By Nickey Buzek
“Can I see some of your work?” You may have a wealth of experience and the skills to back it up, but if your abilities aren’t coming across in an easy-to-access fashion, you may be missing professional opportunities. Here are four tips that will make your online portfolio showcase your skills:
- Choose the right platform – There are a multitude of providers dedicated to helping you build a website. Some of them include Wix, Squarespace, and web.com. You’ll want to do your research and make sure their platform aligns with your portfolio goals. If your public relations skills are focused on design, for example, you’ll want to choose a platform that lets you be more creative with visuals. If your skills lean more toward the written aspect of PR, you’ll want a platform that showcases verbiage.
- Choose a design – While each of the providers mentioned above will give you suggestions on funky templates, there are two basic designs that are proven to enhance user experience (UX). The F pattern is used for websites with large amounts of content. Wikipedia is an excellent example. Notice that important headers are on the left and description information flows to the right.
This makes it easier for the user to locate information and understand the organization of the page. The Z pattern, however, is the pattern you’ve probably seen most often. It uses four main spaces for important information: the top left, top right, middle, bottom left and bottom right. This pattern is used so often that internet surfers are quickly frustrated when they can’t find important information in its “natural spot.” Using the Z pattern will cater to user’s natural search.
- Showcase your skills – While your portfolio is a reflection of you as a person, the purpose of the website is to showcase your skills. Refrain from making your homepage a giant picture of your face with a bio attached. Chances are, if someone’s already on your portfolio website, they’ve already met you. Have your homepage showcase the different areas your skills cover. Include clickable images or links that take them to more in-depth examples and explanations.
- Create a visual guide – The aesthetics of your website act as the user’s road map. Manipulating content size, color, groupings, and contrast will help the user understand what content you want them to look at first. Large items and bright colors will be seen first, and items grouped together help the user see what items go with one another. When creating your visual guide, it’s helpful to have someone look at it who has a third-party view. How they navigate your website will more than likely be how others navigate your website.
Designing a portfolio that’s easy to use, aesthetically pleasing, and easy to navigate is a daunting task when you’re just trying to meet the needs of people asking to look at your work. Just remember, your portfolio is meant to showcase your skills in an easy-to-navigate fashion. These four tips can start you on the path to success, but don’t hesitate to take a deeper dive into the world of website design!
By Emily Thole
*Warning. This post may contain spoilers about the hit TV show, “This is Us.” Proceed with caution.*
“This is Us” is the television show everyone is telling you to watch. It is full of happiness, anger, sadness, joy and every emotion in between, however, there is one monumental episode that you can’t forget. If you’re anything like me, this blog post will bring up a flood of emotions, so get your tissues ready.
As avid viewers of the show, we all know where we were when Jack died. Yes, I’m bringing up that heartbreaking moment. I was sitting with my roommates on our red leather couch in the living room, staring at the small screen with tears rolling down our faces, full of disbelief. This man fearlessly saved his entire family from a house fire, and then went back into the blazing building to rescue his daughter’s dog and a few personal items, only to wind up valiantly perishing. He was a hero, and then he was gone. Not because of burns, or an injury that was visible, but for having too much smoke in his lungs. This is the drama that keeps viewers coming back.
What does this tragic scene have to do with public relations? Well, after the episode, fans were boycotting one particular brand, and because of that, they had a crisis on their hands.
One thing I didn’t mention was how the fire started in the Pearson household. It was a Crock-Pot. The faulty slow cooker is accidentally left on and it starts a fire in the family’s kitchen, which leads to the entire house burning down, and later, Jack’s demise. Fans of the show immediately took to the Internet to share their heartbreak and frustration over the episode and the Crock-Pot brand. Their name was disgraced, and their stock plummeted, but Crock-Pot’s response to the crisis is one PR professionals can learn from.
First, Crock-Pot responded quickly. They released a statement less than 24-hours after the show aired. And shortly after they sent out a news release stating facts about their products to ease consumers’ minds that can be read fully here. Not only that, but they created a Twitter page called “CrockPotCares” to respond to viewers who were concerned about product safety, and throwing away their Crock-Pots.
Crock-Pot did a great job of listening to consumers’ complaints. They understood that people were upset, and they did their best to respond with understanding to build back their image. They even created the hashtag #CrockPotIsInnocent to use in their responses to defend their brand.
