Review: 101 Different Types of Content

Note: These article reviews are being completed for my PR Campaigns class; however, I feel as though these PR articles are too interesting not to share. I hope you learn as much from them as I did! Links to the articles are provided below.

Armitage, T. (2014, May 07). “101 different types of content.” PR Daily. Retrieved 3 Sept. 2014 from http://www.prdaily.com/marketing/Articles/16375.aspx

This article I chose was a little different from the classic paragraph explanations of working with PR that PR Daily usually shares. Thomas Armitage is an Internet marketing specialist based in New York who compiled a list of 101 different forms of content that a company can use on their website to encourage customer interaction and site traffic.

I chose this article specifically because when I am looking at increasing web traffic, even within my student organizations on campus, I usually go with the classic Facebook/Twitter/Instagram route. Beyond these social networks, I’m stumped. This list is incredibly important in the PR field because, as they say, “content is king.” Content drives users to a website, engages potential customers, and generates buzz. Many companies go with blogging as their number one choice to engage customers. However, Armitage writes that you have (literally) 100 other options.

I will not post every one of these 101 content options, but I have included a few that were the most interesting/unique ideas. The first item on the list was A/B testing. I had to look this up, because I had no idea what it is. A/B testing is a form of hypothetical statistics testing based on random experiments. If a random experiment pertained to your company (i.e., something new that was being tried out), this may be interesting to your customers.

I also liked the idea of using animated gifs. We see these images a lot on social media sites, particularly via Buzzfeed, but they also can be used to draw people to your site. Animation is an attention grabber in itself – and humor engages many different types of people. Along these same lines, Armitage recommends using comics, cartoons, and even “stupid, fake and funny images.” I follow a business that caters to women (jewelry, clothes, crafts, etc.) on Instagram, and every week they post a funny “TGIF” image, usually involving a woman drinking out of a wine bottle. Entertainment garners interaction! These images always result in myriad comments – i.e., engagement with consumers.

A few more of the unconventional ideas that Armitage suggests could be simpler for companies to employ, and may not require much more in marketing dollars. For instance, background and experience information on company executives may give consumers more faith in the company’s leadership. Charts – as opposed to blocks of text – are usually easily understood for those not familiar with the technical jargon, and provide visual aesthetics. A company could also post videos (music or other) that pertain to their products or services. Send out a newsletter, host a creative promotional contest, create a podcast, or share an infographic informing the customer of what’s going on in the business. As we read in the text, the peer is often trusted over the CEO in today’s businesses. Armitage also recommends consumer reviews, surveys, polls, testimonials, vlogs, user generated content, or even photos to build interaction.

This article contains many other ways that I have not specifically mentioned to drive traffic to a company site using the buzz of content. When creating a PR campaign, many of these routes may not be your first thought – but could contribute as much, if not more, to a company’s success than simply creating a blog. If this online presence is created and cultivated, consumers will interact. In the creation of new content, your company will not only have a stronger web presence, but you will increase your social media shares, strengthen your SEO results, and build your brand reputation. Armitage ends the article with a tagline: “Entertain, educate, persuade, convert.” This is the goal of your web presence.

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Review: How To End Your Internship The Right Way

Note: These article reviews are being completed for my PR Campaigns class; however, I feel as though these PR articles are too interesting not to share. I hope you learn as much from them as I did! Links to the articles are provided below.

Quilty, A. (2014, Aug. 29). “How to end your internship the right way.” PR Daily. Retrieved 1 Sept. 2014 from http://www.prdaily.com/mediarelations/Articles/17177.aspx

As a student who just completed a summer internship, the PR Daily article of “How to end your internship the right way” caught my eye. Looking at the list, I realized that I still needed to wrap some elements up.

The author, Allison Quilty, gives five tips on how to end your internship the right way. First of all, she states that the student should pursue some type of feedback. We’ve heard for years that the best way to learn is to accept constructive criticism, right? Pursuing your intern coordinator or employer for helpful feedback may give you the ability to address a weakness or capitalize on a strong suit. Understanding your work from a third party perspective could increase your value when you market yourself for a salaried career.

The second suggestion is essential for any communication student hoping to make it in the industry – stay connected! I shook many hands this summer, many of these belonging to people much more important in the business than I, who will most likely forget my name. As a matter of fact, one of the CEOs only knows me as “the intern with purple tights.” These connections are invaluable, and networking opportunities seem to fall hand in hand with internships. Don’t lose these relationships once your time ends; the article suggests collecting business cards or connecting on LinkedIn is a great way to stay in touch.

