AVW reaches out to students through social media

By Clare Lanning                                                                                                                                                                        Associate, AVW Productions account

Upon starting spring quarter, our goal for AVW Productions was to continue generating ways to extend their network using social media. Since Greek Week is one of the most anticipated weeks of the year for Greek life on campus, with around 10 percent of the student body participating, our ImPRessions team thought that there would be no better event to cover to bring more publicity and awareness to AVW, particularly Ohio Sports Zone (OSZ).

Eager and excited to participate in the annual Greek activities, we began to brainstorm how OSZ could be incorporated into the events and get the student body involved and intrigued by AVW. After discussing it with the AVW productions team, we decided to dedicate a whole OSZ show to Greek Week that would capture all the events of the week.

The most popular event of Greek Week is Air Bands. We aimed to capture the spirit of the event and create a competition. Starting April 17, anyone who “liked” the AVW Productions Facebook page could participate in the Greek Week Competition and vote for their favorite air band team by “liking” the team’s album cover. The winning team who had the most “likes” by April 28, would receive a professionally made DVD of their Air Band performance.

Members of the AVW ImPRessions team spread the word about the competition and it started off very successful with hundreds of students liking the page. OSZ was filming throughout the entire Greek Week and had planned on putting clips of the highlights on the AVW Facebook page daily to generate more interest for the show. Also, the producer of OSZ, Mike Zorbas, was going to select his favorite team from each event and that team will be featured in a segment called “Producer’s Pick.”

Everything was executed and planned to perfection until the middle of the competition when we were informed that the Greeks were no longer willing to cooperate. Our efforts to generate positive publicity for OSZ and AVW were not appreciated by the Greek committee. They viewed the competition as becoming “too competitive” and as an event that was taking the spirit out of Greek Week. This was no our intention as we were trying to work with the Greek organization in a positive way. As an account in ImPRessions, we would like to see this competition possibly continue in the upcoming years, but it is obvious that better communication must take place. It was obvious, from the student body responses and reactions to the competition, that contact with the Greek committee must start at the beginning of the year in order for everything to run smoothly.

Although our plan and creativity was extremely beneficial, we could have used a back-up plan and done further research with the Greek committee to prevent the unfortunate series of events that occurred. Overall this was a major learning experience for our account and something we hope other ImPRessions teams can learn from as well.

The Media Pendulum: From Traditional to Social and Back

By Bryan Blaise

Editor’s note: Bryan Blaise is a graduate of the University of South Florida and is currently a senior account executive at GolinHarris Chicago.

I was actually one of those college students who waited for the day that my university received a Facebook network. And as I began my career in public relations at Fleishman-Hillard Chicago, social media really exploded. Twitter, Digg, RSS Feeds, YouTube — every public relations campaign had a strong social media component, many at the center of strategy. Our company even had a commitment to have all employees fully “switched on” and capable of counseling and executing social media campaigns for clients.

And why not? Practitioners could deliver messages directly to consumers at very little cost. And measurement — public relations’ biggest bane — was finally possible. Media relations still held its firm role within our field, but this new media’s aura and possibilities quickly took up more and more clients’ and practitioners’ mind space and budgets. We were all social media centric — and anticipated great results from our hyper-networked, Tweet and post-filled efforts.

Now a few years later, I’ve watched the communications pendulum swing back as we’ve come to understand a little more clearly social media’s role within the media mix and our own campaign mixes. Stop and think about your Facebook and other social media “friends.” Besides inane posts about that tough final or exciting party after the football win, what are they sharing? If they’re sharing anything related to a company or event, more than likely it’s accompanied by a link to a news story or article online, typically by a major news outlet or blog. Sometimes it’s a viral video or promotional site.

Today (and who knows where it will be tomorrow) social media in integrated marketing campaigns really can be leveraged in two ways. First, involves traditional media relations and the prized skill of pitching. A client’s story should be packaged and pitched not just to the beat reporter, but social media and online reporters. An online story from a credible media source can exponentially increase the likelihood of it being shared via social media channels.

