Jayme Says…

I was given the assignment to shadow a PR professional or someone in the Communications field. Considering I am leaning more toward a career in marketing or advertising, I chose to go to the Marketing and Communications Department at Georgia Southern University. I followed Angela Harn and Suzanne Tatum. Angela Harn is the manager of Marketing and Communications, while Suzanne Tatum is the Senior Marketing Specialist.  They work very close with one another, and through that they have developed a great bond.

The two days I spent with them were very busy. We attended various meetings, ranging from meetings about the Tim McGraw concert to ads for the Georgia Southern magazine. They asked my opinions and made me feel like a was a real part of the team, and they were open to suggestions and questions.

It was an overall great experience!

During my stay at Georgia Southern University (GSU), I had to take a lot of courses that were designed to help our future. The most helpful class to me though was my Practicum class because it definitely prepares you for the future. Senior Seminar was helpful as well, but it prepares you more for school, where Practicum prepares you for life. From resume writing to what to wear to a job interview, we learned it all. We even learned how to eat properly and effectively with chop sticks. There are many topics that we covered in class that I felt were worth mentioning in this post. Here are a few things I learned from being in Practicum:

1. Is this thing on!? PROpenMic

I’m a bigger fan of PROpenmic than I am Linkedin. Both site are beneficial, but PROpenmic caters more to our field. This is a wonderful site to start your networking frenzy because everyone has a similar outlook. PROpenmic is full of PR professionals that are eager to help students and upcoming PR professionals. They have job and intern listings to help make everything a little easier.

2. Don’t be tardy for the PARTY!

Make sure when you’re going on a job interview or to meet with anyone professionally that you’re on time and ready for what may come. It looks really bad if a potential employer has to wait on you. It’s also good to have all of your work ready for show so you’re not rumbling and rustling through papers.

3. Dress to Impress

Come to your job interview looking like you’re ready to work. Iron your shirt, pants, and skirts (for the girls). Also, watch how many accessories you wear to an interview. No potential employer wants to blinded by overly gaudy jewelry.

**Ladies must also watch the length of their skirts and the plunge in their shirts.

4. Resumes, Cover letters, and References

Although your cover letter  is about you and what you can bring to the company, don’t forget to mention your potential employer. We learned in class that it makes you look really self-indulgent if you always say “I” or “me.” Resumes should fit on one page, and only relevant information should go on there. We learned in class that it is more professional to have your resume on resume paper instead of just plain white copier paper. Your references should be given to your potential employer at their request. It is important to have a least one academic reference, one professional, and one personal (but not too personal).

5. Eating

If you ever have to go to lunch or dinner with a potential employer or new employer it is always good to make a good impression. We learned in class that you stay away from messy foods like spaghetti and other messy pastas. We also learned how to eat with chop sticks (although I’m not that great). We used cheese cubes and popcorn to practice. Also, while out with the company you should never order alcoholic drinks, no one wants to risk getting drunk.

6. Portfolios

Portfolios are meant to have your best work in them. Your portfolio can be a plain binder, just as long it’s a nice one. When presenting your portfolio, it is always nice to turn the portfolio towards whom ever is going to be reading it. It’s polite and it also makes it easier for them. When leaving the interview, it’s always nice to leave them with a “leave behind” of different writings that you did. It leaves a lasting impression so they don’t forget who you are.

7. During an Interview

It is very necessary to make eye contact. It just allows the employer to see that you are professional and posed. During your interview, it is always good to give off that you’re a confident person, but not too much because it may translate into arrogance. When speaking, it is nice to articulate and use complete sentences and correct grammar.

8. Informational Interview tips

I interviewed my new friend Mr. Leo Bottary. He told me that it is very important that students know more areas than just PR. It is very important to know many fields. He also said it is good to know what your client wants to say and how to say it persuasively.

9. Linkedin

While I am not a huge fan of Linkedin, it is a really good networking site as well. It allows for people to search for jobs and to connect with people in your professional area.

10. The Publicist Handbook

This book was a good book. It went into a lot of different things that you learn in your introduction classes, but it’s still a good book to refer to when working with any client. The book had ways to plan events and other ways to brand your clients in positive ways. At the end of each chapter, they had checklists to make sure everything was accomplished.

Overall, I learned a lot from being in PR Practicum. I think it is a very necessary class and I am glad GSU PR students have to take it. This class prepared me for everything that may come my way in the professional word. Although I’m no expert on any of this stuff, I am confident enough to know that I will make a good and lasting impression.

~Jayme Stroud…and I’m signing off!

Conflict resolution is a theory that we discussed in our Senior Seminar class. I love this theory because this is one theory that we get to see practiced on a daily basis. Conflict resolution is around us at all times, whether at work, at home, or at school, we are always solving problems. Situations come and it is our duty as adults to figure out how to resolve them. Here is a situation that I encountered when I saw conflict resolution at work.

