Category Archives: PR Professionals

Combating fake news: 4 tips for successful messaging

By: Abby Cousineau

How public relations professionals can ensure their message is heard accurately.

fake-news

Source: Mediaite.com

We’ve all heard about fake news, and I’m not just talking about President Donald Trump’s statements here. There seems to be fake news everywhere we look, and sometimes it is really hard to decipher what is real and what is not. According to a Gallup poll published last year, American’s confidence in the media hit an all time low at 32 percent. This certainly is not the best news for public relations professionals who use earned media to communicate their messages. So what is a PR pro to do in this era of fake news?

Well, I stumbled across an article posted on Airfoil’s blog, which answered this question precisely! Here are four tips marketing and PR professionals should use to ensure their message is being heard accurately.

  1. Develop a content marketing strategy.

People are getting most of their information online now, so it only makes sense for businesses to develop an online presence. According to the article, “not only does this give your business the ability to better control the message, but developing and publishing content on owned sites allows for greater authority.”

  1. Don’t forget your target audience.

If your business exists in a highly specialized space, try pitching to trade publications. Don’t miss the opportunity to tell your story in a relatively safe space.

  1. Speaking opportunities.

“Securing speaking opportunities at events where your target audience is already assembled is a great way to engage with a captive audience and present a strong message without relying too heavily on more traditional media outlets.”

  1. Social media is key.

Keep all channels updated, establish clear goals for each platform and engage with your audience. You can also reach out to influencers who can help validate your message.

Fake news won’t likely go away, so finding ways to combat it is key for public relations professionals. The field of public relations is always changing, and although this is an exciting aspect of our work, it is also important to be smart and stay updated on evolving trends.

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 exploring the Ann Arbor restaurant scene. Connect with Abby on Twitter @abcattt.

 

 

 

3 rules when pitching a story

By: Hope Salyer

clearly-label

Source: Janet Murray

Public relations specialists have to keep up with the latest trends and news going on around the world in order to better serve their clients. They also have to stay current on the latest trends in the PR industry.

One big trend in the PR field that has been going around recently is the importance of knowing how to pitch a story to journalists. This has always been a struggle, but with the ever-growing social media platforms, journalists are now sharing the mistakes that PR practitioners often make when trying to pitch a story. Here are three rules to follow to help you pitch your next story to a reporter:

  1. Know the reporter and his or her target audience.

As PR specialists, we are always told the importance of knowing our target audience. We think about who we are writing a story to, what language we should use for that audience, and even what pictures to include that the target audience would find helpful. We oftentimes are so focused on our own target audience, that we don’t think about the target audience of the reporter we are pitching.

When sending a pitch email or tweet to a reporter on your upcoming story, be sure to do some research on what topics that reporter covers. You don’t want to send a pitch about Kanex’s new GoPlay Series of portable gaming controllers to a reporter who covers the beauty industry. You have to know what that reporter is going to want to cover, and what is going to benefit him or her as much as it will you and your client, otherwise you are wasting everyone’s time.

  1. Know whether your story is actually newsworthy.

PR practitioners spend so much time trying to help build a client’s visibility that they can sometimes get caught up in seeing their client in the news. You have to keep in mind whether your story or pitch is actually newsworthy. Not everything that your client does is going to be important. It might seem that way in the moment, but PR practitioners have to be able to decide what matters to reporters and what doesn’t.

If you are constantly sending pitch emails to the same reporter, he or she is going to get sick of seeing your name in his or her inbox. You have to focus on building a mutually beneficial relationship between you, the PR practitioner, and the reporter.

  1. Know how to send a pitch.
tim-soulo

Screenshot by Hope Salyer

Numerous journalists have been posting photos online of pitch emails from PR specialists. The reporters are unable to tell what is being sent by a PR practitioner, and what is a spam email. Pitch emails that follow the spam format are oftentimes deleted within seconds of opening them because journalists don’t know what email is going to help them cover a story and what email is going to give them a virus.

Pitch emails that begin by saying they saw a link post from the reporter and have a similar story at this link are suspicious to journalists before they even begin to read the email. Try to keep from linking out too much in emails. One link to the story is fine, but you don’t need to link to the reporter’s story from last week.

