PR Campaigns – The blog

February 28, 2009

Should PR be in the journalism school?

Filed under: Precision PR — gbohulan @ 10:04 pm
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Don’t get me wrong. I am extremely proud to be a part of the Walter Cronkite School. It’s one of the most prestigious journalism schools in the country. But that’s the thing. It’s one of the best “journalism” schools. As a PR major on the verge of graduation, I can remember sitting in my required JMC and MCO classes. I would always be wondering, “What does this have to do with PR?” Yes, print ethics and the future of business journalism are important but hello! What about us? Has the j-school forgotten about us? I would appreciate more emphasis on PR in our classes.

I wanted to find out if PR should really be under the journalism curriculum so I found this argument by Bob Conrad. It gives ten reasons about why PR should not be in journalism schools. They are all fascinating, but there was one reason that grabbed my attention, “Public relations professionals are (slowly, at times) embracing and celebrating new media. The latest issues of the PRSA newsletter were ripe with social media articles and Twitter was a front page feature.” Does that mean all this practice on how to write a perfect press release was in vain?

Mike Keliher wrote a blog to counter Conrad’s argument. As a part of his post, he writes, “The future of PR is a return to what should have always been our focus: telling stories effectively, communicating and interacting with people. It’s not a business function; it’s a human function.”

Does that mean is it our responsibility as PR majors or “problem solvers” to think of a new business model for journalism? Is that really our problem? Obviously this wouldn’t be if we were in the business school.

What do you think?

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February 27, 2009

Guilty as Charged: Information Addiction

Filed under: Spirals,Uncategorized — kmmorten @ 8:42 pm
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After reading Jed Hallam’s blog, Information Addiction, I realized I’m not the only one who wants to get the 411 on everything, everywhere at anytime. I constantly find myself trying to get access to the internet so I can see what’s going on- even if I just checked it 5 minutes ago. Its crazy how technology has made information so easily available to us. And it’s even crazier that we become addicted to getting that information. I rely on the internet as a means of information everyday.

I wake up bright and early every morning, and the first thing I do is fire up my computer. I jump in the shower, and by the time I’m out, my computer is booted up and ready to rock. I double-click that Mozilla Firefox icon and seconds later I’m reading the latest headlines on MSNBC’s Web site. Here, I’m greeted with U.S. News, World News, Breaking News, Weather, Politics, Entertainment, and the list goes on and on. I skim the Web site to find articles that catch my eye and read the ones that seem interesting.

Minutes later, I check my e-mail. That’s followed by checking my Facebook, which is followed by checking my Myspace, which is followed by updating my Twitter, which is followed by checking my bank account. (Don’t ask me why I check my bank account 10 times a day, its not like I have that much money to spend- possibly because I have that reassurance that my money hasn’t gone anywhere and isn’t going anywhere… especially in a matter of an hour.) All this internet access before I even brush my teeth!

Then I’m off to school. As soon as I walk in the classroom, I log on to the server and check my e-mail, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Blackboard, etc. This vicious cycle continues throughout the day…probably about 50 times- and that is not an understatement. Even when I don’t have access to a computer, I still manage to find access somehow, someway- a.k.a. my cell phone. This goes on from the second I wake up, until the second I hit they hay.   Even then, I totally disregard that I have to wake up in six hours and have to force myself to go to bed.  (NOTE TO SELF: Nothing is that important on the internet to lose precious sleep over.  Just step back, push the “off” button, and it will be waiting for you in the morning.)

It all comes down to this: when I’m not “plugged in” to information, I feel like I’m not “plugged in” to life. I am addicted. I think I have a serious problem.

February 23, 2009

More than just movies?

Filed under: 3's Company PR — cconeder @ 11:34 pm

When watching the Oscars last night, it was evident at many points throughout the ceremony how much more than just movie awards were involved. There are so many outside media components contributing to events like this, such as celebrity statuses and “gossip.” For example, we are all fully aware of the infamous Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston breakup. So it was obviously no coincidence that as Jen Aniston was presenting an award onstage, the cameras filmed Angelina Jolie in the audience sitting next to Brad. This shows how the outside media is always looking for a story, and will always somehow find one; especially at an event like the Oscars.

According to the blog PR Newser, “The Oscar PR machine,” http://www.mediabistro.com/prnewser/pop_culture/the_oscar_pr_machine_78209.asp PR  people are growing a significant amount within the movie industry. The post talks about how these professionals are more thoroughly involved behind the scenes then ever before, internally and externally, and how they could be one of the most important contributions to how much exposure a movie gets. The Weinstein movie Company for example has received so much attention over the years, apparently due to the PR work done to promote the upcoming movies.

