4 Common Misconceptions About Public Relations

 

 

 

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Public relations receives a scarce amount of public attention, if it’s done right. The PR that we hear about most often is negative which has allowed the public to develop misconceptions about the nature of PR and the people who practice it. Here are four of the most common misconceptions about PR.

  1. PR, marketing and advertising are the same thing
    The Public Relations Society of America defines PR as, “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

This definition allows for marketing and advertising practices to be used within PR. But, they’re ultimately three separate practices with different goals.

  1. An organization only needs PR once it’s in hot water
    Any organization that stands behind that is in for a rude awakening. An organization is more likely to get into bad situations if it doesn’t have an updated PR plan that’s founded from continuous evaluation of the business and its publics.

Effective PR allows an organization to maintain its good reputation and mend weakened relationships, which are both known to prevent potential crises.

  1. PR is a 9-5 job
    PR is the perfect profession for natural workaholics. Sure, you might get to the office at 9 a.m. and leave at 5 p.m., but as far as the client is concerned, you’re available 24/7.

Because most PR practitioners bring their work home with them via laptop or cloud computing, a big issue they face is learning to disengage from work at the end of the day. Some have found success in implementing a “cut off time” when they stop checking emails or merely turn off their work phone on weekends.

  1. All PR practitioners are spin artists
    Anyone who has spent time studying or practicing PR has heard this before. More often than not, PR practitioners are about telling the truth and building trust between an organization and its publics.

As with any profession, PR has a few bad eggs that make the rest look bad, but those are few and far between. Visit the PRSA and read its member’s code of ethics for more information about what PR professional promise to do and not to do.

5 words and phrases to remove from your PR palette

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As public relations professionals in training, it’s no secret that we like to talk, a lot.

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

After all, you don’t find too many wallflowers in the world of PR.

With that said, it’s important to replace stale phrases and overused jargon when communicating with colleagues, clients, professors and people in your industry network.

Although a bit dated, the following are not banned words:

1)    Obviously
Not even a Hallmark card could make this word sound appealing. No matter the speaker’s tone of voice, it comes off rather condescending. You never want to make people feel unintelligent.

Our purpose is to build bridges, not burn them.

2)    To be honest with you
Are you typically dishonest with people? The PR world revolves around being transparent. This phrase sounds like you’re revealing a vital secret to one person and telling another person something else. If you’re being sincere, your words or actions shouldn’t need a preamble.

3)    YOLO
It seems like new acronyms surface on a daily basis. Not only are they difficult to keep track of, they have an informal, immature nature. Although we want to build relationships, we need to do so in a professional manner.

Unless you’re Drake, keep YOLO, SMH and LOL to group texts with your buddies.

4)    Cutting edge
Was there a knife involved? Didn’t think so.

5)    Probably
This word plants the undesired seed of uncertainty in someone’s head.

Because once the seed is planted it gives itself plenty of water and sunlight to grow into a big tree of doubt.

If you don’t know the answer to something, be honest. Don’t make something up or guess what’s probably going to happen. Tossing this word around can cause you to lose credibility.

When it comes to the ever-evolving world of PR and communication, it’s critical to be clear, concise and transparent. Be aware of expired buzzwords and recognize when it’s time to put new buzzwords on your PR vocabulary palette.

How To: Stay Organized and Dominate Senior Year

For most people senior year is completely different from all their previous years as a student. Often seniors find themselves juggling a full course-load, a part-time job and an internship.

With school, work and an internship, you might feel like your head is about to explode and now you have to start thinking about applying and interviewing for jobs. Except these applications aren’t for an easy part-time job, they are the first step in your future career. It’s an extremely stressful, overwhelming time, and it’s easy to fall behind.

However there are some simple steps you can take to stay organized and keep your sanity.

Photo by Lana Maderos
Photo by Lana Maderos
  1. Buy a planner and carry it with you everywhere.

That planner is your new best friend. Write anything and everything into your planner and review it often. Inside that planner make a daily to-do list and check things off as you go. This to-do list helps to make sure assignments or tasks are not left forgotten. If you’re a person that uses their smartphone for scheduling, try making your to-do list on a free app called Todoist.

  1. Do your work ahead of time.

Often professors will attach a schedule to their syllabus showing what assignments are due and when. Use this to get a head start on homework that might not be due for another week. You don’t want to work too far ahead and get lost, but if you always stay one week ahead, you will be more prepared for class and have more time for assignments you may not be anticipating.

Also, if you have one or more classes with a big project due near the end of the semester, get a head start on it and do little pieces at a time. This way you’re not doing the whole, lengthy assignment during finals week.

