Category Archives: PR Connections COMM 4333

Not-So-Secret Google Tools

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"Google Logos" by La Ignorancia Mata

Google sure has a universe of tools available to its users. But Adam Vincenzini of PR News Daily describes 10 that most people probably have never heard of in his post here.

Most of these tools I had never heard of either, but some of them (based on their description) seem like they would be extremely useful for a Public Relations Professional.

1. Google SketchUp– I love graphic design, but I have never heard of this free tool! Apparently, one can create anything in illustration form into a 3D illustration. This would be a great visual addition to company websites or blogs.

2. Google Correlate– This tool enables its users to discover patterns in sample data, which would be very helpful from a Marketing perspective of locating target audiences, enhancing an email marketing campaign, discovering complimentary products/services, etc.!

3. Google Sites– This tool enables its users to create a website that groups can communicate through, which speeds up the older process of phone-trees and call lists to spread news and communicate within a group of people.

4. Google HotPot– This tool provides rates and reviews of places/ businesses and its users can get recommendations from others. As a marketing/ PR student, it seems like it would help me see how public opinions develop, change, and what attracts large groups of people to certain products/ services.

To find out more about these tools and learn about other lesser known but seemingly useful ones, visit Vincenzini’s blog link above!

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A “Site” For Sore Eyes

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How many screens do you find yourself looking at on a daily basis? For how long?

A study posted in the NY Times states that most people spend up to 8 hours a day staring at screens (NYTimes.com)!

At first, I found this hard to believe, but after thinking about it I realized that my eyes are sometimes incredibly sore at the end of a day. This article by Kevin Allen of PR News Daily provides an infographic that describes some helpful ways that one can help reduce eye fatigue otherwise known as “computer vision syndrome” or CVS.

"Computer Eye" By IRPC

My favorite tips are as follows.

1. Take Breaks– Use the 20-20-20 Rule: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

2. Avoid CRT Screens– Low radiation from CRT screens can cause eye irritation. LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screens (typically flat screens) are better for eyes than CRT (Cathode Ray-Tube) screens are.

3. Download an Eye-Care App– Eye Apps are capable of doing great things to help one monitor their eyes because they can signal the user when to take breaks as well as scan the users eyes to see if he/she is near or farsighted. They’re a great tool to have if one’s experiencing eye fatigue or if one wears contacts.

To find out more about Eye care, visit the above link to Kevin Allen’s post on the PR News Daily website.

“Hear Ye, Hear Ye” Across Multiple Channels

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by Tiverton Town Council

Today in Public Relations Applications, we discussed subjects from chapter 12 in the THINK: Public Relations text by Wilcox. We discussed how Public Relations Professionals act as medieval town criers in terms of getting information out to their public audiences.

by TOMTEC

To do this, PR professionals rely on a toolbox of “tactics” that help them to reach as many people as possible. To name a few: news releases, public service announcements, media conferences, and special events which can be sent to print, TV, and/or radio publishers once they’re written for the correct corresponding channel of communication.

It’s the job of the PR professional to get their messages accessible to the public. Utilizing different channels, other than social media, is a great way to do so. It is important for the PR professionals to understand how to prepare messages for each, but each channel, however, has important requirements that make it unique.

by keepthebyte

For example, printed material, such as news releases, must be written using the Associated Press Style; which has many different requirements from the standard English grammar format most people are used to writing in. Also, news releases need to be written, metaphorically, in the shape of an inverted pyramid. Information needs to be written in order of importance where the most important things are mentioned first and the least important are mentioned last so that people will read the most important information even if they only read the first couple of lines.

News releases prepared for print are very different from those that are prepared for radio. Radio announcements should take about 30 or 60 seconds (about 125 words) to read because broadcasters must fit their messaged in a rigid time frame that is measured down to the second. Strong and short sentences are preferred because they make the message more conversational, they allow the announcer to breathe in between thoughts, and because they help the listener follow what is being said. Television

Getting messages to be aired on TV can be a little more tricky than getting messages printed or read. Luckily, the text mentions four approaches PR pros can use to help get their viewpoints on local television.

1.) Send the same news release the the local print media receive. If the news director thinks the topic is worthy, then it may be mentioned by the news announcer.
2.) Have a media alert/ advisory inform the editor about an event that would lend itself video coverage.
3.) Phone or email the editor and make a pitch to have the station do your story. (The secret to successfully pitching to a TV news editor us ti emphasize the visual aspects  of the story).
4.) Produce a video news release and send it into a station.  This works because it requires minimum effort on the part of the TV station.

