PR Campaigns – The blog

April 13, 2009

Congrats You’re Graduating! Now What?

Filed under: Step Up Communications — Mickey Siegel @ 11:24 pm
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To all of the PR students graduating this semester and to those past graduates, congratulations. This is a time to celebrate that you will never have to write another term paper again or take another mid-term exam (except for you grad school overachievers). For the rest of us, we now have to get our lives in order and start on the 2nd act in our lives (the 1st act being childhood and the 3rd act being retirement/senility/adult diapers).  In this 2nd act, we must now become dependent on ourselves to provide food and shelter. I know it sounds like a daunting task, but do not fret because it is much easier than it sounds to cook something other than a hot pocket.

Katherine Strate is a soon to be PR graduate from the University of Georgia and she collected Five Pieces of Advice that should help make it a little easier to transition from a student to a PR professional. Strate writes about many matters plaguing graduates, but her most important point focuses on being proactive in job hunting and while at the first job/internship.

At PR Channel, a site that features thousands of agency listings, the site solicited comments from many of its agencies concerning Advice for the PR Grad. The most interesting comment that I found involved the use of social media in finding a PR job. Here is what Heather Huhman, founder of entrylevel-pr.com had to say:

sign up for Twitter, start following thought leaders in public relations (specifically, the area of public relations that interests you most, such as health care), and get engaged via the various PR hashtags: #PRadvice for asking pros questions, #EntryPR for entry-level jobs and #PRintern for internships.

This is great advice and I can attest to twitter being a valuable tool for networking purposes. I met up with Brian Stelter, current NY Times columnist and creator of TVNewser, through him asking on twitter if there were any ASU Cronkite students that tweeted. I naturally responded and ended up having a lunch interview with him and other Cronkite students. It just goes to show that Twitter and other social media sites have a profound effect on marketing, and in an economy where employers are looking to hire 22% less jobs than last year, it is important to get as many legs up as possible.

Before going, I want to leave everyone with a youtube video of a British PR/Marketing professional giving some advice on how to best deal with finding a job in this economy. Besides us having a better army than the Brits, we are pretty similar in most everything else:

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April 6, 2009

Let’s be realistic…

Filed under: Step Up Communications — cafuller @ 12:24 pm

The topic of conversation among us seniors now is graduation.  I can’t tell you how many times in the past few months I’ve sat around with friends and classmates concocting our quest to become successfully important contributors to society.  How exactly are we supposed to transform from the messy college kids, stumbling to class into the suited up, important business men and women hustling and bustling on the New York City sidewalks? What exactly is the next step?

It seems to me that most of us are focusing on where we hope to be in the next ten or 20 years.  Our expectation is to land our dream job and begin conquering the world right away.  Well, while some of us may get lucky, it’s a little far fetched for most of us.  It’s important to take a step back and view our future careers as investments.  As unglamorous as it sounds, working from the bottom up can actually be the most rewarding approach.  Todd Defren narrows in on the importance of committing to one employer in his blog post Careerism vs. Stickitoitiveness.

Defren discusses common practice in the PR industry to jump from job to job.  The cut-throat and competitive nature of the industry forces some to jump around.  In other cases, firms compete and recruit each other’s employees.  Either way, there seems to be a large turn-over rate in the industry.  Defren speaks from a PR agency owner’s perspective when he advises young “PR pros” to make a committment to a place they like, and stick to it.  Apparently, he already secretly knows who of his young employees will grow to be future Vice Presidents of the firm…potentially.  He knows they have the work ethic, but it all depends on the committment they decide to make to the agency.

This really left me with a lasting impression.  Our generation has the mindset that if we aren’t satisfied with what we’re doing, we’ll just go find something better.  Committment and loyalty aren’t the highest on our list of importance.  So, how many professionals out there, in any area, are still trying to land their dream job?  How many of them could be working that dream job right now if they had just stuck it out through less glamorous positions?

What do you think? Do you think loyalty to one employer and working from the bottom up is an outdated idea? What kind of mindset do you have as you’re getting ready to step off of the university campus and enter “the real world?”

March 30, 2009

Are PR Agencies a thing of the past?

Filed under: Step Up Communications — kristenih @ 10:04 pm

I was researching some information for my groups client when I stumbled across an interesting article entitled “Who need PR Agencies, Exactly?”  In it the author talks about how she was shocked when she came across a software company that do not hire any outside PR agency for PR work.  Instead the company uses their marketing team to write up press releases, create feature pitches and to accumulate relationships with local journalists.  To the authors surprise the system seemed to work very well.  After all, who knows more about a company than those that actually work within it? 

The author posed a very interesting question, ” what do these companies (with internal PR) miss out on by not working with PR agencies?”