Simultaneously, companies must create direct brand engagement opportunities, supported by social media. Whether a flash mob, trade show event or intriguing product launch, consumers who are given a unique and exclusive experience with brands will more than likely share it with their networks. Providing event assets (e.g. photos or video) or on-site access to social media sites for those without smart phones, even further ups the probability of sharing.

Now add in the third aspect — using a client’s own social media channels and sites to share the story.

Together these three can reap the greatest amount of online exposure and sharing. The first two credible sources in the eyes of consumers, back up the reiterated claims of the client’s social media sites. And hopefully, all lead to the greatest number of sales, attendees or other variables for your clients.

Non-verbal communication helps to make good first imPRessions

By Jenny Chufar                                                                                                                                                                  Associate, ImPRessions Account

There are many types of non-verbal communication that an individual should be attentive to during a professional presentation, interviewing for a job and giving a speech.  These communication types can be broken down into the categories of appearances, gestures and facial expressions.

First, it is very important that a person pays attention to their appearance before engaging in a professional event.  How a person looks is just as important as what a person says.  For example, wearing professional attire conveys a message of professionalism and seriousness.  Every person should be sure to dress in nice clothes, such as a business suit or nice dress.  Don’t forget about the little details such as lint, stains or tears, which will subtract from the overall affect of your attire.  Likewise, be careful when accessorizing your outfit because gaudy sunglasses and inappropriate purses or pocket books may negatively represent you.

Second, every person unknowingly makes gestures during a professional event that communicates a message to the audience or interviewer.  Therefore these gestures must be carefully minded in order to ensure success.  Shaking hands is a great example of a gesture that will make or break an interview.  A handshake should be open and honest, implying that you are a true and respectful professional.  Be sure to greet everyone with a handshake and do so with energy and enthusiasm.  Ultimately, let your body language portray your professionalism. Stay calm and do not fidget or gesture too much. Avoid leaning back or appearing too relaxed.  Also, sit up straight to demonstrate your interest as to ensure that you are engaged with your prospective employer.

Expressions are also a crucial component of non-verbal communication.  Something like a smile can convey gratitude and generosity.  A smile can also show cooperation and understanding.  An honest full smile will express to your audience or interviewer that you are friendly, open, and interested in being involved with them. Making eye contact is of utmost importance in making a lasting impression.  Make good eye contact by looking in the eyes of your interviewer; this will communicate confidence and sincerity.  Conversely, frequently looking away suggests that you are not interested or that you are easily distracted.  Also, pay attention to your other facial expressions. For example, if your face reacts negatively when speaking of a former employer, this can speak volumes about your personality.   Instead, act genuinely gracious for your opportunities with all your interviewers.   In addition, be sure to show that you are listening by nodding your head and responding at appropriate times.

Your attire, gestures and facial expressions can help keep the attention of your audience and can either make or break an interview with a potential employer.  These three forms of expression are unspoken, but are very important in displaying a professional attitude.

Effective time management as a college student

By Carly Damman                                                                                                                                                                      Associate, ImPRessions Account

If there was one thing every college student wanted more of, it would be time. Juggling school work, extracurricular activities, a social life and perhaps a job can be overwhelming and stressful. With the help of a little technique called time management every college student can rest peacefully at night.

As a freshman wrapping up my first quarter of college, my time management skills helped me succeed. My first quarter as a Bobcat was stressful, exciting and rewarding. The time management skills I acquired in high school allowed for a smooth transition to college life. Here are some ways to help manage your time wisely:

1.       Prioritize: School work always comes first for me. Once I finish my homework for the day I can focus on extracurricular activities or make a trip to Ping. If there are too many tasks for one day, save the least important one for the next day. Having your priorities straight allow you to spend more time on the important things.

