By Blake Hedberg
WARRENSBURG, Mo. (Aug. 27, 2018) — The University of Central Missouri’s student-led public relations firm, Innovative PR, received two professional awards this summer for its 2017 event #teamUCM Social Media Night. The agency competed against many for-profit businesses in the Greater Kansas City Area.
The Kansas City chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) awarded #teamUCM Social Media Night a KC Quill award, the second time in the firm’s history to receive this honor. However, the winning wasn’t over for Innovative PR for the summer. In July, the firm received a Silver AMPS award from the Social Media Club of Kansas City at the organization’s annual banquet.
“We are incredibly honored to be distinguished for our work. Many hours went into making this event a reality and it is a great feeling to see the work of our students pay off,” said Agency Manager Blake Hedberg. “The 2017 event pushed our agency to new heights and created many opportunities, while providing visibility to our firm. I had a great team behind me.”
For six consecutive years, Innovative PR has been the driving force behind UCM’s popular #teamUCM Social Media Night event. Launched in 2013, the event takes place during a UCM Mules and Jennies basketball game and has engaged, entertained, and rewarded participants with a night of prizes, trivia, and contests.
The spring 2017 Innovative PR team raised more than $2,000 in donations and their comprehensive social media plan ushered in more than 1.2 million media impressions. IPR and UCM Athletics social media impressions more than tripled, while mentions increased more than 40 percent and profile visits nearly tripled over 2016 event numbers.
“Innovative PR’s work on behalf of its many clients is excellent. Winning the 2018 awards is an illustration of that excellence,” said program supervisor Dr. Tricia Hansen Horn. “We are proud to have the agency’s work represented and recognized by the Kansas City IABC and the Social Media Club of Kansas City.”
For more than nine years, students in the UCM Public Relations Program that are accepted into the UCM Innovative PR agency have the opportunity to gain real-life experience, while working with several client projects. In its time, more than 100 students have dedicated more than 22,000 hours of service to the greater UCM community.
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Innovative Public Relations (Innovative PR) is University of Central Missouri’s student public relations firm, managed and operated by UCM public relations students. Under the direction of UCM’s Integrated Marketing and Communications office and the academic public relations program, the firm was founded in January 2010. It is comprised of several public relations students who are dedicated to professional development and public relations initiatives. Innovative PR is committed to serving the UCM community by executing timely, accurate and ethical strategies and tactics, with a goal of serving clients outside of the UCM community in the future. For more information, visit ucminnovativepr.com or contact Innovative PR at email@example.com or 660-543-8557.
By: Ashley Perry
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” – Dr. Seuss, Oh the Place You Will Go.
College is a four year experience you can never get back. One value I have always tried to live my college years by was college loyalty. The word loyal is defined as “faithful to a cause, ideal, custom, institution, or product.” So, in my opinion, being faithful to college means committing toward collegiate goals. Graduating is the ultimate goal of college, however, there is so much more that goes into college loyalty.
You get what you put in to college. Campus involvement, connections, and opportunities are some of the few ways to make your college experience worthwhile. You have to find something to allow yourself to stand out from the other colleagues who will graduate with you. Focusing on yourself and what you enjoy professionally will help you to advance once you graduate. Try to think of these three words when completing your collegiate years:
Be involved within your major. Don’t just take a class and turn in your homework. Go out of your way to join a club geared toward your major. Go to your professors office hours and ask them ways you can get involved. I guarantee they would love to see a student in their office for once, and that will allow you to stand out. Even if you do not join a club geared for your major, find one that can benefit you as a leader. Find an organization that you can hold a position within and expand your knowledge of team building. Here is a link for the student organizations on campus at the University of Central Missouri. Check it out and find what club would suit you.
I am sure you have heard the saying, “don’t burn any bridges” because you never know when you might need to take that bridge. Unfortunately, that is true. It starts in the classroom. You never know who in your class could potentially be in a position to hire you one day, or who could think of you 10 years after graduation and tell their boss you might be a good fit. Get out of your comfort zone and make connections with your classmates. It does not stop with classmates, it applies to professors and fellow employees. Be friendly and always offer a helping hand. You can never get enough endorsements on LinkedIn. Basically, do not burn bridges with people, keep them as acquaintances. If you do not believe me on the importance of connections, check out this article.
