PR Campaigns – The blog

April 12, 2009

Can Journalism and Social Media Coexist?

Since I have been at the Cronkite school, I can’t help but feel like I don’t belong in the j-school. Some say that public relations has no place in journalism. However, I came across a new site that says news, social media and advertising can all coexist. True/Slant’s moto is “News is more than what happens.” True/Slant is a company that combines news, social media and advertising.

True/Slant allows contributers to add stories to their site, and then consumers can create dialogue with those contributers. Advertising also occurs on the site. However, it is placed in such a way that is very transparent and readers know what they are getting. True/Slant says their goal is to get consumers to be just as interested as they are in the news.

I am interested to see if a site like this actually makes it. I have been told that journalism, advertising and PR are completely separate and that PR doesn’t belong in journalism. However, I think that the direction we are headed is very different. I see a future where all three of these entities coexist and work together.

What do you think? Do you think that social media has a place in journalism? Can advertising, journalism and PR coexist?

April 6, 2009

“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”

Filed under: Mission Public Relations — kbergeron44 @ 7:17 pm
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Social media is the new popular kid at school.  The one whose dad just got a big promotion prompting his family to move in a couple houses down.  He has the coolest bike, the newest video games, the nicest clothes and a trampoline! All the girls love him and all the guys want to hang out with him.  Except brands.

When it comes to the world of social media, brands are the cool kids who have been dethroned by the new kid at school.  They used to run the show through means of traditional marketing and brand management, but have lost the spotlight to the internet and social media.

In his post, “A Control Freak’s Guide to Social Media Influence,” found on Mashable, Paul Worthington talks about the inability for brands to fully utilize social media as a means of influence because they are unable to relinquish their illusion of control.

Worthington explains that brands have always sought to control the thoughts of the perspective audiences when the key has always been influence.  This false belief is what has a lot of branding managers jealous of the new kid on the block and reluctant to embrace social media.

In these new times where social media is reigning supreme in the world of online influence, brands need to change their strategy and give up the ideal of control.  Worthington tries to help them by providing three principles that good influencers demonstrate:

1. Listen then respond– “Before engaging with the conversation it’s important to first listen to it, see what is being said and interpret what this means.”

2. Be comfortable with ambiguity– “Conversation is messy, real time, and often capricious. At first what you see will appear chaotic, unmanageable and intimidating. The reality is that it isn’t your job to manage or control it – but to respond to it.”

3. Filter through your purpose– ” Here, having a strong brand purpose is a crucial tool – it becomes the tangible filter through which you listen and respond.”

I think that all companies would be wise to apply these suggestions to any social media influence that they hope to attain.  I am an active user of social media and, to me, it seems like too many brands are trying to use social media for marketing and public relations means, but are doing so ineffectively.  They are too stuck in their old ways to fully embrace the new kid and try out his trampoline.  Times are changing quickly with new social media applications coming out daily and I think for any company to be successful they need to quickly change their attitudes about social media and dive in head first or they will be left behind.

What do you think?  Are brands not applying themselves enough when it comes to social media?  Is this trend going to be around enough for companies to invest a lot of attention into?  What are some successful branding techniques that companies have been using on social media?

March 30, 2009

Facebook University: Enroll Now!

Filed under: Mission Public Relations — kbergeron44 @ 6:52 pm
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Social media is taking over the world.

Twitter and Facebook have forged an unholy alliance to slowly take over the lives of everyone on the earth in an effort to create a race of pod people to enlist into an online army hell bent on global conquest.

The first bullet has been fired and it is aimed at graduating college students.

In his blog on Mashable, Stan Schroeder reveals Birmingham City University‘s plan to incorporate a masters program dedicated strictly to social media.

“The one year course will earn you a master’s degree at the cost of 4,400 pounds (6,239 dollars). “During the course we will consider what people can do on Facebook and Twitter, and how they can be used for communication and marketing purposes,” says the course convener Jon Hickman, adding that “There has been significant interest in the course already, and it will definitely appeal to students looking to go into professions including journalism and PR.”

