Monthly Archives: January 2012

Chap 6: Factually Speaking

Chapter 6 discussed the many different elements included to make a successful pitch and different writings to assist in media facilitation.

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The different types of fact sheets was really interesting to learn about because it simplifies the topic of representation. There are different kinds of fact sheets. One type is literally just a listing of facts about a topic.  The second type is called a corporate profile, which is a little more in depth, in my opinion. A corporate profile really delves into the into the characteristics of a business. The third type is a summary of characteristics of a new product. The last type is ‘question and answer,’ which is basically like the FAQ section in a publication or on a website.

I also learned about media advisories, media kits (written and electronic), and what it takes to make a good pitch. Depending on how the pitch is going to be delivered, different steps need to be taken. Direct pitches need to be short and to the point. Letters are different because depending on who they are being written to, they have to be customized accordingly. Telephone pitches have to be creative and catchy. Emails must have a very intriguing subject line, or emails will simply be passed over.

I liked this chapter because I learned about fact sheets. I legitimately have never even heard of a fact sheet being used within public relations. I also learned about how important it is to realize important ways to pitch an idea based on the chosen method of conveyance.

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Where He’ll Stop, Nobody Knows…Yet!

How amazing would it be to just leave the stresses of every day life to do something that you have always dreamed of? We can all admit that sometimes work, school, deadlines and other commitments keep us from taking time for ourselves to actually enjoy life and experience things that we have always desired.

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One of my very good friends was recently engaged to a man that is making his dream of traveling a reality. Since childhood, Jeremy Diveley has wanted to act on something that I am sure many of us have done before: spin a globe, point your finger, and wherever it stops…that’s where you’ll go. Whether it be with darts on a large map or even arriving at the airport to buy a ticket for the earliest flight out regardless of location, very few have actually done something so spontaneous.

With his adult life fast approaching and even more responsibilities coming his way, Jeremy decided to create the  “Spin The Globe” campaign on the leading international funding website, indiegogo.com. His goal is to raise enough money to make his childhood dream of traveling to somewhere new and exciting come true!

What’s in it for you, right? With $9000 as the ultimate funding goal, Jeremy plans to purchase “perks”, or special pieces of his trip that you, as a contributor, can hold onto as soon as the basic expenses are covered. The campaign ends on March 8th at 11:59pm. Jeremy will also create a YouTube series that catalog his travels and experiences, including the initial spin of the globe that will determine where he will travel to. Jeremy wants to take you on this journey with him and encourage others to take some time to travel, learn about other cultures, and achieve your own childhood goals and dreams.

I believe that everyone should admire Jeremy for remembering a dream that he had when the hardest decision in life was which crayon to color with. We so often forget who we truly are and push our desires to the back of our virtual priority list in order to survive in this world driven by corporations and nonstop workdays.

So, I ask you to take some time to “Spin The Globe” with Jeremy and do something that you have always wanted to do. Please visit the “Spin The Globe” campaign site and help a fellow man (and SIUE student) meet his goal; especially when his goal is to encourage you to reach yours.

Chap 5: For Immediate Release

Chapter 5 discussed different aspects, ideas, and formatting guidelines for different types of news releases.

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A news release, or press release, has great value in the field of public relations. It is cost-effective and raises awareness toward a new product or idea in order to aid a company in achieving goals and meeting objectives.

However, I had no idea that so many news releases were sent into  media outlets only to have between 55% and 97% accepted for publication. As soon as I read this part of the chapter, I delved into planning and formatting a news release to understand what I needed to do to make my news releases stand out in the future. Margins, spacing, date formatting, and even what color paper to use were all helpful tips that are extremely important to remember. I was especially interested in the differences between a print news release and one send electronically, or via email.

E-mail seems to have a few formatting differences. For example, single line spacing and shifting to a shorter length are two contrasting rules for email news releases. A quote by B.L. Ochman from The Strategist, made me realize how short and to the point I truly need to be: “Write like you have 10 seconds to make a point. Because online, you do.”

