Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Little Birdie Told Me: Tweet Tweet

Honestly, I'm just not a huge fan of Twitter. Maybe I just don't understand it's full potential; I don't know. To me, it just seem like it is just full of random "this is what i am doing" status updates.

An article by Sarah Milstein shows the Twitter page of a man named Jack. Jack is the founder of Twitter, so you would assume he has some pretty good things to Twitter about, right? Well, you know what happens when we assume! Jack twitters that he is "putting on a mic" and that he has "$3.50 in his pocket." Sorry Jack, I really just don't care!

I believe Milstein shares my sentiments to some degree, as she mentions that if you are using Twitter for professional reasons, you should ignore the Twitter promt of "What are you doing" because frankly, most people don't care. Instead, she states that you should note cool work-related things you've discovered and talk more about what has your attention.

I do think Twitter could be useful, as long as you have something to say. It would be great if you had a new product or an event going on that was always changing. Or if you were the PR rep for a celebrity or presidential candidate. People are always curious about what they are doing, so I think people like that would be easy to tweet about. And let's face it; in today's world where so many companies are chopping out their marketing and pr budgets without hesitation, using free services such as Twitter are a great remedy to help you get publicity.

I guess my biggest concern with Twitter in thinking about my own job is, what in the world would I Twitter about all day? Chris Brogan offers 50 ideas on using Twitter for business, so I looked to him for advice on what to Twitter about at work. He mentioned promoting your employees' outside-of-work stories. I could do that. He also mentions sharing the human side of your company. I could do that too. Right off the bat, these are two things that I could Twitter about...I just don't think it is enough to sustain an entire Twitter account and draw in readers. I mean sure Twitter is great (considering that it does have a hige following) I just think there is something that I'm not getting.... :(

Sunday, November 23, 2008

MSU Meets Social Networking

The guest speaker in class was very interesting! I think it was a wonderful opportunity for our class to be able to hear first-hand how the university is working to keep up with the changing times. As Missouri State grows, it will be more and more imperative that we engage in these tools to keep up with other schools who may have more money and better recruiting resources than we do.

I did find it extremely interesting that Mr. Mitchell does not have a background in Public Relations. I guess since we talk about these issues and tools so much in our class, I just assumed that he would have some sort of background in PR. Although he does not have a PR background, I do believe that Mr. Mitchell is doing a great job with social media, especially with the amount of time is he given each week to devote to social media. I believe that to truly take Missouri State's social media network to the next level, Mr. Mitchell needs to be given more time to focus on these aspects. Likewise, I believe it would be fruitful for him to have the aide of someone in the University Communications office who is trained in public relations and creating and maintaining relationships with various publics. I really think that these would be good steps for our university to take.

Would I like to have his job? I don't think his job would be horrible, I just don't think that I would be very good at it! :) I think I would be fine with the social media aspects, but so much of his job is devoted to other aspects, such as creating videos, editing sound clips, etc., and I do not feel that I have the background to do a good job in these areas. However, I think that anyone who had the time to devote to being an assistant to Mr. Mitchell would greatly benefit from the experience.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Podcasts: Not the Best PR Invention, But Still Pretty Good

A podcast is an audio or video file that is downloaded through the Web to a person's media player or personal computer. A podcast is different from regular downloading in that it can be subscribed to and automatically downloaded when content is added.

I think that podcasts can be useful in the PR world. That being, I don't think that podcasts are the best thing to ever hit to PR world, but I don't think they can really hurt. In a business environment, a podcast is a great way to get your message across to a busy CEO. Usually, someone in charge of a company doesn't have to time to sit down and read a book; they can't afford to be away from their desk for three days to attend a conferece. A podcast is a great remedy for this situation. A CEO could simply download a podcast, and listen to it while driving to work or running on the treadmill.

Podcasts are also useful in reaching those who have different learning styles. We all know that some learn best by reading, others by doing, and yet others by hearing. Podcasting gives the PR professional just another tool in their toolbelt to reach a vast array of learners and develop a more positive relationship with the target audience.

