Category Archives: COMM 4333

How PR Pros & Journalists Drive Each Other Nuts

Here’s a SlideShare presentation my class put together about the different ways that PR professionals and Journalists get on each other’s last nerve:


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Blogging–You’ve Gotta Start Somewhere!

Are you new to blogging? Do you sit and read blog after blog, but have doubts about starting one of your own?

Well stop doubting and sign up today! Especially if you’re a Public Relations student!

From laverrue's Flickr photostream

Here’s a list of my ten tips for a student blogger:

1. Eat, Sleep & Breathe AP Style–If you want PR professionals to read your blog and actually see it as a valuable asset to the PR community, make sure you speak their language! Read my post about the importance of AP Style here.

2. Tweet Your Heart Out–In addition to blogging, Twitter is one of the greatest ways to network with other PR students and professionals. Make yourself an account, start following some important people and tweet the links to your blog posts so that others can read what you have to say. Check out Barbara Nixon’s post, A College Student’s Guide to Getting Started With Twitter (start following her on Twitter while you’re at it!).

3. Write About Things That Interest You–If you write about things that you personally don’t find interesting, your readers will be able to notice. When you write about things that you find boring, your posts will come across as just that! Even when keeping it professional, you can add in personal posts every once in awhile.

4. Don’t Get Too Personal–Even though in number three I say you can make personal posts, that doesn’t mean you should go blogging away your feelings. The word “personal” in a PR student blog means write about events or opportunities that are of personal interest to you. Go to an interesting concert or want to share a YouTube video? Go ahead. Want to talk about how your roommate makes your life miserable? Make a separate blog and make it private.

5. Comments Away-In order to make connections with other PR professionals via blogging, you’ll need to start commenting on different blogs or articles on the web. Ragan’s PR Daily is a great place to start. Check out a list of my blog comments here.

6. Attract Readers With Shiny Things:  Pictures & Video–If someone goes to your blog and sees strictly chunks of text in every post, they will not stick around for long. Today, people thrive on images and videos and they are much less likely to read your blog if you are without both of them.

7. Long Paragraphs Are a No-No–When writing blog posts, make sure you keep your paragraphs short and use bullet points and lists as often as possible. When a post is broken down into sections it’s a lot less intimidating to a reader, especially those just searching the internet for a quick read.

8. Use Widgets, but Not Too Many–Widgets can be very handy little things on your blog, allowing people to quickly search for a particular post or see what kind of categories your writing falls under. However, too many widgets can make your page look cluttered and take longer to load. For a beginner, I would suggest these widgets; search, categories (list or cloud) and a calendar that shows which dates you have made blog posts.

9. NEVER Copyright!–Probably the most important thing to remember when blogging is that you must absolutely under no circumstances steal someone else’s ideas and write them as your own. Don’t think that your blog is unimportant and no one will ever know, because they most likely will and sometimes they’ll try to get you busted for it. If you want to share another blogger’s idea with your readers, simply link to their page. This is also important when using images–you can find images free of copyright on Compfight, just search for the image you want under the “creative commons” tab (make sure to still give credit to the photographer).

10. Find Your Voice–Although you’ll need to be professional on your blog, that doesn’t mean you have to pretend to be someone you’re not. Make sure you find your own way of writing to the public and don’t lose your personality in doing that. Read Rachel LaFlam’s post on finding your own blog voice here.

I hope these tips inspire you to start blogging and give you success!

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The Value of Podcasts for PR Students

From Fey Ilyas' Flickr photostream

If you read my blog in the fall of last year, you may remember when I wrote about The Creative Career, a podcast by Allie Osmar. If not, let me fill you in:  Osmar generally writes about the changes involved in the transition from being a student to being a professional in the communications world. She also gives tips on how to prepare for that professional world of communication arts, one that is changing every day. She accomplishes both of these things by interviewing successful professionals in the communications field and by posting podcasts online of her interviews.

This week I listened to a few of her podcasts and the one that I enjoyed the most has to be her interview with Elizabeth Wargele, co-author of “The Career Within You:  How to Find the Perfect Job For Your Personality.” In the book she, “discusses the nine personality types based on differing personal motivations—and how discovering your own personality type can help you find the career that’s right for you (or work with others in the career you already have).” In the interview, Wargele encourages high school and college students to read the book to help “get to know [themselves] and find [their] true selves.” She discusses three of the nine personality types–the perfectionist, the helper, the romantic, the adventurer or the observer. The personality types are determined by the motivation of the person. Are you moralistic (perfectionist), eager to help (helper), artistic, an explorer (adventurer) or do you like to watch and learn (observer)? She encourages recent grads to “stay with [yourself] and don’t let someone sway you to do something you don’t want to do.”

