Friday, April 27, 2007

Best PR Practices

Over the course of the semster we have been tracking and monitoring the best public relations practices. The following list contains a few tips that all students beginning their career in public relations should be aware of:

1. Building and maintaining a good relationship with the media. Building and maintaining a genuine relationship with the media is necessary for all PR practioners. The best way to deal with the media is to let them know that you are there to help them and that you are trying to make their job easier. When you are pitching an idea to the media, it is important to get to the point quickly, make sure you are pitching it to the right person and make sure your story is newsworthy.

2. Good client service. According to Gregg Shields, a Senior Account Executive at Edelman, good client service will always do you well in public relations. Shields says that you should always do what you say and do it well. If you achieve what you promise then you should be set. Going the extra mile for clients is important in public relations.

3. Know how and when to use the different PR tools. Shields also advises, "don't have a press conference unless something really big is going to happen, in fact, probably unless the media demands that you hold a press conference. And don't do a press release unless you really understand what the boss wants."

4. Monitor best practices, trends and technologies. Being a good PR practioner means not only staying on top of the news, but also knowing what the current best practices, trends and technologies are in the industry. Social media (i.e. MySpace, YouTube, blogging, etc.) has taken off and become a very important communication tool.

5. Writing skills. All of the PR professionals that I have talked to and worked with over the course of college career have stressed the importance of writing in the PR profession. All of the top PR professionals that I spoke to had a strong background in journalism or media. Gregg Shields recommends that students interested in PR first get a job in journalism for a few years. Shields says this will make you more attractive to PR agencies when you are looking for a job.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Look-Look Trend Challenge

As a college student that is about to graduate and enter the work force, I have to admit that the idea of just wanting to have my own business has crossed my mind. I guess I am impatient and want some sort of immediate success instead of having to pay my dues somewhere. Also, it seems to be a way to relieve the pressure of trying to impress someone else and find a job that several other people are also competing for. Young entrepreneurs are popping up everywhere and the Southern Methodist University campus is a good place to spot them.

Our advanced communication skills class was asked by Look-Look, an L.A. based research agency, to research the trend of new entrepreneurs ages 19-35. SMU is a small, private university of about 11,000 students situated in the wealthy Park Cities area of Dallas. At SMU, entrepreneurship is even encouraged with a graduate enrepreneur program through the Cox School of Business.

How and where have you seen New Entrepreneurs in your world?

I have met several other students that do what they can to make an extra buck without taking the traditional routes. Some students persue ventures in the retail, real estate, auto, fashion and technology industries. I have one friend that has a license to be a car dealer and he buys cars from the auto auctions and sells them to friends or other students to make a profit.

The following article gives an example of one student, David Hanson, that has started his own custom software business. There are also links to several SMU alumni that are also successful young entrepreneurs.

After having worked for an art consulting firm, young SMU graduate, Caroline Pickton, has opened her own art gallery in the Snider Plaza shopping area. The following is a link about her story.

Do you see a shift to a certain type of attitude toward work?

There does seem to be a shift in the attitudes of young people concerning their work, careers, and happiness. Today's young people possess a stronger desire for instant success and instant gratification. The young entrepreneur is independent, creative, an innovator, a risk-taker and someone that feels a strong need for achievement.

How do you think this will change business in the future, if at all?

I do not think this will change business in the future. There have always been entrepreneurs in our world and our economy.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Job Search Continued...

I went to a job fair the other day and finally got my resume out there. I gave my resume to several sports teams and I am really excited to see where this will go. I have been trying to think about what path I should take when I graduate and I think I might actually have a plan. After getting advice from several PR pros, I have decided that the best option might be to get a job in media first. By getting a job in media I can improve my writing skills and build up my confidence in that area. I think I am going to try to apply for jobs at various media outlets and see where that takes me. Wish me luck again!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Case Study Assignment

Our professor asked us to find a PR campaign and do a case study about why it was successful. I chose to study the Ketchum and Kimberly-Clark campaign for Kleenex during the 2006 Winter Olympics. The purpose of the campaign was to get Kleenex in the marketing game of the Olympics without having to use expensive advertising.

In order to do this, Ketchum decided to follow the journey of three athletes through their mother's eyes. The mothers had blogs on the website along with photos and daily diaries. A total of 108 interviews mentioned Kleenex moments shared between the athletes and their mothers.

