Sarahgricius's Blog

Life is a succession of moments. To live each one is to succeed.

Week Sixteen: Advice for First Time Bloggers April 25, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Topic of the Week — sarahgricius @ 9:12 PM

Here are a list of tips that I would offer for first time PR student bloggers:

1. Make your blogs simple and to the point. Write the way that you talk to your friend by making sure not to use excessive jargon. Express your ideas clearly and try not to cram too many ideas into one blog. Remember they should be easy to read and comprehendible. Also, be sure that your blog is structured properly, especially if you are making several points, make sure to use bullets or numbers them. Doing this makes your blog easier to scan and more readable.

2. Have a consistent writing style. By doing this you are allowing your readers to connect with you better because they will know what to expect. It is also fun reading comments that people leave about your blogs, so I would recommend you try to connect with as many people as possible so you can receive comments.

3. Make sure to be current with your blogs as well as accurate. No matter what it is you choose to write about, it is of great importance that you stay current with your topic. By writing about current topics, you will maintain reader interest and your readers will obtain a closeness that is important when blogging.

4. LINKS make the blog what it is. Readers often feel that you have put effort into what the subject matter is if you include links that elaborate on the subject. Use links to make points because if you get stuck on how to explain something, a link may explain the subject enabling you to write much less, yet make the point you desire.

5. Keep on the topic. Although most of your assignments will tell you what to write about, try to write the blog from an angle that you love talking about and stayed focused on just that topic. Drifting out of topic will lose your readers quickly. So once you have defined a topic stick to it, and you’ll get many readers who come to your blog, and best yet will remain as faithful readers of your blog.

6. Edit your blog. People, people, people…no one likes to read run on sentences, grammar errors, or misspellings. With this website, you are able to spellcheck your blog before you publish it, so be sure to utilize the tools that are available to you. And even if you find an error after you publish the blog, you can always edit a post.

7. Make your own opinion. Instead of looking at other people’s blog, write yours first and compare it to others so you can see how they took a different approach on the topic. If you just look at other’s blogs then your ideas could get clouded by theirs and your original idea will be shunned because you thought differently than someone else.

8. Write with passion. In some of the assignment areas, you are able to blog about subjects that you find of interest. Use this to your advantage because readers can tell by the style of writing whether a person is just being lazy or if they really have a passion for what they are writing about. For example, if you love baseball find articles on how PR and baseball can be related and blog away about that topic.

9. Make sure that readers can tell what your keywords in the blog are. Think about what keywords people would use to search for your post and include them in the body text and headers. But do make sure that the keyword placement is natural and does not seem out of place.

10. Don’t just agree to agree. When you are commenting on other people’s blog posts, you have the option of agreeing with their statements or disagreeing. Don’t be scared to disagree with someone’s ideas, but be sure to back your points up with valid and appropriate comments so the person on the other side can see what point of view you are taking on the subject.


Week Fifteen: Social Media News Releases

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Topic of the Week — sarahgricius @ 8:40 PM

What is a social media news release?

A social media news release, also referred to as a smart news release, makes it possible to insert a news release with high-resolution photos/graphics, video, and audio components. With these news releases, it is also possible to be downloaded by editors to accompany the story. A social media news release will include social media tags so the content can be circulated through social bookmarking sites to increase search engine rankings of the release and to drive targeted traffic to the organization’s website. The content of a social media news releases can be created in two different ways, the first being a more traditional narrative style or be deconstructed so that the core facts, quotes, and contact details are all individually segregated to allow users to disseminate its various elements.

When should a PR practitioner use a SMNR rather than a “regular” news release?

A public relations practitioner should consider using social media news releases because of two driving forces, the changing needs of the end consumer and increasing ease of use for the media. It is important that public relation practitioners adjust their message format and delivery to correspond with the needs of today’s web savvy audience. Another factor to consider is that editorial resources at many publications are running thin and they are expected to do more with less. Therefore, with the new wave of social media news releases, public relation practitioners provide links to additional resources that are helpful for story research and they also package information into formats that are easy to use for quotes and citing references and statistics. In brief, a well written and produced SMNR will make it easier for a journalist to write the story they are given in a format that is increasingly popular with end consumers.

