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.