My Go-To Guides for Public Relations

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There’s no easier way to gain knowledge on any desired topic than through the beloved Internet. So as a college student looking to gain insight (and then give insight) on the Public Relations world, I try to keep up with some blogs and websites that specialize in all things communications. After all, what kind of aspiring PR professional would I be if I didn’t follow some top-notch PR blogs?

Here’s a quick list of my favorite blogs to follow:

nyc PR girls: This blog is written by two girls documenting their experiences with PR in New York City. I love that this blog has a “guide” section, with links to articles for the basics, one’s for girls still in school, a section for new graduates, and even for those wanting to switch careers. It’s a one-stop shop for all things PR.

The Bad Pitch blog: Honestly, the initial reason I starting reading this blog was the funny title. I kept coming back because they have articles covering every tiny detail of PR, from the importance of word choice to hacks for editing images. And I’ve even used one of their articles on pitching to help with my own pitching article!

Mashable: Mashable is one of those websites that’s just impossible to ignore. From entertainment to business, from technology to world news, Mashable has it all. The “social media” tab is my favorite, because in today’s PR culture, social media knowledge is invaluable.

PR Daily: Ragan’s PR Daily is the classic go-to site for PR enthusiasts. They have tabs for social media, media relations, crisis, marketing, writing and editing, and more. It doesn’t matter who you are or what type of PR you specialize in, you can’t go wrong with this website.

So if you desperately need something to read while I’m not posting new content, or just want to gain some smarts on everything public relations, check these sites out!

5 Fabulous PR Campaigns

If you’ve read any of my recent articles, you know I have a thing about “Top 5’s”. So I decided to keep the trend going with five of my favorite PR campaigns. These top five campaigns made the cut because whenever I need to get some creative juices flowing, I look back at these campaigns and try to bounce off their ideas.

Photo Courtesy of the Huffington Post

Photo courtesy of the Huffington Post

1. Dove Real Beauty: Dove took being a soap company to the next level with their extremely popular “real beauty” campaign. Almost every person has seen one of their commercials with real women showing off their bodies, or having strangers sketch portraits of everyday women. Dove took a popular topic and made it even more popular, with countless celebrities and magazines now denouncing Photoshop and dieting.

2. World’s Toughest Job: Making a video go viral is a quick, easy and effective way of achieving press in today’s Internet culture, and American Greetings cards did just that. They created a fake job and interviewed strangers for what’s viewed as the toughest job in the world. The job? Being a mother. It’s quite an unusual way to get people to go out and by Mother’s Day cards, but it’s safe to say it worked.

3. Torches of Freedom (Lucky Strike): Okay, so this one is possibly the first PR campaign created. In 1928, Edward Bernays’ job was to get more women to buy cigarettes for his client- the American Tobacco Company. So during an Easter Parade in New York City, he had debutantes walk through proudly holding cigarettes and publically advertised it. Creating social change and sales- check!

4. Red Bull 23-mile skydive: Red Bull is known for sponsoring somewhat reckless and extreme events, but having someone skydive from space on live television tops all other stunts. When people find out about someone freefalling faster than the speed of sound, they take notice (I remember watching it at my job!) Although this doesn’t actually promoting buying the energy drink, it gets their name way, way out there.

Photo courtesy of Twitter

Photo courtesy of Twitter

5. Share a Coke: Coke’s latest campaign involves selling bottles with the logo replaced by popular names of Millennials. It’s simple, and honestly I didn’t really think it would catch on. Then I saw my Instagram feed of people drinking out of their personal Cokes, or jokes on Twitter of people with unique names not being able to find theirs. Paired with the hashtag #shareacoke, it’s a great use of social media.

There you have it! I think these five campaigns are each so unique and different that they round out the various angles to take when trying to come up with something new and fresh. If you combine a few factors from each (famous actor doing the 23 mile jump, maybe?) you may just strike gold.

An Intro into PR: My First Media Pitch

Photo courtesy of the Mynt Public Relations blog

Photo courtesy of the Mynt Public Relations blog

Ahh! I remember it like it was just a few weeks ago (because it was.)

I walked into my supervisor’s office after receiving an ‘intern request’ email that needed further explanation. She told me that my next project would be creating four different media pitches for the following brands: OGIO, Wicked Audio, Grace Digital Audio, and Misfit Wearables.