Good tweet to consumer https://twitter.com/CrockPotCares/status/956258200239706114
Help from Star Power
Although this was a crisis they didn’t see coming, Crock-Pot wasn’t afraid to ask for help when getting their image back. They used the actor who portrays Jack, Milo Ventimiglia, in a commercial promoting the Super Bowl, joking about the Crock-Pot controversy. “The Late Show” host, Stephen Colbert, mentioned the issue on his show, stirring up conversation. Ellen DeGeneres even partnered with the company to hand out Crock-Pots as one of the giveaways on her show. Each of these people helped Crock-Pot restore their image.
A crisis can pop up at any time. Companies must be prepared in case a television show uses your product to kill off a beloved character. In a time of crisis, PR professionals can use Crock-Pot as an example. Although the situation presented on screen was fictional, Crock-Pot responded successfully and recovered quickly because of the crisis plan they had in place.
Crockpot even got Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) to make a video joking about the crisis as a whole (https://twitter.com/CrockPotCares/status/959789384785715200)
Their own hashtag #CrockPotIsInnocent
Stephen cobert https://twitter.com/CrockPotCares/status/958022381741764609
Good tweet to consumer https://twitter.com/CrockPotCares/status/956258200239706114
By Kylee Julian
Getting an internship always looks so easy in the movies. You just choose a business, go inside and apply, then poof you get it. The next day you are getting coffee and bagels, then a month later you’re the CEO. Sounds easy. Right? Well, I learned very quickly that if I wanted to secure an internship, I would have to hit the ground running and apply, apply, and apply again.
Finally, Staley Farms Golf Club accepted me as part of the team as the summer public relations intern. I worked with a few different departments in the overhead company to ensure that everyone was on the same page and that things run smoothly. I worked with the head of marketing, Abby Crowley. Abby and I developed flyers, social media flyers, videos, and other marketing efforts to advertise upcoming events and changes being made to the club. I also worked with the head of events and food and beverages, Kayla Adams. We worked together in preparation and tear down for events, walkthroughs to show the space, working with other companies to get needed items for events and managing events as they take place.
One thing that movies were right about is that interns can work long hours. Working 10-12 hour per days doesn’t sound too bad until you are doing it multiple times a week. Now, it wasn’t all bad. I got to meet some amazing people and learn a lot from different parts of the job.
There really wasn’t a typical day on the job. Over the internship, there were multiple events each week, all dealing with different items. Whether it was setting up a tournament or working with a bride, each event required a lot of coordination and each taught me different lessons, which will benefit me in my professional career. Sometimes you have to work with athletes or colleges hosting tournaments at Staley. The internship came with many fun-filled days, and new experiences. There were days where I got to make centerpieces for large events. Then there were other days where I got to meet and greet pro football players and help run their tournaments. It was always something new and different.
After spending some time reflecting on my education, it is clear that several classes helped to prepare me for this internship. My design and writing classes helped with the marketing side of the Golf Club. My PR law class gave me knowledge about how to look up city ordinances to help make certain the Club was operating in accordance with local regulations.Courses on strategic planning and strategic communication helped me in the day-to-day work, giving me the tools to be able to successfully brainstorm in a large group. Also, during staff meetings, I was able to successfully present and give visuals in order to make a point and better communicate the projects in which I was involved.
An internship gives you the opportunity to learn more about working in a particular environment. I learned a lot about myself and my work ethic. I learned how to multitask in a whole new way, and work with new people every day. I enjoyed the fast-paced atmosphere and getting to work with different departments.
I hope everyone gets the chance to learn as I did in a real-life setting and to make the connections with the kinds of people I experienced during my internship. Internships are a constant reminder that the expert in anything was once a beginner, and if you learn and apply yourself, you can accomplish anything.
By Emily Jarboe
Have you ever thought about what social media will look like in the next 10 years? Social media and its strategies are constantly changing. Consider just how much social media has evolved in the last five years. Companies need to keep up with change in trends and progression of technology in order to stay current and connect with their audience.
While it can be difficult to predict the future of social media marketing, there are at least three trends that experts say can be anticipated:
Consumption of visual content will change
As a public relations professional or a social media marketer, you should know how important it is to include visual content into your social media marketing plan. If you have not shifted your attention to visual content, then you are in need of a new marketing strategy because this particular trend should not be ignored.
