public relations

Link Love Wednesday: It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane!

3605753-1936874063-31646Happy April, my friends! Now that we are in a brand new month, we can look forward to new opportunities, challenges and surprises. For me, that means embarking on a second Whole 30 and attempting to keep up with a very busy April schedule! What will the new month bring you?

As always, enjoy this week’s Link Love and share your own favorite links in the comments section below!

What great links have you come across this week? Share in the comments section!

Link Love Wednesday: Brackets & Buzzwords

jargon_push-envelopeHope everyone is having a wonderful week! I can’t believe the first week of fall semester is about to begin, and for the first time ever, I’m not enrolled in classes! Coincidentally, my schedule at work happens to be at its busiest yet, only to get crazier next week. Because of that, I find it more important than ever to uncover some interesting articles and links to de-stress and maintain a fresh perspective! :)

What are some of the best articles you’ve come across lately?

Link Love Wednesday: Soviet Playgrounds, Nutella and More!

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Photo Credit: Mental Floss

With a new week comes a slew of new articles, some more terrifying than others! This week, Mental Floss unveiled photos of 11 horrifying Soviet playgrounds, which have probably ruined many a childhood and will keep you from going to sleep tonight. (You’re welcome.) Let’s take a look at this week’s round-up!

  • In memory of writer and director Nora Ephron (When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail… all of your favorite romantic comedies), who passed away last year, PR Daily published some of her best quotes from the years. If you’re a writer or a fan of her movies, take a look at these quotes for some inspiration.
  • Looking for an inexpensive way to spend time with your significant other? This date night jar has some cute ideas, and you can always customize it!
  • Ever wanted to use a really great comeback, while still remaining true to your Disney roots? Now you can! My favorite comeback on this list is probably “Gaston, you are positively primeval.” I hope that someday I can use that one on someone! (Want more Disney articles? Click here.)
  • The Office aired its series finale on Thursday last week, an episode that nearly brought me and several of my friends to tears. My mom forwarded me this Huffington Post article that does a beautiful job of exploring the episode’s themes and its best quotes.
  • Nutella may have narrowly avoided a PR scandal after some legal retaliation to the fan-created Nutella Day. Luckily, it seems like your favorite chocolate/hazelnut spread is safe!
  • Jann Wenner, co-founder of Rolling Stone, recently promoted his 22-year-old son to run the publication’s website. Nepotism or no? Check out his interview with Adweek about his son’s role in the company throughout his life.

What are some interesting articles you’ve stumbled upon this week?

Link Love Wednesday: And So It Begins!

cat-office-internet-comic-640Happy Wednesday, everyone! Today marks the first day of May, and in honor of the new month, I am rolling out a brand new feature on this blog: Link Love Wednesdays! It’s the middle of the week – couldn’t you use a little pick-me-up? Every Wednesday, I will post links to articles/lists/blogs/etc. that piqued my interest that week, and share them with each of you. Have you read anything great this week?

Enjoy the links!

FSPA District 7 Conference

Home sweet home! :)

This weekend, I took a trip back to my hometown to attend the Florida Scholastic Press Association’s District Conference, which took place at my old high school. I gave two presentations this afternoon: Enhancing Your Professional Image Through Social Media and Finding Your Audience: How To Market Your Blog To Readers, each of which I geared toward high school students.

A few personal realizations today: First of all, even though I’m only 22 years old, I feel ancient. I attended this conference as a high school student and yearbook editor in 2008 and 2009 (and won first place in the on-the-spot news writing competitions, thank you very much!), and when I mentioned that to students, they seemed surprised. As someone who is usually mistaken for much younger, I suppose that a nice shirt and slacks will make you look a whole lot older!

Also, during my social media workshop, I asked students if any of them had ever created a MySpace. The answer? None of them. In fact, as I spoke with students later in the day, I found out that some had never really heard of MySpace to begin with! It made me wonder how obsolete our current forms of social networking will become in the next ten years, and what I will tell my children about them.

I also realized that as much as public speaking intimidates me at times, I love to teach. This reaffirms my belief that pursuing a Master’s degree would be a beneficial path for me, because then I will have the opportunity to teach the subjects I love at a higher level.

