PR Open mic

pr open mic
PR Open mic is a social network designed specifically for public relations students and professionals. I personally have been a member of the network for over a year now and absolutely love it.

One aspect I really like is the fact that PR open mic sends e-mails to you when breaking PR news occurs and links to site so you can read the entire article.

There is also a huge area on the site devoted totally to job posting and internships.
I am about to graduate in May, so this is probably my favorite part of the site. I have gotten a handful of job leads and sent my resume to a good number of companies posted on the site.

I’m also a huge fan of the discussion forum on PR Open mic. This is a tool I use a lot. It is a great way to talk to people and get a good feel for the industry, what’s going on, what’s the hot gossip. A little mean girls reference there!

If you visit the members section you can easily search for anyone you think might be on the site or look for members in your area. This has been a great way to connect with my professors and classmates as well as potential employers.

The last piece I want to discuss is the groups section. This is just like the groups section on facebook where you connect to groups of people who you feel relate to you. This is a great way to get news that directly relates to what your interested and weed out the info that is irrellevant to you.

Overrall, this is a fantastic site. I strongly encourage those of you in this industry sign up immediately!

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March 31, 2010. Social Media Monitoring, Topic of the Week. Leave a comment.

Advantages of the Podcast

podcastThis week in my social media monitoring class, we are focusing on podcasting. I must admit I was a bit at a loss before this class as far as this new media went, but, now that I have done some research, I see that the possibilities and advantages of podcasting are truly endless.
First of all, what is a podcast? To put it simply, a podcast is just an mp3 file you record and upload to a podcasting site. I use the website mypodcast.

Bob Withers says that there are two main advantages of podcasting:
1.)Ease of Use
2.)The availibility of free/cheap software to run them

The real beauty of the podcast is how easy it is to distribute. Most people in this day and age have access to ITunes and you can download podcasts, for FREE, right to your ITunes account.

Podcasts could also be defined as radio/talk shows on demand. People today are busy and move at an extremely fast pace. With a podcast, you can be sitting at the airport waiting for your flight and can listen to a podcast immediately.

Finally, it has become very popular for large corporations to use podcasts as their training sessions according to Ramona Meteri, President of Ingenia Consulting.

Here is a list of some of the organizations who are doing this:
-IBM
-Calyx
-Akron Children’s Hospital

This is a great way to cut costs and be more time efficient with new employees.

Bottomline, podcasts are the future and you must get on board this mothership!

March 31, 2010. Social Media Monitoring, Topic of the Week. Leave a comment.

Podcast: “Meghan’s Take: Everything PR”

Click here to listen to the pilot episode of my podcast, Meghan’s Take: Everything PR.

The podcast begins with a short introduction of the podcast and the topic of social media’s advantages for all types of business. (0 -22 sec)

Next I give a quick background of social media and the huge role it plays in our society at the moment. (23-1:09 sec)

I briefly discuss a conversation I had with my father about social media, and how he didn’t believe in the benefits of social media. I talk about an experiment I conducted with him to prove otherwise. ( 1:11- 2:36).

I then discuss the main point I am trying to make in my broadcast, social media is good for everyone, big or small (2:39- 3:10).

Next I discuss an event I did the PR for called “Behind the Veil” for Savannah Magazine and how social media was implemented for the publicity. (3:12-3:57).

I then go back to the story with my dad and inform the audience that changes have been made for his corporations social media presence
(3:59-4:47)

I finish up with my final thoughts on the matter as well as thanking those who helped create my podcast (4:48-5:25).

This was a really fun project and I plan to do a podcast each month on various things public relations related. I’ll keep you all posted! Thanks!

March 31, 2010. Assignments, Social Media Monitoring. Leave a comment.

My Interview with a True P.R. Pro

Michael Altfest is an Account Supervisor at Edelman Public Relations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Mr. Altfest has been with the company for over five years and received a B.A., in Business Administration from the University of Washington Business School in 2000. As most of you know, Edelman is the largest Public Relations firm in the country, so this interview was incredibly exciting. You can go to Edelman’s website to learn more about the company! Here is Mr. Altfest’s public linkedin profile also!

