Sincerely Skype

First of all, happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there! I finally utilized my Skype account. My family lives accross the country and I was unable to visit my mother today.

Thanks to Skype technology, I was able to video call her and talk with her face to face. I have the Skype app on my phone as well as on my PC desktop. This was the first year living far away from my parents and getting to see her hold up the flowers I ordered her and see her beam sheer happiness is a great feeling.

I would recommend the app Skype to any college students wanting to keep touch with home, long distance relationships or business colleagues. I have also used Google Hangouts for group projects. It’s amazing the advancements in technology can do when it comes to communication!

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Revamp the resume

Job seekers have more options than ever to create a resume. Employers receive sky-high stacks of cover letters and resumes. How can your resume stand out from all of the cookie cutters and not get lost in the shuffle? You have one opportunity to make a first impression. I will advise two ways to differentiate from other applicants.

First, work to improve what you already have. With a degree in PR, marketing or a related field, professionals thrive on promoting and communicating in a creative way. The same should apply with a resume. Correlate these elements within your resume and relay a message to potential employers showing what you’re capable of. It should display desired qualities such as being unique, creative and knowledge of design and the software to create it.

I looked at my resume I wrote last year before graduation. I hate to admit it, but it was dull. At my university’s Career Development Center they edited my information and condensed my entire professional and relevant experience into a basic format. The message between the lines of that resume was not me. I am not a run of the mill business graduate, I am a PR professional.

original resume

modified resume

modified resume


 
As you can see in my resume samples, my first attempt is nothing special. The font is basic and there is no creativity or color. I modified the resume to show design elements of alignment and a hint color. I also included varying fonts to differentiate informative sections and for my name to stand out. The resume below appears to be planned out and designed instead of minimal effort the left example displays.

Another way to get creative with a resume is to use a media format. I recommend making a resume video. Last year I created my very own and recommend wearing professional attire, have a sound proof room and test the light and sound. For an example of a video resume, check mine out on YouTube by clicking here.

Hope these ideas and examples are helpful!

The New Rules of Marketing & PR

As a college student, I have come across many different styles of textbooks throughout my educational career. For my Social Media for Public Relations course, we were assigned David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing & PR. This textbook is not the typical just the facts  kind, but instead tips and advice on how to properly market and create public relations for your company or client online. This latest edition gives insight to some of the latest and most useful tips for marketing or public relations.

Maybe it is because I recently upgraded to a smart phone, the HTC One, but I find myself using my phone for everything. I am on social media, blogging, taking pictures, comparing prices of products or items I may soon purchase. One important feature discussed in Scott’s textbook is the importance of social media presence. It is a habit to follow and constantly check what our favorite brands and companies are posting on social media. Scott explains social media’s purpose as, “The best way to think about social media is not in terms of the different technologies and tools but, rather, how those technologies and tools allow you to communicate directly with your buyers in places they are congregating right now” (54). It has become a social norm for almost every company to be present on social media platforms because they promote where their buyers go.

Social media is increasing in popularity as well as new and diverse platforms are continuously being created to fit every need of their users. With every target audience imaginable on social media, it makes sense for a company to be present where their audience is. This topic I found to be the most important because it truly is the most cost-effective way to market products. It is virtually free to create accounts on social media platforms and millions may follow the account. This is an easier and quicker way to also reach buyers than print or television ads. The news is current, and may go viral as individuals share and like the images, tweets or posts. Scott explains throughout Chapter 5 how important it is to include social media as part of a marketing or public relations plan.

Jean Folger wrote an article on Investopedia about the importance of social media for small businesses. For smaller companies social media is an ideal solution for promoting their products or services because they may not have a budget to advertise or promote. For instance, my part-time job throughout college has been at a tanning salon. My work uses Facebook to let customers know when sales are happening, if we are closed because of a holiday or weather issues and what our hours and address is. Folger explained a company needs to select a platform that is best for their use and purpose. It would not be necessary for my work to have an Instagram account for instance because we do not have a product or service that is constantly new and changing, or in my opinion very photographic. If we were a larger company with it’s own tanning lotion line or something that was novel, then additional social networking accounts would be advisable.

This textbook also included a few ideas I do not agree with. Scott thinks a company should not be present on every social media platform. “There are literally thousands of social networking sites out there, and it is simply impossible to be active in all of them” (269). Yes, I agree that smaller companies should not spread themselves too thin and focus on a particular network and designate all time and effort into perfecting that account. But the large conglomerate companies that have thousands of employees and a large audience should be present everywhere. If they have many different types of buyers, they should try to be everywhere possible on the Internet. I think of the large companies such as Target, McDonald’s, Disney to name a few who would thrive well on all social media platforms.