Procrastination is your enemy. Do everything you can to avoid it.

  1. Take time to relax.

If you don’t take a break and enjoy some time to yourself, you will burn out fast. Make time for weekly bubble baths and bad reality TV, or a night out on the town. If you get stuck on something, take a break and come back to it later. It’s important to turn your brain off and give yourself a rest, especially when you’re stressed.

It also helps to do all of your work in the library, and treat your home as your sanctuary.

Senior year is hard, but you can and you will get through it. If you stay organized and stay focused, you’ll be a college graduate in no time and on your way to an exciting new career.

For more college organizational and study tips, check out these two awesome blogs:

Hack College


Blog Her tips

LinkedIn Grad Guide

 

 

 

 

If you’re a recent college grad, or will be graduating in December like myself, searching for your first “real” job can be overwhelmingly terrifying.

However, LinkedIn is a powerful tool that can make the search less intimidating by allowing you to simply continue something you’re probably already doing: hanging out on social media.

The truth is students (myself included) spend a ridiculous amount of time connecting with peers on social platforms, snapping selfies and posting photos of their pets. But what students really should be doing is using this energy in a more productive way by building their professional network.

Below I’ll cover some tips on how you can use LinkedIn to help land your first job.

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● Make Your Headline POP

Your headline is the first thing people will see when they visit your page. It’s essentially a 5-second elevator pitch for marketing yourself online. Be sure that your headline communicates what you want to accomplish.

Here’s my new and improved headline:

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● Write a Professional Summary

The summary statement is your opportunity to introduce yourself and grab a potential employer’s attention. Focus on describing your skills and accomplishments; communicate your goals, while also highlighting your personality.

See this article for more essential tips on writing an impressive LinkedIn summary.

● Get Recommendations

Ask your professors, advisors or past employers to recommend you on LinkedIn. Recommendations show your credibility and experience; they can boost your online reputation and set you apart from other candidates.

● Use Keywords

Use keywords when you are describing your work. The more industry-related keywords you have in your profile, the higher you’ll appear on a potential employers search rankings.

● Be Active
Engagement is an important aspect of all social networks. LinkedIn provides the opportunity for you to discover and share interesting content with your connections. When reading articles posted by others, provide feedback and comment on content that interests you.

These are just a few examples of ways you can enhance your LinkedIn profile as a college grad. According to Jobvite’s 2013 Social Recruiting Survey results, 94 percent use LinkedIn to recruit for talent and 92 percent have successfully hired through LinkedIn. So make sure you are doing everything you can to get noticed!

Photo courtesy of http://makeameme.org/meme/recruiter-added-me-5bq3ld
Photo courtesy of http://makeameme.org/meme/recruiter-added-me-5bq3ld

Digital Media: Breaking Through the Noise

 

 

 

by Ashley O'Looney
Social Media platforms

 

In today’s world consumers are bombarded with promotional content at every turn, click and “Like” from the second they wake up to the minute
before they fall asleep. We wake up and check our phones. We are going to bed and we are on our phone. Then add in the tablet use, computer use and even old fashioned print, and you find yourself exposed topromotional influences during nearly every minute of your waking day.

Of course there are multiple platforms to promote with, but by far the fastest growing and most popular is social media.

Some Facts:

⋅68% of people in the TIME’s Mobility Poll stated that their phone is kept
next to their bed when going to sleep at night
(http://content.time.com/time/interactive/0,31813,2122187,00.html)

⋅84% of people worldwide say they couldn’t go a single day without their
mobile devices, according to an emarketer.com survey published by the
Huffington Post.

⋅The average adult, according to the emarketer.com study, will spend over 5 hours per day online. (emarketer.com survey sited from the Huffington Post
Article)

⋅Consumer’s are exposed to almost 5,000 advertisements per day, (as explained by President of the Marking firm Yankelovih, Jay Walker-Smith, in a CBS
News article).

⋅US adults spent an average of 12 hours and, 5 minutes on media every day, according to the emarketer survey

Why is this important?
How do you, as a promoter, reach the promotee through all the noise? There’s multiple ways. Here are the top three newest marketing styles for some of today’s leading companies:

Simple
Simplicity has become a new theme to many companies’ marketing strategies. One of the greatest examples for this tactic is Apple. Apple’s modest logo
follows with their simple and sleek white background commercials. Take a look here:

Unconventional
With the 2015 release of the popular football video game, Madden, Microsoft and EA Sports joined to create a video that not only captured the attention of its
main consumer market, but also broke through many of the rules commercials tend to follow. The video was not made primarily to run on television as many
traditional strategies have. Instead its choice of platform was YouTube, which has connections to all social media platforms. View their latest video here:

Traditional
Gatorade, the leading company for sports drinks, follows traditional standards of marketing with its use of famous spokespeople to promote its product to an
admiring crowd. This tactic not only promotes the drink, but ensures that recipients of the media. View and example here:

Enjoy Your Summer Break from TGC

Photo credit: Chantal Richards
Photo credit: Chantal Richards

Thank you for following our blog during the spring semester. We wish everyone a happy summer and safe travels!

