Archive for the ‘Topics of the Week’ Category

Zooey and Tigger

For my presentation for my Public Relations Applications class, I was given the topic of PR and Entertainment from Ch. 16 in our Think Public Relations book. I believe this topic can be broken down into 4 sub-categories for the PR Porfessional: The Entertainment Industry, Campaigns, Promotion of an Entertainment Event, and the Movie Industry. Public Awareness is your main goal as your clients  agent.

The Entertainment Industry

•You may be serving as a publicist (celebrity, sports figure, athletic teams, entertainment venues)
•Travel industry
•Specific site or distinction promotion
•Specific travel business (ex. Cruises)
•“Generate PUBLIC AWARENESS of an individual who is intentionally seeking publicity” is the main goal of a personality campaign done by a PR professional.
•This step-by-step process must be done in order to be successful:
        -Client should answer a detailed personal questionnaire
        -The PR pro should use personal ingenuity to develop the facts as story angles
        -Prepare biography of the client and sent it to media outlets for publication
        -Determine what is to be “sold”: Is the goal to increase awareness of the client or their product?
       -What are the most important audiences to be targeted?
•Place client on multiple media simultaneously to get the most awareness
•Phone Calls and E-mailed pitches to editors and program editors
•Interviews for big name magazines come in handy
•Get the photographs of your client to the print media ASAP

•Have client appear in public places frequently
•Have client receive an award
After the campaign, Compile and analyze the results and determine the effectiveness of each method.
Promoting an Entertainment Event
•THE FOCUS: Selling Tickets
•Use the “Drip-Drip-Drip” Technique
–Steady output of information
–Heaviest barrage of publicity is released shortly before the show opens
–Have star unveil their star on the Walk of Fame just before the star’s new film or show appears
•Be careful– not too much “hype”. If there is too much hype before the movie or show or entertainment event takes place, it can lead to a sense of anticlimax.
The Movie Industry
Targets and Aims:
•You should use Market research, Demographics, and psychographics to define target audience
•12-24 year olds are the age that is most publicized to.
•“Planters” deliver to media offices stories about individual clients and projects. “Bookers”  place clients on talk shows and set up other public appearances.
The Actual Promotion:
•Tickets to radio stations who mention the name several times
•Invite media guests to glamorous parties
•Product placement
•Fast-food promotions such as toys at Burger King or Mc Donalds to lure in children

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"Modified Podcast Logo with My Headphones Photoshopped On" By : Colleen AF Venable

For this week’s Topic of the Week, I was challenged to listen to an hour of PR Podcasts. I’m going to be honest here, at first, the bought of listening to an HOUR of this seemed like it was going to be like pulling teeth. Not fun. But, this could be because I am not a PR major and really only want to be involved in the journalism side of things. The only podcasts I’ve ever listened to in the past have been church sermons or “how to’s”.  But to my surprise, after researching for quite some time, I found a podcast entitled “Inside PR” which was, in contrast to my previous thoughts, intriguing and entertaining.

Inside PR podcast is run by 3 people from different parts of the country that connect from their own homes and converse about different topics concerning PR and Marketing: Gini Dietrich of Arment Dietrich (Chicago), Joseph Thornley of Thornley Fallis Group (Ottawa), and Martin Waxman of energy PR (Winnipeg). Their podcasts are all based on the concept of understanding that reputation and communications make or break organizations.

This podcast was good at displaying many social media updates (system wise and for you personally), how to’s for your blogs and posts, and encouraged posting links from Facebook to twitter. They really emphasize the benefits about doing these different things for personal reasons and business reasons. These PR professionals talk a lot about different PR happenings and their opinions on it. This is beneficial to us as students to gather many different opinions on happenings to form our own opinions on. Here are some more reasons I believe listening to podcasts can be beneficial to not only PR students. but any student in general:

1.Podcasts are easy ways to open yourself to the PR ideas from professionals all over the country.

2.Not a boring way to get connected. You are listening to real people and their real conversations (not like a conjured up news/press conference)

3.Flexible learning opportunities: you can listen/watch any time and it’s free. iPods, computers, other listening devices.

4.Good for multi taskers. The PR podcasts are normally short, sweet, and to the point. Students can listen to them while recreating or doing homework and it does not require the consummation of your full attention.

