Christmas Time

I know it isn’t even Halloween over yet but I can’t help but to be thrilled about the upcoming Christmas season. The reason I am so excited is because at my internship I am working with Operation Food Search for a company wide food drive. We are planning contests between the departments and prizes for the winning team. I am so excited to give back to an organization that helps people in our local community.

As I have been preparing distribution materials, I have been researching and reading about Operation Food Search. I was not aware that over 50% of the recipients they help are children. I also was not aware that they helped over 100,00 victims to hunger last year.

Once I read that I knew even more that I wanted to make this food drive a huge success. I have been preparing flyers, sending emails, and coming up with ideas to really get the employee morale going. Since I was reading I found the way to really have a successful event is to have a contest or competition to go along with it.

We are also planning to build a canned food Christmas tree in our facility. I am going to get tree trimming decorations and make it a discussion piece for employees and customers alike.

I think giving back during the holidays is something everyone should do. Hunger does not take a holiday unfortunately so giving these donations is vital for some in the community.

 

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Chapter 15: Speeches and Presentations

In the book, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, chapter 15 is about giving speeches and presentations. Public speaking is an important skill to utilize and should be taken seriously public relations professionals.

Before you can give a speech there is a lot of preparation to do. First it is important to research everything possible about your audience. Not only should you research your audience but you need to know things about speakers too. After you do your research you can lay groundwork for your speech.

There are three main parts of a speech; objective, key message and strategy. The objective is the framework for the speech. It should aim to determine what you want to accomplish by giving your speech. What do you want your audience to walk away thinking or believing after your presentation? The key message is important too. There can be more than one key message in a speech. The strategy is the way you approach the speech. The strategy should be appropriate for the setting and tone of the speech.

When writing the speech it is important to remember that there will be several drafts and outlines conducted. The outlines include an opening, body and closing. The opening should get the audience’s attention and establish empathy as well as point to the conclusion. The body of the outline needs to present evidence that leads to conclusion and should use examples, quotes and facts or figures. The conclusion of coarse should summarize evidence and point out what it means.

The book discusses the importance of word selection. The speaker needs to talk to the audience not at them. Some word selection suggestions given were use personal pronouns, avoid jargon, use simple words, use direct quotes, use questions and make comparisons and contrasts. I thought this part of the chapter was extremely important and useful because word choice is critical when preparing speeches. The use of personal pronouns allow the speech to seem more conversational. Avoiding jargon is important because although you know what words used in your industry means it doesn’t necessarily mean your audience does. All this is important to know when preparing speeches and I think will come in handy in the future for me.

Chapter 15 is extremely important for public relation students because knowing to write a successful speech is vital. Speeches can be tricky and will require many drafts and different approaches before succeeding. This chapter can help students to prepare better written speeches once they are professionals in the industry.

Think like a Kardashian, Score a Job

The number one stress on all college graduates or in my case soon to be college graduate is finding a job. All I have known until this year has been my retail part time jobs and school. For the last 16 years of my life, it has been all about school. Now that I have a great internship that I love, the real world and starting my career seems less scary but making sure I land the job after graduation is still a constant stress on my mind. It is overwhelming when thinking of life without classes or assignments but it is also exciting!

I was reading PRdaily and found a post on ways thinking like Kim Kardashian could land your next job. This immediately drew me in because not only do I love Kim Kardashian but I am looking for all tips possible for when I am thrown out into the real working world.

The article claims four ways thinking like Kardashian could land you a job. One way is to brand yourself. Most of us execute branding strategies without even knowing that we are doing so. Branding is not something we can pick up, it is perceptions others have of you. You need to know how you want to be pereceived and what makes you stand out from others.

Another way is to utilize messages not medium. Be a part of the conversation everywhere and follow the company your dying to work for on Twitter or like them on Facebook. Before you do this, make sure all pictures and comments on your accounts are appropriate or utilize privacy settings.

The article also discusses expanding social networks and being creative. You have got to put yourself out there in person and online. You not only need to attend networking events but keep up with opportunities like internships and career fairs that you are made aware of. Creativity is what can set you apart from others instantly. Market yourself in many different formats and explore a variety of options. While you should utilize Facebook and LinkedIn think of different ways to get yourself out there like blogs or online portfolios.

I believe creativity is a huge part of success as well as being able to be diverse. Showing your skills in all ways and showing all your skills to possible future employers is extremely important and should be taken seriously by everyone.

Kim Kardashian Tips for Success

 

Chapter 14: Emails, Memos & Proposals

Chapter 14 in the book, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, discusses proper use of emails, memos and proposals. Public relations professionals spend a large portion of their day working and engaging in interpersonal communications. Since professionals have so much communicating to do they need to have good organization, efficiency and communication skills. Remember when writing that to save the reader time information should be concise and to the point.

The book lists basic guidelines for writers to follow in all areas of writing. The guidelines include: clarity, completeness, consciseness, correctness, courtesy and responsibility. I think consciseness is important to remember while discussing this chapter because it is all about brevity. Your objective is to be as brief as you can because less is better. Select words that will help convey the ideas in a concise manner.

The chapter goes on to discuss emails, memos, and proposals. Emails are extremely utilized today by all kinds of companies and organizations. Inboxes are filling up at astounding rates and so it is important to have your emails be short and to the point for readers. When writing emails it is important to know the purposes of it. Emails serve special advantages to PR professionals because they can send news releases and media advisories via email and distribute newsletters to employees. It also is effective at keeping up with events, arranging appointments, and editing documents. Email can do a lot of things but can not supplement face to face communications at all times. Good and bad news should be delivered face to face.

