Category Archives: Guest Blogger

Creative Writing in Public Relations: What’s the Big Deal?

By: Brandon Hardy

Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 9.00.46 AM

hotcoursesabroad.com

Writing intensive professions are among some of the most flexible and malleable disciplines in the job sphere. If logistical, organizational and communicative necessities are required in business, there will always be a requirement for having proficient writing skills. Many individuals who enter college tend to understate the value of literary proficiency, usually looking to focus on allocating their skills in the STEM fields to gain more sought after majors from accounting to engineering. It would make sense to seek out a major that immediately pays dividends in the working world, but it would be uncreative to assume that these are the only methods to obtain marketability in today’s job climate. Writing offers a lot of value into the business world, especially when looking at public relations. The element that makes writing such an important element of PR is the fact that you are taught to know your audience, perform adequate research and to synthesize and evaluate information from various sources. Writing teaches you how to formulate new ideas and how to effectively communicate them, which is well and good, but what about creative writing?

Creative writing, as an offshoot of the typical writing discipline, involves thinking outside of the normal conventions of regular straightforward prose. It involves experimentation, inspiration, and artistic expression; these disciplines rewire the actions involved with standard prose and add a stylistic flair that is used to communicate ideas in a unique way. These different forms of communication are typically present in narrative prose and poetry. They center around creating an idea and communicating it, like regular writing, but the focus of this discipline centers around the ‘how’. What is the best way to communicate these ideas? How can one make this essay more entertaining? What is the most compelling way to grab the audience’s attention? This is where we start entering the realm of the creative process. This process is centered around spending time analyzing what one wants out of their piece of work whether it is hapless self-indulgence or popular art.

Poetry tends to focus on using rhythm and tone to express a feeling or idea. With poetic writing, the mundane can be entertaining, the depressing can be inspiring and the upsetting can become enthralling. It is a practice of painting pictures with words. This type of skill appreciates word choice and structure, something that is immensely important in the business world. In the blog post: “5 Things Everyone Should Know About Public Relations” the author and public relations professional, Robert Wynne, mentions how a simple spelling error could ruin credibility and harm the outward appearance of a company, imagine how effective poetic/stylistic writing could be when implemented in a similar format? Being able to effectively paint a company in a positive light is valuable, finding ways to tease out all sorts of valuable insights and descriptions from the history, mission statement, and business practices is something that can serve to completely turn around the perceptions of an association and help in building sympathy and relatability.   

Another element of creative writing is narrative prose. All sorts of different genres come out of this concept with the broadest ones being divided between fiction and nonfiction. Narrative prose integrates focusing on persistent variables associated with literature and storytelling: creating a thematic resonance with the audience. There is a genuine flow associated with creating and selling a story. There is a beginning, a rising action, a climax, a falling action and a conclusion. These narrative troupes can be sewed into any canvas. Most companies use these types of structural troupes, humanizing their business by detailing the rigorous challenges that they are undergoing, being transparent and creating a physical narrative that their audience can follow. One of the most important elements of narrative prose would involve making you care. Nonfiction will generally focus on describing an idea, persuading you of its value, and detailing how you can implement that idea into your life. Fiction focuses on a grand theme, a lesson or idea that can be found within the struggles and goals of its characters and uses that to create a connection with its audience.  The biggest strength of fiction is that its wide variety of settings and struggles can communicate a lesson of human condition; in worlds that are far removed from the naturalistic setting of our own, it is the characters who can bring people into these worlds and through them find connections and similarities to their own. Public relations professionals make it their business to make the audience care, and to sell an idea through a narrative stream and flow, whether that is the impetus of the company’s inception or the current plans, difficulties and details occurring with the company in the present time.

Poetry and narrative prose puts a great burden on knowing your audience and being able to find interesting ways to communicate an idea or message to them. When dealing with hazardous climates, a focus on word choice and seaming in a well thought out narrative can change the paradigm of a company’s public image, and can offer the resources to reverse and reshape that image as necessary. In this regard, I find the disciplines associated with creative writing to be an underrated and equally invaluable compass for navigating the stormy waters of public relations maintenance.

