TOW 9

July 11, 2010 at 5:48 pm (PRCA 3330 Topic of the Week)

          Blogging is such a big part of this PR writing class and it is very important to know how to use and navigate through not only your own blog, but others’ as well. Here’s my top ten list for future PR students who are new to blogging:

  1. Make sure your blog stays current! Do something every week and check your account everyday to allow yourself time to make sure everything is correct and turned in on time.
  2. ALWAYS use the spelling and grammar check tool, it is there for a reason! Believe me, the small mistakes add up and they will come back to haunt you during your blog check points.
  3. Make your posts interesting; using audio, video, and graphics make it more appealing to everyone and your blog will not only look better, but it will seem more professional if you use them the right way.
  4. Make sure to comment on the blogs that belong to your classmates. This will help you out in the long run because you can learn from them and your feedback helps others see what you think of their posts.
  5. Make sure to add appropriate links to your posts! This allows other people to look further in to the topics you blog about if they choose to.
  6. Use bullets and numbers for ordered and unordered lists; this will make your posts more visually appealing and organized.
  7. Choose a theme for your blog that somewhat reflects you! This makes it more fun to look at and different from everyone else’s.
  8. Use the blog for personal posts as well. This gives your audience a chance to get to know you a little better; post pictures or even videos of things that are interesting to you or perhaps some interesting things you have done such as artwork or photography.
  9. Remain professional but have fun while doing so. You don’t want your blog to be uptight and boring but at the same time you don’t want to post anything inaproppriate.
  10. This is perhaps the most important: DON’T PROCRASTINATE!! I am the queen of procrastination, so learn from my mistakes and don’t leave everything until the last minute!

I hope this helps you out, future bloggers!! Have fun and enjoy the class 🙂

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TOW 8

July 11, 2010 at 12:46 pm (PRCA 3330 Topic of the Week)

      

          Journalists and public relations professionals often but heads in various areas of media relations. Whether it’s about the content of a news release, the ways in which we communicate with them, or even about the structure of stories, it is inevitable that sometimes these two professions just don’t see eye-to-eye about certain issues.

          Even though it is tough to avoid this contradiction of opinions, PR people must try to maintain a stable relationship with the journalists in order to remain professional. This week I have compiled a list of ten ways in which public relations professionals can sometimes drive journalists crazy:

1. Problem: Using too many hype words can irritate the journalist and make the publicist/PR professional seem incompetent.

Solution: State the facts without using fluff; just be straightforward and get your point across without adding unnecessary words that seem to be there only to take up space.

2. Problem: Sending gimmicks along with a news release or media kit can annoy a journalist. According to the textbook, “T=shirts, coasters, caps, paperweights, pens, and mugs have historically been the most popular items, but PR Week columnist Benedict Carver says these items are dull and overdone: ‘Everyone has 50 mugs and T-shirts.’”

Solution: Try and avoid sending promotional items along with your news release, but if you do decide to include some makes sure there is a clear connection between the promotional item and the news you are announcing.

3. Problem: PR professionals sometimes submit sloppy or biased writing in the news releases they send to journalists.

Solution: Don’t let your opinion show in your writing unless that is the basis of the piece; remain neutral and just state the facts.

4. Problem: Some PR writing can fall into the category of “tabloid journalism” and this may seem unprofessional to journalists looking for different types of stories.

Solution: Our textbook tells us not to “paint all media with the same brush” which basically means that service should be given to responsible journalists and proper information should be provided.

5. Problem: PR professionals can sometimes bombard journalists with too many follow ups.

Solution: It is important to follow-up on a media alert or news release once, but don’t over-do it! Call and briefly follow-up or leave a message if you get their voicemail; don’t leave to many messages just like you would for any other personal instance. If they see you made an effort, they will respond if they need to speak with you.

6. Problem: Do not submit late work!

Solution: Make sure to turn everything in on time and journalists will appreciate your professionalism.

7. Problem: Do not try to tell the journalists how they should do their job.

Solution: The journalists have training in what their job entails; let them stick to what they know best and do the same yourself.

8. Problem: PR people are sometimes unavailable to answer questions from the journalists.

Solution: Be ready to answer any questions they may have about your story; availability is the key if you want your story published the way in which you intended for it to come across.

9. Problem: PR professionals can sometimes get mad if their story is not chosen for publication.

Solution: You must understand that journalists have a lot to do and many stories to cover so if yours is not chosen this time, maybe next time around will be your shot. Try not to have any hard feelings or hold any grudges.

10. Problem: Sometimes journalists are annoyed with stories that are not newsworthy.

Solution: Always give the best news that you possibly can; do not submit stories that are boring and do not pick any topics that are not newsworthy.

 

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TOW 7

July 11, 2010 at 12:26 pm (PRCA 3330 Topic of the Week)

          This week I took Poynter News University’s Five Steps to MultiMedia Storytelling and for our seventh topic of the week I will explain what I learned from this class. I am very glad to have taken this class because now I feel more comfortable choosing a story, creating a storyboard, editing the story, reporting with multimedia and producing the story as well.

