“So like what even is Public Relations?”

From the beginning of the my college career I have always had the same major; Public Relations.images

To me it made perfect sense as to why I chose this career path but to others it just did not click. I realized that more than half of the time, people had no idea even what Public Relations really meant.

So let’s clear up the misconceptions, the rumors, and the nonsense right here, right now! Consider me your PR bus driver cause I’m about to take you to school.

Public Relations is a profession that has been around for centuries but did not actually get established as a study and career till the 1920’s.

Edward Bernays, who is considered the pimp daddy of PR wrote some very interesting books on how PR and communications govern the masses. He wrote on advertising and propaganda. Bernays was a genius!

Without Bernays, PR might still be in the dark. He made a name for himself and the profession. Companies and organizations realized because of Bernays that needed PR specialists.

PR specialists are hired to communicate with the public and media on behalf of his/her client who can be a company, non-profit organization or an individual.

The result of this is supposed to be a positive public image and strong relationships with the media, customers, the employees, investors and other interest groups.

How do they communicate? We communicate to our publics with news releases, events, campaigns, surveys, flyers, social media, infographics, interviews, you name it! If its apart of the media, then chances are PR specialists have a hand in it.

There are all different types of PR specialists. Some work with celebrities, big time brands, and international companies. But some are much more low key, working behind the scenes daily through more local efforts.

The truth of the matter is PR is everywhere and yet people are still very unclear on what we do and who we are.

samanthajonesPRWell if its still unclear I can give a good picture of who we are not. We are not Samantha Jones (unfortunately because she is so fabulous is kills me.), we are not vultures who swoop into change public opinion, and we are not apart of an industry that lies.

To learn more about PR simply pay attention to what comes through the media. If the media is addressing a scandal or big time event by a company or person that’s PR.

If you like a local business’ post on Facebook that’s PR. If you hear the word “press conference”, that’s PR. If you trust a brand because of their reputation and representation in the media, that’s PR.

If you’re favorite celebrity just apologized via Twitter because of a horrible thing they did at the club this weekend, that’s PR. PR is everywhere, so get woke.

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Ding Dong the Print is Dead

imageIve been hearing for years now that print is dead ( or dying if you ask someone with a heart for paper.)

I always assumed this was simply referring to newspapers and snail mail. But as I learn more about the PR industry I think it might also apply to print news releases.

According to cbsnews.com a press release is the quickest and easiest way to get free publicity.

If this is true (which I think it is) a press release needs to be effective, well written, and presents your story in a way that makes its newsworthy to a media source.

Today, the best way to get across a to any consumer is to catch their attention immediately and be able to hold it for at least thirty seconds.

People now a days react to pictures and videos quicker than anything else. What might take a several pages to explain in writing could be conveyed instantly through a pic or vid.

Print news releases are not dead, but they are most certainly dying because of the need for instant communication.

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1.)People (especially journalists) do not like their time to be wasted, multimedia news releases do not waste time.Print news releases are never more than a page or two long but they can often be bogged down with jargon and fluffy language.

It is time consuming to try and decide what’s really newsworthy on a page full of  extra words. Videos and pictures instantly tell a story to the viewer or reader.

 

2.) Multimedia news releases also have the chance to show different sides of the story, what might be conveyed in words could be presented differently in video.

Pictures let the reader interpret the story based on their own experiences and beliefs. Multimedia means multi dimensional. What might sound boring on paper can truly come to life through pictures and video.

3.) The photos and videos released can be further used by journalists. Just sending Journalists written statements means they have to search or create images and videos to go along with the story. This could help really push the publishing of the news release if releasing it is simple for the journalists.

4.) Multimedia news releases are more likely to be shared on social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc) because they are eye and attention grabbing. According to PR Newser, multimedia news releases can be shared on blogs or across social channels, thereby spreading a release’s main messages even further.

Just compare these two news releases! One is simply print and the other is multimedia. Which one draws you in more? One of them is very memo like (the print release) while the other looks fresh, includes a graphic, and has social media linking capabilities located near the top!