There are many sections of a news release that I was not aware of until reading chapter 5. The letterhead, contacts, headline,dateline, lead, body, and boiler-plates are all things that I have seen on example news releases before. But, I had no idea how much information was packed into them.

 

Chap 4: Generating News!

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Chapter 4 was an interesting chapter with some insights into finding and making news.

Much of the chapter talked about how important it was to know the organization of representation inside and out. I like that the textbook outlined where to find more information about a company or organization and how to go about soaking all of the facts and figures about them into your brain.

I knew that research was important and this chapter basically just reinforced that idea by explaining internal and external news sources. Recalling internal information like periodicals, online files, company brochures, research reports, and other publications within an organization are extremely important when conducting research. External research is also very important because it allows public relations professionals to get their organization into the news. By looking at polls, industrial figures, or business competitors, information can be gained about what the public and others in the industry are saying about the product or overall reputation of a company.

This is an important chapter for reasons of reaffirmation. Research methods taught me that research truly is the basis of any good public relations professional. I feel as though this chapter justified the things I learned last semester and reintroduced me to the concept of thorough research.

Chap 3: Must Know Legalities

Chapter 3 was an eye opening chapter that really made me think about just how serious the public relations profession is.

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The more that I read into the chapter, the more I started to realize that being a public relations professional is more than writing and representation. There is a huge responsibility to tell the truth, back up with facts, and understanding the application of fair comment privilege. Everything from quotations to pictures or other graphics need to be supported and accredited to the proper source.

Legal aspects of public relations have always been mentioned or skimmed over, sometimes even mixed in with the “ethics” chapter of textbooks. I am glad that this textbook took an entire chapter and went over all legal situations and terms. There were many terms and situations that I had heard of, but never quite understood. The defining of words like defamation and outlining guidelines for copyrighted material are two aspects that I am really glad I read about. I would consider this to be one of the most important chapters I have read regarding public relations because without it, the fundamental legal knowledge of my future profession reflects not only on me, but my future employer as well.

Chap 2: Ethics, Semantics, and Theory…Oh, My!

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In my opinion, Chapter 2 was informative and had some really awesome examples of concepts that it mentioned.

I was extremely excited when I came to the theories portion of this chapter. I just recently completed the communication theories class and already knew a lot

about some of the theories. For example, I knew about the Media Uses and Gratification theory and the Cognitive Dissonance Theory as well. Framing, however, was a new theory that I had never heard of before. But, I understand the concept. The hierarchy of needs theory was also quite familiar as it has been the basis of many discussions in probably every communication class I have ever taken…high school included.

The rest of the chapter was kind of boring and repetitive of things that I honestly already know of. For example, source credibility, knowing your audience, and emotional connections, are all important elements of persuasive writing and speaking that I learned of in previous classes.

One idea that really got me thinking was semantics and ethics. Ethics always weighs so heavily on my mind because I would never intentionally say anything that would offend any ethnicity, gender, lifestyle, or any other individual choice on purpose. It’s definitely something that I am going to keep a super close eye on because I feel like any ethical mistake will not only cost you a job, but close relationships and bonds as well.

Chap 1: Just The Basics

Chapter 1 was actually more enjoyable to read than I thought it would be.

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I like the fact that a lot of it talks about the difference between a journalist and a public relations professional. Anytime someone asks me about what I am going to school for, they always follow my response with, “Oh, like a journalist or advertising agent right?” I never really knew enough about the differences until I read about them in this chapter. Sure, there are some similarities, but it was nice to have the components of public relations detailed that makes this career path different.

Another aspect of this chapter that I enjoyed was an overview of writing skills and ways to maintain and improve my writing skills. The skills that I already have can be better honed towards public relations writing standards.

Learning about the electronic databases and all of the different types of resources available to me was also really nice to learn about. The stress on how important reading and staying up to date on current events made me realize that…I may not be doing enough of either one! It encouraged me to start reading newspapers and magazines more than I currently do.

Overall, chapter 1 wasn’t as boring and dry as I was honestly expecting. It taught me come important things about public relations writing and other aspects of public relations that need attention.