In the Brandwatch blog Gina Horton analyzes why brands have multiple Twitter accounts. Their company conducted a study and found that 63% of companies have multiple Twitter accounts. This is a rising trend. Companies should beware though and not let it negatively affect customer service. With multiple accounts there is the possibility that it complicates things and customers don’t know where to make complaints or send questions.

My favorite chapter of this book was chapter 16, Social Networking Sites and Marketing. Eye opening statistics can be found as well as in-depth information and advice about different social media platforms are discussed. Scott continually stresses how important it is to have social media presence for a company in this chapter. Overall I believe this textbook is exactly what the public relations and marketing field needs. It is useful for students who are just entering the professional field of public relations. It is also useful for anyone who is already a professional and needs a refresher about how business is being done now. The new rules of marketing and public relations is essential to know. I recommend this to anyone in either field.

 

Social media is worth your time

Technology advancements within an industry and social trend changes can alter the way a company conducts business. Many businesses and brands have put tremendous time and effort into social media marketing online and are active on many social media platforms. The results of this new trend for public relations is visible everywhere. Think about what companies, brands, and celebrities you follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Robert Wynne, author of the article “Is Social Media a Waste of Time?” Seems to think social media is no place for public relations activities. This article praises traditional PR practices and using media relations. I would like to point out several clear reasons why social media is not only helpful for public relations, but is a necessary platform all professionals should be using.

Traditional media is slowing being outpaced by social media. Some popular publications are only published electronically now. Breaking news is at the consumers’ finger tips online. As a part of a younger generation, I know firsthand my peers do not read or consume traditional media. We do not have the time for that, but do have the time to check our social media networks. Young professionals and college students especially cannot separate from their phones and social media networks. You are more likely to have your content viewed whether it be an article, video or image if it is somehow connected to a social media platform. The new social norm is to read through social media feeds each morning instead of the newspaper.

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With so many users on social media platforms, it is easy for things to spread fast and go viral. Wynne states in his article that seeking out media contacts is a more valuable way to spend time than on social media. Yes traditional media is still an important source of news for a company or brand to be recognized by a large audience. However, content shared on social media, especially audio and visual content, may spread like wildfire and reach an even larger audience than ever expected. In David Meerman Scott’s book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR, he explains how different tools when used correctly online successfully promote the company or product. “Many organizations create video to showcase their expertise and provide valuable information to buyers in an easy-to-understand medium… Other forms of online video include humor-based approaches (frequently used to try to garner many views and go viral)” (98). Social media networks are becoming the new place to locate news and information. I look on my news feed on Facebook and Twitter and all I see are links to articles, local news stories and pictures of the latest trending product. Social media is becoming the new medium for news and it is essential for public relations professionals to promote their clients online.

Wynne’s article calls for “More face time, less Facebook.” He claims social media does not allow for professionals to “meet reporters in person, go to events, participate in seminars, pick up the phone. ” Yes those are all essential tasks to network and form professional connections, but many connections can be created just as easy on social media. David Scott gave an analogy in his book about social media being like a town. You can go to the bars and make friends with gatekeepers and other important contacts. After making friends with them you can ask for favors and become comfortable working with someone you know and have formed a connection with. Online communities or bars would be discussion boards, groups on Facebook and such. As a public relations professional you must go where the people in your field are, and right now they are online.

Social media differs from traditional PR outreach because the message may be read by everyone online instead of sent out to specific target markets. Wynne says “The public and universal nature of social media means all audiences can read communications intended for any one audience. One can no longer categorize audiences and messages.” This is not something public relations professionals should be upset about. Instead of spending time altering a message for a specific audience, sending out one message online is enough. You may still have an intended audience for your message and seek out those groups by following them or inviting them on social media.

Social media may also allow your message and client to be broadcast in a medium you didn’t think about before. Traditional media requires gatekeepers to approve of whether or not the information you send out in press releases and pitches is worthy enough for their audience. If you share information on social media platforms, bloggers may pick up on the information and write about it. The public who follows you on social media may share it and all of their followers will see it and so forth. As you can see it is not a waste of time to publish or share information online.

Many consumers do not trust what they read in traditional media these days. Journalists are not experts of one specific topic nor speak in ever industry’s language nor understand every concept in that field. The public looks to social media to find specific information when they follow blogs, join groups or follow their favorite company or brand on social media. John Beveridge wrote on Social Media Today about how valuable an expert source is. “The second part of my question had to do with how social media and the ability for thought leaders to self-publish would change their jobs. As an example, I said that I would rather read Rand Fishkin talk about SEO than a journalist.” It is also important to connect with the leading bloggers and social media leaders in the field. “Seek out thought leaders, customers, partners and vendors to share your content. Most importantly, make sure to reciprocate the favors they do for you.”