I found a case study that said that BMW is using podcasts to push their branding. They are offering podcasts from their conferences and other events. According to the case study "BMW reports that their web traffic has increased since the introduction of the podcasts, and has matched traffic generated from a number of short films released several years ago." I doubt BMW would say that podcasts aren't useful. Like I said, podcasts probably aren't the greatest PR tool ever created, but they are pretty cool and useful!

FYI: I found this blog that lists 20 creative ways different industries can use podcasts. Check it out.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Putting It All Together with IMC

Marketing and public relations differ in a few ways; they have different agendas. Marketing is interested in the market and look at the consumers and the demands of those consumers. On the other hand, public relations is concerned with building and maintaining positive relationships. The two work hand-in-hand, as the relationships built with public relations efforts allows marketers to have a healthy relationship to work in. Another difference between the two is seen in the value-add to the company. Marketing adds value by increasing revenue to the organization, while public relations adds value by decreasing the expenses that are created when issues are ignored.

Integrated Marketing Communications (or IMC), is a process which came into vogue in the 90's. Before this time, it was assumed that a single ad or news release could sell a product or service. However, IMC, which refers to the carefully created activities of marketing, advertising, pr, sales, Web sites, branding, etc, changed this thought. These elements now work together to create a stronger, more solidified message. Basically, it makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts.

I do believe that IMC is merging PR and Marketing both online and offline. By making the messages of all elements (television ads, newspaper ad and radio ads, social networks, social news releases, etc.) a more cohesive message is formed. This allows branding and brand recognition to take place, in order to become more recognizable to the customer. This allows the pr professional, marketing professional, and advertising professional to speak with a single, cohesive voice.

A lot of jobs I see now integrate many facets. For example, at my office, I feel that our marketing team does use IMC a lot. The three of us are all on the marketing team, but I take on more of the public relations and communication aspects, while another girl takes on more of the sales aspects, and the male team members works more on the branding and general marketing duties. We all have our own areas of expertise, but we all work together to create one message that we distribute in our own channels of communication. I feel our organization has a great, cohesive brand, and it is due to our ability to bring our individual areas together as one.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Working the Social Media News Release

Today's consumer is more web savvy than ever before. It is the job of the public relations practitioner to accommodate to the consumer in order to form a positive relationship between the organization and the consumer. The consumer has demanded that an organization alter their message format, and the PR professional has done this through the use of a social media news release.

In recent years, the social media news release has become more and more important. This innovation has increased the ease of use for the media, as well as allowed them to easy accessibility to other online facets of one's organization. For example, by distributing a social media news release, the media or other intended target are able to quickly click on links to gain more information, such as a Web site, RSS feeds, or an organizations Facebook profile.

A blog post by Lee Oden offers some great reasons for using social media news releases. One of particular interest is the ability for the PR professional to help the journalist out, thus increasing media relations. Oden suggests that using this new type of press release helps publications who are expected to do more with less staff than ever before. By utilizing a social media press release, a journalist instantly has access to additional resources, images, video and audio without having to actively pursue these items.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Social Networking as a Form of Public Relations

Most of us love our Facebook or Myspace accounts. We check them daily to catch up with friends, or creep on people we barely even know. However, these sites have the potential to have a huge impact in public relations work.

According to a blog by
Yaxley, when using social networking to promote one's organization, it is important that the practitioner manage their time well. From being both a Facebook and Myspace user, I can see how someone could get easily caught up in looking at other things and forget the task at hand. Another tip she offers is to not be a lurker, but instead be actively engaged in conversing with people and making comments. This is extremely important, as one the essential elements of public relations is relationship building.

Using social networking is a great way for a practitioner to manage their time and develop relationships. Most people in today's world seem to prefer to communication by typing in some way, through e-mail, social networking sites, texting, etc. It seems that no one is ever in their office to answer phone calls. By utilizing social networking sites, a professional can leave a message that the potential consumer can retrieve and respond to whenever they like, even if they can't get a hold of the practitioner. This is especially vital when working with clients in different time zones as well.

If a PR professional is going to utilize social networks, it is essential that they check their networks just as often as they do their voicemail and e-mail. Likewise, they must update their pages regularly so people will not get bored with them and lost interest. One of the worst things I find is a page that has outdated information. Along those lines, I hate when I send a message to a company's social networking page and I do not get a response. This definitely does not build a relationship with me, and instead works to destroy that relationship. These are important elements that a PR professional should consider before beginning social networking; it has to become a part of the daily routine.