Do not let an opportunity slip away from you. If you hear about a chance to network or get together with some classmates, take it. You do not know where it will lead. Do not tell yourself you will do it next time, do it now. Take that hard class that will benefit you, take that internship or job that scares you. It is okay to fail at something, but it is not okay to fail at never taking an opportunity.
What I have received from college on a professional level, took me four years to figure out. I have passed up many opportunities and connections. Fortunately, I finally found the true meaning to college loyalty before my time was complete. I hope this blog will help you do some soul searching to find what college loyalty means to you.
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 Ashley Perry
Professionals look at social media profiles more than you think. Social media background checks are a significant part of an application process. From your “likes” to tagged photographs, employers will find it all. While social media is for personal use, you still need to think of it as an extension of your resume and self brand. What you may post on social media is a direct representation of yourself and the potential employment you are seeking. Here are some quick tips on how to clean up your social media profiles:
Look through all photos/tagged
Photos posted on social media profiles are the quickest way to lose a job offer. Do not post questionable photos of yourself that can portray you in a negative light. Friends don’t let friends post pictures of each other making bad decisions. Set your profile to notify you when someone is wanting to tag you in a photo. This will save any bad light shining on you from another individual’s mistake. Here is a link to Facebook’s help center on how to change your tagging settings.
Clean out likes and groups
Back when social media first became popular, liking as many interests and joining groups was the fun thing to do. Those likes and groups you have joined may still be on your profile today. When cleaning out your social media, you should look on your “about” tab and search through the extra features. Slim down the amount of liked pages and groups joined. This will help your profile look more professional. Here is a link from Facebook’s help center on how to find your likes and groups.
Watch comments made
When friends post on their social media, you may want to share your true opinion. Keep in mind that social media leaves a direct trail to any comment that you have made. Foul language or offensive words can come back to hurt you in the long run.
Overall, keep your future in mind when posting on social media. Social media is a public profile for the world to see how you display yourself. Make your social media a positive representation of who you are, not a negative one. If used correctly, social media can positively affect your future employment.
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 Jayla Kearney
“We gave the internship to someone else with more experience.” I was stunned to hear those words from a recruiter last year. How could someone already have two years of related experience as a college student? I thought I was on the right track but little did I know, I could have been doing much more.
In public relations and many other fields, it is difficult to obtain a job post-graduation without experience. Employers expect you to already have some type of experience in your field in order to prove that you have built the right skills. Even some internships require you to have experience.
So, how do you build a portfolio of work when the majority of jobs require you to have at least two years of experience?
Here are some ways to gain PR experience in college:
- Internships: Internships are among the most common opportunities to develop valuable job market skills. Depending on where you live, there are an abundance of internship opportunities in the public relations field. Try getting multiple internships under your belt before graduation. The more you do, the more contacts you make and the more experience you gain. Internships are also a great way to learn what activities and sectors are most interesting to you. In addition, they can be a valuable learning experience.
- Volunteer: Do you want to work for a particular company? See if there are any events or projects in which you can voluntarily get involved. Many companies post volunteer opportunities on LinkedIn. Here is an example from a nonprofit organization needing a social media plan: Social Media Plan for Family Promise of Hawaii (Remote). Volunteering stands out on a resume and catches the employees of that company’s attention.
- Blogging: Blogging is something anyone with a computer can easily begin doing. Blogging is valuable because it shows potential employers that you have writing skills and they learn what you are passionate about. It can also be an opportunity to showcase your expertise or intelligence about a particular topic. In addition, it helps develop a personal brand.
- Campus involvement: If you’re not already involved on campus, you should seriously consider branching out. Join any organization that interests you! The organization may even need someone to do their public relations and social media management. In addition to joining PR/communications organizations such as Public Relations Society of America and the International Association of Business Communicators, you can become the PR/marketing chair for your fraternity/sorority or any organization that plans events.
