COMM 2333 Topic of the Week


1. Form and cultivate personal relationships with your clients. This is very important to being a successful Public Relations professional, whether you are just starting in the industry or have been in it for many years. Dig deeper than just knowing someone on a name-by-name basis, but add a personal touch and really get to know who they are. Do this by taking them out to lunch, etc. It will go a long way.

2. Always proofread! A journalist with throw away your news release and not contact you if he or she sees many misspelled words or typos. It is very unprofessional and is a bad representation of the company you are representing. Double-check everything you send out, including e-mails!

3. Become educated in the world of social media. FaceBook. FourSquare, and Twitter are just a few of the essential social media tools in the field of Public Relations. Learning about these tools and using them successfully is important, and will open up new educational doors as well as providing new connections.

4. Always provide follow-up. After you meet a potential client, or have an interview, send a handwritten note. This shows high character, integrity, and will set you apart from the rest.

5. Send out news releases in advance. Always send news releases at least 2 weeks in advance, if at all possible. Unless it is immediate-breaking news, journalists typically work on feature stories several weeks before they are sent to print.

6. Be aware of new products and new ways to pitch them. Do not pitch something that has been around for a long time, since people most likely will already know about it. Find something unique and creative to talk about, and create a media kit that will really make that product or organization stand out.

7. Write conversationally, not overly formally. When a journalist reads your press release, he or she does not want to be reading a journalism story, since that is their job to write. Simply explain the product or organization you are representing in clear, easy-to-understand terms.

8. Meet people face-to-face. Get to know people in-person! Don’t make the mistake of simply forming a relationship online. Although this is important, you can get to know someone a lot better when they are actually standing in front of you. Also, people will remember your company a lot better after they have seen your face.

9. Pay attention to details. Make sure all your facts are correct! This is very important, and can make or break your reputation.

10. Establish a name for yourself. Get yourself out there, and be fully immersed in the industry! Take risks, and do not hold back. Even if you fail at first, it will be a learning experience.

In COMM 2333, Public Relations Applications class today, we learned about what to do as a Public Relations professional when a crisis arises. Crises, which are ultimately unavoidable in any career field, can happen at any time. The way a Public Relations professional responds has a huge impact on how much damage is actually done.

A crisis is defined as “a nonroutine event that risks desired visibility that in turn threatens significant reputational damage.” The four different categories of a crisis are:

  • Meteor
  • Predator
  • Breakdown
  • Lingering

One specific crisis that comes to mind occurred in the media recently on the popular social networking site, Facebook. Nestle’s Facebook Fan Page was subjected to accusations from Greenpeace, stating that they were “importing palm oil from suppliers who are destroying Indonesian rainforests that are home to endangered orangutans.” Within a matter of days, Nestle’s Facebook page received massive amounts of traffic with many negative comments about the company posted on the page. The PR department learned a very important lesson from this: since social media is so hard to control, it must be monitored very closely, or else it can easily backfire; risking the entire reputation of the company.

After watching Barbara Nixon’s interview with Kneale Mann, I was inspired to blog a lot more. Before taking this class, I never realized how beneficial blogs can be for making connections with others in the public relations field. Kneale Mann has worked in the broadcast industry for many years, but has only just recently started blogging. This suprised me, but I was encouraged to continue blogging after hearing him discuss how truly important, valuable, and beneficial it is to maintain a blog, especially for those working in the media or public relations industry.

The biggest thing that stood out to me that Kneale discussed was that the best way to begin a blog is to just simply start writing, and to not be held back by lack of an audience or a specific topic for the blog to be about. I feel that not knowing what to write about, or feeling that I was not important enough to blog has held me back in the past. However, according to Mann, simply beginning to write about anything and everything is the first step towards a successful blog. Once this is confidently done, an audience and consistent theme of content will begin to be developed.

When I was looking over the different options of podcasts for this assignment, the one entitled “Marketing Over Coffee” was the first to catch my attention, mainly because of the name of the podcast and my love for coffee. This particular episode was a special interview with Seth Godin. This was particularly interesting to me since I have read many of his books and have heard him speak several times at leadership conferences.

The topic of this podcast was about the leverage that technology holds over large media corporations. An example of this was the podcast itself, how it does not hold a lot of overhead, but still has the ability to be more successful than large media corporations that require a lot of money from it’s customers in order for it to be successful.

Seth Godin attributed social networking and media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and podcasts as art, and those who use it as artists. He defined art as the act of changing someone because you want to, not because you get paid to. He spoke on the fact that everyone has the ability to be an artist, and use these free outlets to share freedom and knowledge with a countless number of people.

The biggest thing that inspired me about this podcast was to be a real artist, and someone who really follows through with using the technology and resources that have been given to me. As Godin said, a good idea doesn’t really make any difference or have any effect unless it is followed through with. This encouraged me to no longer hold back when I get a good idea to blog about, etc., but to take a risk and follow through with it.

