Response to Sarah’s Post on Colbert

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Sarah Jane Johnson recently wrote a blog covering the multitude of activities Colbert has been involved in. he has done a remarkable job getting his face out there in a variety of different fashions. until Sarah’s post I hadn’t really thought of all of the PR positioning Colbert has done recently. He has been in the news, commercials, pretend running for office only to back out when he received a large sum of donations, and the list goes on. Colbert has done a phenomenal job “playing his character” out in his everyday life. he comes with a rather committed following and only seems to be growing. I wonder sometimes how he does as much as he does (he must have the Pepper Pots of Secretaries). So much of Colbert’s life revolves around saying controversial statements, being egotistical, and various hints of being real.

As a beginner in PR, Sarah’s article really revealed to me how much “positioning,” as my professor would say, that takes place in PR. Colbert is radically active not only in his own show and bringing current topics to the table for discussion, but he’s bringing dynamic characters to the show as well. 

It will be interesting to watch how the PR learns from some of the tactics that Colbert employs and if they learn how he does it so efficiently.

To check out Johnson’s blog and the original post, go here:

http://sarahjanejohn.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/its-a-colbert-nation/ 

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Rethinking Goals of Non-Profit Work

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Recently I stumbled across author, public speaker, and activist Tyler Wigg-Stevenson. Instantly I was challenged both in my personal walk with Christ and my idealism. Now I still have ambitions of being change in the world and an agent of peace but something Stevenson speaks on is so important for the Non-Profit sector. Many of us in the Non-Profit sector want to make the world a better place. We have passions flowing out of us. Personally I see a wounded heart and my whole being grieves. However, there is a pill I must swallow, that is that nothing I do will wipe the wounds away. I may be able to bring a smile to a tear stained face, but that doesn’t remove the tears. As we work with a wounded world we must accept that there is a limit to what we can accomplish. Not only is there a limit but there is a point at which what we are trying to do is impossible. Stevenson says, “Pure future oriented optimism dishonors the past irreparability.”

So as we look towards establishing goals for Non-Profit’s we must not believe we will ever get rid of the past wounds. We must work in conjunction with the reality of our limitations. If we neglect to be real with ourselves and our volunteers about the actual work we can accomplish it will create burnout and cause fatigue, but if we can accept our limitations and in Stevenson words “still show up” then we can do real work.

 

For more on Tyler Wigg-Stevenson, check out his Q ideas talk here:

http://qideas.org/videos/the-world-is-not-ours-to-save/

Perfecting the Fundamentals of PR

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Not being in the forefront of the PR industry, I sometimes forget (neglect) some of the technical aspects of working in PR. It’s easy to get stuck on crisis management plans, but there are many other behind the scenes activities. Recently I came across an article I thought was helpful! It outlines how to create a PR plan and six steps to do so. Really there are more than 6 steps with the advice, but they add more comprehensive elements to each step. Two of the scenarios I want to focus on and reinforce the importance of are; Understanding your current scenario and establishing your goals.

In 2009, devastating natural disasters hit the small country of Haiti. Campaigns across the states began to go help the nation by providing aid and support. In a small way, the campaign was a success. Peoples lives were on the up and up. Homes were being built and roadways repaired. There was a problem though, we didn’t understand the situation and our goals were too shallow. What America saw as the problem was the natural disasters, what they missed was that Haiti’s capital was the third dirtiest city in the world (and this was not because of the natural disasters). What Haiti needed wasn’t a quick financial injection, but a doctor. Our goals were to help those devastated by the natural disasters, but we didn’t think about it correctly. We sent free labor over to rebuild roads which did help, but it also took jobs from all the Haitian workers ultimately taking food off their tables.

In preparing a PR plan, thinking over some of these problems will help ensure your product is of high caliber. Even if it’s your first rodeo or your 150th, it’s good to go back to the basics.

Check out the original article here:

http://www.prnewsonline.com/featured/2014/05/19/pr-insider-6-steps-to-create-a-comprehensive-pr-plan/

Communication in Non-Profits

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How do I get my voice out? There is a sea of sounds more active than a New York Street in Mid Day. It’s louder than standing in the marching band during a parade. What I have to say is important, so how do I make my voice be heard?

In our society presently we have a communication problem. It’s not what you’d expect either. We don’t have challenges getting our voice out. We have challenges because it’s so easy to get our voice out. So in the Non-Profit sector how do get our goal to the people? How do we overcome Cause- Fatigue? Often a good cause is treated more like catching a cold. We only want enough to inoculate ourselves from getting it worse.