Brandon Hardy is a Biochemistry/Toxicology major entering his Senior year of college. His current interests center around extensive reading and creative writing, taking on various projects from novel writing to maintaining a functional blog site. Brandon hopes to be able to combine his love of writing with his love of chemistry in future job settings. May take up creative writing as a major for this year and is looking to join the PRSSA as well.  

Advertisements

Take a look into Lookbook

By: Shanya Parrott

Editor’s note: This blog is part of a series of guest posts from social media students at Eastern Michigan University. Follow the conversations at #LRNSMPR and @ginaluttrell.

Lookbook.nu is an online portfolio for models, fashion stylists and clothing lines. The tool allows you to post different “looks” or outfits for followers to see. You can upload a whole outfit along with up close and personal pictures so followers can see the details of the whole look. Lookbook is available all across the world. If you have a phone, tablet or laptop, and are interested in fashion, then Lookbook is for you. It is available in website and app form. You can download the app on all Androids and iPhones via the App Store or Googleplay and it is free. You can either take photos yourself or have your own personal photographer. This tool can be revolutionary to the fashion world and a beginner stylist.

lookbook-1

Source: Lookbook.nu

Lookbook can be amazing when used the right way. It can be very helpful in the social media world because you are in fact using a social media network that will help you build your audience. You can link back to your profile on your other accounts or upload your post from Lookbook straight to your account. It also helps with keeping track of all of your looks. You are setting up a portfolio, which can be very helpful to your brand.

lookbook-2

Source: Lookbook.nu

Pros

Lookbook is easy to navigate, especially if you are looking for a particular collection, such as looks for dinners, weddings or parties. You can find these looks under the tab “Collections.” You can also search looks by brand, which would be great for public relations. If your client is a clothing line or brand you can create a Lookbook featuring their products. This will draw in fans and revenue for their brand.

If you are just a fashion stylist trying to get your foot in the door of the fashion world, this tool can be useful because it generates different ways you can be seen. You can enter contests and become a part of different collections or styles. The use of hashtags can be very helpful because you can group all of your looks together. My favorite thing about this tool is that you can find just about any look and any style.

lookbook-3

Source: Lookbook.nu

Cons

I hate being spammed with ads and this tool will do that to you. It turns me off because I just want to see the outfits posted, not be hammered with advertisements. The tool also conducts interviews with fashion bloggers, which they are not very good at keeping up with. The last interview posted was from 2015!

The site implements these features called “Hype” and “Karma.” If you are new to the site, these features may be difficult to understand and Lookbook does not do a good job at explaining them. However, they have forums that allow you to give other users the answers they need.

Lastly, the tool has features you can use to track the exposure of your looks. For example,  you can see how many views you received on a look and how many people have viewed your profile. People can “Fan” your profile and you can keep track of who your fans are, but there is one thing I do not like…you can’t see when any of this is being done! I like to know when I have the most traffic on my page so I know when to post. Of course, you can use other tools, such as Hootsuite, but that creates more of a hassle. Just add a feature that helps you keep track of time and you will be good to go.

lookbook-4

Source: Lookbook.nu

Whether you are a model, fashion stylist, or even just a fashion lover, Lookbook is for you!  Get your daily fashion fix or show the world you are capable of putting together some fly outfits with Lookbook!

This article was originally published on https://shanyaparrott.wordpress.com.

Shanya Parrott is an undergraduate student at Eastern Michigan University. She is studying to get her bachelor’s degree in public relations with a minor in communications. You may contact her on Facebook @shanyanashay.

 

What I learned at the Student Development Conference

By: Tyler C. Jones

Editor’s note: This blog is part of a series of guest posts from social media students at Eastern Michigan University. Follow the conversations at #LRNSMPR and @ginaluttrell.

sdc

Source: EMU PRSSA Facebook

Who knew a pitch would be just as important as a press release, and in some cases more important? After attending the Student Development Conference and hearing the key note speaker Melissa Foster discuss pitches vs. press releases, I was completely shocked.

Melissa shared a great deal of useful information about public relations, media relations, and how to prepare for the real world once we graduate. Within the PR program at Eastern, we focus heavily on press releases, how to craft one, who to send it to, and when to send it. As for pitches, the focus is not as high.

