Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

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The Tipping Point

July 28, 2014

By: Morgan Borer @morganborer

tipping pt

What are social epidemics? The word “epidemic” is an adjective meaning widespread, contagious or sweeping. The word “social” suggests person-to-person contact. This concept seems awfully simple to understand. However, before diving into “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference” by Malcolm Gladwell, I didn’t understand the meaning of a social epidemic, nor had I ever heard of a “tipping point.” These concepts were as foreign to me as the French language.

This summer, after finishing “The Innocent Man” by John Grisham (a New York Times bestseller, which I highly recommend), I was hungry for another good book. I blatantly ignored all of the hype about “The Fault in Our Stars” and did a Google search instead. Though I am somewhat embarrassed to admit, I typed in “best books for read for PR professionals” or something of that nature. BAM! I found Business Insider’s list of the “10 Must-Read Public Relations and Marketing Books.” Seems legit, right? Number two on the list was “The Tipping Point.” Moments later and a few clicks on amazon.com, the book was en route to my doorstep.

In “The Tipping Point,” Gladwell examines the way that ideas, trends and social behaviors change all at once and spread like fire. He takes something very small and explains how it can cause great change. In the book, Gladwell points to three rules of epidemics: the law of the few, the stickiness factor and the power of context.

The law of the few means that it takes a tiny army of people to drive a social epidemic. These few people cause something – perhaps a disease – to tip and spread rapidly. These people are not ordinary; they possess qualities that you or I do not have.

The stickiness factor means that people remember it. Advertisers want to impact people with their messages by making them memorable. Finally, the power of context highlights the fact that epidemics are extremely sensitive to changes in context. The conditions and circumstances in which an epidemic occurs cause it to “tip.”

In “The Tipping Point,” Gladwell addresses a wide range of epidemics to aid his arguments, including Hush Puppies (the once-popular American suede shoes) a gonorrhea epidemic, and even Blue’s Clues and Sesame Street. Having watched both shows a generous number of times as a child, I was very interested in his comparison and evaluation of the shows. Sesame Street was wildly successful because the researchers and producers tapped into the minds of preschoolers. They ran tests to see what the teenyboppers remembered and what “stuck” with them. Month after month, year after year, the segments became more entertaining and memorable. Sesame Street was a television epidemic, and the world became infected.

Blue’s Clues took a different approach. It relied on one actor, Steve, and a star dog, Blue, instead of a large cast. It’s less humorous and clever than Sesame Street. How did it see higher ratings? According to Gladwell, Sesame Street used advanced humor to appease adult viewers. Often, children simply didn’t understand it. When children don’t understand what they are watching, they stop paying attention. Also, Sesame Street was divided into dozens of very short segments, all separate from one another. Children were scratching their heads trying to connect ideas and concepts. Blue’s Clues turned a new page and invented something unique. They created an interactive show – one where Steve asks questions, pauses and waits for the viewer’s response. The predictability, simplicity and repetitiveness of the show worked like a charm. Sesame Street was more sticky than jam.

Personally, I felt like I could relate to the majority of Gladwell’s ideas, particularly the idea of “social channel capacity.” Humans are highly sophisticated when it comes to relationships. We enjoy socializing with large groups and having intimate relationships. Is there a limit to our socialization? The answer is yes. 150 is the number of people that we can have a genuine, close relationship with. My lips curled into a smile when I read this. Think about that next time you feel envious of someone with 1,000+ Instagram followers. How many of those people do they really know?

All in all, this book is a must-read for public relations professionals, but also journalists, marketers, advertisers, psychologists and business professionals. It’s about communication and how ideas and trends spread. It’s about people and social dynamics. It is extremely clear and well written. It broadened my mind and challenged me to think critically about everything from the connector Paul Revere and his legendary “nighttime ride” to the decline of crime in New York City. Most importantly, Gladwell gives practical information, something that I think every (and I hate to use this phrase) “20-something” is hungry for.

 

The Difference Between Advertising and PR – A Simplified Version

July 25, 2014

By: Kate Schroeder @kschroeds7

PRI’ll admit it. Even as a strategic communications student, I’ve had difficulty explaining to people who ask about my major what the difference is between public relations and advertising. Going into my senior year as a strategic communications student, I have a good deal of knowledge of each industry. However, when asked this simple question I end up rambling on all the differences between PR and advertising pros,– usually leaving my non-journalist counterpart thoroughly confused and in need of an aspirin.