          I think it is very important for a PR writer to be able to effectively use tools such as video, audio, and graphics because our society is becoming more technologically advanced with each day and stories are always more interesting, to me, when they include one or more of these elements. This course went a lot more in-depth than I expected it to and I am very glad that it did because, before taking the class, I had no idea that so much went in to creating a good story.

          I now feel very comfortable using multimedia to create a story that will attract the attention of my target audience. The most valuable things that I took away from this course include:

  • Identifying the elements in a multimedia story such as audio, video, and graphics.
  • Being able to identify which stories are more appropriate for multimedia use.
  • Sketching a concept for a story, or creating a storyboard.
  • Identifying the tools needed to gather content in the field.

          Using audio, video, and graphics really gives the audience a sense that they are there as the story is happening. The story becomes a lot more interactive and is much more appealing to the eyes and ears of the viewers.

          I would still like to go further in-depth with the type of information I learned in this course and maybe this time have someone with me so we can learn from each other. I am a very hands-on learner and I think it would be easier for me to work with someone so we can answer each other’s questions and help each other with any bumps in the road that we may come across.

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TOW 6

July 10, 2010 at 8:00 pm (PRCA 3330 Topic of the Week)

          For this week’s TOW I went to the Creative Careers website and listened to a podcast designed to help out with networking at social events. The podcast that I chose to write about was an interview with Sandy Jones-Kaminski who talked about her recent book I’m at a Networking Event- Now What??? A Guide to Getting the most out of Any Networking Event. She discussed a few tips from the book and described her background in marketing and business development and how networking allowed her to come across such success in her career.

          She started off by addressing the common problems that people make while trying to network and how things such as the wrong body language can do more harm than good. She also adds that her book is perfect for anyone who is new to networking and wants to learn more about how to be successful in meeting people and making a strong lasting impression. Recent college graduates, for example, may want to establish a positive impression with other people in order to build up their reputation in the networking world.

          One of the guidelines she mentioned was asking good questions; it is important to do this rather than just say the first thing that comes to mind because sometimes that can come off as unprofessional and unplanned. Ask questions that are appropriate and still provoke the response you are looking for without coming across as annoying.

          Kaminski also talks about what she refers to as a “name tag scan” which is when someone you are having a conversation with in a networking environment ignores you and focuses on a “big name” that happens to walk by. It is not necessarily your fault if something like this happens to you, but in the case that it does, you should not feel bad and simply disassociate yourself with this type of behavior.

          She also stresses the importance of finding the host(s) and/or sponsor(s) of the event, introducing yourself, thanking them for having you there, and asking if they know anyone who is looking for help with social media work. This is a great way to offer your skills in social media and also expand your network by meeting new people and giving a strong lasting impression.

          I really enjoyed listening to this podcast because it was so easy to do at home. I can clean my room, do my laundry, cook dinner, or many other things while still paying attention and taking in all of the information the podcast has to offer.

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TOW 5

June 30, 2010 at 1:17 am (PRCA 3330 Topic of the Week)

          During week four we completed one week of Twitter in which we set up a Twitter account and sent at least twenty tweets along with responding to at least five tweets that our classmates posted and then blog about our experience for our fifth topic of the week. I have had some prior experience with Twitter before this week but I still learned a lot during my time during this activity.

      I found myself thinking of random things that I wanted to Tweet throughout my day but by the time I got to my computer, I would forget half of them. In order to solve this problem I chose the option to be able to send Tweets from my cell phone. I do not have internet access on my phone; pretty much all it does is make calls, send texts, and take pictures. I can’t even send or recieve picture messages because of the lack of internet access on my cell phone so I was very suprised that I was able send Tweets through the same device. The Tweets are sent through texts messages not the internet so that is how I was able to have such easy mobile access to Twitter.

          On any other week I would send Tweets randomly as I pleased but this week we were required to complete a certain amount of Tweets so I had to think about it a lot more often. I tried to Tweet about things that were more interesting than something like, “I had this for lunch today” and it was actually harder than I thought it would be. Normally I will send a Tweet here and there and not even think about the level of professionalism that it reflects back on me. This week however I tried to Tweet about something that caught my interest or any interesting facts that I may have come across.

          I think that Twitter is the future in social networking and it is very important for a public relations professional to be familiar with how to use this website. Twitter makes it easy to keep in touch with other people and follow along with things that they feel are important enough to share with the world.

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TOW 4

June 30, 2010 at 12:47 am (PRCA 3330 Topic of the Week)

          For week four’s topic of the week we completed a NewsU  The Lead Lab course. I am very glad to have this experience because I intend to use the knowledge I gained in writing news releases and maintaining the attention of my audience when I embark on a professional career in the public relations field.  I found this course to be very educational and extremely easy to navigate through.

