TOW 7: Podcasts

July 12, 2010

In listening to different podcasts, it was hard to find one that I could concentrate on. Because I have attention deficit disorder, it is difficult for me to physically sit down and do nothing but listen to someone talk. Especially when you can’t see the people talk. However, I found a few that I actually liked.

The first of these was on For Immediate Release. The podcast was an interview with Jennifer Cohen on the Uni-Ball Facebook campaign on July 7, 2010. The banter went back and forth about how Jennifer is the president of a small marketing boutique called Something Creative. As the interview progressed into questions about the uni-ball campaign to give away half a million free pens, it became clear how important using social networks can be to marketing. At one point, Holtz (the interviewer) asked Cohen how she advertised for this campaign. She said they had ads running on the television during the olympics, and there was  always a spot for the Facebook address at the bottom of the advertisement. When asked if she did any advertising actually through Facebook, Cohen told him how they were waiting to see how the campaign did after only a few days, due to a budget. Because the campaign did so well in the beginning, there was no need to advertise on the website. She also expressed how well the campaign worked because with having half a million pens, the team thought it would take around three months to get rid of all of them, in turn they were pen-less after only a month. The campaign was seeing success with 10,000 pens being given away each day. 

In a second podcast, I turned to Marketing over coffee which had a podcast entitled: Offensive Americans. After driving 7 hours to visit my grandmother over the weekend, 3 of those hours in rush hour traffic in the middle of Atlanta this podcast seemed to be right up my alley!  I found this podcast unique in that the delivery was basically two guys (John and Chris) carrying on a conversation over coffee. To me, it was very reminiscent of the tv show “Friends” when they would all sit in the coffee-house and talk about nothing in particular, but some important stuff all the while.  One of the things these two guys zeroed in on was the differences in high culture and low cultures ad viewing. I completely agree with and understand why there would be trepidation in paying for online advertisements. One knows what they’re paying for but not precisely who will be viewing that advertisement. Unlike advertising on television channels (the golf channel, the food network, lifetime, fox news, etc) or in magazines (playboy, vogue, teen beat, better homes and gardens) or even in the newspaper, when advertising online it is hard to narrow down exactly what your audiences demographic will be. If someone were to advertise on Facebook a new mp3 player, once upon a time they could have been certain that the viewers of that add were going to be young adults between 18 and 25ish. Now, that add can be seen by anyone from the age of 7-65ish. It is hard to narrow down your audience. Also where you may want to advertise a new platinum diamond ring, the only people who may see the ad are those that can’t afford it.
However, there must be some good in it. At least there are people seeing your ads, right?

Personally, I feel that a podcast can benefit PR students/practitioners in that they can hear what others are saying, what is the topic of conversation, what is the latest trends, and how others are handling certain issues. It is a great way for someone in the field of Public Relations to become connected with a world that isn’t on their back door step.


In researching tips for writing an effective press release I came across two helpful websites. I learned through this research that an effective press release can be one of the best techniques for publicizing an event or issue. According to one of these websites, ” A well-written, well-distributed and well-timed press release is not difficult or expensive to produce, yet can be effective and useful for waging peace.”

Some tips are:

  • Have a clear and engaging text
  • Prepare a careful selection of recipients
  • Have good timing.
  • Pay close attention to the content of the release
  • Start strong
  • Write for the media
  • Stick to the facts
  • Pick an angle and stick to it
  • Use active voice, not passive
  • Beware of jargon
  • Get permission

Basically, it is important to state all the facts, don’t beat around the bush. Make your presence known through the words without being pushy or overbearing. If it is to the point, while saying what you need to say it should be okay.

A good press release follows these guidelines:

  1. Format – necessary information is given in a readable, accessible, and professional manner
  2. Style – easy to read and engaging
  3. Distribution – given to just the right reporters, editors, and broadcasters
  4. Timing – for release at the most optimal time for both reporters and the target audience

For more information on how to write effective press releases, please visit PRWebDirect or NAPF: How to write effective press releases .

TOW 6: A time of crisis

July 12, 2010

According to a slide show presented by professor Barbara Nixon, a crisis is “a non-routine event that risks undesired visibility that in turn threatens significant reputational damage.”

A crisis can put a great deal of strain on anyone, and sometimes even more so on a PR representative. However, there are seven things that can be done to relieve some of the stress and help the recovery process:

  1. A list of the members of the crisis management team
  2. Contact information for key officers, spokespeople, and crisis management members
  3. Fact sheets on the company, each division, each physical location, and each product offered.
  4. Profiles and biographies for each key manager in your company
  5. Copies of your company, division and product logos, your press release format and the scanned in signature of your CEO on disk
  6. Pre-written scripts answering key questions that you have generated through your crisis scenario analysis
  7. Contact information for each of you key media contacts both locally, nationally, and if appropriate, key financial press and analysts.