Here are some statistics I found that justify the statements above:
- “When people read information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a video presents that same information, people retained 70% of the information three days later.”
- “Video content currently represents more than 70% of all internet traffic.”
- “Facebook users watch 8 billion videos per day.”
- “4X as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product than to read about it.”
The Rise of Dark Social
According to Techopedia, Dark Social refers to “the social sharing of content that occurs outside of what can be measured by web analytics programs.” Dark Social can be a challenge for companies that are trying to track and monitor social media activity and website referrals. Dark Social mostly occurs when a link is sent through email or instant messaging, instead of shared on a social media platform where results can be easily measured.
The Death of Organic Reach and Facebook
Facebook is making it very hard to reach your audience organically. Facebook originated with the initial idea to help people connect with each other. Due to users complaining that posts from the media, businesses, and brands have “crowded out their personal moments,” Facebook decided to be very cautious and selective about what they place on their users’ feeds. Looking towards the future, brands may want to shift their Facebook strategy entirely to a paid approach since the luxury of a free online presence is declining.
While the future of social media marketing can’t always be easily forecasted, we can almost guarantee that the trends are likely to change as technology progresses. Our social media strategies and how we approach them are constantly evolving, and it’s especially important to keep up with those changes in order to successfully connect with our audience and stay relevant.
By Meredith Trapper
As a student, I often find myself relating activities or hobbies to the things I am learning in class. However, this year I was able to do the opposite and take what I have learned in the classroom and apply it to my executive position in Delta Zeta sorority.
This past year I served as the vice president of membership for Delta Zeta. In this role, my main purpose was to prepare our current members for fall recruitment. Training for recruitment can begin as early as January and include a number of workshops.
Being a young PR professional, I started to ask myself some questions. Why am I doing this? Why do I need to train my members? Why do we do recruitment? In doing this, I was reminded of the book we read in Orientation to PR, ‘Start with Why.’ In this book, we looked at the importance of knowing your “why” in all aspects of life. I took this very simple lesson and applied it to our first training session. I found a TED talk about the book and a poem that got our members to reflect on the questions I had been asking myself. By doing this, members were able to find the purpose of our activities and stay motivated for all recruitment workshops.
The next training session, I applied yet another classroom lesson. We completed a SWOT analysis (strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) of our sorority. We also discussed who our target audience would be during recruitment. We looked at ourselves internally and then discussed the types of women we wanted in the future. This helped us strategize on how to engage this type of women we were searching for.
Spring semester is also a good time to look at our “brand” and what we want that to look like to those outside of the organization. We pride ourselves in being a group of intelligent, diverse women who empower one another, but how do we show that? We took to social media to try to reflect this. We took an old idea of a hashtag and ran with it. #TakeoverTuesday was used in the weeks leading up to recruitment to show ways that our women had empowered one another.
View this post on Instagram
#TakeoverTuesday “Brenna was the friend I never saw coming. She pushed me to strive for things I never would have pictured myself. She’s encouraged me through every step of the way and I would not have been where I am today without her love and guidance. She is truly a model of what sisterhood is all about” – Meredith
If you want to empower your brand, “start with your why” and build from your answer. You might be shocked what you learned about yourself and your organization.
By Emily Thole
In the restless and brutal sea of social media, taking a risk could leave a company struggling for air. You may have noticed from recent events, Nike decided to jump into the water head first by tackling a highly controversial topic in the U.S. With immediate response, the internet both attacked and commended Nike for taking a knee on a political subject that many brands and organizations avoid.
Colin Kaepernick, former San Francisco 49er’s quarterback who inspired player protest throughout the NFL, tweeted a photo marking him as the newest face of Nike.
The photo shared stated, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Since Kaepernick’s first protest in 2016, where he kneeled during the national anthem against police brutality, he has received backlash from the NFL and people around the country. His actions ultimately left him without a spot on any team, but Nike decided to endorse him anyway. In the early stages of the “Just Do It” campaign’s 30th anniversary, they made a statement.
As a result of the partnership, Nike made headlines. Celebrities including Jamie Lee Curtis, Serena Williams, Russell Crowe and COMMON were praising the brand on Twitter alongside Americans throughout the nation.