After thinking about this question for awhile I began to wonder if PR agencies are just a thing of the past.  Companies can use their marketing department to conduct a lot of the work that an agency would do, but wouldn’t that mean that they would have to take time away from marketing duties to write a press release or create a pitch?  The more and more I thought about it, the more reasons I thought of how not hiring a PR company could negatively effect a company. Here is what I came up with:

  • PR professionals are educated and trained to deal with PR tasks everyday.  The author even states that she is not an expert in what PR agenecies do.  As a PR student I have been recieving an education in this career and I would like to believe that it could not be so easily taught to just anyone in a few months.
  • Time commitment!  PR agencies are hired to protect the image and to deal with the everyday tasks of campaigning and media.  They have the time to thouroughly evaluate and commit to a campaign.  Marketing departments would be taking away from their usual duties and may not have enough time to create something that would be as carefully and creativly thought out as an agency.
  • Agencies already have relationships with local key press and media outlets and therefore can return results to a company quickly. 
  • As one commenter said it still is going to cost the company money.  If companies are eliminating PR agencies because they think it is going to be cheaper they are wrong.  Training those in PR is still going to have a price tag attached to it.
  • Outside perspective!  If you keep everything within a company you will never see the bigger picture.  I think that a PR agency brings no biases and are aware of perspectives and ideas that companies may not be aware of.  They bring awareness and originality to a company that may be stuck within the boundaries of their comapny.

I can see the benefits of eliminating the “middle man”, but  they seem to be overshadowed by the benefits of hiring the middle man.

March 23, 2009

Social Media Netiquette

Filed under: Step Up Communications — Nancy Flores @ 10:19 pm
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With all the talk of Twitter and Facebook and being careful of what you post on the Internet, I figure why not blog about Social Media Netiquette.  Netiqutte is basically the way you should and should not behave on the Internet.  Social Media Netiquette takes it one step further and talks about what you should not do on social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs. 

I recently learned about Netiquette in a communication class I am taking but it never really brought up the idea of netiquette for social media, email yes, but Twitter no.  I did some searching on Google and come upon a post by Chris Brogan titled Etiquette in the Age of Social Media.  Now, his post was based strictly on his own opinion, but it got me thinking that my communication class needs updated course material. 

Some of his posts about Twitter Etiquette include: 

  • I’m personally not fond of long @ conversations. Not sure your take, but to me, something over 3 @ messages back and forth might be best suited in a DM or into email.
  • If you don’t have much to say, it’s okay not to say it.
  • An @ message at the beginning of a post shows up in replies. Further in, it doesn’t.
  • It’s okay to promote yourself. Just consider promoting some other folks, too. Mix it up a bit.
  • You’re not obligated to friend everyone back. Some people use Twitter differently.
  • Removing someone as a Twitter friend doesn’t (necessarily) reflect on how you feel on them as a person. It’s okay.

Again, these are just his opinion but some of it makes sense.  He has 28 trackback links from other bloggers who read his post and started thinking about other rules that could contribute to his.  One I would add to the list that we talked about in class this past week is do not set up your Twitter to automatically follow people as this could be considered creepy in the Twitter world.   

Take a peek at his blog and some of the trackback links he has at the bottom of the post.  Can you think of any other rules that might be a good addition to Social Media Netiquette?

March 16, 2009

Changing of the Guard: Print Goes Online or No Where

Filed under: Step Up Communications — Mickey Siegel @ 11:44 pm
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A lot has been made of the near 150 year old Seattle Post-Intelligence closing down its print division tomorrow to go strictly to web-content only. Newspapers have been struggling for many years now and it seems that the current recession has pushed a few over the cliff. The Post-Intelligence’s closure of its print department comes a couple weeks after Denver’s Rocky Mountain News closed its doors permanently. It now seems that the Tucson Citizen will also be publishing its final issue on Saturday. With the struggles that are being seen at newspapers across the country, how does this effect public relations professionals?

As with any change in an industry, there are some rough patches that will be seen as well as some great opportunities. Being an optimistic person, I’ll tackle the positives to be seen and then lightly touch on the negatives.

Innovative ideas that at one time would be dismissed are now being valued and accepted.

Voice of San Diego is a non-profit, independent web-content newspaper that does not charge a single penny for its service. Unlike many other newspapers that have ventured into primarily web-content based news, Voice of San Diego has very little advertising on its site. Its principle source of income comes from donations and unlike newspaper conglomerates, they do not have any stockholders that need to constantly see a profit. I hope that this kind of journalism catches on in other cities because it is also very beneficial for PR professionals. Voice of San Diego only has a few dozen staff members, so the information supplied by PR professionals creates a symbiotic relationship that allows both PR firms and businesses to work harmoniously with the news organization.

As previously mentioned, the Rocky Mountain News has left Denver for good, but the former newspaper’s journalists don’t think so. They plan on opening an online subsciption news site. In a similar manner, the Rocky Mountain News‘ new online site, INDenverTimes.com, will need plenty of content to attract the “50,000 by April 23” that the journalists are hoping to get. Where would these journalists look for the plethora of content needed to grow their new venture? To the trusty (maybe not the right word to some people) PR professionals who have plenty of information about businesses, organizations and events.

A decrease in newspapers could lead to an even greater distrust in journalism institutions.

