Thursday, September 24, 2009


It has grown increasingly apparent that there is a need to be in tune with the rapid, ever changing social media. In public relations, this is becoming critical. Whether it be through having a website, blog, facebook or even... Twitter? Yes, Twitter!

Despite the fact that the site is mostly used by people who, to quote one of my professors, "want to tell us about their every bowel movement" it does have the tools to serve a positive use in the business environment; especially Public Relations. Many large Public Relations agencies and small ones alike are jumping in and using twitter's resources to stay ahead of the game. Some of these agencies include Burson-Marsteller and KEF-Media.

So what does twitter have to offer the PR Professional?

1. Networking – The obvious but often unrealized fact, Twitter is a professional's gateway to the world. There is a total of somewhere over a million Twitter users and with an average of 200,000 active individuals using their Twitter accounts every week and I'm willing to bet a decent percentage of those people have jobs that may be in an emphasis you are interested in pursuing. Used properly, Twitter can help you enhance those relationships.

2. Personally Brand Yourself - Twitter allows the opportunity to portray one's self in both a personal and professional manner. Look at the site as an extension of your resume, building a stronger definition of who you are as opposed to just the one-to-two page document you get to hand your prospective employer in an interview. With each and every tweet, you are able to post everything you are involved in with internships, projects, campaigns, etc.

3. Skill Development - The one thing Twitter can do the most for it's professional users; it provides a constant connection to changing trends in public relations and social media. Depending who you hitch your "following" wagon to, twitter can constantly keep you in the know about what's happening around you.

As for me, I have recently started my own twitter account and will begin posting as soon as I have developed the "purpose" behind my posts. I know I want my account to be helpful and encouraging for all Public Relations professionals; I just have to lock down what that angle and delivery style is going to be.

Of course, to create a sense of organization and credibility, I have been designing my profile to be a continuation of the color theme of my blog, using the deep blue and light green primary colors and using my banner for background. It is my goal and obligation to ensure that my twitter shall be used in a productive way for the greater good and advancement of public relations!

Click HERE to check out my Twitter account!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Man, The Myth, The Legend

To do a Public Relations take on the "Intel: Sponsors of Tomorrow" ad campaign: A small, yoda-like man walks onto the stage podium and smiles at the crowd of students that have gathered. His hair is combed back and the reflection from the over-head lights beams off his glasses. But despite this non-assuming man's appearance, his presence is Olympian as the students applaud his entrance.

Harold Burson; Co-founder of Burson-Marsteller, one of the world's largest public relations agencies and PRWeek's most influential public relations person of the 20th century. Public Relations: Our rock stars aren't like your rock stars!

That was what went through my head when Harold Burson spoke yesterday as he addressed students in the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics main auditorium at the University of Mississippi's Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

One thing is for certain, I can only hope to be half the public relations specialist that Burson is and he truly is the real "Mr. Public Relations."

During the hour he spent with students yesterday, Burson reminisced about the early part of his career, the creation of Burson-Marsteller, and the agency's defining moments; including its work in cleaning up Exxon's image after the Valdez oil spill incident in 1989 and Johnson & Johnson's confrontation with a second outbreak of cyanide-laced Tylenol in 1986.

One of the main points in his presentation was what you know. Burson emphasized the importance of specializing in something but also knowing something about everything. His big tip was for students serious in working in corporate PR to have a business background. In today's market, those with business minors and (even better) an MBA have the upper edge over those with English and history minors. It was a cold, hard fact that made me sigh in relief that despite the grievance it has been, I've been minoring in business.

Additionally, I felt a personal connection to Burson's life story when he told us about his graduating from the University of Mississippi (the same university I now attend) and his dreams of being whisked away to the life of New York City. Given the opportunity to hear him speak ensured me that with hard work, determination and a strengthened belief in the need for effective public relations, maybe someday, I too could be the professional he is.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Chamber Internship

I'm very excited to say that this fall semester, I'm taking instructor Robin Street's Jour 491 Public Relations Techniques class. The second of three public relations classes offered in the journalism school, the class focuses on developing individual PR skills and style.

Throughout the semester we will cover writing effective press releases, learning how to do surveys, professional PR case studies and developing our own campaigns.

Additionally, Ms. Street's class provides internships doing PR work for local businesses in the Oxford community. Though the internships are not paid, the credit and experience are worth the time and effort in giving students the competitive edge over other PR students.

Luckily I was able to receive my first choice in internship with the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation and Chamber of Commerce. One of the most sought after internships, The EDF is dedicated to a strong commitment in seeking new business and supporting existing industry for the Oxford-Lafayette County area. The chamber provides marketing, publicity, savings and client opportunities for nearly 700 businesses and members. The EDF uses community resources to help business needs and create healthy partnerships.

Its also pretty cool to note that Ms. Street was named the Public Relations Association of Mississippi's (PRAM) Educator of the Year this past spring. That fact, no doubt, continues to prove that the University of Mississippi journalism staff is one of the best in the south.

In both the class and internship, its going to be a great semester learning to become a better public relations practitioner.