Archive for the ‘Topic of the Week’ Category

10 Ways PR People Drive Journalists Crazy

There are many ways public relations practitioners can annoy journalists without any knowledge of doing so. I have created a list of such activities that may serve as an annoyance and tips that these professionals can follow to change such habits.

  1. Giving news releases and story pitches to journalists without doing their research. It will pay off in the long run if you do your homework first.
  2. Sending news releases or leaving voicemails for more than one reporter and editor, failing to tell that you have already left the same message with another person. Instead, leave one message with one reporter/journalist and they will get back to you. It is frustrating when you have multiple journalists responding to the same message.
  3. Being unhelpful and unreachable when it comes to news releases. Such activities include not returning the journalists phone calls or e-mails. The PR person should make a stronger effort to be in contact with the journalist. If they need to contact you, it is probably important and the PR representative should be contactable at all times.
  4. Repeatedly calling or e-mailing the journalist to see if they received a news release. They receive hundreds every week and since many of them don’t appeal to their readers, they will not respond unless interested. PR persons should reduce their e-mails or phone calls to one or two and take a hint if they don’t hear back.
  5. Offering a journalist an “exclusive” when it is not in fact an “exclusive.” Don’t offer incentives without being able to back them up.
  6. Being required to acquire answers for a story from the PR person versus someone involved in the company. Allowing journalists to have access directly to the source would save time and energy.
  7. Not providing proof of a client or story. Make sure your sources line up and you provide the journalists with facts, not fiction, or you could be held accountable!
  8. Sending gifts as incentives for journalists to cover your client. This not only looks unprofessional, but desperate as well. PR people, do not try to sell your journalists!
  9. Telling the journalist how to do their job or how you want a story written. It is the journalist’s job to write and they know what they are doing. Instead of telling them what to do, offer ideas about what you may think will sound good without seeming like intruding.
  10. Asking, “Why didn’t my story get published!?” Journalists cannot write every story and heckling them about a news release will only make you look unprofessional and cause the journalist to not want to work with you in the future.

For more information, you can visit http://www.pionline.com/article/20100614/PRINTSUB/306149974


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The Creative Career Podcast

I listened to a podcast at thecreativecareer.com hosted by Allie Osmar. It was an interview with Stever Robbins, the voice behind the popular Get it Done Guy podcast and author of the new book Get-It-Done Guy’s 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More (Quick & Dirty Tips) . In this podcast, Stever Robbins discusses the way technology is taking over the world, tips for young business employees and steps we should take now versus later in getting your career started.

Robbins pointed out how hard technology has made simple communication in today’s society. Noting that everything is now much easier that used to take time and effort. He offered ways to have self control and limit yourself to the amount of technology you use in one sitting, like having the computer and television on while using your cell phone. 

There was discussion encouraging making to-do lists and prioritizing your e-mail. Robbins offered a very honest actualization of himself and the way he perceives things and the modern world and offered tips he’s used over the years to try and acclimate the newer generations, such as myself. I found his tips very reassuring, being that I am a little nervous about getting out into the workforce. 

I listened to a second interview at thecreativecareer.com with Catherine Hudson, the co-founder of Shorty Clothing. Catherine Hudson has worked in everything from music journalism to fashion. She co-founded Shorty Clothing, and she’s now working on a new line called Kaahn. Catherine’s story proves that it’s all about hard work and creating valuable relationships.


Hudson held many jobs in her early professional career and was even laid off from a couple and it was through her contacts and drive that she kept pushing on and eventually found her way. She had never expected when she started off as a music journalist that she would end up a clothing company founder. This interview reassured me that in life, you never know where you can go and most likely, you won’t end up where you thought you would be.

I have found listening to Podcasts to be much more engaging than simply reading an article. Since you cannot go back and re-read, listening and paying attention allows you to actually soak in the information at hand and makes it harder to pay attention to outside distractions. I think podcasts are a great tool for public relations students and practitioners.

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The Importance of Infographs

Infographics, also known as “information graphics” are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge. These graphics present complex information quickly and clearly, such as in signs, maps, journalism, technical writing, and education. With an information graphic, computer scientist, mathematicians, and statisticians develop and communicate concepts using a single symbol to process information.

Since the days of the fire evolution, we’ve been using infographics, as visual shorthand to transmit information to the viewers or readers that might take paragraphs or pages to explain in words. It is not easy to represent the whole story in one single page or paragraph but it’s far more effective then reading an entire book. There are a number of infographics out there on every street. In fact, we interact with infographics on a daily basis, from the stick figure telling us when to cross the street, to icons in web navigation designs.

You can learn how to create your own infographic at http://www.instantshift.com.

We should use infographics because a picture is worth a thousand words. Information graphics can be done for several reasons. Along with them we can highlight the following important ones to enlighten the mystery.

-To transmit or communicate a message

-To present large amounts of information in a compact and easy to understand way

-To reveal the data. Discovering cause-effect relations, knowing what’s happening.

-To periodically monitor the evolution of certain parameters

Such graphics can be helpful in the writing of one’s blog. They can add detail and support to the issue being discussed. They also draw the reader into the story and make them more engaged into what they are reading.

