Mallory Boulware

This is a blog for PR Writing

TOW 15: SMNR April 19, 2010

Filed under: COMM 4333,T.O.W. — mbboulware @ 9:42 pm

A social media news release is a news release designed specifically for online use. The idea was created by a man named Tom Foremski in 2006 when he made public his dislike of traditional press releases. He said that PR practitioners should come up with something that is more practical and useful in place of the straight-forward news releases that were usually sent to the press. Unlike traditional news releases, social media news releases target an audience of more than just the press. They are geared for journalists, bloggers, publishers and anyone else who is interested. It can be shared within these people and commented on like a blog. They sometimes can include links to other websites, videos, pictures or audio clips. The reason these are so valuable is because they go above and beyond a traditional news release. More people can see them, they are more user-friendly and still offer a wide range of information. You can include the regular style of narration or just have facts and straight information.

Foremski said that traditional news releases were “useless and artificial.” Social news releases thus grew out of his challenge to PR Practitioners to be more innovative and interesting. He wanted them to contain information about the product or service, quotes from the CEO of the company as well as customers and analysts, financial information and links.

More and more people are beginning to use the web to receive information. This is why PR practitioners should use social media news releases. PR people, more than almost anyone in any other profession, are responsible for staying on top of social networking and things of that nature. A social news release provides an easy way for web-users to access information and images that help build the idea that is trying to be conveyed.

Check out these sites for more information on SMNR’s:

 

TOW 14: 5 Steps to Multimedia Storytelling

Filed under: COMM 4333,T.O.W. — mbboulware @ 8:49 pm

When taking the NewsU course, 5 Steps to Multimedia Storytelling, I was surprised at how un-interactive it was. Usually, these courses take at least an hour, if not two. It seemed like the only thing to do in this one was to read information. I’m not saying I learned absolutely nothing, I just was a little surprised at the amount that I learned versus my expectations.

One of the things I did learn about was the idea of creating a storyboard. It is not an artistic drawing but rather a simple scribble of the basic components of the article or paper. You can change it as you go along. It is basically just a rough guide for you to keep so you keep focus.

I learned some other valuable things including picking out the type of media to use for your publication. If you are going to use video, it should be short. A 1-2 minute video would be ideal but if it  must go longer, it is important to make sure it does not exceed 4 minutes.  For audio, make sure it is high-quality. Unless it is really old and is supposed to have the scratchy noises, make sure it is a pure, clear sound. Also, background music will only take away from the story unless it is completely essential to your piece. That makes sense because if music is too loud or overbearing, people will become more interested or distracted by that rather than the main focus being your story.

Photos are always a good thing to have, so it is important to always add some that are pertinent to your story. I thought it was neat that a photo replaces roughly 1,000 words because people “read” pictures. I never thought about that but photos are incredibly helpful to any story I read. It helps to break up the monotony of the text.

 

TOW 13: How to Annoy a Journalist April 13, 2010

Filed under: COMM 4333,T.O.W. — mbboulware @ 2:16 pm

I researched where/when/why and how PR people can sometimes drive journalists crazy. I found a blog that a technology columnist posted about the same topic. He mentioned these things:

  1. Rude responses when asked questions– If a PR person is concerned about the reason the question is being asked, they should respond politely but showing that they are still professional.
  2. When people need to “verify credentials,” meaning, they don’t want to look it up on their own– Instead of asking them in response, PR people should try “Googling” them to find out themselves.
  3. When someone asks how the review of their products/services are going– PR people should give journalists time to write them instead of questioning them and wasting their time.
  4. When people do not think about timezones– Always check to make sure you are not calling someone in the middle of the night!]
  5. When PR people ask to review their documents before they go to press– Trust the journalists!
  6. When PR people make “deals” with journalists about giving them exclusive news if they publish their story– Don’t do that!

Another Blogger from Project PR said these things:

  1. When they do not “do their homework” to find out what types of stuff the company publishes– Never assume anything, always read up.
  2. Generic press releases– Journalists see so many press releases so it is important to make sure yours sticks out from any other.
  3. When they have never even seen a copy of the company’s publication– Don’t be stupid. Again, read up.
  4. When they don’t know who the publication’s readers are– Find this out before you contact any journalist or you will look stupid and really annoy them.

Hopefully now we can all know the basics of what NOT to do to get under a journalists skin!

 

TOW 12: The Hobson & Holtz Report- For Immediate Release April 8, 2010

Filed under: COMM 4333,T.O.W. — mbboulware @ 5:03 pm

I listened to the Hobson & Holtz Report today entitled, “For Immediate Release.”This podcast is basically a compilation of ideas on social interacting and/or new technologies. Specifically in this podcast, Ron Ploof discussed various ideas. Ron Ploof is a self-titled “story-teller,” (AKA blogger). He helps executives understand new media and various social mediums. He wrote a book especially for those executives using their “language” or more clearly, the way they talk. He also started a podcast in 2005 entitled Griddlecakes Radio.

