Friday, April 27, 2007

Best Public Relations Practices

Blogs are an important new tool in public relations. There is no doubt about the importance that blogs have in marketing and selling the brand being promoted. Blogging is the most important public relations tool I learned throughout the semester and am glad I had the opportunity to learn to use them as I know they are playing an essential role in communications. Here are some of my favorite best practices we have learned this semester and make sure to check out the links provided!

We have a greater amount of power than when generations older than us graduated college. This places a huge responsibility on our generation of college graduates. We have the ability to impact social change and can address big social and human problems with our job. Communications has become quite important in jobs today. In my organizational communications class, we discuss how organizations worked as a machine where every part of the machine was functioned by one person. Now, we realize that that type of organization doesn’t work because people’s opinions and personality and what they strive to do are taken out of the workplace making it a predictable environment. With the use of communications and letting people contribute individually what they feel allows individuals going into public relations to do what works best for them.

Research is one of the best practices and has become an emphasis in current practices. Research is not handled approximately 90 percent of the time in non-profit organizations. Two types of research remain important for each business, qualitative and quantitative. These two types of research must be done for the research to move forward effectively.

Being aware of what your competitors are doing is an absolute necessity. There is a gap in investigating competition with 20 percent not knowing what their competitors are doing. This is also important for non-profit organizations because they are always in competition whether we realize it or not. There is one pool of charity money, and they are all in competition because everyone wants the money. Ashlie McGill, the marketing manager for D magazine believes that knowing what other magazines are up to is essential for them to move forward with the publication and to remain in the top spot for a city magazine.

It is important to know who you work for and everything that is built into the organization. Knowing your company from the ground up helps to do your job best and be able to use all resources possible throughout the company. Ashlie McGill, the marketing manager for D Magazine, says knowing the organization as a whole is the most important task. She relies on this when selling advertisements and speaking with sponsors. D Magazine uses editorial, marketing and advertising in every aspect throughout the company and helps tremendously when talking to clients and making the strongest decisions.

In the communications business, writing style is a key variable to success. All documents should be consistent and polished. In our Advanced Communication Skills class, we have practiced this by writing pitch letters and interviews. It is important to note that credibility is lost easily when writing is weak, inconsistent and words are misspelled.

Branding is a power factor that organizations can’t ignore. When an organization has a motive to portray to other businesses and clients, it sets the organization apart from everyone else. For example, when the Virginia Tech tragedy occurred last week, Southern Methodist University was on top of their game and advertised that we come together in times of grief and tragedy. The prayer session was visible on all local networks advertising SMU’s unity.

Reading magazines and newspapers are essential to keeping up with the media. You must be relevant in the business with news and society. Public relations is all about new trends and staying on the cutting edge, so reading blogs, newspapers and watching television will help keep you up to date. McGill mentioned that staying on top of what people are interested in are essential parts of having a successful publication. Public relations must be aware of what is out there and how to find it. allows individuals to login and see what the new trends are.

If you have produced a great news release, it’s only worth it if you send it to the right reporters. From a reporters mind, if you’re not smart enough to figure out who to send your material to, you’re not worthy of the coverage. A writer must call and ask for who deals with the type of story you want to submit. You don’t want your story to be thrown away, so take the time and get it into the right peoples hands. According to Jason Baxter, many journalists have their personal blogs, and they are much more accessible through these than through their “day job” publications. When you willy-nilly send out press releases to reporters that are not the right contact, you can both infuriate the reporter and ensure you will get no coverage. It's the same - and worse - in the blogosphere. While some people think to pitch bloggers, you go for the A-list and A-list only, according to The PR Blog by Jeremy Pepper at

Sucking up to a reporter is so simple. Keep up on what topics they write about and compliment them on their materials. If you have a press release to send out, follow up with a phone call to make sure they received it. This makes it easy for them and even easier to publish your article or cover your event. According to, marketers try to befriend bloggers and reporters when they need them. Good marketers befriend bloggers and reporters before they need them.

