Top 10 Things I Learned About PR This Year

This past year I have learned so much about Public Relations from being in Barbara Nixon’s PR Applications class and having the chance to interview Chris Rosica, an inspiring PR professional. The top ten things I learned, in no particular order, are as follows…

1. One of the biggest challenges of Public Relations is that it’s multi-faceted. We learned this on day 1 and it’s true–successful PR comes from thinking outside of the box.

2. You need to know how to write efficiently to work in PR.

3. Social Media is EVERYWHERE. It’s in your face everyday through online ads, magazine/newspaper articles, fliers, billboards, and sites like Facebook and Twitter–it’s unavoidable.

4. The major differences between a PR Department and a PR firm. For one of my topics of the week I had the opportunity to do a little research on the two and found out that I didn’t really know the difference; I just thought the terms were interchangeable!

5. You have to stay current! Whether you’ve worked for years in the PR department of a huge corporation, or are a brand new journalist, you have to keep up with social media through multiple mediums on a daily basis.

6. PR is all about creating a good public image. Public Relations people work to please their publics; these may include a company, business, client, shareholder, community, organization ect.

7. Two way communication is the key to good PR. It makes no sense to put so much time, money, and effort into PR without evoking some sort of feedback or response from your audience.

8. The impact of social media sites like Twitter, Linked In, and Facebook is incredible. Some of the Youtube videos I have posted in my blog show just how quickly social media sites can spread videos, pictures, and information.

9. Not everyone who says they’re “good with people” will be good at PR.

10. Tenacity (persistent determination) is so important to the field of PR. Mr. Rosica stated that the profession needs strong thinkers who get to the point quickly since “our job is to not take no for an answer.”

What’s an Advocacy Group?

This week in my PR Applications Class, my group did our presentation on chapter 20 of the textbook Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics. The chapter, entitled Nonprofit Organizations, was split between my group members and I, so I ended up reading about advocacy groups and hospital public relations. However, in this post I wanted to focus on advocacy groups.

Advocacy groups (also called pressure groups, lobby groups and some interest groups and special interest groups) use various forms of advocacy to influence public opinion and/or policy. They play an important part in the development of political and social systems as much of the media is dedicated to advocating.

Environmental groups and social issue organizations are two common types of advocacy groups. In the United States, Greenpeace is one of the most well-known environmental groups, using attention-getting tactics such as the 2007 project of building Noah’s Ark on Mt. Aratat to call attention to global warming. Others include the Rain Forest Action Network, National Wildlife Federation, and The Nature Conservancy.

Social issue organizations act like environmental groups but have social/behavioral goals. Well-known groups include Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the National Organization for Women (NOW), and People for the Ethical treatment of Animals (PETA)–which often times uses extreme confrontational tactics like raiding animal research labs or shaming fur wearers. Another group, the American Family Association, pressures advertisers to drop sponsorship of television shows they think are contrary to family values.

One of the emerging tactics used by some social issue organizations is creating cell phone ringtones (mobile-active.org) that make personal statements (i.e. sounds of endangered animals as conversation-starters).

The methods of operation for advocacy groups include lobbying, litigation, mass demonstrations, boycotts, and reconciliation.

  • lobbying = soliciting/trying to influence the votes of members of a legislative body–done often at state and local government levels (i.e. no smoking in public places)
  • litigation = when organizations file suits seeking court rulings favorable to their projects or attempting to block unfavorable projects
  • mass demonstrations = designed to demonstrate public support for a cause/ in some cases to harass operators of projects that group objects require intricate PR organizational work)
  • boycotts = is essentially a “hit them in the pocket” tactic; encourages people to stop buying some product/ using a service (one success was when the Rainforest Action Network boycotted Burger King for using beef raised in cleared rain forests)
  • reconciliation = good results found by cooperating with corporations to solve problems

Raising money is an unending costly program for advocacy groups. The fund-raising tactics typically used are direct mail and publicity campaigns. Ironically, lots of environmentalist groups advocate preservation of forests, but create mountains of waste paper by sending “junk mail” letters to raise funds.

Hopefully you learned something new about Advocacy Groups from this post, and will watch the funny video below for Greenpeace!

iPhone 4 Snaps Candids

Every single electronic device has it’s own glitch, or series of them. However, the new iPhone 4 seems to be a leading the rest in creepiness with it’s new problem. According to a Huffington Post article, the iPhone 4 Facetime app allegedly takes secret photos of users while they are unaware.

