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!

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!

An Interview With Kneale Mann

For this week, I watched an interview between my professor (Barbara Nixon) and her canadian friend Kneale Mann. Within the short interview, I learned a lot of new information about PR and social media.

Kneale, a a twenty-six year marketing and media veteran, first introduces some of his past jobs and speaks about working in both the public and private sector of social media. He states that he enjoys working in both the public and private sector, but that they have major differences. For the private sector, Kneale works mainly with smaller companies to improve business strategy, while on the government side he does almost exclusively marketing and social media strategizing.

The 2 points I liked best from this interview were…

1. His answer to the question “what do you do when you work for a company but want to have a Facebook?” which was “always remember that you represent that company.” He puts it plain and simple–if you wouldn’t want someone in your company to see a post, picture, or video, then don’t put it up.

2. You can’t have biases between different mediums such as public relations, communications, marketing, and/or social media. A person needs to realize and understand the overlap between each and how they work together in order to be successful in any or all of them.

In addition, he talks about the importance of blogging. His advice to new bloggers is to just write–he says to talk about something that interests you and “just start writing!”. Afterwards, he says to find your audience. The way to do this is to just write and they’ll find you. Kneale says that we want instant gratification–we immediately want 1,000 followers on Twitter– but it just won’t happen. He says that you need to put in the work and take time to comment on other people’s blogs to get them to comment on yours.

Guest Blogger: Jessica Ardrey

For our ninth topic of the week in my Public Relations Applications class, we were instructed to exchange blogs with someone else and post their one of their blog posts on our site. This idea of guest blogging came from an article by Adam Vincenzini and Emily Cagle in which they highlight the benefits of March as the “Be My Guest” Mutual Blogging Month. Jessica Ardrey and I chose to swap blogs because we really like reading each others’ posts; so, I now share with you her recent post Mmm…Strawberries, which will have any northerner (like myself) yearning to attend the Florida Strawberry Festival!

Mmm…Strawberries

4MAR

STRAWBERRY

Yes! It’s time for great food, family, and fun at this year’s 2011 Florida Strawberry Festival located in the beautiful town of Plant City, FL. The Strawberry Festival starts on March 3-13. It is an eleven day event packed full of something for everyone. The Festival is celebrating their 76th anniversary with a theme of “Taste the Flavor of Fun!” Flavor is something the Strawberry Festival has tons of, corn dogs, elephant ears, and pretty much anything made with a strawberry.

The Saint Clemens booth is my favorite place to enjoy a big bowl of strawberry shortcake with my family. When entering the booth cake or biscuit is the first step to creating your every own strawberry shortcake. After that I love to pile high the strawberries and homemade whip cream and I always top it with a fresh strawberry.

Shortcake isn’t the only thing the Strawberry Festival has to offer. Some of the best music entertainment all over the U.S. comes to perform every year. My favorite this year is Clint Black and Lady A. Also, the festival has many exhibits and livestock show that youth in the community have spent all year raising these animals for this event. The youth will auction off certain animals to raise money for scholarships to better their education.

The Strawberry Festival is the largest event that happens in the little town Plant City. Plant City is the winter strawberry capital of the world and people from all over the world come every year to celebrate the harvest of our strawberries. The Strawberry Festival has over 2,000 volunteers every year that dedicate their time and energy to make this event so great. Without the volunteers the festival would not be able to perform at the ultimate standard it does today. The volunteers, as well as, the director of the festival open their arms to almost amillion people every year and show them that Plant City is a great place to visit, but an even better place to live.

Hopefully whoever reads my blog will go visit the Strawberry Festival and “Taste the Flavor of Fun!”

How to Create a Winning Resume

Image Credit: Resume T-shirt by Blackbird Tees; photo taken by SOCIALisBETTER

Whether you are looking for a summer internship, your first job, or searching for a new employer, a resume will be the first step to get you where you want to go. Contrary to popular belief, a resume will not score you a job, but it can certainly get you an interview and become the basis of the questions asked in that interview. In order to create a winning resume, I did my research. I visited three web sites and added professional knowledge to my own; hopefully it will be helpful to you as you write or rewrite your resume.

