face of his team, should be responsible to hold himself at a higher standard. I mean, why in the world would a 28 year-old even be at a nightclub in the middle of a college town? There is no reason for that. Even though Rothlisberger might have been falsely accused, continuing to place himself in these shady situations just shows he is asking for trouble. Therefore, severe measures have to be taken to serve as a wake-up call to this great player. I don’t want to see such a talented athlete throw it all away and I don’t think Goodell does either.

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Record Day!

I’m a new blogger. My page probably averages about 2 views a day or less, which isn’t very encouraging. But today my blog hit an all-time high. I reached 20 viewers!! I can’t tell you how excited I am.

So here is a shout out to all my viewers and all those who comment on my posts! Thank you. You make blogging a much more enjoyable experience!

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Get Loud!

If you haven’t caught on yet, I’m a sports junkie and I dedicate most of my PR connection posts to the world of sports. This post follows suit.

When I was in high school, I fell in love with the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team. As if it was yesterday, I clearly remember their slogan “Get Loud! Get Crazy Loud!” This phrase has stuck with Cavs fans and their organization ever since. Because it is playoff time, the noise level only increases within Quicken Loans Area. The Cavaliers public relations team gave fans another way to “Get Crazy Loud” during game two of the first-round series against the Chicago Bulls: each fan was given a box of Kraft Macaroni Cheesy Explosion to shake throughout the competition.

The cool thing about the Kraft promotion is that after the game, fans can either take the free box of macaroni home, or they can place it in a donation box located throughout the arena. This donation goes to the local food pantry, which shows that Cleveland is dedicated to the needy community that surrounds them. This project is just another reason showing how the “NBA Cares” and I’m all for it!

P.S. The Cleveland Cavaliers just beat the Bulls, causing them to go 2-0 in the series. I’m all for that too!

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“Extra, Extra!”

Topic of the Week 14
News Release Tips

The ability to write a news release is one of the most important skills a potential public relations professional should possess. A news release is a PR firm’s opportunity to promote a product, event, or idea that could greatly influence a company or organization. This promotion is defined as a simple document whose primary purpose is the dissemination of information to mass media such as newspapers, broadcast stations, and magazines. Furthermore, many companies has a section devoted to public relations press releases on their official websites. Through news releases, public relations departments can reach both their target audience and the media.

A news release utilizes a simple format to make it easy for media to read and comprehend the most important information regarding the product, event, or idea. A news release consists of a 5WH method: who, what, when, where, why, and how. Who discusses who the news is about and who should be interested in the story. What introduces what the news and its significance is. Where describes where the news is or happened to take place. Where discusses when the event will or did take place. Why shows why the news is newsworthy and why it is happening. Finally, how shows how will this story happen or how will it take place. It is best to follow a news release template when writing releases.

Because being able to write a news release is so vital to the profession of public relations it is critical to understand the proper format in order to ensure editors will use the release in their publications. Here are a few tips to create a successful news release.

1. Don’t skimp on the details
2. Give background information
3. Provide information on photo opportunities
4. No typos
5. Don’t get flowery – avoid excessive use of adjectives and fancy language
6. Make sure the information is newsworthy
7. Make sure story can relate to the public – ensure connectedness
8. Deal with facts
9. Make sure the first 10 words of the release are effective and important
10. Provide as much contact information as possible

For more information on press release strategies check out Louisiana Tech PR and Press Release Writing.com

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Did You Know?

In my Media Management class at Southeastern University, my professor introduced my class to this video called “Did You Know.” This presentation highlights the rapid growth of technology and the influence the Internet has on today’s society.

Check it out:

I hope you got a chance to watch this video clip because the facts presented are astounding! Does this information, however, relate to public relations? The answer is “definitely!”

Public relations is a career dedicated to a life of problem solving. Professionals must figure out how to promote a new product, service, or event, how to identify potential threats within a company, and how to restore reputations during and after a crisis. One piece of information that was important for potential public relations practitioners to be aware of is that “the top 10 in-demand jobs did not exist in 2004. We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist using technologies that haven’t been invented in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.” Why is this important? Public relations professionals of the future are going to be required to work with companies that utilize technologies that are even in development yet. That means PR is always going to be changing as our society continues to innovate. PR professionals must constantly be the top of their game.

In addition, this video proves that social media is an increasingly important outlet for PR firms to reach their targeted publics. For example, 200 million individuals have created a MySpace account. According to the video, “If MySpace were a country, it would be the 5th largest in the world, between Indonesia and Brazil.” Furthermore, it took Facebook only 2 years to reach an audience of 5o million. This is a drastically short period of time when compared to more ancient forms of media such as the radio or television. Social Media sites allow PR professionals to reach more people more efficiently, giving them the ability to spread their message at extremely rapid rates unlike never before.

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see how the innovations in social media sites influence the way public relations works!

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