Quilty’s third recommendation is one that I faced myself – tie up loose ends. It’s the last week of your internship, your intern hours are well over their requirement, and you’re still working on something important for your boss. What do you do? I suggest, and Quilty seems to agree, that you complete your part in whatever task you’ve been given. Although it may be inconvenient for you, this will be what sets you apart in the employer’s mind. If you go the extra mile, you will be the one who takes the position. If it’s a large project, detail the process for the next person who will be taking it on. Making that transition easier for a coworker will show that you are a team player.

The fourth proposition Quilty makes is to ask for a recommendation. In reading this article, I realized that this was one thing I did not do. If you’ve worked closely with someone for an internship and feel as though you’ve contributed valuable work, take that next step and ask if he or she would be willing to put in a good word for you. Now, LinkedIn makes this easier for an employer, as he or she can write a small paragraph about how spectacular you are that anyone can see on your profile. It’s as simple as asking in a polite email. Having this “proof” from your supervisor shows your value or asset to the company, and looks good to the next boss.

Finally, Quilty’s fifth piece of advice is to say thank you. Just as we are learning and as our textbook states, PR is about building relationships. Beyond making a new networking connection on LinkedIn, show that you are grateful for the internship opportunity by thanking those who took the time to help, teach, and guide you in your venture. A thank you can be a handwritten card, or an email – but these are the things that people will remember in the future.

In retrospect, all of these tips that Quilty shares are ones we may think of as common sense; however, I know that I forgot to specifically address a few of these elements among the overwhelming amount of material that came with my internship. As I mentioned previously, I think the two most important aspects of this article are maintaining the networking contacts and building relationships. Paralleling the “rationalist management” orientation of public relations, creating and cultivating relationships in the early stages of a career, i.e. in the internship phase, will only benefit you in the future.

Review: 7 Media Relations Rules You Might Want To Break

Note: These article reviews are being completed for my PR Campaigns class; however, I feel as though these PR articles are too interesting not to share. I hope you learn as much from them as I did! Links to the articles are provided below.

Crenshaw, D. (2014, May 09). “7 media relations rules you might want to break.” PR Daily. Retrieved 27 Aug. 2014 from http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/16527.aspx

The title of this article caught my eye. As PR students, we are taught these structured sets of do’s and don’t’s that we hope will bring success to our PR endeavors in the future. This article, however, addresses the gray areas of PR – and the idea that some of the rules should be bent or broken in order to create a more effective campaign or impression.

Dorothy Crenshaw’s first rule-to-be-broken is that you should forbid your client from saying, “No comment.” If a company spokesperson is uninformed about an issue and does not have the chance to understand all of the facts of the matter, it would be unproductive and perhaps even hurtful for the company to give false information to the press. In this regard, it’s appropriate to refrain on a response to the media.

Her following rule is to leave journalists alone unless you have a newsworthy issue to bring to their attention. Although this generally is the case, utilizing other news that may not be your own (newsjacking) in conjunction with your client’s perspective could provide an interesting point of view to the article. In this case, you could bother the journalist with a twist to a current story, if it is in the best interest of your client.

Crenshaw’s third rule-to-be-broken addresses the idea that a story, product or service must be special or notable to be considered valuable in the media world. This is not so much the case in our current society – few ideas are completely original. She addresses the concept that although you may not have something that stands on its own, a combination of two products or ideas could be considered a broader category that interests your public.

This summer, I worked at a PR firm where much of the focus was on tailoring the message specifically to the individual to which it pertained. Crenshaw’s fourth rule-to-break is that your story should be thrown out widely to as many people as will listen. This is something I have been specifically taught against during my time at Austin Peay. We learn that PR should be targeted and intentional. Using software like Vocus allows a PR professional to look specifically at whom he or she would like to reach, as well as the beat of reporters or subject area of editors. If the net is cast widely, chances are the story will be disregarded by many of the recipients. You also could end up with the negative effect of having an interesting story that is disregarded by the right people, because they’ve been bombarded with irrelevant messages from you in the past.

Crenshaw’s fifth rule to break is one that I believe should have more emphasis in the world of PR. This states that by training your company spokesperson, you are guaranteed to get the message across. Unfortunately, there are times that a speaker is not meant to be in front of the media. A PR pro does not want their company spokesperson to sound insincere, overly commercial, or fake in their responses. This would definitely take a toll on the effectiveness of the message, and could even hurt them or their reputation as the public could deem a hesitant speaker as dishonest.