Looking back I wish someone had given me a simple, cut-and-dry answer to this not so simple question my freshman year at OU. I knew plenty about the world of news, but no one could seem to give me a simple answer to, “what the heck is this PR and advertising stuff I keep hearing about?”. Even though both careers are in the Scripps School of Journalism, transferring from news and information to strategic communication was like learning a new language. So for all you strategic communication newbies, let’s take it one step at a time and finally get this question straightened out!

“Advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for.”

Advertising

The main goal of advertising is to create ads and campaigns and place those in appropriate outlets to allow their message to build exposure. Advertisers want to impact as many people as many times as possible or specifically impact their target market depending on the product. Unlike public relations, advertising has complete creative control of the message it is promoting, but can be extremely expensive.

What advertising is trying to say: “Buy this product”.

Public Relations

Where advertising is paid media, public relations is earned media. A public relations specialist will take the brand and works to build the brand credibility. This is mostly done through media relations, which is working with reporters and editors to write positively about your client or brand. This can also be done through social media! Work done through public relations tends to have more credibility than advertisements, because the content was not paid for. This builds trust between your brand and the public

What public relations is trying to say: “This is important”.

What makes them similar?

The reason it is sometimes hard to explain how advertising and public relations differ is because they both share a main goal. Both help a company or product gain exposure in a positive way. Also, both avenues target a specific audience, also called a target audience with their message.

 

 

Interning Abroad: The Brand of Milk and Honey

July 24, 2014

By: Allison Rumsas @allisonrumsas

IMG_3338

I have spent the last five weeks of my summer in Israel interning at a PR and branding firm, BOMAH- The Brand of Milk and Honey, in Jerusalem. In Israel, internships aren’t very common and after meeting with my boss the first day, I quickly realized that my internship would be much different than the previous internship I had in Chicago.

I work directly with the Founder and Assistant Director of the firm and am given a huge amount of freedom and responsibility with the work that I do. I created my own title and job description the first day and rarely have to get approval before posting content on their social media accounts, sending pitch letters, or creating proposals and campaign ideas.

To say the least, this was a bit of a culture shock at the beginning.

Now that I’m close to finishing my fifth week interning, I can appreciate the benefits that come with interning in a foreign country and how much I have grown professionally from doing so. In my opinion, here are the three major benefits of interning abroad:

Disclaimer: There are many, many more benefits that can come from interning abroad, just ask anyone that’s traveled or worked in a foreign country, but for the sake of not making this post 12 pages long, I picked the three big ones!

IMMERSING YOURSELF IN THE CULTURE- When traveling to a foreign country it’s easy to feel like a tourist no matter how hard you try to hide it. When interning and working in a foreign country you learn much more than you would when just visiting different sites or meeting people at restaurants. You learn about the society’s working culture, the daily life of citizens, and what it’s actually like to live in that country – not just the planned routes for tourists to see.

RESUME BUILDER- We’d all be lying if we didn’t say that an important part of receiving an internship is being able to put it on your resume. An internship abroad not only allows you to add a location outside of the U.S. to your resume, but it also allows you to add numerous different skills that aren’t limited to your professional experience. Having to communicate with coworkers whose first language may not be English and learning the norms of your dream job in a city outside of the U.S. not only adds to your professional experience, but showcases your character as well.

KNOWLEDGE AND GROWTH- As I previously said, internships aren’t common in Israel, and I’m sure they aren’t as common in most of the world as they are in the U.S. Because of this I’ve learned more than I could have possibly imagined. I’ve learned how to use a storytelling strategy on social media, lead workshops, and pitch articles and campaigns to various clients. However, I’ve also learned more practical skills. I can effectively communicate my ideas and suggestions to non-native English speakers, stand up for the ideas that I truly believe in, and gain new perspectives from my co-workers that come from a completely different background.

As I said in my disclaimer, I could go on for days about the benefits of interning abroad. The knowledge, growth and experience you gain from just being abroad in general is multiplied when receiving an internship and immersing yourself fully in a different culture. If given the opportunity, accepting an internship abroad is a must!

 

 

Flaunt What You’ve Got: Keeping an Online Portfolio

July 23, 2014

By: Lindsey Zimmerman @lindseyzim716

Any time you go through the tedious-yet-rewarding process of applying for internships and jobs, it’s almost a given that you’ll be asked to provide a writing sample at some point. A solid example of excellent writing can really put you ahead of the game as more and more PR industry employers are looking for candidates who really have a way with words. With that being said, it’s not always easy to pick out just one or two pieces of writing to showcase, especially if you’re like me and you’ve been writing for a wide variety of student publications and blogs all throughout college.