I had an incident a few weeks ago where I misplaced my debit card. This would be a situation where panic is among the top of reactions, but not with me. I tried to retrace my steps, and when that did not work, I took action. I called the bank and they told me they could restrict the card use until I found it. I opted not to cancel it because we wanted to make sure it was just lost and not stolen. I also went to the bank and withdrew just enough money for me to get by until I found my card or got a new one. Conflict resolution is not the action of me misplacing my card, but what I did to resolve that issue.

The conflict was me losing my card. The resolution was me reporting my card lost and allowing them to put the restriction on it. Me withdrawing money from the bank was also a part of the resolution.

**I found my card a few days later by the way!

Twitter did not get popular until recently. My PR Publications professor introduced me to it last semester. I was so reluctant to try it because i did not see a point in it. I would update my status once, maybe twice a week. I was not until we were able to use Twitter interactively during class that i began to see the importance of it. Our professor allowed us to tweet about the different presentations that were going on during the time. While many professors are anti-cell phones during class, this instructor allowed it as long as there was Twitter activity. It was a fun because once your presentation was done, you could then look and see what your fellow classmates said about your presentation.

Twitter has also taken over cell phones. With applications like Ubertwitter (Blackberry), Echophone (iphone), and Twitroid (Android) it has been easier to access and update. This is a great tools for any PR student or professional because it is our job to stay in “the know” about what is going on around us.

Twitter is a tool for advertising and marketing. Why not create applications where you can have all of this at your fingertips? Twitter has become a convenience that everyone should have and experience, especially if you are in the field of communications.

Social media is definitely among us. It is taking over the way we communicate, the way we see things, and the way we think. It is very important as a PR practitioner to know what social media sites are at the top. Here’s a list of a few to get you started:

  • Twitter: This site is probably the most popular now. It is an instantaneous site where your posts go up and you get instant responses. This site can be used to advertise or to market your clients or products. It is very helpful to watch, just so you can see what different publics are interested in.
  • Facebook: This site became popular a couple of years ago. Facebook in my book is behind Twitter due to the different “upgrades” and changes they are making. Facebook makes it possible for advertisers to know who is supporting them by offering fan pages. Fan pages are set up so the client can see who is actually a fan of them or their product. This gives a better sense of connection because your Facebook page is more personal than Twitter.
  • Myspace: Although Myspace is declining, it is still booming for those who are pursuing a career in modeling or in the music industry. It is a way to get yourself seen because Myspace does allow for people to upload music and pictures and other things that helps in marketing themselves.
  • LinkedIn: This site is a professional site that is used in the pursuit of connecting with those in your career field or finding a job in your preferred career field.
  • Flickr: This site is for people who have taken a liking in photography, maybe not professionally, but people who like taking pictures. It allows them to join groups, post, and discuss different topics.

There are many more social media sites. This list is only the tip of the iceberg, but these are the most popular sites. It is a great advantage to anyone who can use these sites effectively. They can be used to enhance any brand, so familiarity is key.

Over the past couple of months, Toyota has been in a public relations bind. With different recalls on many Toyota models, they have had their work cut out for them. Toyota is doing an excellent job in attempting to turn their reputation around. They have even done commercials that appeal to parents and kids by illustrating how much of a luxury their vehicles are. This is an example:

Toyota’s campaign is prompting other car manufacturers to do the same as far as more appealing advertising. It seems that many of them are taking the time to see who they are marketing to instead of saying…”hey, buy my car!” Here’s an example of a Ford commercial that also tries to appeal to those who are not financially certain:

Both of these commercials appeal to different publics in very different ways. Toyota has to rebuild their reputation by appealing to the senses, while Ford is appealing to people by using the nation’s economic state. It is important to understand that different brands have to keep the competition stiff even if one of the brands have had controversy. Competitors never know how or even if the competing brand will bounce back and reign victorious, so they have to stay on their toes.

Senior Seminar was not meant to cause seniors like me to pull our hair out. It is a class that is designed for students, who instead of venturing into the real world of work, wants to go the graduate school route. This class merges theory with the actual practice of Public Relations (PR). We as the student might not be able to see the benefit right now, but as we open our minds to the different theories and ideas that we are learning, it should come. We are learning a more effective way to communicate through understanding the different theories in which our clients may communicate.

It is important to note that we as PR practitioners do not know everything about communication, but the classes that we take prepare us for some of the obstacles we may face. Some of the theories that we’ve discussed in class include:

  • Conflict Resolution: this is not the actual conflict, but how it is handled. What we as PR practitioners do or did to diffuse our clients’ conflicts.
  • Framing Theory: this is when journalist and reporters choose whom to talk to, what kind of questions to ask, and even what kind of words to use in their stories. They do this for the sake of the angle they are choosing to take when reporting their stories.
  • Limited Effects Theory: this is when certain types of media don’t get through because it goes against a person’s beliefs and values; therefore, it doesn’t phase them much.

All of these are theories that are very valid in the PR field and they help us cater to our client in a more efficient way. It is very important to understand that the things we do as PR professionals are not just on a whim. Instead, there are rules. Social rules and social norms that we must understand before diving head first into our PR careers.