Three links to websites/ blogs that discuss SMNRs.

How to write a Social Media Press Release, Why, and What It All Means

Social Media Press Release Distribution- Best for social networking

The Evolution of Social Media Press Release Distribution and Technorati Tags

Points to think about when creating a social media news release:

  1. Include links to pages where multiple instances of your key words/ phrases reinforce your message.
  2. Place terms in key positions like headlines and first paragraphs
  3. The first paragraph must summarize the five W’s (who, what, where, when, and why) because it is fact that most readers will give up if they haven’t hooked them in the first few lines.
  4. Distribute a release through a service that carries hyperlinks to downstream sites such as Yahoo! Finance, AOL News, and Netscape.
  5. Get a quote from someone who has reviewed your product or used your services.
  6. Tell the truth, and just the truth. Do not make false claims because you will get busted.
  7. Avoid saying something is “unique” or “the best”. Instead, show how people will benefit- i.e. save time, save money, make their life easier
  8. Link, link, link. Optimize links for search engine visibility. Make sure to link back to a landing page or newsroom at your website. Include links to related information at other pages on your website.
  9. Post content in multiple channels. In addition to including multimedia elements in your social media news release, post components of your release.
  10. Incorporate interactivity. Engage in a conversation with the media and customers by providing a way for them to comment or ask questions
  11. Whether using a template approach or a traditionally written press. release enhanced with multimedia and social media elements, make sure each component or section of the release can stand-alone.

Week Fourteen: Five Steps to Multimedia Storytelling

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Topic of the Week — sarahgricius @ 8:22 PM

During the NewsU course ,5 Steps to Multimedia Storytelling, I learned about sketching a concept for a story and found that to be an interesting part of the course, so I will elaborate on what that consists of.

  • What I learned? Making a storyboard

1. Before heading out to report your story, it is a good idea to create a storyboard. This can help you define the parameters of a story with available resources. You can organize, focus, and identify any holes of a story. It also helps you decide which medium to use for each part of the story.

2. Identify the media by deciding which pieces of the story work best in each medium. Here are some mediums that you can use as a pr practitioner, video, animated graphics, audio, maps, text,  and photography.

3. Finally, storyboard the concept. On a sheet of paper, sketch out the main story page and the elements it will include. Then do the same for the other “inside” pages in your overall story. A rough storyboard doesn’t have to e high art – it is simply just a sketch. And it isn’t written in stone, its just a guide. You may change things after you go into the field to do your interview and other reporting.

  • What surprised me?

I was actually surprised at the fact that once completing a few multimedia stories, one should consider creating more than one story template so that the readers won’t be bored with a predictable format. Although I understand that repetitiveness can cause the mind to bore, I also thought that following the same format was appropriate because your readers become comfortable with that type of style so their minds won’t be challenged.

  • What I want to know more about?

I would like to learn more about the how and the effects that multimedia will have on our career as a PR professional and on the audiences that we are trying to reach. Will this be the new way to receive news? Are newspapers just going to stop being distributed? It is nice to know the statistics that the multimedia is up against so while I am in college, I can become more educated in writing for that type of media as opposed to the more traditional way of newspapers. Each medium requires a different type of format, and it would be nice to know which ones we should become familiar with.


Week Thirteen: How PR Professionals Can Drive Journalists Crazy

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Topic of the Week — sarahgricius @ 7:55 PM

Here is a list of 10 ways that a PR professional can drive a journalist crazy. After each point, I will indicate what the PR person could/should do instead.