My father’s company, Transamerica Retirement Services, is represented by Edelman and they provide a close personal relationship with their CEO’s and Mr. Altfest was very generous to spare a few minutes to speak with me. Here is the transcript.

1.)What’s a typical week like? (If no week is typical, then what was last week like?)

The one guarantee working for a PR agency is that there is no such thing as a typical week! I think the best way to give you a “typical” week is to start with a description of my role.

I’m an Account Supervisor that oversees day-to-day management of three accounts at Edelman. The position I’m in could best be described as “mid-management,” so I do a bit of everything: account planning and strategy, tactical execution, staff management, and new business (researching and pursuing new clients). Many employees also have broader corporate roles. I’m our office Quality representative, which means I’m the go-to person for our company’s larger “Quality” initiative and am responsible for anything related to that.

Last week alone, I probably drafted 4-5 press releases or media alerts for upcoming announcements that my clients are making, supervised my teams on outreach pertaining to another 3-4 announcements (ranging from new store openings to new services to new executives), finalized the monthly reporting (what we did in March) for all three of my clients while also finalizing the activities that we’ll be doing for them in April. I spend a considerable amount of time all week reading the news to stay on top of my clients, their competitors and industries. I also have at least one internal team meeting and one client check in meeting for each account, every week (so that adds up to 6-8 meetings).

And that’s just the proactive client work! Since last week marked the end of the month, I also processed all of the billing for each client. Basically this entails reviewing and approving all of the items that they get billed for (both the hourly fees they pay us, and any expense incurred during the month.)

Lastly, I also spent some time doing some research on a company as a possible new business prospect, which entailed researching the company and what they do and then reaching out to a contact there to see if they’d be interested in chatting with Edelman.

I can’t speak for everyone who works for an agency, but it’s the constant variety and fast pace that attracts most of us to this sort of job.

2.)Tell me about a project you worked on that you are especially proud of.
(**I’m not using this example because it has to do with your father’s business, what I’m about to explain is honestly the work I am most proud of in 5+ years at Edelman**)

As part of our work for Transamerica, we do the PR for the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, which is a non-profit research company that examines trends and issues in the retirement space. Last year we re-introduced The Center, so to speak, after it had officially registered as a non-profit and conducted a major media campaign on it’s behalf. Although we’d had a lot of success on this part of the business in the past, last year’s results were unprecedented. We secured coverage for The Center in virtually every major media outlet – Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, Associated Press – that matters to them. Ultimately, the visibility of the issues that we raised for them spurred a special session in the U.S. Senate.

But while the results are great, I’m most proud of how we accomplished this. Honestly, it was years and years of work to build the status of The Center that paid off in one enormous year. It was a great example of how hard work pays off, how valuable media relationships are, and how approaching a program with the right combination of strategy and effort can generate great results beyond simply media impressions.

3.)How important is writing in your career?

Extremely. Arguably it’s the most important, and certainly one of the handful of skills that are absolutely necessary. And it’s not just the ability to structure sentences and tell an interesting story that will result in media coverage. Good writing is essential, but so is versatility in writing. Yes, I write a lot of press releases and media pitches, but I’m also constantly writing client communication documents, messaging, strategy, and everyday emails. Good writing is necessary in each and every one of those instances.

(And please pardon this document. I wouldn’t recommend it as a “good writing sample” – I’m just rushed!)

4.)What three tips would you offer someone just starting out in PR?

1. Get agency experience, and a lot of it. There are a lot of “PR” jobs out there, but agency life is some of the best work experience you’ll ever get. Even if you learn that PR isn’t for you, you’re getting experience that will help you in any line of work. On any given day you are working for 3-6 companies, including your own. I’ve done legitimate, strategic communications work for retirement plan providers, brokerages, software companies, employee benefit providers, fitness providers, electronic retailers, high end audio equipment, and an owner of a professional sports franchise (among many others). I’ve worked directly with the C-level of some of the world’s most recognizable brands. My work has appeared on the cover of the Wall Street Journal. You simply won’t get that type of experience working in house.

