Category Archives: Topics of the Week

Final, Last, Done, etc.

Image Credits: tpemurphy.com

As the semester wraps up, students are scrambling to finish last-minute assignments and prepare for summer work/internships. Reflecting on these past months, I have found I have learned much more about public relations than I ever intended to learn. In the beginning of the year, I had no expectations. I went in with an open mind, ready to experience and explore the PR field, but not setting a goal for myself. But I believe ultimately, a subliminal goal was created as the weeks progressed. Thanks to my professor, I not only received a substantial amount of information about the PR career, but truly had a chance to have some interaction with a real PR professional. It is one thing to teach PR, but it is another thing to be in the actual industry. I have to give my professor a big shout because she is, without a doubt, a PR expert. Thanks Prof!

 After my reflection, I had come up with a list of the top-ten things I have learned about public relations. The list goes as follows:

 1. Networking is key.

2. Public Relations is subjective unlike journalism which is objective.

3. The definition of publics.

4. Twitter, Facebook, all things social-networking related are great outlets, but one must be careful with the information put out on these sites.

5. Blog.

6. Networking will show up everywhere, more than once. Hence its inclusion on this list twice.

7. Remember names.

8. PR professionals are essentially ambassadors.

9. Dress professionally.

10. Press releases = grammar background.

I can confidently say I am able to carry somewhat of a conversation about public relations without tilting my head in confusion. Although I am limited in PR work experience, I hope to one day garner my skills I have learned in this class and put them into action. 

PS- Yo Yo Ma

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PRESENTation for You

Image Credit: simplemarketingblog.com

 “The process of planning, executing, and evaluation programs that encourage purchase and consumer satisfaction through credible communication of information and impressions that identify companies and their products with the needs, wants, concerns, and interests of consumers,” (Thomas L. Harris – A Marketer’s Guide to Public Relations). 

The latter quote sums up my one of my topics of discussion for my upcoming presentation (PR applications class). 

When I was first told to define Public Relations, I immediately jumped on the word marketing. I never understood‒until going through this course‒why there was a separate branch of work for PR professionals. I thought the assumption to umbrella PR under the marketing sector was safe. Now I have realized otherwise. 

To tie this into marketing communications, public relations people will have a hand in this matter of business from time to time. For example, if a company wants to promote a particular technology product, a PR professional may be contacted to help aid in the marketing of the product. In marketing communications, there are three approaches: product publicity, cause-related marketing, and corporate sponsorship. 

In the product publicity approach, a PR professional’s job is to effectively promote the product while maintaining a low-expense rate. Branching off this approach is the option of product placement. One example of this tactic is placing an advertisement in a television program or movie preview. Because it is placed in an already running program, people are more likely to sit through and watch it. 

The next approach, cause-related marketing, uses the picture of a profit-making company juxtaposed with a nonprofit organization. This attempt hopes to inspire the consumer into thinking the profit-making company is supporting a just cause. Thus, the consumer will presumably make a purchase of that company’s particular product. 

The final approach involves corporate sponsorships. When events/products are sponsored (especially by well-known companies), it enhances the overall appearance. 

In addition to marketing communications, I will touch on the subjects of environmental relations and corporate philanthropy. 

Source: Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics Ninth Edition, written by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glen T. Cameron.

P.S. – Music!

Freebie

This week, the ball is in the students’ court. We were not assigned a specific topic, so I am at liberty to present to you anything I please. I’m going to give you a piece I wrote in the beginning of the semester about Blockbuster’s bankruptcy. Most of my sources are not first-hand, but maybe you will find some of the information new.

This past September, the Blockbuster video-chain company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in hopes to alleviate any additional debt. To further the business’s financial crisis, a recent lawsuit was filed by Lyme Regis Partners LLC.

According to Bloomberg.com’s Joel Rosenblatt, Carl Icahn “used inside information to convert their equity interests into a controlling amount of debt.” The article continues to explain how the lawsuit failed to address any damage Lyme Regis experienced from Icahn’s investments.

Prior to this incident, Lyme Regis attempted to expose the investments of Icahn. Fortunately for the latter, the attempt was singed.

Apart from this current lawsuit, Blockbuster is trying to salvage what is left of the company. David Lieberman of usatoday.com writes about “[Blockbuster’s] plans to reduce debt from nearly $1 billion to about $100 million or less by swapping debt for equity in a ‘reorganized Blockbuster’ with bondholders that hold about 80% of the company’s senior notes.”

Daniel, the store manager of a Blockbuster located in Florida, made note of the effects this bankruptcy has on local stores.

“Three stores in [this area] alone have been closed down. It wasn’t necessarily because [the stores] were unprofitable, but they needed more cash off hand. We are busier [since the stores have been combined].”

But can Blockbuster hold on, especially with these competing, more convenient services of Redbox, Netflix and On Demand?

Thomas, another current employee of South Florida’s Blockbuster, makes a valid point.

“Blockbuster gets video games 28 days before any other company.”

Sure this is beneficial for all the video game gurus but what about the independent film lovers? This is where Redbox, Netflix and On Demand come into play.