Even though blogs have been around for several years, they're growing at the rate of at least 30,000 new blogs a day, according to Larry Bondine’s LawMarketing Blog. Most of the speakers we had in class brought attention to the new trend and value to blogging. You no longer have to rely only on the media to get your message to the masses, you can create your own blog quickly, and communicate directly with customers and the public. Blog expert Peter Blackshaw of Inteliseek said blogs are like "megaphones on steroids."
Check out to check out some more new trends in public relations.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Take a Look-Look at Entrepreneurs and SMU

Our Advanced Marketing Communications class is yet on another mission, to find what strives new entrepreneurs here at Southern Methodist University. Take a look at what I have found for Look-Look!!

How and where have you seen new entrepreneurs in your world?

Students I have seen around Southern Methodist University are shifting from predictable job descriptions to a working life created on their own. This new entrepreneur must realize the need to sell themselves because becoming a new entrepreneur entails self promotion. I have a couple of friends that are in the process of launching their own business. One, a jewelry designer, and two, a picture frame decorator. If there is an opportunity to create your own job, why not do it?

Do you see a shift to a certain type of attitude toward work?

People no longer want to start from the bottom of a company and move up. People aren’t willing to do the “crap” work in order to earn their way up. Through this moving up process, most individuals move from organization to organization in order to move up in a career field and don’t feel that sense of loyalty to stay with the same company. I have been taught that years and years ago, people had loyalty toward their company and knew that staying with them would result positively. Now, it’s all about earning money and being happy with what you do.

I feel that it is all a competition to be successful and the only way to win is to use unique ways of getting there. Along with this idea, people are interested in instant gratification. This idea is now applying to careers and success. A sense of empowerment also ties along with this idea. Entrepreneurs want to be in control and want to be outside of the box. It is getting easier and easier to start a new company everyday. Only now can you start up a .com from your bedroom.

How do you think this will change business in the future, if at all?

The new entrepreneur, because of technology, can be globally active. You don’t have to move somewhere you don’t want to be. Instead, you can do the business you want to do where you want to do it. This reach becomes doable and is a huge impact for the new entrepreneur. Focusing on SMU student entrepreneurs, I believe that Dallas is a great place for a start up company, especially fashion retail. Since SMU is a small private school, networking is a very big tool for anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur. If you wanted to start a retail store, you have many choices to network around the campus.


Blake Mycoskie is a graduate from the Cox School of Business at SMU. He saw the need for an on campus laundry service. Mycoskie’s business, EZ Laundry launched in the fall of 1997. The business grew quickly as he used sorority women to support him by wearing t-shirts in exchange for free dry cleaning. The company grew and Mycoskie found himself managing 40 employees and eight laundry trucks. The company expanded across seven universities. Mycoskie’s next great invention were TOMS Shoes. Inspired by a traditional Argentinean shoe made out of natural fibers, TOMS Shoes are the most ethical shoe on the market. In fact, for each shoe bought, the company donates a pair to a child. Due to great marketing, 5,000 pairs of TOMS Shoes were sold in the first month. The goal with the company is to give out one million pairs of shoes to children over the next three years. “There are a lot of things that need to be planned out before starting a business, but at the end of the day, if you have a product or service that people want, you can be successful and should just go for it,” Mycoskie said. Mycoskie credits Jerry White’s entrepreneurship course at SMU that helped him get where he is today. Take a Look-Look at Mycoskie's complete success story at as well as other SMU success stories.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Easter Weekend

Happy Easter Sunday everyone... look forward to my post next week as it is in the works!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Tara Hall Social Marketing

Tara Hall, the account supervisor for Weber Shandwick, came to our class to talk about her career and where social marketing has been and what lies in the future. Under Weber Schandwick, Screen Grab was started and led by Hall. Hall manages the Screen Grab practice group from San Francisco to New York with online message marketing, monitors analysis programs and manages blog and pod casts.

Hall told the class that we were lucky because there are lots of different avenues we can work within social media now because new technologies are emerging daily. Hall informed us that youth market is dominating, so if you want to target a young audience, social marketing is the way to do it.