Hot Tips On Resume Writing by Yana Parker answers 24 common questions that arise when writing a resume. The question that stood out to me most was “What’s the best way to impress an employer?” Parker’s answer was “Fill your resume with “PAR” statements. PAR stands for Problem-Action-Results; in other words, first you state the problem that existed in your workplace (or school), then you describe what you did about it, and finally you point out the beneficial results.” We often forget that a resume is all about us, not past jobs and responsibilities, but how we performed and what we accomplished in our roles.

How to Write a Masterpiece of a Resume is an article that tells you how it is–the good, the bad, and the ugly. Published by the Rockport Institute, it is easy to read and will guide you through the process of writing a successful resume; each and every section is covered in-depth. The article establishes that “A resume is an advertisement, nothing more, nothing less…It presents you in the best light. It convinces the employer that you have what it takes to be successful in this new position or career.” Part 6 is especially helpful because it gives writers a list of Power Words that will enhance their writing so that it may stand out from the rest.

Resume Guidelines: Eight Editing Thoughts gives writers a short checklist to use when reviewing their completed resume. The idea of checking for steadiness or making “sure that there is steadiness particularly with regard to the use of numbers for numbers, money and dates, short forms and plurals” is one that not many people will remind you of when checking over your resume. However, it is important to be consistent so that your resume is both easy to read and has a more professional appearance.

I hope that this short post will be a helpful guide as you strive to write the most expertly presented and well-written resume you possibly can. Remember that a resume is all about YOU and will provide merely a small glance of your abilities to a prospective employer, so take some time to figure out what to put on that 8×11 piece of paper.

PR Department or PR Firm?

Where should a new PR practitioner choose to begin his/her career, in a PR department or in a PR firm? That’s a loaded question, and in our economy it would be great to get hired to work for either; however, if you have the choice, choose wisely.

"crossroads" by Lori Greig

First and foremost, what’s the difference here? According to agencyfinder.com “a Public Relations Firm (pr firm) is a professional services organization, generally hired to conceive, produce and manage un-paid messages to the public through the media on behalf of a client, with the intention of changing the public’s actions by influencing their opinions.” While a firm is it’s own business, a Public Relations Department (pr department) is a division within a company with “the main goal of…enhancing a company’s reputation.” Although a pr firm and a pr department may seem similar, they are indeed quite different.

Working for a public relations department can be very beneficial because you will not only discover how the pr department works, but also learn about the internal structure of the company or organization as a whole. Nowadays, CEO’s feel as if pr departments are a good investment in order to form negotiations and compromises with a key number of publics. In a pr department one usually has more resources, higher salaries,  and good benefits; but, the work may be slower paced, one’s duties are more narrowly focused, and one has the “same” client all of the time–which can get boring. Another downside is that PR is often looked at as unnecessary or expendable when it comes time to cut costs; so if the economy takes a turn for the worse, the department better be able to prove it’s worth.

On the other hand, a pr firm provides a fast-paced and exciting atmosphere, the opportunity to network with other professionals (and maybe get a better job), and plenty of variety (one can work on multiple projects or with many clients at the same time). According to chapter 4 of my Public Relations Strategies and Tactics book, “The Strategic Public Relations Center at the University of Southern California (USC) reports that public and private companies spend about 25 percent of their total public relations budget on the services of public relations firms.” Although this shows that one will have steady work, a pr firm may have limited budgets and resources, intense daily pressure to meet deadlines, and one seldom sees the impact of their work.

If I were given the opportunity to work for either a pr firm or pr department as a new PR practitioner, I would choose a pr firm. Working for a pr firm would give me a variety of experiences, new skills, and networking opportunities, which I believe are vital to a budding career. In addition, I would enjoy the fast-paced environment and ability to work on many projects to reach short-term goals. Which would you choose?