Posted by: beccathomas | April 28, 2010

PR Connections

For the past four summers, I have worked for Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters camp in Andrews, North Carolina.  This camp has been running and established for 12 going on 13 years now.  It is a high adventure Christian camp that has been impacting lives since it opened.  In the beginning their only advertising was word of mouth, which can only take you so far as most of us know.  At that time they were able to a run a few weeks of camp, due to the low numbers of students enrolled.  Over the years they have taken many steps to get their name out, and I think this year they have really taken their advertising to a new level.  They now have an ad that pops up on your side bar when on Facebook.  I thought that was such a good strategy, because of the vast amounts of people who would see that ad in one day alone.  They have also starting doing promotions at Youth Specialties Conferences.  They also have started placing ads in popular Christian magazines, as well as adventure magazines.  They also have created promotional DVDs, packets, e-mails, and monthly newsletters.  Another thing they have started doing is world tours, which is where they travel around to different churches to promote summer camp.  This one-on-one interaction with churches has a developed a great reputation for Snowbird.  I firmly believe these steps alone will contribute to a substantial amount of new business.  This coming summer Snowbird has reached new levels already.  They have filled all of their spots for students for 8 out of the 9 weeks of camp, and there is still a month left to book!  I encourage you to check them out for yourself.  I’m sure their website will leave you interested!

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Posted by: beccathomas | April 28, 2010

PR Connections

When thinking about connecting what I learn in my PR class and seeing it played out in the “real word”, I can’t think of a better example than the After Dark promotion here on campus last year.  This event took place last spring, but it still has left an impression on me.  After Dark is a program connected with the organization Kanakuk, and is just one of their many programs nationwide.

After Dark sent a representative down to the GSU campus to head up the promotion, and they wasted no time before getting to work.  They split their volunteers into different promotional based teams to spread the work load out.  Their main goal through the promotion was to have GSU campus buzzing about After Dark, leaving the students curious and interested.  Some of their promotion ideas were bright t-shirts containing all event info, free lunch cook outs, free fliers and posters, personal announcements in classrooms and in club meetings, free balloons with event info, chalk writings all over campus, and a rally.  The best idea to draw attention and awareness in my opinion though was the three freeze outs they did around campus.  At a designated time and spot all promotion people wearing the event t-shirts would freeze at the sound of a whistle for 5 minutes.   These demonstrations drew a huge crowds and had the campus buzzing.  I think this organization did a great job at reaching their audience, and using all different forms of PR to communicate their message.



Posted by: beccathomas | April 28, 2010

Multi Media Writing (Topic of the Week 14)

I am currently taking a Public Relations Writing class at Georgia Southern University, and as a part of that class we are required to take several online help courses.  These courses are put on by Poynter’s News University.  The courses they offer can serve as a great learning tool, and have proven to be very useful.  The course that I took recently was called Five Steps to Multimedia Storytelling.  This course was very informative and well worth my time!

I learned many things while taking this course.  Radio and Television writing is a form of multimedia story telling.  When you write for radio the releases are similar to that of press releases.  Although, radio releases require more concise writing and a conversational tone must be used.  I learned that television news releases must contain sound and visual elements.  These help make television releases stand out to their audiences.

I was surprised to learn that how similar radio releases are to press releases.  I was also surprised at how much I enjoy Multi Media writing.  I think I prefer the conversational tone and feel more comfortable writing in that manner.

I would have liked to learn more detailed information.  I feel like this course did not go into as much detail as the previous ones we took.  I would still recommend the course, but I feel as if I could still use some more practice with this type of writing.

Do not just take my word for this course.  You need to take some time and check it out for yourself.  The course will help you explore this topic further and hopefully give you a better understanding of the subject matter.  I know you will not regret it if you give the course a try.  Hopefully you will find the course beneficial, and that you will be able to learn something new!

Posted by: beccathomas | April 28, 2010

Journalists Gone Mad (Topic of the Week 13)

As I was reading through my Public Relations textbook, I found many things that could lead to driving a journalist crazy.  In chapter 11, it talks all about what you can do to ensure you get along with journalists.  This is a chapter that you do not want to skip over, because it contains very valuable information.  When working in the communications field, it is crucial that you maintain a good relationship with journalists and editors.  You have to maintain a good relationship with them, because you have to depend on them to publish your publications.  It is a dependent relationship, so you want to do whatever you can to keep the relationship healthy and positive at all times.  The best way to keep the relationship healthy is by learning what frustrates them, and commit to not doing those things.