Another point Wynne discussed in his article was that social media is a place to conduct research. Social media is more than a means of research. Social media is a place for professionals to interact with the public and their customers. Good PR practice is not to sit back and listen to what the consumers are saying about the company or product, but to create two-way communication and respond. When a company interacts with their customers and fans on social media who are discussing their products and services, it boosts customer service. David Scott made an excellent point at how it is important to interact on social media. “…you must ignore the old rules. Public relation is not just about speaking through the media, although the media remain an important component. Marketing is not just about one-way broadcast advertising, although advertising can be part of an overall strategy” (23). The old rules are out, and social media has taken over.

 

Public Relations: Social Media Era

social-media-for-public-relations12Throughout my career as a public relations student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, I have taken a broad spectrum of courses which include interpersonal, intercultural, interracial, health communication in the Speech Communication Department. Social media has been a topic of discussion in these classes but until taking Public Relations for Social Media this semester, I was unaware of the capabilities social media platforms have for public relations.

Social media in the past has been a way to reconnect with others, communicate, share interests and build new relationships with people. Now social media has impacted public relations and professionals are using online tools and mediums to reach out to specific audiences. Social media brings about a whole new set of rules for public relation professionals to follow, but many are based on the same foundation that I have learned during my time college.

There are several important things I have found which are the same principles and rules of public relations taught in traditional courses that should also be applied with social media. One of those rules is to be concise and short as possible. While writing pitches, press releases and other copy, a public relations professional has to get to the point and not bore the audience. By removing any extra fluff and unnecessary information in copy, the audience will be given the straight facts without feeling they are being told an elaborate and egotistic side of a story. Twitter is an excellent way to practice telling a story short. In only a matter of 140 characters per tweet, stories and headlines of links must be to the point and spark the interests of followers. In class I have always been told to shorten and cut down copy. I now think up as I write shorter ways to make my point across social media.

Keeping the audience in mind is always an important feature while writing for PR and on social media. It is important to remember to write about and share content that is relevant and what the public wants to hear. I think about an example of this through Facebook posts. If I were to make a personal post on my Facebook wall for friends to see, I would more likely receive responses if the content was relevant material to others than just something I only like and understand. Always keep in mind the wants and needs of your public.

Communication with public relations should always be a two-way dialogue, not a monologue. I learned this concept from interpersonal and public relations courses and the same rule applies for public relation practices on social media. As professionals we must maintain communication by responding and creating relationships when the public interacts with us on social media. In Breakenridge and Solis’ Putting the Public Back in Public Relations, being real and talking in a personal and conversational tone has a greater effect than a factual monologue. “Whether explaining or complaining, joking or serious, the human voice is unmistakably genuine (188).” The public would rather hear from public relation professionals in a personalized manner.

There are also several things I have learned from my social media class and book that explains why social media tools help public relations practices. First of all it is easier to reach a larger public. More people will see and interact with your organization or brand if you are present on different social platforms. Social media is on the web, phones and tablets. They have an ease of entry and are more likely to be viewed than traditional media such as newspapers and magazines.

In an article on PR Daily, Mandi Boyd states “…social media now affords brands the opportunity to present a statement immediately and simultaneously across several platforms, address a mass audience with the most up-to-date information, and interact with consumers directly.”

Social media also allows for easy two-way communication. In the past the public did not have much say or interaction with information created by public relations professionals. Now with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and blogs, individuals may follow, like, comment and respond to the information they receive.

Social media also allows for a message to be unique and differentiated. Not every audience you want to reach will disseminate information in the same format. With social media, you must adapt to the public’s needs and make it easy for them to reach the information. Posting on several different platforms and in different ways will reach more audiences. “Social media also forces PR to see things differently. No longer can one set of messages to one audience serve a purpose. Social Media has forced PR to focus on the mainstream as well as the Long Tail, a group of niche markets reachable via dedicated channels (Breakenridge and Solis, 31)”

So far the first few chapters of Putting the Public Back into Public Relations has been informative, but is similar principles I have learned in my pubic relation classes. Social media has such capabilities and is constantly evolving. As long as professionals use social media properly, these platforms will increase brand awareness, create communication channels and foster important relationships to the public. I feel I have learned many of these things in my public relations classes already and consider myself lucky obtaining my degree while this public revolution is occurring online. I look forward to learning more as more platforms and practices evolve.

New year, new chapter

In the past I have used this blog for class requirements and personal use.  I come back to you this year a little wiser, tech-savvy,  and almost done with college. I am going to use this blog to discuss public relations, social media content, and things that hopefully will interest you as much as they do me. Social media and public relations are ever-changing topics and I hope to present interesting articles and ideas. I am currently enrolled in a class called Social Media for Public Relations.  I hope to present some interesting finds!