The campaign was highly successful. Ketchum exceeded all of it's goals and won several awards for their success. The campaign generated 1,507 stories and a total of 113,826,706 impressions. The campaign received coverage in the national media such as The Weather Channel, ABC Radio,, The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post and The Dallas Morning News. Ketchum won a Silver Anvil Award of Excellence and an award from PRWeek for the Product Brand Development Campaign of the Year 2007. I liked this campaign because of the way it used PR to build a relationship with the consumers by using the tag line "Kleenex Moments." This campaign was really impressive because it was able to break through the flood of marketing and advertising campaigns using PR tactics only.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Job Search

Right now is a very exciting time for me. I am a senior and I will be graduating in May. Yes, May. Just a couple of weeks away it seems. The pressure is on. Everyone keeps asking me where I am going to go and what I am wanting to do. I don't know. People are acting like I should already have a job lined up somewhere and I haven't even sent out one resume yet. I am so excited and so scared at the same time. My degree is so versatile. I could work for a huge agency. I could work for a sports team. I could work for a corporation. I could work in politics. I can do anything. That is the huge advantage and disadvantage of a CCPA degree. I can do anything, but I have so many choices that I don't know where to begin. Now I the time I wish I majored in rocket science or something so I know exactly where to go. I wonder if anyone else feels the same way that I do. Right now I am focusing on big agencies, but they don't really have any entry level positions open. Sure I would love to just jump in as a VP somewhere getting a VP salary, but that isn't going to happen. I am also going to a job expo for the Dallas Stars and a bunch of other sports teams so I hope that gets me somewhere. Wish me luck!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Cure/Heal Blog Ideas

We live in a very binary society. We have the tendency to categorize people. They are either black or white, young or old, sick or well. When people get cancer they are treated differently. No one wants to be smothered with pity and made to feel like they aren't normal. I have never had cancer or known anyone with cancer, but even when I am just sick with the flu all I can think about is being normal again. I wonder why it is happening to me when all my family and friends are running around feeling fine.

No one likes to be different. When we think someone is ill we tend to coddle them and pity them. A boss might tell his or her employee, who made a recovery from cancer, to take more time off or stay at home. That is the kind of discrimination that survivors do not like to deal with. Even though people have good intentions, they don't realize how to interact with someone who has had cancer and the Heal blog can be a helpful tool not only for cancer survivors, but also a tool for people who know a cancer survivor and want to better understand what they are going through.

The Heal blog should include a sidebar with a variety of topics. The topics can range from informative things for survivors such as how to manage relationships with family and friends after surviving cancer and the side effects, pains, and issues of heart and mind that they will have to deal with. Most importantly, since only cancer survivors truly know and understand the experience of having such a life changing illness, there needs to be an area that says something like, "What are we missing? Tell us what you want on the site." The blog might be considered a place for cancer survivors to vent and express their frustrations so there should be a sidebar topic that says something like, "What people who don't have or haven't had cancer need to know or understand."

I think the Heal blog will be a very important tool for cancer survivors especially when they accompany it with the magazine. Survivors will be able to get the information they need from professionals and then share their experiences and opinions with other survivors. The key is that these people are survivors and they want to live their lives. The blog should reflect that even in the aesthetics. Most of the blogs and websites I saw conjured up images of death and heaven with their sunset backgrounds and open fields of flowers.

Websites that I found helpful:

Friday, February 16, 2007

Obama's "Dirty Little Secret?"

Recently, the news media has been buzzing over what they are calling Barack Obama's "dirty little secret" or "dirty little vice." Obama admits that he has been a long time smoker and that he is trying to quit as he runs for the presidency.

When I first heard the news that Obama was a smoker, I thought that his image was going to be destroyed. Some reporters are saying that Obama's habit shows "character flaw, weakness, and lack of willpower."

However, the fact that Obama smokes might not be the "image suicide" I initially thought it would be. Obama has been genuine and truthful about the subject. I think the most important part of that is the truthfulness. This subject has the potential to be very damaging if it isn't handled the right way. Putting your flaws out in the open, rather than letting people dig them up on their own, gives you the advantage. By being up front with his habit, Obama comes across as a normal guy who is more authentic than the stuffy, fake politicians that swarm D.C. This is the angle that George W. Bush capitalized on, and like him or not, he got elected twice.

The following is a link to a CNN video segment about Obama's smoking habit:

Here is a link to the video of Obama and his wife on 60 Minutes: