Athletes and Social Media

As social media grows and grows, it’s not just organizations that are having more symmetrical communication with their publics. Professional athletes are now able to communicate directly with their fans, without the traditional media middle man. This aspect of direct communication has landed some athletes in hot water though. So the question becomes, should teams manage a players social media site? And if so who does the responsibility fall on?

Notable athletes such as Chad Ochocinco and Arian Foster are active users on Twitter. They regularly tweet their thoughts directly to millions of followers. But sometimes they go too far. Foster, who was questionable for the Texans’ season opener against the colts, tweeted a picture of his hamstring x-ray. Had this been an ordinary individual there would have been no controversy, just a way to communicate with friends. But Foster is no ordinary person; he is the premiere running back in Houston. And his tweet wasn’t just a talking point amongst friends, but was an advantage for their upcoming opponents, the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts were able to have team physicians to analyze the picture, determine Foster’s status, and adjust their game plan accordingly. Luckily for Foster his team still won, but it could have been worse.

Ochocinco also tweets a lot. And the football star is constantly involved in controversy over his use of the social media site. He has been fined $25,000 for tweeting during a game. He has personally criticized the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell. He has also been publicly criticized by former Patriots player Tedy Bruschi.

So with all this controversy why hasn’t someone stepped in to help these players?

And it’s not just professional players. Michael Jordan’s son is now under investigation for a trip to Las Vegas because of a tweet. Some colleges have gone as far as to ban player social media accounts. But that doesn’t seem to be the answer because if they go pro they will still be likely to become the next Arian Foster or Chad Ochocinco.

A much more reasonable idea would be for teams to consult with Public Relations professionals. They should have a PR practioner come in and give a short seminar on responsible media usage. Then they should have someone to intermittently check social media sites so that they can consult with players and insure they continually understand what is acceptable and what is not. It isn’t as easy as banning social media from players altogether, but it is a mature compromise and can make sure costly mistakes aren’t made in the future.

How Hard Can Event Planning Be?

Event planning is an integral part to Public Relations. It is a powerful tool but can sometimes be overlooked. As a PR professional it is your job to plan events to promote your organization and complete any objectives your company may have. But don’t take the task lightly.

When your company decides to hold an event you need to get on the ball early. There is a lot that goes into the process. You need to set dates, decide on a location, determine the objectives,  figure who the target audience, coordinate personnel, develop a contingency plan and lay out a budget, among other things.

Any event that hopes to complete a worthy objective need to start being planned at least  12-6 months in advance. Any less time than that could prove to be disastrous. It also need to follow a set theme. You don’t want to have a invitations that look as if the event will be a Hawaiian luau but is actually a black tie event. Even something as minuscule  as how many toilets you will need to have should to be thought of.

All of these ideas may seem like they should be common sense but they truly are not.  With all of the aspects the PR practitioner has to consider, it can be easy to overlook small but essential components.

The best idea a Public Relations professional can implement is the use of a planning grid. With a planning grid it is easy to outline what objectives and goals you are trying to reach with the event. It is easier to layout all of the components of the event and is simple to quickly read. The planning grid will also help the Public Relations practitioner to explain to the people on their team what their responsibilities and duties are.

So the next time your organization decides to host an event make sure to give yourself plenty of time and to consider every aspect, no matter how large or minuscule it may be.

Feature Stories

Pitch letters and news releases have been an integral part of Public Relations since before Edward Bernays. But there is another aspect to PR that people don’t quite know about. That aspect happens to be the feature story.

Feature stories are a great advantage to PR professionals. Pitch letters and press releases are a great way to get the media’s attention. But they only go that far, their attention. Once a pitch letter or press release has been sent to a member of the media they can take on the story from whichever angle they deem worthy. All you have done is given them facts and introduced them to the idea of a story. But once it is in their hands you truly have no idea which direction they will take it.

That is where the feature story comes into play. Although the premise of a feature pitch is the same as a pitch letter, in that it is merely a suggestion for a journalist, it is also different in the aspect that it pitches a certain angle along with being tailored to a specific media outlet.

Instead of being sent out to anyone that may perhaps find the information relevant, a feature story is pitched to a specific media outlet. The pitch letter is detailed in the idea the PR professional finds relevant and why the outlets audience will find the story intriguing.

Besides being more in line with the image the PR practitioner wants to convey, feature stories are also more in depth. They go into much more detail than a regular article. Therefore making the faeture story a powerful PR tool.

Why AP Style and Grammar Are Important

Rules and regulations exist in every aspect of life. Sometimes those rules can seem a bit vague in their purpose but they still exist. In some cases though, through simple evaluation, these rules that seem rather vague can actually become apparent. AP style and grammar is a set of rules that can seem like they don’t serve a clear purpose but, as mentioned earlier, after evaluation they do have a very clear purpose. They help people from different organization in different job fields communicate clearly and effectively.

By having everyone use AP style and grammar we can ensure that journalist and PR professionals can communicate the most efficient way possible. When professionals use AP style and grammar they ensure that their message will be communicated clearly on both sides. PR practitioners can send their stories to journalist and know that their content will be understood. Journalists can receive stories that are in the correct format and know what the other person is trying to convey.

AP style and grammar doesn’t only benefit communication between journalist and PR professionals though. It also helps facilitate communication between journalist and news organizations. By having a set of rules and guidelines on how stories are written, different news organizations can share stories and content quickly and effectively. They can publish articles without having to constantly edit and revise them.

AP style and grammar provides a much needed platform of unity in the communication field. They do serve a purpose.

Getting Noticed

Pitch letters have been the preferred method Public Relations practitioners have used to get their press releases out to the world for decades now. But in the evolving world of today, they are no longer the only choice PR professionals have anymore. Social media is making it even easier for Public Relations professionals to get their stories noticed.

A great new way for an organization to get its stories noticed is to start a blog. Blogging is an awesome tool for the PR world. It allows for a company to produce content in the image it wants. It cuts out the middle man media outlet so that everyone can see the story the way the company wants it seen.

But blogging isn’t the only other tool that Public Relations practitioners have on their side. Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have also made it possible for companies to get noticed. Facebook and Twitter allow the public and media alike to have a direct connection with a company. The company can keep them informed on any issues, events or ideas that they want.

Social media doesn’t just stop with sites such a Twitter and Facebook though. Those sites keep people updated primarily through print. But sites like Youtube lets companies develop a personal relationship that goes beyond print. Videos reach audiences on a different level and therefore allows for even more interaction and allowing the company even more recognition, way beyond any pitch letter.

What I Learned From APR 332

This semester I took APR 332, Public Relations Writing, at the University of Alabama. I can’t believe how helpful this class has been. In this class I have learned everything there is to know about PR writing, but I also learned a lot about the Public Relations field as well.

I have learned so much about the writing process in general. Even after taking intro PR classes and then Journalism classes, I still didn’t know how many ways there were to write in Public Relations. Just in pitching stories you can write pitch letters, feature pitches, fact sheets and newsletters. But then you also have blogs to help keep your stories in the media along with Search Engine Optimization for all of your web content.

The writing process is very intricate but it is not the only thing that comes along with being a PR professional. Along with writing about what is going on in your organization you have to help others, such a CEO’s and other officials, prepare for interviews with the media. It is also the job of a PR practitioner to launch and maintain social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Obviously Public Relations is a very complex profession. APR 332 has illustrated that fact along with teaching how to approach different situations. After having almost completed the course not only do I feel like I grasp the Public Relations world more fully, but I feel that I can approach these situations in complete confidence now.

Blogging: A New Essential

Blogging. It is a phenomenon that seems to be sweeping the nation. What once started out as a young person’s place to vent and share their ideas with the rest of the world has rapidly evolved. Not only has it become a favorite pastime by people of all ages but has now become a powerful tool by companies, and more importantly, PR professionals.

Blogging offers many uses to a Public Relations practitioner. Blogging allows for a company to set up a two-way symmetrical communication system. With the blog, the PR practitioner can keep people updated on any new issues and products or services the company has to offer. Then readers can comment on the blog. This allows the company to gauge peoples’ reactions. They can then determine which direction they want to take the company.

Blogging also allows the company to put out relevant information they want people to know. With using SEO, which I covered a couple of weeks ago, PR professionals can have their blogs as one of the top search results for their company or the product. This allows them to keep the coverage they want to be seen on the foreground of the issue; along with letting people who are interested in the products or services to see their company first as well. So it’s a win win.

All in all, blogging is no longer an just an advantage for a company, but nearly an essential. It can only help a company and help them stay one step ahead of their competition.