When I first read this I thought it was a good idea.  I am constantly told in my public relations classes that knowledge of social media is going to be one of my best assets when I graduate and enter the work force.  Furthering my education in this phenomenon would make me even more appealing to potential employers.  But wait a minute…

Do I really need formal education to learn how to tag a picture of my friend’s drunken escapades?  or create a group to get friends to attend my Graduation party?  or even how to describe to the world “what I am doing?”

I’m aware the course will go a lot deeper than that, but at their base, Facebook and Twitter are just tools for people to interact with others; and if the telegraph, the two-way pager, smoke signals and pay phones taught us anything, tools change.

Twitter and Facebook could be obsolete in a matter of years and at that time what will this degree be worth?  It seems to me like this university is just trying to milk this social media cow for some extra cheese by offering a course in a popular social phenomenon.

Am I alone in this?  Or do those of you already recruited by the Facebook/Twitter army see more value in this?  If this becomes a trend and other colleges pick up this program, what should be included in the teachings?

March 23, 2009

Social Media & Changing Relationships

Filed under: Mission Public Relations — jejepson @ 10:38 pm
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At the beginning of this semester I realized that a component of just about every single one of my classes was going to be social media. It was not until recently that I have begun to realize the impact that Web 2.0 and social media has had not only on me and my education, but on the entire profession of public relations as a whole.

I recently came across a post by Bill Sledzik’s blog ToughSledding about the love-hate relationship that PR pros are facing with social media.  In it he discusses how the public has begun to take social media as the only version and are “unwilling to discuss alternative views and engage those who disagree with them.”

It is this idea that social media is the-be-all-to-end-all, that has me wondering about what other implications social media has had on the PR profession. Sledzik brings up a few good questions about the topic:

  • How will social media affect my clients’ ability to connect with their stakeholders?
  • What new skills and understanding of social media will future PR professionals need to survive?
  • What changes in communication strategy are SM bringing to the practice of public relations?
  • Are the “new influencers” we read about really as influential as some think — and how do we know?
  • How much of the PR’s social media frenzy is “real” and how much is a product of our digital echo chamber?

Although I do agree that social media has benefited public relations greatly, do you think that it has affected it in a negative way?

I believe that social media has made the entire industry less personal contact driven and more application driven. It used to be who could you call and pitch your story to. Now it has become who follows you. I do also think that social media has changed the client/stakeholder relationship, and not for the better. It has become less personal, which in the long run could be very detrimental.

How do you feel about the relationship between social media and the PR profession?

March 16, 2009

Too many choices?

Filed under: Mission Public Relations — jejepson @ 9:41 pm
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During spring break I had a conversation with someone about the different types of social media and how they were changing the way people communicate with one another. This person explained to me that they did not fully understand the point of all the different applications available and that they did not know where to even start because there were so many to choose from.

Although I am not a self-professed social media guru, I have tried a variety of them and have a basic understanding of them, but this got me thinking about it. Are there so many different types of social media applications that the market is being overrun? Are we going to end up facing a quantity vs. quality problem?  

On his blog, “The Glass House”, Frank Shaw, President of Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, addresses this problem of being “overrun by ‘new’ communications”.  There are so many new social media applications currently being utilized by companies and organizations, but many turn to the most current application and forget the “old” effective ways of communicating. Can it be argued that Twitter can convey the same message as an email?  It is almost as if people are replacing the informative e-mail with a 140 character tweet.

I believe the solution to integrating social media into an effective public relations campaign to find a balance between the old and the new. A tweet may be a great way to get an idea out there, but sending an email should be used to send more in-depth information.  Also, stretching information across multiple facets of social media could make the message less effective. Using the application or applications that best fit the information would be much more effective.

With countless social media applications in use today on the internet, do you think it is effective to be a part of all of the applications? Or just particular ones that meet your specific client’s needs? Is it possible to be too involved in social media?

March 1, 2009

I Better Learn This Before Someone Steals My Job…

Filed under: Mission Public Relations — kparma @ 11:23 am
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Considering my PR Campaigns class just had a lecture on SEO with Vanessa Fox, I thought this would be fitting.

