Wanted: Coffee and brainstorming tips

By: Abby Cousineau

Abby's Blog Pic 2

Source: bestwallpapers-hd.com

One of my favorite things about public relations is that you get to transform your ideas into visual representations. Although graphics and video can bring your ideas to life, writing is at the root of PR. This is probably why blogging is now such a huge part of the industry today.

Blogging is great because it allows you to communicate knowledge in a creative way while showcasing your personality. Although blogging is effective and fun, you may run into a few obstacles, and if you’re anything like me, brainstorming is the biggest one. I love to write, but often find myself struggling to come up with topics to write about. You must keep up with blogs and continually update them, but this can be difficult when you’re running low on ideas and motivation. Thankfully, coffee can help you with the lack of motivation, and hopefully, these three tips can help you out.

Have an umbrella topic or niche for your blog.

Your blog posts should be focused on one over-arching idea. For example, you may have a PR blog. Many topics fall under this category, such as social media, crisis management, media training, writing, multimedia, etc. To get started, business blogger Jamie Delaine recommends checking out this video and asking yourself questions like “Who is your blog for?” and “How will it help?” Delaine also says you should write about something you are passionate about, so think about what you love and what you’re good at when brainstorming the theme of your blog. Once you have a theme, you may find it easier to develop branching ideas.

Create a mood board.

Sometimes even after you have a theme for your blog, you run out of ideas. When this happens it can be beneficial to create a mood board. According to Hubspot.com, “A mood board is simply a random collection of images, words, and textures focused on one topic, theme, or idea. Like with mind mapping, the visual components of the mood board can be anything branching off that central topic.” This tactic has been known to work because the visuals evoke specific emotions or feelings that help to spark new ideas. If you’re more of a word person, you could also create a word web to get new ideas.

Change up your environment.

Sometimes the best thing to do when you are running low on creativity is to change up your physical environment. If you’ve been staring at your computer screen for the last hour with no ideas whatsoever, try getting outside for a short walk. The fresh air, a new view and some exercise may be just what your brain needs. If the weather is not the best, you could just take a short walk around the house or office. The point is to get up and look at something new. Also, don’t forget your cell phone or a notebook and pen, just in case inspiration strikes while you’re out and about.

Creative brainstorming is different for everyone. What techniques have helped you?

Abby Cousineau is a junior at EMU majoring in public relations and minoring in graphic design and marketing. Abby is currently serving her first year on EMU PRSSA E-Board as Social Media Director. She was drawn to social media because it allows her to merge her passions of writing and design. You can usually find her outside any time the weather is nice, or at Sweetwaters Café, where she is a shift manager. Connect with Abby on Instagram @abcattt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Busting PR misconceptions

By: Josie Bobeck

 

Josie's Blog Pic 1

Source: flickr.com

For as long as I’ve been in the public relations program here at Eastern, I’ve had a lot of people make comments and ask questions about my choice in major and what career path I want to travel down. The more the questions are asked, the easier they are to answer—though they do get old quick, and I’m sure anyone going into the field can agree!

At the same time, the more I learn about the field, the more I fall in love with it and the questioning no longer matters. Knowing that PR was what I wanted to do going into college and actually sticking with it solidifies in my mind that this is what I was meant to do. Despite this, the questions still remain. Here are a few.

“So you’re a people person, right?”

I guess you could say that, and more often than not I would agree with you, but that isn’t why I wanted to major in PR. Knowing what I liked and what I was good at, PR just seemed to make sense.

“Isn’t PR the same as marketing?”

Not really. In fact, they are totally different. According to the Public Relations Society of America, the definition of PR is “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their public.” It’s about keeping a favorable image for an organization or company.

“PR is easy!”

Making assumptions is easy to do as well. Studies show that PR professionals have one of the most stressful jobs, along with military personnel, air traffic controllers, pilots, firefighters and police officers.

“You must not have known what you wanted to do.”

That assumption is definitely false. PR was never a fallback option I had tucked away in my back pocket. I knew what I was getting into when I declared my major, and I will say without hesitancy that the field is absolutely not for the faint-hearted. As I mentioned earlier, PR is stressful, but when you get to do what you love, it’s an OK kind of stress.

“Will you be able to find a job?”

Of course! There is PR in anything and everything. Because of all of the opportunities presented through the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), internships are not few and far between. From the agency life to working for a corporation or a nonprofit organization, there will always be jobs in the field.