This is where the online portfolio can really come in handy. Everyone in the public relations industry, from the seasoned professional to the aspiring student, knows that a portfolio is crucial for showing what you’ve accomplished in your career. In today’s increasingly digital and technological society, it’s easier than ever before to keep all of your professional work organized in one place.

I use clippings.me for my online portfolio and keep a link to it right at the top of my email signature so that it catches people’s eye and (hopefully) intrigues them enough to click. I like clippings.me because of the easy, eye-catching organizational options. Every piece of work I’ve done, both for student organizations and for internships, is listed and organized first by publication and then by date. I also have a link to my resume at the very top. This site works well for written work, which is the bulk of what I have, but if you’re interested in showing off your design skills, Mashable has this great list of options for building a more artistic online portfolio.

An online portfolio is a great way to show off your work every chance you get. You can link to it on any social network, from your Twitter bio to your LinkedIn profile, in order to show off your work to anyone who may come across your online presence. It’s also a great way to keep your work organized when you need to provide a sample – simply scroll through your online portfolio and pick something out, as opposed to searching through old blogs and digital files to find that one perfect piece that really showcases what you have to offer.

Beyond showing off your creative talents, this is a great way to prove to potential employers and others in your network that you know how to stay organized, as well as consistent with your personal brand. Customize the layout and design of your site to match your blog, resume, business cards or anything else that reflects your professional self.

With an online portfolio, the possibilities are endless. If you don’t have one already, set aside some time to put one together and link to it wherever you see fit. In the long run, it will only be beneficial.

Increasing Facebook Engagement one Step at a Time

July 22, 2014

By: Annie Beard @annie_beard

Before starting my internship this summer, I thought I knew pretty much everything I needed to know about social media, including Facebook, but I was wrong. Throughout the past two months, I have learned a lot about this social channel and what works for increasing engagement.

  1. Pay to play. Facebook’s organic reach has declined. Less and less people are seeing posts that you work hard to create, which means less people are engaging. Unfortunately, if you want to increase engagement, you will have to pay to boost your posts. Personally, I don’t think boosting every post is necessary, just the important posts. For example, if your company gets publicity and you share it on your Facebook page that is a post I would boost. If your company is hosting a webinar or added a new blog post to its page – those are posts I would write and boost.
  2. Use images. Images will catch your audience’s eye, and people are more likely to share a post with a fun photo. Posts with photos get 39 percent more interaction, according to NerdGraph. If you can post behind the scenes photos of your company’s employees, location or events, this is a great way to get people engaged and give them the inside scoop on your company, giving your brand a personality.
  3. Ask for engagement. If you want someone to share or like a post, ask for it. Many times, if you include a simple call to action in your status, it is likely that people will play along, doing what you asked for. If you get engagement, make sure you are always engaging back! This is important. People engage with you because they want a two-way experience, not one-way.
  4. Check your insights. Facebook insights can be very helpful when you are deciding when or what to post. Check to see what time the largest amount of your fans is online and then schedule post for that time. This will help to increase your organic reach so more people see your post. Also check insights on what the most popular types of posts have been in the past. This will help you decide if you should post a link, a text-only status, a photo, video, etc.

These are four steps that I have found helpful in getting more engagement on Facebook. I hope you found them helpful, too!

Check out this infographic for more tips on increasing Facebook engagement!

FB

#Trending on Social Platforms

July 18, 2014

By: Hannah Wheeless @tweetsonwheels

Jeeter Re2pect campaign is trending right now on Twitter

Jeeter Re2pect campaign is trending right now on Twitter

From flip phones to iPhones, G2G to BAE, and highwaisted shorts to- well back to high waisted shorts, the latest trend is something we’ve all strived to keep up with at some point in our lives. Trends tell us what’s new or popular so we can be a part of it.

By collecting the most mentioned topics, phrases and words in social media posts, different platforms can display them for all their users to see allowing the opportunity to engage with others in the online community.  With an opportunity like that, many social networks couldn’t pass up utilizing this trending concept.

HOW IT WORKS

Hashtags may be the first place your mind goes to when thinking of trends. The introduction of the hashtag on social media allows users to categorize their posts making popular or trending topics appear in a column on the newsfeed or home page. However, trends can be created with or without a hashtag. Using a specific word or phrase in a post categorizes it with any other users post that also includes that word or phrase. After enough users start chatting about that specific topic, it becomes a trending topic.

