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!

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Lorrie Walker – PR Connoisseur

Image Credits: LWCOMM twitter

“Learn to network.”

Lorrie Walker, a public relations professional and the owner of Lorrie Walker Communications, couldn’t stress this point enough; and I couldn’t agreemore. With an ARMY background of training in journalism and public affairs and a Bachelor of Science degree in business and professional leadership from Southeastern University, Walker certainly has credentials that speak for themselves.

After conducting a phone interview with her (I found her information on the internet), I discovered a laundry-list of PR essentials.

First things first, what’s a typical week like? Walker went on to explain that the balk of her time was spent writing articles and press releases while marketing for companies via the internet. In previewing her website, I found my mind begging this question: “How does one gather all this information, and in such a short amount of time?”

Walker went on to explain that she has two additional clients who do subcontract work for her. With these workers supplementing the company, it is assumed some type of relief is provided for the owner. 

The conversation then shifted to a specific project Walker undertook.

“I am a people person. I love to network.” she said enthusiastically.

With this statement, Walker jumped right into the details of the project. Basically, she wanted to create more traffic for a company; specifically for her hairstylist. And that she did!

She created a website for her patron, promoting his services and a charity cut-a-thon. This allowed for a better generation of business while endorsing a good cause. The first Hair for Hope was held in 2009, and has continued annually ever since.

Such success proves Walker’s ability to network. Something simple as getting your haircut opens the door to future business opportunities. So start shaking hands and kissing babies!

The discussion moved to the topic of current events. How does one remain updated in the PR industry? Walker simply checked off the social media network outlets: twitter, facebook, blogs. Without the use of these instantaneous networks, one can forget about being informed. To get ahead of the game, one must remain in the game. Unfortunately, newspaper releases are yesterday’s business. The ability to navigate these internet resources will only increase one’s knowledge. So for all the pious print-lovers (myself included), set down the paper, at least for a little while, and see how much news you can gather from the internet in three minutes.

Walker was then asked about her PR knowledge prior to her career. Was there something she wished she had known before delving into this business?

“I can’t think of anything only because the internet came about while I was working [in the industry]. It was not ‘Oh I wish I had learned to use the internet.’”

Internet is essentially one of the foundational building blocks for the PR industry today. Because Public Relations is a relatively growing trend amongst the younger sector (although it began several centuries ago), having a background in internet usage is almost expected.

The conversation was wrapped up with two final questions. The first inquired about the importance of writing.

“[Writing is] monumental. You can’t be a good PR practitioner if you can’t write well,” stated Walker.

She then went on to propose that one should invest in an AP stylebook which proves to be a great reference for writers.

The final question asked Walker to provide three tips for a new PR practitioner. As mentioned earlier, networking is key. She merged tips one and three to networking. She also referenced the importance of writing and reading.

“To be a good writer, you need to read some good writing.”

She suggested two magazines she currently reads: Garden and Gun and FastCompany.

PS- Music for you!

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!

Record Labels

This past morning, Paste Magazine had released a list of 14 musicians who have/had dropped contracts with record labels in hopes to create their own line.

The list includes: Kid Cudi, Cake, OK Go, Prince, Wilco, Gretchen Wilson, The Rolling Stones, And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, RJD2, Jim James, Alkaline Trio, Oasis, White Strips and Nine Inch Nails.

From disagreements to expired deals, the musicians’ reasons for pursuing their own labels greatly varied.

In addition to the 14 mentioned musicians, Radiohead was spolighted for their job well-done on successfully releasing their music unconventionally.  

“What we wanted was some control over our [master recordings] and how it was used in the future by them. That seemed reasonable to us, and we cared about it a great deal,” lead singer of Radiohead, Thom Yorke stated.

Finances seem to play a vital role in music careers. Whether musicians wish to pursue an already established label or create their own, the success of the band/musicians should be qualitative, not quantitative.

“Gone, Like Moses Through the Corn”

Fashion designer John Galliano’s contract with fashion company Christian Dior, has been terminated. In lieu of extending the designer’s suspension, Dior has decided to fire Galliano.

The designer has been accused of making racial slurs to a number of people. The unraveling of the issue began when a reporter posed a question (in regards to Galliano) to actress Natalie Portman.

According to MSN Movies the reporter asked, “You’re a spokesperson for Dior’s Miss Dior Cheri fragrance. Why are you not wearing Dior tonight? And what do you think about Dior designer John Galliano recently being suspended for alleged assault and for allegedly making anti-Semitic remarks?”

Before Porter could answer, the reporter was cut-off and the question was buried.

Initially, the designer was put on suspension, but when a video, providing evidence that Galliano had made controversial statements, surfaced, the company decided to fire him.

Interpol Update

Interpol has recently, and graciously, released a free EP for fans. To supplement the North American tour, the band whets listeners’ appetites with their Lights single as well as music singles from the other bands touring with them. With the recording of their latest album, titled Interpol, the band has been extensively touring. They will start their European performances within the next few days, but come April they will wrap up their remaining shows in North America.

Other news involves the dispatch of bass player Dave Pajo. Pajo has played for a variety of bands including the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs. On Interpol’s site, a post was written explaining Pajo’s reasons for leaving.

“I’ll be taking a break from touring to focus on family. There are no personal, artistic or health reasons—it’s really as simple as that,” states Pajo.

The band has found a replacement bassist, Brad Truax, to finish out the remainder of the tour.

Below is the band’s single Summer Well from recent album Interpol.