Katie's Blog

Thoughts of a PR student

Three Things Every Blog Needs September 20, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330 — rebekahkatherine @ 12:43 am
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In an article posted at openforum.com, 1 out of every 3 companies maintains a blog. Most find it more effective than other social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter. With so many companies stepping into the blogging realm, written by Ann Handley, talks about three essential not-so-obvious things that every blog needs.

1. A point of view- Your blog needs to have a perspective and point of view of your company. Let the blog express who you are as a company. This will help future and current clients see what your company is all about in a really unique way.

2. Really great headlines- headlines are what lets the reader know whether they should continue reading the post or not. A really great catchy headline will entice the reader and make them want to read more.

3. A call to action- Your blog may be the first thing a potential customer sees regarding your company and you want to encourage them to dig deeper into the what the company can do for them. In your blog, encourage the visitor to visit other parts of the site or give them compelling offers or deals that will make them want to come back for more.

 

Think Like a Reporter

Filed under: PRCA 3330 — rebekahkatherine @ 12:33 am
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I came across an article the other day at getinfrontblogging.com

The article, written by former reporter Susan Young says that PR professionals can’t effectively pitch stories to the media unless they think like them. Her five tips are:

1. Answer the question, “Who cares?” When writing a pitch or a press release, make sure you can answer the reporter’s question of “Who cares and why should I cover this story?” Make sure your press release is identifiable with that reporters core audience and that they would care about this topic.

2. Understand the medium. Make sure your story is appropriate for whatever medium it will be shown on. If the story is visually appealing, don’t use it for radio and vice versa.

3. Put a face on your story. People love stories about other people. The human factor draws people in.

4. Find something new. Look for statistics, updates, or a fresh angle that hasn’t already been exhausted with this topic. That will make the journalist more eager to cover it.

5. Give them the right tools. If you are pitching to a radio station, give them a sound bite they can use during the newscast. If you are pitching to a television station, give them a video clip. A journalist is more likely to use your piece if you make it easier for them.

 

What makes a story newsworthy?

Filed under: PRCA 3330 — rebekahkatherine @ 12:04 am
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According to Public Relations Writings and Media Techniques by Dennis L. Wilcox, there are seven factors that make a story newsworthy.

Timeliness- every journalist wants to be the first person to break a major story. And in the age of social media and the internet, the audience expects news to be delivered as it happens. That’s why timeliness is the most important factor in whether a story is newsworthy. A journalist wouldn’t wait until the next day to publish an article about a fire that destroyed a building. They would immediately write a story and get it ready for print and put it on the internet.

Prominence- If a well-known person is helping to host an event or attending a function, you can guarantee that the media will be there covering it. The presence of a well-known person naturally garners attention and coverage.

Proximity- Every story always tries to have a local angle, because an audience always cares about something that affects them locally. For example, when the earthquake devastated Haiti, many news outlets did stories on how that affected Americans. The George-Anne even did a story about a Georgia Southern graduate going to Haiti to help with the relief. Everyone always wants to hear how a story is affecting them personally.

Significance- Any time a situation or news story affects a lot of people, then it is significant. For example, a natural disaster such as Hurricane Katrina was significant because of the number of people that were killed, injured, or displaced because of the storm.

Unusualness- Anything out of the ordinary or unusual always garners media attention and attracts a crowd. Like having something crazy outside a car dealership during a big sale always garners attention.

Human Interest- People like to read about other people. The media likes to humanize stories so that we can relate or are inspired.

Conflict- When two groups advocate different views on the same topic, it typically makes news. People love to read about controversy.

Newness- Everybody likes to have the latest thing and products are often advertised as “new” which banks on this characteristic about society. The same goes for news. Anything that’s new makes the news.

 

Reading Notes Chapter Four September 19, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330 — rebekahkatherine @ 11:43 pm
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Chapter Four of Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques was all about finding and making news. Here’s what I learned.

What makes news: timeliness, prominence, proximity, significance, unusualness, human interest, conflict, and newness.

A pseudoevent, such as the Miss America Pageant or the Academy Awards, are created for the sake of the media coverage.

Special events, contests, polls and surveys, top 10 lists, product demonstrations, stunts, rallies and protests, personal apperances, and awards are excellent ways to create news and garner media attention for your client or product.

 

Chapter Three Reading Notes September 13, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330 — rebekahkatherine @ 7:33 pm
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The topic for chapter 3 of Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques was how to avoid legal hassles, something very important for all PR professionals. Here are some things I learned:
1. According to the AP Stylebook, “libel is injury to reputation. Words, pictures, or cartoons that expose a person to public hatred, shame, disgrace, or ridicule, or induce an ill opinion of a person is libelous.”
2. When quoting someone, always quote exactly what they said and always check your sources and don’t be negligent with the truth.
3. The key to avoiding a defamation suit is to watch your language.
4. When the media inquires about an employee, only comfirm that the person is an employee, their title and job description, and when they were employed. No other information is necessary.
5. A copyright protects literary works, musical works, and things of that nature, but not ideas. And a copyright is only applicable for the life of the creator and 70 years afterwards and 95 years for corporations.

 

How to Avoid Plagiarism

Filed under: PRCA 3330 — rebekahkatherine @ 7:21 pm
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It’s every writer’s worst nightmare: plagiarism. Even if a writer is honestly trying to be original and do their own work, they can still be accused of it. The best way I’ve found to avoid plagiarism is to carefully nitpick your writing. Look at a variety of sources instead of just one or two so you aren’t tempted to copy what you see in any way. The best thing I’ve found is to just be very careful. Also, when in doubt, cite information. Always give credit where credit is due, even if you think it could be your own work. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Also there are certain websites that allow writers to check their work to make sure it isn’t similar to any works on the internet or those submitted on that website. This is another great way to make sure your work is honest and original. Avoiding plagiarism can be easy but a writer must be meticulous with their work.

 

Cleaning Your Copy September 6, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330 — rebekahkatherine @ 4:25 pm
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This week, I did the Cleaning Your Copy tutorial from newsu.org and it was very informative. The first thing I did was take a pre-test to determine what my weaknesses and strengths in copy editing were before the course. I did the best with grammar, getting 75% right. I got a 50% in spelling, a 25% with punctuation and with style, I didn’t get one single question right. Clearly, I wasn’t a copy editing expert.
The first topic I learned about was grammar. I learned about dangling and misplaced modifiers, pronouns, the difference between that and which, and that and who, who/whom, verbs, and lay/lie. Some of these, such as who/whom, I have always had trouble with, while others, such as that/which, I’ve mastered.
The second topic I learned about was style. Subjects like addresses, ages, abbreviations, capitalization, dates, distances, money, numbers, and time were taught. Style to me is always confusing because it goes against my own grammatical instincts. There are also a lot of specific rules. But after Cleaning Your Copy, I feel much more confident with style.
The third topic was punctuation. I learned about apostrophes, colons, commas, dashes, hyphens, quotation marks and semicolons. Some of this stuff I already knew, but others, like dashes and hyphens, I was learning the correct way for the first time.
The fourth and final topic was spelling. I’m a decent speller and other than a few random words, I could master this one. The commonly misspelled words gave me some trouble, but for the most part, I did very well.
I definitely learned a lot from Cleaning Your Copy and I will be able to use the information I learned for the rest of my academic career as well as my future in the professional world.