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Ohio University ImPRessions

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PR Skills Make Everything Easier, Even Sorority Recruitment

February 10, 2015

By: Corina Rolko, @CRolko

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Working long hours and balancing multiple projects at the same time are just two of the obstacles one will face as a professional in the public relations industry.  In fact, any student who is studying public relations, and staying involved in related organizations on campus, can already attest to that.  Although it can be overwhelming at times, the skills and lessons you learn as a PR student or professional will benefit you outside of a professional or academic setting.

Anyone who has participated in the sorority recruitment process, on either side, knows how overwhelming it can be.  The days are long and the heels on your feet are far from comfortable. However, as a junior studying public relations and advertising at Ohio University, the professional skills I gained have enhanced my life on a daily basis, but especially during sorority recruitment season.

Here are just a few examples of PR lessons or skills I’ve learned, which have gotten me through two years of formal recruitment with a smile on my face.

Time and task management skills.  At Ohio University, formal recruitment takes place within six short days. During these six days, recruitment starts early in the day and ends late. As a result of learning how to balance multiple clients and prioritize different tasks, I have learned to prepared to stay on top of school work, and still manage to get a good night’s rest during recruitment.

Communication skills.  Communication skills are necessary to be successful in most professions, but it’s central in the public relations industry.  PR professionals are constantly communicating with clients and their colleagues.  Therefore, holding a comfortable conversation with a stranger during recruitment is a simple task.

Working with others.  Cooperativeness is a personality trait found within many PR experts because in this profession you are typically expected to work both individually and on a team.  When striving to do the best work, or recruit the best new members, both require the ability to work with others toward a common goal.

Living a fast paced life style.  As a public relations student or professional, one has many responsibilities each day. In addition, you are expected to be able to stay on top of a workload that is constantly changing.  As a result, PR professionals live a go, go, go lifestyle, which makes the fast-paced, chaotic days of sorority recruitment a little easier to handle.

There’s No ‘I’ in Team

January 30, 2015

By: Allison Evans, @Allison_Evans

Teamwork and team spirit

We all love that public relations can take us down many avenues, and that no two resumes are the same. However, no matter which workplace you choose, you will have to be a team player. I’ve had so many valuable experiences to teach me what that means, and how far you may need to go for the people we respect and care for.

Team Client

The internship I took on as a freshman taught me that clients value humility and service in their representatives. I advocated for people with developmental disabilities, in the form of marketing their capabilities to local businesses, with the hope of creating employment opportunities for them. In other words, their finances and employment depended on our office. I can’t think of a moment where I felt more accomplished than when my clients opened their checks at the end of the week. I was a part of their team. They needed me, so I needed to do my job for them.

Team Community

One of the largest parts of our job as PR professionals is to inform the community. Working for the Department of Transportation taught me that people really do depend on the information they receive. In this case, knowing the conditions of the roadways meant their safety was dependent on that information. This extended to impaired driving workshops at the local colleges, helping students stay safe.

Our Team

There is no accomplishment within public relations that comes from a single person. With every project produced, there is a group of people that came together to produce it, and that is where the value lies within our profession. My internship with Global Prairie taught how to be a respected member of the internal team by having me cover for someone who was sick, stay late to meet a deadline, answer the phone when I was off and to do anything I could to make life easier for my teammates.

My resume may be full, and the words on it reflect my accomplishments. I am not blind, however, to the fact that these successes are not just my own, and that I couldn’t begin to tackle communication without the help of so many. Where would I be without my teams? I can hardly imagine.

Resolve to Be Involved – 5 Resolutions to make 2015 Your Best PR Year

January 9, 2015

By: Sarah Rachul, @SarahMRachul

blank list of resolutions on blackboard

I have always loved the new year. It’s a clean slate, a whole new year to accomplish everything you couldn’t in the previous year. Generally, our resolutions consist of new diet plans, new workouts, relationship changes or even attitude changes. But how many people make resolutions about their job? The following is a list of the top 5 resolutions every rising PR pro should make in 2015.