The complaints, which have been posted to an Apple Support Forum, all seem to agree with the fact that users “have seen photos taken with the iPhone 4’s front facing camera–but which they themselves did not take–freeze on the phone’s screen during FaceTime calls.” One man stated “I have a dashboard mount for my phone. I had left the phone in the car when I ran in to get my sandwich. This was at a strip mall that I had never visited before and never connected to any WiFi. I parked in the middle of the lot, about 75ft from the doors to Subway. Ran in, got my food, hopped back in the car. I hit the button to see if anyone called me (no one did) and drove off. After I got in to where I was working and ate my sandwich, I tried to use FaceTime and saw a frozen image of me in the car from 20-30 minutes prior!”

Apple is not sure what may be causing the problem or how to fix it, but the company told one client to restore the factory settings on the smart phone (which apparently didn’t solve the problem), and to then return the phone for a new one. Although I love my MacBook pro, I’m happy I don’t have a creepin’ iPhone 4! Have any of you had these problems?

Tequila Shots BYOSC (bring your own sippy cup)

Photo Credit: lighthack

PR Daily often times has some interesting articles–like today, where I read an article entitled An Applebee’s serves tequila to a 15-month-old; chain calls it ‘unacceptable’ by Michael Sebastian. Seeing this title, I of course had to read more. According to the story, one of the chain’s Detroit area restaurants served tequila mixed with apple juice in the child’s sippy cup this past Friday. Shortly thereafter, the child began acting “strangely” and the parents discovered the drink. After being rushed to the hospital, doctor’s found that the child’s blood-alcohol concentration was 1.0–over the limit for driving in most states.

The incident has sparked lot’s of attention; articles have been written by many news websites, Twitter is abuzz with Tweets about the establishment/story, and people are posting to Applebee’s Facebook wall. The company’s official Twitter account responded “Obviously any situation like this is unacceptable and we take it very seriously. We are working with local authorities and conducting our own investigation so we can assess exactly what happened.”

As for me, I’m not too sure if I’ll be going to Applebee’s anytime soon.

Ms. Career Girl

Image Credit: Ms. Career Girl, Nicole Crimaldi

This week, I came across a blog that I think every young degree/job seeking female should read. Ms. Career Girl was started by Nicole Crimaldi at the young age of 24 as a creative outlet and “passion project.” She wanted to connect with other young professionals who essentially wanted it all, just like she did.

But what she didn’t expect was that within 2 shorts years Ms.Careergirl.com would turn into a huge network and ultimately lead her to her new career. She swapped her finance degree and job in commercial banking to become the Community Marketing Manager for Chicago’s best daily deals site, YouSwoop.com.

Nicole is passionate about empowering women to have it all; a successful career in something they love, but also time outside of that career for a life! Her and the other writers at Ms. Career girl believe:

  • YOU are in charge of your career (not your employer, your parents or your college).
  • Successful people network EVERY DAY and rely on their network to get ahead.
  • If you don’t know what you want to do, test ideas out until you do.
  • Use technology to your advantage: brand yourself online in order to get where you want to be.
  • When conducting a career search, look for cool companies, not just cool job postings.
  • Read, read, read!
  • Interview often, even when you’re not looking.
  • Your college major isn’t everything.
  • You can have it all: a successful career doing something you love and a life outside of that career.

On the website, women write about ways to enhance your career/job search, give advice on staying healthy and fit, and address lots of interesting topics. I highly encourage any young female to visit Ms.Careergirl.com to read some of these inspiring and insightful posts!

Twin Talk

A few weeks ago, when I was talking to my mom on the phone, she told me about a YouTube video where a set of twins have a long and very funny conversation together in baby talk. I just got around to watching the video and it is absolutely adorable and hilarious! The fraternal twins–whose names I found out are Ren and Sam McEntee–have been having these conversations since they were about six months old according to their parents.

In February, their mother posted a video of them on YouTube.com and it received millions of views and media attention shortly thereafter. People everywhere wanted to know more about these two cutie pies, so ABC News found out that the family lived in Brooklyn NY and got them to appear on Good Morning America. In addition, the McEntee’s video aired on other news shows such as CBS and CNN, and was seen yesterday on the Ellen DeGeneres show with subtitles (apparently they were talking about April Fool’s Day).

Visit their mom’s blog to learn more about the twins and see some cute videos and pictures!