Words to live by

16 Nov

It was just another typical day of going through the timeline of tweets on my Twitter when my eyes landed on a link posted by a fellow journalism student and friend of mine. Curious, I followed the link to an article posted by Ragan’s PR Daily called How to Get the Most Out of a PR Major. Being a PR major myself I was immediately curious at what the article had to offer, so furthered my investigation.

The article was short and to the point but incredibly useful! Where was this article two years ago when I was clueless about PR? Even more shocking and intriguing was that the article was written by Alexis Morgan, a senior at Penn State University, so I knew the advice that was being offered wasn’t just from someone who had been in the business but from a fellow college student whom I could connect to. More often than not I feel like sometimes college students get so boggled down with advice from professors and professionals that its almost overwhelming, so this article was a breath of fresh air.

The article consisted of six tips to get the most out of a PR major and the ins and outs of how to be successful as a PR practitioner. Each point was achievable and specifically lined out so there was no “grey area.” Here are Alexis’ six tips to success:

Get as much internship experience as possible. 

This may seem like an obvious key to victory in the career game, but some students feel one internship is enough. It’s not.

The more internship experience you get, the better your résumé looks and the more confident you’ll be with your performance under pressure. Internship experience doesn’t have to mean being an account associate at a top PR firm; it can be as simple as writing copy for a school newspaper or doing marketing for a local company. The more, the better.

Tip: Set up a meeting with your school’s career advisor. A face-to-face encounter shows dedication.

Practice how to write, especially a good pitch. 

Writing is a fundamental part of our job. You’ll have to do it daily, and it can make or break your career. In high school I was a terrible writer. The good news is that with practice and dedication, people who aren’t naturally gifted with writing skills can develop the craft.

In college I took extra writing classes and wrote for various media outlets. I went from hating writing assignments to thoroughly enjoying them. Remember, you can always improve.

Tip: Never stop practicing your writing.

Knowing how to pitch well is also important. 

At a Public Relations Society of America conference this summer, Jennifer Bendery from The Huffington Post said she knows whether to delete a pitch after reading the first line. The panel of journalists agreed that a good pitch must be quick, topical, and concise. Practice writing eye-catching pitches that include only the most relevant, important information needed. Have a professor or mentor read your pitches and give you advice.

Tip: If you don’t already know, learn from Help A Reporter Out.

Be familiar with multiple areas of expertise. 

We all know the state of the economy. I have friends with degrees and without jobs. The most effective way to begin your career is to set yourself apart from everyone else. You can do this by becoming familiar in areas apart from public relations.

I am double majoring in PR and broadcast journalism in case I choose to change career paths later in life. Because I am learning about journalism, I can understand how to capture a journalist’s attention.

This knowledge will be helpful when I pitch to journalists as a PR professional. Whether it’s double majoring or picking up a minor, learn about another field of expertise.

Tip: People who can fulfill two job roles are twice as likely to find one.

Be well versed on news topics. 

A journalist once told me it’s important to deliver newsmakers to those who are affected by them. In a sense, PR pros are the delivery boys. We deliver the relevant people and information for the story.

It’s vital to know what’s going on around you. Thanks to the Web, news is always available at your fingertips. Money, local, crime, national, international, travel, politics, entertainment, sports, health—read it all.

Tip: News is 24/7; it’s constantly changing and updating. Use Twitter or a smartphone app to stay up to date on current information.

Stay on top of trends. 

Social media is possibly the most popular information conduit today, and its influence is ever growing. A current PR student should have Facebook and Twitter accounts, a blog, and a LinkedIn profile—at minimum.

Did you know that last year companies invested more than $1.68 billion in social media? Next year, the number is expected to be around $2.1 billion, according to eMarketer.

I was hesitant to jump on the Twitter boat a couple of years ago. Now, I check my timeline every 10 minutes. I’ve actually pitched to journalists via Twitter and have filled out a job application on Facebook. The relationship between technology and media is changing. Will you take advantage of it or be left behind?

 

As much as I enjoyed reading this article I have heard all of these tips from my professors, its just nice to hear from a fellow student who is also entering the world of public relations. One of my favorite parts of the article was when the author talks about social media and the large role it has come to play in all of our lives. I know just from being in journalism classes the importance of being an active user of social media (Facebook, Twitter and blogs) as well as having a smartphone with the ability to always be socially interacting. As graduation approaches I am nervous to be out in the real world after 18 years of schooling but I know that thanks to the preparation from my professors and mentors that I will be ready to be a successful PR practitioner.

Getting Batty at the UO Theatre

15 Nov

I’ve never been much of a theatre person myself, other than attending the occasionally Broadway production with the family. I can also honestly say that in my four years at the university I have not had the opportunity to see a UO Theatre production, and do wish to change that before graduation. So when a fellow co-worker of mine boasted about the University of Oregon Theater’s current production of Bat Boy, I decided to take a better look.

The University of Oregon’s production of Bat Boy is a musical, far different from anything you’ve ever seen. Produced by Keythe Farley, Brian Flemming and music and lyrics by Laurence O’keefe, he show’s primarily put on by students. The show debut on November 4th and holds performances till the 19th at the Robinson Theatre on the UO campus.

The show itself is comical, with a mix of weirdness, romance and cross dressing. According to my co-worker who is performing in the show, many of the characters are gender mixed and its not rare to see a muscular college guy wearing pink heels. The show is a bit racy with language expletives, gore and sex, making the age requirement 16 years.

On the University Theater’s website you can find more information on times and tickets pricing as well as links to several reviews by local publications, such as the Eugene Weekly and the Register Guard.  Both reviews praised the theatre program for yet another successful performance and raved about the high energy actors/actresses and wild and wacky makings of Bat Boy.  I did find it interesting though that both reviews also pointed out the need for actors to stay on pitch, which if that is the only thing holding this performance back then it must be good!

 The musical is hysterical and great fun, but the script catches at an odd place. It is too deep to be frivolous, too campy to be serious.

– Anna Grace, Eugene Weekly

Another huge attribute to the success of Bat Boy and increase in public relations is that now all UO students can get into the shows for free with their student ID card. Before, students had to buy tickets along with the general public which made student attendance low. Since the theatre program doesn’t have much of advertising outside of the newspapers and word of mouth, the more students are able to see the show and share their experiences the more success the UO Theatre will have at increasing ticket sales. So whether your a student or member of the Eugene community I highly suggest going to see the show. Its an evening you won’t forget, and remember to be prepared for the unexpected!

Love is Money

14 Nov

I’ve never understand the obsession with celebrities, their lives are broadcasted in front of the whole world and are scrutinized for the same mistakes we all make. Yet, we all look to celebrities for fashion, gossip and the latest trends and more often then not idolize their lives. I still remember the buzz about the Kardashians when their show hit, but to this day I still am not sure what the Kardashians did to deserve a reality T.V show?

Kim Kardashian racked in the publicity and money for her extravagant summer wedding to Kris Humphries, a wedding that seemed to give the royal wedding a run for its money  when it comes to media coverage. Sadly it only took Kim Kardashian 72 days to go from covering the tabloids with happy wedding photos to a divorce scandal; goes to show how powerful the media really is.

An article posted in the New York Times, called Kardashianomics pointed out how the Kardashian/Humphries wedding not only scored mass media coverage but also brought in $17.9 million to the newlyweds. Whether or not the wedding was a financial investment or lack of better judgement both Kim and Kris will walk away with a nice lump sum for their “hardships.” The New York Post was able to get the break down of the $17.9 million and see how much the media would pay for behind the scenes coverage.

* $15 million for four-hour, two-part wedding special on E!

* $2.5 million for exclusive photos with People magazine
* $300,000 for an exclusive engagement announcement with People
* $100,000 for exclusive rights to a bridal shower with Britain’s OK! mag
* $50,000 to have a bachelorette party at Tao in Las Vegas

The scandal has posed lots of questions on whether the wedding was  publicity stunt or not, but my question is if it was a PR stunt how does a failed marriage boost your image?

Since the launch of  the Kardashians in 2007 the family has been building their image and highly relying on public relations to interest/maintain viewers and establish an empire. I understand how selling publicity rights to the wedding and events leading up to it was a smart PR move because the viewers were able to connect to Kim on her big day and feel apart of the celebration but now I feel like the divorce might hurt Kim’s image. For a celebrity who already racks in millions of dollars based on her T.V show and mark on the fashion world, the idea of using PR to draw attention to a failed marriage, that is also being debated as a scam seems a bit ridiculous. It also concerns me to think what else have the Kardashians used as a publicity stunt and why they feel the need to circulate bad PR about themselves?