There are 3 R’s of Crisis Communication: Research, Response, and Recovery.

Take for example the latest Mel Gibson saga. Mel has been accused of being abusive to his ex-girlfriend and recently there have been tapes (phone) leaked to the press that sound like Mel Gibson talking to his ex, all expressing his anger at her for the way she dresses to not loving her.

“Any situation can be dealt with and some are easier than others,” says Glenn Selig in an interview about Crisis Management PR for Hollywood Celebrities, “The most critical thing is to create a plan and deal with the situation and not avoid it.”

No matter how the crisis is overcome, one thing is important to remember: stay calm and keep the communication flowing!


June 24, 2010

Interview with Kneale Mann

In the interview with Kneale Mann, I found it interesting how he expressed that facebook is viewed by the companies and how closely associated we are with the companies we work for. When I was first on facebook (5-6 years ago) it was such a new thing that only college students could become members. Slowly it spread to the general public and I can remember my mother telling me- now Katie (my nickname), you need to be careful about what you put on there because you are showing everyone who you are. That really stuck with me because all of a sudden facebook and myspace were being criticized by young people that were on and there were predators getting these girls’ information and stalking them. There was so much concern baout it and at that point in time, I was still trying to get a job with the board of education. I can remember deleting my facebook because I didn’t want to be linked to some of the people I was assocated with (as sad as that is to say) and also because I didn’t want to take the chance on portraying myself as someone this company wouldn’t want to hire. Now, it seems that everyone in my school, the board of ed.., even my own mother are members of this social networking site. This is part of the reason I still refuse to get on it.

I also agree with what he says about his blog being such a way to find a focus and having your blog be something about what you’re interested in. It is extremely difficult to blog about things that aren’t interesting. It’s a boredom that shows through your writing, which in turns makes your audience not want to read it. “You have to start somewhere” which is right- everything has a beginning and that is the main thing to remember (and keep one from stressing out about it). When I first started blogging, it was my way of expressing myself in sa way that was just venting. It is often hard for me to physically say everything I want, but when I write it- I can take the time to say exactly what I want how I want to say it. It’s very cathartic.

I would really love to know more about where Kneale sees technology impacting the mass media/communications field in the next 20 years. There have been so many drastic changes to keep up with, and every day it seems there is something new that impacts our field, that I would love to hear about his predictions and see if they come true or not.

Click here to view the interview!

I found the one week of twitter to be … exciting. It’s so exhilarating to be on-line with other people. It often reminds me of a chat rooms for people you WANT to talk to. It is a great resource to keep in contact with Pr Professionals, as well as many of my classmates who are interested in the same things as I am.

It is also a great way to remind us how much we talk and keep our words to a minimum. It is easy to ramble, but with a words/characters limit, it’s helpful and a great reminder that our words must count for something.

I find that Twitter is becoming a way for companies to have their hands on the public. By that, I mean that it seems companies are more engrossed in the public. 4 years ago, when Twitter was first coming about, it was more of a social network, a way for friends to keep in touch, a text message without your cell phone which really seemed to take hold and caused a revolution in the way media was being produced. Instead of hearing about that massive wave that just toppled Indonesia on the news tonight at 11:00, you could get access to it immediately. It really fed into our “right now” need/want.

I think Twitter it is a great resource that can be used for the mass media that it is meaning: it’s a great way to tell people about something we individually or as a mass whole deem important. It is shaping the way we get our news and shaping the way we connect with each other. Why call each person individually when you can connect with each of them at the same time.

On a side note: I think it’s funny that MTV is now looking for a TJ (Twitter Jockey). Just another example of how it is converging all different types of media into one. Lots of fun and learning.


June 11, 2010

PR Department VS PR Firms

I think a person could probably get more insight on public relations by working with a firm, simply because a firm is centered on that specific job. Yes, a department is centered on it, but you could be pulled from your job to do other jobs as well. This is the case of most departments. Take for example one of the places I work: a recreation department. There are several departments within that department; afterschool, athletics, marketing and communications, the clean up department etc… I work in the afterschool department but get pulled in to help athletics sometimes, as well as other departments. But in a firm, it’s all centered on Public Relations.

It may be better for someone who is just starting out in the PR field to try to start out in a firm, but I don’t think departments should be discounted either. Some places are just to small to have PR firms. For example Statesboro. Statesboro is too small a community to have a PR firm, but Savannah is large enough with the surrounding area (Hilton Head, Tybee, Ft.Stewart, Statesboro, etc.) to have a base that can support it. Take for example CarriageTrade PR- this is a firm in Savannah. Would they be able to stay in business if they were to move to a smaller place like Statesboro? Or Hinesville? Probably not.

