Archive for Topic of the Week:: COMM 4333

Advice for a PR student

As a PR student entering into college and beginning to take PR classes it was interesting to see how well I fit into my major. Although I have to admit sometimes I felt literally overwhelmed and felt like giving up (or at least taking a week long vacation) I know that this is the right direction. You see, I really enjoy the different aspects of social media not to mention being required to get on Facebook and Twitter during class. ūüėČ I loved learning how to utilize different communication tools. At first it can be overwhelming because some of it will of course be new and you’ll have to learn how to use it. Although the semester is coming to an end and my PR class will be over, my professor Barbara Nixon has taught me so much about public relations and has really encouraged me to love what I’m doing. I have never seen such drive and passion for public relations, social media, learning, and communication as I have with her. Thank you so much Barbara for everything you do!

Now for my top 10 tips for a PR student:

10. Research different social media outlets and see how you can use them together to make things easier. More does not have to mean more complicated or complex.

9. Learn from your classmates. The longer I am in school, the more I realize how different we all are as far as what we bring to the table. Don’t be so quick to offer your own answer as you are to hear from others and learn from them.

8. Don’t hold back because your answer is different. This goes for many things, not just PR. As I said previously, people bring things to the table, but you also have ideas and that will help others think more broadly.

7. Don’t let yourself get discouraged. Being a student can get stressful at times and doing social media stuff like blogging, tagging, commenting, and posting can sometimes feel like a pain when you’ve got tons of other assignments due. Don’t think this isn’t for you just because your stressed. If it’s something you enjoy doing, understand the time will come when it will be easier to manage.

6. Keep up with your blogs and assignments. I find everything easier to manage if I chip subtly away from the big items and attack the small ones.

5. Take your assignments seriously. Be responsible with your writing. Your future employers may be reading your blog.

4. Read your classmates blogs and other’s blogs. You never know what ideas you will get or how you will be inspired to write for your next blog.

3. Read ahead if at all possible. It will benefit you in class discussions and it shows the professor that you respect his/her class and you are willing to put in the effort. You’re only in school for a short time then all that learning is put to the real test.

2. Get a side PR job. The more you are in industry the more likely you are to pick up things which will help you that much more after graduation.

1. Enjoy what you do. PR is really an exciting, innovating career that can basically be what you make of it. Experiment, take risks, learn, and have fun.


Introductions as a guest speaker

When individuals are asked to be guest speakers, they often must provide their own introductions written so that someone else can introduce them to the audience.

Why are introductions so important?

Why not just let the speaker get up there and start speaking? An introduction plays a crucial role for the guest speaker.

The purpose of an introduction is to:

1) Gather the audience’s attention.¬†People are coming into one place with different things going on in their lives and they may be present but it doesn’t necessarily mean they are ready to be engaged. ¬†However, engaging the audience is different than convincing them that they need to or should listen (even if it gets boring)

An introduction should also…

2) Motivate the audience to listen. Listening is active, hearing is passive. It’s important to let the audience know that this is something they are going to want to or that they need to listen to.

However, with so many bad introductions, many people are ignorant of what a good introduction looks like.

So how do you write an engaging introduction?

Do you remember the last time you heard an engaging introduction? Maybe you stopped what you were doing, broke off a conversation, or got a little excited to hear what the speaker had to say. ¬†Most likely it wasn’t because you knew beforehand that you were excited to hear them, but it was probably the way the presenter introduced the speaker.

Watch Carl Kwam’s video on How to Introduce Another Speaker in 3 Steps


Make a Presentation Like Steve Jobs – YouTube video

Killer Presentation Skills – YouTube video

Listening to podcasts as a PR student can be quite beneficial

This week I started listening to several PR/marketing podcasts. My favorite so far has been The Creative Career¬†pod roll. The one I want to focus on today is¬†An Interview with Stever Robbins, Author of ‚ÄėGet it Done Guy‚Äôs 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More‚Äô

This is great timing to listen to this podcast because it’s nearing the end of the semester and students are hitting that crush time where being intentional about time and knowing how to use it wisely is crucial. I absolutely loved what he had to say because on of the concepts that he mentioned in the podcast that is in his book is this concept of “concurring technology.”

Robbins said in his interview with Allie Osmar Siarto that “the problem with technology is that it has made everything to easy.” He goes on to explain how since some things that we do online are so easy we just do them and it basically distracts us from our main objective or our top priorities. ¬†He explains that if things took more effort, that we would actually pre-determine whether or not it was something we really needed to do.


