Archive for November, 2010

Add Some Pizazz

Topic of the Week for week 14.  Five Steps to Multimedia Storytelling

  • Basically, use graphics and interactive things in a story.  A story is going to be less effective if it isn’t accompanied with photos, videos, audio, and things of that nature.  You can use a photo to replace 1,000 words.  Make sure the photo is interesting and aids to the story.  I find it interesting that the course taught to keep videos down to one or two minutes.  I’ve enjoyed videos posted on student blogs that were quite a bit longer than one minute.  I felt like it gave their post credibility and helped aid understanding of context.
  • Sometimes graphics can be the focus of a story.  The editor of a multimedia story is the web designer.  Use a storyboard to plan out your story.  It will help you give focus for the story, and notice what might be missing.  Being able to plan out what you want to say and how you want to say it will be helpful.  Doing a multimedia story well involves spicing up your story with multimedia that will enhance what you are trying to say.  According to the course, a storyboard is done in three parts: define the elements, identify the media, storyboard the concept.
  • For a lesson on multimedia stories, it didn’t have much of the aspects it taught.  Like photos, video, etc.  I mean, there were case studies, but at first glance, the lesson doesn’t look very exciting.  As said in the course, “As you choose your story, keep these characteristics in mind. Avoid thinking of the “first part,” “second part,” etc. Instead, think of “this part” and “that part.” Then consider what media you will use to tell each part.”  The course would be better if there were more interactive learning tools.  Personally, I learn better when I can learn something through audible teaching.  Having an audio clip to explain the facets to a multimedia story would be helpful.

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Topic of the Week for week thirteen.

Ten ways PR people sometimes drive journalists crazy.

1. Persistent calling.  Call when it’s important.  No one wants to be pestered.

2. Spam e-mails.  E-mail when necessary.  Don’t constantly send out anything and everything.

3. Doesn’t understand the perspective of a journalist.  Try to relate to what the journalist is looking for when writing about your client.

4. Lack of respect.  Simply show professional respect to journalists.

5. Not knowing when to take “no” for an answer“There’s something to be said for perseverance, but there’s also something bad to be said for people who don’t know when no means no.” From 10 Things Journalists and PRs Hate About Each Other.

6. Sending stories completely irrelevant to what they cover“Don’t just send out your press release to every journalist on your email list. That’s an easy way to make a lot of people hate you. You need to have your email list segmented according to the type of stories the reporters cover. This helps you make more targeted pitches so you can get the best results.” From 10 Things Journalists and PRs Hate About Each Other.

7. Not respecting their time“Journalists have this thing called deadlines. And guess what? Those deadlines aren’t flexible, and they certainly aren’t going to get met if you try to talk their ear off on the phone. When speaking with journalists, get to the point, and if they tell you now isn’t a good time to talk, be respectful of that and try to schedule another time for your chat.” From 10 Things Journalists and PRs Hate About Each Other.

8. Sending poorly written, spammy press releases – “If you had to guess, how many press releases do you think are sent out each day that are actually well written and useful? I suspect it’s probably less than 10%. Don’t believe me? Just go read any online news wire. Yikes!” From 10 Things Journalists and PRs Hate About Each Other.

9. Being difficult to contact “Your company’s PR contact needs to be easy to contact. Contact info should always be on every press release you send out, and it should also be somewhere on your website. And when the journalist actually tries to get in touch with the PR guy, he should be able to do so easily.” From 10 Things Journalists and PRs Hate About Each Other.

10. Not knowing whether something is truly newsworthy.  Use discretion when deciding what is worth covering.

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Girl Power

From iStockPhoto.com

Topic of the Week for week twelve.

I listened to an interview with Catherine Hudon on a podcast from The Creative Career Shorty Clothing.  Catherine Hudon considers herself to be a business architect – someone who takes a brand and helps bring it to life on many different levels.  She’s been working with companies that want to be multi-media corporations.  She managed some bands in college, then met a publisher and asked him to send out someone to cover one of her client bands- he offered her a job and she became music editor of a magazine.  She did that for a few years – going to shows 4 nights a week.  But she stressed that there is a production element to advertising.  She was able to produce a short film that her dad wrote, was layed off, and then hired back to that company as a production business manager.  Hudon assured that there is a lot of lateral job movement in advertising.  People go to different companies to make more money.  She produced a show that the Travel Channel picked up for the first two episodes.  She’s worked with many companies based in Chicago throughout her career.  Half the battle is knowing what you want to do and then pairing it with being driven.  She’s driven about things in which she’s passionate about.  She doesn’t think she does well in things she doesn’t enjoy.  She suggested reading Organizing Genius – rallying different types of people for a project: no man is an island. Build your team around you in a way that compliments your skills.  She decided with a friend that she wanted to start a fashion company.  That’s how her fashion company, Shorty Clothing, came about.  She wrote the business plan which was her road map.  She found some financing on her own, and within the first year they were booked at the Chicago fashion week.  Kaahn is her new, fierce line that is more sophisticated than the first line.  Inspiration comes from the show Dynasty, which promotes glamor.  Her final advice is to learn the program “Interactive” – developing or strategy, and be able to use interactive programs and software.  Have an interactive presence in business online.  Build a network of people and weed out “sayers” and stick with “doers.”