The sixth rule-to-break is one I also had some experience with this summer; Crenshaw writes that the PR person should be making it happen in the background. I worked with a very “upfront” PR professional. She believed her presence was necessary at every city commissioner meeting, ribbon cutting, and company event. In having her presence at the forefront of company events, she built a much more successful relationship with the company’s executives, and they felt confident that she knew what she was talking about. In providing that level of support – in essence, the feeling that if something happened, she would be ready – my boss increased her own value to the company. Isn’t that what it’s about?

Finally, Crenshaw’s seventh rule-to-break is that whenever you are in doubt about the media’s perception of your event, issue or story – hold a press conference. This is unrealistic for many companies, as a press conference may not achieve the desired result. Press conferences have the ability to be successful, but often times they cost the client much more than they are worth. Instead of automatically leaning on the idea that journalists will be attracted to a press briefing, Crenshaw suggests that a company pursues a strategic media approach – where the message can be tailored and intentional.

This article was very interesting because it somewhat goes against what we are taught as students. As our class focuses on the strategic elements of PR campaigns, I’m sure that we will take more time to examine how different plans of action will be relevant in various circumstances; there is not a cookie-cutter answer to fit all companies’ problems. I believe that there is no absolute right answer as to how to approach a client’s issue, and it will take some adjustment of these PR “rules” to come up with an individualized, effective plan to bring success to your client.

Review: 5 PR Lessons From Fantasy Football

Note: These article reviews are being completed for my PR Campaigns class; however, I feel as though these PR articles are too interesting not to share. I hope you learn as much from them as I did! Links to the articles are provided below.

Manocchio, A. (2014, Aug. 26). “5 PR lessons from fantasy football.” PR Daily. Retrieved 27 Aug. 2014 from http://www.prdaily.com/mediarelations/Articles/17144.aspx

In honor of the ever popular Fantasy Football season, I chose my article review to be based on Alexa Manocchio’s “5 PR Lessons From Fantasy Football.”

This article wittily compares PR to the lessons learned from fantasy football using sporty terms and team analogies. First of all, she states that it is important for a PR person to “know his/her stats.” Just like in football, there are people that are incredibly skilled in certain areas of their work and others who may be better doing another task. In understanding the people with whom you work, you can be effective in your message by doing your research. This can apply to both people and publications.

Targeting your message to a specific beat reporter will most likely be much more successful than giving a generalized release to a wide variety of people. Along the same lines, be intentional in your publication choice. What will be the most beneficial to your client? What has worked in the past? In understanding the “stats” of those with whom you’re dealing, your PR strategies will be much more effective.

Manocchio’s second fantasy football lesson is that you could “lose on any given Sunday.” This addresses the idea that in PR, you can have an upset/incident regardless of how prepared you are. Things will occasionally happen. If something unforeseen occurs, your energy needs to be refocused into learning from the mistake and addressing the issue in the future.

The third lesson the author gives is one that is especially relevant to our communication strategies today – “stay up to the minute.” There are constantly things happening in the world of communications – be it mergers, events, crises, or huge stories. If you do not stay engaged, or on top of what is going on in the world around you, you (and your client) may miss out on the chance to be included. Staying current with what is happening in the industry will not only benefit your clients and their best interests, but also will allow you to be more effective in your public relations – making you a much more valuable asset.

The fourth fantasy football lesson that we’re given is based on the importance of interactivity. People do not want to feel as though they are bystanders to the action. A great (and unintentional) example of the importance of interactivity can be seen with the recent spike in donations to ALSA via the ice bucket challenge. People want to have the chance to take part in something where they feel as though they are needed, they are valued, and they make a difference. PR campaigns that engage the public are generally much more successful than those with a side-lined audience. With the introduction of interactivity, the PR effort is much more targeted and intentional, allowing the company to better engage customers.

Finally, Manocchio’s fifth fantasy football lesson is that “collaboration leads to wins.” This plays somewhat into the first lesson, as understanding the strengths and weaknesses of those with whom you work will make your end result much more successful. Collaboration brings fresh ideas, thorough plans, and new perspectives that may be otherwise overlooked. This also could be collaboration with your client; understanding the company’s goals and desires for the campaign will give insight on how to address it strategically. When each of these individual elements are given attention, the communication is directed toward the end goal.

I thought that this article made a lot of great points. It is important to address that much of PR is based in thoughtful, well-researched, calculated and strategic decisions rather than rash choices. Staying current is especially crucial, as there are constant decisions and opportunities that affect the choices you would need to make for a client. In conjunction with staying in-the-know comes the concept of interactivity. A good PR person would see the effects/success of an interactive PR campaign (because they did their up-to-the-minute research!) as compared to one that did not engage the audience; he or she could choose a course of action from this point. In this way, all of these elements are interwoven when considering how to build a successful PR campaign.