The PR Industry’s High School Stereotypes

In this fun article by Matt Dougherty, public relations assistant at BLASTmedia, we learn a interesting take on the PR industry by comparing various roles to stereotypical high school movie characters. Dougherty explains how our PR skills started to form when dealing with different groups in high school, whether it be jocks, cheerleaders, nerds, stoners, or the hipsters. When dealing with the different groups we made a common ground to talk and build a relationship that we benefited from down the road. Dougherty uses the examples of a jock asking a nerd for help on homework or a band geek receiving a makeover from the pretty, popular girl. Dougherty lists four classic high school groups and their relation to people in the PR industry.

The popular kids: Crisis communicators

Dougherty says this would be the popular girls, other wise known as the “plastics” in the movie “Mean Girls.” These girls are constantly in crisis mode when worrying about their image. Whether the crisis be a stain on a shirt or wearing the same sweat pants twice in a week. Dougherty says they are the ultimate crisis communicators, always on their toes trying fend off negative press.

 

The Jocks: Executives

Dougherty claims these guys rule the school, sometimes even with force. The jocks, like executives in a firm can often be the terrible bully roaming the office. Dougherty does say they can have a soft side, as seen in “The Breakfast Club” by Emilio Estevez who falls for the girl far from his social group.

 

The nerds: Social media’s early adopters 

The executives (the jocks) can be found picking on these guys for focusing on something not important to the firm while not realizing they are on the right path for fame, fortune, and success. Like in the classic “Revenge of the Nerds,” these guys can be the heroes.

 

The new kid: Young PR Pros

Though it won’t be easy for us young PR pros like it was for new guy Ren McCormack in “Footloose” (who danced his way through his challenges) we still can make a comparison. Dougherty says young PR pros face new challenges every day and sometimes they get right through them and other times fall flat on their face. But like Ren McCormack they could just change your establishment along the way.

This article was an interesting way to look at the PR world, but it did make a lot of sense. I know from my experiences in high school, many different walks of life helped me to accomplish many different things, which lead to some interesting relationships. If we can find a common ground with people that aren’t our “type” we can open many doors to achieving our end goals.

Here’s a link to the article on prdaily.com: http://prdaily.com/mediarelations/Articles/13020.aspx

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7 Everyday Tips to Prepare for the Inevitable PR Crisis

In this article by Katie Kiley Brown, the reader learns about 7 everyday tips to help prepare for a PR crisis. It goes without saying, but as a PR professional you need to know how to handle a crisis. This article from prdaily.com lists great traits to prepare for a PR crisis. 

1. Be nice: Build good media relationships. Know your friends and enemies, Brown says you are a salesperson (kind of) and you need to sell your product. Having bad relationships could put a damper on your sale.

2. Look nice: If you want people to take you seriously, then look the part. If you look like a slob, people will think you are unprofessional. This one is kind of a no-brainer.

3. Be a beacon of trust: People need to be able to trust you. You will know very sensitive material about your client. You don’t want something to get out (that doesn’t need to come out), that may be damaging. 

4. Have backup childcare (if you have kids): A crisis can happen at anytime, make sure your kids are taken care of if you aren’t home for a while.

5. Play it safe with social media: This goes back to pictures taken where we all are now. Don’t have a Facebook picture of you getting tanked in Aggieville come back to haunt you as you give a press release on behalf of your client. 

6. Practice safe post-mortem: “It ain’t over ’til you decide it is,” says Brown. Let others know when things are bad and when they get better. Let everyone know you are on top of everything. A great thing to do as well; work with your fellow PR crew to find some human interest stories to keep around for when the crisis is over.

7. Study your craft: Follow other crisis in PR, and study them. Study national crisis and local crisis, and learn from them. Pay attention to what reporters ask, look for mistakes, and look for things people do right. Brown says to conduct mini case studies of stories pertaining to your field. 

Crisis can come at any time so it is vital that we are ready. If we conduct each day with these tips, we will have a leg up on the crisis. It was good to read that case studies are a critical piece of the PR practice. The cases we have talked about in class will help us in the future, just don’t stop looking at case studies when this semester ends!


