Category Archives: Public Relations

The Grammys: A golden opportunity for publicity

By: Jordan Ross


Source: ABC7 San Francisco

The 2017 Grammy Awards will go down as one to be remembered. The Grammys, otherwise labeled by many as the biggest night in music, has grown since its inception in May 1959 to become the spectacle of an award ceremony that draws a television audience second only to the Academy Awards. Many memorable moments occurred during the show that people will be talking about for years to come, from Beyoncé’s pregnant musical number, to Bruno Mars’ Prince tribute and Adele’s George Michael tribute redo.

What goes on during the Grammys ceremony is not the only thing that takes over the news feeds. Much of the conversation surrounding the Grammys is the fashion. The Grammys brings out some of the most prominent celebrities and well-known musicians in the world, and one of the most popular topics people like to talk about is what they are wearing. The pre-show that televised before the Grammys dedicated two hours of showing all the celebrities as they were entering the venue, anchors having a quick chat with them, and letting the public see what those celebrities were wearing.


Source: CelebMix

In terms of publicity, the Grammys is a huge platform that celebrities can use to capture the attention of the audience. This year, according to Nielsen, which is a company that measures TV ratings throughout the U.S., about 26 million viewers tuned in to watch this year’s ceremony. In comparison, the 2016 Grammys had 25 million viewers, meaning a million more pairs of eyeballs in 2017 were watching all the festivities compared to last year (and not to mention all the impressions on social media that the Grammys received for this year’s ceremony).

Needless to say, the Grammys is a great opportunity for the celebrities who walk the red carpet before the show to get their name into the media. Even celebrities who people have not had at the forefront of their mind can come to public attention based on what they are wearing and if they stand out.

The Grammys is a golden opportunity to get an audience’s attention. This may typically be a figurative statement, but one man took that statement literally, and he may have stolen the show by doing just that.


Source: Twitter

During the Grammy pre-show, a man dressed in a unique golden costume walked onto the red carpet for the world to see, and see they did. At that moment, all eyes turned to this mysterious golden figure. Sometimes, celebrities dress differently to stand out, but this particular moment was quite different from others.

After a short amount of time, people figured out that the man dressed in gold was indeed singer-songwriter CeeLo Green in costume, but no one understood for what reason or what cause he was doing it for. Regardless of why he was dressed that way, people could not help but talk about it. Reporters at the Grammys were tweeting and writing articles about what was happening, and with so many questions revolving around what was taking place and why, people could not help but follow this story.

All over social media, people were getting involved and trying to figure out what was going on. They were also using their creative spirits to compare CeeLo Green’s costume to other prominent images in pop culture. Here are some examples:


Ferrero Rocher® Chocolate:


Source: CapitalFM

Drake’s Gold Necklace:

It turns out that the reasoning behind CeeLo Green’s costume was to promote his musical “alter-ego” Gnarly Davidson. Gnarly Davidson is one half of the soul duo Gnarls Barkly, along with the music producer Danger Mouse.

Gnarly Davidson’s appearance on the Grammys red carpet may have been most of the population’s first introduction to Gnarly, but he has existed before this even took place.

The Twitter page for Gnarly Davidson has been active since October 2016, but in just one day, CeeLo Green found a way to propel himself, and his “alter-ego” into the national spotlight.


Source: Variety

Probably the best part about all of this publicity for CeeLo Green (other than getting to dress in a pretty sweet gold costume), is that he didn’t have to pay a dime for any of it. Before the Grammys started, realistically the majority of the public did not have CeeLo Green at the forefront of their minds. By standing out in the crowd and doing something that the average celebrity would not do, CeeLo Green was able to grab the attention of millions of people around the world. Without having to create and disseminate any form of traditional advertising, CeeLo Green created a way to induce a conversation about him. Not only that, but he helped promote his own brand as he simultaneously put Gnarly Davidson on the map with all the publicity that came in the aftermath of his debut.