These are my top three tips for pitching a story, but I want to know what yours are as well. Leave a comment below on what your “Golden Rules” are for pitching a client story to a reporter.

Hope Salyer is a junior public relations major and journalism and communication double minor. Hope is serving as the Chief Financial Officer of EMU PRSSA. This is Hope’s first semester serving for the PRSSA E-Board. A Michigan native, she hopes to start her career working for an agency in the Detroit area. Her dream is to become the public relations coordinator for the Detroit Tigers. Contact Hope on Twitter @hsalyer01 or by email hsalyer@emich.edu.

5 creative advertising trends from 2016 that PR professionals can use

By: Abby Cousineau

abbys-pic

Source: Adweek

No one ever said we couldn’t use this year’s advertising trends to get noticed!

The end of the year is fast approaching and with it comes a massive number of “best of the year” lists. All around us people are reflecting on the successes and pitfalls of the last year, and aside from these lists being entertaining, you can also learn something valuable from them as well.

I have been seeing a lot of reminiscent lists popping up all over the internet and one in particular caught my eye. Adweek published an article titled, “The Year in Creativity: 20 Trends That Drove Some of 2016’s Best Marketing.” The title speaks for itself, and you should give it a read, as it is interesting (at least I think so) and filled with tons of links to video examples. We all know that keeping up with trends is essential to the success of public relations work, so I pulled the ones from this list that I feel are applicable to the PR industry.

It is interesting to think about how these creative advertising trends could potentially be involved in a PR campaign. When I read this list, I thought about how these themes could be interpreted on social media, through events, in press releases, and even for branding strategies.

  1. Post its.

Post-it notes were in the limelight this year. On a tour of Campbell Ewald this semester, I noticed a giant, wall-to-ceiling gnome made entirely out of post-it notes, created to impress one of their clients, Expedia. Additionally, a noteworthy post-it note appearance was “Subway Therapy,” a post-election art project in a New York Subway.

  1. Clever packaging.

Great packaging is something everyone can appreciate and we saw a lot of it this year—especially in the realm of soda and beer cans. Bud Light expanded its line of NFL cans, Orangina made an upside-down can that mixes up pulp when flipped to open, and Saltwater Brewery created a six-pack ring that is totally edible to sea life.

  1. Fine art.

Art was embraced in 2016 like never before. Multiple ads and marketing strategies revolved around incorporating, and in some cases promoting fine art. One example was J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam’s “The Next Rembrandt,” “which had a computer study the master’s works and make a completely new painting in his style.”

  1. Live ads.

With products like Facebook Live and Periscope becoming ever more popular, brands have embraced live streaming, producing some highly designed live commercials. The British supermarket Waitrose set up cameras on its partner farms and broadcasted live for an entire week. Although the material they shot may have consisted of “delightfully boring farm videos,” they ended up making TV spots and print ads from the footage.

  1. Square and vertical video.

Thanks to mobile apps like Instagram and Snapchat, square and vertical video broke through for good. Instagram in particular has inspired a bunch of “square creative,” one of the best Instagram campaigns of the year involved the fast food giant Sonic creating square shakes— “inspired by Instagram and available for purchase through the app.”

These are just a few of the 20 creative trends listed in the Adweek article. What other themes have you noticed this year?

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 exploring the Ann Arbor restaurant scene. Connect with Abby on Instagram @abcattt.

TeuxDeux: The ultimate to-do list app

By: Hope Salyer

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.

teuxdeux

Original photo by Hope Salyer

Many of us know that one person who makes a list for everything, whether it’s groceries, Christmas presents, or homework. I’m not going to lie… I’m that person!

As a full-time public relations student with a job and an internship, I have a lot of things on my mind at all times, and I know I’m not the only one. That is why I am always looking for ways to stay organized, and one of those ways for me is to make lists. I don’t always like to use my notes section as a to-do list, and I lose track of paper notes like it’s nobody’s business.

That is until I found TeuxDeux. TeuxDeux is an app and website that allows users to make an easy, simple to-do list.