“[Netflix’s] instant queue is really cool. I don’t want to wait. Can’t beat it, its $8.99,” Thomas stated.

Thomas also thought On Demand would eventually be the main service utilized in every home. The only reason for their current lack of appeal is the pricing of the movies. With On Demand, an average movie costs from $4.99 to $5.99. Redbox and Netflix seem to blow On Demand out of the water with the lower cost efficiencies.

Unfortunately for Redbox and On Demand, the selection range is somewhat limited. This shortcoming brings Netflix to the forefront of the race.

Travis, a University of Central Florida student, sided with Netflix’s services.

“[Netflix] absolutely [has] a better selection.”

Another student from Rutgers University, Victoria, approved of Netflix as well. When asked to choose between Blockbuster and Netflix and to choose the service with the better selection she simply stated, “Netflix and Netflix!

Surprisingly, one student admitted to never using the services of Blockbuster or Netflix.

“Seriously I’ve never used either,” Danielle stated.

She sided with On Demand all the way. Regardless of the service, the movie rental industry will always be one of competitive nature. If Blockbuster can forget through the beatings of financial depravity and the rival services, the company may just survive.

*Last names have been removed to protect the identities of the people mentioned.

PS- Music from The National. I was first introduced to them in 2008, but didn’t start to really digest their stuff until I saw them live this past summer.

Listening in to Kneale Mann

Barbara Nixon, a well-respected and public relations guru, conducted an informative interview with Kneale Mann, a marketing sensation of many media talents, via video conference. As a PR/Marketing/Business novice, I found the discussion both educational and encouraging.

Mann opened up the conversation with some personal logistics. He described his experiences in both the public and private sectors of business. In regards to the public, he explained his goals to accelerate marketing principles within government groups and non-profit organizations. He then geared the chat to the public sector’s counterpart, expounding on the private sector’s emphasis on strategical planning.

After giving an overview of his background and expertise, Mann spoke on a variety of topics. He elaborated on the overlapping of social media, public relations, public affairs, and business marketing. He stressed the importance of having a general knowledge of all the latter outlets.

He also commented on blogging views and writing skills.

“It’s not about the numbers, it’s really about finding that focus,” he stated.

Piggy-backing to the following statement, Mann pushed the audience to start blogging and writing. He found that too many people develop an unrealistic idea of immediately grabbing the absolute victory of a task without work. He advised the audience to begin writing and blogging; everything else will come as a residual effect.

The most important aspect of this session, I believe, was the highlighting of social media outlets. Mann truly put into perspective how important it is to have a general knowledge of all these services. At anytime, one channel could fold, causing a shift in how PR/Marketing/Business is generated. Therefore, it is imperative that one knows how to function other facets of media as opposed to one.

The most surprising, or should I say enlightening moment for myself, was the start a task. I find myself falling under the umbrella of people who have these fantastical ideas of triumphant without any application or work. I will try not to despise small beginnings and remember to work first.

Overall, Mann’s video was delivered effectively, substantially covering the grounds of the PR/Marketing/Business world.

I would like to know more about PR/Marketing/Business in the music industry, as this is my main interest.

PS- Music!

The Great Exchange

Image Credit: Resume T-shirt by BlackBirdTees

This week’s blog requirement entails the swapping of a blog post with a blog neighbor. I have the privilege to feature Erica Earl’s, a friend of mine (and a wonderful writer), blog post on resume writing! Enjoy!

O, Look! It’s Résumé Time! By: Erica Earl

Today, jobs are hard to come by, and landing an interview has become quite competitive. Many college students or recent grads may find themselves needing to update that résumé they made as an exercise their junior year of high school (or needing to begin writing it in the first place). Here are some tips that will make your résumé polished and professional, along with examples of résumés gone wrong from JobMob.com:

1. Know your limits.
If you have 15-20 years of work experience under your belt, than it may be acceptable to have a more extensive résumé. Recent college grads, on the other hand, should limit theirs to one page. According to the Purdue Online Writing Lab, employers only take 35 seconds to look at the résumé. It is a little too self-promoting to assert that you deserve more time than that if you do not have much work experience.

Real-life blunder: A candidate in Maine submitted a nine-page cover letter followed by a four page résumé. Whew!

2. Stick with the traditional format.
Start with academics, and then proceed to include work history and applicable skills, followed by humanitarian work (a better way of saying volunteer work) if there is room. Keep the formatting simple and easy to read; don’t try to get too creative or liberal with it. Remember you want to provide a brief overview.

Real-life blunder: A candidate wrote his résumé as a play—Act I, Act II, etc.

3. Write your résumé in reverse chronological order, beginning with the most recent career-related achievements or accomplishments.
Note—career related. Keep the information on your résumé germane to the field in which you are applying.

Real-life blunder: Under “job-related skills,” a candidate applying for a web design job wrote “can function without additional oxygen at 24,000 feet.” Ok…
Another noted that he could “say the ABCs backward in under five seconds.”

4. Leave high school behind.
Unless you were accepted into a special honor society or were valedictorian, it is not necessary to include high school on your résumé, and you should omit high school completely after graduating college.