The careers of celebrities rides on their success and their image; public relations plays a key role in that success and one would think you would want to use PR in a positive way and not a negative one. As for Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries they may of done damage to their images, but they did figure out how to affectively use PR to bring in the money.

Eugene an up and Coming Country Hotspot

4 Nov

All country fans should be delighted not only did Matthew Knight Arena bring them Miranda Lambert but coming in February Brad Paisley and the Band Perry will make their debut in Eugene. This concert will be the second country music concert in the past 6 months and not the last either. Before the opening of Matthew Knight Arena last year, Eugene didn’t have much of a country music scene but now can offer country fans a chance to see big name singers in town.

Brad Paisley’s 2012 concert tour Camobunga is presented by Chevy and includes performances by the Band Perry and American idol winner Scott McCreery. The concert will be on Friday, February 10th 2012 at Matthew Knight Arena at 7p.m.Ticket prices are reasonable ranging from $25 to $60, especially since there isn’t a bad seat at the arena. Tickets to this world tour performance will go on sale November 4th at 10 a.m, so all you country music lovers better be ready!

Paisley defined his tour as, “Camobunga :n; : //kam,bunga/ – The name of a live musical tour experience. A mind blowing blend of country, fiery 60′s surf guitar acrobatics, futuristic special effects, retro heart and soul, and mind altering liquid beverages. The spirit of the deep woods meets the breakneck excitement of the California coast.”

Paisley’s current album “This is Country Music” hit #1 on the Billboard’s Top Country Albums as well as making his sixth consecutive nation’s country best-seller. Not to brag but Paisley is a grammy winner and nine time male vocalist of the year recipient. The successful country star will be sure to give Eugene an unforgettable performance and make it an unforgettable evening.

I’ve been very impressed with how many performances and concerts Matthew Knight Arena has been able to bring to Eugene, for the first time I can say Eugene might have a decent music scene in the making. Bringing big name stars to Eugene allows for both students and the Eugene community can come together to enjoy music that otherwise would of been in Portland or other areas around the state. It makes me so happy to be able to look at a concert schedule and see Eugene, OR listed amongst larger music hot spots like Tacoma, WA and Las Vegas. The arena has allowed for so many new opportunities and will continue to provide the community with such experiences.

For more information on ticketing and event details please refer to Matthew Knight Arena’s home page.

Writing in the World of Social Media

4 Nov

Looking back at grade school and even high school I remember all the practice exams and preparation teachers would have the students do before standardized reading and writing tests. Today however, SAT scores are showing some of the lowest reading and writing scores on record. Even Weisel talked in his article on commprbiz.com how writing is an essential skill in the professional world and yet the younger generation writes so poorly.

Advances in technology and social media have changed the rules of writing; text messages has allowed for people to abbreviate words and justify the use of sloppy language. It was during my sophomore year in college when I was taking a grammar class that I realized that my poor grammatical skills were heavily influenced by the way I wrote in my text messages. The habit of always condensing what you write and being able to abbreviate words eventually catches up to
you and effects your ability to write properly.

As social media has become a vital part of society we see more and more writing happening online through blog and sites like Twitter and Facebook. Blog writing can be debated because a blog is a form of personal expression and the way you write may be conversational rather than professional. It is still important though for your to have “good writing” on your blog even if it is casual. I think the biggest controversy over proper writing on social media would be Twitter. In the
world of Twitter you have 140 characters to get across what you want to say, which doesn’t allow much time for good writing.

“This is a real-time, 140-character society now. If you can’t fit your news into a tweet when it matters most, chances are it’s too much, too late.”
– Even Weisel

Twitter is all about getting your message out to an audience and grabbing their attention. It may be argued that good writing skills can come out of tools like Twitter because you only have a short amount of space to get your message across but it is no excuse to not write well.

I worry about younger generations and whether or not they will be able to communicate in longer than 140 characters. The ability to write a press release, newspaper article or any sort of journalistic piece depends on your ability to write properly and the way social media is structured is beginning to play a role in how we write. Social media may be offering new ways of communicating but
but it is still vital to be a good writer.

It’s that time of year again!