Both of these news releases are relevant and stem from the same source, but the multimedia release seems more user friendly while the print is boring, dated, and seems too professional for the average person to think it applies to them.

News releases are well and alive, but its future is full of photos, videos, links, gifs, and audio clips. Long live the multimedia news release!

New Pitcher Approaching the Media Mound

Have you ever wondered how journalists’ get some of their ideas for news stories? Public Relations specialists (and future specialists) approach journalists with media pitches that aim to get published.

PR specialists advocate for stories to journalists. They give the journalists all the who, what, when, where, and why’s along with other vital information and hope that the journalists write about it.

So many of the news stories and articles we see all of the time started out as media pitches from PR peeps.

I decided to write a media pitch for a local event to a magazine in my state. The event is called KIDFEST 2016 by Belk Little Rock, Arkansas, and it is a biannual fashion show for and by local children of ages  5-12.

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KIDFEST 2016 logo

Since the event is local and for children, I chose to pitch a story to the magazine Little Rock Family because they are designed to reach parents and kids in the area of the event.

Also, if you visit Little Rock Family magazine’s website you will see that they are very consistent and current when updating stories and articles to their site.

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logo for Little Rock Family magazine

Its important that when you pitch to a media source that they stay up to date on reporting. You would not want to pitch an awesome story idea to a site that has not updated its homepage for a couple of months.

I believe that twitter media pitch is the best way to publicize this event to the media because of these three reasons…

  1. Little Rock Family is very current with its twitter page. These indicates that they check their page frequently and this will be seen. Tweets can only be 140 characters long, so it is easy to read and understand for the journalist on the go.
  2. A tweet gives the media source a chance to check out the person pitching the story to them. If Little Rock Family wants to learn more about me they can simply check out my twitter profile. I think twitter adds a personal and familiar touch to the process of pitching.
  3. The twitter pitch will be easy to find for Little Rock Family. This tweet will not get lost in someone’s email. It can be found by the click of a button by whoever handles their social media account.

The twitter media pitch to Little Rock Family would look a little something like this…

“@LRFamily KIDS PLAY DRESS UP FOR REAL July 30, 2016, at Belk in Little Rock, Arkansas, at KIDFEST. http://www.littlerock.com/calendar/detail.aspx?id=17588

Attached to this tweet would be a the logo of KIDFEST that is shown towards the top of this blog post. I put a link to a page that has all the information about KIDFEST, ideally this link would be to Fact Sheet on the event.

 

 

 

Baby’s First Professional Blog Post

When starting anything new, it is important to learn how its to learn how it is done (or more importantly not done.) I reviewed a few professional Public Relations blogs and newsletters to examine the style of modern, online PR writers today.

I think that reviewing other PR blogs and newsletter will help me to develop my own professional blogging style and opinions that I can incorporate here!

Copyblogger Review 

The first blog I took a look at was Copyblogger . At first glance, I could tell the blog was well organized with large bold headings to all its posts and they were relevant and related to the blog theme.

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Current Homepage of Copyblogger.com 6/14/16

I appreciated how the first thing that comes up on the home page is the latest blog post, this makes it so easy for readers to dive straight into the content.

The blog had a decent amount of graphics but I felt they were lacking exuberant and eye catching images. The images I saw on the blog almost looked like ads if one was scrolling quickly down the pages. I would add more vibrant images and also include clever captions to go with!

The blogger did a fine job of embedding all the hyperlinks within the post. The blog had posts of varying topics. Headlines included were, “What’s the Difference Between a Professional Writer and a Content Marketer?” and  “How to Write With Power and Authority.”

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 4.19.35 PM.pngThe writing style was casual and informal. It received an average readability score of 5.7. It was easy to follow and understand. Anyone who is in a rush can skim through the posts and still understand the main point!

I learned a lot from the blog. For example, a Content Marketer is someone who is creative and strategic. They create text, images, audio, or video that delivers a relevant and interesting message for commercial purpose.