6 Reasons an Athlete Should Run Your Social Media.

I came across an interesting article on prdaily.com today, “6 Reasons an Athlete Should Run Your Social Media.” The title intrigued me and once I read it, it really made sense. Athletes have perfect traits that are needed for running a social media site. Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan was the author of the article. The 6 reasons an athlete should run your social media are:

1. Athletes are great at setting long and short-term goals. As any athlete knows you must have long and short-term goals to accomplish anything in your sport. Whether it is bench pressing 350 pounds, running a marathon, or winning a championship; you must have long and short term goals. The same goes for social media.

2. Athletes know you have to show up everyday and give it your all. A social media site has to be active all the time and has to be producing quality content. Just like you would have to do at practice all week, in order to win the game on Friday.

3. Athletes know how to listen to their coaches and their bodies, to make changes to become better. A social media manager needs to be able to listen to their followers and fans in order for the site to be good. 

4. Athletes are obsessed with measuring effort, results, and evaluating effectiveness. Athletes are great with stats and data, this will translate perfectly into the social media world.

5. Athletes now how some sacrifices can lead to big payoffs. Social media can take up a lot of time and effort, but in the end it will be very beneficial.

6. Athletes know how to work as a team. Your athletic social media manager knows how to get everyone involved and often times step out of the spot light for the team. Your manager can get everyone clicking and producing a great social media site that will have the fans drooling. 

Most athletes are great leaders and a great leader is exactly who you want running your social media. Social media takes a lot of time but is vital when dealing with a public. I run our family retail store’s Facebook and know how much effort needs to be put into it for the site to be beneficial. Like sports, a well done social media site can be very rewarding. When your sales boost and you get new fans, it truly does feel great!

Here is a link to the article: 

http://prdaily.com/Main/Articles/13050.aspx


7 Reasons People Hate Being In Meetings With You

This article was on prdaily.com and was written by Adam Kleinberg.
http://www.prdaily.com/mediarelations/Articles/13042.aspx

I imagine everyone in our case studies class has been in a meeting before. I can also say, with almost 100% certainty, we have all been in meetings we absolutely hated. I know for a fact I have. We usually hate meetings because they take up our time, get in the way of other work, and are usually incredibly boring. Unfortunately, meetings are incredibly important and won’t go away. Most of us will attend meetings for the rest of our work lives and many of us will be the ones directing the meetings. This article by Adam Kleinberg gives 7 Tips on how to conduct and execute meetings so our attendees get the most out of the meeting and aren’t forced to sufffer. 

1. Have an agenda. An agenda doesn’t have to be incredibly detailed and complex. You do need to make sure you have an objective and a plan. As long as you know what you want to achieve in the meeting and know how your going to achieve it, you should be good. 

2. Talk with the group, not at the group. Do not have the meeting completely memorized and just go in, talk like your reading a script, then be done. You need to be able to listen and engage with your group.

3. Do not overwhelm them with data. If your doing a powerpoint, don’t have each slide crammed with data. Instead communicate one idea per slide. If you insist on having multiple points on a slide use three. Kleinberg has a good way to illustrate this, “As soon as you put a laundry list in front of people, they don’t see your lovely blouse or cool new jeans. All they see is a pile of dirty laundry.” In other words, keep it short and to the point. 

4. Don’t become overly familiar. Relationships are important to create, but rarely is it love at first sight. You want to have a relationship with your attendees but don’t confuse it if there already is a relationship. It turns people off if you cross the line to quickly. A good way to make sure you’re not crossing the line is to ask your self, “Has this been happening a lot lately?”  If this is true, tone it down.

5. Don’t look at your phone, especially when people are talking. This is a given, and should be used even out of the meeting room. Give people your full attention.

6. Don’t talk over people. Let others talk, even if you have a great idea. No one likes the person that is always 1-upping everyone and trying to show how brillant they are. Let everyone partake in the meeting to get the best brainstorm. Your ideas are valuable and need to be said, but wait your turn.

7. Don’t talk just to show you have value, when you really don’t have value. Kleinberg says these people are called “blowhards.” They talk just to be heard and create the illusion that they are valuable. No one likes a blowhard; so don’t speak just to be heard, speak to add value. 