A recent article in PR News online may not solve all of these problems, but what it will do is teach you 5 habits that will be a great starting point. The first (and focus of my post) point the author makes is asking the “So What” question. So often when we are so close to the inner workings of an event we fail to see how it’s being viewed from the outside. We forget what’s motivating us to do the book work or deal with hiring policy when we forget the why. Something Non-Profits attempt to do is stir up commitment from the community, in forms of volunteers, donations and publicity. This habit of stirring up commitment shouldn’t be lost within the company. Even the CEO must dedicate time to remember why he’s doing everything. Do not grow weary in remembering and rededicating to the cause.

To check out the full article and other helpful tips check it out here!

http://www.prnewsonline.com/featured/2014/05/22/pr-insider-5-steps-for-more-effective-nonprofit-communications/

PRSSA Prompt Response: Social Media Taught in School?

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The Prompt we are given to respond to is:

“More and more colleges and universities are instilling social media and digital marketing classes. Have you taken one of these classes? What did you learn? If you haven’t taken one of these classes or if your college doesn’t offer them, what do you wish professors would teach about the digital world?”

I am not a PR major, and prior to the class I am in now, I didn’t have much involvement in social media classes. That being said I am responding to what I wish we could be taught about Social Media. One of the problems I see with Social Media is that it is one of the fastest evolving platforms we encounter. It would be as difficult to map a constantly changing and evolving dimension of our lives as it would be to predict who the next #1 Best Seller Book will come from. There are changes and adaptions and currents that shape culture also shape social media and how we interact act with it. That being said what we can learn is language and professionalism of social media.

 

Imagine with me for a moment that you cannot spell. It’s like being taught how to spell instead of what to spell. If we are taught a word to spell, we may understand how to spell that word, but if given a new word we may will not know how to spell it. On the other hand if we are taught how to spell, we can do any word (well lets be real, we still struggle with some).  If we are taught how to use LinkedIn or Twitter, we may know how to use them effectively, but if they ever go out of style we would be left with a skill no one needs. However, if you teach us how to be professional in social media we will be able to learn how to adapt to social medias 5 or 10 years down the road in much better ways. Essentially teach us the “how” of social media and we can learn the “what” as it comes and goes. 

Response to Taylor Burbank’s “Shutterfly”

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I recently read an article by a classmate regarding the “Shutterfly” incident last week. In her article she highlights the social media response after the fact and the negative impact it had on the community. If you don’t know what happened, simply put, Shutterfly sent out an email, either on accident or on purpose, congratulating women who had not given birth on their new born baby. It seemed like a simple mistake but it generated some outrage. Something Burbank pointed out was the growing hostility over the internet and how everyone now has a voice thanks to social media. We will only see this tendency increase especially as culture continues to polarize. There seems to be less and less “grace” (if I can use that word here) granted to anyone when a wrong has happened. If there is a possibility you will offend someone, well you better just know it’s going to happen. Either cultural consciousness needs to shift (although that’s nearly impossible to orchestrate) or we need to buckle down for the long hall. Disgruntled people will continue to get more and more of a voice and the problem is that we are all in that boat.

Think briefly about the last time someone cut you off…You got angry right? Of course you did, probably followed by some not so friendly words directed at the person who did so. Now think briefly on the last time you cut someone else off…Harder to remember isn’t it? Typically We attribute our errors as simple mistakes and dismiss them while ostracizing mistakes of others.

As more and more people gain a larger voice, professionalism and crisis management plans will need to be more fully developed and constantly revised as shifts in social media culture change. Stay on top of it! 

Thanks Taylor Burbank for your insight on the “Shutterfly” incident!

Here’s a link to her article! 

http://taylorburbank.wordpress.com/2014/05/18/shutterfly-apologizing-for-my-non-existent-child/

LinkedIn: The New Way to Find Volunteers?

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LinkedIn recently expanded it’s use to include something incredibly important for those in the Non-Profit sector. There will now be a formal way for people seeking to make a difference in the world to get connected to those who can help them exercise their desire to help the world. LinkedIn will be providing a way to connect those people to Non-Profits. What this means is that Non-Profits will be able to find people seeking philanthropic avenues that can help them reach their goals. Moreover it is by location so users will be able to make a difference in their own community. The cost will be significantly reduced by 90% for Non-Profits searching through these means because the LinkedIn wants to make it affordable for those who want to make a difference in the world.

There are two problems that you may encounter at this stage of the process. The program is so new and unused that it may not yet be an efficient way to find people seeking altruistic events. The second is that smaller towns and communities may have extremely limited avenues for those people looking to help out. In little Ellensburg, you may not find ways to get involved in something you are passionate about as you may in Seattle or New York. It would be extremely interesting to see if they expand the usage of this type of networking to allow for national and international interactions as well.

 

Here is a link to the article for more information on the subject:

http://www.prnewsonline.com/water-cooler/2014/01/22/new-linkedin-volunteer-marketplace-connects/