- Student Jobs: Ask around. There may even be real PR jobs for students available. At the University of Central Missouri, we are lucky to have Innovative Public Relations as a student-led agency that gives us real world experience. In addition, check with the theater department, television station or any office on campus for available publicity or social media positions.
- Build connections with a variety of people: Anyone can be a valuable connection, not just recruiters. Talk to your peers from different majors as well as your own. You may be able to help each other out when an employer is looking for another assistant or intern.
- Pitch yourself: When you cannot find anything that interests you, create your own opportunities. Come up with a list of duties and pick an on-campus organization or a company that can benefit from having a PR Intern. Some small or local organizations may not have a specific person to do their public relations. Ask them about it! It could be a great start for your career. Also, follow professionals on Twitter and people with whom you would like to work. Often, companies and even musicians have gone to Twitter asking for PR professionals.
If you or anyone you know would like to apply for Innovative Public Relations for Fall 2017, navigate to the “Join Our Team” tab.
By: Elizabeth Fisher
LinkedIn is one of the most popular social media platforms among business professionals, but many people do not know how to use it to its fullest potential. Here are some helpful hints to making your LinkedIn account stand out from the crowd:
- Use photos to make your profile more attractive
- Include a business professional profile photo and cover photo on your profile. The photos should represent you, but also in a professional manner.
- Use this photo to feature your personality and style.
- Use LinkedIn to feature organizations and job experience not included on your resume
- When future employers visit your LinkedIn account they do not want to see the same experience featured on your resume. Create a LinkedIn account that features your personality and qualifications.
- Connect with individuals with whom you are currently connected
- Professionals you have worked with in the past are perfect individuals to connect with because you already have an established a connection.
- These individuals will be more likely to make a connection with you and help to build your LinkedIn profile.
- Connect with individuals with whom you wish to establish potential connections
- Do not be afraid to connect with potential employers. This will show your enthusiasm for a job or for their company.
- Connect with people who are connected with your friends. Having a mutual common ground will most likely lead to a connection.
- Do not send the general ‘add me’ message
- Create and customize your own message when connecting with professionals.
- By creating your own message, it shows individuality that will stand out to employers.
- Continue interacting with individuals with whom you are already Linked
- Making connections is important, but maintaining connections is equally important.
- Like a connection’s posts or congratulate them on a career milestone. This will help build stronger relationships with your connections.
- Use LinkedIn to search for potential employers
- Employers will remember your face from LinkedIn, especially if you create a message of your own when requesting a connection.
- Connect with company profiles you are interested in and relevant industry profiles
- When you connect with company profiles it allows you to network and build trust with that company.
- Download the LinkedIn app
- This will help you stay connected so that you will receive messages and notifications that you may receive on your LinkedIn account.
- You can even read company profiles and resumes directly from your mobile device.
Linked Up Life
- Create and share posts
- Posts can show off your personality that cannot be seen within your content.
- Sharing posts can create great networking opportunities!
By following these key points, you can ROCK the LinkedIn world!
By Megan Myers
Whether it’s your freshman or senior year of college, you may still be unsure about which public relations career path you should follow. You might be fortunate and have a passion for one field over another, which will make finding your PR field of choice much easier. However, for most PR students, all they know is that they have a passion for PR and need a little extra help determining which direction to go. Just like how your personalities must complement each other in a personal relationship, you have to fit and mesh your personality to work well within a company and career.
You may have taken personality quizzes before such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, to gain insight about yourself. Some careers or company cultures may be better suited for different personalities. Knowing who you are and how you work can help you determine which PR fields may be a good fit for you.
In case you haven’t taken a personality test before, 16Personalities offers a quick and easy way to gain insight about some of your traits. The test will sort you into one of four personality archetypes, which include diplomats, analysts, sentinels or explorers. If you don’t already know your archetype, you can take the test and use these suggestions to consider your fit with potential PR careers.
Being a diplomat, you are considered adaptable and manageable because you work well in a group setting. Your features include compassion, recognition, and artistic abilities. Diplomats would fit better in the PR fields of agencies, non-profits and corporate organizations with a creative/fun cultures, such as Google, Nike, or Netflix. Diplomats’ cooperative and imaginative nature means they will be an asset to any team and have creative ideas and solutions.