To read more about the tactics of PR professionals in terms of reaching their audiences, check out the textbook THINK: Public Relations by Wilcox.

PR Pro Interview

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For this week, my Public Relations Applications class required for me to interview a Public Relations Professional. Many of the professionals I tried to get into touch with did not respond back, stop answering my calls, or stopped emailing me!

At first I though it was rude, but now I look at that kind of common response as a lesson of how busy PR pros are!

Luckily though, I had the honor of interviewing a fellow classmate who works in PR instead. Her name is Katie Reilly and following below are the interview questions I asked her and  her responses to them.

Me: How did you know you wanted to pursue PR? When did you decide that that is what you’re going to pursue in college?

Katie:  Honestly, I didn’t really decide I wanted to pursue PR. I wasn’t really aiming to do so. I’m more of a journalist/writer, so the reason I’m pursuing a Journalism/PR degree is more for the journalism than the PR. However, last semester when I actually started on campus (previously I had been taking online classes) I applied for a job in the Advancement Office, working under Dana Davis. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting into, I knew I’d be writing for Southeastern’s alumni magazine and I figured that it would be great experience. At first it was mainly just writing articles and such, but as I’ve done more office work I’ve been taking on more jobs and tasks that are more PR related. These past few months especially have been pretty much devoted to all sorts of PR work and I must admit that I have enjoyed it quite a bit, despite it not being what I expected. So, even though I’m still really focusing more on Journalism, I have definitely gained more appreciation and interest in PR as I have worked this job. And I wouldn’t mind continuing it even after I graduate.

By enriqueburgosgarcia

Me:How are you involved in PR now?

Katie: 2. I work for Dana Davis in the advancement office here at Southeastern. Advancement office is basically a fancier way of saying PR department (I’ve come to realize). I do things like help promote events, help organize events, write press releases, edit thank you letters, help make sure that when there are important guests visiting that all their needs are met. There was one point where I was making quite a few phone calls trying to see if local churches would help promote the Forum. Also, there have been times where I have helped with alumni relations, such as visiting an alumni, so that they keep good connection with the university and maybe even support it. That is actually one of the reasons why the alumni magazine was started, to keep alumni in the loop and to help them feel like they’re still part of the SEU community. So, I write articles for that as well as do editing for it. There really is a lot of fostering relationships. And a lot of the jobs (including some little ones that people don’t really think about) are done with that focus in mind.
Me: What’s you’re favorite responsibility of what you do now?

Katie:I honestly probably like writing the articles the most. I really am a writer at heart. However, it is kind of fun to help keep the events on track and just run errands so that everything runs smoothly. (that’s writing the articles for the alumni magazine.

Me: What do you hope do with your PR/Journalism degree when you graduate here?

Katie: To be honest I’m not entirely sure. I do want to do freelance work because I like the freedom and think I would work well with that. However, I wouldn’t mind continuing work with Southeastern, maybe even become a permanent part of the advancement team, not sure if that would actually happen, but I wouldn’t mind that.
Me: Is there anyone/ anything from SEU that has helped you as you move toward your PR degree?

Katie: Dana Davis, my boss, has actually been a huge help. She has taught me so much, both in regards to PR and writing. She is an excellent editor and really is a go getter. It has been a learning process for both of us since she was relatively new at this as well, but I have learned quite a bit about what all is involved in PR from her. She really has been a great role model for me.

To read some of Katie’s work or get in touch with her, visit her blog at http://applyingpublicrelations.wordpress.com!

Class Reflection: Be a Better Persuader

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"Business woman consulting a partner" By inlinguaManchester

The main topic of class today was about Persuasive tactics and skills a Public Relations professional can use when dealing communication between audiences. But we first discussed some of the things a that would help a PR pro when working with a potential client:

1. Do your homework- Research the company by utilizing Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or checking out the company’s blog
2. Listen- What is the client looking for? Write down the things they tell you and start formulating questions and ideas.
3. Define the scope of work- How much is your client looking for? What kinds of processes are going to need to be implemented in order to finish the projects?
4. Feedback- Did your client get what they wanted? If so, get a positive reference from them.