Real-life blunder: A candidate wrote on her résumé under achievements “nominated for prom queen.”

5. It’s all Greek to me.
Definitely leave out any involvement in a fraternity or sorority… please! Despite what your buddies may say, it does not help you appear well-rounded or more of a “team player.”

Real-life blunder—averted! : My PR Applications professor Barbara Nixon pointed out that you should explain any organization containing Greek letters, or else employers will most likely assume it is a fraternity or sorority. For example, I am a member of Phi Theta Kappa. It is an honor society, not a sorority!

6. Keep everything professional and classy.
This means e-mail, too! When presenting your contact information at the top of your résumé, it is helpful to also include your e-mail. However, make sure you use an address that will not embarrass you or make you seem downright unprofessional.

Real-life blunder: A candidate listed an e-mail address with quite the interesting username—“pornstardelight.”

7. Finally, have someone proofread your résumé.
As you may have learned in a composition class, even the slightest error can alter (not altar) the entire meaning of a sentence. Don’t fight the red squiggly lines! You want your résumé to appear polished. Too many errors may make it look like you rushed through creating your résumé, or they may just make you look incompetent.

Real-life blunder: A candidate wrote, “Am a perfectionist and rarely if if ever forget errors.” I think it is safe to assume that is not what she meant. Another wrote, “Answered phones, filed papers, responded to customer e-mails, and took odors.” Let’s just hope for his own sake that is not what he meant!

P.S. – Music!

Tweety Bird

I have re-entered the twitter world with a new lens. Originally, I had a twitter only for the purpose of publishing “inside joke” commentary amongst a group of friends. Now, I am utilizing the social media tool as a means to stay updated (plus it’s required for my class). And actually, I find myself enjoying it more for the worldwide news updates than the colloquial word exchanges.

Today, I participated in a twitter chat! Now this feature is new to me. My previous twitter account, like I said, was strictly for conversation. And the conversation participant base was limited to about four people and not hash-tagged. Come to think of it, I never used a hashtag until I opened this twitter account. Anyway, I joined the #PRStudChat in attempts to rid myself of my chatting naiveties.

After examining the page, a number of participants (either students or professionals) supplied sources, tips, and answers to anything Public Relations related. To be honest with you, I felt the feed was a bit scattered, and I didn’t find a focal point. But, I think that is the idea. People simply bring forth their questions or inputs pertaining to Public Relations.

As a participant in this twitter chat, I have learned the importance of asking and researching. There are resources EVERYWHERE. This is not limited to the PR sector. One shouldn’t be afraid to ask and research. With these twitter chats, people are prompted to either take information away or provide information for others.

The most surprising thing I have found (and not with just the chat but also some other areas of public relations) is the organization/presentation these people and firms have, or lack thereof. In my opinion, the mark of a good PR professional is his ability to organize and present to a client/public in a minimalistic manner. Some of these resumes and websites I have previewed are so overcrowded with unnecessary information that it immediately overwhelms me. I know I am a student (with limited experience), and I may not understand the scheduling and organization tactics of these people, but I know one thing‒clutter is not appealing.

The question I posed on the chat was in regards to music and PR. If I do decide to enter into PR, I know I want to work with record labels/musicians. I don’t know exactly how I would go about getting my feet wet with this one, but I suppose I will figure it out.

Twitter is, without a doubt, a great tool to circulate information and news. I am glad to have joined again.

And now some music!

It’s Time to Prepare

With Spring’s untying of Winter’s laces, Summer’s queue to arrive is just about here. For college students, the pressures of securing a summer job can reign in heavy. But no need to worry! A strong resume and interview are sure to alleviate any job-hunting produced anxieties.

The first seed to plant is a resume. Resume writing is not complicated; you simply gather together your accomplishments/credentials and organize them on a page.

The organization of your resume depends on your personal preference. Click on the following: How to Write a Resume. This page provides you with a variety of ways to structure your resume.

The information you provide in your resume may vary from your neighboring competitor. Be sure to do some background research on the company of your choice because this will give you an idea of what to put on your resume. Visit 1st Resumes−this site discusses the content that should be put onto your resume.

The accessibility of your resume should be easy for your possible employer as well. Whether you have a hard copy of the resume or shoot the boss an e-mail with it attached, make sure it quickly gets into the correct hands without any mishaps. Another site, Jobweb, covers a variety of issues pertaining to resume building (including the latter).

Wait to see if the resume planted grows. If the seed planted was good, an interview should be the expected harvest.

Before you have the interview, make sure you prepare yourself for some expected questions. Do not go into the interview without researching, planning and practicing. Research the company. Plan what you are going to say. Practice your plan. But remember; too much preparation may cause over-thinking.

In preparing for the interview, choose the outfit that is most appropriate for the job. If you are applying for a fortune 500 company, you don’t want to wear spaghetti straps or cutoff shorts. You know what is appropriate and what is not. If you don’t, ask someone you know (who is in a similar line of work) what he or she wore for her interview.

And last but not least, be yourself! Don’t perform, just live!

Here’s some music.