Below I have listed certain things that drive journalists crazy:

  1. By asking if they have received your news release.  You should never ask this question.  The journalist will inform you of any discussion that needs to take place between the two of you.
  2. By sending in publications that do not contain a newsworthy event.  Your publications number one focus should be to cover a newsworthy event, otherwise there is nothing to talk about.
  3. By over crowding the lead.  The lead is to be short, clear, and to the point.  If you load down the lead with too much information the journalist will often times not even read your entire publication.
  4. By attaching pictures to e-mail.  These should not be sent as an attachment.
  5. By creating too much hype in a story.  Journalists only want information that is newsworthy.  They do not want you to exaggerate to make your story try to seem newsworthy.
  6. By holding press conferences when there is not a newsworthy event.  You should only hold a press conference when there is something newsworthy that gives room for a camera angle and questions to be asked.
  7. By using e-mail in place of one-on-one communication.  E-mail is not a substitute for personal communication.
  8. By giving them bribes or gimmicks.  They are not interested in this, instead concentrate on your publication being news worthy.
  9. Don’t ask them when your story will be used.  They often do not know the answer to this question themselves.
  10. Do not hold a junket if there is not a legitimate news story or news angle to cover.  Journalists are only interested in the facts.

That was just some of the things I discovered that make journalists go crazy.  So, jot these things down and remember not to do them.  I would encourage you to read this entire chapter, so you know what to do and what not to do.

Posted by: beccathomas | April 28, 2010

“What Are You Listening Too?”(Topic of the Week 12)

This semester I am currently enrolled in a Public Relations Writing course at Georgia Southern University.  Each week we have a “Topic -of-the Week” to report on.  Through out the semester we have covered some very important information that has been discussed in out Topics-of-the -Week.  This past week we were asked to listen to a podcast about Public Relations.

I think this was a great assignment, because it forced us to do something that we otherwise would have not done.  It made us step out of our normal routine and take some time to learn from others.  We often get caught up in our daily routine’s and we convince ourselves that we have everything figured out.  Reality is that each new day is an opportunity to learn something new, and we should take advantage of that opportunity.  This is especially true when considering our future career.  Now, while we are in school is the time to take advantage of learning from those who already have experience in the work field.  They have already been working and developed knowledge and first hand experience about what to do and what not to do.  If we are smart, we will learn from their attempts, failures, and successes.  We can learn so much from them, if we are just willing to listen.

I listen to the Inside PR podcast and found it very interesting and insightful in ways.  They gave an insider’s look on real issues in Public Relations, and I found it well worth my time.  I loved hearing stories and issues from people who are already in the Public Relations work field.  There is so much to be learned from their experiences, and listening to podcasts is just another way to make that happen.  I would encourage you to check this podcast out for yourself.  You won’t be disappointed!

Posted by: beccathomas | April 28, 2010

Infographics (Topic of the Week 11)

This week in my Public Relations class we are discussing infographics.  According to my PR textbook, infographics are computer generated artwork that attractively displays simple tables and charts.  Infographics can be an important part of a publication, and I think it is crucial for Public Relations people familiarize themselves with this concept.  Infographics can make publications and presentations more appealing and more noticed.  Also, the audience is more likely to grasp the major message and understand the full concept when people use infographics.

Infographics could be useful in a story for my client, because they could help tie the whole story together.  Infographics include charts and tables, which visual aids are always helpful when done right.  These infographics can help present the overall message or key points to the targeted audience.

Infographics are easy to create, and they will prove to be well worth your time.  Infographics can never hurt, but only bring creativity clarity to the whole presentation.  I think every person in the communication field should have to be familiar with infographics, because they are extremely beneficial to any presentation you are about to give.  So, take a few moments and click on one of the links I have posted.  It has been a while, but I still think the facts you will learn will be well worth your time!

Posted by: beccathomas | April 28, 2010

PR OpenMic (Topic of the Week 9 &10)

I am currently taking a PR writing class at Georgia Southern University.  My professor assigned us to create an account at PROpenMic, and test the application out.  It was a really easy process when I created my account on their site.  They just simply asked me a few questions about myself, my involvement in the Public Relations worlds, and my future aspirations for the Public Relations field.  After answering those questions and selecting a profile picture, the site quickly generated my own personal account.  I was surprised how easy of a process it actually was.