It seems that more than ever we are hearing that companies need to do everything in their power to get to the top of the Google rankings. With the way the economy is right now, the more visibility a company and higher on Google they can get, the better. The phrase that is being used is search engine optimization or SEO.

I came across a post on the blog Rock Star PR by Jed Hallam about SEO and PR. The post basically summed up a Twitter discussion about whether or not PR practitioners should adopt SEO as part of their jobs since many SEO companies are now offering “online public relations” as part of their services. Hallam suggests that PR practitioners learn the techniques of SEO or else…

I definitely agree with Hallam in the sense that PR better jump on with SEO and learn some of the ins and outs before the SEO companies learn a thing or two about PR. I think what we have that the SEO companies don’t is training, quality and the ability to evolve and adapt.

PR practitioners learn to write and think strategically and ask questions and communicate in ways that many people don’t know how to. That in itself sets us above the SEO companies trying to sell online PR. The quality of content and meat in our writing also sets us apart. Also, PR practitioners have the ability to adapt to changes and pick up new tasks. PR tries to sell visibility with quality, as opposed to SEO companies that are trying to sell visibility and rankings, not necessarily with quality content.

Do you think that PR practitioners should pick up this new skill and get trained on how to optimize their search engine rankings for their clients? If PR doesn’t adapt and accept SEO as part of the practice do you think SEO companies will eventually win out over traditional PR companies?

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.

February 15, 2009

Social media and its effect on PR

Filed under: Mission Public Relations,Uncategorized — sekane @ 8:44 pm
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While different versions of social media are being born daily, what we do as PR people still remains the same.  As many of us noted in our, “What is public relations?” discussion on the first day of this semester, PR is managing relationships through strategic communication.

In Bill Sledzik’s post about how social media is not changing the DNA of public relations “one bit”, he describes what we do in PR as, “We build and maintain relationships through 2-way communication.”  We can see that whether you’re a senior in your last PR class or a public relations professor, we seem to agree on what PR is and should be.

We often hear that the growth of social media is changing everything.  In Sledzik’s post, however, he talks about a presentation given by Peter Shankman at a PRSA conference last week in Cleveland.  In this presentation, Shankman agreed with our definition of PR and explained why the booming social media should not change that at all.

Utilizing social media can help us reach the online population, but we are still using the same principles we’ve learned since our first ever PR class.  Some of these principles include: be honest with our publics, present relative information, keep it breif and catchy, and gain and retain positive awareness.  These are all things PR people have agreed are important to the business, also all things that are unchanging whether online or off. 

“Introduce all the social media applications you like, but the practice of PR as defined over the past 30-or-so years will change little, if at all. The goal is to build relationships, and the tool is meaningful 2-way communication.”  Just because the means of communication may be different, it doesn’t mean the building blocks of our profession have to change.

February 10, 2009

Reputations are on the line on-line

Filed under: Mission Public Relations — sekane @ 6:27 am
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I ran across a interesting topic on crisisblogger concerning executive worry about online reputations.  It drew on a story from PRweek about a survey taken called Risky Business: Reputation Online.  What struck me most was that of the 700 top executives surveyed, 66% of them were unaware that their reputations online were being effected by their own employees  sharing their opinions.

With the population of online conversationalists growing rapidly it is easy to assume that reputations are being shattered or brightened through blogs or forums by the minute.  Not only are consumers and journalists publicsizing facts or feelings about certain companies and organizations, but the those who play an inside role (the employees) are speaking up, or I should say: posting up.

As the ongoing etchical debate of credible blogging continues, taking an objective approach to everything we read is highly suggested.  As crisisblogger says, “The speed with which rumors, accusations, revelations and misinformation can fly in these hyper-networks is unprecedented.”  Like we learn in journalism school and hopefully known from common sense, we always need to evaluate the content  that we read and take it with a grain of salt.

The PRweek story brings up a good point about how this tough economic time can effect all companies, and upset employees with blogs are no exception.  As people with a passion for public relations, but also Americans who appreciate the right to free speech, how do we manage our reputation in a world where one post can make all the difference?  What can we do to continue to build an image while we know others have the right to an opinion that can break us down?

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