“It’s so broad!”

You’re right, it is. That is one of the cool things about it. There are so many components to the field that you have options, but that doesn’t mean PR students don’t know what they want to specialize in. Whether it’s media relations, crisis management, government relations or special events, there is a niche for everyone in the field.

If you aren’t sure if PR is right for you, you can always head to the EMU PRSSA website to learn more about the program here at Eastern and read from PR students about their experiences. Information about joining PRSSA can also be found there.

Josie Bobeck is a junior majoring in public relations with a double minor in electronic media and film studies, and marketing, and serves as VP of Member Relations in PRSSA. She hopes to one day work in the entertainment/pop culture industry. Josie loves her dogs, BuzzFeed, and Cape Cod, Massachusetts. You can connect with her on Twitter at @JosieBobeckPR.

 

Become a better professional this summer

By: Abby Cousineau

Abby's Blog Pic 1

Source: giphy.com

Summer is my favorite time of the year, not just because school is out and the weather is great, but simply because I have more time to relax and focus on myself. The best part of summer is that I actually have the motivation (thanks sunshine) and the time to accomplish my personal goals. This summer, I have my usual goals of getting out to the beach and camping as much as I possibly can, but I also plan on improving myself as a professional. Here are a few of the things I plan on doing before the busy fall semester arrives.

  1. Rewrite my resume.

You and I may not be so different…perhaps you also have an outdated resume, which hasn’t been touched since the prime of your freshman year. With some of my free time this summer I plan on editing the heck out of this piece of paper, and hopefully by the fall, I will have a product that actually resembles a current version of myself. Your resume is most likely the first impression you give to future employers, so it’s important that it is up to date, well written, eye catching and free of errors.

  1. Make personalized collateral.

I went on a lot of agency tours this past school year, and with each visit I gained at least five new business cards. Well, I was doing some spring cleaning and found all of these wonderful pieces of card stock and it got me thinking, what if I had my own business cards to hand back to these professionals I meet? Although I don’t have my own company, PR students are taught to build their own brand, and what better way of doing this than with personalized collateral? With all the extra inspiration the nice weather gives me, I plan on making my own business cards and my own logo. You can read my tips on how to create a logo here.

  1. Read the headlines.

One of the things I absolutely, positively need to start doing this summer is reading the news every morning. I have been waiting for someone to slap me on the wrist for not doing this, and since no one has, I am going to do it myself. I have great shame in not staying up to date on the current world we live in, and instead of feeling guilty about it any longer, I am going to change my ways. In PR you need to stay current and reading the news is necessary when doing this. Aside from the regular news outlets, one could also check out prdaily.com, prweek.com or prnewsonline.com to get your daily PR-related news.

  1. Write more.

I do love to write and I honestly don’t do the best job of writing on a regular basis. Since I recently developed a blog, I want to continue posting something a couple of times a month, if not weekly. I was once given some advice from a PR pro who told me to write and don’t stop writing. To write dumb things, smart things, small things, big things—it doesn’t matter as long as you are writing something. With the free time I have, I want to follow this word of advice and devote more time to writing. In PR, strong writing is a skill you need to have and there is no way to get better at it, unless you do it and you do it often.

  1. Develop social media.

My last goal of the summer is to develop stronger, more visually appealing social media accounts. It is important to let your personality shine through, but I definitely need to do some auditing of my accounts. It is time to leave high school in the past and redefine the more mature person I am today. Your social media account should show who you are, so a good tip is to be you, just the version you would be cool with your grandma seeing.

Although these are my personal goals for the summer, everyone can work on at least one for themselves. Anyone getting a degree in a professional field should have a strong resume and some personalized business cards on hand. It is important to know what is going on in the world we live in no matter what you’re going to school for, and strong writing skills and appropriate social media accounts are always a positive in the eyes of employers.

The summer is a great time to work on yourself both professionally and personally. What are some of your goals this break?

Abby Cousineau is a junior at EMU majoring in public relations and minoring in graphic design and marketing. Abby is currently serving her first year on EMU PRSSA E-Board as Social Media Director. She was drawn to social media because it allows her to merge her passions of writing and design. You can usually find her outside any time the weather is nice, or at Sweetwaters Café, where she is a shift manager. Connect with Abby on Instagram @abcattt.

