Article: How a sandwich shop engages Facebook fans without giveaways, coupons, or freebies

Bryce Peck
How a sandwich shop engages Facebook fans without giveaways, coupons, or freebies
By Matt Wilson || Posted: December 6, 2012 ||

Jersey Mike’s, a sandwich chain, is attracting Facebook attention without giving out the usual coupons or freebees like the majority of other pages. Most pages offer these incentives if you “like” their page, but Rich Hope, the chain’s chief marketing officer, say’s that those are just “empty likes.”

The page has accumulated over 76,000 “likes” by running two big campaigns over the summer.

The first, called Christmas in July, was a campaign to raise funds for wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery.

The second, Throwback Summer, where each week they revisited a decade of the company’s past(starting in the 1950’s) by posting past classic ads and early storefronts. Each getting it’s fair share of “likes”, comments and shares.

By giving out content rather than incentives, the company has amassed strong supportive followers, rather than followers that don’t read their posts or block them all together. For anybody going into the marketing field it’s important to remember when quality over quantity is necessary.


Article: Newspaper adopts classic crisis PR strategy after fabrication scandal

Bryce Peck
Newspaper adopts classic crisis PR strategy after fabrication scandal
By Gil Rudawsky || Posted: December 6, 2012 ||

A reporter for the Cape Cod Times named Karen Jeffrey was caught for fabricating sources in her reporting since 1998.

This was discovered during an audit, which should have been done sooner, by the Times editors. They were unable to identify 69 people used as sources in 34 of her stories.

While this should have been discovered sooner, the Times did do their first smart thing by instantly reporting it in their paper and made themselves transparent, as we are taught to do in PR. They could have tried hiding it, but most likely it would have been discovered years later and made things much worse(As was shown in the Penn State case study done by our classmates).

They didn’t make any excuses or blame other people, the Times took complete responsibility for the situation and wrote a public apology in the paper. They handle the situation directly and promptly, unlike what BP did with their oil spills where they placed blame elsewhere and offered false apologies.

As future PR Professionals it is essential that we first, never fabricate stories or make up data to cut corners and meet deadlines; and second when we or the people we represent mess up, we must take full responsibility for the situation and never hide anything. Eventually everything comes to light, and it is always best that the persons responsible are the ones to shine the light.

Article: Job interview blunders to avoid at all costs

Bryce Peck

Job interview blunders to avoid at all costs

Julie Roehm ||

Posted: October 30, 2012


As we prepare to start looking for internships this summer, I thought it would be beneficial for everyone to know a couple quick tips on how to have a good interview.

The article talks about common and very simple mistakes people make on interviews that can easily cost them the job. The article quotes Andrew Goldberg and his list of top mistakes applicants make such as; showing up late, smelling like cigarettes, having typos on a résumé, and sending sloppy emails (including ones with all lowercase letters or using “u” to mean “you”). I think this is something important to consider in the age of texting where we use a lot of shortcuts, abbreviations, and slang.

Other commons faux pas the article listed were;

  • Not looking at the interviewer directly when speaking
  • Reading your slides or résumé to the hiring manager
  • Not taking notes or not even having a note pad and pen
  • Staring out the window when the interviewer is speaking
  • Clicking or twirling a pen
  • Unpolished shoes
  • Dirty chewed-up finger nails
  • Chewing gum
  • Checking phone during interview
  • Using a referral that the applicant didn’t even know

The article then lists a few basic interview tactics like;

Listening twice as much as you talk, because that is the ratio of ears to mouth.

Do your research, learn about the company you want to work for.

Look in the mirror, don’t show up to a meeting with unbrushed teeth, messy hair, or pet hair all over you clothes.

Don’t get ahead of yourself, never assume you have the job in the bag. Don’t ask questions like, If hired can I get time off in December, or so on.

And sadly enough if even talks about maturity. The author recants a time where the mother of an applicant was the one to make a follow up call, or a time where someone brought their dad to the interview and had him wait in the lobby.

Most of this should be common sense by now, but hopefully you’ve found a couple hidden gems. Good luck on your internship interviews everyone!

Article: 14 things that must be in your social media policy

Bryce Peck

14 things that must be in your social media policy

Gini Dietrich ||

Posted: October 30, 2012

14 things that must be in your social media policy is an article about basic rules and policies for what you should and shouldn’t post on your social media pages. This is becoming more and more important as companies start checking their employees social media pages more often. As public relation professionals we need to be extra cognitive of what we put out for the world to see, but it is important for anyone with a job or public image to uphold to censor what they are posting for everyone to see

As an example, the article talks about how a young lady tweeted that she hated her job and her boss on her twitter page and the CEO of the company saw the tweet and tweeted back to her, that’s good, because you no longer work here. I’m sure most of us have hear or seen stories similar to this. I personally know multiple friends that have been yelled at for posting things like that. It doesn’t have to be just about you hating your job though, when you work for a company you represent them in all parts of your life. I know a guy that got fired from his job because he used offensive language in his posts. Peter Fischer, attorney, says in accordance with National Labor Relations Board laws:

1. Employers cannot restrict anyone from commenting on his or her work life.
2. Employers can make sure employees sign confidentiality provisions.
3. Employees can’t lie.

This means that employees may talk about their companies and complain about them or their procedures, but if they post something that can be harmful to the company, then it isn’t allowed.