I was once lucky enough to have a conversation with Len Downie, the former executive editor of the Washington Post and now a part of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. I asked him his thoughts on the growing distrust that the American public has with news organizations. His response to me was that journalists should not worry if the public chooses to believe what they are printing. If journalists begin catering to what the public wants to hear, bias easily sets in. With the closing of newspapers across the country and newspapers caring more than ever before about what appeals to the public, bias is more prevalent than ever. Len Gutman in the Valley PR Blog makes a point that it goes beyond just the conglomerates and the economy in regards to newspapers crumbling left and right:

We can blame the corporate behemoths that have placed shareholder value over news value. And we can blame TV and the Internet. But ultimately we have to look at ourselves as a society and ask why we seem to no longer value real, hard-hitting, unbiased, journalism.

To bring this full circle as PR professionals, we need unbiased and quality journalism. The more newspapers and media conglomerates cater specifically to the public and ignore the journalistic principles that dominated newspapers in the 60s and 70s, the more people will become disenfranchised with news. People need to read the news because without the news, our industry is in just as much jeopardy as the newspapers.

Got a little more pessimistic than I thought I would, but I am still surprised to the lack of news coverage on the soon to be lack of news coverage. I addressed the positives and the negatives that I see in the recent fall outs of many newspapers, but what did I miss and what did I dazzle you all with?

March 2, 2009

Are blogs becoming paid thoughts?

Filed under: Step Up Communications — cafuller @ 12:47 pm
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For a while now, I’ve been trying to explain to my roommate what Twitter is, and why these social media tools aren’t really as useless as she thinks – they’re actually pretty fun!  She continues to be critical and simply unimpressed, reacting each time with a casual “oh, I guess that’s cool.  I just don’t get it.”  Then, last week, her reaction left me stumped.

It seems to be a topic of conversation every time I walk into my PR Campaigns class now.  “Did you see what Shaq posted today on Twitter? He’s so hilarious, you need to follow him!”  I found a blog by Niki D’Andrea  of the Phoenix New Times describing a Twittering Shaq story that I found particularly cool.  I was sure it was just what I needed to draw my roommate into the Twittering world.  Instead, when she finished reading the story, all she had to say was “Twitter must be paying Shaq for all of this publicity.”  I was speechless and, honestly, a little annoyed.  After all, how can someone be so critical and skeptical?! But, could she be right?

I came across a blog today by Steve Rubel all about the ethics of sponsored blog conversations – A.K.A. – bloggers who are paid to discuss certain topics.  Rubel discusses the controversial issue in conjunction with a Forrester Research study that said this sponsored sort of blogging is becoming more popular.  While Rubel discusses some ways to manage sponsored blogging, he also argues that this type of communication needs to be handled carefully, with a lot of disclosure and credibility.

I’ve always viewed blogging as independent thoughts.  People share what they’re thinking, without being guided by their employer or anyone else.  Is it just me, or does the idea of sponsored blogging/social media make things a lot more confusing and less reputable?  For some reason, a comparison to infomercials keeps coming to mind – people being paid to say they like a certain product.  I guess those aren’t all that bad, but then again, I don’t usually take what I see on infomercials very seriously.

I’m beginning to think that my roommate’s skeptisism might not be such a bad thing, after all.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still keep using and loving all of this new social media popping up everyday, but I’ll definitely start to keep a skeptical eye out for purchased thoughts.

February 23, 2009

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.

February 16, 2009

Chris Brown- PR Nightmare?

Filed under: Step Up Communications,Uncategorized — Nancy Flores @ 7:53 pm
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By now I am sure that everyone has heard about the incident that allegedly took place between singers Chris Brown and Rihanna.  Was anyone else as shocked as I was when all we heard for a week after the incident was nothing?  In every article that was written there was a ‘no comment’ somehow tied in from Chris Brown’s spokespeople and no sight of the singer himself.

Eonline posted a blog before Chris Brown released his apology where the writer reached out to PR professionals who specialize in crisis PR and the only thing they disagreed on was terms that described Brown’s career: ” finished, over or merely done.”  Where was his apology?

Well, it came, a week to late.  Yesterday, MSN.com ran a story talking about how Brown was “sorry and saddened” about what happened.   After reading the story I decided to google “Chris Brown and PR” and the top search results contained the sentence “Chris Brown’s PR team working overtime.”  You search “Chris Brown” and more results about the incident, his abusive past and the fact that all his sponsors and invites to sing at major events (including this past weekend’s AllStar events) are backing out. 

I learned early on that the worst thing you can do is say ‘no comment’ when you have a crisis on your hand.  I highly doubt his publisist was not given enough time to return media phone calls since we didn’t hear anything for a full week.

I decided to look up mistakes in a PR crisis and come across one that I really on   Cyber Alert: “Only Start Work on a Potential PR Crisis Situation after It’s Public.”  I really wonder what was behind the reason for not commenting right after the rumors started.  Was there a strategic reasoning behind it or did the PR person make a mistake and that is why they are “working overtime” now?

February 9, 2009

Advertising Spends Money, PR Makes Money

Filed under: Step Up Communications — Mickey Siegel @ 11:04 pm
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It is a common theme among the Fortune 500 companies to have large advertising budgets and small Public Relations budgets.

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