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Topic of the Week for week eleven.

As stated in Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques by Dennis L. Wilcox, infographics are “Computer-generated artwork used to display statistics in the form of tables and charts.”  Sometimes a visual of statistics translates a message better than just numbers sprinkled in a few paragraphs.  Pie charts are a good option to show large differences between categories.  For instance, if Seventeen Magazine is writing articles with teenagers in mind yet women in their 20s prove to be the most powerful buyer age, that difference can be easily shown with a pie chart.  Also, a bar chart could show how magazine sales increased and decreased throughout a quarter or year.  That could help motivate Seventeen to plan out strategies that will draw positive attention during seasons with historically low sales.  “USA Today pioneered the use of infographics, and around the nation now use them with great frequency.  A key finding of MCI’s “Meetings in America” survey, for example, was chosen by USA Today for its front-page “USA Snapshot” series.  It was a simple bar chart giving the primary reasons why people get stressed about business travel.  Leading the list was “time away from family” with 75 percent.  Only 20 percent reported stress filling out expense reports,” as stated in Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques.  You can use Microsoft Word to create an info graphic, or any word processing software with the ability to create charts.  An infographic could be useful for my client because it can show the amount of athletes who graduate compared to other athletic programs in the state or NAIA sports conference.  Stats that reflect well on my client would be most effective when thinking about what kind of charts to show in an article.  I enjoy reading stories more when there are visuals to aid understanding of context.

Information from Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques by Dennis L. Wilcox.

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From Software Engineering Matters

Stats are an important measurement for bloggers to pay close attention to so they can know what people want to read and don’t want to read.  If you play a sport, stats are a crucial way to measure your progress or how much you need to improve.  Bloggers may notice that there are certain categories that get more views than others.  In my stats, I noticed that my blog about Taylor Swift’s code in her lyrics has by far been my most popular blog post.  Writing about something that pertains to my age group makes sense at this moment, because most of the people reading my blog are in my PR class.  Stats can also show you a bar chart which maps out the highs and lows of traffic on your blog.  It is important for a PR practitioner to monitor their company’s blog because the public can see it, and what is written on the blog is a direct reflection of the company.  If a company wants to be known for their quality customer service, they can post stories that customers send in, describing their positive encounter with the company.  On the other hand, if the company blog is ridden with grammar errors and just plain, boring content, that is also a reflection of the company being shown to the public or whomever reads the blog.  A company that specializes in seasonal decorating will probably see increases and decreases according to the time of year.  With Site Stats, you have the option of viewing statistics for seven days, 30 days, one month, one quarter, or since the blog has been activated.  That is a handy tool for companies seeking to understand dips in views on their sites and blogs.  It will also show signs of weak times of the year when it may be smart to boost a marketing campaign to maintain excitement where dips in popularity and relevance once stuck out.

Topic of the Week for week 10.

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Down Home Reality TV

Sarah Palin’s reality tv show on TLC premiered with high ratings.  Many wonder how her desire for family privacy contrasts with the decision to film a reality tv show.  Either way, people are curious to see inside the lives of the Palin family, and I’m one of them.  The show is on tv Sundays at 9/8C.

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I joined a site called PR OpenMic. The site was created by Auburn University’s Robert French. On the site, you can connect with other students and faculty who are in the field of Public Relations. The website has some very useful information and ways to network with people in PR. A neat section of the website is the Intern Search section. I think that this section is especially useful for college students because many universities, including Southeastern University, sometimes require internships for PR majors. Another aspect that I like about the website is that you can request to be connected with faculty and other students who are also members of the site. My favorite section is probably the video section. You can see what is going on in the world of PR from a student perspective, with fun profiles and short clips from college PR students. For college grads, the job search section would be handy. It’s nice that there is a type of central hub available for searching job opportunities. The website is also great for grads because just like students, they will be able to post things on the site to be seen by possible employers. There is also a section to read student blogs. It’s a great way to get your writings out for people to see. My professor, Barbara Nixon, mentioned that former students got interview opportunities because of the blogs they wrote in her class. I think that this website could also serve a similar purpose. Because faculty members are also apart of the website, they will be able to see what kind of material students post, including blogs. I feel like blogs can really open up a window to view the blogger’s personality. Overall, this website was a great idea and I’m glad I know about it now so I can utilize it.

Topic of the Week for week nine.

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