 

 

Keep your PR skills hot this summer

By: Andrea Mellendorf

Summer break is finally upon us! Once finals are over, that last paper is turned in, and those final grades are entered, we’ll finally get a break from school. Whether you’re on break or taking classes this summer, it’s crucial that you don’t lose all of the valuable knowledge you gained during this academic year! Let’s take a look at all of the opportunities that summer offers to public relations students who are looking to grow as practitioners during break.

Andrea's Blog Pic 2

Source: Tcnjmagazine.com

Set goals: Make it a personal goal to keep up with the news, go to conferences, follow a new blog or learn a new skill.

Unique opportunities: Summer provides students with a chance to engage in unique learning opportunities, such as studying abroad or taking on an internship. Don’t let these opportunities pass you by— they can help you learn more about the field and grow as a practitioner!

Meet with a mentor: Haven’t met with your mentor in a long time? Need a mentor? Summer is a great time to build relationships with professionals in the field, both old and new!

Make a blog: Whether you’re blogging about PR, or just what you’re up to over the summer, blogging is a quick and easy way to keep your writing skills sharp and build your portfolio for future employers to view. Check out WordPress or Wix for easy-to-use platforms!

Exercise your brain: Writing, reading, studying PR, and reviewing what you’ve learned over the past year are all great ways to keep your PR knowledge at the top of your mind and ready to go when the new school year starts.

Read: I know reading has already been mentioned a few times, but it’s just that important! Regardless of what you’re reading, it will strengthen your vocabulary and help you in the long run when you’re writing and communicating as a professional.

Don’t let summer be a time of falling behind in your studies. Use this break to continue to grow as a PR student and practitioner. It will help you to dive right in when the school year begins in the fall. Whether you’re taking classes over the summer, traveling, working, or pursuing an internship, best of luck to you, and enjoy the warm weather!

Andrea Mellendorf is a senior and serves as the Chapter President for EMU PRSSA. She previously has served as the Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Special Events and Programs for EMU PRSSA, and as an intern for the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. Andrea currently is the Social Media Operator for The Honors College where she manages their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and for the College of Arts and Sciences, where she manages their Facebook and Twitter. Connect with Andrea on Twitter – @AndreaMell!

PR student’s summer homework: What you should be doing to get ahead

By: Nicole Raymond

Nicole's Blog Pic 1

Created by Nicole Raymond using Canva

Summer is a great time to sit back, relax and soak up the sun, but it’s also a great time to get ahead in your public relations studies and career! Without the stresses of classes, homework or extracurricular activities, there’s plenty of time to organize and plan for the future. There are many ways to build your personal brand in the PR industry as well as expanding and perfecting your PR skills. Here are some summer homework assignments for PR students.

The first and maybe most obvious way to propel your PR career is to obtain a summer internship in the PR or communications field. Real world experience is crucial and will be a big bonus to your future employers after graduation. An internship can also help keep PR students up to date on the latest trends and AP style.

Volunteering is another great way to get ahead of the game in your PR career. Volunteering helps people and shows that you are a well-rounded candidate for future job applications. Helping others is an awesome way to build your resume and gain experiences you may not have had otherwise. Finding a way to volunteer for an organization you love can aid the organization and give you more experience in the field.

Our teachers and mentors are always telling us how important writing is, so take their advice and start your own blog. There’s more time in the summer for writing about things you enjoy, so why not start your own blog and write about topics that interest you. Set up a blog, write and schedule some posts, and perfect your website. This will expand your portfolio and encourage you to continue writing throughout the summer.

Reading is important and helps you stay up to date, advance your reading and writing capabilities, and expand your knowledge. With more time in the summer, grab a book and head to your favorite summer spot. Whether it’s under a tree, on the beach or in the water, there are plenty of places to enjoy a good book this summer.

Another way to get ahead is to take summer classes. A class or two is a great way to get ahead in your studies and keep your PR skills in check. Even if you cannot come to campus during the summer months, online classes can be done from the comfort of your own home and they offer the same knowledge and the same number of credit hours. Taking harder or more time-consuming classes in the summer also helps free up the regular school year for other time commitments.

Summer is a great time to perfect your resume and build your PR skills. Obtaining internships, volunteering, creating a blog, reading, writing and taking PR classes are all ways PR students can utilize the summer. So, get to work on your summer homework and get ahead in your PR studies and career!

Nicole Raymond is senior majoring in public relations and double minoring in marketing and communications. This is her first year serving on EMU PRSSA’s E-Board as VP of External Relations. Nicole is a wife, aunt, daughter, sister and friend. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram @nicoleraymond74.