          A public relations writer must know how to write leads that are entertaining and spark the interest of  the audience. This course discusses the two different types of leads, direct and delayed leads, and the importance of choosing the right one and applying it to your writing. Direct leads are up-front in their presentation of news and state all the facts right away. Delayed leads tell a story and unfold the news as they go.

          Both direct and delayed leads are general categories that contain even more types of specific leads. A summary lead is a type of direct lead that answers the questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? An analysis lead is very neutral and allows the reader to understand the story from the perspective they choose.

          An anecdotal lead is a type of delayed lead that illustrates the complete story. Another type of delayed lead is an emblem lead, which uses one event to elaborate on a larger problem. A significant detail lead  is a type of delayed lead that adds in depth detail to a story in order to provide for a better understanding of the general idea. The final type of delayed lead is called a round-up lead and it combines all of the other types of delayed leads to exhibit a trend.

          This course was very helpful to me as a public relations writer because it stressed the importance of having an interesting lead that maintains the interest of and informs the audience. There are many types of leads and it is also important for a PR writer to know when it is appropriate to use each different one.

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TOW 2

June 7, 2010 at 10:43 pm (PRCA 3330 Topic of the Week)

     For this week’s TOW I visited Grammar Girl’s website and I was very impressed with the information I found. I am semi-familiar with this website because I have some prior experience with it from another class so it wasn’t too difficult to navigate through. I came across the ‘Top Ten Grammar Myths’ and there were a few things on the list that surprised me. To give a better insight to what I learned from this article, here’s what made the list:

  1. You shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition
  2. You shouldn’t split infinitives
  3. It’s incorrect to answer the Q: “How are you?” with the A: “I’m good.”
  4. You use a before words that start with consonants and you use an before words that start with vowels
  5. I.e. and e.g. mean the same thing
  6. Passive voice is always wrong
  7. There is only one way to write the possesive form of words that end in s
  8. Irregardless is not a word
  9. You shouldn’t start a sentence with the word however
  10. A run on sentence is a really long sentence

     The first one on the list that jumped out at me was #8: irregardless is not a word. Grammar Girl says that this is technically not a word but it has gained wide enough use to qaulify as one. I’ll be sure not to use the word irregardless in a situation where I am trying to be taken seriously..

     I would really like to know more about #3 on the list: It’s incorrect to answer the Q: “How are you?” with the A: “I’m good.” According to Grammar Girl, the response “I’m well” should be used when talking about your health, not your general disposition. I have always heard that “I’m well” is a more acceptable response than “I’m good” but I guess I was wrong. I can’t tell you how many times I was corrected for saying “good” instead of “well” when I was younger, but who’s laughing now.. 🙂

Here’s a link to the podcast/article I used:

http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/top-ten-grammar-myths.aspx

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TOW 3

June 1, 2010 at 6:25 pm (PRCA 3330 Topic of the Week)

Why are comments such an integral part of blogs? What advice would you offer on writing effective blog comments? (Be sure to link to at least two sources for your information.

          This week I will explore why comments are an interal part of blogs and also offer some advice on writing effective blog comments. Comments allow us to express our thoughts to others about their posts, receive the opinions of others, and also to aid in networking with others who share similar interests. Effective comments should be clear and get straight to the point.

          Giving comments to others about their posts allows them to see how the audience reacts to the content of their post, which helps them in forming future blog posts. This can also spark conversation among the creator of the post and those who choose to add comments.

          Comments allow us as bloggers to better understand the ways in which others form opinions about posts we create. These opinions may be supporting or opposing but either way the allow us to see both sides of issues and communicate with those who are interested in similar topics. Some comments are not only feedback about content, but about the entire blog in general. For example, someone may have a really interesting theme to their blog and others may want to know where to obtain it.

          Blog comments also provide an easy way to network and keep in touch with others. Comments on certain posts may spark conversations that could lead to further posts by others, which stir up comments. An example of networking with blog comments could be: if you come across a comment from someone you are not familiar with that gets your attention you may be promted to look at their blog. Then you might happen to see a post of theirs and choose to comment. This allows us to interact with others in different locations around the world and meet people who we may never have come across in other situations.

          In order to write effective blog comments, one must be sure to stay on topic. Keep your comments focused on the post that you are commenting on. If you wish to express an opinion about something that has to do with another topic, comment accordingly on a corresponding post. Sometimes a blogger will provide an area for general comments and you can post your thoughts in that category or even make your own post about it and ask for feedback from that person.

           There is a post on Dr. Nixon’s blog featuring ten blogging tips that will change your life (or at least your grade) that was originally  featured in Ragan’s PR Daily in December 2009. These tips, along with my own, can be extremely helpful to novice bloggers who are looking for some advice for getting started with blogging. Dr. Nixon’s blog contains not only these ten helpful hints for blogging, but many others for using wordpress and being successful in the class. I highly recommend taking a look at these tips when creating your own blog and commenting on the blogs of others!

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