After using this application, I can clearly see why this site would be an important asset to any person in the Public Relations field.  It seems that the site’s primary purpose is to serve as a way for people to network and stay connected.  The networking is more specific than using Facebook, because on this site you are networking with people who are already in or are interested in Public Relations.  It is a quick and easy way to get in touch with people who share many common interest, because you are working in the same field.  The site allows you to post things about yourself and what kind of Public Relations your interested in.  This is helpful so that you can get linked up with others who share that in common with you.  This can also be helpful with those looking for a job, because your profile lists some many things that would give an employer an insider’s look.  It also has pages that you can look on to find internships and job offerings, which is especially helpful with the current economy status.    Another neat thing about this site is that it has a link where you can start or join forums.  This allows you to have conversations and discussions with many people interested and passionate about your subject matter.

The site in my opinion is definitely worth checking it out!  It doesn’t take long to set up an account, and I think you will find that it is so helpful!  So, take a few minutes and check out the PR OpenMic website.

Posted by: beccathomas | April 27, 2010

Writing a Lead (Topic of the week 8)

I am currently taking a Public Relations Writing class at Georgia Southern University, and as a part of that class we are required to take several online help courses.  These courses are put on by Poynter’s News University.  The courses they offer can serve as a great learning tool, and have proven to be very useful.  The course that I took recently was called “The Lead Lab”.  It was all about how to write leads effectively and efficiently.

From this course I learned many useful things.  I learned that the most important part of any news release is the lead paragraph.  This is where you give the reader the details of the story and entice them to read further.  This lead paragraph should be three to five sentences long.  The first one to three sentences of the lead paragraph should give the reader the most important facts.  Your lead should include the most newsworthy information from your publication.

I was surprised to learn that most people clutter their lead and load it with too much information.  This turns off journalists and reporters from reading your entire publication.  You want to stay to the point in your publication and not stray from the most newsworthy information.    Another common error when writing leads is to use too much hype.  This also turns off journalists.  They key is to stay to the facts.

I would have liked to see some more examples in the course.  The more examples I have, the more confident I will feel about the subject matter.  I would have also liked to have a few more exercises that let you decide if the lead was too cluttered.  I think never hurts to have more practice.

I think this course was worth my time, and I think you should check it out for yourself.  I know it will serve as a good teaching tool, or a nice reminder on important facts.

Posted by: beccathomas | April 27, 2010

Time to Present

Chapter 15 in my PR textbook (Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques by Wilcox) is all about giving speeches and presentations.  This was a very useful chapter to read, and I found several important facts that were worth remembering.  I listed some of the most important facts that I found in the chapter below.  Take some time and read through these facts.

  • Speeches and presentations are great ways for your organization to gain visibility and reach their key target audiences and publics.
  • The text notes that speeches should be prepared for listeners not readers.
  • Speeches must be targeted to their audience, be specific, get a reaction, have a definite objective, and be timely.
  • Remember that audiovisuals are a great way to ensure that your audience retains and understands the information being presented.
  • The text notes that the key to successful visual aids is a brief copy and large type.
  • Speeches should have only one to three key messages.

These were just a few of the facts I wrote down while reading this chapter.  If you are in the communications field, I highly recommend you read this chapter for yourself.  I think it will be well worth your time, and that you will find many other useful facts.

Posted by: beccathomas | April 27, 2010

PR Highlights

As I was reading through chapter 14 in my PR textbook (Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques by Wilcox), I found some important facts that were worth highlighting.  I listed these key facts for you below, so take some time and check them out!

  • Remember to keep your messages short, clear, and to the point.  You do not want to over load people with information or clutter your publications.
  • The text notes that e-mail is not a substitute for personal one-on-one communication.
  • Memos should be one page or less.  Also, it is important to list the key message immediately in the memo.
  • A memo is made up of five parts: date, to, from, subject, and message.  You need to cover each of these when writing a memo.
  • A proposal paper should begin with an overview, so people can read the highlights quickly.

These are just a few of the facts that I thought were worth highlighting.  You should take time to check out the chapter for yourself, so you can read about these facts more in-depth.  Hope you found these facts useful!

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