The usage of infographics can also be helpful in writing for a client of yours. For my client, Kappa Delta Sorority, I would use the symbol KD or I could create maps for events they are hosting. Infographics are certainly a plus in the writing of a public relations professional.

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Site Stats on WordPress

The Sites Stats page tells me a lot about my blog and the views I am receiving. There is a Referrers, Top Posts & Pages, Search Engine Terms, Clicks, General, and Incoming Links section. I can see how many views, comments and posts I have.

The statistics are just a good way to show me that other people are looking at my blog and what I have to say and sort of validate the time and effort I put into the work I conduct. What is the point of doing something if it is not going to be shown?

It is also neat to have your own stat page so that I can get feedback. It boosts confidence to know that people are interested in what you have to say. And through the feedback I receive, I can alter my own thoughts on something I have posted or gain a new perspective.

Public Relations practitioners would benefit from monitoring their own or their company’s blog so that they too could see the direct results. It is a great way to stay current with your blog. If they were to regularly check how often their blog is being viewed and what is being commented on, than they can take that input and use it for future reference.

If a company checks their stats and sees that views have decreased over the past week then they will be notified that they need to change something in order to increase viewing rates. And if they take the time to look at the comments, then they can see what their customers think about certain areas of their company.

Overall, having a statistics page can only help anyone who has a blog.

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This week I joined PR OpenMic for my Public Relations writing course. PROpenMic is a tool used by students, facutly and public relations practitioners all over the world. It is a worldwide network for connections and learning.

You can invite people to be your “friends” so that they can view your profile. You have your own page containing your personal information and your public relations background. There is a section for blogs, forums, videos, photos, groups and events. There is also a section that teaches you about jobs and internships offered.

PROpenMic is a great way to learn about the public relations field. It has up to date articles and provides a strong alleyway into the public relations world. You can visit groups and events and join the groups.

The best attribute to PROpenMic I believe is the fact that it is free. Anyone who wants to can join and all of the information is there for the taking. My teacher informed me of the site and now I am able to connect with her and view her information and use her as a contact.

I think that PROpenMic opens doors for students and graduates and is a great way to stay current in the industry. Every small action you take can help advance your future and I believe every one interested in the public relations industry should join this social network.

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I took the NewsU Lead Lab course and it was a difference from the other courses I took at Poynter. However, Lead Lab course was very informative and interesting.While taking this course, I learned that there are many different ways to get started on writing your leads for your stories.

During the course a man named Chip stated that, “like all beginnings, leads matter.”  The lead is the first and most important way to get to your reader hooked.  Leads are very effective and are a skill one should master if they want to be a stronger writer.

I also learned the different types of leads.  There are direct and delayed leads. Delayed leads have sub-categories within them.  A direct lead gets straight to the point, “tell me the news.” Delayed lead is “tell me a story” approach. Direct leads include summary and analysis leads. Delayed leads include anecdotal, significant detail, emblem and round-up leads.

Something that surprised me was how alike the information in the class was to the Poynter’s News University class.  Both sites included the information about how the who, what, when, where, why, and how questions should be answered in your lead.

Getting started with the lead is the most challenging part for many people, myself included.  Once I get started it is much easier to get in the zone and continue on.  It is important that you are headed down the right path from the beginning. It is also important to get into character as the reader so that you can see what information you would want in your story or news release.

I want to know more about the strength of my writing.  If the site had provided a sample section where I could have input a story of my own for their discretion to edit and give me feedback on, that would have been extremely helpful.

Overall this Lead Lab course was positive and helped me with my writing; however it could have been more exciting and engaging.

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Week One of Twitter

Last week I was required to create a Twitter account for my Public Relations Writing course. I have never experienced Twitter before this summer when I had to create one for my Intro to Public Relations course. I had never even looked at somebody else’s account. So as you could guess, it was like a new world to me.

The only networking websites I have ever used before have been MySpace and Facebook. I only use Facebook now, and I have noticed that there is a growing trend towards Twitter. I hear about a lot of the stars like the Kardashians using Twitter and constantly updating their statuses, however I have noticed that a lot of companies and enterprises use Twitter as well as way of enhancing their business communications.

For one week I was required to send out 20 tweets and at least 5 comments to other classmates and/or PR professional’s tweets. This week was not as challenging for me as the first week that I had to for my intro course, however it is still a hard transition keeping it under 160 characters. It was hard to veering away from my usual Facebook status ways. I couldn’t simply tweet “going to lunch” or “going to the gym”.

I learned that tweeting, at least for our class, is supposed to be more informational and less casual. I found myself tweeting links to other websites with articles about recent news or going in depth about something interesting that I had planned for that day. My experience with Twitter has certainly stimulated my mind more than Facebook has.

I currently follow 24 people on twitter and have 34 followers. I have posted 58 posts thus far, most of which have transferred from this blog. I have left replies to other classmate’s tweets that I found interesting and they have commented on my tweets.

You can view my Twitter at twitter.com/alliearonson.

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