In addition, the Oscars and many other Hollywood events are always flooded with marketing ideas and possible PR stunts. At the show last night, there were so many preliminary talkshows about what was to be expected, who would say what, etc. down to every little detail. There was an incident with Mickey Rourke on CNN earlier where he was talking about attending the 25th Wrestlemania event in Houston, but he didn’t want to comment on attending because he thought it might hurt his chances of winning for best actor. After the interview, there was much speculation as to whether the media was trying to plan a fake feud between him and one of the other wrestlers for the upcoming event. http://www.mediabistro.com/prnewser/pop_culture/mickey_rourke_and_wwe_planning_post_oscars_pr_stunt_109426.asp

With all the drama and craziness behind the scenes, you have to wonder how much of this awards show is really “real?”

Bringing the PR basics to the digital world

Filed under: Spirals — Patty Lepkowski @ 9:26 pm
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I think it is safe to say that we, as future public relations professionals, are obsessed with social media. With Facebook, Blogger, YouTube – and our new favorite Twitter – it seems social media is PR’s latest buzz word.

It is clear that social media is changing our profession, but is there such a thing as too much social media? Could it be possible that we have become so consumed with employing social media, that we have become lost in the Twitterverse, the Twitter online community? Have we forgotten the basics of public relations?

Arik Hanson, a communications professional at a health care system in Minnesota, brought up an interesting discussion on PRsarahevens.com about not forgetting the basics of public relations in this evolving digital market. He reminds us to focus on three core competencies: professional skills, client skills and team-building skills. These are skills that we have all been working to develop and hone throughout our public relations classes. And these skills apply to all aspects of public relations – agency work, corporate communications, digital communications, etc.

In the end, if we are going to demonstrate ourselves as public relations professionals, we have to employ the necessary skills to devise successful campaigns that will advance our organizations.

Social media can be a successful communication tool, but without these core public relations skills, what makes our blogs any better than my grandma’s?

Road to Redemption- Docu-series or PR strategy?

Filed under: Step Up Communications — kristenih @ 8:34 pm

I discovered a new reality series the other day.  I usually just flip through these shows only stopping to watch a few seconds of them, but this one inparticular seemed to captivate my attention.  MTV’s reality special TI’s Road to Redemption: 45- Days To Go made me start to think; was this just an act to help troubled teens or a clever PR plan?

Let me back up for just a second and explain the background behind this docu-series.  TI’s Road to Redemption: 45- Days To Go, came about after Grammy award- winning, hip-hop artist, TI was arrested in posession of several weapons in 2007.  To further the matter, TI is also a convicted felon stemming back from his teenage years, which worsened the charges he faces.  In an effort to lesson his possible 30 year sentence, lawyers of the superstar made a bargain with the judge, which included 1000 hours of community service to be completed in a year at which he would be sentenced.  The show is a part of this community service effort in which TI is followed by a camera crew as he visits several troubled teens on the same path as he once was.

  At the height of his career (only a few months after his new album hit #1 on the charts) TI finds himself in a deep pool of legal trouble that will undoubtly come with some prison time.  What do you do in a situation like this?  Well, find the positive in the bad and maintain the reputation of the artist.  This is exactly what TI’s publicist and record label did.  What I find remarkable about this PR strategy was that they managed to maintatin a positive image of the superstar although he is facing criminal charges.

Most would see trouble like this as a huge kink in ones career, but this plan took the fact that he had a criminal background and used it to create an image of one who wants to help todays youth from making the same mistakes.  His docu- series shows him spending time with several troubled youths, telling them stories of his “days in the hood” and taking them to prisons to talk to inmates.  Clever?  I think so!  Not only does it maintain a positive reputation with the media and his fans, but it also draws attention to TI right before he does his time in prison.  Perhaps to keep media appearance and even a fan base at a high why he is doing his time (the show most likely will play several times on MTV over the next year). 

Furthermore, I found this PR tactic great in the fact that it didn’t try to hide or cover up the truth, rather it put it all out there.  It played on the crisis at hand and developed a strategy, a show, that played on the downfall of this superstar.  This plan brought attention to the fact that TI is being faced with prison time and highlighted part of his punishment (community service), but it was presented in a positive light in which will save the reputation of this artist. I believe this move secured the image and career of the hip-hop artist. 

The effects of this strategy are already seeing results.  Article after article I read on the subject had room for comment at the end from fans and those visiting the site.  About 99% of all comments were positive about the artist, some even   referring to him as amazing.

Marketing is Evil, and PR practioners are Spin Doctors

Filed under: The Fifth Firm — tmpace @ 7:06 pm
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When people ask me my major, and I answer, “public relations”  some look at me like I just said, “I am majoring in shooting puppies.” I believe the image of public relations and marketing is getting better, but the history of negative feelings toward our field will be hard to change.