These 7 skills are very important to all of us. We need to know how to conduct ourselves in meetings to get the most out of the the meeting, whether the meeting is with classmates, coworkers, or clients.


The NFL’s PR Crisis

I had to search for this article on PR daily since it isn’t the most current one. I am a die hard NFL fan so this is an article that really interests me. The article was titled, “After PR crisis, NFL and refs union hammer out a deal,” written by Michael Sebastian. 

In this article Sebastian recaps the horror that was the NFL replacement refs. If you are not familiar with the NFL, the replacement refs were some unqualified refs that filled in for the NFL refs who were on strike due to contract disputes with the NFL. Instead of paying the refs the money they demanded the NFL let the real refs go on strike and hired all new “replacement refs,” many of which had never even refereed a college football game. The replacement refs were awful to watch and caused a lot of controversy which finally reached its boiling point on Monday Night Football when the replacement refs completely messed up on a game winning touchdown call. The refs missed a pass interference call and gave a touchdown to Seattle Seahawks’ Golden Tate, who blatantly did not have possession of the ball, which allowed Seattle to beat the Green Bay Packers.

This is when the social media firestorm hit critical level. Packers players and just about everyone and their mother took to Twitter to unleash their anger towards the NFL for having unqualified refs ruin a Monday Night Football Game. Even presidential and vice presidentail candidates, Barak Obama and Paul Ryan, chimed in on the subject by saying the NFL needs to get the real refs back. One Green Bay player, TJ Lang, had more than 150,000 retweets on two of his “colorful” tweets towards the NFL. Sports commentators said the NFL’s reputation was in a crisis. Two days after the game the NFL and the real refs hammered out a late night deal to reinstate the real refs.

This just goes to show how much media and social media can influence a decision. The NFL has one of the highest, if not the highest, reputations in all professional sports. With almost everyone in the world, including President Barak Obama, criticizing the NFL for making fans suffer through games with poor officiating, the NFL had no choice but to hammer out a deal. John Nichols, writer for The Nation, gave unions (like the NFL refs) a piece of advice via twitter, “Outrage over absence of real refs gets settlement by NFL w/refs union. Lesson: Make union struggles popular struggles.” This goes back to what we learned about in class: make it easy, clear, POPULAR, and mandatory.

Here is a link to the article: http://www.prdaily.com/crisiscommunications/Articles/After_PR_crisis_NFL_and_refs_union_hammer_out_a_de_12769.aspx


5 Tips for Handling a Facebook Firestorm

I came across a social media crisis article on prdaily.com. Social media is a major tool in public relations but can sometimes be a battleground for angry fans. This article gives 5 tips for handing a crisis on Facebook. The article was written by Chris Syme who is a consultant in crisis communications and social media strategy.

Here is the link to the article:
http://prdaily.com/crisiscommunications/Articles/12984.aspx

Tip 1: Make sure you have a posting policy visible.

This is usually found in the about me section on an organizations Facebook page or can be its own tab on the page. The purpose of the posting policy is so people know what is acceptable and unacceptable to post and why their comment may be deleted or hidden. There is a great example of a posting policy in Syme’s article.

Tip 2: Filter the public posts and comments for the crisis at hand with the Manage Permissions tab.

Facebook offers a function that will allow you to mark certain words as spam. You are able to change this setting at anytime. This is a good way to weed out hateful comments. Another tip that Syme’s says is important is setting your profanity block list to “strong.” Don’t delete negative posts, as long as they are civil.

Tip 3: Be selective about “liking” positive posts.

Syme’s says to be careful about joining the conversation. She usually “likes” 10 to 15 percent comments coming in. She only “likes” the ones that are supportive of her organization.

Tip 4: Be selective about deleting, hiding, and blocking.

There will be comments you don’t like. Syme’s says do not delete them! It is important for people to vent and let out their frustration. Only hide comments that violate your posting policy. Be careful when blocking a “fan.” Only block a fan that is constantly being offensive and sneaks through the filters over and over. Keeping civil negative comments is important because it lets other users know you are not trying to ignore their voice, you are just trying to keep it civil and productive.