Source: E! News

Today, if you mention Gnarly Davidson, you may get a different reaction than you would have on February 11, 2017. This just goes to show that in public relations, it’s OK to be different. The world is a big place, and publicity can be hard to come by with so much going on. Sometimes, it takes some creativity and thinking outside of the box to stand out. You never know, even the strangest of ideas can turn into a golden opportunity.

Jordan Ross is a senior at Eastern Michigan University majoring in public relations and minoring in communications. Jordan is in his first semester serving as the vice president of professional development for EMU’s Eleanor Wright Chapter of PRSSA. Jordan is also a member of EMU’s Honors College and serves as the president of the EMU Student Center Student Employee Advisory Committee. You can find Jordan on Twitter @_JJRoss.

3 rules when pitching a story

By: Hope Salyer


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.

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

The best and worst PR of 2016

By: Nicole Raymond


Photo created by Nicole Raymond using Canva

The year 2016 witnessed drastic change throughout the world that will go down in history. There were plenty of memorable PR moments this past year, and I’ve chosen two for us to learn from. Here are my top picks for the best and worst PR of 2016:

In a bold move toward the right direction, Cover Girl, who typically hires female celebrity spokespeople, did something mind blowing when they hired a male high school student to be the newest face of the Cover Girl brand. Although Cover Boy James Charles is not a celebrity in the traditional sense, he does have well over half a million followers on Instagram and 100,000 subscribers on YouTube.

This big decision made by Cover Girl allowed the brand to show their disapproval of the gender stereotypes our culture perpetuates. The year 2016 saw a lot of acceptance and many brands used their platforms to showcase their commitment to crushing stereotypes, which is why I chose Cover Girl for the best PR in 2016 (Safronova, 2016).

Wells Fargo had a heavy crisis on their shoulders when it was discovered that millions of fake bank accounts had been created by employees, in real customers’ names to meet their sales goals. This crisis was huge, and Wells Fargo couldn’t seem to make it out of the headlines.

Initially, the banking giant tried to fix the crisis by firing more than 5,000 employees, but that wasn’t enough. More and more information trickled through their Band-Aid covered wound. They allowed the woman in charge of the employees to retire and keep her millions of dollars in bonuses and stocks, even though she failed to see the misjudgment of her employees and stop their actions.

Furthermore, Wells Fargo’s two CEOs have been signing off on their annual reports, meaning they were either ignorant and weren’t doing their jobs properly, or they knowingly were committing fraud. Their CEO was eventually forced to resign and all the while their PR practitioners were creating videos to tell their public that Wells Fargo was trustworthy, furthering their time in the limelight. Maybe not the best use of resources, which is why I chose Wells Fargo for the worst PR of 2016 (Watson, 2016).

Do you think there was a company with better or worse PR than Cover Girl and Wells Fargo in 2016? Let me know in the comments or by tweeting me @NicoleRaymond74.

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.

PR New Year’s Resolutions!

By: Josie Bobeck



The new year is among us and so are the resolutions. Most people want to lose weight, get in shape, and eat healthier. Those are all valid goals, and if these are your goals, I hope you kick butt! I’m usually not one for resolutions, but I have a few regarding public relations, and that is becoming a better student and spreading the word about EMU PRSSA.

  1. Become a better writer. I learned a lot in PURL 314: Writing for Public Relations, but one semester of AP style wasn’t enough for me. I hope to learn more and have the opportunity to write so that when I intern over the summer and get a “big girl” job in 2018, I will be ready.
  2. Enlarge our Chapter. As vice president of member relations, it’s my job to schedule classroom visits and get new people to join PRSSA. I hope to help get the word out about who we are because we are such a small program, yet mighty. We have an awesome set of instructors and student leaders within our program, and I want people to know we exist!
  3. Kick butt at Bateman! We have so many great ideas and I can’t wait to pursue them. Be on the lookout in February and March to see what we have up our sleeves!
  4. Attend conferences. I fell in love with National Conference when I went in October and I can’t wait to go to Grand Rapids, and hopefully Chicago for regional conferences. National Conference 2017 is special to me because it’s in my favorite place in the whole world, Boston, and I can’t wait to go spend time in my city. The possibility of seeing my family has me pumped, too!