 

 

The Well-fed Writer Blog Review 

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I noticed the calming blue background of the blog initially. I love anything blue. Similar to Copyblogger, this blog had the latest blog post at the very top of the home page. I love it when bloggers don’t make you search for their posts!

The writing style was upbeat but too specifically familiar for my taste. As someone who was new to this blog I felt out of place from the two latest posts. I felt both of these posts were targeted towards long time readers.

The blogger spoke a lot on their personal life in the latest posts. If you are looking for a purely professional PR writing blog I would go somewhere else. But if you are looking to learn more about PR writing in a very personal way, look no further.

The posts could have used subheadings and less italics. There were not very many graphics, mostly just  content. This was slightly overwhelming, perhaps some images could lighten this up.

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The Well-Fed Writer Blog 6/14/1

I think the headlines varied on how well they conveyed the theme of the blog posts to the reader. Headlines included, “Ever had Freelance Moments Like This?” and “Well-fed Writer Blog Subscribers Please Unsubscribe and Re-subscribe.”

Notice how one headline is incredibly specific and tells readers exactly what the post is about while the other is vague and indirect.

The blog scored an 8.6 on the readability scale. I think this is appropriate for the target audience, its clear and easy to understand. I doubt anyone under the eighth grade will be on the site.

I learned about how including too much of your personal life in your professional blog can become overwhelming to a reader who may not be looking to read about that in professional blog.

I think it is valuable to tell your story and use real life examples but too much of this takes away from the professionalism of the blog.

PR Newser Review

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Homepage of PR Newser 6/14/16

The style of this was very different from the blogs I reviewed because it immediately seemed more expert and journalistic.

I liked the big news story headlines and how each one had a graphic attached to it on the home page.

The graphics were all equally proportional to each other which gave off a clean and organized appearance.

After each headline and graphic there are three “peek-a-boo” lines from each article that expand on the headline.

I liked this tactic because it can help pull readers into reading more information.

The writing style was very clear and clean. The author did not use a bunch of jargon or technical terms which was good. I feel like anyone could read it and learn more about PR without having any background in it.

PR Newser had good use of subheadings within articles which helped to break up the content. All of the hyperlinks were embedded within the sentences well.

At the bottom of each article was a graphic of the author.I loved that they included that because it gave a face to the voice from the article.

PR Newser scored an 8.7 on the readability scale. I feel that an 8.7 is good for a professional news site because it is easy enough for all their target audiences to be able to read and comprehend quickly.

I learned some awesome tips on how to break into social media which will come in handy since I plan to one day be a PR professional. For example, you have to learn how to stand out. What makes you different from people who are doing the same thing as you?

Also I learned it is vital to stay current on all news happenings. You never know when you will have to relate a news story to your company and know exactly how the business stands on the issue.

 

The Holmes Report Review Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 5.07.43 PM

The first thing I noticed about The Holmes Report was the homepage had a mosaic format for organizing their latest news stories. This felt very fresh and modern, it also gave equal homepage time to the top stories of the day.

Next I noticed that readers could search through their content based on different regions of the globe. There were the menu options of “Global”, “North America”, “EMEA”, and “Asia Pacific.” I thought this was innovative and efficient when reaching international readers.

There were many varying topics being covered on the site since it is so globalized. Headlines included, “Airbnb Steps Up China Engagement After Edelman Hire” and “Axicom Hires Cathy Pittham As Global CEO To Lead Expansion.”

If you couldn’t tell by the headlines on this site, it is very upper level information. The site scored a 17.2 on the readability test. I am not surprised by this score.

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The content of the site is very serious and technical, which means the writing must match this in order to convey the information appropriately. There is a lot of jargon thrown around through the all of their articles.

I would not suggest this site to someone who is not concerned with Public Relations on a very global scale.

The site had a great use of vibrant and strong graphics that popped on each post while not overtaking the entire page. The site authors had a good use of strong headlines with sub-headlines expanding more on the content of each article.

I learned that when reaching large audiences it is wise to sub categorize content by regions, whether it is international or local.