As an analyst, you are firm and self-reliant. You take it upon yourself to do a job with little to no questions. You rely on your research and are there to get the job done. Analysts would fit better in corporate and academic PR fields, such as writing for a company like Cerner or for a college or university. Their strategic mindset makes it easy to be the strategist for a campaign or foresee the long-term effects that may occur in campaign implementation.
Being a sentinel, you need order and organization in your life. You love a good challenge, but like to stick to the rules when it comes to creativity. People in this category are considered to be achievers. Sentinels would fit better in governmental, medical, and financial PR fields. This could include working with county government organizations, lobbying or working for a major corporation such as State Farm Insurance. Their meticulous nature means that they would fit well in a managerial position in any field, focusing on achieving goals and objectives makes them great at moving up the ladder.
Explorers have the most exciting and outgoing personalities. These types of people are sharp-witted; they are the go-to person during a crisis situation. Explorers would fit better in the PR fields of event planning, crisis management or consulting firms, such as O’Neill Marketing & Event Management Company or Edelman. Their ability to connect with their surroundings and ability to think on their feet makes them perfect for situations that are high pressure with lots of moving parts.
Now that you understand which category you fit into, you are better equipped to choose the path you should take in your PR career.
By Haley Gleason
After reading the title of this post, I’m sure you’re thinking, “I can communicate just fine with people.” However, you may not be as effective as you think. The world is constantly changing around us, and the same goes for the ways in which we communicate. As future business professionals, we must take the necessary steps to stand out from the crowd, and being exceptional communicators is a great way to do it. With that in mind, here are a few tips to improve your communication skills.
1. (Actually) Listen to others
Hearing what people have to say is something we do on a daily basis. However, are we truly listening? Many of us take listening for granted, believing we are good listeners simply because we hear others. Yet many people they feel as if they are not receiving the full attention of those they converse with. According to Chip Rose, a professional mediator, “We all use language to communicate, to express ourselves, to get our ideas across, and to connect with the person to whom we are speaking. When a relationship is working, the act of communicating seems to flow relatively effortlessly. When a relationship is deteriorating, the act of communicating can be as frustrating as climbing a hill of sand.” Personal and professional relationships alike require both parties to listen effectively. Therefore, it is important to take steps to avoid disruptions, such as our phones, background noise or even our own thoughts.
Bearing this in mind, consider making these personal adjustments as necessary to be a more effective listener:
- Face the speaker and use eye contact.
- Use body language and gestures.
- Keep an open mind.
- Don’t interrupt. Listen to everything others have to say before you provide feedback.
- Ask questions to ensure you understand what others are saying.
2. Provide valuable feedback
Providing valuable feedback goes hand-in-hand with listening. You can only truly provide valuable feedback if you listen to what a person has to say. It is not always easy, but it is obtainable with conscious effort. One aspect to consider that is very important in providing feedback is patience.The point of providing feedback is to improve and/or satisfy the person you are talking to, which is best accomplished by exercising patience and conveying your support. Being honest is another important part of good feedback, but note that you are often not going to get your point across by being critical or harsh, as this behavior often causes people to become guarded or hostile. Again, exercise patience and provide feedback in a positive, supportive manner.
Feedback also requires constant attention and timeliness. This is especially true since methods of communication have changed. Feedback is more relevant when provided as soon as possible, and modern technology enables near instantaneous responses. Make an effort to utilize your resources and provide feedback in a timely matter when it is needed the most.
3. Break down boundaries
Sometimes, poor communication skills may make you feel as if you’re on a deserted island, attempting to send a message in a bottle which no one ever receives. In a way, you may have unknowingly placed yourself on that deserted island by not breaking down boundaries with whom you are trying to communicate with.
The first step to break down these boundaries is to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Try to understand where their opinions and ideas are coming from. This does not mean you have to always agree, but gaining an understanding of their stance can help you move forward to communicating effectively.