PR is an interesting job and I’m beyond excited to pursue a career in it, so hopefully I will  reach my future goals. Now tell me, what are your resolutions? Feel free to tweet me at @Josephine3laine.

Josie Bobeck is a junior majoring in public relations with a minor in psychology. This is her first semester serving as vice president of member relations. She hopes to one day work in nonprofit PR. Josie enjoys spending time with her two dogs, her cat, and her family. Josie can be reached on Twitter @josephine3laine or via email.


How Netflix utilized a PR campaign to launch the revival of “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life”

By: Hope Salyer



“Gilmore Girls” fans united on Nov. 25, 2016 to watch the highly-anticipated premiere of “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.” According to AdAge, Netflix’s “Gilmore Girls” revival ranked as the No. 3 most-watched original series on the platform. The four-part series “averaged 5 million viewers among 18 to 49 year olds and pulled a 3.59 rating in the demo in the three days after it dropped on Netflix.”

So how did Netflix do it? They followed an effective PR campaign.

Let me break it down for you:


The purpose of the PR campaign was to increase anticipation for the premiere of the four-part series and to increase the number of viewers. By increasing anticipation for the revival through the campaign’s strategies and tactics, Netflix was able to increase the number of viewers.


 Netflix’s PR campaign had three main strategies:

  1. Appeal to the original fan base. Posting series throwbacks and being active on social media got original “Gilmore Girls” fans excited about a possible reboot prior to the official announcement of the revival.
  2. The second strategy was to increase earned and owned media. Netflix created content that stimulated conversation around the word about the reboot by posting on social media channels. Once fans began to join the conversation, earned channels came into play soon after.
  3. The final strategy was to get younger generations who were not original fans to watch the reboot. By increasing the excitement of the revival for older millennials who originally watched “Gilmore Girls,” younger millennials also became excited.


Netflix’s PR campaign included many different tactics to increase buzz surrounding the revival prior to the premiere date. These tactics included:

Each of these tactics was implemented to increase anticipation prior to the premiere of the series.


The campaign ran from the official announcement of the reboot on Jan. 29, 2016 to the premiere of the four-part series on Nov. 25, 2016. While the in-person events stopped with the Festival of Four Seasons, the “Gilmore Girls” campaign is still very active on social media.


The campaign was very active on social media, and therefore gained a lot of media impressions. According to MentionMapp, after announcing the reboot, tweets with the words “Gilmore Girls” in them increased to 24,000 on Jan. 29, 2016. The hashtag #festivaloffourseasons gained 115,064 media impressions following the event on Twitter. Following the premiere on Netflix on Nov. 25, 2016, there were 1.6 million media impressions garnered in the first 13 hours, and 1.4 million “Gilmore Girls” mentions on Twitter in the same time frame. According to AdAge, the revival ranked as the No. 3 most-watched original series on Netflix following behind the season 4 premiere of “Orange is the New Black” at No. 2, and the season 1 premiere of “Fuller House” at No. 1.

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





5 PR lessons learned from “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

By: Nicole Raymond

Public relations lessons can be found in the strangest of places, if one only remembers to look for them. The Harry Potter universe is expanding once again as J.K. Rowling has created another segment to entice her audience who keeps coming back for more. While “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is a movie filled with action and adventure, it is also filled with advice for PR practitioner. Here are five quotes from the movie that can help you in the PR field:



“I ask all of you, who does this protect? Us or them?” — Graves

Sometimes it’s important to ask this question. Although Graves was referring to the secrecy and laws protecting the no-majs (non-magical people) from the knowledge of wizards and magic, PR professionals need to protect both “us” the organization and “them” the public. It is a practitioner’s job to act in the best interest of the public while also helping the organization. If you’re concerned about the organization’s actions, it’s best to reference this question and decide who the actions are protecting. If the public isn’t one of the answers, you should reevaluate the actions.