Check back in August for new blog posts from our fall 2014 team members.

 

The World Is Your Canvas

Photo credit: Maxwell Perkins
Photo credit: Maxwell Perkins

Artwork can be considered to be one of the broadest categories in human culture. Anything and everything can be considered artistic. The idea of what creativity in art could be changes with the observer.

I’d like to entertain the notion that as people interact with one another, they leave an emotional and artistic imprint on the other person’s life. This occurs in the same way that a potter leaves an imprint upon clay.

Photo credit: Maxwell Perkins
Photo credit: Maxwell Perkins

If you recognize yourself as an artist in everything you do, then you begin to see art in more things. By consciously exercising your ability to create art with any medium you want, you find yourself more ready to tackle the situations of daily life.

Even if your artwork is limited to splattering ink on canvas, splatter away.

By expressing yourself creatively, you “unlock” the right side of the brain.

Instead of thinking about the assignment that is due next week as a burden, view it as a challenge with a creative solution.

Exercising your creative side with writing, drawing, painting, singing, dancing and everything else you can think of, can be extremely relaxing and can take the edge off of something that may be irking you.

By doing these things, you are giving the part of your brain that works through logic problems a break. It allows for time where you can focus on you.

Some people don’t like to use the word meditation, possibly for lack of understanding. Meditation is merely a time of contemplation and self-reflection. It is something that the human body needs every day.

Photo credit: Maxwell Perkins
Photo credit: Maxwell Perkins

It is important to try to set aside at least an hour a day to personal reflection. I do not mean sitting in front of a television either; the human mind needs intellectual stimulation to function properly.

People sometimes look at emotions as meaningless, but they are here to guide us, and when we can express ourselves in art, then we can better express ourselves to the outside world in every other way possible.

As you progress through life, look at the world around you not as someone else’s artifact that was left for you to look at. Imagine everything you experience as your canvas and paint the world your colors. Become your own best artwork.

I know I have…

 

See some of my work at: http://thirdeyewisdom.deviantart.com/

And learn more about art therapy at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_therapy

How Do I Survive My First Full-Time Job?

Photo credit: imagerymajestic, Creative Commons
Photo credit: imagerymajestic,  FreeDitigitalPhotos.net

Now that graduation is right around the corner, reality is probably setting in that you are going to start your new full-time job or you are still in the job hunting process.

Let me tell you, having a full-time job is different than being a student. I understand that the majority of students, like myself, juggle school, part-time work and internships just to be able to obtain that full-time job. How could it be any different?

  1.   Get used to sitting in one position for eight hours

I know this might be an exaggeration, but if you are used to running to school, then driving to work for a four hour shift, then meeting with your study group and topping it off with two hours at your internship then this might be a reality.

Being in one location, in one building, when you are used to so many different locations may be a difficult transition for most.

I recommend that you stash a stress ball or some extra snacks in your desk because you will need something to occupy your extra mental space that isn’t being used.

  1.   Eat lunch with your co-workers

This might be difficult at first, but this is just like elementary school. It is easier to make friends when you take the plunge on the first day or week of work.

You don’t want to look like you are too good to hang out with your new co-workers, so lunch breaks are a great way to get to know the people that you work with without slacking on your duties on the clock.

Make sure that you don’t participate in negative gossip that could get you into trouble while you are still the newbie.

  1.   Show up on time

It is bad to be late while you are still new to a job. If there is an emergency, call and let them know ahead of time. This shows that you value the company and you appreciate communication and your job. So set your alarm louder than normal and be on time!

  1.   Set limits

We all want to impress our boss and can get a little “yes” happy when we start new jobs. If you aren’t capable of doing a task, don’t lie.

Tell them that you don’t know how to do the task but you are willing to learn or watch somebody else who knows how to do it. Also, this will help prevent burnout.

You need to find the line between excelling and improving yourself and the point where you are mentally spent and cannot function. Finding that line will help you stay happy at your job without feeling the need to move to another job.

To survive my work day, I read a book and/or take a walk on my lunch break to help compensate for the lack of moving I do being behind my desk writing all day.