As a PR student and also PR practitioners that are new to the industry can be greatly benefited by listening to daily podcasts, even weekly podcasts. ¬†It’s easy to do and you can do it while you work out or make dinner. I would highly recommend taking time at least once each week to learn something new and be refreshed by other learners and professionals in the industry. Every time you listen can get you one more step ahead of ¬†your colleagues. You never know what you may pick up and learn from these.

Feel free to share your experience with podcasting and if you have any podcasts you like to listen to that are PR related, go ahead and leave a link!

Happy podcasting! ūüôā

You can also follow Allie Osmar Siarto (allieo) on Twitter.

Get the book¬†‚ÄėGet it Done Guy‚Äôs 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More‚Äô¬†¬†on Amazon.

Get Infographed!

What are infographics?

Infographics (aka information graphics) are an great way to visualize a complicated set of data quickly. For all of you visual learners out there, a list of numbers may not mean as much to you as say a graph or pie chart.

Infographics come in many shapes, sizes and designs.  I just love infographics because they are a quick and easy way to summarize the information and the content is more likely to stick if you actually see how the information plays out in the grand scheme of things. It is also much more esthetically pleasing when you have pictures and colors verses words and numbers.  I also find it much easier to remember information when I can associate it with a photo  or differentiate it between all the other information there with it.

timeRAZOR-SXSW-Map copy-C5-thumb
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As a public relations professional, one may use an infographic in a story for your client. ¬†For instance, if your client was your school, you could make an infographic about males vs. females, how many students live and work on campus, or the number of students vs. faculty. ¬†If you’re in public relations, there’s a high chance you’ll be making a lot of these. Infographs make your work more understandable as well as interesting to the general public.
People may not normally be interested in reading statistics, but when formatted into an interesting looking chart or graph, it’s much more likely to be noticed, or looked at and even read because of what it looks like.
It’s important to make your infographic stand out, easy to follow and to the point. Don’t make it too busy or messy where someone can’t tell what they’re reading.
If you’re interested in making a infographic here’s a great link to a video that shows you how to make one in Piktochart.
Feel free to leave a comment! ūüôā

What is “Blog Scraping”

This week’s Topic of the Week is:¬†Imagine you are working in public relations for an organization, and you discover that someone has scraped/copied content from your organization’s blog. ¬†What approach would you take to remedy this situation?


Blog scraping is the act of ‚Äúrepublishing‚ÄĚ or copying content off of someone’s blog without consent.

The more popular your blog becomes, the more likely it is to get scraped. An example would be a business who owns a blog. If a company or individual who owns the blog is scraped, it can create many problems, not to mention be really frustrating when you spent hours creating a unique blog.

Some blog scrapers copy the content off your blog, others use an automated software that takes the content from your RSS feeds and post them as a new post on their site. (Hint: Don’t put the content in it’s entirety in the RSS feed).¬†


Kevin Muldoon gives 5 methods for “fighting back against the scrapers” in his article Don‚Äôt get stressed about blog scrapers stealing your content¬†

Some bloggers however have stopped blogging altogether and have started video-blogging (vloging) as you’ll see in this video.

Like any information that’s put on the web, it can be manipulated. Someone can take the voiceovers out of the video or just transcribe the worded content into a blog. It may not be the initial formatting but it’s still the same content, nevertheless. If this happened to me the last thing I want is to go on a hunting spree trying to find my content all over the web. That’s time I could be spending on my blog. Had it been for a company, I would say take legal precautions — write a letter to Google, write a letter to the site that’s scraping, anything I could to let them know I’m aware of their actions and to scare them away, and after that —¬†The best thing is to be aware of blog scraping and take necessary precautions in order to prevent people from taking advantage of your hard earned work. ¬†You’re not going to lose any money by someone scraping your blog most likely, but no one wants someone else to take credit for their work.


Happy Blogging!


New to public relations and working on building a network of professionals? Working on producing a story but don’t yet know any professionals in that particular field? Want to find the most knowledgable person on your topic to help you out? Not to worry HARO is your HERO!

What is HARO?

HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is a free website that allows journalists all around the world to request expert interview sources for the stories they want to produce.

HARO was developed by CEO and entrepreneur Peter Shankman and founded in 2008. It began with a simple Facebook page to help out his friends find sources. Today, it is a dream come true for communicators growing from a Facebook group with 1,200 followers, to a list of more than 56,000 email subscribers today becoming the most popular way for journalist to connect with professional sources.

How it works is this:

1. Go to

2. Click on the Submit Queries button

3. Read the “How This Works” if you haven’t already.

4. Click on the Submit Query button on the right

5. Fill out the short one-page form with your information including your name, email, media outlet, target source, and due date.