As they say, go big or go home. :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

RSS in a PR world

This class is really my first time learning about the world of RSS (or Really Simple Syndication). Sure, I have heard of it before, but I've never really tried it out. When thinking about how I could use RSS in a public relations career, I can see that the positive aspects would far outweigh the negative ones.

Today we live in a world where spam filters and junk e-mail blockers have made it increasingly difficult for a public relations person to get messages such as newsletters and announcements to their target audience. One of the biggest benefits of RSS is that the consumer has the power to choose what they want. A public relations person no longer has to worry about CAN-SPAM and e-mail laws because the consumer is willingly signing up for their RSS feeds. The feeds are targeted so you are able to get the right information to the right people.

In the event of a crisis, I believe that RSS feeds would become even more useful to an organization. By using RSS feeds in a crisis, the public would be able to continuously follow the information as it becomes available. If you have a situation where people are missing, their names could be continuously added to a site and then sent immediately through RSS feeds, letting family members know their status. Loved ones far away could be able to track the progress on the crisis and the relief efforts.

The only real negative I can see is the inability to track readers. However, I think this is the case with anything. When an organization sends out a mailer or e-mails a newsletter, you never really know if the person read the material or not. The only real way to tell is if a conversion happens (i.e. a person reads the material and calls to order something). No matter which channel of communication one uses (snail mail, e-mail, RSS feeds) we will not be able to tell if the audience really paid attention. Therefore, why not give RSS fees a try? It's much cheaper than sending out an expensive mailer to hundreds of potential clients!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Using Blogs in PR

This week, we were asked to blog about how blogs are used from a PR perspective. Honestly, until this class, I never really thought much about using blogs for personal or professional reasons. I guess I just assumed that blogs were kind of like zanga, mostly just for people to keep a public diary of their lives. That certainly did not appeal to me, because I want my secrets to stay secret! :) However, in just the few short class periods we have had, my eyes have opened up to how pertinent blogs can be in the public relations profession.

Before I began to work as a Marketing and PR Assistant at The Great Game of Business, the organization had started Web site (separate from their main page) that included a resource library and message board-type forum. The site was started before blogs became mainstream, and at the time was a cutting-edge example of what blogs have evolved into. However, the problem is that the experts at my organization became too busy to keep up with the message board. I would love to start a new blog about our organization, but I cannot get buy-in from the people who would need to be contributors. I really think that for an organization to have a blog really shows commitment to their customers. To me, a blog is kind of like giving away free information and advice, which is a great value-add for your client. If anyone has suggestions on how to get buy-in, please let me know! I think this would be a great tool for our organization, but others just don't see the importance like I do. I think it may be both a generational and lack of time problem.

Although I can't get going on an organizational blog, my current job has certainly benefited from me being in this class. Since learning about the importance of blogs, I have taken those things we are talking about and implementing them at work. One of the first things I did was sign up for google alerts. I have google alerts on all of our organization's keywords. Due to this, any time someone blogs about any of our keywords, I am sent an e-mail that alerts me. I am able to click on a link to their blog and read what they wrote. This is important to the public relations of our organization because it allows me to monitor what people are saying about us. Or, if they aren't saying anything directly about us, but still saying something indirectly about us (i.e. not mentioning The Great Game of Business, but mentioning open-book management) I am able to reply to their message and try to get the blogger to contact us or get an expert on the subject, such as my boss, to lend advice. (It is important to note that whomever responds from my organization always mentions that they are employed at The Great Game of Business, so as to practice ethical public relations.) This helps to build a relationship between the blogger and our organization. It is also a great way to get publicity to readers of the blog who may have no idea what our organization is about.