According to the website, “If you like making to-do lists, you will love TeuxDeux. The idea was to build a bare-bones, but visually compelling and highly usable to-do app. Use the browser-based TeuxDeux at work/home and then take your to-dos on the road with the iPhone app.”

TeuxDeux allows users to create a to-do list, reorder, edit and cross off items, repeat tasks, and plan for future tasks. You can add items to your list directly from your iPhone app, or on the website, and it automatically syncs your changes to all of your devices.

One major con of TeuxDeux is that it is not available for Android devices. If you have an iPhone, you can take your lists with you wherever you go, but if you don’t have an Apple product, you can only use the website. TeuxDeux needs to create an Android app if it wants to continue to grow.

PR practitioners with an iPhone could benefit from TeuxDeux. Anyone in the public relations field has a ton of things to do all at once, and it can sometimes be hard to stay organized on what needs to be done, on what day and in what order. TeuxDeux is an app that allows everyone to create a list, rearrange and add tasks as the user sees fit, and can be taken on the go directly from your iPhone. Anyone in the PR field who needs help staying organized should check out TeuxDeux!

Hope Salyer is a junior public relations major and journalism and communication double minor. Hope is serving as the Chief Financial Officer of EMU PRSSA. This is Hope’s first semester serving for the PRSSA E-board. A Michigan native, she hopes to start her career working for an agency in the Detroit area. Her dream is to become the public relations coordinator for the Detroit Tigers. Contact Hope on Twitter @hsalyer01 or by email hsalyer@emich.edu.

 

 

 

 

5 things to get in the habit of doing now

By: Josie Bobeck

Josie's Blog Pic 2

Source: flickr.com

As public relations majors, an important part of our college careers and eventually our professions, will require us to have good habits in order to stay sane and to do our jobs efficiently. And it’s not just about staying organized—it’s about punctuality, maturity, and taking care of you. Research states that it takes 21 days to form a habit. So why not start now? Here are a few habits future PR professionals should possess in the workplace.

 

  1. Create a vibrant – but appropriate – online persona. Social media is a wonderful tool that everyone uses, especially PR practitioners who use it both in the workplace and in their personal lives. Being considerate online is something most people don’t think about when tweeting, writing Facebook statuses, or even blog posts. What we post online will be there forever, so we need to get in the habit of being aware of what we’re posting.

 

  1. Keep up with the connections. At every agency tour I’ve been to this year, I’ve received business cards from the practitioners who spent time with us and a message along the lines of “Email me if you ever have any questions or want to know more about our firm.” Those cards are not to be tossed in the nearest trash can or recycling bin. These are the people we could potentially be working alongside one day, or the ones who give us internships. Having a special place in your purse or wallet for these can be beneficial when you least expect it.

 

  1. Be up front, but be polite. In the PR industry, we are representing our client. It’s in the nature of our career to be biased and to do our absolute best to protect our client and make sure they have the best reputation they could possibly have. As a result of this, we may butt heads with others at times or we may have to portray a certain image during a crisis. Although it can be hard, it’s in our best interest to be as kind as we can be so that our attitudes do not affect our client or our personal brand.

 

  1. Be punctual and stay punctual. PR is not a 9 to 5, Monday to Friday job. At any given moment, we may get a phone call that our client has a crisis and needs immediate attention. In order to be on top of our game, we need to have it together. Staying on top of emails and phone calls is one way to keep us from losing our minds and show our client that we have our lives together so we can do the best job possible. Creating folders in your email, having an online calendar, and even having a physical planner can do wonders for those who are busy all the time.

 

  1. Don’t compare yourself to others. This is something I started learning in my major classes early on. Everyone in the industry has their niche, whether it be writing an awesome press release or doing a superb job preparing a client for an interview and having it go well. Everybody has their way of doing things that works best for them, and that is something to be proud of. Comparing yourself to other people in this type of work will only start a fire that can’t be put out, so it’s best to do your thing and let others do theirs.

 

Honorable mentionDrink water! Your body will thank you later. Doing this will not only make you feel good, but it will help you get through your long days. If you feel good, you will do better and that will make all the difference.

 

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, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and has freckles on her arm shaped like the little dipper. You can connect with her on Twitter at @JosieBobeckPR.