6. Click Submit Query button

7. Your query will be sent to HARO’s mailing list and generally within 24 hours you will begin receiving pitches from suitable interview subjects on your topic.

Now sit back and be amazed. ¬†HARO’s tagline, “Everyone is an Expert at Something” rings true. The great thing about HARO is that it takes the stress away from having to know everybody and having to already have all these connections set up in order to write a story that takes a good amount of research and professional interviews. ¬†All that is right here at our fingertips. ¬†Communicators helping communicators communicate well, and everyone contributing their best. That’s what I love about HARO!

How can you and your clients benefit from Help A Reporter Out (HARO) as a PR practitioner?

You can “like” HARO on Facebook and also find them on Twitter.

Guest Blogger!

jennmbrowning is my guest blogger for the week. Enjoy!

Landing Your Dream Internship

October 7, 2011 by jennmbrowning

The PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society Association) shares some vital and appropriate information to every college student seeking an internship. It is important to know how to market yourself to potential bosses and companies. These tips to gain an awesome internship will ‚Äúnot only enhance your resume, but your carreer‚ÄĚ.¬†(PRSSA Blog)¬†I feel it is important to start early in the game to be as professional as you can to gain highly respected and admired internships and carreers.The 10 Tips:1.Research the company you‚Äôre interested in

2. Networking

3.Write details about the person you have networked with on his/her business card

4.Start your internship search early

5.Make a list of Target Companies

6. Be yourself

7. Send a thank-you card

8. Have strong writing samples

9.Have your resume reviewed

10.Apply for numerous positions

 Thanks Jennifer!

How Poynter Can Point You in the Right Direction

My Writing for Public Relations and Advertising (COMM4333) class does quite a bit with the Poynter website, specifically with the News University Courses (see also previous post).  However, there are several additional resources within Poynter along with the NewsU courses that you may find quite beneficial as you begin your career in public relations.

Poynter has the latest news as well as upcoming training and events which include webinars and online seminars.

If you’re not familiar with Poynter’s NewsUniversity, you should definitely check it out. Also see previous posts on my blog about some of the NewsU courses. NewsU has 40 self-directed courses, totally free yet completely worth the time. Not to mention Online Group Seminars, Webinars, Video Tutorials, and many others.

Poynter also has “How To’s” ¬†for news gathering and storytelling, digital strategies, leadership and management and community engagement. ¬†Poynter also has online chats that you can participate in.

You can “Like” Poynter on Facebook

Negative Comments not so negative?

I was reading a couple articles from Ragan’s PR Daily. ¬†One was called 7 tips for managing negative comments online.

It had some great pointers on how to respond when someone leaves a negative comment on your blog.

 FIRST: Listen to what is being said.

SECOND: Respond quickly

THIRD: Take it offline

FOURTH: Be apologetic

FIFTH: Know when to walk away

SIXTH: Know when to asks for help

Language of the Image

I recently took another one of Poynter’s (free) News University courses and I must say this was one of the most enjoyable ones I’ve ever done. It’s called Language of the Image. ¬†I enjoyed it because it inspired me to take more beautiful photos. ¬†It made me realize that there is a lot that goes into making a photo memorable. It’s about being able to identify those elements of what makes a photograph stand out, what makes you pause as you’re scrolling through hundreds of photos or stop and gaze at a photo in a magazine.

The course was laid out in four different sections:

Photo types — There’s three types of photos: ¬†informational, passive and active.

Single elements — There are fifteen different photographic elements that help an image tell a story.

  1. Graphic
  2. Quality of light
  3. Emotion
  4. Juxtaposition
  5. Mood
  6. Sense of place
  7. Point of entry
  8. Impact
  9. Rule of thirds
  10. Perspective
  11. Surprise
  12. Layering
  13. Moment
  14. Personality portrait

Multiple elements — Good photographers use more than just one element to enhance an image’s storytelling potential.(In this section you match up which elements are used in each of the particular photos).

Different approach — There are many different combinations of photographic elements that can make an image effective. ¬†For instance, two photographers can go to the same event and take pictures of basically the same things, but the approach in which each one takes (i.e. quality of light, point of entry, rule of thirds, layering, etc) can make the difference between a photo you glance at and that doesn’t catch your eye, and one that catches your eye and keeps you there, makes you think, and provokes emotion.

I highly recommend taking this (short) course as it packed with valuable and easy tips and tricks. Knowing these qualities and considering them when taking photos can enhance the quality tremendously.  I was very surprised by the quality of the photographs.  I would love to learn more about photographs!

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