2. Intern!! One of the most difficult things about PR, especially when you start working, is how foreign so much of the work actually is – and how much of it there is. The learning curve when first starting at an agency is quite steep, so rolling up your sleeves early on and learning how an agency works (before you ever get that first “real” job) is invaluable.

3. Stay up on media. Many times a day, every day. Keep tabs on traditional media, but also on the growing space of online. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Take note of what companies are doing, what’s working and, most importantly, how people are responding to and interacting with the information companies are putting out.

5.)What do you do to keep current in the PR industry?

See #3 in the last question. Read, read, read. I wouldn’t say I keep current on the PR industry so much as I keep up on my clients and their industries. But by reading many sources of media and seeing how companies are getting covered, that is telling me what is working in terms of PR.

6.)What has surprised you the most about working in PR?

How strategic it is. Over the last 5 years there has been a noticeable shift away from paid media (aka “advertising”) into more strategic public engagement, so to speak. Most marketing used to be heavily driven by advertising, and now its becoming opposite. PR is driving the communications strategies of so many companies, and it’s doing so from so many areas beyond traditional media relations.

7.)What do you wish you would have known before starting your career in PR?

I wish I’d had a better grasp on the versatility it takes to succeed. Saying I work for 3-4 different companies is simplifying it. Each client has at least one client contact; often more. But on the agency end you have very complex reporting structures depending on the client and who owns each project. …and keep in mind, your clients might be VERY diverse, so you’re constantly involved in multiple industries.

8.)How does technology affect your daily work?

I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without technology. In fact, it’s probably safe to say that technology is WHY PR is so successful now. The process of disseminating information pre-internet was rather archaic. Now, it would take me a couple minutes to determine who the right media contact is at a little newspaper across the country, contact that reporter, and get a response back.

Keep in mind that if I put out a press release now, it’ll be all the way around the world before I can blink. The Internet and social media have totally changed the way we do business. Even though it’s been very beneficial, we need to be more cautious as well. The wrong message can spread at a speed that makes it virtually impossible to control. But if done correctly, any company can leverage technology to its advantage.

9.)When your company is hiring for an entry-level PR position, what makes a candidate stand out?

Experience (see what I said about internships), personality (we’re in the business of interacting with the media), writing skills, an ability to demonstrate that their in touch with the media landscape and business work, and an eagerness to roll up their sleeves and LEARN!

Thank you so much Michael for all your insights! This will be a huge help to me as well as my classmates!

March 29, 2010. Assignments, Public Relations Practicum. 4 comments.

Internship Advice

This semester I have been lucky enough to obtain an internship with a fantastic company, Savannah Morning News. I work for Savannah magazine specifically, and even though it is an unpaid internship, I am having the most amazing experience with working with the best in Savannah in journalism and public relations. My boss and editor have been giving me great feedback and I feel, that after several months at an internship, I have some tips to share with those who are about to embark on their internship journey.

One of the compliments I receive the most is that I have a great attitude. So, the first tip I would give to an intern is to always be gracious and be willing to work. Let’s be honest, internships, no matter where you are, are not going to be highly glamorous. I often find myself making phone calls and running errands but I always do it with a smile on my face. I also make it a priority to thank my boss and editor for giving me this opportunity. Georgia Southern University student, Kelly Rowen, recently graduated with her hotel and restaurant degree. She finished her internship in Florida last summer. She was working at a hotel in St. Petersburg and she absolutely  hated the job.

“It was the worst job I had ever had,” Kelly said. “I was constantly being yelled at by customers and my peers, but, that never stopped me from doing my very best.”

When Kelly left her job she received a great recommendation letter from her supervisor.

Another tip I give is to act professionally and not cross the line with off-colored jokes or dressing inappropriately. Laura Callahan, a junior at Georgia Tech, worked at an engineering company in Atlanta where she was often working side by side with construction workers.

“These guys would often curse and talk about really gross stuff,” Laura said. “I made sure to never give into the casual nature of my environment though.”

Laura’s boss was impressed by her tact and professionalism and got invited  back to work at this company next semester.

Internships, although they can be a lot of work, are really fun. So my # 1 tip is to get one and get excited about it! Enthusiasm shows through and it makes the people you’re working with happy to be around you.