But with the good also comes the bad, and even ugly. Multiple individuals took to social media posting images and videos of themselves burning their Nike products, and cutting the swoosh logo from their socks and apparel, voicing that they will never shop with the brand again.
Nike isn’t the first brand to tackle a controversial issue. Many other companies have taken a stance on social issues as well. Dick’s Sporting Goods protested gun violence after the Parkland, Fla. massacre by saying they would no longer sell assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and also prohibit the sale of guns to customers under the age of 21. Airbnb shot back at President Trump when he closed the borders to refugees in a campaign called, “We Accept,” by voicing their company’s acceptance of other races and nationalities in a time when the biggest figurehead of the nation was saying the opposite. When the U.S. pulled out the Paris Agreement, Ben and Jerry’s started a campaign called, “Save Our Swirled,” focusing on the topic of climate change. Each of these brands were criticized for becoming politically involved, just like Nike.
For a brand with popularity around the world, what form of success can come from this controversial partnership? Through all the back and forth of praise and hate, will either party prosper?
It depends on how you measure success, and from my research, numbers don’t lie. According to the Washington Post, after an initial drop when Kaepernick shared the photo, Nike online sales went up 31 percent. The incident got people to talk about the organization, and, whether positive or negative, the Nike brand was pushed to the forefront of their minds. According to Bloomberg, the company received over $43million in media exposure in the first 24 hours, and that continues to grow.
Risking your brand’s reputation is scary, but if it is something you believe in, take a knee and show the world what you stand for.
By Morgan Anderson
Newsjacking is one of the best ways to keep your company current and popular. Used in traditional forms of advertising and social media, newsjacking is taking advantage of current events in such a way to advertise your brand.
Created by David Meerman Scott (his website and book can be found here) and popularized on social media, this type of advertising is a great way to gain followers and knowledge of your brand. Newsjacking can double organic news searches for your brand. It also allows you to have an immediate impact on your followers. Here are three general rules about newsjacking that everyone should follow.
- Make it current
Newsjacking only works if the event is current. Anything past a week could possibly be out of date, depending on the event. You want the posts to be immediate if it is a fun event or possibly something that is considered rare. Oreo was one of the first to hop on the newjacking trend when it started in 2013 when a blackout happened during the Superbowl. This tweet went out minutes after the blackout occurred, and the marketing team was on top of it. It gained almost 15,000 retweets and over 6,000 likes.
2. Make it tasteful
In wakes of crisis, it is important to make social media content tasteful. Trying to newsjack after a crisis can harm your brand if you are not careful. After Hurricane Sandy, Gap tweeted “All impacted by #Sandy, stay safe! We’ll be doing lots of Gap.com shopping today. How about you?” with a link to gap.com. After millions of people lost their home, this probably was not the best item to tweet about.
3. Make it relevant to your company
Making content relevant to your company is very important. The point of newsjacking is to create a link between the current event that is happening and your brand. Muncie Animal Shelter did a great job with this during the Pokemon Go! craze in 2016. They placed an ad on social media to have people hunt Pokemon while helping walk their dogs. They gained more than 10,000 interactions on Facebook alone with this simple post.
By Sarah Schroll
Each day, 1.5 billion viewers watch an hour or more of videos on YouTube. Over the last five years, YouTube has increased its viewership ten-fold and the different kinds of content has expanded. Because of this, companies are contacting popular YouTubers to showcase and promote their products as social media influencer relations has increased in importance. Below are a few ways that YouTubers have changed the game for public relations.
- PR Haul Videos
A trend with more popular YouTubers is having videos where the YouTuber strictly opens products that were sent to them from companies. With many of these videos reaching a million or more views, companies are seeing the value of sending an item to a YouTuber with the channel content in mind. This gives the company the potential of not only getting screen time for their products but also gives that YouTuber the opportunity to make a future video using their product.
- Trying products sent from companies in a video
Many companies have found it beneficial to send new products to YouTubers because it gives them visibility and credibility that advertisements and paid sponsorships do not. In the PR Haul video that is pictured above, YouTuber Tati opens a product that was sent to her by L’Oreal Cosmetics and says “I think I need to do a video on this actually, not sponsored, just sent to me.” Two weeks after the haul video was posted, Tati made a video using the product.