Presenting my workshops today (as well as a resumé building workshop last weekend at a leadership conference) was a huge honor and privilege, and I look forward to the next opportunity I have to present a workshop.

The Friday Five: Signs That You’re A Communications Major

As someone who identifies so closely with her major, I can often pick up on some of the differences between myself and my business/pre-med/engineering friends. For those of you who didn’t know, I’m currently a junior majoring in Advertising and Public Relations, which is part of my university’s Communications school. Through my experiences in its academic organizations, classes and internships (along with my interactions with other Communications majors!), I have noticed key similarities among our little group.

If you are majoring in Advertising, Public Relations, Journalism or any other form of Communications — or if you have a close friend in one of these majors or professions — follow along and see which of the following signs are applicable!

The Friday Five: Signs That You’re A Communications Major

1. You find yourself mentally correcting people when they say things that don’t comply with AP Style.

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2. You live-tweet about the commercials during the Super Bowl instead of actually watching the game.

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3. “Diversifying your portfolio” has nothing to do with personal finances, and everything to do with clipping unique samples of your work to show potential employers.

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4. You study the menus at your favorite chain restaurants — not because you’re interested in the food, but because you want to see how those restaurants implement their brand standards throughout their food and beverage menus.

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5. Because you are relatively active on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, you consider yourself the ultimate social media guru.

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Readers, what are some signs indicative of your major? 

The Friday Five: Tips For Planning Successful Fundraising Events

This past January, I became Director of Fundraising of my organization — with absolutely no fundraising experience. I thought it would be a lot of fun, planning events that would ultimately benefit some awesome charities, but I soon realized that there was a reason I ran uncontested. Fundraising is hard. Surrounded by monetary goals and deadlines, I felt like I was in over my head.

Whenever I scoured the Internet in search of fundraising advice, I kept coming across the same few unhelpful articles. Ultimately, I wound up following my own rules, and in one semester ended up raising more money than my predecessor did in an entire year.

This week, I would like to share some of my methods with those of you who have also gotten into a fundraising position and feel completely lost. Hopefully this will make those goals seem a little more attainable! :)

The Friday Five: Tips For Planning Successful Fundraising Events

1. Find out what worked in the past, and then create your own unique twist.
Talk to others who have fundraised for the same cause or who have served in your position, and find out what your organization responds to the most. For example, while bake sales aren’t the most exciting events imaginable, I can look through past records and see that my organization has always made more than $100 through baked goods. Then, I can decide to give my bake sale a fun theme, and brand my event that way. Figure out which events have made the most cash in the past, and then give them an original flair.

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2. Start early.
This is especially important if your event requires a lot of participation. Last year, I hosted a very successful Open Mic Night, but I really had to search to find people who were willing to perform in public. I also had to book the venue months in advance, keep in constant communication with performers, delegate tasks to my committee members, write a script and provide materials for my tech boys. I could not have done all of this the night before, nor could I have done it the week before. Depending on how large your event is, you will want to map out a rough calendar of when certain things need to be finished. It will save you a lot of hassle later on!

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3. Be organized and keep track of what you do.
In our organization, we keep binders with information about each of our events, so that those who fill our positions in the years to come will have records of what we did and knowledge of how to execute certain types of events. Some of my predecessors did not provide much information for me, so I either had to ask a lot of questions of former officers or I had to figure out my own way of doing things. I kept every detail of every event I ever ran in that binder, so that I could easily look at it for references, but also so that the successful events could be repeated (and the unsuccessful events could be salvaged!). Also, being organized will help you when your event is looming closer, because it will keep your event from becoming too overwhelming and it will make it easier for others to help you.

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4. Use your creativity.
Tradition is great to follow (see #1), but if you want to create your own legacy, you have to give yourself a challenge. Think of something fun and exciting, something that will gain participant interest without costing a lot of money. Be creative in the ways you market your event as well. My campus puts on a drag show/fundraiser every year, and to advertise the event, they send students dressed in drag to hand out the fliers. It is a creative marketing strategy that definitely gets attention, and the actual event always has a huge turnout. I’m not saying you need to dress in drag to get your message across, but put some time and effort into the way you showcase your event AND the way you actually execute it.