1. Be sure to put in a little extra legwork. A journalists is not looking to do more work than they need to, so if we as public relations professionals provide more information for a story, than they can write more details about the story and will be happy to work with them again. It is good to offer other examples of organizations or individuals that might also be good for the story. Provide links and references to objective, third-party data that validates the points you’re trying to make.

2. Read what they write after you give them a story. By actually reading the ideas and news that were given to the journalist you can tell if they got the main ideas that you were trying to get across or if in the future you need to provide more information. It is important to read and engage with journalists. Let them know that you are interested in getting your clients out in the media.

3. Find out what their actual needs are. A good idea is to go to a conference where journalists are gong to learn more about their techniques and styles of writing. If you learn a lot more about journalism, then you will meet some great media contacts along the way.

4. Do suggest sources that aren’t clients. By using these approach, you can help publicize for family or friends and even small businesses in the area. Although, you don’t work for those people, you are helping a reporter find the best source for a story. It can help build a stronger relationship between the journalists and the PR professional.

5. Don’t hide any information, instead give them the scoop. Whenever you can, give your favorite reporters the scoop on a big story. If a journalists is to get a big news story than they feel like they are in the inner circle and can trust and rely on you for future stories. Remember sometimes one big feature story is worth more than a bunch of new briefs.

6. Don’t bug journalists but make sure to stay on top of their mind. An occasional call to a journalist will not hurt to just inform them what’s going on in your profession. Only because you are looking out for their best interest, a call informing them of a story angle that no one ever thought out maybe a good idea.

7. Help the journalists find work. A lot of journalists are freelancers that work for both media and corporate clients. “What goes around comes around” which means the more you help others, the more likely they will to help you. It can be a two-way street, you shouldn’t feel like you owe them anything, you should just want to do it.

8. Do not give a story to a journalist that is subjective, be sure to only be subjective. By avoiding this type of writing provide extensive briefing and background material to reporters who are not familiar with the topic or the organization. Many times, journalists say that the story is not accurate because of vague details.

9. Do not add the element of hype to a story. A major complain from journalists is that PR professionals do not understand the editorial requirements and format. A good point to remember is think simply. Rather than sending a basket full of details, consider just concentrating on one point to get straight to the story.

10. Avoid the influence of advertising. Advertising raises troubling questions about journalistic ethics and integrity. The editors and reporters on speciality publication loudly proclaim that advertising and consulting assignments don’t affect their editorial judgment, but their protestations seems a bit hollow and hypocritical. Stated in the PRSA Code of Ethics, it states that you should not engage in any activities that would “compromise the integrity of communication channels”


Week Twelve: The Creative Career

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Topic of the Week — sarahgricius @ 7:11 PM

By definition, a podcast is more than simply audio or video posted to the web. It also has an RSS feed that users can subscribe to. It isn’t just for iPods, but media from a podcast can be subscribed to, downloaded, and played back on a computer and many types of portable devices. Many software programs exist that will read and access feeds from a podcast.

Podcasting is the start of a new media content revolution that is empowering individuals with the ability to globally distribute their ideas and create a following of the minded fans. It is impacting traditional industries such as journalism, education and entertainment allowing anyone to freely create and distribute news and media. The files on podcasts can then be listened to on your computer or you can transfer them to your portable player to listen to later. Podcasting will be helpful to public relations practitioner is that americans are becoming involved in mobile gadgets and with the time and shift of where they can enjoy the media, the more attractive the podcasting content will become. Organizations are using podcasts now for a variety of purposes, including providing news about the company, in-dept interviews with executives and other experts, features giving consumer tips about use of products and services, and training materials for employees. A key factor that PR practitioners must remember is that the podcast must be relevant to the target audience. A podcast is not an informercial, nor is it simply reading a news release, it must be informal and conversational.

The Creative Career by Allie Osmar is a wonderful website for undergraduates as well as those who have graduated college and are entering the business world. The podcast “Surviving Change” talked about jobs not existing years ago. Just remember that you do not know what your future career hold and you do not have to be stuck in that career forever, just do your best and remember to strive for your passions in life, and they will come to you.