Of course, we have discussed pitches in class, but I’ve written plenty of press releases and not one pitch. Melissa shared with us that in most cases, press releases are packed with too much information, and the person who is reading the press release has limited time. A strong pitch that is packed with the five W’s (who, what, when, where and why) will get more attention than a press release loaded with unnecessary information.

Bullet points work well when crafting a pitch. Sure, you can include a link to your press release, but summarizing your pitch in a few bullet points will entice the journalist into reading more. You don’t want to give everything away.

Here are a few tips you should consider when crafting a pitch:

  1. Make sure the person will be available to read the pitch.

You don’t want to pitch a story to someone if they are on vacation or out of the office sick. Know if that person will be available to read your pitch.

  1. Know the newsroom.

It is important to know the newsroom and know who controls what. Go visit a newsroom, meet the people there, and learn how it operates. This will make it 10 times easier when trying to pitch a story because you will know exactly who to pitch and the best time to do it.

  1. Stalk whoever you are pitching on social media.

Social media is a great tool to use to get to know someone prior to meeting them. It is important to know who you are pitching and what type of stories they cover. Learn something about that person and bring it up in conversation. This will help you to better connect with them.

  1. Know the news.

As PR professionals, it is extremely important to stay on top of current events and know what is happening around us. We need to make sure we are in the now. This will keep us on our toes and aid us in being the best PR practitioners in the field.

Tyler C. Jones is a guest blogger.

 

Cozi Calendar

By: Hailey Hunter

Editor’s note: This blog is part of a series of guest posts from social media students at Eastern Michigan University. Follow the conversations at #LRNSMPR and @ginaluttrell.

The app I chose to share is called Cozi Calendar. The family organizer app makes it easier  to keep track of each other’s schedules. It also has many other functions that make family life more convenient. This app is easy to use, making it accessible even for grandma and grandpa!

cozi-1

Screenshot by Hailey Hunter

This app allows anyone on the account to add events to the calendar. The events can be color coated for each person. On my family’s Cozi Calendar, we each have our own color for each of our own job schedules. You can also send out reminders and alerts. Another helpful function with this app is the messaging tool and the “To-Do” tab. There is also a shopping tab so everyone on the account can add what they want from the grocery store in one convenient place.

cozi-2

Screenshot by Hailey Hunter

The reason I love this app is because it helps me stay organized, especially between two jobs, 15 credit hours, and two different sorority positions. Another thing I really like about this app is that everything can be color coated. This is helpful for quick glancing and knowing where I fall on the schedule. One thing I do not like about the app is the monthly view. The events do not show up unless you click on the weekly view. Another thing I do not like is the fact that you can’t set events on a private mode. This means that every event can be seen by anyone who has access to the account.

cozi-3

Screenshot by Hailey Hunter

The reason that this can relate to marketing or public relations is because it can help organize a team. Using an app like this could help a PR team or a marketing team know where and what everyone else on the team is doing or has planned. It also allows anyone with access to the calendar to be able to send messages or come up with a to-do list. Being able to send alerts and reminders can also benefit the team in order to stay organized and avoid miscommunication.

Hailey Hunter is a guest blogger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cogi recording app brings something new to the table

By: Brandon Lazovic

Editor’s note: This blog is part of a series of guest posts from social media students at Eastern Michigan University. Follow the conversations at #LRNSMPR and @ginaluttrell.

Journalists and public relations practitioners often find themselves conducting interviews or sitting through lengthy meetings with audio recorders in hand, ready to catch every word and piece of information for use in an article or press release.

The biggest hassle of recording everything, however, is sifting through two hours of audio listening and transcribing important information from these lengthy meetings or interviews. One way to avoid this is by using the free Android app Cogi Voice Recorder, which moves away from large audio files in favor of recording the highlights of a conversation.

How It Works

The Cogi Voice Recorder is relatively easy to use. Once a user launches the application they tap their screen to start a session. When the user starts a session, Cogi begins listening, but not recording the conversation. The user will tap the highlight button to begin recording what was said and tap again to stop recording. Cogi will continue to listen until the user stops the session.

cogi-1

Screenshot by Brandon Lazovic

cogi-2

Screenshot by Brandon Lazovic

What makes this recorder unique is its ability to rewind for audio highlights because it’s listening to the conversation, but not actually recording it. A user can select in the highlight settings to rewind 5, 15, 30, or 45 seconds once they tap the screen to highlight. This way if something important or interesting is said, a user isn’t scrambling to hit the highlight button and miss out on part of the conversation.

