PR Campaigns – The blog

March 2, 2009

Know your role…

Filed under: Fidelis — mlmyers @ 10:18 pm
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Back when I was a freshman I, like many others, was still undecided on my major. I’m sure we’ve all had different paths that brought us to PR, but I think it would be more important for those thinking about studying the field to fully understand what they’re getting into. In the Valley PR Blog, I came across an interesting post by Barry Kluger that I wish I had read years ago. I know it wouldn’t have changed my desicion to study PR, but it might have cleared up some confusion. 

The post advised those who are interested in the field to dig up the truth of what PR practice demands of its practitioners because the public’s perception of the industry is completely skewed. Kluger wrote that those entering the field usually think it’s a good fit for them because they ‘like working with people’. If that’s your reasoning, you might want to reconsider becoming a PR practitioner because it’s much more than getting media attention for your client, Kruger said. 

Some other advice from Kruger:

  • Focus on crisis avoidance rather than crisis management
  • It’s about positioning, not spin
  • If an opportunity presents itself, don’t pass it up–but use ‘smart, sober thinking and not shoot from hip responses’ 

While reading the comments following up Kluger’s post, some mentioned that fact that those who go into PR without properly educating themselves about the field cause a huge lack or professionalism and credibility in the industry.  

Knowing the aspects of the business is important, but what about those who stumble into a PR job? The fact that they are building on experience and learning as they go along doesn’t make them unprofessional, does it? Or is formal education one of the only ways to become credible in the field? Personally, I think having experience is what creates a professional and credible PR practitioner.

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September 15, 2008

Weekly roundup

JMC417 students have explored quite a range of topics this past week, as they dip their toe into blogging. Cast Communications looked at propaganda, which tied into last week’s classroom discussions as well. How can we keep PR from devolving into propaganda, fulfilling the low expectations of public relations critics? ABC PR continued in a similar vein. Both teams cited videos by PR Watch. The Agency posted on the related topic of credibility.

As I mentioned in comments, I think the Center for Media and Democracy (the source of PR Watch) does some important work, and I sometimes teach from their books. However, they only present one side of the argument, and often fall into the ideological trap of equating any form of advocacy with propagandistic bias. Considering the importance of the public information role played by PR practitioners, it’s important to critically evaluate each case on its own merits. Throwing out the baby with the bath water does a disservice to the public at large, as well as the profession.

Sparkle Media broached instead the issue of international PR, which we’ll be discussing in class this week. As a matter of fact, one of the readings comes from the case book they cite in their post. They frame the question as a matter of “the evolution of PR,” which can be construed in a few different ways. Are they suggesting that social responsibility is the latest trend in public relations? Or that other countries are somehow “underdeveloped” in terms of their PR approaches? The latter view is certainly problematic, but the post itself doesn’t elaborate on the term “evolution” in the title, so we are left to wonder.

Metis PR focused on personal brand management and professionalism. Students such as those in JMC 417, all seniors who will soon be on the job market, need to be particularly aware of the cumulative effect of their online presence. Those who have maintained MySpace pages, are active on Facebook, keep (or simply comment on) blogs, or participate in online communities under their own name, should take a look at what kind of impression they may be leaving with the public. Tallfore talked about another aspect of professionalism: the ability to make time for important commitments. This is always a challenge, in any profession.

Finally, I posted about the PRSA challenge to the US electoral campaigns of both major parties, inviting discussion about the utility of such a strategy. At this point, it seems that most people who have commented on this topic feel that it is more of a stunt than a useful way of associating PRSA, and by extension the public relations profession as a whole, with ethical behavior. They have also expressed skepticism as to the extent to which the campaigns would benefit from accepting such a challenge.

Ethical issues are always messy.

September 12, 2008

Your Search Engine Results are as Important as Your Resume

by Metis PR

I selected a posting from the PRos in Training blog called, “Your Search Engine Results are as Important as Your Resume.” Most public relations professors, like many of the people in this class, focus on honing their skills while gaining experience. But it’s also important to develop a positive professional image and this includes online reputations. As many students and other up-and-coming pr practitioners are being urged to join the social media bandwagon, it’s essential that they understand and utilize the latest online trends such as social networking sites like Myspace, Facebook and Twitter. In a digital age, public relations must, too become digital. And this begins with immersion in cyberspace. Being internet savvy certainly gives people an advantage as they pursue PR positions and advancements. Clients and other stakeholders want people working for them that understand all things digital.

With this in mind, I think this particular blog is interesting because it discusses professionalism amidst the internet. As college students, it’s likely that everyone in this class at one point or another has posted information about themselves such as photos, videos, blogs, bulletins, and the like on a social networking Web site. With background research only a mouse click away, more and more employers are now Googling job candidates’, searching for any discrepancies. In fact, many job hopefuls have been turned down based on embarrassing or racy search results. It’s important that JMC 417 students are mindful of this trend. I have both a Myspace and a Facebook, and I’m always careful to privatize my information and monitor what other people post. Although privacy settings and a sense of responsibility usually keep online content appropriate, I don’t believe many college students are as careful as they should be. As we begin joining the workforce it’s essential that we become aware of our “digital footprint”. In this blog you’ll find some helpful tips on how to protect your online reputation.

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