It is important for PR students to listen to podcasts by PR practitioners because they truly are storehouses filled with free, unlimited information. This is beneficial because it offers more real-life information that cannot be learned in PR classes at a university, but can only be learned through advice from someone actually working in the industry at the time.

Before I became a member of PR OpenMic, I was unaware of the immense amount of benefits that it held. It is an incredible resource for not only PR professionals, but for college graduates looking for a job, and students that are preparing to launch into the field of Public Relations.

PR OpenMic has a format very similar to Facebook. Users create a profile highlighting their interests, professional and educational background, past work experiences, and future career goals. Once this is done, users can search for others in the Public Relations industry, and make contacts and connections to aide them in future career moves.

The first feature I found to be very helpful on this site was the section for Jobs/Internships. It was very organized and provided a listing for countless jobs and internships that are currently available in the Public Relations field. This is beneficial for a recent graduate or student preparing to graduate, since it makes it easy for them to contact potential future employers about positions they are interested in. This category also provided links to outside sources that provided job listings and descriptions as well.

The next feature I found to be valuable was the Discussion Forum. Here, users are given an open format where they can ask questions or start discussions on certain topics related to Public Relations. This is extremely beneficial, and allows students and professionals to talk amongst themselves, share wisdom, make contacts, and collaborate ideas. I found some of the topics posted on this forum to be very interesting, and am looking forward to getting involved with some of the discussions in the near future.

Last, but certainly not least, I found  that the Blog section in PR OpenMic was full of extensive amounts of information. In this section, blogs from several of the PR OpenMic users are featured, for other users to easily find and gain insight from.

Although I am still fairly new to PR OpenMic, I am interested in using the program as a tool to make connections with more PR professionals, gaining insight from them as I venture into the world of Public Relations.

Upon watching this interview with Martin Waxman, I was able to more clearly see the human side to the practice of Public Relations. Martin Waxman is the owner of  a Product PR firm in Canada, handling all PR needs for companies such as Olay, Herbal Essences, and several food companies in the Canada area. Actually hearing and seeing someone who works in this industry explain what they do on a daily basis was really eye-opening and interesting to me. Mr. Waxman had a very charismatic, friendly personality, which made him easy to listen to, and is undoubtedly a key component to his success in the Public Relations field.

The biggest thing I learned while listening to this interview was the stressed importance of using traditional and social media technology. Up to this point, I always knew that technology was very important within this field, but actually understanding the science behind this technology is essential. When applying for a job, I learned that a potential employer is not only curious to see if the applicant is able to use these social media technologies, but also if they have an understanding of the importance of exactly why these technologies are to be used, to benefit an business or organization. When using these technologies, Waxman made it clear that it is always important to conduct one’s self with simplicity, integrity, and energy. It is important to realize that everything that is said holds high meaning, as your digital reputation is being built.

I was surprised to learn about how important a media footprint truly is. It was interesting to hear Martin discuss stories of how quickly information can be spread through media technology (ie: blogs, twitter, etc.) and how a reputation, either postive or negative, can be built around an organization or business, simply based on what was said about them through social media. Also, it was interesting to realize that anything spoken or typed using social media is permanent, and can be searched for and revisited again, even years after it was first published.

After hearing this interview, I am inspired to learn more about social media, and become more intentional with what I write, post, and discuss, with the full understanding that through this outlet, I am building a resume and reputation for future employers to see.

Now that Spring Break as come and gone, I look back on the past week as somewhat of a blur, since it all seemed to come and go so quickly. I didn’t have too much of a break since I had to be back at Southeastern for the 2010 Leadership Forum on Wednesday, March 10. For the first part of my Spring break, I took a mini roadtrip down to Fort Myers, Fla., and was able to visit some old friends that I hadn’t seen in several years. Over the course of my time there, my windshield mysteriously cracked, resulting in hours of phone conversations with my insurance agency and a glass repair company – something definitely not expected or welcomed on any vacation. Once I finally got everything straightened out, I successfully made an appointment with SafeLite AutoGlass for the very next morning. I was beyond impressed with their friendliness, efficiency, and willingness to help me! Since I have been at college, this was the first major car issue I had to handle on my own, and they made it very easy for me to go through. I was so thankful! After that situation was taken care of, I was able to enjoy the rest of my time in Fort Myers, soaking up a bit of sunshine and time with friends before The Forum and remainder of the semester kicked into gear.

Attending The 2010 Leadership Forum was an amazing experience. This was my second year attending and taking the class for credit, and I am very glad I made the decision to do this again. It was such a privilege and blessing to be able to sit in the same room with so many incredible, world-renown ministers, leaders, and speakers. The main point that really stood out to me this year was to narrow down the giftings God has given me, and truly focus on what I am good at, and develop that talent into greater excellence. This was significant to me, since that is something God has been impressing on me a lot over the past few  months. After The Forum was completed, I was inspired to take what I had learned and apply it, by becoming more intentional in the way I do things, while developing the leadership qualities that I have learned.

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