Week Eleven: Infographics

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Topic of the Week — sarahgricius @ 6:40 PM

What are they?

As defined in the book, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques Sixth Edition, infographics are computer-generated artwork that attractively displays simple tables and charts. By presenting information in a compact and creative approach, infographics are able to quickly convey knowledge and engage its viewers.

How could one be useful in a story for your client?

Infographics could be useful in a story because it’s a visual explanation that helps the reader easily understand the article and can also stand alone because it is completely self-explanatory. It also reveals information to the reader that was formerly hidden or submerged therefore the reader has all the background information they need if any question were to arise. Finally, it makes for a more consistent understanding because it is universally understandable.

How do you go about creating one?

When thinking about creating an infographic, think outside the box instead of just the typical photograph, you can use charts, diagrams, renderings and models, maps, line drawings, and clip art.

In terms of charts it helps to make figures understandable. The three basic charts for this purpose are pie charts (ideal for showing what part of a total is used for each of several purposes), bar chart (ideal for showing comparisons between years in such things as income, population, sales, and prices), and graphs (somewhat like a bar chart, but better suited for showing changes over a long period of time).

Diagrams are more valuable in showing how something works. In planning diagrams, you should not only check with the engineers, but you should also pretest the final diagram on potential readers for comprehension and understanding.

Renderings and scale models is an architect’s drawing that shows how a finished structure will look. Photos of scale models are also used to give readers a thorough understanding of what is being built or renovated. The availability of such artwork often makes the difference between a major news story and a brief mention.

Line drawings and clip art. Cartoons are a form of line art, but most people think of line art as drawings of symbols, designs, and objects. They are still made by artists using paper and ink, but the process is now available to almost anybody with a personal computer. Link drawings and clip art are used primarily for organizational advertisements, leaflets, brochures, and newsletters.

Although I did not have time to create my own infographic, I did find an entertaining website that gave several example of them, Check out the cool infographics here!

(This chart isn’t really an infographic, but it does show a bar chart in a humorous way that describes the life of a college student.)


Week Nine/Ten: PR Openmic

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Topic of the Week — sarahgricius @ 5:30 PM

Our assignment for the topic of the week was to create an account with a website called PR Openmic. The site is used by public relation students, faculty, and practitioners who can all be part of various applications such as blog lists, forums, uploading and posting videos, and adding photos. Once a new member, you can update your status, add music application, and invite some more of your friends to join in on the fun. Here is the link to my account if you want to add me as a friend..Check out my account!

  • What did you learn from PR openmic?

The site is a good way for public relations people to learn from others experiences in the PR world and to interact with others in the same profession. There is a section where you can ask questions or if you need help with something to the creator so that he can assist you in the right direction. The website also provides similar sites in case that you can become members of to help in your public relations career.

1. There is also a section where you can seek internships in case you are in the dark and do not know where to look. Here is an example of an internship. I think this is such a great idea for future PR practitioners and I might even utilize this when I am looking for an internship.

2. Another section talks about being interested in working in the public relations  political affairs. In order to be in this field people need to a “voracious reader.” What this section of the website does is reveal posts  from the left, right and middle of the political spectrum. And once that is done they take the three latests posts from the top 10 list and add in few new sites like PolitiFact and FactCheck. Get involved in public relations political affairs.

3. A cool feature provided on the website is a section called CoveritLive event place. What happens in this section is an event will be posted and then it will be archived into a blog post later on. This part of the website is still being explored, but hopefully they will be able to work out an flaws because it sounds like such a great idea.

Overall, I was impressed with this interactive public relations website and will definitely refer back to it in the near feature if I need to look for an internship or just need a general question answered that I am unsure of. The website has several different section to blog, chat, and receive updates about the latest PR news. I hope the website continues to prevail and continue to add features so that help the public relations people can excel in their career.