WHO DOES IT BEST

Twitter

Hashtags and Twitter go together like bricks and Court Street. The categorizing of trends through hashtags allows users to instantly engage in conversations with fellow tweeters about anything from the Scandal finale to record breaking brick wall, Tim Howard.  This hashtag concept has quickly been adopted by other platforms including Facebook, Vine, Pinterest and Instagram. Searching a word or phrase in theses platforms will lead you to a page that compiles photos, status updates or posts with that same topic.

 Instagram

Instagram uses trends the same way as its fellow social media friends. However, because Instagram is limited to only sharing images, they only have the “explore” page that displays images based on accounts you follow, images you’ve liked, as well as popular trending images within your area and around the world.

YouTube

Whether you’re on YouTube for some laughs from your favorite Jenna Marbles clip or to attempt learning the latest dance craze, Youtube keeps track of who’s watching what and how often. They find trending videos and display them on their home page, dividing them into categories from sports, cooking and music. You can also use a hashtag in the description of your uploaded videos to make them more easily found by others.

Reddit

Reddit is a website constantly being updated with anything from breaking news to goofy memes. The entire website is organized by up and down votes, likes and dislikes. Therefore, the top post has the most upvotes or is the highest trending post, followed by the next highest trending post and so on. This system allows trending topics to be easily available as well as become interactive.

At the end of the day, any website or social media platform is looking to find the most talked about topics and make them available to its users. Hashtag or not, when something big happens in the world or even just in your own town, social media platforms are the perfect place to get the details and join in on the movement.

 

 

 

Tech PR — Changing the World One Startup At A Time

July 17, 2014

By Kerry Tuttle @kerrtut

KerryPR in general requires you to roll up your sleeves and dive deep into an industry that you may not know much about — this rings especially true when it comes to tech PR. It’s a place where you can proudly show off your nerdy side. It’s also a place where you can work with really amazing clients that are going to change the world.

While working for a well-known consumer brand may seem a bit more glamorous, working with B2B tech clients will teach you the art of taking a high-tech company in a jargon-filled industry and communicating their story in an effective and easily digestible manner. At my internship, I’m working with a company in the semiconductor space, as well as with a social recruiting platform. My first week on the job I was teaching myself all about the back-end technology that makes our connected world run. I learned all about Moore’s Law, microprocessors and the difference between energy and power. I then watched how my team transformed a complex product into an interesting pitch to reporters about how this technology will revolutionize the world.

Another thing I love about tech PR is that you oftentimes will work with startups. Starting at zero and helping a company grow and gain recognition is an incredible feeling. You can truly see how your time and effort is affecting your client. From what I’ve witnessed at my internship, startups also seem to give their PR agencies more control than larger companies.

If you read Mashable for fun or you’re teaching yourself how to code or you’re always telling your friends about the newest app, I’d definitely recommend getting experience working in tech. It’s a very exciting time in our digital world. Take advantage of having the chance to work with disruptive technologies on the forefront of a tech-driven revolution.

One of my favorite quotes is from Albert Einstein and it’s a perfect fit for tech PR: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” It’s easy to tell someone what Nike does, for example. It’s more difficult to explain to someone what a software company or a mobile surveying company does. This challenge is why I love working in this industry.

Using LinkedIn to find an internship or job

July 17, 2014

By: Annie Beard @annie_beard

dream jobLinkedIn is a great social platform that every student and professional should take advantage of. Not only is it great for connecting with other professionals, but it could also help you land a job.

There are plenty of scenarios that you could use LinkedIn for as your go-to job-search guide.

You are looking for an internship or job in a specific industry, but you don’t exactly know which company you would like to work for.

Do your research. Find big, medium and small agencies, corporations or organizations. Once you have found a few that spark your interest, find them on LinkedIn and follow their company pages. This will give you a better idea of whom the company consists of and who to connect with.

Once you figure that part out….

You have your dream job(s) and companies in mind, but you don’t know who to contact or how to land the job.

If you have a specific job and company in mind, make sure you are following its company page. Once you’ve done that, like I mentioned earlier, see whom the company consists of and connect with a few key employees who could help you.

When I use LinkedIn for job searches, I usually don’t try to connect with the CEO or President of a company. The reason I say this is because they have so many connections and they know so many people. They won’t be doing the hiring, and they won’t even remember declining your invitation because they will do it so fast. Find an entry-level employee who remembers how it feels to be in your shoes. Find the HR manager who does the hiring. Find someone relevant who can actually help you.

