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What is Public Relations?

What a great question! Many people may get confused when they hear the word public relations, but it really is not as hard to understand as some make it to be. By definition from the PRSA, public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” What does that mean? It means the relationship that a company has with the outside world. Whether that is another company, organizations and of course, the population. You want to have a good relationship with those people because you want your company to be known as a good brand so people will continue to go to you for their specific needs. Public relations consists of a lot of little, tiny things that make one big thing… GOOD RELATIONSHIPS. PR consists of marketing, social media, email marketing, press releases, the brands reputation, events that the brand has, and so much more. I can see how public relations can get confusing to someone who does not work in that field. But, public relations is everywhere not matter what job you are doing because you want to have as many good relationships as possible. Public relations has some key points:

  1. Anticipating the publics opinions and attitudes of your brand, whether those opinions are good or bad, you want to be prepared for whatever comes your way so your brand image remains positive.
  2. Making sure all of your associates understand the policies of your brand so they can act accordingly in and out of the workplace. You want your employees to know how to act when a crisis happens because you want to maintain a good reputation even in bad situations.
  3. You always want the public to understand what your brand is doing and what your mission is. So, there should always be someone researching different ways to get that message across to public. Those ways might be marketing, social media, financial, fundraising, employee/community and government relations and various other programs your company could have to get your positive image across to the world.
  4. The company always wants to plan to change public policy. A brand can do this by setting objectives, planning, budgeting, recruiting and training its staff.

In the end, public relations is basically creating a positive reputation and maintaining that reputation with the public. The public are the ones who are going to buy your products or support your brand, so without them, you have nothing. Public relations is in every business not matter what their mission is, so a company wants to have a good reputation and build strong relationships with everyone they come into contact with.

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#WestfallGoesBlue

In March, Chris Westfall visited Indiana State University to do workshops in the business and communication departments, talk to students and hold a elevator pitch speech to students, faculty, staff and the general Terre Haute public. His visit was a great thing for Indiana State, especially the students. Westfall is great at what he does and can really teach you to brand yourself well and how to be rememberable. There were many takeaways from his visit that I experienced.

  1. He was very skilled at speaking directly to you. When I say this, I mean he looks deep into your eyes and is basically talking to your soul. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. I first met him at Launch Terre Haute for a pizza party and I had asked him how I can get over my fear of talking in front of crowds. He told me that my message has to be greater than my fear. I have to be able to understand that people are there to hear what I have to say and are not there to judge me. Although there are judgmental people out there, he reminded me to remember that my message that I am trying to put across is greater than them and I need to be confident in myself. That word of advice will stick with me forever no matter where I go in life.
  2. Westfall also gave a speech that we need to stick out. During his elevator pitch, he showed a picture of a batch of strawberries, but there was one blue (or some people thought it was purple) strawberry that was sticking out of the crowd. This was important because he gave us tips on how we can stand out in a crowd and be noticed and remembered! I always knew that being remembered was important, especially in the PR world, but the tips he gave, like finding a way to connect with whomever you’re talking to, are things that I take with me to networking events and things that will work.
  3. The last thing that stuck with me is his speech about perception and that not everyone will see the same thing as you.  In his speech, he showed a picture of a stairway and only a few people saw the man underneath. This proved to me that not everyone sees the world the way I do and I have to remember that at all times. Perception is very important because just because someone does not think the way you do, does not mean their way of thinking is wrong.

The Westfall visit was amazing and if it was up to me, he would come annually and give a speech for people who were not able to be there because he left some awesome words of advice for us. And being able to actually have a one-on-one conversation with him was an added bonus!

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The End of the Year…

The end of the 2016-2017 year is upon us and I loved our Public Relations class. This class was very interactive and although we did not talk about public relations everyday, I felt like I left the class everyday and learned something new. This class also helped me land an internship for summer 2017. This class helped me because we were required to create resumes to give to future employers and we got excellent feedback on our resumes so they would be perfect. Although my resume did not land me the internship, the networking skills that I learned in the class did help me achieve the internship. I met the woman who is in charge of my internship at a magazine launch party in March and we connected immediately about PR and Marketing, and I used things that I learned in Comm 368 to help me communicate. It was also great that Jennifer brought in multiple guest speakers, even Chris Westfall, so we could get a variety of expertise advice from different PR professionals (marketing, event planning, branding yourself, etc.) PR is such a complex world and involves a lot of little aspects, but the fact that Jennifer brought in different people and we got different view points of the PR/marketing world. The textbook was okay, I only say that it is okay because we did not read it as much as I thought we would have. Bullet Proof Branding by Chris Westfall was an interesting book to read and I’m happy I bought it so I can continue to read it after the class ends. I also wish we would have started the WordPress blogs sooner in the semester, it would have been a great way to improve everyones writing skills. I have learned a lot from this course and there are little things that I would change and I think everyone should take this course wether they are a public relation major or not, because you learn great networking skills, how to make a resume and how to correctly work LinkedIn, which is a great tool to find jobs and internships.

Photo Credit: Malia Brown

Yes We Can!