  1. Attend a Public Relations Conference
    • There are so many amazing PR conferences that occur every year, and they are the perfect opportunity to learn from some of the best pros in the business. Personally, I’ve been to two PRSSA National Conferences, and they provided a chance to both network and learn. Building your network, chances to see a new city and learn about different parts of PR are just a few of the many reasons attending a PR conference should be at the top of your resolutions list for 2015.
  2. Design a personal website
    • I made this resolution about two years ago and I’m so happy that I followed through. It may seem daunting to start a website from scratch, but sites like WordPress make it easier with pre-designed templates. Once you decide what template best represents your brand, all you have to do is include your amazing portfolio pieces, resume and a description of your life as a PR pro. Feel free to include a blog if you feel you have a lot of professional opinions to share.
  3. Learn a new skill that will enhance your PR prowess
    • Public relations is an amazing field, which covers so many different topics. This is both a blessing and a curse when you’re entering the work world. While the choices for a career are great, so is the number of other young PR pros looking for jobs. Upon graduation, you’ll need to have some special skills that will set you apart from the crowd. Whether this be a certificate in entrepreneurship, a minor in the business school, classes in visual communications or even taking up broadcast/video editing as a hobby. Having specialized skills like this will not only set you apart in an interview but can also help pad your resume and portfolio. Use 2015 as the year to add to your already awesome set of skills.
  4. Resolve to be more active on LinkedIn
    • LinkedIn is often referred to as the social network of business professionals. As future PR pros, we should be well versed in all aspects of social media. So why aren’t more of us on LinkedIn? Spend the first couple of months of this year constructing a great profile (or rebuilding your existing profile) and start compiling a list of connections. Alway remember to send a somewhat personalized message when asking to connect and even use LinkedIn as a tool to research future coworkers or people interviewing you for a job. It never hurts to be prepared, and LinkedIn is just another research tool to add to your social media arsenal.
  5. Get involved in your PRSSA chapter and/or school PR firm
    • This resolution may seem obvious and you might even say “Well I’m already a PRSSA member and a member of my firm.” But the important word in this resolution is: involved. What does it really mean to be truly involved? It’s not just attending weekly meetings (although that is a start) or doing the bare minimum for your account. It’s about really committing yourself to making a difference in your chapter and your firm. Volunteer to plan an event or be the first to raise your hand with new ideas for your client. Take that extra step in 2015 and you, and your resume, will be glad you did.

Tumblr: Less is more

December 31, 2014

By: Gabrielle Gamad, @gabbygamad

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While procrastinating in the library, I discovered why one social media site is taking the field. Archive after archive, I began to see an abundance of things Tumblr did better than the more popular social media platforms.

For starters, Tumblr hits the hard-to-reach demographic, teen to twenty-something year olds. According to the Business Insider, GlobalWebIndex’s survey reported that 34 million Internet users, globally, said that they contribute to, or use Tumblr on a monthly basis. Nearly half, 46%, of these users were between the ages of 16 and 24. Tumblr appeals to this age group by keeping posts simple.

I can confidently say a majority of my newsfeed is Parks and Recreation memes (usually Leslie Knope inspirational quotes), dancing babies from Vine and GIFs from old 90’s movies. Under all the fluff of my favorite memes and GIFs is something every person interested in PR can take away. Going into 2015, people in PR should consider that sometimes less is more when trying to target the 16 to 24 age group.

Hear about “The Woman and Black 2” coming to theaters January 2nd? There’s a GIF for that. What about the Hawaii vacation give away contest St. Ives is promoting? Yeah, there’s a GIF for that too. Instead of watching a three minute movie trailer, there is a couple of highlights from the movie, conveniently located to the right of your newsfeed. Also, a picture of two sandy feet in the ocean is a lot more appealing than a list of reasons why you should pay attention to St. Ives. We live in a fast paced world where advertisements are long and attention spans are short. Quick GIFs and images gets advertiser’s point across without wasting the time of their audience.

Scroll through Tumblr, you can immediately see there is an array of multimedia content that appeals to our microscopic attention spans, keeping posts short, sweet and to the point. Tumblr is similar to Twitter and Instagram in the way they distribute their content. What sets Tumblr’s apart is the ability to have multimedia, and various other mediums, on a newsfeed. Instagram is strictly pictures or videos, and Twitter is 140 character posts and pictures. Tumblr is all media you need concentrated into one area.

Tumblr began utilizing their unique multimedia abilities when native, sponsored posts were created in Spring 2013. Since then, they have been revolutionizing the way companies are promoting themselves and engaging with consumers. An example of the paid advertisers Tumblr has is the telecommunication company, AT&T.

AT&T is currently on a journey to look at the way humans are evolving and connecting through mobile devices, which they call, The Mobile Movement. Anyone can track their journey on AT&T’s Tumblr. Students, artists, innovators and every day people can share their stories about their networked life through customer created GIFs, making it personal and relatable. AT&T is connecting with their customers in a way that no one else is.