In Seth Godin’s Blog “Is Marketing Evil?” Godi, a marketing expert and a well-know author, explains how marketing can be used for evil, but is not evil. He  admits that marketing is powerful and can cause evil, but that is not marketing’s fault. The fault is at those using marketing for evil.  It is the craftsman not the tool, he states. Godin says that marketers should think about how their actions will impact society. He explains even though you may be doing your job, does not make what you are doing right. Just because you can market something does not mean you should.

Godin goes on explain how marketing can be a beautiful thing. How it can encourage people to do or purchase things that will make their lives better. Marketing can be used as positive infleunce for people to make informed decisions.

This article was written in response to a Time magazine blog, where the writer said you would probably never see Godin writing an article about marketing being evil.  Well, Godin wanted to prove him wrong.

Working the PR and marketing fields we will have great power. We will (hopefully) influence many people with our campaigns. OK, I have to quote Spiderman (sorry I know this is so cliche) “with power comes great responsibility.” Overused but true. Ethics in our field are important. It may be tempting to make a million by selling your ethical principals along with your soul, but be the bigger person. We may have clients that want us to pitch ideas. We have to think about the impact this decision would, and decided whether it is ethical or not. In the end we will impact the way people think, and we do not want to be evil spin doctors.

We are not “puppy killing practioners” so lets not have people looking at us like we are. As Godin explained marketing can be something beautiful, and I think that is what we should always strive for.

The power of a “thank-you”

Filed under: Uncategorized — lehanson @ 6:41 pm
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I was raised writing thank-yous. After every birthday and Christmas my mom would bring out the thank-you cards and sit me down with a pen to write to my aunts and uncles, grandparents, godparents and friends. Back then I thought it was annoying and just some time wasting task my mom was putting me up to so I wasn’t pestering her. However, the act of writing thank-yous is something that has stuck with me and I would say it has been to my benefit. I was reminded of this when I came across the blog Comprehension and the post titled TAKE NOTE: Key Ways to Say “Thank You” When You Are Building Your New And Empowered Network. It was written by Andrea R. Nierenberg, founder and president of The Nierenberg Group, a best-selling author and an internationally known business figure. She breaks down in a two-part blog about how important it is to send personal notes, whether it is a thank you or not.

Nierenberg writes how writing personal notes is one of the easiest and most effective ways to stay in touch. She gives eight different reasons why a personal note should be sent:

  1. When someone does business with you – every time.
  2. When they compliment you.
  3. When someone offers comments or suggestions.
  4. When someone tries something you recommended.
  5. When your advocates recommend you.
  6. When your contacts are patient; or not so patient.
  7. When someone says “no” to you.
  8. When people make you smile.

 After each bullet she gives more details but I didn’t want to spoil her blog. There were some ideas that I overlook on a daily basis. One that she doesn’t specifically state is sending a thank-you after an interview. You don’t necessarily have to wait for a “no” to send a “thank-you for your time”. If a position is down to two people that are equally qualified and one sends a thank-you after the interview, who do you think is more likely to get the job? Yes, the one that sent the hand written thank-you. That’s a BIG difference that a little note makes.

Nierenberg also mentioned something that I thought was quite encouraging, especially with the current job market, through research she has conducted, it has showed that almost 20 percent of jobs and opportunities come from prospects that said no the first time. So send that thank-you even if you’re not offered the job and hopefully if you apply again the company will remember that and it could make a difference the second time around.

So you may think that hand written notes are a thing of the past, but let’s be real who doesn’t like to get something via mailbox these days? Take a break from the keyboard and break out the pen and paper. It’s a 42 cent investment could potentially pay off in the future.

Paying for news?

Filed under: Fidelis — jsaxarra @ 11:41 am
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In Tim McGuire’s Business & Future of Journalism class, there was a discussion about how much people are willing to pay for their news. The debating ranged everywhere; from full subscribers to micropayments, down to no payments at all. I suppose, for the record, I should say that I was definitely one of the ones who WOULDN’T pay.

Regardless, I ran across a blog covering this exact debate. Actually, the argument is geared toward the potential use of a micropayment system from an article previously written in Time. It states that people are increasingly reading online content and surprisingly, traditional journalism is more popular than ever. The problem is that it’s essentially being given away and subscriptions are at a low…what a shocker.

Walter Isaacson, the article’s author, recommends the use of micropayments [combined with advertising] as a way to prevent traditional journalism from completely crumbling. Even the author of the blog caved and eventually agreed with this. But I still don’t buy it.

