First internship, here I come!

(peoplemakinggood.com)

(peoplemakinggood.com)

In about one month I will be starting my first internship at a PR agency! It’s been less than a year since I have decided on public relations as my future career path so I am very eager to see what it is really like. I will be interning at People Making Good located in downtown Burlington, Vermont from May through December.

Yes, I may have waited a little longer than I should have to start doing internships, but I hope to make the best of the time that I have there. I’m excited to see what it takes to get earned media for and manage social media accounts for clients like The Republic of Tea and Walkers Shortbread.

I am happy that I was given the opportunity to do a six month internship instead of the 3-4 month ones that are more typical of college students. I think that those extra few months will help me gain some greater experience than

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The number one fear

(jmorosoff.wordpress.com)

(jmorosoff.wordpress.com)

“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two! This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”  – Jerry Seinfeld

Public speaking… the thought of it still makes me cringe. I chose to enter a field where I will be doing this more likely than I would like, so I better get used to it. I remember when I first started giving presentations in high school. Bright head, sweating, reading directly from note cards as  fast as I could without stopping to breathe.

Thankfully I have made some progress over the years, through loads of practice. I was a shy kid growing up so naturally speaking in front of a room full of people didn’t exactly come easily to me. I hated giving presentations so I figured that the only way to fix that was to give as many as I could. I took public speaking twice while in high school and again during my freshman year of college. I am still not as calm in front of a crowd as I would like, but I’m still working on it.

Public Relations Nation recently posted a blog post titled, The fear of ExPRessing yourself that gave some tips for how to deal with the fear of public speaking. They gave a few good ones, but I thought that I would share some that work for me.

  • Wear lightweight clothing – When I’m nervous I tend to start over heating. Instead of stripping off layers when I am in the middle of a presentation in order to keep from passing out, I prefer to wear a lightweight shirt that is only a single layer. Even if it’s cold enough for a wool sweater, don’t do it!
  • Slow down – I know when you are presenting you are just counting the minutes until you’re finished, but try not to rush through it. Without realizing it you will be talking faster than normal if you are nervous so make a conscious effort to be aware of how fast you are speaking.
  • Have a cup of water – Whenever it is possible, I highly recommend it. If you are nervous just take a breath and a sip of water. It will help to calm your nerves and to cool you down if you are overheating.

 

So those are a few tricks that I find helpful.

What do you do to stay calm under the pressure of public speaking?

Content really does Rule!

content rules

(www.contentrulesbook.com)

As technology continues to evolve, so does the role of a PR representative. This book packed a lot of information and really showed how important the role of a content creator is in today’s online world. Our audiences need to be provided constantly with new content in order keep them engaged with our brand.

It is easy to get stuck in our old ways, but if you don’t change with the times your competition will get ahead. Done correctly, using content will establish your company as a reliable source for information.

Creating content doesn’t mean you need to take one new staff or create a new department. Content Rules gives great tips on how to make content creation manageable. Two great tips the authors give are to create a publishing schedule and re-purpose. Creating a schedule will allow you prevent you from staring at the computer screen trying desperately to come up with a witty, yet informative Facebook post minutes before it’s due. Re-purposing will allow you to create multiple pieces of content out of one source. Say your company comes up with a list of 5 great tips for something related to your business. Instead of just doing one boring post on the tips. You can release one tip a day on your Twitter account and then at the end of the week feature a video with a spokesperson explaining how exactly to use these tips.

Okay, so now you have an idea of what the books about so I’m going to weight in on what I thought about it.

PROS: This book is filled with valuable tips on how to create content your audience will care about. If you’re not extremely familiar with social networks this will also give you some good information on how they are all used differently.

CONS: I have to say that for a book targeted to PR professionals, it has a lot of fluff. I think the author’s could have gotten their point across in about half as many words.

And always remember…

Don’t feed the trolls!

Facebook Tips

This morning I came across an interesting article that was posted on LinkedIn. The article is originally from Mashable and is titled, 10 Tips for Posting on Your Brand’s Facebook Page. For the most part I agree with author’s tips and think that this is a valuable read for other people starting out in the PR industry. Social media management is becoming a key part of managing a brand’s reputation. Even though Facebook and Twitter do not translate directly into sales, it would be a mistake to consider them an after thought.