Because space is so changing and constantly adding something new, there is always a challenge finding people who really understand the space of pod casting and blogging. Public Relations firms are looking for people like us who are being exposed to and understand what is new in technology.

American Airlines, Exxon Mobil, Coca Cola, Walt Disney, Mastercard, Hersheys, Susan G. Komen and Energizer.

Some Facts:
18-29 is the age group that is online the most
60 percent of Americans access broadband at home
72 percent of wireless Internet users check email on a typical day

Hall mentioned that the Internet is growing faster than other media networks and that Internet users are spending less time with traditional media. With that said, people are currently trying to figure out the best way to pod cast and the idea is still going forward. She warned us to make sure pod casts give an incentive to make people come back and want more because this is the only way it will work.

Hall finished her presentation with a tip for the class. She encouraged us to get engaged in the blogosphere within industry’s we are interested in and to start participating in their blogs within the company and people will notice and respect that.

Friday, March 23, 2007's Successful Launch

Nordstrom, one of the nation’s largest upscale apparel and shoe retailers, hired Conners Communications to help launch summer of 1999. Nordstrom’s goal for launching was to capitalize on the brand and communicate with loyal, existing customers while gaining the interest of new, younger, hip customers by the internet. Customers had high expectations and quality with Nordstrom, but customer base had not grown for a couple years.

A second goal for Nordstrom was to capture a larger audience by successfully positioning Nordstrom as the leader in e-tailing. Creating buzz and excitement around key events such as the launch of was the plan for Conners Communications. Conners also formulated messages and a public relations plan that focused on the positive elements of Nordstrom history, for example, the company’s reputation of having incredible customer service.

In result, many top journals and magazines published positive feature articles on as well as multiple business publications and newspapers commenting on how was one of the most successful launches for an online retailer.

Thursday, March 8, 2007


Blogvertising, otherwise known as blog advertising, represents a potentially huge advertising market and is in fact part of the fastest growing alternative media industry. eMarketer reports a study that blog, podcast and RSS advertising rose by nearly 200 percent in 2005 and is expected to grow another 145 percent in one year to reach nearly $50 million. Blogvertising is growing because there is a perceived ineffectiveness of traditional advertising by the 18-34 year old demographic, the majority of targeted age groups, and blogs reach this younger demographic effectively.

It was recently estimated that podcast advertising will actually be a larger market than blogvertising by 2010. Podcasting, projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 154.4 percent, is predicted to reach a total of $327.0 million by 2010. These numbers are closely in line with eMarketer’s own visions, which put total spending on podcast advertising at a total of $300 million by 2010.

For businesses blogging, there might not be much, if any, interest in putting advertisements on their blogs. However, if you are a small business, you should consider using advertisements to earn a little extra cash because it is predicted to actually work. Most major advertising networks recognize that there are a lot of available blogs out there that have not been tapped by advertisers and that potential real estate blog advertising is going to be the challenge for the future.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Public Relations - Good or Bad?

Britney Spears recently provides her fans with yet another shock. Flaunting her private parts in public, modeling her poor parenting skills, her disappointing marriage to Kevin Federline, rehabilitation admissions, new tattoos and most recently her shaved head. All of which have given Britney maximum exposure to the media and her fans. Britney, as we all know has been on the cover of numerous magazines in the past couple of years, and not for the good she is doing with the community or even her music, but for the poor decisions she makes. You could ask most of the world what Britney did last week and would have an answer in two seconds, but if you asked those same people what is going on with the war, politics or medicine, blank stares is probably what you would receive. This proves that PR is good PR no matter what. Breaking news these days qualifies as all these things about Britney I listed above, when things that really matter in the world are being placed with less importance, for example war, politics and medicine.

We have all been taught in our communications classes that public relations is all about creating buzz. The definition of creating buzz is basically spreading news by word of mouth and obviously Britney has made that happen. You think this would be a disaster for Britney, but it actually gets people talking about her again even after her music “fell of the face of the earth.” Public Relations professionals would say Britney could possibly still have hope because people are interested in her life now and want to see what will happen in the future.

Check out the YouTube site to see Britney in action!