In 2008, Barack Obama released one of the best political campaigns, in my opinion. This campaign was very emotional and made you happy within the first minute of watching it. The LowDown featured this campaign in an article that they wrote about the best political campaigns. You can also watch the campaign video here to see what I’m talking about! Obama did something very different with this campaign that no politician had done before, he made his campaign only available on the web, so it was not on TV. This was a good move for Obama and his administration because in 2008, the internet was booming and growing at a faster rate than ever, so everyone was online all the time, so when he launched his campaign video online only, he reached so many people and a ton of millennials which most likely won him his first election in 2008. This campaign was produced by Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas and Jesse Dylan and featured more than 30 celebrities (John Legend, Scarlett Johansson, Common, and Will.i.am himself) who were singing snippets from his speech. This was also another good way that Obama connected with the younger side of America. Instead of having something boring and dry, he got celebrities that people know and love to support him and his campaign. This was good because most people follow celebrities every move, so if you saw that your favorite celebrity was supporting Obama, you would most likely support him as well… celebrities have that affect on people! Obama’s main slogan was “Yes We Can” and the celebrities repeated that all throughout the campaign. “Yes We Can” indicates that Obama was speaking directly to the American people saying that they can get out of any situation that they are currently in and made the American people feel secure and like someone actually wanted to help them (at least to me). This campaign proved that Obama was a great guy and a great political leader because of his speech in the background of the campaign and in my opinion helped him win the 2008 election against John McCain.

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My Dream Job Interview.

Interviews can be nerve racking… actually, REALLY nerve racking. Especially interviews that can turn into CAREERS. I’m having my first professional interview with the PR and Marketing Manager at the Conrad Indianapolis this upcoming Wednesday and I’m still thinking… is this really happening? Her name is Taylor Imus and you can connect with her on LinkedIn. She literally has my dream job and she is only 23, how crazy is that? Although my interview has yet to happen, I can still write about things that I plan on asking her and what I look forward to achieving during and after the interview.

Since she is only 23, I plan on asking her how she did it so fast. How did she become one of the managers at one of the nicest hotels so quickly? She attended Ball State University so I’m going to ask what she did in her undergrad to prepare her for such a big role (PRSSA, organizations, internships, etc). Hopefully I can take some of what she did in her undergrad and do the same to be just as prepared as her. Since she is only a few years older than me, I feel like we are going to be able to relate to a lot of things which will make the interview less tense and more laid back.

I’m also going to ask her about her networking skills. In her case, I believe that “it’s not what you know, but who you know” just because it happened for her so quickly, I might be wrong, though. On Wednesday, I’m going to shadow her as well for the day, so I’m going to see the in’s and out’s of her job as the PR and Marketing manager and ask a multitude of questions about how she handles certain situations and what the toughest part of her job is and what she loves the most about it. I also plan on asking if she is ever scared or intimidated by older people in the PR field since she is so young and doing a job most people fight for.

After my shadow/interview, I plan on leaving with an internship with the Conrad Indianapolis. Taylor and I have been emailing and she says that she wants to talk to me about a potential internship, so hopefully I land an internship for the summer. The funny thing about this whole thing is… she never asked for my resume. It’s all about networking and the wonderful saying, “it’s not about what you know, but who you know”.

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United Airlines and Their PR Nightmare.

On Sunday April 9, 2017, United Airlines faced, in my opinion, one of their worst PR situations to date. On flight 3411, which was traveling from Chicago, Illinois to Louisville, Kentucky, a man was removed from the flight with excessive force by police officers due to the fact that United overbooked the flight to accommodate four of their own employees who needed to be in Kentucky the next day for work purposes. United offered four passengers who decided to leave the flight a free hotel stay and compensation. No one took the offer. United then boosted the compensation. One couple took the offer and left willingly with no force. United then went on to a “random selection” and chose the still unidentified passenger, who refused to leave because he was a doctor and had patients to see the next morning and the next flight to Louisville didn’t leave until the following afternoon. Airport security then went on to forcibly remove the man from his chair and drag him off the flight. Yes, DRAG.

CNN shared the video of the incident and the statement from United’s CEO, Oscar Munoz. The response from Munoz was not effective and a little insensitive. In his statement, Munoz made the passenger seem like he was the problem, when the problem was the use of violent force on a customer. In his response, he should have mentioned that United is not permitted to use force on a customer and that the police officers did not work for United Airlines and that they worked for Chicago O’Hare Airport, so they were not aware of United Airlines policies. Munoz could have mentioned that United employees are trained for situations like this and using force is never permitted. They also should have admitted that overbooking flight 3411 was their mistake and not the paying customers.

This is the perfect storm for a PR Crisis. This situation could have been handled completely differently, but you live and you learn.

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5 Tips That’ll Make You an Amazing Blogger.

I’m sure you’re probably thinking… blogging can’t be that hard, right? Actually, blogging is more than just posting content on a cute website. The Minimalists shared some tips on how to be a creative, unbelievable blogger.

  1. Find Your Niche- What’s your passion? What do you want to share with your following? Find something you’re passionate about and create content that goes with it, whether it’s cooking, cleaning, makeup, healthy living, etc. Finding your niche will really help you narrow your content and make things more organized.
  2. Define Your Ideal Readers– Who is your audience? If you’re blog focuses on cooking, your blog should be aimed towards people who find an interest in cooking. The same goes for if your blog is a college blog, it should be directed towards college students. Once you figure out your audience, writing for them will become easier!
  3. Add Value– Readers want to read something that will value them. They don’t want to read something that is just there. When writing your blog posts, make sure they’re valuable to your readers lives. If you’re writing a blog post about college scholarships for incoming freshman, maybe provide a link that takes them directly to the scholarship page instead of just telling them the scholarships.
  4. Be Original– The most important! Originality is key. Because there are so many blogs on the web, people are generally going to be writing about the same thing. As long as you’re original with your content, people will continue to come back to your blog to read your posts, which is the goal.
  5. Be Yourself– Your blog is in fact, yours! Everything on there should be things you like. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not just to drive traffic to your blog, but if you’re yourself, people will want to read your blog just because it’s different than the others.

Take these tips, and run with them! Click the link to find more tips on how to be a successful blogger. Happy blogging!

Photo Credit: Malia Brown

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