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Author Archives: Two-way street PR

Three Steps to Creating a Podcast

For my personal learning project, I chose to focus on podcasting. I’d researched the program Audacity earlier in the semester, but I didn’t get in-depth with the program, besides tinkering around with the editing tools. For this project though, I’ve learned far more about podcasting than I ever thought I would want to know.
Before starting the project, I decided to change the program I would use for podcasting. I like Audacity, but after playing around with GarageBand, I felt more comfortable. GarageBand is a more user-friendly option for mac users and has quite a few similarities to the video editing program, Final Cut Pro.
The interesting thing I’ve learned about podcasting is the many steps needed before you can upload and publish your podcast.
1. Create a Podcast
This step took much longer than I thought it would. I anticipated that since the process was audio-based, it would be easy to edit. I noticed that with just audio; I became much pickier about what I wanted to publish. I wrote a script and edited it to sound more casual. I also added music to avoid hearing only my voice for five minutes. I found the editing process to be fun in a strange way. It’s interesting to assemble a podcast, piece by piece.  After I edited my podcast,  I uploaded the file to my iTunes so that it could be uploaded to the Internet as an MP3 file.
2. Upload your podcast
Finding a reputable website to upload podcast files took some searching, but there are plenty of sites to choose from. I originally started with archive.org, but the embed application wouldn’t display within my WordPress blog. I switched to podbean.com and WordPress still wouldn’t display the media player. As you can see above, I’ve settled for the link that will transfer you to my PodBean media player.
3. Publish your podcast
I chose to publish my podcast to my blog on WordPress. I would generally recommend doing this so you can reach your current audience. I think I may have been able to have a media player in my blog if I wasn’t used the template WordPress system.
 
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Posted by on November 13, 2011 in Blog, Public Relations

 

Politics in Search Results

I recently came upon a blog article from the New York Times, that discusses a new digital campaign technique being utilized by the campaign for Republican presidential hopeful, Herman Cain.

Photo courtesy of blogs.telegraph.co.uk

After the recent sexual harassment scandal involving Herman Cain, his campaign team used a new way of drawing bad press away from the Republican candidate. The Cain campaign purchased ad space from Google to help dispel the allegations.

Screenshot taken of Google search

Just by searching for “herman cain” or “herman cain scandal”, a Google user is greeted by two sponsored websites in support of Herman Cain. This is an interesting and good strategic move by the Cain campaign. It’s easy to tell that the links are provided by the Cain campaign, but it accomplishes its task by planting an opposing idea in your head. This article also brings up a good point on how our news is being dispersed.

Political campaigns, and business campaigns to a certain extent, no longer have to go through the typical channels of media to access the public. Typically, a candidate when faced with accusations such as these, would have to make a  public appearance to dispel the rumors and the allegations. With the advent of social media and the internet; multiple channels have opened for a candidate can express his or her opinions on.

The New York Times blog also details Cain’s campaign team utilizing Twitter to reach the public. By searching for Herman Cain on Twitter, members are directed to a tweet from Herman Cain that references a Washington Post article detailing Cain’s response to the harassment allegations.

By utilizing social media, politicians have opened up new ground to spread their message. Many believe Barack Obama’s popularity in his presidential campaign was due to the extensive use of social media; specifically Facebook. The interesting thing about this story is that many companies aren’t quite sure yet how social media fits into their business plan. Political campaigns though, appear to have discovered an excellent way of utilizing social media.

 

Sean Dixon on Social Media Platforms and ROI

Social media dashboards, such as HootSuite, provide an easy way to update statuses across multiple platforms. After using them myself, I can say they are a definite time saver. A guest lecturer for the COM 509 class made me look differently at how dashboards are being used.

Sean Dixon, the Interactive Media Manager for the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, provided many  interesting insights on social media during his lecture. He presented ideas for Facebook, Twitter and Blogging from his personal and work experience. I’m disappointed the lecture came after having just finished my social media campaign; I would have loved to incorporate some of his ideas into my own campaign. He presented a convincing argument that social media outlets should be used individually rather than using an application, such as HootSuite, to control them all at once.