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5. Realize that things probably won’t go perfectly.
The first event I ever ran was a scavenger hunt called Hunt for the Horcruxes (yes, I’m obsessed), and prior to the event, I followed all of the above steps to make it an enjoyable experience for the teams involved. Of course, on the night of the event, two of the teams dropped out because of illness, the Google Voice system I used to send clues to each team decided to malfunction, one team completely disappeared halfway through the race, and the computer in my office decided it didn’t want to open any of the documents with my clues and pathways on them. I was practically in tears. In the end, the event still raised $80 that went toward the Children’s Miracle Network fund, and the majority of participants came and told me afterward how much fun they had at the event. When things went wrong, I had to find alternatives in order for the event to work out, but none of those alternatives were earth-shattering. With seven fundraisers under my belt, I now know what problems I have the possibility of facing at future events, and I know better ways of preparing for them.

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I hope this helps anyone who has to create fundraising events and doesn’t know what to do. Let me know if you have additional questions and I will do my best to answer!

The Friday Five: Tips For Young Journalists

Before I fell in love with my Advertising/Public Relations major and decided that I would end up somewhere in the public relations field, I was a journalist through and through. I wrote for and edited my school yearbook, participated in both county-wide and national competitions, attended various workshops across the country and published several articles in the local newspaper. Suffice to say, journalism was my passion. Early on, that passion began to fade, but as my career goals transitioned to a different subset of communications, I was able to apply a lot of what I learned in journalism to my writing for public relations and other areas.

I am by no means an expert, but my inner-editor always cringes when I see some of the more commonly made mistakes in the articles I read. Conversely, when I look at some national publications and read their feature articles, I can’t help but want to become a better writer. This week, I would like to share with readers my own tips for writing those memorable articles and avoiding any major faux pas.

The Friday Five: Tips For Young Journalists

1. Purchase an up-to-date AP Style Guide…
… and don’t just let it gather dust on your shelf. Although every publication you write for will have a few slight variations in style, there are some basic concepts that you will want to master. Not only does this alleviate the revision process for your editor, but it also makes you seem more professional. Everyone knows the rules for placing commas, but it is important to learn the nuances as well: “more than” vs. “over,” “among” vs. “between,” etc. Make sure everything is free of any spelling or grammatical errors as well.

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2. Don’t rely fully on your thesaurus.
It is only too obvious when a writer includes an adjective that he or she doesn’t fully understand or know how to use. Instead of trying desperately to figure out how to insert an SAT vocabulary word into your article, go for something simple. Your audience will thank you for it.

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3. Quotes should enhance your story, not distract your readers.
Interviews play a huge role in the research process and have two major purposes: to gather information and to provide quotes for your article. Quotes from the proper sources add a certain spice to your story that the hard facts wouldn’t; they give it the voice and emotion that you as an impartial party cannot do yourself. However, the interview alone is not enough. Some writers struggle with the selection of quotes for their articles, and either choose the least expressive quotes or the extremely long ones. By the end of most questions, we all tend to ramble a bit, and so it is important to utilize the most effective quotes/soundbytes for the little space you have. It is never okay to alter the subject’s words, but cutting the quote at the part where he or she started to repeat him or herself is always recommended.

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4. Read your work aloud.
Read it twice. Read it three times. Read it to your friends, parents or dogs. Have your friends, parents or dogs read it back. One trick I always learned: if you stumble over a word or phrase, change it, because your readers will be doing the same. Reading aloud also helps you catch any typos or missing/repeated words throughout your piece. This saves your editor a lot of trouble as well, but also helps you in situations when you don’t have an editor to read your work.

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5. Go the extra mile.
Yes, this is a cliche, but this tip will serve you well in the world of journalism. When you are writing a story about a subject you don’t know (and trust the girl who wrote about video game tournaments, among other things: this will happen to you), you should strive to become a temporary expert in that area. Don’t rely only on interviews when doing your research; read up on your topic and know it well before you write about it. Readers who are familiar with your subject will know if you haven’t done your homework. If you don’t know something, find out. Even though you won’t be able to include all of this information in your article if you want to fit your word count, this extra step will make you a source that readers can trust.

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Journalists, what recommendations do you have for emerging writers? What are some of the common mistakes you see?

Note to readers: This is officially my 100th post — thank you to everyone for an amazing first year of blogging!