Once you have found the right people to contact…

You know who to reach out to for help landing the job, but you want to contact them in a professional, planned out fashion.   

Make sure you are saying the right thing. Don’t make yourself sound random or desperate. Explain to them who you are and why you are contacting them. Don’t jump right to asking for a job. Ask them if they know of any opportunities or other connections who could help you out. Ask them to keep their ears open, and to let you know if they hear of anything. Most people will be happy to help you out, as long as you sound friendly and professional.

Stand out.

If you are connecting with a fellow bobcat, let them know that you are a student at Ohio University. (Bobcats love to help each other out—I know from experience)! If they are a Reds fan, give Billy Hamilton a shout out. If they have a blog that you follow, talk about your favorite post. Find a way to relate to them and stand out.

Before you do any of this, however, you must make sure that your LinkedIn profile page is up to par. If you are reaching out to professionals, they expect you to be serious and might give your profile a look. Give them a good first impression with a good summary and be sure to highlight your strengths and experiences.

In the end, some professionals will ignore you, but some will help you. If you show the best version of yourself and reach out professionally, you are bound to end up with a few opportunities.

 

Good luck, and happy connecting!

Benefits of B2B Public Relations

July 17, 2014

By: Kelsey Miller @Kelsey_65

Although business-to-business comes off as a bore to most people, there are a lot of benefits in the market that are making more and more people prefer working in the B2B industry.

  • The products. Your clients’ sales will most likely be expensive products or high tech products. This helps to generate more money for your client, therefore making your client more profitable to your company.
  • Your clients’ business. Because B2B sales are usually very expensive pieces of equipment, your clients’ clientele is most likely limited to a few companies or the clientele will be in a consistent industry. This is a good thing! Because your company isn’t trying to target the general public, PR agencies can better tailor a plan to target those companies that will buy your clients’ products.
  • Loyalty. Many dependent relationships are formed between your clients and their customers. This will help solidify long-term relationships and can make your job, as the PR person, that much easier to focus on developing marketing strategies to recruit more business for your client. This doesn’t mean that you should feel complacent in marketing to ongoing clients. Make sure to keep good communication with all of your clients’ business and to pitch new ideas for them as well.
  • Product Specificity. To tie into the loyalty of the businesses you are targeting, product specificity makes it easy to keep business. When a business is in need of a particular product like a piece of machinery or equipment, it can almost guarantee a long-term business relationship with that business. When pitching to your clients’ potential business, it is important to sell your client as a company that has the ability to produce the products according to what the business needs.
  • Social media is less complex. If you aren’t into social media, B2B marketing may be for you. Although it is still an important factor, it isn’t used as the most important engagement tool. You can still expect to be active on Twitter, Facebook and blogs as a means of a different way of communicating with new business.

Business-to-business marketing is inevitable if you want to get into the agency world of public relations. There is a lot of money in the B2B industry and has a higher demand than the world of business-to-consumer marketing. PR pros may be initially apprehensive to be put on a B2B account, but in the end, find themselves really enjoying the account and can usually have a lot of free range to run be it with social media engagement, fundraising and event planning.

 

6: Vine’s Magic Number

July 16, 2014

By: Morgan Brenner @morganbren

With 40 million users it’s hard to believe that Vine only started in January of 2013. But their success didn’t come from the looping affect or it’s ability to be shared instantly across several different social media platforms. Vine’s success is in the six seconds of video the smart phone app leaves it’s user to create basically whatever they want. But why six seconds?

When Vine’s cofounder, Dom Hofmann, was asked about the length of the video in an interview with NPR he discussed how they played with different lengths. They tried ten, nine and five until they landed on the magic number six. It was the quickness that made up Vine’s brand, but long enough that a story could be told. The videos run quickly so the creation of the loop feature was shortly added to Vine to fix what Hofmann called an “anticlimactic feeling.”

Dom Hofmann, co-founder of Vine

Dom Hofmann, co-founder of Vine

Following the release of Vine, Instagram competitively updated their app with a 15 second video. Since Instagram already had a large following it was assumed that they would make Vine obsolete. Instead, the opposite happened. Instagrams video feature soon fizzled. The difference was 9 seconds.

Artists, comedians and film-makers have and continued to flock to Vine because of the time aspect. The constraints seem to widen their creative horizons instead of block them. Vine has stayed true to its original concepts across the last year and a half, however to stay one of the top social media apps it will have to make new and inspirational updates in the following years.

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