I’ve used HootSuite before, but I feel it gives off an impersonal tone when used to update across multiple social media outlets. Because the message is being mass-produced, it doesn’t translate well across the different social media platforms. It does, however, save time in updating different social media outlets and it can be helpful when organizing multiple timed tweets. Dixon recommends though, using the individual networks to disperse information. He said that using HootSuite isn’t necessarily bad, but the presentation of information is clear and well polished if presented over its native network.

Dixon’s discussion of the ROI on social media was informative and the subject is currently a hot topic within the public relations world. Todd Defren, author of PR-Squared, recently posted on his blog how companies are presenting the ROI of social media. I’ve been searching up for an effective way to present the ROI of social media until Dixon’s lecture. The excel sheet Sean provided serves as a good template for how a social media oriented employee should present the information. It lists statistics for the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau Facebook, Twitter and blog account. Under the heading “Social Media Statistics” it displays the amount of new followers and “likes” on their Facebook and Twitter account. As public relations comes to the forefront of companies, it will become more important for practitioners  to show how their efforts are contributing to the company.

 

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Three Essential Research Steps for a Public Relations Campaign

I recently conducted research for one of my PR classes, and it made me think about my future in the public relations field. The question asked was, “What are the key elements of a research campaign?” I thought it would be a simple question, but I  stopped to think about how I would do this in a real setting.

The key elements of a research program for a public relations campaign are the examination of the client, examination of the stakeholder and problem opportunity research.

1. Examination of Client

Client research, according to “Public Relations: A Values-Driven Approach”, should be focused on “discovering an organization’s size; the nature of the products or services it offers; and its history, staffing requirements, market and customers, budget legal environment, reputation and beliefs about the issue in question.” Extensive  research is necessary to ensure a public relations campaign aligns with the client’s strengths and reputation. In my opinion, the more a public relations practitioner knows about their client, the better the campaign will be and crisis events will dramatically decrease.

2. Examination of Stakeholder

Stakeholder research concentrates on any public’s who are important to the success of the client. This is an important step because many public relations campaigns have been discredited due to poor examination of their stakeholders. An example of this is the Nestle baby food controversy, which occurred in the 1970’s. Many children in non-English speaking countries were given Nestle baby formula by their parents, who were not able to read the instructions properly and were unintentionally providing inadequate nutrition to their children. The lack of stakeholder research for non-English speaking countries, in relation to Nestle, has made the organization suffer from negative publicity in the present day.

3. Problem-Opportunity Research

Problem-opportunity research focuses on what stake does the client’s organization have on a particular issue. It essentially looks for the reason that a client should act or react in a certain scenario. Its like if an animal spots a predator. It has to decide whether the best course of action is to run, fight, or do nothing in hopes the predator will allow the animal to go unnoticed. An organization examines its course of action in a similar way, by determining what it stands to lose or gain by participating on an issue.

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2011 in Public Relations, ROI

 

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Twitter or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Tweet.

I’ll admit it. I’m a public relations major and I didn’t like Twitter. Get the pitchforks! We must kill Frankenstein’s monster!

I didn’t understand the reason for using something that was nothing more, in my opinion, than a glorified Facebook status update system. I vehemently refused to use it and thought everyone was odd who did. After spending time in my COM 509 class though, I’ve begun to see the light. Twitter is more than just a status update system for people to keep me alerted to the food they are eating. I’ve begun to see the multiple ways people use Twitter to keep in contact with one another or the way it is utilized to spread news.

I joined this semester out of pure curiosity. I figured, if I’m going to not like something, I might as well know my enemy. So, I joined and began following a few celebrities and friends to get a feel for what the system was like. I can’t say I was impressed at first.  I thought it was too busy and I didn’t understand what was going on. So, I stopped using Twitter and let it fall by the wayside. I then realized that I was acting like a bull-headed dope, rather than a college student. I was afraid of change and going outside of my comfort zone. There was nothing wrong with the social network, there was something wrong with my perspective.I suffered from the excuse, “I have nothing interesting to say.”

