Category Archives: GA Southern – PRCA 3330
This is the last weekly topic for my PRCA3330 course! So we are ending the semester with a list of 10 tips for amateur bloggers in the PR industry! Hopefully these will help those of you who are new to the blogosphere 😉
- Customize your page. No one wants to visit a blog that is bland and generic! Add color, a layout, a title, a headline, and photos. (I’d add music if I knew how to!)
- Follow up on other blogs. For instance, read up on your peers’ blogs and also follow the blogs of PR professors, PR practitioners, and PR firms!
- Once following these blogs, comment on them. This will allow you to express your opinions but also bring attention to your own blog (given that you left a comment with a link to your own blog site).
- Don’t leave large gaps of time in between your blog posts. Try to blog on a regular basis. If you can’t blog every day (which I personally would not recommend), at least blog every other day or even once a week at least.
- Join Twitter, PR Open Mic, Linked In, and other sites so that you can also link up there with other PR peeps’ blog sites.
- If you are a student blogger and are blogging for class, be professional and be consistent! For instance, don’t have a vulgar, man-bashing blog post after you and your boyfriend broke up and then the next day have a blog post about tips for PR internships… I’ve seen this and it was kind of disturbing, lol. Keep it clean.
- ALWAYS go back and read your posts!!! Trust me, after reading it three or four times, you will probably edit it three or four times! Some things just don’t sound right.
- ALWAYS go back and edit your posts for grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
- Ask PR professors and practitioners for advice and tips on blogging. They are usually the most experienced.
- Have fun with your blog!
A social media news release, or “SMNR,” is a non-traditional press kit that is pretty much structured just for online social media, thus, it is filled with graphics, animations, charts, audio bites, video clips, and more! They’re used by PR practicioners to obtain more awareness and attractiveness than just a plain and simple news release. Keep up with the changing times! The world right now is so caught up with online trends and social networking sites. So it would be a great idea to utilize this trend.
There are pro’s and con’s with social media news releases, however. Of course it is more attractive with sight and sound, and is easily accessible for the online world! But people who do not have computers or are not savvy with technology may not be interested in this and might prefer to read ads in the newspaper the old-fashion way. There is never a guarantee with any medium that every individual in your target audience will be reached. Also, if a SMNR is not easy to navigate, viewers will get lost in the mesh of graphics and possibly lose interest.
Here are three links that give more information about SMNRs!
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Five Steps to MultiMedia Storytelling (Brought to you by – NewsU) & what I learned from this online course:
STEP 1: Choosing a Story
Utilize video, graphics, and quotes to create an effective story! But before you begin, gather as much information on your selected topic as you can. Gather visuals, research literature, and conduct interviews then put all of your collected work onto a storyboard to help you map out your story!
STEP 2: Making a Storyboard
First, define the elements by dividing the story into parts, such as main character profiles and background information. Next, assign certain types of medium to certain pieces of your story. For instance, you might want to put your still photos go with music clips. Next, begin organizing links and menu bars for navigation that flows.
STEP 3: Reporting with Multimedia
Make sure you pack the appropriate tools you need! This might include, extra batteries, camera lenses, extension cords, computer, tripod, and more. Also bring personal belongings that might also be helpful (umbrella, bottled water, snacks, pens/paper, duct tape, etc.). Prepare for the unexpected!
STEP 4: Editing for the Web
- Make sure video clips are no longer than 3 minutes long
- Only use high-quality audio
- When taking photos, note that they replace text more than complement it
- Use Flash to animate any graphics you may have
STEP 5: Producing the Story
Have your web designer help you edit everything. Also, use a variety of templates in your design so that your readers don’t get bored with the same layout.
This semester I am taking Public Relations Research with Urkovia Andrews. It has been our responsibility to aid the Office of Environmental Sustainability in conducting research toward Georgia Southern University implementing a tobacco-free initiative on campus. We have been dissecting scholarly articles, distributing surveys to students/faculty/staff, and hosting in-depth focus groups….
Focus groups — hmm, about that.
Here are some HELPFUL tips that I can give to future researchers! They will help you a GREAT deal! Trust me 🙂 If I ever have to conduct a focus group again, I will also be using these things-to-remember:
- Make sure you SECURE definite focus group participants ahead of time! We were required to have at least four participants attend our focus group, but unfortunately only one showed up. After an hour of frantically searching the student union and stalking potentials for last-minute volunteers, we managed to find four definite participants (thank God)! And since this focus group was not on their agenda until last minute, they had other plans immediately after so we had to cut our focus group questions short for the convenience of our participants. So PLEASE make sure you have definite people. Have them RSVP ahead of time and even send them a reminder the night before.