5.Listening to podcasts can help students give better comments in class lectures.

6.Listen to people with experience who have an outside perspective on how to effectively manage your social media outlets.

7.Allows you to listen to who these PR professionals are connecting with and think it is beneficial to listen and connect to.

I listened to:

Inside PR 2.47 “We ask Facebook a question…”

Inside PR 2.50 “Practice what you Preach”

Inside PR 2.76 “The world of Global PR”

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"Coffee Love (FI-20473)" by javaturtle

After commenting on many different professional PR Blog’s, I would have to say my favorite is most definitely PR Breakfast Club! The thing I like so much about it is that it is so real and relatable. Here is a little section from their “about me” that I found quite interesting:

“What is the PR Breakfast Club? All right, I’ll tell you. But we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. What do you care? You see us as you want to see us – in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Correct? That’s the way we saw each other at 7:00 on the morning of July 23, 2009….we talk around the time we’re having breakfast!… Now tons of people use #prbc (recently shortened from #prbreakfastclub) to talk about work, news, and lulz.” (You can read more ——-> HERE)

They said it so eloquently when describing the method behind their madness: “Members of the PRBreakfastClub can’t really be defined beyond that. It’s a hashtag, it’s a conversation, it’s a group of flaks that are on Twitter, it’s a chance to vent, to catch up with friends near and far, and to start the day off right.” (Again, You can read more ——-> HERE)

A lot of their posts are comparing PR to certain every day activities or other things that capture your attention. Here are some examples: “Eight Ways PR Is Like Sailing”, “Five Ways Pitch Letter Writing Is Like a Golf Swing”, and “Five Ways PR Campaigns Are Like Getting Married”. Also, the way they write is so personal and not too business professional. It makes you relaxed, feeling more like a conversation than an informational writing. This makes their blog so relatable. With the way that the #prbc works, it is an excellent concept for any and all bloggers and PR people to connect. Having something like this to read and get connected to in the morning time can be a great way to not only network, but get into the PR mood for the day! So, get your breakfast, grab your coffee, and sit down and enjoy a good time with the PR Breakfast Club!

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As a Public Relations professional, you definitely have your head in about 100 places at any given moment in time. That’s okay…. it’s your job! Part of compiling those many thoughts is making sure you have all your duckies in a row and all your bases are covered. This comes in the form of liability insurance! Liability insurance is “insurance that provides protection from claims arising from injuries or damage to other people or property” (source) This is especially important for public relations personnel when it comes to sponsored events either for tours, open houses, or other events.

There are a number of things that can go wrong. Most of the time, when you do not have liability insurance to back you up it feels like Murphy’s Law is following you and your events around all the time. If it can go wrong, it will. People are people and you can not control what people do. They can touch things they are not supposed to, get hurt, and sue. Now, we can’t have that now can we? The unexpected can happen, well, unexpectedly and its up to us to be prepared for it. The safety and comfort of visitors is the number one priority.

Lawsuits can be charged against us on negligence. That is why we must be on top of our game in making sure that every detail is laid out. That all tour guides and speakers are well versed on the company and trained in first aid in case of an accident. They should be sure to outline the event and tour to let the guests know what they are about to head into (such as “what they will see, the amount of walking involved, the time required, and the number of stairs”) (THINK PR). Logistical planning prior to the event for the public relations staff is vital in taking making sure every precaution is covered for the company.

So, the next time you are planning your company’s next promotional event, make sure you are on top of everything. When dealing with large crowds, it is the little things that sometimes matter the most, and if not taken care of properly, they can cause the most grievances. Think about traffic flow, parking, restroom facilities, appropriate signage, security, and space. These are all important in making sure your promotion event is successful and perfect!