After listening to PR and communications oriented podcasts, I have to say that I think they are an incredibly valuable resource for PR students. Obviously, any interviews with successful business people, communications people or PR professionals will help students by giving them a picture of success and how to get there. Also, it’s a unique opportunity to be able to actually listen to an interview, as opposed to reading an article in which a journalist may have changed around an interview or put a different spin on the professional’s words. I see podcasts as another way to learn, which students can never get enough of.


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Should Jay-Z Be Fined?

From nrtphotos' Flickr photostream

This past weekend after the University of Kentucky’s win over the University of North Carolina to advance to the final four in the Men’s NCAA College Basketball tournament, the wildcats were greeted by a surprise guest on their way into the locker room–Jay-Z. The problem with this? Jay-Z is part-owner of the New Jersey Nets and Kentucky has a few players that may be lottery picks in this year’s NBA draft. The question is, should Jay-Z be fined as part-owner of the Nets for fraternizing with the players? The act in itself looks generally innocent, although you have to wonder what Jay-Z’s intentions were, considering the fact that he is not a known die-hard Kentucky fan.

Check out the footage here.


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5 Steps to Creating Blog Voice

Here’s a guest blog post from my friend and fellow classmate, Rachel LaFlam. You can visit her Public Relations blog, “Mid-day Coffee Break,” here.

All the blogging tips out there say to create voice in your blog. But what does that even mean? And how can you begin to create voice? ‘Voice’ is the tone and pace of your writing that allows your audience to connect with you on a personal level and brings consistency. So how do you create voice?

1. Picture Your Audience

It might sound silly, but if you want your blog to sound friendly, then picture a good friend and imagine you are writing to them. This will help your overall tone throughout your writing.

2. Opinions

My English professor said to me once, “All writing is an argument”

If you are a human being, you have the ability to think what you want. Include your opinion in your blog! You might be afraid at first in case your readers disagree, but guess what? It is OKAY to disagree! This will just give them more incentive to comment if they disagree!

3. Humor

People do what they do for a feeling. You want them to feel good while reading your blog, right? Laughter and humor is a great way to ensure they continue returning. So find your niche. Whether it is sarcasm, bluntness, subtleness, puns, etc.

3. Watch Your Mood

Make sure you are in a positive mood when you are writing. Because if you aren’t, no matter how hard you try, it will come out. If you are forced to write while you aren’t in the best mood, don’t publish your work right away. Save it and go back to review.

4. Create A Style Guide

Creating a set of rules for yourself for grammar, spelling, and expression can help you become consistent with your blog’s voice.

5. Have fun!

If you are enjoying your writing and passionate about what you are writing about, it will come through and others will become passionate about what you have to say also.

Be quirky, be passionate, be intelligent. But mainly, be yourself.



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What’s the Deal With Infographics?

The book “Public Relations Writing & Media Techniques” by Dennis L. Wilcock defines an infographic as, “computer-generated artwork that attractively displays simple tables and charts.” When I think of infographics, I think of a graph or chart that uses interesting images or bright colors to present data to readers. They essentially make something that is normally comprised of black and white numbers and lines interesting by adding something that is pleasing to the eye.

Normally, when I think of graphs I think of math class in high school or the stock market, both things that are not exactly passions of mine. However, I’ve learned that graphics can be made fun by using your subject matter and interpreting it as art for the graph or chart. For example, when using a pie graph to display what kind of pizza different people like in a pizza parlor, you could make the pieces of the graph look like an actual pizza with the different kinds of toppings (i.e.: one piece with just cheese, one with pepperoni, one with mushrooms, and so on).

However, infographics can be used in more than just the obvious ways. You might want to have your chart of graph popping out of an object that represents something about your statistics, or gives an overall theme to the graphic. The bottom line is that no matter what you do to your information, a little color always helps. Presenting a plain graph made with little to no creativity does not reflect well on you or whoever you’re representing. Get inspiration from different sources, including your co-workers, and you can make an infographic that gets printed in a publication!

This graphic does not show real data, but it is something that hopefully will be true one day of my current “client” for my PR class, the Pre-Health Service Organization at Southeastern University:

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March Madness

It’s currently my favorite time of year! A time when college basketball is on Thursday-Sunday and 68 teams try to survive and advance to make it to the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Championship game on April 4th . Who do you have winning it all? I’m hoping Duke brings the trophy home because they’re my favorite team!

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