Even their sponsored post is simple, a text bubble that reads “when you know what you want call me.” AT&T is bringing life to their brand by using reblogs, GIFs and memes to connect with their customers personal loves and experiences. That is the most significant difference between Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram. Tumblr has the ability to bring people together through experiences and human insights.

Those in the PR field should begin prioritizing Tumblr as a primary social media platform, maybe even more than Twitter and Instagram. Tumblr is quickly increasing the number of companies they are sponsoring, as they continue to revolutionize the way companies engage with young consumers. When it comes to targeting young consumers, Tumblr proves that simple multimedia posts are most appealing.

Celebrity Scandals are Becoming too Much to Handle

December 9, 2014

By: Annie Beard, @annie_beard

The days of endorsers standing by their celebrity through think and thin, scandal or no scandal, are no longer happening. Companies are now dropping celebrity endorsement deals quicker than ever. We have seen it everywhere, from Ray Rice, to Adrian Peterson to Bill Cosby, to name a few recent examples. An article from the “New York Times” says it best: “There is no “till death do us part” in marriages by endorsement, only “till you doth embarrass us.””

In 2009, when Tiger Woods was facing, and admitting to, claims of infidelity, Nike stood by Woods and even featured him in a TV commercial about the scandal, highlighting Wood’s remorse, which you can watch here:

In 2014, only five years later, Nike was quick to drop Rice and Peterson. They were both dropped shortly after allegations were made. This seems to be the best and most effective PR move these days in order to save a company’s reputation. When it comes to cutting the cord, “Just Do It” is the best advice.

Bill Cosby’s celebrity scandal is recent and still ongoing. In case you are unaware, a dozen women have accused Cosby of drugging them and taking advantage of them sexually. Cosby has already lost projects. TV Land is pulling reruns of The Cosby Show, NBC is dropping its deal with Cosby to do a sitcom and Netflix cancelled a special on Cosby that was supposed to air on November 28.

So, why do we think this is becoming the best way to deal with scandals? Why are companies becoming less tolerable in situations like these? One reason, and probably the biggest reason, is because everything goes viral. In today’s world, if a celebrity does something we consider immoral, it will be on millions of phone and computer screens within hours. When bad press is surrounding a celebrity, it is normal for brands to want to get as far away as possible, but it is happening faster, and more often, than ever.

I’m in PR, and I approve this message

November 28, 2014

By: Devon Pine @LuckyNumbrDevon

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Driving down the street or watching a favorite TV show September through November fourth, political ads are almost impossible to avoid.

We’re all fans of promotion, advertisements and public relations here right? So why have most people, even us marketing lovers, come to hate these political ads? While there are many similarities between campaigning and the typical brand marketing we’ve come to love, it’s the differences that drive the less-than-pleasant feeling we have towards them.

Research is a good place to start when putting together a good public relations or ad campaign. Political campaigns are no different. Field directors and their teams start off the campaign process early off in the year bye contacting and surveying registered voters in their district. A typical phone conversation early on in my summer as a campaign intern: (it’s May 3rd) “Hi yes, I’m calling to take a survey about upcoming election.” Voter, “What upcoming election?” Exactly. Brand promoters keep monitoring their success throughout the campaign – political campaigns continue to actively reach out to survey voters all the way up to the election. This is to see which candidate is winning the race.

While brands utilize social media, not only to monitor their ad’s success, but also promote the campaign. However, political campaigns are not utilizing social media in the way that brands are. The 2008 election had the first notable use of the Internet and social media, and (obviously) that strategy paid off for President Obama. Today, political campaigns and the candidates themselves are becoming more and more active on social media, especially the Democratic Party which typically targets a younger demographic.

Social media is slowly growing in politics, and utilized more and more these past few years in its grassroots marketing efforts and aggressive ad tactics. It’s illegal to post political signs on private property, but yet yard signs seem to pop up everywhere around election time. This is because field teams made this happen with grassroots marketing – they are calling and knocking doors, hoping supporters will want to put a “So-and-so for Congress 2014” sign on their property.

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Now, I’m a big supporter of Hidden Valley Ranch, but they have never contacted me to put a sign in my yard in order to advertise. Equally true, Hidden Valley doesn’t dig up horrible secrets and use them against Kraft ranch dressing in their ads. I’d think it’s safe to say that this is the main reason people tend to not like political ads. Trackers, people whose job it is to find dirt on a candidate, are often times the ones who dig up the information we see in political ads that slams the opposition. Yes, the drama of the ads is typically overdone, but one publicized scandal can dictate the results of the election.