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From the NewsU course  Online Media Law: The Basics for Bloggers and Other Publishers,  I learned that the laws for online publishing can either help you or hurt you. I do not feel that I was completely ready for this material yet in my education simply because it was a lot of information to process and at a higher academia level than I believe I was at when I started the course. This is what I learned from this course:

1) Online media law is there to protect the reputation, privacy, and creativity of others. The laws that coincide with these rights are “defamation”, “invasion of privacy”, and “copyright infringement”. These words sound scary, I know, but if followed correctly, it will make your life as an internet blogger and publisher 100 times easier and less painful from the government. 
2) Defamation is an injury to a persons reputation because by any published work. The person making the claim must prove 2 things: the claim was indeed false, and the incident that could have lead to the misreading and misunderstanding of their actions must be provided. Making sure that you are careful with what you say about people is vital to keeping a good reputation yourself as well as the person making the claim.
3) Invasion of privacy is when someone publishes someones personal or private information without their knowledge or consent. This can include releasing personal, identifiable information (i.e. name, gender, age attributes..), and photos secretly taken and them published with an article. I mean, how would you feel if someone posted personal information of yours online for the world to see? I would be highly offended.
4) Copyright infringement is when someone illegally copies a work that has been copyrighted by the federal government. Claims made against copyright infringement can cost a person from $750 to $30,000 for losses of profit. That is a lot of money and I know that as a college student, I do not have that kind of money. It is good to check and recheck your work to make sure you are not violating copyright laws.
5) The exception to copyright infringement is called the “fair use doctrine”. This is used for protection against copying a work when it was used for “purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching… scholarship, or research”. This can be a helpful claim of the writer against the claims maker. It is good to know and state your intentions very clearly when publishing a work. 

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Ashley Hall is the Manager of Media and Community Relations at AFI of Lakeland. She has had this position for seven years and has impacted the position a substantial amount. She graduated from Florida Southern University in Lakeland, FL. This interview was conducted over the phone. My professor, Barbara Nixon helped my find this wonderful PR Professional. My interview with Ashley went as follows:

1) What’s a typical week like? (If no week is typical, then what was last week like?)

She does not work strictly as the public relations specialist of this company. She explains it as a “niche position that keeps her on her toes”.  She is the Manager of Media and Community Relations for AFI which means she is in charge of getting any and all information that needs to go out to the public, to them which includes anything that needs to go out in the paper or online. She is now in charge of their website but it is currently not her main focus.

She focuses a lot on social media (Facebook, twitter, YouTube).

Also, she is always doing something for community involvement, such as tours of the facility or setting up and making arrangements for different presentations.

She plays many different roles each week, and it is never the same.
2) Tell me about a project you worked on that you are especially proud of.

Ashley is in charge of the “Action club” which is sponsored by Kiwanis. Action club is centered on adults with disabilities. She is the faculty advisor over this. They are involved in such things as ringing the bells at Christmas time, or even toys for tots. She is very proud to be a part of this.

She has also won an award for PR professional of the year for Polk County.

3) What do you do to keep current in the PR industry?

She is big on keeping up with all the major social media platforms. She makes sure that all the information is getting out to where it needs to go. As an organization, they have been in Polk County for 57 years. They have recently (in October) changed their name from the Polk county association for handicap citizens, to AFI (the Alliance for Independence). In the last 7 years (since she has been there) they have amped up their publicity.

4) What do you wish you would have known before starting your career in PR?

She wishes she had had more schooling in public relations. Graduating from Florida Southern, she never learned about things such as campaigning or other job specifics of a public relations professional. She wishes she had learned about PR campaigns which include press releases and media contact.

The company does not have a running campaign but does what needs to be done. Nothing is written out in an “action plan” but in their brainstorming, it “does what needs to be done”.

“The need for PR in our organization is not really to get business but to raise awareness and get donations (non profit) not to get new clients. PR was not very necessary until about 2007”

5) How important is writing in your career?

At the moment, I am mostly writing for press releases. I want and need it to go out correctly to the correct people and places. “My job requires more public speaking”, she says. “I will be writing the blog when the new website is completely up. Right now, all of the news stories on website comes from my written press releases.”

6) What three tips would you offer someone just starting out in PR?

1-  Get involved with a local professional organization that is PR related (FPRA’s 15th chapter is in FL) She says that personally, the PRSA helped her a lot.

2-  Build a network in your community. Even the people who have nothing to do with what you do can come in handy when you need them or they need you.

3-   Social Media: Facebook and Twitter and Blogging. Put out only things that you would be okay with a professional seeing. Being aware of what you say on social media sites.

7) Did your education prepare you for working in PR? How?

“Once I was out in the field and saw what it was really all about, I felt sort of unprepared.” Hall says. She did not think she had the skills she needed such as campaigning knowledge.