So here are the tips:

  1. Don’t Automate Your Status Updates
  2. Don’t Be Afraid to Show You’re Human
  3. Do Post More Photos and Videos
  4. Do Put Your Fans in Charge Every Now and Then
  5. Do Target Your Status Updates
  6. Do Ask Questions and Involve Your Fans
  7. Do Watch Your Post Frequency and Timing
  8. Do Have a Unique Voice
  9. Do Diversify Your Content
  10. Do Track the Performance of Your Posts

I disagree the most with number one. I think that if used correctly and keeping in mind the other tips, programs like HootSuite are a valuable tool to keep your audience engaged. Auto posts should never be a substitute for genuine human interaction though. It is always important to have a dialogue with your audience and respond to them directly.

 

What do you think? Are there any tips that you disagree with or have worked really well for you?

Sochi 2014 (maybe they needed until 2018 to finish preparations)

 

sochi rings

(www.nydailynew.com)

The Winter Olympic Games – What a great opportunity to bring the nations together and for the host country to show all of the wonderful things they have to offer the word.

(apparently Russia wasn’t aware of the second half of that statement)

About a week ago, journalists were starting to settle into their accommodations anxious for the excitement of the Olympic games to start. I think we were all aware that Sochi, Russia way not be as luxurious as Aspen or the French Alps, but the conditions people are experiencing there are really quite shocking.

skier toilet

(http://www.americablog.com)

Missing door nobs, no water, stray dogs, oh my. The Olympics could have helped bring some notoriety to this Russian city and helped boost their tourism. However, I think it’s safe to say that the recent publicity is doing very little for Sochi’s tourism market.

So by now it is safe to say that the Olympic Committee is in the middle of a crisis, after all they did choose Sochi as the venue for this year’s games. Now what do they do?

  • Luckily the Olympics produce so much press that these stories are going to be buried pretty quickly—this will certainly help
  • Issue a statement: Ask public for their patience and understanding about the situation. Explain that Russia may have different standards than the United States and many of the other countries. Instead talk about how much Russia has done over the past years: the advancements they have made and what really went in to getting the city ready
  • Finally: please supply lightbulbs, doorknobs, bottled water, and other luxury items like these to all of the tourists that are missing them

One last thing:

Please get someone to put a cover on this manhole!

manhole

You just don’t mix celebs and foreign policy

So if you have read my recent post about Dennis Rodman and his whole North Korea fiasco then you have an understand of how some celebrities don’t mix well with foreign policy.

Well, I just recently stumbled across an interesting Yahoo article, Why star power and foreign policy don’t always mix

Apparently Dennis Rodman is not the only celebrity getting themselves into hot water over international issues. It is actually starting to become a sort of unfortunate trend where naive stars partake in international affairs only to end up hurting their image. (which I can imagine is the exact opposite of what they are trying to achieve)

The moral of the story: it pays to do some research before saying yes.

Scarlett Johansson

(photo: http://www.theguardian.com)

Scarlett Johansson: America’s sweetheart should have done a little digging before agreeing to star in a super bowl advertisement for Soda Stream. As a goodwill ambassador for Oxfam, she may not have said yes to the job after finding out that the company operates a factory in an illegal in the  Israeli-occupied West Bank. Because of her failure to do her research or speak to a representative at Oxfam she has not had to cut ties with the charity as a result of the ad.

In addition to Scarlett and Dennis, the article also mentions some foreign policy fiascoes concerning Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian.

My word of advice: Do some research people. If you don’t want to then ask your publicist to. It would be much easier to simply avoid a crisis and try to recover from one

Another sad day for the cruise industry

10 days sailing on the open ocean, margarita in hand, and bikini clad—could you think of a better way to escape a cold North East winter?

royal carribean

(photo: www.nbcnews.com)

Unfortunately for nearly 300 Royal Caribbean customers, things didn’t go quite as planned. Just a few days into the Explorer of the Seas voyage from New Jersey to St. Maarten, norovirus spread quickly and is said to have affected nearly 10% of the passengers on board. Nausea and vomiting are just a few of the symptoms associated with the gastrointestinal illness that are wreaking havoc on vacation goers.