Anyway, one thing that is good about this podcast is that it gives information about upcoming social events, such as an upcoming communications forum. That is good because if PR students or practitioners listen in, they have yet another way to network and get information.

There was a segment from Dan York in which they discussed Apple’s new iPad. He said that it is a great device for consuming content, but not for creating it. It operates on an iPod OS system which is a closed system. Apple serves as the gatekeeper in this setup. The good thing about that is is that it is a pure, error-free (for the most part) system with a smooth run. The negative thing is that users cannot upload applications they have made as easily as in some other networks. They have to mostly go through iTunes to do anything like that.

This podcast not only heard from Dan York, but they also have segments for other guest speakers such as Neville, other clients and regular listeners. One of the things discussed was real-time and how the media is shifting from mainstream news sources to more user-oriented coverage. For example, they were talking about how an earthquake happened in LA and within 2 minutes, there were already eight-hundred Tweets confirming the shake.

This podcast is a good thing for PR students to listen to because they can get new information and networking opportunities.

 

Infographics: TOW Week 11 April 5, 2010

Filed under: COMM 4333,T.O.W. — mbboulware @ 4:33 pm

Infographics are pictures that provide information, usually statistics about a specific area of interest. They can explain information and help re-enforce the topic into an audience’s mind. Some examples of infographics can include: scales, tables, charts, graphs, labels, pictograms, diagrams, and so on. PR practitioners may make one to put emphasis on a product while providing data at the same time. For example, my client is a photographer, so to show price comparisons between her company and competing companies in the area, I could take a picture of a camera and cut off the top as the services get cheaper. If that is confusing, think of it this way: the most expensive company would have a whole camera next to their name, then a company who is less expensive than that would have a camera with roughly a quarter of a camera cut off the top. Next, my client could compare to the other companies by showing her as the cheapest. Therefore her “camera” would be smaller than the rest. I made an example for you to look at here:

To create an infographic, you need to start off knowing your statistics or data. Once you have in mind exactly what you want to convey, think about a unique way to communicate your agenda in a way that reflects your client. Here I used a camera for for my photographer client. The camera shows the price differences between my client and nearby competitors. To make your own use a software like Photoshop to create the visual you want. If you have trouble using the software you can find many tutorials by simply typing “Photoshop tutorials” into Google.

 

TOW Week 9 & 10: PROpenMic March 23, 2010

Filed under: COMM 4333,T.O.W. — mbboulware @ 6:24 pm

PROpenMic is still new to me but I have found out some ways in which it can be useful to students, even students who aren’t solely interested in PR. It obviously is geared to people in Public Relations but I am extremely interested in graphic design. One of the ways in which I can use it for that, is I can look in the job search to find job listings or internships nearby. I looked up graphic design internships in Florida and found some nearby opportunities and even job listings as well. I thought that was so neat because I am sure there are even more job opportunities listed for PR students. This website would be a perfect tool for them especially.

Another thing that I thought was neat was that you can get connected with people not only on here, but once you are friends with them you can find them on many other social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. You can also see other people’s blogs and follow them day by day. This can help a PR student stay on top of assignments with their fellow classmates and professors and also help them get to know people more.

One of the most helpful things I found on PROpenMic was the link to other job search website. College students are always trying to find ways to get their foot in the door or find an interesting job opportunity. This website links to internship search websites and job search websites. People from all over list job openings on these websites and it is nice to have one website that reaches out to multiple websites at a time. It makes it easier and less time-consuming when looking for place to apply to.

One more thing this website is good for, amongst the many things it offers, is that it allows you to upload your resume for people to see. This is sure to give you exposure and get your name out there.

 

Weed 7 TOW: The Lead Lab March 3, 2010

Filed under: COMM 4333,T.O.W. — mbboulware @ 3:12 pm

When I took The Lead Lab as a part of my PR Writing course, there were some things I learned. I was honestly surprised, though, because I thought I would learn more. It seemed like I was able to read it all and glide through it. It would not let me open up other people’s posts on the “You Be the Reporter” activity. I was kind of disappointed because I would have liked to have compared my leads that I wrote with other people’s. It would have been nice to sort of get graded on or at least get feedback as to how well I wrote the different leads. It was a neat, interactive activity, though, I must say. I liked how I was able to pick and choose what I looked at next instead of going from point A to point B, so to speak.

I thought is was interesting to see the myths. That was probably my favorite part. For example, one of the myths said that you can never begin a lead with a quote. It kind of shot that idea down by giving an example of a lead that would not have been as affective had it stuck to that rule. Another myth was that a good lead is only about 3 or lines long. That example, too, showed a lead that would not have been as attention-grabbing if it would have followed that rule.

Basically, that section proved that there are guidelines in writing and they are not necessarily rules that cannot be broken. I think, however, that it takes a well-known and prestigious individual to be able to break those rules. If you’re not well known or prestigious, I think that your writing has to be extraordinarily great to break those guidelines.