Tip 5: Let the people vent

This can be hard, especially if it is your own company. It will be difficult to hear negativity towards you all day long but it is important for people to let it out. Try not to take it personally and just learn from it. Don’t engage a mad fan online, instead put something in the posting policy about how they can contact you off the page. If you let it all flow eventually the issue will die. Just make sure you have a crisis plan put in place before the hand and you will make it through.

This article relates well to what BP eventually did. When they finally started using their resources right, social media turned into a place for people to vent, which ended up being very healthy for the crisis. Social media not only lets us reach our publics but also lets them have a place to voice their opinion. It is important for us to know how to handle a firestorm on Facebook, Twitter, etc. so we can get the crisis over as soon as possible. Just keep the social media talk healthy and not offensive and your crisis should die out smoothly.


The Most Terrifying PR Clients

In the spirit of Halloween I decided to post an article from prdaily.com about the most terrifying PR clients. This was a fun article about something that can be scarier than any horror movie…. clients we may run into in our PR Careers

The author of this article, Jennifer Nichols, co-founder and CEO of FlackList, lists her 13 most terrifying clients. I feel you will be able to agree on almost all of these.

1. The Micro Manager. “He/She gives you a deadline for a document on Tuesday and on Monday—the day before its due—asks when he’ll be able to see it.”

2. The DIYer. This is the client that gives you a task, then goes ahead and does it themselves. Nichols lists the following examples, the clients asks you to contact a reporter and then reaches out himself. Or ask you to change a pitch and then sends you a new version just as you are finishing up the re-draft.

3. The unforgiving client. This is the client that holds a grudge. If you make one little mistake they will either look down on you forever or just go ahead and cut you from the job.

4. The love you/hate you client. Nichols claims this one may be the worst. This would be the client that constantly gives you praise then one day you are the worst enemy.

5. The inhumane client. The client that is pure evil. Nichols says this is the client that will give you an assignment on Friday at 5 pm, that will be due on Monday at 8 am.

6. The never satisfied client. Nichols lists the following examples of a never satisfied client: “You have 15 meetings with journalists in New York set up? Well, she wants to know why the two remaining slots aren’t filled. Or she asks why the Facebook post had fewer likes than the former.”

7. I want my money back client. Nichols simply states, “You don’t want to meet this one—trust me.”

8. The O.C.D. client. This one is your nitpicker. Font must be the same, minimum of words but no more than the max, and this client applies these rules to everything.

9. The ad person in a PR title client. Nichols claims, “This is the client who edits your pitches so that she can insert “marketing messages” into the copy and thinks that media will simply pick up whatever you send out and run it verbatim. She is only satisfied when the story resulting from an interview reads like an ad, and she keeps pushing you to pitch a business/workplace story to a morning show that only covers fluff.”

10. The Ellen/The View/Today-obsessed client. “It used to be “Oprah,” but now everyone seems to want “Ellen,” “The View” or “Good Morning, America.” And they don’t have a celebrity or a budget to do audience giveaways. Right.”

11. The Talker. Pretty self explanatory but the Talker will talk your ear off. This client also relies on you to listen to all their life problems.

12. The strategy seeker. “Does this sound familiar:’They get great media results, but don’t give us any strategy?’ Many a client has arrived on our doorstep with this lament about their previous firm and the reality that 99 percent of the time they don’t have the budget for strategic discussions or any of the big program ideas we threw into the pitch to get the business. But a month into the account they are screaming for the hits.”

13. The make me look bad client. “This is client who asks you to pitch top tier media promising juicy data or key interviews and then leaves the reporter—and you—hanging out to dry when he doesn’t deliver. It’s a surefire way to get your agency person blackballed from a reporter you will likely need to pitch for another client long after this client is gone. This is also the client who begs for media placements and beats down your door to get ‘results,’ but ‘forgets’ to return the calls of a ‘Today’ show producer for 2 days after your release goes out.”

This was an entertaining read, but also helpful for showing PR students what future clients may be like. At some point we will all likely deal with a client or two that will fit the bill of one of the above. Whether it be for a class, an internship, or in our career. As terrifying as that client may be, they can definitely be a good learning experience and can help us on future campaigns.