When she saw the look on my face, she politely asked, “Have you ever written a media pitch before?” The answer was no, and the only practice I had was on the intern application! But I was prepared for this moment; I’d done my homework, read my textbook and browsed the Internet. So I was confident enough in what a media pitch was and what it was supposed to look like.

I opened up a blank Word doc and stared at the screen. Where to begin? Luckily, computers exist. I sifted through various Internet articles on how to perfect the media pitch, and went through old folders on the company’s intern file (thank the heavens) to find a variety of media pitch examples to help get my creative juices flowing.

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Everyone has their own personal way to create pitches, and I love organization and templates, so after a few practice runs, I was able to get my own groove going. I learned each pitch is different, whether you start off with statistics or an upcoming holiday, but it’s important to include the crucial details about the product your pitching and get straight to the point.

Everything was going rather smoothly, until I hit a totally roadblock. The hardest part of finishing my pitch, the icing on the cake- is the subject line.

With less than a single sentence, you have to persuade a busy stranger to open up your email and take time out to care about what you have to say. It has to be funny but not cheesy, original but not boring, and interesting but not over-dramatic.

Various employees at Max Borges gave me tips on the subject line. Some write “Review Opp:” first, some start with the name of the journalist, and my favorite tip- make the subject line what you think the title of the article would be.

Finally, I sent over my pitches to my supervisor for edits, and guess what? She didn’t really have any! It was really important for me to take the time and get it right, because with pitches you don’t really get a second try- it’ll go right in the delete file.

And that’s how it all started! Now I’m cranking out multiple pitches a week, and starting to receive some web and print articles featuring the products I pitched, which is really one of the most rewarding parts of working in PR.

(Here are two of my first web hits: Wicked Divvy and Griffin Beamhaus)

You are Your Brand: Social Media Etiquette 101

You know it’s 2014 when you take a class called “social media management.”

In all seriousness, being a “Telecom: Media and Society” major has some awesome 21st century perks. I find it amazingly useful that my classes teach me about media laws and ethics, how much (or little) privacy we have on the Internet, how to use twitter to gain brand recognition and search engine optimization.

But I’ll never forget one thing my professor told the class about using personal social media sites: “you are your brand.” As a college student in today’s society, using social networking is a major part of getting a job, showing the world who you are and who you want to be. Social media can be a tricky thing, with many of us not knowing how personal or professional to be. Here’s five tips I’ve learned about how to manage your online persona.

Courtesy of Yahoo! News

Courtesy of Yahoo! News

1. The world can see your posts. Remember this rule- even if it’s private, it’s public. The Internet is a unique machine, allowing us to display our innermost thoughts as well as viewing the private thoughts of complete strangers. When posting a tweet, blog or Facebook status, think about how your boss would react if you said it to their face.

2. Take full advantage of the Internet. There are so many useful websites like LinkedIn, Word Press and YouTube that can get your name out there without spending any cash. You can also easily promote yourself or connect with influential people in your chosen field through sites like Twitter and Instagram. It’s crazy simple, so there’s no reason to miss out on these types of opportunities.

3. Stick to a schedule. If you’re trying to gain followers for a blog, Twitter or Instagram, it’s important to maintain a consistent schedule for posting content. If you rarely post new information, people will forget about you as fast as they found you. If you post too often, you’ll be spamming people’s feeds with unnecessary information. It’s important to find a happy medium, whether that’s posting once a day, week or month.

4. Put YOUR best foot forward. It’s important to remember that personal social media sites are supposed to show people who you are, not a fake or unrealistic version of yourself. Yes, its good to keep a clean reputation on the web, but don’t be afraid to express yourself or be original- its what social media is truly for!

5. Keep it light. Remember that social media is supposed to be a fun distraction! It’s not necessarily an outlet to argue with others, go on long political rants, or bombard people with personal critiques. If the topic is something you wouldn’t easily discuss at an dinner party or work event, take a second to consider if it’s worth putting online.

Finding the perfect balance of your own personality mixed with workplace professionalism on social media websites can be a challenge. But when used correctly, social media can open many doors (literally) for your future.