Another way that blogs can be used from a public relations perspective is to set up google alerts for an organization's competitors. I have not had the chance to do this yet for my organization, but is definitely on my to-do list. Even if a blogger isn't talking about my organization, but instead writing about a competitor, I am gaining useful information by learning who is talking about our industry. By finding out what others are saying about my competitors, I am able to step in and offer advice. I am able to fill the holes that the competitor has left open. Likewise, if someone is unhappy with the service they received from a competitor, I am able to encourage the writer to try our services. I will know what upset them about the competitor, and actively work to make sure that those issues do not arise within my organization.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Just last week, I added a video to YouTube for the company I work for, The Great Game of Business, so this is actually something I am beginning to experience. The decision to do this came after a discussion with my boss about the things we have discussed in this class thus far. A public relations person, such as myself, could use a video program like YouTube to promote their organization or event. YouTube is a program that is growing immensely and it is easy for viewers to get hooked. Promotion could be done by adding short clips from last year's event, or creating promotional videos based on various target audiences.

You Tube has many strengths. Obviously, by posting a video on YouTube rather than a company's website, a broader audience is more apt to see the video. Likewise, one of the big reasons we decided to post videos on YouTube was that by hosting it on YouTube rather than our Web site, we are able to decrease the load time for our Web site. Instead of having potential clients get frustrated with a slow load time, we are able to simply have a link to the video that opens in a new window, and the potential client never has to close out of our site. After viewing the video, they still have our site up to surf.

Another strength of the program is the ability to have people post comments about your video. This way, you can monitor what people are saying about your video. True, some of the comments may be negative and you do not want the public to see them, but YouTube gives you the ability to approve comments before they are posted (you just have to specify this on the settings). Also, a strength is the ability to see how many people have viewed your video and track how much it has spread from day to day.

However, there is a down-side to seeing the number of people who have viewed your video; you cannot see who those people are. One of the programs I use to send out our newsletter not only tells you how many people have clicked on a link, but also allows you to see the e-mail addresses of the people who have clicked on it. We use this information to find out what people are interested in, and contact them based on their interests. I would love to see a feature like this on YouTube.

Another negative aspect of the program is that videos can only be 10 minute clips. The video I uploaded was 14 minutes. Unfortunately, I had to chop the video into two parts so that I did not have to delete anything from the video. From checking the view number, I can tell that some people have watched one video and have not continued onto the second part. They may not have known that there was a second part, and thought that the video just ended abruptly. Or, someone may view part two, not realizing that there is a part one, and the video would not make sense. I believe this is a major weakness of YouTube. These are definitely ways that YouTube could hurt our company's image.

I think they primary public for a YouTube broadcast would consist of a demographic of late teenagers to young adults. These seem to be the people who would be more inclined to search YouTube for videos. To get this primary public to view the videos, it would be necessary to come up with keywords that both apply to the video and would appeal to the viewer so they have an interest in viewing your video. Hopefully after viewing the video, they will be inclined to go to the organizations Web site to find out more about the organization.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

When I Grow Up....

Sometimes I feel like I should already have the question answered of “what do you want to be when you grow up?” However, once I’ve got it figured out, it always seems to change. Sooooo today the answer is…..

My main goal is to be a good mommy and wife! :) But before that, I would like to have a successful career in some form of public relations. My dream job would be to do community relations for a major sports team or to do event planning for HUGE events, but I would be happy with (almost) any job doing community relations or event planning. If being that specific doesn’t work out, I would just like to have a job where I get to do a little bit of everything PR related…marketing, media relations, event planning, community relations, employee relations, etc. I tend to get bored easily, so the variety would probably be good for me!

After being a huge success in the PR world for a couple of years, I would like to take time off to be a stay-at-home mom. In between changing diapers and running my kids to soccer, I’d like to work on becoming Accredited in Public Relations. I really want some kind of abbreviation to put after my name!

Going beyond five years, once my kids go to school, I’d like to go back to work part-time (this time in the non-profit world) and hopefully work for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

I really hope that a Master’s degree will help me in the future! I’m getting kind of nervous, because I talk to recent COM grads like Kristin Kirchoff or MBA grads who can’t find a job because employers are telling them that they are too qualified. I’m sure they don’t care if they are too qualified…they just want a job!!! I’m worried this will happen to me, and I will have to leave my Master’s degree off of my resume for my first time job hunting, just so I can get some experience. All of this hard work better be worth it!

Monday, September 15, 2008


This is my first attempt at blogging! Scary!