Cogi also lets a user type notes while an audio session is happening so they can save them for later; it also allows users to launch their phone’s camera to take a photo, which will display on the session review page.

cogi-3

Screenshot by Brandon Lazovic

cogi-4

Screenshot by Brandon Lazovic

Once the session is ended users can review it in the next tab, which shows any photos or notes taken as well as the date of the session. Cogi supports tagging sessions with the name of one or more of a user’s phone contacts for searching. It also uses Twitter-style hashtags to add descriptions for sessions; however, it doesn’t allow for tags to be used on individual highlights.

The Perks of Cogi

Cogi Voice Recorder is a great way to record the highlights of a conversation, offering users the ability to add notes and photos to a session for future reference. The app is free on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

Cogi is incredibly easy to use and set up and also has pricing plans for additional features starting at $15 a month. Paying for the Cogi app allows users to record and highlight conversations of phone calls, as well as transcribe recorded audio for $1.50 a minute. This can be extremely useful for journalists or PR practitioners who are on a time crunch and can’t quickly transcribe audio themselves.

cogi-5

Attribution from Cogi Notes

Cogi’s Limitations

The biggest limitation of Cogi Voice Recorder is the specs of the phone it’s utilized on. Cogi is completely reliant on the microphone embedded in the phone, so the recording quality is limited as a result. To mitigate this issue, users can plug a microphone into the 3.5mm headset jack of their device to capture higher quality audio.

On a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge the audio quality was good, although it isn’t the greatest for isolating noise and will pick up the rustling of papers or anything that isn’t a person’s voice. The user’s voice is also exceptionally louder compared to anyone else speaking. It’s comparable to low-priced audio recorders, but can’t compete with the quality found in expensive equipment.

While a user can change the description of the audio file in the application, they can’t change the file name, so if they plan on transferring the sound files to another device the file names will remain untouched and unreadable.

Cogi is great for capturing highlights, but because it has limited storage space (500 free megabytes) an audio recorder would be more efficient if a journalist or PR practitioner needs to record a meeting in its entirety. An hour long meeting downloaded as an MP3 file takes up about 113 megabytes of space; this doesn’t include highlighted photos.

Battery life is also a concern, as the app will somewhat drain a phone battery. On a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge the consumption wasn’t too drastic, but on older phones that have shorter battery lives this app may pose an issue if it’s utilized for long interviews or meetings.

Final Verdict

Cogi Video Recorder is a useful app that’s simple, easy to use and great for journalists and PR practitioners who desire accessibility and ease of use. However, the usefulness of the app is reduced for users who own a high quality audio recorder or use a DSLR camera to take photos.

The biggest draw is that it’s free, so users don’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars on equipment and materials that they have to lug around everywhere. The ability to record phone conversations and have audio transcribed under the paid plan is also an attractive feature of the application.

Many recording applications in the Play Store try to simply reinvent the wheel. The Cogi Video Recorder app actually brings something new to the table and should be considered by anyone who doesn’t already own high quality recording equipment.

This article was originally published on https://brandonlazovic.wordpress.com.

Brandon Lazovic is a guest blogger.

 

Evernote: Make a note of it!

By: Nina Drumsta

Editor’s note: This blog is part of a series of guest posts from social media students at Eastern Michigan University. Follow the conversations at #LRNSMPR and @ginaluttrell.

evernote

Source: Evernote.com

Juggling five classes with all different professors, working 25 hours a week, interning 10 hours a week, and maintaining a personal and social life is the ultimate challenge. I constantly have papers shoved in my backpack, Post-it notes lying around my desk, and text messages sent to myself of notes I need to remember that I don’t even understand when I look at them the next day.

About a year ago, I went to a journalism conference for Michigan college student newspaper writers at Central Michigan University, and during a presentation from a panel of multiple journalists, I learned about the app Evernote.

The app was created in 2007 and has over 200 million users. It’s accessible for both Android and iPhone users. Evernote is a digital notebook, but does so much more than the little notebook application that is automatically installed into everyone’s phones. This allows me to organize everything that I need into one easily accessible place. Evernote is referenced to as an application because it is primarily used from cell phones; however it is syncable with any device. I currently have my Evernote account synced with my tablet and laptop, allowing me to access it almost whenever I need it. I can even log into my account from any computer when I am at school or work.