The article then gives these 14 general tips

1. Be transparent. State where you work and, if you’re distributing content for a client, make that clear.
2. Don’t lie. Don’t misrepresent the organization, your customers, or your competitors.
3. Be meaningful and respectful. Don’t spam or argue.
4. Use common sense and common courtesy. If in doubt, don’t post.
5. Stick to areas of expertise.
6. Do offer insight and wisdom, but don’t provide any confidential information.
7. Don’t swear.
8. Be polite. Don’t be antagonistic.
9. Do not comment on any legal matters or litigation.
10. If the topic is one of crisis, do not comment.
11. Google has a long memory. Be smart about what you post.
12. Don’t post about competition unless you have written consent from them to do so.
13. If you use social media on behalf of clients, please double check you’re updating from the correct account.
14. Don’t be stupid.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Book Review

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, written by Rebecca Skloot, is a story about how Lacks’ cancerous cells were taken from her body without her knowledge or permission. Those cells, known as HeLa cells, became the world’s first immortal cells. The HeLa cells are very important to science and medicine. They played a key role in creating the polio vaccination and have been used in cloning and other medical research. They have been bought and sold by the billions, yet Lacks’ family remains poor and can’t even afford health insurance when her cells have done so much for the health industry. By the time Lacks’ family found out that her cells were still alive, the cells had already been to space. There is no doubt as to the magnitude of importance HeLa cells have to the science industry, they’re a biological celebrity.

Skloot learned about these cells when she was sixteen. Her biology class, taught by Donald Defler, was discussing the cells and she was instantly intrigued. She wasn’t sure why at the time, but now she believes it is due to her father’s medical history. Skloot recalls asking the teacher multiple questions, including questions about Lacks’ family. The story stuck with her until nearly a decade later when she took her first writing class. The first thing she wrote in that class was about the story of Henrietta Lacks. Her curiosity and intrigue for the story eventually persuaded her to write the book.

Skloot spent years researching the topic and spending over a thousand hours interviewing family and friends of Lacks. She also interviewed lawyers, ethicists, scientists, and journalists who’ve written about the Lacks. Skloot devoted her time and money to really uncover everything about the story, not only for the books sake, but also to quench her unending curiosity. This, along with Skloot’s credentials as a narrative science writer, makes her amply qualified to write this story.

The thesis and reason for Skloot writing the book was to uncover the unique story and the ethical dilemmas it presents. Skloot wanted to inform the world of the situation and bring light to it. She wanted to tell about Lacks’ family and how they feel about the entire situation and what they have been through, and Skloot did just that.

When reading the story, the first thing that one would notice is probably the voice. Sometimes you might have to read a quote a couple times before you understand it. That is because Skloot didn’t change quotes and rewrite them to make them easier, she wanted to keep the voice of the family true. At first it seemed like it was badly written, but after a while I enjoyed it, it helped me understand the family’s deep character. In the end I think Skloot made a smart choice by keeping the quotes accurate, the depth that it added to the story helped keep you interested, especially towards the end when the text started to get dry.

While I was reading I found myself having to sort of force myself to continue, while it was a good book and told a great story, it wasn’t exactly something that grabbed you and made you want to continue and find out what’s next. For a non-fiction book it was entertaining, but I believe Skloot could have done a better job of keeping readers hooked and leaving some of the interesting facts for the end of the book. The book appeared to be written like a news story rather than a book, where the interesting stuff came first and it slowly got less and less appealing.

Afar from the readability itself, I believe Skloot did a good job at writing the book and covering all aspects of the story. She didn’t take any shortcuts or leave any stones unturned, I believe that this book is the leading resource for information on Henrietta Lacks and her family. Though journalists have told the story before, nobody has gone as far or spent as much time as Skloot did on this book. It took Skloot a decade to go through the entire process of researching and writing the book.

Her sources were all credible and helped her completely visualize the story in her book. She used a tape-recorder and took vigorous notes during interviews. Skloot also used a tactic I found interesting called throw-away questions. The idea of throw-away questions is to ask questions that aren’t important or that you already know the answer to so that you can stall the person and give you time to take down notes while they answer the question.

When you look further into the book, it brings up more questions. While it may seem like it’s just a book about Henrietta Lacks and her family, at its heart it is much more. It is about ethics, and medical ethics to be exact. Skloot talked to multiple lawyers about medical laws, and the legality of the situation. It is illegal to take somebody’s possession without their permission, it is stealing, and your body is under your possession. Whether legal or not, however, it is ethically wrong to take cells from somebody’s body without their consent.

People tend to believe that just because something is legal, means that it is ok to do it. Not everything legal is still ethical though. As public relations professionals, we often tread the line of ethics. Skloot brought to light all these questions about what is or isn’t ethical. Even if the book wasn’t good, and it is, it would still be a good thing that this story was brought to mainstream attention.

Thought the history of the story is still a painful subject for the Lacks family, they are happy that the story is out and are pleased with the book. Throughout the process of writing the book, Skloot has developed a special friendship with the family. Skloot has even set up a foundation for the family and family’s like theirs as a way of giving back. She didn’t want to benefit from their story without returning the favor. She donates a percentage of the profits she makes from the book and anything else related to the family, including the film adaptation that is currently being planned.

Though the story can get dull at times, Skloot wrote it well and factual. She took the utmost care with making sure the story included all the details and facts. She wanted it to be so accurate that she went as far as keeping the quotes from Lacks’ family exactly the same. By doing this it gives the book more character and voice, and allows us to understand the family and how this all has affected them. I can confidently say that no other person could have wrote the book as well as Skloot did.