- If you are required to record audio/video of the focus group discussion, make sure you test your devices beforehand and maybe even use more than one recording device as we all know that technology can not be depended on! We used a flip-cam, a tape recorder, and a laptop to record our audio. ALSO, make sure you ask the participants to speak up loud enough that the audio can be transcribed easily. We had trouble afterward trying to figure out what people were saying — sometimes they were talking too low, sometimes they were all talking at the same time, and sometimes a cough or movement muffled the voice as well.
- If you have a supervisor, professor, or a director asking you to conduct this research, be sure to get the focus group questions approved by them beforehand. They might want to make changes or give suggestions.
- Be sure to give a really good pause after each participant’s response. The pause will let them know that they can continue to elaborate on their answer. The more info they give, the better it is for your client. The pause will also give other participants the opportunity to respond with their own opinions. Unfortunately, since the people we had at our focus group had to rush to meetings or go home, we had to make sure we did not run over our time. So good pauses were not given.
- Make the participants feel COMFORTABLE! Dress professional enough..but not so fancy and formal that the participants feel intimidated (depending of course upon on what type of participant pool you have for your research). Be conversational, but remember not to lose your professionalism. You are representing your client. Before beginning the focus group questions, use an ice-breaker to loosen up your participants. The more comfortable they are, the more they are willing to speak up on their opinions and to speak truthfully. This leads to more quality information for your client.
- If you are not given a budget to compensate the participants, get together with your research committee beforehand, as you may want to provide refreshments for the particpants during the discussion. We brought waters, sodas, a vegetable tray with ranch dip, and chocolate chip cookies for ours, and they sure enjoyed it! This is also a good way to lure potential participants when you are scouting for them. Who doesn’t like free food? And you better believe that we used this to hook our last-minute biters!
- To decrease your chances for a biased group of people, look for participants in a WIDE variety of places. For instance, if you are researching a topic dealing with music genres, don’t look primarily at country bars or mainly scout at jazz clubs. Also go to different instrument shops, music majors, a variety of radio stations, student organizations for music-lovers, churches, marching bands, etc.!
- SHOW YOUR PARTICIPANTS APPRECIATION! Thank them for their time and efforts!
Have you conducted your own focus group? Please feel free to comment and leave any other tips you can think of from your own personal experiences!
What do YOU think Tiger should do to earn his stripes back?
Here are some of my opinions on the management of his affairs crisis. Feel free to express yours!
- A delayed response to the first release of the car-crash incident/affair accusations was unacceptable! If you don’t get in front of the story, the story will get in front of you! A delayed response? That’s equivalent to a wife asking her husband if he had been having an affair. “Uh, honey, I’ll get back with you on that tomorrow!” Also, keep a consistent flow of updates to build credibility. In other words, don’t suddenly go into hiding. That’s cowardly. (What’s wrong, Tiger? Cat got your tongue?) Own up to your mistakes as soon as possible – especially when you are a public figure. Deal with the public then handle your issues in private. Besides, a late response just gives the public too much opportunity to make negative assumptions and for curiosity and concern to grow!
- Be STRONG! Don’t get caught crying over spilled milk in front of the cameras looking like a deer in headlights. That is all.
[The information in this blog post was obtained from my PRCA 3330 text, in Chapter 12 – Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, 6th ed. by Dennis L. Wilcox.]
“Because of the rise of the Internet and the World Wide Web, two spheres of influence have emerged that are constantly interacting with each other. CooperKatz and Company calls them the mediasphere and the blogosphere.”
This new media can be characterized through (1) widespread broadband; (2) inexpensive or even free tools online for publishing; (3) innovative channels of distribution; (4) mobile technology; (5) new paradigms in advertising.
Advantages of new media include are that it can be quickly updated, it is widely interactive for feedback, there are limited constraints for time and space, formats are much more flexible, it’s easy for amateurs to use, and it is insensitive to distance.
Tips for Website-Building:
- Hire a copywriter and a graphic artist
- Avoid cliches, exaggerations, jargon, and acronyms
- Avoid using the passive voice
- Make it accessible to people with disabilities (i.e. deaf, colorblind, blind); needs to be readable for browser-readers
- Have your logo on every web page
- If you have lots of content, utilize a Search tab
- Keep track of the amount of guests with a visitors counter
- Use keywords so that search engines may pick up content from your site
10 Ways We PR People Tend to Drive Journalists CRAZY!
- Hype and exaggeration annoys journalists I’m sure! But, hey – we never exaggerate. We just publicize the truth 😉
- When PR people say “no comment,” especially on issues that are high in the public’s interest!