I have created a twitter dedicated to these topics. Follow me @sbbrockman and you will have access to additional articles and information.

On a personal note, I am focusing on fitness, crafting, apartment/college living ideas, and may throw in a few sorority things here and there. Most importantly, I am interested in finding my first real job after college. I am just a few months shy of graduating, moving into my first own place, and job hunting in the PR field. It is going to be a wild few months and want to reuse this blog so that I will remember a few things during this busy semester! Below is a picture of myself bringing in the new year.

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Look out 2014!

I’ve missed running!

So this summer on top of my academic courses I am taking, I also am taking fitness classes. It is credit to get in shape! I am taking a running for fitness as well as personal shape up. Both are ten weeks long.

In my running class, which starts at 8 a.m., we test by running a timed mile every five weeks. My initial test was 8:45 minutes and my one I did today was 8:04 minutes. My intended goal this summer was to run under a eight minute mile, so I am getting close. We also run hill sprints around campus, go on scenic runs, as well as different exercises to get our heart rates up.

In my personal shape up, it may be summed up as really different circuits. We also do different things with a physio ball, which I recommend getting! You can purchase them at most stores for less that $20 dollars. We do ab workouts as well as strength, flexibility and agility.

As a track runner in high school, there is nothing more I miss during the spring and summer time than running trails and a track. I broke my foot last year in a car accident and had a long recovery time, and it feels great getting back into a routine!

For those of you in college wanting an “easy A” class, think about seeing what fitness classes are offered. If not just spend some time out in this wonderful summer weather!

 

Interracial communication

This past week my educational experience was like no other I have had before. I enrolled myself in an accelerated class which was a week-long, nine hours a day.

Coming into that class I thought we would learn how to better communication with people of other races. It really ended up being geared toward black and white communication and peer teaching format. It was more personal stories teaching us and explaining why things like prejudice, racial profiling and others still exist.

Photo Credit: amd.unprocessed via Compfight cc

One concept I really learned was that it is not an issue to feel uncomfortable around people we don’t know of another race, it is just as if they were of the same culture as you. Just being around more people who are black and getting to know them will be great practice for the professional world.

In the public relations field there is going to be a wide diversity. I am glad I took this class because I know a little more from the black perspective and opinions about things. Knowing that I hopefully will be able to understand more people from that culture and it be easier to communicate with.

Don’t get me wrong, I have friends who are black, Indian, Native American. People I don’t know of other cultures and ethnicity I consider people I just haven’t gotten the time to meet yet. This class made me more open to expressing my opinions. These are good traits to have in today’s business environment. Take note that it was not just communication majors taking this course but also business, criminal justice, human resources, speech pathology and countless others.

 

Summer classes

Photo Credit: Enokson via Compfight cc

After a long school year filled with stress, exams and long nights of studying, the approach of summer vacation is welcoming. No school just fun in the sun. Unfortunately for most like me, the possibility of graduating after eight semesters is slim to none. So we have to take summer school.

This summer I decided to take 16 credits. I just completed a week-long class in interracial communication, and will be taking a management class, case studies for public relations, small group communication and two kinesiology classes. With summer classes there are pros and cons; you get a more laid back course but at the same time have a shorter period to cover information usually a full semester takes. Also it cuts back free time you have in the summer.

I am personally glad to have enrolled in so many classes because I am dedicated and determined to graduate on time. After this summer I can apply for graduation and will be finished with college in May!

I recommend any student to consider taking college courses over the summer, not only are teachers more likely to give one on one help in the classroom, the environment in general is less stressful!

Chapter 16: High-profile projects

Public relations writers have more than just their everyday press releases, feature stories and media advisories to worry about. There are high-profile projects such as annual reports, events as well as exhibitions. This chapter discusses the importance in preparing each of these projects. My preferred area of public relations that I plan to go into is event planning, so I found all of this information extremely helpful.

All writing contents for an organization are important for fostering a relationship between the community and ones client, but these projects are especially important to give your best work because they are so large and have such a great impact. These projects are deadline driven and have a high cost too.

Annual reports recap the organizations activities during the past year. This includes a narrative and a financial section. I have taken accounting classes and have a minor in business administration so I feel i would be prepared if I ever have to do one of these.

Photo Credit: chacrebleu via Compfight cc

I most look forward to planning special events. Special events may include product launching, celebrate organizations anniversary, grand openings or a participant in at a conference. Writing skills will be required at all these things. Writers will need to inform the media in advance about these events and to get media coverage. Invitations for the public, employees and media also will be a responsibility for these events.

This chapter further gives me reason to believe I have picked the best career path for my future!