“We’ve lived in the shadows for too long.” — Graves

The lesson to be learned from this quote is to not live in the shadows for too long. People will forget you or your brand if you stay silent. This doesn’t mean you should send out a press release for everything your organization does, but you should keep in contact with your public, reporters and other connections to ensure you remain at the forefront of their minds. Engage the public on social media, send reporters things they may be interested in and write notes to connections about the work you’ve been doing. This will ensure you live in the light rather than the shadows.

“Contain this, or it’ll mean war.” — Seraphina

This quote made by Seraphina, president of the Magical Congress of the United States of America, referenced the crisis situation unfolding in New York, stating if they didn’t get the situation under control, a war would break out between the wizards and the no-majs. Like any PR professional in a crisis, Seraphina wanted to take care of the issue as efficiently and effectively as possible to avoid further conflict. Most PR crisis won’t mean literal war, however, it can mean more problems for an organization, so containing the crisis is imperative.

“No, I’m the only one like me.” — Jacob

Jacob is everyone’s favorite no-maj and for good reasons. He’s hilariously enthralled with the magical world. Wizards and no-majs aren’t supposed to interact in America, but a budding romance soon arises between Queenie, a witch, and Jacob, a no-maj. She asks him, “Are all no-majs like you?” Just like Jacob, you are unique and have qualities others don’t. PR practitioners should use their uniqueness as an advantage and shouldn’t be afraid to use their own style. Be true to yourself and the organization you represent. After all, you’re the only one like you.

“My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice.” — Newt

Take a note from Newt: Worrying is the worst and it does no good. Like the quote says, “worrying means you suffer twice” because you add unnecessary stress to a situation and it does nothing to improve the situation. PR practitioners are often faced with stressful situations, but instead of worrying, they should think, plan or act to resolve the situation. If nothing can be done, don’t create stress by dwelling on the situation, move on and learn from the mistake.

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.

Knowing your stuff: Why it’s so important

By: Anissa Gabbara



Being well read is crucial in public relations and your professors have probably preached this to you countless times, but it’s true. In an ever-changing industry, you must stay informed. If you’re an aspiring PR practitioner, but you don’t really care about the latest trends in the field or what’s going on in the world, pick a different major or get with the program. Here’s why:

  1. It’s good for your clients.

A well-read PR practitioner is a credible one. If you know your stuff, it will reflect in your work and your client will notice. If you’re staying up to date on current events and the latest innovations in PR, social media and marketing, it will serve as a benefit to your client. Using your knowledge as a tool only provides reassurance to your client that he or she is getting the best of the best.

  1. It makes you a valuable employee.

Not only is knowing your stuff great for your client, but it’s also beneficial to your company. More so than ever, companies are seeking employees who are knowledgeable, reliable, and guaranteed to deliver the best results. The more up to date you are on what’s going on in the PR industry and the world around it, the more you can effectively contribute to the success of the company.

  1. Makes for great conversation.

As I mentioned earlier, if the latest news in the PR industry or the world in general sparks none of your interests, learn to love it, because once you leave college and enter the real world, people are going to want to talk about it. Current events will probably make up the majority of your morning conversations with your co-workers, so don’t be left out! Better yet, don’t make yourself look foolish by being completely clueless about what’s going on in the world. It’s that important!

It’s understandable if your schedule doesn’t allow you to be as well read as you’d like, but try to set aside at least five minutes of your day to scroll through your news feed or visit your favorite news site to get a general rundown of what’s happening that day. You won’t regret it!

Anissa Gabbara is a senior at Eastern Michigan University studying public relations with a double minor in communications and marketing. She currently serves as the vice president of public relations in EMU’s PRSSA Chapter. She has an interest in celebrity PR and hopes to one day work with some of the biggest names and corporations in the entertainment world. She plans to hone her craft while becoming a valuable source of information to others. You can follow her on Twitter @AnissaGabbara.