While writing emails it is important to know that content can be somewhat informal but that does not mean sloppy. They still need to include proper grammar. Another good thing the book pointed out was that emails have a lot less likelihood to get opened if they include an attachment. This is important for the PR professional to know because they should ensure their news release is in the body of the paragraph and not attached. The first paragraph and subject line should draw readers into the email. It is the most important part and should include the bottom line. It is advised to avoid using “I think” or “I believe” but you should utilize positive statements and keep a good tone.

Proposals are often seen as RFP or request for proposals. The purpose is to get something accomplished, persuade management to approve and authorize some important action that will have a long lasting effect on organization or its people. It should show & satisfy needs and show benefits.

Letters are also discussed and are seen as extremely important because most employers see applicants that write a written thank you letter for the interview as leaving a better impression. The written thank you letter can set you apart from other applicants and can land you the job if it is written effectively.

The most important part to me in the chapter was the section on emails. At my internship I am constantly emailing other company locations general managers and distributing PR materials to them. I send a numerous amount of emails a day and include flyers that should be utilized for the business, screen shots of stories we have landed in the media outlets, and just talk about upcoming events with them so everyone is on the same page at all the locations. While reading this chapter the no attachments included on emails stood out to me because my boss is always telling me if there is an attached image for the news release it is important to make that image size smaller since email inboxes are getting so clogged up lately. After reading more on it I can see why people would rather receive emails without attachments because it saves time for the readers. I am glad that I read this chapter and can utilize this information daily at my internship.

Chapter 13: Newsletters and Brochures

Chapter 13 in the book, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, is about newsletters and brochures. I thought this was an interesting chapter because recently at my internship we have been busy changing from a newsletter to our first magazine. It will be out before the end of the year and I can’t wait to see the finished product.

While the web is making print publications less popular there still are some advantages to print. One advantage of print material is the portability of it, it can be passed around to family members and friends for people to see at gatherings. Print materials can also lead readers to the websites to discover more content.

The chapter focuses a lot on basics of newsletters and magazines. It discusses content that should and should not be involved, format of newsletters and magazines, costs of each, and design elements. The book recognizes the fact that the design should give a clear insight to the organizations personality and work with the content to give complete message to audiences.

While I was working on things for the magazine at my internship, it was my job to find some industry news pieces that would be interesting for the audience. A survey discussed in the book found results of the  the top 5 audience interests to be organizations future plans, personal policies and procedures, product improvement, job related information and job advancements. The last five interesting topics to audiences in the survey were found to be personal changes and promotions, financial results, stories about employees, personal news, and ad and promotion plans.

Chapter 13 was extremely interesting to me because since I am working with magazine design at my internship it was helpful to know some more basics about it. The book discussed a lot on audience interests and needs, which I think is ultimately the most important thing because if no one is going to read what you produced then there is no point in spending all the time and money making it. Audience needs is the most important thing to meet when producing publications for your organization so now that I have read some basics and basic tips from the book I can apply that when looking for content for the next magazine.

 

Birds the word… or is it squirrel?

With the national league championship series coming to a close it seems bird is the word or maybe now the word is squirrel? The St. Louis Cardinals have a popular new mascot, the Rally Squirrel. After making two appearances during the Cardinals games the critter is now a part of the baseball team’s family. For a city with the best fans around and a city that has bird fever, the squirrel has been welcomed in with arms wide open.

New merchandise featuring the mascot has become quite popular with the Cards fans. Sportsprint has had to hire extra help for the production of the rally squirrel t-shirts and merchandise. The shirts have moved up sales dramatically and it is expected to continue to be in demand for a while. Sportsprint has two St. Louis area locations and will need the extra help they hired for shipping merchandise across the country. People everywhere across the United States are ordering Rally Squirrel merchandise.

The Rally Squirrel has already associated good with it’s name. Anheuser Busch InBev has already bought thousands of pieces of Rally Squirrel merchandise from Sportsprint to be sold to raise money for SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center. Already about $210,000 has been raised by the Rally Squirrel campaign.

I think this is an awesome thing to be a part of. The Rally Squirrel merchandise is entertaining and exciting for Cardinals fans and for the St. Louis area. The new mascot has been a huge success and will continue to be so for a while. Being able to buy a t-shirt or a hat to support your favorite sports team is exciting enough on it’s own but knowing that from buying the merchandise you are helping a great cause makes it an even better purchase. I think it is safe to say that bird isn’t the only word in St. Louis anymore but now it may be squirrel.

 

To read more on the Rally Squirrel!

Rally Squirrel!

Rally Squirrel Merchandise

 

 

 

 

Wear Purple in November

A purple ribbon brings awareness to Pancreatic cancer. November is National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month and it is asked to wear purple in order to raise awareness for this deadly disease.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult tumors to detect and diagnose early enough to perform surgery. Symptoms do not usually show up until the cancer has already spread. It is the fourth leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the United States. Since 1998, the rates of pancreatic cancer have increased somewhat in men and women.

Pancreatic cancer has affected my life personally since it took my grandma from me in 2008. By the time my grandma’s tumor was found, it was the size of a grapefruit. She fought as long as she could but once the time came we had hospice come in. She got to spend her last few days at home in bed with all of her family surrounding her. I stayed with her until the very end and it is a night that I will never forget.

Since the passing of my grandmother, my aunt was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She was having gallbladder issues when they were able to notice the tumor. They were able to remove a portion of her pancreas and she is now recovering. Although a tumor has appeared again, it has not grown in over a year and her blood work has been good. We got so lucky that they caught it but if she wouldn’t have had the gall bladder problems, I don’t know if the outcome would have been the same.

November is a special month to me for these reasons. It is also the month of my grandmother’s birthday and I like to do whatever I can to help raise awareness for this disease in her honor. I am asking that everyone wears purple at least one day in November to increase awareness.