We are also doing different exercises that should enhance our ability in the future. For instance, this blog post is a part of what is expected of us as senior seminar students. It is to help us considering a great deal of our time will be spent talking to our different publics through blogs and different social media posts.

Overall, this class was designed to be more help than hurt. It is a lot of work, but it is beneficial work.

Considering I am now addicted to blogging, I thought it only made sense to do one last blog for my final. There are many things that I walked away knowing by taking this research class. PR research is no different than any other research course in that, ethics is the basis of it. Throughout the research course, we learned many lessons that would ultimately make life a lot easier when working for clients and for our future employers.

1. Being Ethical

The first lesson I learned while in research is to keep ethics on the front burner. In our research class, we took the National Institutes of Health (NIH) training to prepare us for working with human subjects. This training layed out the ground work for everything that we needed to know. It taught me when you do and do not have to have parental consent and for which subjects you have to have guardian consent for. This training gave examples of different consent forms and different documents that you should have in order to cover yourself and out of any type of legal battles. NIH helps course takers understand that it is important to maximize results while minimizing subject harm. Above all, I think the training gives you a better appreciation for your subjects and you leave the course being a certified researcher!

Ethics doesn’t just mean working with your subjects and doing research, it can also mean what you do with the information after you’ve collected it. It is CRUCIAL that when you’re writing that you make sure you are writing correctly. Okay and how do you do that you ask?! Well you have to make sure you give credit where credit is due. Small slip ups like forgetting quotation marks or forgetting to put an authors name at the end of a quote can cause a lot of trouble and could ultimately lose your credibility and job. It’s very important to make sure you cite sources correctly and often just to be on the safe side.

2. Consultant/ Client Relations

It is imperative that the client stays happy throughout the course of you working for them. You have to make sure their best interest is at heart and also make sure that what you’re doing is what they want. My friend Mr. Bottary said it best, “you have to know what your client wants.” When working with clients, you have to remember that it’s not about you, but about the client. It is up to you as the professional to create a vision around the client’s interest. That’s what we did. When we worked for the CET, we made sure we answered what they wanted to know. They wanted to know the strengths and weaknesses of today’s college students, so we did just that. We created surveys and sent them to the teachers in order to gain an understanding about what teachers really thought were students’ strengths and weaknesses.

3. Monitoring the Media

During the month of November, it was our responsibility to pick a Fortune 500 company and monitor their online conversations. We did this by finding different websites that allowed us to see when our company’s name was being mentioned in various social media networks. This gave us practice with using the different sites like: Technorati and Icerocket. Both of those sites were very helpful in navigating online conversations about our brand.

4. Working Together

Working with a team can be very difficult especially when you’re like me and work well alone. It is important that you respect everyone, no matter how crazy and far fetched their ideas may be. Since most people agree that working in groups is hard, it would be more beneficial to the whole group if everyone just got along. When we worked in our group for our research project, it was easier than I thought it was going to be. Everyone did their own section; however, it became difficult later on when it was time to put the project together. To make sure that everything goes your way in a group project you just have to remember to carry your own work load because everyone has their own work load to carry. And you have to remember to be considerate of time and effort that others are putting into the project, so it’s only fair that you put in that same time. I think just these two tips alone will make for a positive group experience.

5. research, RESEArch, RESEARCH!!

As PR representatives, research is always going to be a part of our lives, so we might as well enjoy it or learn to enjoy it. Research is supposed to spark your interest in what ever the subject is. I learned that in research you can’t take everything that you see as being the truth. In class we watched a video about how you should really research everything because over 70% of the facts in that video were made up. We should have known that to because some of the facts in that video were above and beyond believable. There are ways to make research fun. I think as long as you’re in a field that interests you, research should always be interesting.

This is our final assignment in our PR Publications class…I learned a lot and had fun in the process. Hope you enjoy…it’s been a blast!

This semester we were given the task of designing a brochure for a non-profit organization. Again, I chose the March of Dimes  to design my brochure for because I love their mission. They are trying to reduce the chances of birth defects, pre-term births, and other baby related problems. They strive to help everyone by providing the education parents need and the monetary funds for continuous research.

My brochure was designed to be an easy read, which should expand its readership. The March of Dimes’ main audience is parents, both old and new, but mainly moms. Moms are the main ones who go to the doctor and they know everything going on with the baby.

When I was thinking of the design for this organization, I chose to use fonts and colors that were more appealing to women. I downloaded those fonts from dafont, which is a very good website to download different kinds of free fonts that may be relevant for your design.

Pictures were used in this brochure, most in which came from a site that allows you to use their pics as long as you select the right option. Compfight is the site, and they allow you to borrow some of their pictures for non-profit use.

I imported a couple of pictures from compfight and I downloaded a few free fonts from dafont, and there you go. All of these things made for a nice and professional looking piece of work. My masterpiece, my brochure!