"It's going to get worse" By Sumit

Public Opinion refers to the vastly differing opinions of people everywhere. It is very elusive and extremely difficult to measure at any given moment, but, is an important factor in persuasive writing to large publics. According to THINK: Public Relations, understanding and assessing the dynamics of competing or conflicting opinions is a crucial dimension of public relations work. In order to further understand how to be persuasive in a elusively opinionated culture, there are multiple factors that contribute such as  utilizing opinion leaders, mass media, conflict and assessing the factors that go into the communication process in general.

"Now That's Advertising!" By Joits

Opinion leaders are merely knowledgeable experts, celebrities or spokespeople who articulate opinions about specific issues in public discussions. Leaders as these are useful in catalyzing a flow of opinion, starting trends and viral-izing ideas.

Yes, PR people can use opinion leaders to influence their public’s opinions, but they can also reach targeted audiences directly via the mass media such as television, radio, newspapers, blogs and/or magazines. People tend to talk about the things they see or hear from TV or in newspapers and understanding and utilizing who controls the media and who sets the media agenda will help influence public opinion as well.

Conflict is any situation that two or more groups, organizations or committees have a difference of opinion in the same interests. Conflict in the public arena doesn’t necessarily yield negative results but actually creates a constructive process that leads to a consensus.

Lastly, each component, or factor, of persuasive communication process will help a PR pro as well. There are many factors, but to name a few: analyze the characteristics of the audience, clearly define suggested actions, source the credibility of the information, use simple language to avoid misunderstanding and utilize different channels to reach  targeted audiences.

There were many topics that we went over in class, but to discuss all of them would be similar to typing a short book!
To check out more information about persuasive writing, though, check out the THINK: Public Relations textbook 2011 edition or visit blogs from PR professionals such as the Ten Timeless Persuasive Writing Techniques.

Marketing Plans Communicate A Company’s Style

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“Think of marketing as the type of clothes you wear…if you dress like slob, you will be viewed as a slob. If you dress nice and clean your self up, people will be more intrigued to talk to you. Marketing is the clothes your company wears.”

"fused plastic bags coat" by Urban Woodswalker

Because I’m a Marketing major, I’ve been focusing a lot of my time reading blogs about marketing and similar topics. The statement above actually comes from the blog, “Lettuce: Keep Small Business Simple“. I enjoyed this blog because it discussed basic level aspects one would need to ask themselves as a new business owner that’s coming up with a marketing plan in a way that I could understand as a college student (with a intense love for clothes/style).

As explained in the post, after a new business owner creates a company, puts together an accounting plan and announces the company’s opening in the local newspaper– the next step is to create a marketing plan to help sell the products the company offers/produces etc. In order to do this though, there are three questions that need to be answered in order to to help appeal your product to your targeted audience:

1) Why is the product good?

2) What problem does the product solve?

3) Why does your audience need the product now?

Unless there’s an answer to each of these questions, the marketing plan will not be very strong and, well, the business won’t be very successful either. Once these are answered, though, the next step is to figure out how the business’s products should be advertised in order to appeal to its targeted audience(s).

For example, Quiksilver (a hip Calif. surfer brand)  is not going to market its clothing in a commercial where a 40- year- old soccer mom is driving to the beach because it would not answer the three questions and appeal to its targeted audience of young “beach-y” hipsters.

A good marketing plan also includes a well designed website, logo, business card etc. But to go above and beyond– including flyers, post cards, online catalogs or offering product packaging are great ways to enhance a marketing plan.

For more marketing tips, visit the blog “Marketing is Your Company’s Style“.

Angry Customers Express Thoughts Throughout Social Media

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What do you think of when you hear the phrase Valentine’s Day?

‘I want an apology sent to my wife’ By Michael Sebastian

I think of pinks and reds, love, chocolates and, above all, flowers.

But the popular floral delivery company has yet again failed to deliver many flowers this past valentines day according to Michael Sebastian in his blog post, “I want an apology sent to my wife”.

Apparently, the company faced a lot of angry complaints because of the incident, such as one Twitter user who demanded, “I want a letter of apology sent to my wife for failing as a business on the most important day of the year.”

The company also faced other complaints such as:
”  “@1800flowers delivers a poor quality product and i would never ever reccomend [sic] them #ValentinesDay #romance #love #flowers.”
To which @1800Flowers replied: “I apologize. Pls follow & dm us w/ the ord #, order issue, names on the order, & the del date. Thank you – Stephanie.””

Hopefully the company will be able to fix the dissatisfaction they created towards their company. Reaching out through social media is a great start, but they’ll probably have to do more than that to completely solve the problem.

To check out the blog post for yourself go here.