Yes, many of us are sighing in relief that election season is over and the frequent ads are done until the next election, but in reality, these political ads aren’t as different as those of our favorite brands. See you in 2016 voters.

 

Summer Reflection Series: Alex Corsi

September 19, 2014

By: Alex Corsi @acorsi17

How to Figure Out Your Career Goal by Sitting on a Beach 

beachFor the past two summers, I’ve worked on the beach as a lifeguard. My duties include saving lives, handing out Band-Aids, sitting in my chair and knitting (but only on cloudy days when there is no one at the beach). This summer was so fun, and I worked with my four closest friends and established great relationships with the other guards on staff. Surprisingly, I learned a lot about myself and my professional strengths and weaknesses from my place on top of the lifeguard stand:

  1. I love to socialize, especially professionally. I’m a people-pleaser, something I’ve always known about myself – and I love to talk. But lifeguarding has shown me that interacting with people – from friendly people wondering about the tide chart to not-so-friendly-people who make us explain in detail why inflatables have to be Coast Guard-certified – is something that comes naturally to me. I’m going to work with all types of clients in a public relations career, and I’m going to have to deal with infinite different types of people, so being able to talk to everyone and anyone is a good thing.
  2. Jobs that look easy aren’t always as easy as they seem. Whenever I complain about something that happened at work, my non-lifeguard friends tell me to shut it because I have the easiest job ever. While at times it’s nice to sit back in my Tommy Bahama chair and tan when there’s no one at the beach, there is one bad day for every good day. One day, there is no one at all on the beach and I don’t do so much as spray a jellyfish sting with vinegar. But the next day the beach is packed with people on every square-inch of sand and first aids happening every five minutes.
  3. I thrive off of helping people. My proudest moment was this past summer when I helped a woman who was having a diabetic emergency and needed medical attention ASAP. I called 9-1-1 and guided the paramedics through the situation. I loved every minute of it. I felt so happy that I was able to help the woman and her family, and she ended up being just fine. Lifeguarding has taught me that I feel so much more complete when I brighten someone’s day, even if it is just giving a smile and saying, “Welcome to Anchor Beach!” in my cheeriest voice. Choosing a career that requires me to help people will make me the happiest.

This semester, I hope to “find my place” in the public relations world. I am taking on the role of assistant account executive of the Prescribe Change account here at ImPRessions, and I’m very excited to be putting into action the PR plan I helped write last semester as an associate. I want to help guide our account toward success, and I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of fresh, interesting faces this year. Whether it’s in public relations or lifeguarding, I know there will always be a place for me, and I’m so happy I have the opportunity to find it.

 

Why a Personal Blog/Website looks Good on a Resume

August 1, 2014

By: Morgan Peterson @mopeeeezy

When trying to land the perfect dream job, it’s important to find a way to stand out to the employer. Sure you might have a perfect resume and transcript, but you are a dime a dozen to some employers. If you don’t get the opportunity to get an interview, a personal website is one of the best ways to stand out from other candidates.

Showcase Your Work

With a personal website, you can market yourself and your work, however you want to. By creating this website you have an exclusive space of your best work. It’s also easy for employers to click and see if they like you, allowing the experience on your resume come to life. Also by showing the work that you do, it shows employers that you have enough pride and confidence in your work to showcase it to the world.

Build Your Brand

Building a website allows you to create a virtual gallery of all of your best work. Even though social media is great, a personal website is just that – personal. You don’t have to worry about trying to stand out because it’s your website. It shows that you care enough about your work and your brand if you took time out to create a full website for it. It’s the one space on the Internet that is all yours so really put some time and effort into building it. Maybe take a weekend just for personal branding. Some great places to start to make a website would be weebly.com, wix.com, fourspace.com or WordPress.com. These website building sites are easy to use and not expensive to acquire your own personal domain. Who knows you could get a job just by an employer looking at your website!

You aren’t the norm

Not many people have their own personal website so by making one you’re already one step ahead! It also shows that you have acquired specials skills to build a website. Learning how to build a website helps you to gain many skills especially when it comes to programming or coding. In PR it’s often good to know how to work with technical things because you never know when you might be asked to design something on the fly. This allows you to be a really well rounded candidate.

The Tipping Point

July 28, 2014

By: Morgan Borer @morganborer

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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 1 Comment

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.

 

 

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