My whole reasoning for saying that is that some people don’t want to move to a big city. Just because I want to work in PR doesn’t mean that I want to move to San Diego, Atlanta or even Savannah. That’s why it is also good to get experience in departments. You really get a feel for working in the community and seeing people and getting those contact. Even if you’re pulled from one department to another, it may get hectic, but in the end you do it because there is a love for your job. An honest inspiration to be the best and excel at what you do. You can’t always find that at a firm.

Here is a list of Georgia PR Firms — notice where majority of them are.

Tow 2: Commenting

June 11, 2010

 Why should you comment on blogs?

Why are comments such an integral part of blogs? What advice would you offer on writing effective blog comments?

Comments are integral because it truly allows a blogger to interact with his/her readers. Unlike newspapers & Tv where you don’t get the one on one feedback a comment can inform a blogger of things that can help strengthen their blog, what their weaknesses are, can help provide supporting evidence, or can throw a stick in the mud to a bloggers theory.

If I were to offer any advice for commenting on blogs it would be that when a person is commenting remember that you are your own person, you may or may not think the same way the blogger does.  If you have differences don’t be rude. Present what you have to say in a way that can be communicated clearly and can offer a window for conversation. Offer supportive comments, but also challenge the blogger to think outside their own box. Ride the pros and the cons.

View some Internet Ethics

In looking ahead to a career in public relations, as well as for the purposes of this interview, I chose to interview someone whom I hope to one day be able to intern with. I chose Broni Gainous of the Bulloch Country Parks and Recreation Deparment. Broni is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator to the recreation department. I know Broni personally because I also work for the recreation deparment.  Due to extenuating circumstances- the interview had to be done via telephone.

What’s a typical week like? The person that tells you that Marketing/PR people have typical weeks is lying to you. But, that’s what I like about the career, it’s never the same. Things change, not only daily, but hourly (sometimes even faster)! With so much of your job depending on media deadlines, you find yourself shifting gears constantly!

What do you wish you would have known before starting your career in PR? I wish I would have know that the career is not always glitz and glamour…be ready to get your hands dirty in this career. You will be the one setting up props for the commercial shoot, building the sets for tv shows, writing all the scripts and editing everything. This is a career where you must know how to do it all!

How important is writing in your career?  In my job specifically, the “press release” is not always that important to write because I can sell it to a reporter who can write it for me. However, writing in general is important because I have to write all the copy for brochures, the scripts for my radio/tv advertisements, etc.

What three tips would you offer someone just starting out in PR? 1. Learn the MACINTOSH computer and dive into DESIGN software. Although the Windows computer is developing nicely in the design world, Mac is still the leader and industry standard. KNOW a page layout program (InDesign), as well as support software (Photoshop, Illustrator).
2. Know how to deal with the public in a manner that is constructive on both sides of the argument. Don’t “fight” with someone…know your facts, state them, support them. Averting bad publicity is just as crucial as attracting good publicity.
3. Learn all you can in every aspect of this career…TV, Radio, Print Media, Social media, WEBSITE,Layout/design software, offset printing. You will need to be proficient in these areas so that you can effectively do your job.

Did your education prepare you for working in PR? How?
Not really. Although I have a PR Degree from GSU, I believe the degree is based on journalism. In today’s PR world, there’s so much more to it than that…communicating with media as well as your staff, managing the corporate image and customer service, planning media campaigns, organizing special events, public presentations, handling crises, and much more. Fortunately, my internship taught me lots…and then my first “real” job taught me so much more! The degree was just the stepping stone…how you choose to learn in this field will determine your success.

How has PR changed since you entered the field?
The basics are the same, but the technology is advancing so rapidly that it takes daily learning to keep up with it all. Where print media used to be the main medium, we find today that social media has much more of an impact.

When your company is hiring for an entry-level PR position, what makes a candidate stand out? When I look at hiring part-time staff or interns, I look for experience. I don’t always mean that “John Doe” interned for Gulfstream in the PR Department. I mean, during the years in college, did this person get involved with PRSSA or other student PR organizations….did this person volunteer his/her time with non-profit agencies to gain experience…did this person attempt “different” classes that are not required such as Desktop Publishing or Graphic Design. This field needs “go-getters” and if I can see on a resume that a person just sailed through college without going that extra mile, I can see that they won’t go that extra mile in my office.

How many hours per week do you usually work? Is it common to take work home? 
On the clock, it’s between 40-50 hours a week. However, I do work from home because I am so busy during the day that in order to meet my deadlines, I have to do some work at home. Mostly what I do at home though is return emails, work on my social media sites and our websites.

What is the best training or education to acquire?
I would recommend anyone getting a BS in PR to also go back to get a Masters in PR or at least an MPA or MBA.

What are the most difficult problems, decisions or challenges you must face?
Communication is the most difficult. Whether it be inter-departmental communication or staff to customer communication, it must always be handled with  care. We must try to communicate all those little details to all involved so that everyone is “up to date” and can always answer questions.

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Get my masters degree for one. Learn time management better. Learn more tv/radio skills.