- If we miss a deadline. There is no such thing as missing a deadline when dealing with news reporting – only being fired for inadequacy! In other words, PR folks, don’t get someone fired because their assignment was dependent on you!
- Bribery in the form of “gifts” or “discounts.” Brown-nosing even.
- Being a “Bug-a-Boo!” Don’t be bothersome via telephone, fax, or e-mail.
- SPAM! Enough said.
- Errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, or facts. It is best that we double check with our sources and also double check our copy before sending it anywhere. And keep that flagged AP book handy.
- It is aggravating and unprofessional to fail to return a phone call or reply to an e-mail. Today’s technology does not allow this! Communication takes one second.
- Be careful when trying to be creative – don’t be cliche! This annoys journalists. Write catchy headlines for news releases.
- Send quality photos only. All other work will be trashed.
[The information in this blog post was obtained from my PRCA 3330 text, in Chapter 11 – Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, 6th ed. by Dennis L. Wilcox.]
Research shows that MEDIA RELATIONS is the one primary duty for PR staff in firms and PR departments in the corporate world. As PR peoples, we are THE “middle man” between the company and the media outlets! Thus, as spokespersons for our client or firm, it is vital that we make note on how to effectively perform our job as media contacts and maintain a good relationship with journalists! Tips are as follows:
- NEVER send material that is poorly written! Revise everything before submission.
- Be punctual! Meet deadlines and be on time to meetings/conferences.
- Don’t send too many e-mails and faxes. Don’t call too much or be bothersome showing up at their place of work.
- Be honest and ethical! Just because something is not illegal does not mean it is right.
- Show appreciation. But do not bribe and avoid gimmicks!!
- Protect your confidential sources. Don’t break promises.
[Instructions from professor: Listen to at least one hour of PR/marketing podcasts (such as For Immediate Release, Inside PR, The Creative Career, Coming Up PR, Trafcom News or Marketing Over Coffee). Briefly summarize what you heard. Discuss how listening to PR podcasts can benefit PR students or new PR practitioners. (Optional: Also, write a short review of the podcast at iTunes.)!]
I chose Marketing Over Coffee, with Christopher Penn and John Wall featuring David Meerman Scott!!
A summary of what I heard:
Mr. Scott first began to talk about the recent release of a paper back version of the New Rules of Marketing and PR (2009) which hit Business Week’s Best Seller List for five months that year. This book is also available in 25 translations! Then he stated some of his recent travels, going all over the world to speak in Australia, Turkey, Dominican Republic, and more.
After his brief self-introduction, he started to discuss how interesting it was to him that the things they had been buzzing about for the past few years now is finally emerging into mainstream — “new media,” such as blogs, social networking sites, YouTube, etc. He stated that this contemporary marketing is a big deal, no matter what size or type of company it is. Everyone should jump on this bandwagon.
Next he started talking about his thoughts on GM and their bounce-back from their filing of bankruptcy. He sort of bashed them on Twitter after seeing a few of their ads – which he considered a little “fake.” But then the head of GM’s social media spoke with him, and corporate ended up inviting him to Detroit where they showed him a more in-depth view of the “new” GM, giving Scott a change of heart.
He then started going into “what is marketing on the web?” beyond Twitter and Facebook. He thinks that people conside themselves social media experts for the wrong reasons. For instance, it is a misconception that if you have thousands of followers or a fancy blog that you are suddenly a marketing king online! He says that there is so much more than that. And he also stated that companies often focus too much on Twitter since it’s the new big thing that they forget about other channels available to reach consumers.
Scott also discussed that he went as far as paying for book reviews. He caught a little flack from some for going out and paying for these reviews. But he justifies it by stating that he was a very new author at the time, therefore unknown. So he needed to pay someone with credibility to read his book and give him a review. He was afraid that otherwise, he would get no book reviews.
How I think listening to PR podcasts can benefit PR students:
I think that there is alot to be learned and there are always new trends being made each day in technology and media. It is important that PR students and even new PR practicioners should keep up with these things in order to operate most effectively. In an everchanging world, we must stay on our toes. There are several ways to do this, including staying tuned in to PR podcasts.