- First Impressions, Favorites and Haul Videos
These are videos that have little to no sponsorship attached. This style of video gives the impression that the YouTuber is providing their honest opinion of the product. If this product is liked by the YouTuber, it can be a powerful component in the consumer’s decision to buy. This is a doubled–edged sword, however, because many YouTubers will discuss products that they didn’t care for as well.
One of the oldest ways that companies have showcased their products on YouTube is through sponsorships. This could be showcasing products in a video and having a link to the product in the description or simply stating that the video is sponsored in the title. Sponsorships are mutually beneficial to both parties as both receive revenue from the collaboration. The content of these videos tend to have more of an advertisement feel and some people may not find it appealing.
By Morgan Anderson
Social media has been a critical part of public relations for almost 20 years, and its importance continues to increase. From Facebook to Reddit, this important tool can help you get your message to the public or social media and affect the way people view you. These four tips can help make your brand stand out from the rest.
1. Consistency is key
Having the same layout across each social media account will help to create a cohesive image of your brand for the consumer. Having consumers instantly recognize your brand is a positive outcome of social media. Make sure to use the same photo for each profile picture. On each social media platform you use, make certain to adjust it to the proper length so your page looks professional and appropriate.
2. Know the layout
An image that is not pixilated demonstrates the professionalism of your brand. You want your images to be clear and not appear to be stretched out in any way. Each social media platform has a different layout, so ensuring that your photos are the highest quality is beneficial. Here is a link to all the popular social media page sizes so you are able to have your images look the best. (http://socialdrive.us/content-strategy/image-sizes-for-social-media-profiles/)
3. Follow the trend
Pay attention to what your consumers are talking about. On most social media, you can find a “trending” section that has all the most popular subjects for that day. Stay in the loop and do some research on the subjects before posting so you know what you are posting about. Some trending items can be recurring and often are tailored to a certain day of the week,such as #motivationalmonday or #throwbackthursday. Others could be about current events or a viral video. Hashtags can expand your reach across social media even further.
4. Engage the consumer
Engaging the consumer is one of the best things you can do for your brand. Whether it is liking a tweet from a consumer who mentioned your product or engaging with someone who had a negative review, starting a conversation with your consumer could create a lifelong advocate of your brand. Opening a dialogue between your brand and your consumer base enhances the relationship.
By: Hali Mieser
Public relations has always been and will always be about content development and management, but with the fast evolving social media trend, PR must “keep up with the times.” Past PR professionals have taught us to curate creative and strategic stories for clients along with teaching us to measure media coverage. But the PR field has changed. As the lines between advertising, marketing and public relations begin to blur, PR professionals have to learn to navigate these new waters.
The first trend to look out for is specialized experts. In today’s Internet-based world, it is easier (and cheaper) to assemble a group of experts per project basis, instead of keeping the mental processes all beneath the same roof. Sure, it will take more effort from the agency end but the future of PR looks like partnerships between experts.
The next trend is the content train. Agencies used to simply hand over their public relations, marketing and advertising, sit back and approve whatever need be. Today, in order for work to get done smarter, faster and cheaper, promotion and advertising requires participation from the client. Simply put, your client knows the material and you don’t. But what you do know is what kind of content spreads, how to create it, market it and measure it.
You can outsource a lot of duties but outsourcing relationships is a resounding mistake. The client must be involved in forming trustworthy relationships. This means delegating time each day to communicate with the agency’s clients, hence the SOCIAL aspect of social media. Sure, the agency could outsource the building of relationships, but this could be the downfall of the agency. It could go one of three ways: the trustworthiness of the relationship would be a lie, the agency would be posting irrelevant content that is not reaching the clients but rather shouting into the void which in return is getting no interaction or the client could lose any and all of the human aspect which is imperative to forming meaningful relationships.
The last trend to consider is respect of the blogger. Traditional media and advertising is not dead, but it is important to remember the different online opportunities. Building relationships with bloggers is imperative because not only is the advertising cost-effective, it also targets and even narrows down the target audience to whom you are looking for with more precision. Getting creative with other bloggers is a strategic and engaging move; ideas could include guest posts on each other sites or reviews.
Public relations professionals have come a long way. Just years ago the only form of media relations tools was the telephone. Today, there are many more options. But with so many options, our voices could get overpowered, therefore, it is essential to watch out for future trends in the PR world.