8] What has surprised you the most about working in PR?

“PR is not just about talking to people about the organization”. In her education, she never thought past thinking that PR was all about talking to people. She felt she was not prepared to go out into the real career world.

9) How has PR changed since you entered the field?

Social Media has dramatically increased which has given way to many PR opportunities.

10) How does technology affect your daily work?

Aside from social media, her smart phone is a major source of her technology reliance. She says, “My job is from 7:30am to 4:00pm daily. Most people work until 5:00pm. That is an hour that I am away from my office and I am receiving emails and contact from other businesses that are still on the clock.  Since I got a smart phone, I use it for emails from 4-5pm.” Her smart phone usage has increased her ability to do her job at all hours of the day.

11) When your company is hiring for an entry-level PR position, what makes a candidate stand out?

Laughing at this question, she said she hopes they are not hiring because she has the only PR professional position in the company!

She does speculate that if they were going to hire someone, they would look for someone who is “outgoing, energetic, flexible, adapt to change”.

12) What professional organizations are you involved in? (For example, PRSA, IABC, etc.)

FPRA: Dick Pope Polk county chapter

Emerge Lakeland

North Lakeland Kiwanis club

For more information, here is the link to Ashley’s LinkedIn profile:


After interviewing this person, are you (the student, not the practitioner) more or less likely to want to have a career in PR? Why?

Personally, I do not want a career in PR and this interview did not change my mind on that matter. I feel it is really great for me know the inside position and thoughts of a PR professional, knowing how they work and what they do. I was interested to see all the different things Ms. Hall spoke of that I know will assist me in my own career as a news reporter. I am not turned off to the idea of becoming a public relations professional; I would just rather not go into this field. It seems like you have to have your head in so many places at one time, and right now in my life, I know that is the last thing I can personally handle.

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What are some ways that a PR practitioner can measure the effectiveness of a campaign?

Just as advertisements do,  PR campaigns hope to get their message across effectively with a purpose. How can a business see just how effective their efforts are? Proper evaluation and measurement are the key to their success. “Evaluation is the measurement of results against objectives; it can enhance future performance and establish whether the goals of management by objective have been met.” (Think Public Relations, Wilcox) Within management, it is important to have a clearly established set of measurable objectives as a part of the program plan. Measuring PR contributes to planning – hence techniques for assessment need to be in place before the start of a public relations campaign, not after.

There are 3 levels of measurement to consider for public relations programs:

  • Basic: practitioners can measure distribution, media placements, and public impressions
  • Intermediate: measurement of audience awareness, comprehension, reception, and retention
  • Advanced:Measurement of changes in attitudes, opinions, and behaviors

There are several methods to measure your effectiveness which include content analysis, analysis of internet publications, and research on the effectiveness of trade show and other corporate events. Also, there are five main aspects of your campaign that you should measure and evaluate in order to get a true understanding of your effectiveness.

  1. Measuring your production: This is intended to give management an idea of their productivity and output. It is accomplished by simply “counting the clippings” (Mark Nowlan). Counting the clippings refers to counting how many news releases, feature stories, photos, letters, and the like are produced in a given period of time. Many believe that this is a very meaningful evaluation though, because it emphasizes quantity rather than quality. Sure your numbers may be up, but how are the people actually responding to you?
  2. Measuring the message exposure: Several criteria can be used to measure this including compilation of the press clippings and radio/television mentions; media impressions,  or the potential audience reached; number of hits on a website (i.e. regulated by RSS feeds); advertising equivalency; systematic tracking by use of computer databases; requests for additional information; and audience attendance at special events.
  3. Measuring audience awareness: This involves evaluating not only if the audience received the message, but whether they became aware of the message, understood it, and are able to retain the information. This can be achieved by target audience surveys and “day-after recall” (Think Public Relations, Wilcox).
  4. Measuring audience attitudes: These are evaluated through a base-line or benchmark study, which focuses on measuring awareness and opinions before, during, and after a public relations campaign.
  5. Measuring audience action: “Ultimately, public relations campaigns are evaluated based on how they help an organization achieve its objectives by changing audience behavior, whether it involves sales, fund-raising, or the election of a candidate.” (Think Public Relations, Wilcox)

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