There are currently three versions of Evernote available:

evernote-2

Source: Evernote.com

I currently use the Basic version of Evernote, but once I graduate I plan to upgrade to the Premium version. I have decided to skip over the Plus version because I don’t believe that it is much different than the Basic version. I do believe that the Premium version would be worth the money after seeing how much more it allows users to do.

I currently use it to clip and save screenshots of emails from three different accounts, take photos of notes and handouts from classes and have them organized to individual classes, and have reminders set of assignments that are due from syllabuses that I have downloaded to the app.

The one thing that I do not like about the app is that in order to share notes created and saved, you must sync all your contacts from your cell phone. It doesn’t allow you to select which ones to sync, or let you simply add their contact information into the app. I feel like having all contacts synced is mixing personal and work relations too much and information can accidentally get shared with the wrong person if sharing a note or screen clip in a hurry. Besides that, I haven’t run into any bugs or problems since using Evernote!

I not only think that this app would be useful for individuals to use, but also for companies. The fact that anyone can upload information to the app from any device is helpful. This would allow employees to stay connected and updated on work information, events and meetings.

Nina Drumsta is a guest blogger.

What is Pocket?

By: Greta Dreyer

Editor’s note: This blog is part of a series of guest posts from social media students at Eastern Michigan University. Follow the conversations at #LRNSMPR and @ginaluttrell.

As public relations practitioners, we should be avid consumers of the news. In order to stay up to date with clients, PR practitioners use the news and media as a means of staying current on social issues, social trends, and things that their clients are doing or should be involved in. But let’s face it, we don’t always have the time or the desire to sift through article after article during our busy days. The Pocket app is a great tool for PR practitioners because it allows them to easily save articles to be read later.

pocket-2

Source: techglen.com

Pocket

The Pocket app allows you to save different articles, videos, and links that you have read or have yet to read, and want to save for later. The Pocket app was launched in 2007 in San Francisco for both Apple and Android by its creator Nate Weiner. The pocket app also allows the reader to discover articles that interest them or that they find useful. The articles you save will automatically sync across your phone, tablet, and computer so that you can come back to them whenever you’d like, even if you are offline. You can save to Pocket from pretty much anywhere, including your computer, Safari, or email. You can also save to Pocket from your favorite apps, such as Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard and Feedly.

Features

pocket-3

Screenshot by Greta Dreyer

Once you are in Pocket, you are able to highlight parts of articles that you find interesting. You can also create tags for different articles. The “tag” option allows the reader to create different folders within Pocket, which makes it very easy for you to group related articles, videos and links, making it easier to find them. The Pocket app also has a clean, easy-to-view layout that is free of distractions. Pocket is also customizable to make reading more enjoyable. The reader can also have their articles read aloud to them with Pocket’s easy-to-use “text-to-speech” feature.

Discover Stories

Pocket also has a feature called “discover.” The discover feature allows the reader to quickly discover stories by recommending them to the reader based on the ones they have saved, as well as who their followers follow. The reader can also discover stories by linking the reader’s Facebook and Twitter accounts with the Pocket app.

Pocket Premium

Pocket premium is an upgrade from the free version of the Pocket app and it costs the user $4.99 a month. With Pocket premium, the reader has a permanent library to keep a personal backup of what they save. They also have a full-text searching feature, which allows them to find anything on their list that is saved in Pocket. In addition, Pocket premium offers suggested tags so that readers can get organized faster. The price of Pocket premium may vary by location, and subscriptions will be charged to the reader’s credit card through their iTunes account.

As a Pocket user, I have found the Pocket app extremely useful when pressed for time and unable to read articles instantly. Pocket is simple, easy to use, and seamlessly compatible with other apps, which makes it great for busy public relations practitioners. I highly recommend it!

Greta Dreyer is a junior at Eastern Michigan University where she is double majoring in political science and public relations. She hopes to work in crisis PR as well as run for political office one day. Greta enjoys writing about her faith, politics, and public relations issues. She is also an active member of EMU Students For Life. Connect with Greta on twitter @gretadreyer.