 

 

Top 10 things to know about our new professor

By: Leah Rodriguez

Jamie Ward

Jamie Ward

This semester the public relations program welcomes new professor Jamie Ward to EMU! So what do we know about her? Here are the top 10 things we should know about our new professor:

1. She is well educated.
Ward has a bachelor’s degree in Communications with a focus on Public Relations from University of Michigan-Dearborn, a master’s degree in Communication Arts from Eastern Michigan University, and a Ph.D. in Communications & Media Studies from Bowling Green State University.

2. She’s been a professor for over 10 years.
Ward has more than a decade of teaching experience at U of M Dearborn, Henry Ford Community College, and Central Michigan University where she taught communications and public relations.

3. Nonprofit is her expertise.
Ward has nearly 10 years of experience in nonprofit work at Girl Scouts of America and Haven, as well as her own graphic design and PR company working with nonprofit organizations.

4. She likes the unpredictable.
When asked, “what was your favorite part about working in the field?” Ward replied, “Every day was different; there wasn’t a typical work day. I liked the variety.”

5. She loves her students.
Her favorite part about being a professor is the students. She loves the interaction with the students.

6. She is pro – PRSSA.
When asked, “Why do you think EMU students should be involved in PRSSA?” Ward replied, “The networking opportunities. You learn more about the field with first-hand experience that you can’t get with classroom experience. It helps prepare students for the world of PR.”

7. She’s ready to dive into the EMU community.
Ward looks forward to working with her students, being involved in the PRSSA Chapter, getting familiar with the PR curriculum and is excited about the PR focused program EMU has to offer.

8. She has HIGH expectations for her students.
We asked her what her expectations were like for her students. Ward responded, “They’re pretty high. Writing should be on point, they should know AP style, and they should be excited to learn about PR more than how they learn from a textbook.”

9. She plans to learn from her students.
“I learn from my students constantly. I think students help me learn different ways to teach and they keep me on my toes to make content relevant. Every group is different and I have to alter my teaching to my students that I have each semester.”

10. She has two HUGE bodyguards.
Something fun about Jamie: she has a bullmastiff named Mocha who is about 100 pounds, and a South African Boerboel named Chaos who weighs around 150 pounds.

Leah Rodriguez is a senior majoring in public relations and minoring in marketing. This is her second year on EMU PRSSA’s executive board, having served as VP of PR and VP of Special Events and Programs in 2014-2015. She is the social media intern for EMU’s College of Arts & Sciences, where she manages their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The ABCs of understanding AP Style

So you’ve started exploring the world of public relations and now you keep hearing about this thing called “AP Style”, now what? Well, don’t worry. AP Style may seem intimidating and new when you first begin writing, but once you get used to it writing in AP Style will become second nature.

Here are a few tips to help you as you write those assignments for class in AP Style:

A is for ALWAYS DOUBLE CHECK if you are not sure. Not sure how to abbreviate that state name or how to write out that numerical value? Don’t be afraid to double check in the AP Style book to make sure that you are writing it correctly. It’s better to take a few seconds to double check your work that to write something inaccurately.

B is for BUY THE AP STYLEBOOK. I personally got mine of Amazon. It wasn’t expensive at all.  It has become somewhat of a lifeline as I venture through PR classes. Owning the stylebook is a worthwhile investment and will even be required for some of your classes in the PR curriculum. Buy the stylebook early on in your college career so that you are used to navigating it as you get into the harder classes. Owning the stylebook will also help you become more and more familiar with AP Style.

Source: Apstylebook.com

Source: Apstylebook.com

C is for CAREFULLY PROOFREAD YOUR WRITING. A lot of the requirements for writing in AP Style are small details and very easy to miss if you aren’t careful. Be sure to proofread your work more than once to ensure that you didn’t miss any of these small details. Don’t be afraid to ask a peer who is familiar with AP Style to review your paper or make use of resources on campus such as the Writing Center.

In summary, if you are new to AP Style, don’t stress. It takes some getting used to but it is nothing to lose sleep over.

Check out the AP Stylebook Website for more information and links to where you can buy the stylebook.

Andrea Mellendorf
Chief Financial Officer
EMU PRSSA