The cruise industry has been through a lot over the past few years: sinking ships, plumbing issues, power outages,  illness outbreaks. These incidents keep occurring and are going to have a serious impact on the future of this industry if something isn’t done about it. Beside from dramatic price cuts, I am not aware of any other ways that cruise lines are trying to attract new customers and retain old ones. $400 for 7 nights in the Caribbean may seem like a great deal, but you couldn’t pay me $400 to risk a week vomiting in a cramped cabin. I would rather stay home and be healthy for free.

I think Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines could seriously benefit from some great use of social media. Right now the average age of a cruise customer is over 50. With the record low prices currently being offered cruises are within reach of many people in their 20’s. Target these customers where they live, the internet. With all the bad press that these cruise lines are getting it is up to them to create their own good press. Use Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to feature pictures and testimonials of cruise passengers in real time. These companies need to show potential customers that these incidents are rare and isolated, that cruises are actually fun and a safe environment.

 

Check out these sites for more info on the most recent cruise disaster:

300 sickened on Royal Caribbean cruise ship

Royal Caribbean’s ‘Explorer Of The Seas’: GI Outbreak Sickens 300 Passengers And Crew

Dennis Rodman, do you hate your publicist?

Dennis Rodman

Is it just me or have we been hearing that name a little too often over the past few months? So how has this 52 year old, cross-dressing, former NBA star made his way back into the spotlight? By befriending one of the most hated men in the world, North Korean president, Kim Jong Un.

Talk about a publicist’s nightmare.

Image

(photo: http://www.theguardian.com)

When first hearing of Rodman’s trips to North Korea for ‘basketball diplomacy’ I was skeptical but thought that it may be a good idea. Reasoning with the communist leader did not always go as planned, but maybe we could connect with him through one of his personal interests.

So they became friends, kind of weird but not too surprising seeing that we are talking about Dennis Rodman here. You know, that guy that wore this get up to his own book signing.

Image

(photo: http://www.nbcsports.com)

But it’s what happened earlier this month that really caused some damage to his public perception. Comments were made by Rodman defending the nation’s detention of an American citizen. In November, 2012 Kenneth Bae, a tour-guide leader) was arrested and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea for allegations that he was attempting to overthrow the government through religion. Many Americans hoped that Rodman’s presence in the nation may lead to a release of the prisoner.

So now what? Shortly after the incident Rodman’s publicist issued a statement to The Associated Press on Rodman’s behalf apologizing to Kenneth Bae’s family and stating that he takes full responsibility for what he said. He also stated that he had been drinking that day and that his judgement was impaired.

Saturday the story hit that Rodman had checked himself into an alcohol rehabilitation center.

I believe that Rodman’s publicist took the right steps issuing a statement and I would assume advising him to seek treatment for alcohol abuse. So what advice can I offer him now? Unless Rodman is able to pull some strings and actually get Bae out of prison, I think it would be best for him to lie low for a while and then slowly try to rebuild his image.

Learn more:

Dennis Rodman says he loves North Korea’s Kim Jong-un

Dennis Rodman Regrets Comments on North Korea Prisoner

Target Data Breach… crisis averted?

target

In case you haven’t heard by now, Target had a data breach during the peak of the Christmas Shopping season that may have affected up to 110 million customers.

If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, check out these stories from some major news outlets:
http://www.nbcnews.com/business/target-says-stolen-info-data-breach-hit-70-million-people-2D11894083
http://money.cnn.com/2013/12/22/news/companies/target-credit-card-hack/

Customer names, card numbers, expiration dates, pin numbers, and security codes of all these customers are now at the disposal of some unknown criminal. As expected in a situation like this, the public is more concerned about the steps that Target failed to take in order to prevent this kind of situation than about actual criminal that stole all the data. We live in a world where identity theft is prevalent and we try to do our best to protect ourselves by staying away from sketchy online venders and instead stick with reputable retailers. But unfortunately things don’t always go as planned and I think that Target has handled the situation well given the unfortunate circumstances.

No matter how terrible the situation, Target knew that if they failed to get the situation under control in a timely manner then things were bound to spin out of control. The same day that the story broke Target was issuing statements to the press and instructing customers to contact them in order to help answer any questions they had. The very next day they were offering a free year of credit monitoring to anyone affected by the breach.

I’m sure the executives at Target are praising their PR team for all the hours poured into creating an extensive crisis plan. It is so important to plan for the “what ifs”—knowing how to react in these unfortunate situations is something that has the ability to break even a well established company.