I honestly cannot see how the implementation of a very small fee (be it per click/article/download/etc.) could save an entire industry. Maybe save is too big of a word. Well I still don’t see how it could further stimulate an entire industry and one that’s been around forever, mind you. I’m fully aware of the whole, “Why should I vote, it doesn’t even matter…” question that is often counter-argued with, “If EVERYONE said that, it would make a difference!” but I’m still not sold.

Why, during our country’s horrid economic status, would the majority of people pay a nickel here, a couple bucks there for an article? I emphasize the majority because I know that some people will pay for anything. And by some, I mean a lot. I just can’t see it being enough. Jobs are being lost left and right, while others have yet to even enter the working-world. Competition is extremely stiff, as it should be, and it’s not just stopping at who can get hired first.

The fact is, someone will present the news for free. It is inevitable. All it takes is for that someone to be holding true name, or brand, recognition and micropayments will become obsolete. Traditional journalism fuels online content, and I don’t think papers will die off [for awhile] but we rely so heavily on the digital transformation. It’s not a stretch to think someone will pay and make the content available via BitTorrent for others to access. That doesn’t even come close to a big name company presenting it for free and yet it covers thousands, even millions, of online users.

Yes, people will pay, but it’s probably the same amount of people who bought any MP3 player that wasn’t an iPod.

February 22, 2009

Who is the gatekeeper of you (and me)?

The power of Google is difficult to fathom. According to searchenginewatch.com, an estimated 91 million searches are done each day through Google alone (This study is nearly three years old and I figure that stat is much higher now).

I hate to make anyone feel important, but YOU could even be getting Googled. Many people are aware of the fact that employers, friends and significant others may be apart of a group which could be Googling you (And I guess the narcissists are Googling themselves, but that is a different story).

With tons of information out there, how can we control what Google has to say (or doesn’t have to say) about us?

While reading technology blogs and tips, I came across a post by Dan Schawbel, the author of of Me 2.0: Build a Successful Brand to Achieve Career Success, on Mashable.com.

Schawbel gives examples of people who once had positive Google results before they turned south. Specifically, he mentions Alex Rodriguez, Michael Phelps and Chris Brown.

Here are a few tips Schawbel gives to help you control your search results:

  • Register for blogs and social networks.

This one is probably a no-brainer for people reading blogs already.

  • Write for blogs.

Sites like Word Press make it easy to make and control content for the average user.

  • Start a wiki page under your name.

I was surprised to find Pbwiki.com has a page rank of seven on Google. Schawbel even suggests you could turn this page into a resume.

With so much information out there, I know it would be very wise for an individual (or group) to try to take control of information about themselves now before it becomes too late.

And with undeniable truth that Google or some form of online search engine will continue to be used defends the fact that maintaining information about oneself will also continue to be important.

Now while this is all fine and dandy, will I be motivated to change what pops up?

Chances are I wouldn’t bother to change it unless something negative is high in the search results. And when this happens, it would probably be too late.

Has anyone out there ever tried to control the results or anything? Or think it could be of some use to you?

February 21, 2009

Tips I Wish I Had Learned

Filed under: Mission Public Relations — kparma @ 12:00 pm
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Most public relations students who graduate from Arizona State’s J-school will know how to write a press release. We all know press releases are supposed to include main points about whatever it is we want media outlets to know about, but what are the media really looking for? What is going to get my release noticed over all the others?

I came across a guest post by a former professor of mine named Daryl James for the PR Practitioner. I also interned under him at the East Valley Tribune in Mesa, Ariz. I learned a lot by working there in terms of seeing how the media operates and how they weed through the hundreds of leads that come in each week. I think working in a newsroom is something every PR student should do.

James’ post gives five tips to PR professionals about what to include and what to leave out of press releases.

  1. Only include facts – James suggests bullet points containing the who, what, where, when, why and how
  2. It’s about the readers – Ask yourself, why should readers care about this?
  3. Don’t create more work for the editor – Paste the release in the body of the email and don’t use attachments
  4. Be honest – Don’t add more than there really is to the story or next time your release will get deleted without a second thought
  5. Be aware of your audience – Understand who your story is for

After reading this post I was a little upset. I had learned to write a press release in a PR class but not like this. We were taught to tell a story and include all the details. I would have liked to know things like bullets are OK and that it’s not about you or your client, it’s about the readers.

If those previous five points are true, what else do the media look for? What else can be done to put your releases above the others? What can I include in my releases to make editors eager to receive them?

Considering I am graduating in May and that hundreds of press releases are deleted every week at any given news organization, I found these tips to be extremely helpful. I just wish I had known facts like this earlier on.

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