The trick is to find out what will work for you early on in your position. These tips are going to be how you survive the transition from being a full-time student to a full-time employee at your new job.

Welcome to the real world.

Here are some other tips that can help you

http://voices.yahoo.com/tips-transitioning-college-full-time-work-265184.html

http://www.letstalkaboutwork.tv/6-tips-for-surviving-your-first-job-after-college/

 

Email Etiquette: 5 Rules to Follow

Photo credit: Julianna Young
Photo credit: Julianna Young

If you do it right, email can be your new best friend and make your life SO much easier. Experts say that your email behavior has the potential to sabotage your reputation both personally and professionally.

I came up with a list of a few mistakes that people tend to make regarding emails, it’s important to be aware of these mistakes and do everything you can to use email to your advantage — and not let it get you into trouble.

1. Summarize it – Being clear and concise in an email is key. Make your most important point first, then provide more details if necessary. If you send a long rambling email, it is much less likely that the respondent will act on what you have sent or even respond.

2. Create a signature – Set up a signature that contains all your contact information. This helps the recipient obtain your contact information easily.

3. Be mindful of your tone – It’s not what you say, but how you say it that really matters. Your tone (whether its urgency, irritation or sarcasm) can be easily misunderstood via email. Keep this in mind and be sure your emails are professional, friendly and clear.

4. Understand the difference between “To” and “CC.” – The people you include in the “To” field should be the people you expect to read and respond to the message. Those included in the“CC” field are the ones who need to know about the email, but don’t necessary need to respond. People you include in the “BCC” field will not be visible to others.

5. Spelling, grammar and punctuation – Email comes with spell-check for a reason, so use it. If you misspell words, use bad grammar or punctuation, it reflects poorly on you and/or your company. It’s also a good idea to re-read your messages before you send them to be sure you are communicating clearly.

Lastly, email is great tool but it doesn’t necessarily work for every situation. There are many things that are appropriate to send via email, but there are also some things that should be discussed in person. If a conflict or difficult situation should arise, it’s always better to talk it out.

If you would like to learn some more tips and tricks on email etiquette, check out this article from INC.com.

Suiting Up for Summer

Photo credit: Ashley Allison
Photo credit: Ashley Allison

June 21, 2014 marks the first official day of summer. However, with temperatures already hitting highs ranging from the mid-80s to low 90s, Bikini Season seems to have already begun in Chico.

And while many welcome the early opportunity to float the Sacramento River in summer’s hottest swimwear fashions, there are those of us who can’t stand the thought of donning a bikini in public.

I’m one of the latter. I start spring the same way every year. I have well-intentioned plans for working out and tanning my stark-white body into something like a Greek goddess. However, as summer nears, I realize that all  I’ve managed to accomplish is overeating at Easter, leaving me looking closer to a centaur than a goddess.

So, if you’re like me and you find yourself needing that swimsuit-ready body, I’ve compiled five quick tips to get you in tip-top shape, ASAP.

1. Watch what you eat.

It sounds simple enough, but for many of us maintaining a healthy diet on a student’s schedule it can be tough.

I find counting my calories and keeping a food journal keep me cognizant of what I’m putting into my body. After counting calories for a few days, I naturally shy away from carbohydrate-heavy meals and opt for foods lower in calories that I can eat in high volumes. Meals combining lean proteins like egg whites, chicken and turkey are great choices when combined with fruits and vegetables as these meals tend to be much lower in calories than high carbohydrate meals.

2. Start interval training.

Research shows that interval training, which switches between bouts of very high intensity workouts like sprinting and very low intensity workouts like walking, burn more calories in a shorter amount of time than sustained high intensity workouts.

3. Fake it, don’t bake it.

Suntanning can cause skin cancer. Be kind to your skin this summer and opt for a sunless tanner like Jergen’s Natural Glow. It tans and evens your skin tone while hiding imperfections without all the harmful rays!

4. Find a suit that suits you!

Not all swimsuit styles are flattering on all body types. What may be flattering on someone else may not be flattering on you. Accentuate your body type by choosing a suit that is right for you and ignore the trendy swim styles that do nothing for your figure. Not sure which suit style best suits your frame? Check out Glamour magazine’s swimsuit guide!

5. Love the skin you’re in!

So what if you don’t look like a Victoria’s Secret model? Even Victoria’s Secret models don’t look like Victoria’s Secret models in real life. Don’t believe me? Google “celebrity photo retouching” and see what you find.

The point is, no one is perfect, and everyone has imperfections. So celebrate your figure. Whether you’ve got lots of curves, no curves or you’re somewhere in the middle, we’re all beautiful. Celebrate your womanhood!