2.       Stay organized: After every class session I write down my homework for the night. After I complete that assignment, I cross it off and move on. I use my assignment book to organize my school work, but a planner also works well to plan out your entire day. The most effective strategy for me is to jot down my assignments and plan out the rest of the day in my head. Organization is a key to effective time management.

3.       Take breaks: Sitting in the library for hours on end can lead to poor quality work and less motivation. I usually stay in the library for a maximum of two hours to avoid information overload. Sometimes I will focus on one subject for an hour or so, head to Ping for a workout and then focus on another subject for an hour. Don’t cram. Schedule small study sessions throughout the week.

4.       Sleep, sleep, sleep: Most college students don’t get enough sleep. Sleep is one of the most important keys to managing your time wisely. Without adequate sleep you perform worse on exams, pay less attention in class and spend more time during the day napping rather than studying. I always make sure to get my 8 hours. My roommate knows that quite time begins at 12:00 a.m. sharp in our dorm room. Without a full night’s rest I am grumpy and have no energy or motivation. Good sleeping habits will lead to more time during the day to accomplish your goals.

Sometimes college students get caught up in social activities and the fun of being on your own, but it’s important to keep in mind the number one reason we all attend college: to receive an education. Keeping your priorities straight and avoiding procrastination will help any student succeed in college. Check out these web sites for more time management tips: 8 Time Management Skills for College Students, Managing your time and College Survival Skills.

2010 PRSSA National Conference in D.C.

By Nicole Bersani
VP, Administration

You’ve probably been to a PRSSA chapter meeting, maybe even a Central Ohio PaRtners Conference, but have you been to a PRSSA National Conference? If so, you know the feeling – writing ideas/advice frantically in your notebook, getting inspired by successful PR pros and peers, forming friendships with fellow students in your chapter and chapters across the nation – it’s a feeling bigger than you, than the Hugh M. Culbertson chapter of PRSSA, than ImPRessions, than all journalism students in Scripps. I guess you have to go to a national conference to know the feeling. I went last year and it was one of the most inspirational experiences of my life, to say the least. To know more about last year’s conference, read my article in Ohio University’s chapter of PRSSA’s Winter 2010 PR Success issue titled “Members stay classy in San Diego” (page 3).

This year’s conference, “The Capital Connection: People, Press and Politics,” will be held October 15-19 at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park hotel in Washington, D.C. I’m going to give it to you straight: rooms are $259 per night for four people and the conference registration is $295 per member. Then, you have to add the cost of food, transportation and any site seeing you might do. (Look below for approximate costs.) To be honest, the cost is rough – it’s in D.C. after all – but the experience you have, the people you meet and the amount you learn are priceless. However, good news to PRSSA members that are interested in health care or travel, tourism or hospitality public relations! If that’s you, you can apply for a grant to recieve a free conference registration – see below for more information or click here

Between professional development and networking sessions, expert and compelling speakers, and casual to fancy socials, you will not be wasting your money. The keynote speaker this year is Jim Margolis, a senior partner at a political consulting and advocacy advertising firm called Greer, Margolis, Mitchell, Burns (GMMB). According to the PRSSA national conference committee, he was the senior advisor to Barack Obama’s campaign. Other exciting events are a speed networking session, a student-run firm workshop, PRSA speakers, and sessions about every PR topic imaginable from international to agency, heath care to entertainment, and sports to environment. (To look at other speakers and events, scroll down to link to the program calendar of events or click here.)

There is one catch though – the deadline to register is fast approaching. The day of our first PRSSA chapter meeting of the year and only one week after we start school is the same day as the national conference deadline on September 13. Slightly better news is that you can register now and if you decide not to go, you can get a full refund back – but you have until September 20 to make that decision.

According to the PRSSA national conference committee, “The Conference is the biggest annual meeting of public relations students in the United States, gathering more than 1,000 students for a weekend of networking, professional development, career preparation and leadership training” (http://www.prssa.org/conference/about.aspx).