1 Nov

Every year the day after Halloween marks a turning point, fall is coming to an end an the holiday season is upon us; which also means the release of the Starbucks holiday cup! As a coffee fanatic and fan of the holiday season I get very excited for the holiday cups. With the cups also comes the release of customer favorite drinks, Peppermint mocha, gingerbread lattes and eggnog latte.

The Starbucks campaign is officially known as “passing the cheer,” and its mission is to inspire customers to spread goodwill all over the globe. Each cup features a “cheer story” from various Starbucks customers, including one of the most popular stories about a drive through Starbucks in California where one customer paid for another customer’s drink, who was so excited about the random act of kindness that they then paid for the following customer’s drink creating a chain reaction of cheer passing.

“The holidays are all about enjoying celebrated traditions with the ones we love, and Starbucks joins in the spirit of the season as a welcoming place to share these moments,” said Annie Young-Scrivner, global chief marketing officer, Starbucks Coffee Company.

As much as I would love for the person in front of me in line to pay for my wonderfully expensive drink, the mere excitement of having my drink in a Christmas cup is enough for me. It may be argued that the holiday cups and drinks are just another way for Starbucks to charge its customers extra money but in reality the holiday cups actually attract customers and add to the holiday spirit. Just another reminder of the power of marketing and public relations and how a simple idea like changing the cup design can bring in millions of dollars.

So starting tomorrow myself along with many others will be able to buy our holiday drinks and be reminded of the holidays though the iconic red Starbucks cup.

25 Oct

Personal Development Blog

“Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.”  – Albert Szent-gyorgyi

As an aspirational event planner I found Julius Solaris’s blog post “10 Resources for Event Marketing Inspiration” to be delightfully entertaining and insightful.  Between Solaris’s humorous personality and straight to the point writing fashion the post is an easy read but you also walk away with some new ideas.

What I most appreciated about the post was how each marketing idea was supported with an example from real work. Here are the event marketing ideas provided by Solaris to equip you for the perfect event.

Quirky business ideas and campaigns. SPRINGWISE.

This is a must read for everyone in business. Springwise is particularly popular with event lovers. There is some hidden synergy in the way our mind works and the way this blog throws at us amazing trends from around the world. I invite you to have a look at theMARKETING AND ADVERTISING SECTION.

2. Flyers and Invites Collections. FLYER INSPIRATION.

This website is dedicated to collect the best flyers for clubs and music events. I guess we all agree these kind of events produce the best flyers in the industry.

3. Event Websites Inspiration US.

When it gets to finding inspiration for event website design, we pride ourselves for delivering the best content. Look no further and use the search box!

4. Brochure Design. SMASHING MAGAZINE.

Smashing Magazine means inspiration in design. In the above post they showcased 50 beautiful fashion brochures. And Fashion knows how to do brochures.

5. Event Goodies. CONFERENCEBASICS.

Gianfranco is an event marketer that goes to lots of cool events. So what? You may say. Well, he makes in depth reviews and adds pictures of the goodie bags. Have a look.

6. Event Blog. PROBLOGGER.

Darren Rowse has been constantly delivering ideas and suggestions to make your blog better. Have a look at THIS POST to begin.

7. Tweeting. TOP 100 EVENTS TWITTER ACCOUNT.

Well, just scroll through the list and learn from the masters.

8. Video. TED.

When looking at how to make and use video, TED is the example to follow. Review their database and have a look at how they master video to augment the event.

9. Buzz for Product Launch. Apple.

No product launch will ever match the level of noise and buzz that Apple generates. Tons of blog posts, top trending topic on Twitter worldwide. HERE IS A REVIEW of their approach.

10. Email Marketing. EMAIL DESIGN REVIEW.

This website is packed with best practices and examples of some of the most amazing emails ever sent. Forward it to your friends.

 

I found it interesting to see how event planning and marketing has changed over the years  and how large a role social media plays. Several of his ideas suggest getting inspiration from event bloggers and websites, which I found comforting as I have been active reader of the bridal blog, Southern Weddings Magazine  for years and love all the great ideas that are shared! The most important piece I took out of this post was that inspiration shouldn’t be plagiarized but that its okay to look around see what others have done right and wrong and be able to formulate your own ideas.

I am grateful for Solaris’s tips and look forward to using his resources as I establish my own inspirational ideas for events.