Now if you were to look at my Twitter account, you can probably tell there hasn’t been a huge change in the amount of tweeting I do.

I’m working on it.

I’ve decided to take a new perspective and begin using Twitter with purpose rather than seeing it as an outlet for people’s current state of mind. The original use of Twitter was actually to make it easier for individuals at a business to have communication with one another. Therefore, I’m going to try to find a subject or an idea of what I want to do with my Twitter. It could be public relations (original, I know) or possibly something more hobby related. This subject has made me realize a fundamental lesson, that I needed to learn again, which is to push myself outside of my comfort zone. Even when it’s for something like Twitter.

 
 

3 Ways to Defeat Writer’s Block

Suffering from writer’s block, while maintaining a blog for a class, is a bad thing for a PR student. Sadly, this happened to me last week. I stared at the screen for a half hour and had nothing. Zilch, nada, not one thing to say about PR or blogging. You can see on from this post, I eventually overcame my writer’s block and assembled my required posts on schedule. I can tell you though, at the time, I felt like I was trying to dig my way to China with my bare hands.

To avoid this in future, I decided I would write this post for those suffering from writer’s block and as a reminder to myself.

1. Don’t Stare at the Screen.

I’m horribly guilty of this. My mindset becomes, “I’m writing this post even it takes me all night!” Unfortunately, this is not a healthy mindset to take before trying to write an essay or blog post. I realize we all have deadlines, but I feel the most important thing to do when faced with this dilemma, is to walk away from the screen. I’m not recommending that you give up responsibility of writing the paper or post, but rather to take at least ten minutes to clear your head.

2. Free Write

I know this is lame, but I picked up this hint from the film “Finding Forrester”. When I feel stuck, I just start writing whatever is in my head. Even if it comes out gibberish, I at least know that it possible for me to still write. Doing this, typically, helps to clear my head of whatever I’m thinking about. I also see it as a means of stretching my mind for the process of writing.

3. Write in something else besides your laptop.

Writing an entire draft of work on paper has become something of a lost art to me. I don’t like it because I can’t immediately go back or erase what I’ve written. I’ve noticed though, by writing on paper or in a different location, it’s easier to get the words out . The writing may not be organized or neat, but it gives me something. I imagine this is a form of self-fulfilling prophecy.

I don’t mean for these tips to be an end all to your writer’s block problems. As with everything, the important step is finding what works best for you and moving forward.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2011 in Blog, Public Relations

 

Monsters, MySpace, and Viral Movie Campaigns

With the advent of social media, movie marketing campaigns have become even larger and creative than before. It used to be enough to interview the actors on late night shows and release film trailers to the public to increase buzz about a film. Marketers are now having to find new, innovative ways to draw attention to blockbuster movies. The most interesting trend, I’ve noticed in recent years, is the viral movie marketing campaign. Many films have made worthy attempts into the field,such as “The Dark Knight”, but I don’t think any have perfected the art.

The best viral marketing campaign, I’ve seen done so far, is for the film “Cloverfield”. “Cloverfield” is a 2008 monster movie, produced by J.J. Abrams. The film had one of the best marketing campaigns in my opinion, because it was built upon mystery and seeking out clues. When the trailer was first released, no one knew what to expect.

The original movie website at the time even made for an eerie viewing.

Then, slowly, more details started to come out about the plot of the film. Fake websites were made for organizations featured in the film and even fake MySpace profiles for the main characters. The use of MySpace was great because the actors involved with the film were relatively unknown at the time, therefore, it gave a feeling of realism. Their profiles are still up if you want to check them out.

This marketing campaign was fantastic because it stimulated people to actively seek out more information about the film. My favorite part about this film was two people could watch it and come out with two different experiences about what they watched. If someone participated online, the story had even more twists and turns than it did for the average moviegoer. The use of social media and websites became as important to the story as the film was.