Keep your brain and body in shape this summer

By: Nikki Mikolon

Nikki's Blog Pic 2

Source: wonderhowto.com

With summer on its way, everyone is focused on getting back to that summer-ready bikini body we all forget about during the school year even though we said we wouldn’t. It’s OK! Summer is here and we’re ready to get back on the grind! Now that we don’t have to focus so much on school with mountains of stress, we can focus on getting back in shape.

Similar to how our bodies got out of shape during the school year, often times during the summer we let our minds get out of shape, too. Of course, there are summer classes, internships and jobs, but that doesn’t exercise our minds as much as we need. Just like our body suffers from not working it, so does our mind.

The summer is the perfect time to exercise our minds so we don’t lose all that focus and work we’ve done throughout the school year. The best part of the summer is that we get to utilize our skills the way we want.

Here are a few ways to keep your mind in shape this summer.

1. Read

So cliché, I know, but summer really is the perfect time to read what you personally enjoy. For me, I like to read books about the “Self” and the lives of people. Others like to read suspense books or romance novels. No matter what you enjoy, let your mind work and relax at the same time. Even if it’s a magazine, reading will keep your mind sharp.

2. Write

As a public relations major, writing during the summer is so important. It’s not that we’re going to lose our skills, but we won’t be improving them either. Whether you’re writing short stories, blog posts or even e-mails, exercising your skills is key to getting better.

3. Stay in tune.

Watch the news and be aware of what’s going on in the world around you. It’s easy to let the summer distract you from keeping up with current events until you go back to school, but that just won’t cut it. Keeping up with the news will keep your brain working and critically thinking about what’s happening in the “real world.” Even if you have to watch the “Discover” Snapchats every day to stay caught up on the news ­– it’s whatever works.

Since it is summer, you can still relax! Just remember to let yourself learn, too. There’s a happy medium for being successful this summer!

Nikki Mikolon is a junior majoring in public relations and minoring in marketing.  As a Detroit native, she hopes to spend her beginning years working for the city and being a part of its renaissance. Connect with Nikki on Twitter @nikkimikolon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons from Team Detroit

By: Andrea Mellendorf

At the end of the semester, EMU PRSSA had the opportunity to visit Team Detroit, a local public relations, marketing and advertising agency, with the PRSSA Chapters from The University of Michigan – Dearborn and Wayne State University. The tour provides an awesome opportunity to network with fellow students and professionals, and learn great lessons from other young professionals in the field.

Andrea's Blog Pic

EMU PRSSA on Instagram

Here are some of the biggest takeaways.

1. Build your portfolio now.

It’s never too early to start building your portfolio with writing samples, graphic design creations and content ideas. This portfolio can even be online, and serves as a priceless talking point in an interview! Having a strong and well-established portfolio gives a potential employer a good taste of who you are as a person and the type of work you would be able to accomplish for the company. Make sure your portfolio showcases all of your skills, but it’s OK if everything isn’t perfect. Team Detroit employees mentioned that it’s OK to reference something from your portfolio in an interview even if it’s not your best work. Just be sure to tell the interviewer what you learned from the project and how you would improve next time!

2. Keep things light.

Many of the employees from Team Detroit stressed how important it is to keep things light in the office and not take yourself too seriously. During our tour, the building was covered with fliers featuring the pets owned by Team Detroit with catchy slogans and cute pictures, all campaigning to make that pet the “Pet President” of Team Detroit. This sort of friendly competition, along with a massive, office-wide Halloween competition and celebration, are well-treasured and highly regarded traditions of Team Detroit. Though every workplace is different, it’s important to keep things light in whatever way fits the organization.

3. Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate!

Just because you specialize in graphic design doesn’t mean you’ll never interact with copy editors. Always enter into a workplace with the mentality that everyone is on your team, and be a valuable player on that team! You never know who you will need to join forces with for a project or task. Keeping yourself open to collaborating with others in your office will not only help you to learn new skills and network within your own workplace, but it will help you to produce the best content possible for your client!

Andrea Mellendorf is a senior and serves as the Chapter President for EMU PRSSA. She previously has served as the Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Special Events and Programs for EMU PRSSA, and as an intern for the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. Andrea currently is the Social Media Operator for The Honors College where she manages their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and for the College of Arts and Sciences, where she manages their Facebook and Twitter. Connect with Andrea on Twitter – @AndreaMell!