It’s kind of a big deal. You might think that our chapter or firm of 100 or so members is competitive, but wait until you go to a national conference. You are not the only enthusiastic, smart, hard-working PR student, which may sound discouraging but I mean it as the opposite – take it as an opportunity to learn and network beyond Ohio University.

FYI: I am planning on car pooling and then splitting the cost of gas and parking. It’s around a six-hour drive from Athens to D.C. – e-mail me at nicolebersani@gmail.com if you want to talk more about transportation, this and/or last year’s conference or anything in between.

Estimated cost:

  • HOTEL ROOM (four nights split by four people): $259
  • TRANSPORTATION (car, bus, train, plane): $40-$300 **if car, add parking
  • FOOD/MISC ($15-25 per day, five days): $75-125
  • REGISTRATION (dues paying member): $295
  • APPROX: $669-$979

Hotel information:

Washington Marriott Wardman Park
2660 Woodley Road NW
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 328-2000  

PRSSA Room Rate:

  • $239 single/double
  • $249 triple
  • $259 quad
  • Group Code: PRSPRSA

For more information:

Attractions in D.C.

  • National Zoo
  • Smithsonian
  • Georgetown

Embracing the red pen

Rachel Csaszar
Account executive, Bob Evans Farms, Inc.

We all know that moment when it seems like your life is over, everything you thought you knew is worthless, and the thought of “Who am I fooling?” crosses your mind as you get your printed work returned with a little more than it left with.

The page covered with your beautiful words has been splattered with red, like a fur advocate after a run-in with PETA.

You’ve been edited.

It’s hard to accept defeat, especially on your first day at a new internship and, for some, your first day in the real world. We all think we’re professionals on some level, even though we haven’t graduated college yet. Sure, we would never say we’re perfect writers, but let’s be honest…we’ve convinced ourselves we’re on our way to reaching that level of perfection that we strive for every day. Your first day on the job, you may encounter a friendly tour, a million handshakes, and if you’re lucky, an office with a desk piled high with media clippings. “I’m no longer a student,” you might think to yourself, “Now, I’m the intern.”

Well, that’s your first mistake.

We’re always going to be students. Even after we graduate, the minute we lose our student status, we no longer have the ability to keep up with the industry in which we work. Being a student for life allows us to grow and develop as writers and public relations practitioners. It’s essential to our survival in the industry, and we should always be ready for the next day’s lesson.

That includes taking constructive criticism. As an intern, you may interpret that sea of red on your work as criticism, lacking the whole constructive part you always hear, and you immediately think you’re the world’s worst writer.

Here’s your second mistake.

You are a better writer than many people, and you wouldn’t be the intern if you couldn’t form a coherent sentence. You were hired for a reason, and it’s important to remember that you are there to show your strengths and hone in on your weaknesses. This is your time to learn, and in order to do this, the first step is to embrace the red pen.

Your superior is not trying to make you feel inadequate or like a failure in the PR world. They are genuinely trying to make you better, and the red pen is just one tool used in their arsenal of many. There will be discussions, meetings, tutorials and finally, the inevitable edit.

In my own internship, I’ve realized very quickly, after the initial fear of failure, that I am simply becoming a better writer. The amount of red words gracing my work is slowly diminishing, and I don’t have to think so hard about style or sentence structure. Some of the corrections make me slap my forehead in disbelief that I missed them, but that is only making me a better editor. Some of the edits are things I truly did not know, so at the end of the day, I leave the office with at least one or two new pieces of information I didn’t have that morning when I walked through the door.

Embracing the red pen may be one of the hardest things for a student to do, but it’s essential to our success in the future. The next time the world slows down as your boss walks forward with your work dripping in red, take a deep breath, put a smile on your face, and open your mind. You never know what you may learn in that five-minute conversation that will help you for the rest of your career.