March 11, 2010. Assignments, Public Relations Practicum, Topic of the Week. Leave a comment.

“Full Frontal PR” by Richard Laermer

visit slideshare.com to see the notes for my slidecast!

March 10, 2010. Assignments, Social Media Monitoring. Leave a comment.

Reading Notes Week 8: Chapter 5 of “A Survival Guide to Social Media and Web 2.0 Optimization”

A Survival Guide to Social Media and Web 2.0 Optimization-Chapter 5: Podcasting, Vidcasting, & Webcasting

Podcast-audio or video files that is distributed over the internet. It can be syndicated and subscribed to.

Plan for Creating and Uploading your Podcast
1.Prepare the script and key terms
2.Upload the episode to the internet.
3.Publish the episode to a blog
4.Create a podcast feed
5.Burn your podcast feed to feedburner
6.Promote your podcast

Webcasting– an online broadcast that can either be viewed on webcasting sites or embedded into your blog. They are also called “channels”.

A Survival Guide to Social Media and Web 2.0 Optimization by Deltina Hay can be purchased at Amazon.com

March 9, 2010. Reading Notes, Social Media Monitoring. Leave a comment.

Reading Notes Week 7:A Survival Guide to Social Media and Web 2.0 Optimization:Chapter 3

A Survival Guide to Social Media and Web 2.0 Opitimization-Chapter 3: RSS Feeds & Blogs

I. RSS stands for really simple syndication and is a way of sharing information across the internet.
A.Content, of any form, is generated by a website as an RSS feed.
B. The “feed” is made available to subscribers who have access to “feed reader.
C. The subscriber has access to new content without ever having to return to the original site.
D. You can have as many websites as you like.
E. A blog is a RSS feed.
II. Content for Your Feed
A. Gather existing content that could be used for your feed.
1.Print Articles
2.Press Releases
3.Upcoming Events
B. Make a list of external links
1.Industry blogs you are reading
2.Websites you are interested in
3.Other RSS feeds
III.Burning your Feed
A.This is simply creating an alternate URL for your feed that is provided by feedburner.com so you can use all of it’s services.
B.Optimize Your Menu
1. Activate the following:
a.”browser friendly”
b. “smart feed”
c. “feed flare”
A Survival Guide to Social Media and Web 2.0 Optimization by Deltina Hay can be purchased at Amazon.com

March 9, 2010. Reading Notes, Social Media Monitoring. Leave a comment.

Inside the Foursquare

“Love it! Having a lot of fun checking in to my locations and becoming a mayor of my favorite haunts!”

“I love to be in the Foursquare family”

“this has potential, tho rite now primarily used by urbanite hipsters. i’m afraid it’ll lead 2 constant coupon feeds to your mobile whenever u walk near a biz.”

“To many lies on Foursquare (just spoke to a friend in NY who claimed to sit in a hotel in Dubai”

These are some reviews I found on the newest thing to hit the social media market, Foursquare. While some reviews are good and others are not so good, we know one thing. Foursquare is generating some definite buzz around town.

Foursquare is a new  location-based “app” for the iPhone or blackberry that helps you find new ways to explore your hometown or places you are visiting. This new app also allows you to meet up with friends with its built-in GPS-like system. Foursquare, created by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai, is based in New York City. Foursquare is also a game in which you receive points for discovering new places or meeting new people. This is pretty revolutionary technology.

I believe foursquare will end up being a very beneficial tool for companies. If companies sign-up and become part of the game, they are essentially implementing an incentives marketing plan which will hopefully drive new consumers to their institutions.

However, as a woman, one of the first things I thought of when I heard of Foursquare was the privacy aspect possibly being violated. How safe is this technology? What if some of the information gained from this application got into the hands of a felon? Or a sex offender? I wonder if there are measures being taken to prevent things of this nature?

Other than this concern, I think this seems like a fun and engaging application that I will definitely think of downloading!

March 5, 2010. Social Media Monitoring, Topic of the Week. Leave a comment.

“Read This First: The Executive’s Guide to New Media – from Blogs to Social Networks” by Ron Ploof

March 3, 2010. Assignments, Public Relations Practicum. Leave a comment.