The next step is to be fearless. Don’t be afraid to talk to others and ask questions. Talk to people you normally wouldn’t, like people in other departments and different seniority levels. If you are an entry level employee, break the norm and go engage with a manager or executive. That is your opportunity to learn from them and grow in the company.
As described in an article on Fortune.com, breaking down these boundaries can help you secure nigh unlimited potential in the workplace. This potential will not only help you grow as an individual, but also as an unstoppable business professional.
4. Embrace change
Change can be a difficult concept to wrap your head around, especially because we often become comfortable in our abilities and current situation. However, it is important to remember that change is an important part of stimulating personal growth. To help embrace change, get rid of the negativity in your life, such as the self-doubt that takes over in uncomfortable situations. Develop the confidence to break down boundaries. Have the strength to actually listen to people. Be patient, honest and timely in providing feedback. With the help of these tips, you can set yourself on the path to becoming a great communicator.
By Blake Hedberg
You have done all the necessary research, crafted an excellent cover letter, branded yourself with an excellent resume and survived the strenuous interview process. The company you hope to work for finally gives you that long-awaited phone call – you have landed your first internship. However, this is no time to relax. Plenty of hard work and learning opportunities await.
For most students, the process of finding and securing an internship is a daunting task. The amount of research, time and effort that goes into the process can be extensive. Some students put the process off until their senior year (do not wait this long). For those who have gone the extra mile to be placed in an internship program, your journey is off to a fantastic start.
You are about to embark on the beginning of your professional career, and you’re ready to begin your first day as a professional. Before you do, here are a few tips for maximizing your internship experience.
1. Embrace hierarchy with a smile
Let’s get this out of the way from the beginning: As an intern, you might have to perform trivial tasks at one point or another. Photocopying, coffee runs and things of this nature are not uncommon for interns. Get over it.
You are there to help the business by any means necessary – do this with the biggest of smiles. You must understand that there is a hierarchy at the company you are working for and everyone has been in your shoes sometime during their careers. Employers will remember you better if you perform any task with enthusiasm. Doing these small tasks will demonstrate your ability to listen and work effectively. This will, hopefully, lead to better assignments in the future.
2. Don’t be afraid to speak up, ask questions
An internship is an incredible opportunity for learning, personal growth and development. You are expected to be asking questions. After all, you are there to learn, aren’t you? Don’t hesitate to pull your employer off to the side and ask them something when you are uncertain. Make sure the time is convenient for them, however, and they will likely be happy to give you some guidance. Asking questions is a necessity in getting the most from your experience. If you do not ask about it, they will assume you already know it. The more questions you ask, the more knowledge you gain.
3. Get to know anyone and everyone
From the other interns, to the CEO, to the janitorial crew; get to know the people around you. You never know who might be able to help you with something down the road! Participate on company softball teams, go out for drinks with your internship team, stay after events and chat with fellow employees.
Go above and beyond the hours you are expected to work and establish relationships with co-workers. Your work will become more meaningful that way. Networking does not have to stop once you have landed an internship. In fact, it is just now beginning. Keep building that professional network. It will pay off when you are looking for your first job.
4. Be willing to learn
Having the right mindset in any workplace is extremely beneficial. Taking a positive approach with an open mind will definitely impress of your employer. Not all internships are the same and you may have unique opportunities that go beyond your job description. Be ready. Take in as much as you possibly can from whatever you are doing. You will appreciate that you did after the internship has concluded.
No one likes a know-it-all. If you walk around and act like you know everything and that the employer has nothing to teach you, this will resonate with them in a negative way. Accept when someone is offering to teach you something, no matter what that may be.
5. Sell yourself
When it comes to internships, there is also a more competitive angle that is often forgotten. As you make friends with the other interns at the company you must not forget that, from an employer’s perspective, you are competing against one another. Whether you realize it or not, your employer is grading each intern with the possibility of hiring one or two of you at the end of the process.
You must be able to work and get along with others, but make sure you are selling yourself and reinforcing why you should be considered for employment post-internship. You need to outperform the other interns in your program. Yes, this is somewhat of a bleak realization but is in fact a representation of the real business environment. Leave no doubt in your employers mind that you are the candidate they should pursue.