Archive | September, 2011

Easy Tips to Great Blog Comments

24 Sep

TOW #5

Photo credit: Florian SEROUSSI

Dale Carnegie once said, “There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.” According to Carnegie, we are evaluated with how we communicate our own ideas. Commenting on other blogs is important because when you leave a comment you:

1. Make yourself known to other bloggers and blog readers

2. Get links to your blog

3. Give yourself a voice

Making Yourself Known. To make yourself known to other bloggers, you should identify 3-5 blogs that are in your topic area to concentrate on, and regularly begin commenting on those blogs. You should also leave comments on blogs outside your focus area, but stay concentrated on these 3-5 blogs. This is also great networking because you can choose a blogger who you might one day want to have a collaboration with in the future.

Leaving follow links. Once you comment on a blog, leave a link to your own blog so that others may access it if they choose. You don’t want to be annoying or pushy about it. But if you can subtly tie in a link to your own blog, you drive traffic to your own blog.

Giving yourself a voice.  The quality of your own blog comment is integral in whether you get traffic or not. Actually reading the post and giving great feedback that adds to the content of the blog post will really make a difference in your credibility as a blogger and if people like what they see, they are more likely to check out your blog.

Speaking of blog comments, whey don’t you leave one here?

Advertisements

Digital VS Analog Writing

17 Sep

TOW #4

Remember the days when teachers would ask you to take notes, and everyone pulled a colorful notebook and their favorite ballpoint pen out? Now, if you look around a college classroom, you’ll see rows of glowing faces and hear the slight pitter-patter of keys typing. However, there is still always that one lone student- stuck in the stone age-

Image credit: Dia

with their notepad and pen out. With the shift in technology, and rise in online news, blogs, and other endless media content, it’s no wonder that future journalists need to become well-versed in how to write for digital.

To learn how to write online content, we must first understand how our audience reads online content. A big part of the difference between online and print reading is the physical aspect of the computer versus the paper. A computer screen displays text at a lower resolution, so letters are fuzzier. So most people’s eyes seem to tire after long periods of online reading. Therefore, people usually scan words on a page. Writers should make important information stand out by bolding and writing concise sentences.

Online writers have a unique opportunity that print writers typically do not have. And this is to interact with their reader. Readers can usually post comments which the author can respond to. If you engage a reader, they will most likely return to your site. And as the author, make your reply comment stand out from the pack by using different color text or background for your comment.

Online writing has so many more opportunities than print. With pictures, video, infographics, links to external sites, there are so many resources at the fingertips (literally) of online writers. Take advantage of what is out there! But at the same time, use them wisely.

In summary, here are some quick and dirty tips for online writing…

Do’s and Don’ts for Online Writing:

Image credit: Martin Gommel

1. Do bold and bulletpoint important content

2. Do respond to your comments

3. Do make headlines and keywords in stories search-engine friendly

4. Do add video and graphics

5. Don’t write long drawn out blocks of gray text

6. Do express one main point per sentence

7. Don’t write frightening and vague error messages

8. Do write alt text that is specific to each image.

9. Do write short specific page titles

10. Do eliminate unnecessary white space

NewsU: Cleaning Your Copy

10 Sep

Grammar. Punctuation. Spelling. What feelings emote when you see those words? For me, th0se words sound like nails on a chalkboard, or the feeling you get when you have to put on wet socks. However, the NewsU course Cleaning Your Copy makes brushing up on your grammar and punctuation and anything necessary for “cleaning your copy” in writing a lot easier and fun.

What I learned from Cleaning Your Copy was when to use dashes and semicolons. These are the punctuation marks that I especially struggle with. Dashes denote an abrupt change in thought or an emphatic pause. When dashes are used in pairs, the rest of the sentence must be grammatically correct without the material between the dashes. For example: “They trudged wearily along the trail– dozens had died on it, and they knew it– until they made it to camp utterly exhausted” versus “They trudged wearily along the trail until they made it to camp utterly exhausted.” Semicolons are used to indicate a greater separation of thought and information than a comma can indicate. What surprised me was the duel use of colons. I thought colons were only used to list things, but they can actually be used between two clauses (independent thoughts).

It is amazing how punctuations can change the meaning of a sentence. The correct punctuation is very important to prove professionalism as a writer. I would love to really just continue brushing up on my grammar and punctuation skills. I would definitely recommended the Cleaning Your Copy course to future writers or those who are going to utilize writing anywhere in their careers.

Even Quicker Tips from Grammar Girl

10 Sep

TOW #3

Mignon Fogarty (aka Grammar Girl) has a plethora of “quick and dirty” tips for those of us who aren’t as blessed in the world of understanding or enjoying grammar. After scouring her blog, I brushed up on some technical grammatical things. !! 😉

Who vs. Whom

Who and whom are pronouns

  • Who is for the subject of a clause
  • Whom is for the object of a clause

Subject= Person doing something

Object= What is having something done to them

  • Example: If I step on Squiggly
  • Then… I=Subject; Squiggly=Object
  • Example: “I love you”
  • You are the object of my affection (I am the subject)

Just Whom

Whom is used for the object

  • Example: “Whom did you step on?”
    • Object: Squiggly
  • Example: “Whom do I love?”
    • Object: You

Just Who

Who is when referring to subject

  • Example: “Who stepped on Squiggly?
  • Example: “Who loves you?”

Lay vs. Lie

Present Tense

  • Lay requires a direct object
  • Lie does not
    • Example: You lie down on the sofa (No direct object)
    • Example: You lay the book on the table (the book is the direct object)
    • How to remember the difference: Lay it on me
      • You are laying something (it, the direct object) on me
      • Bad example: Eric Clapton’s song Lay Down Sally
        • To say “lay down Sally” implies that someone should grab Sally and lay her down
        • If he wanted Sally to rest in her arms, he would say “lie down Sally”

Big Picture

  • Present tense:
    • You lay something down
    • People lie down by themselves

Past Tense

Ending A Sentence with a Preposition

Myth: You can’t end a sentence with a preposition

Truth: You CAN, in some cases

What is a Preposition?

  • A word that creates a relationship between other words
  • Prepositions deal with space and time

When Can a Sentence End with a Preposition?

  • Example: “What did you step on?”
    • The sentence doesn’t work without the preposition
    • When Can’t a Sentence End with a Preposition?
      • When you can leave off the preposition and it wouldn’t change the meaning
      • Example: “That’s where it’s at” (BAD!)
      • Change to…. “That’s where it IS”

Unnecessary Prepositions

  • Not great: “Squiggly jumped off of the dock”
  • Better: “Squiggly jumped off the dock”
  • Not great: “He’s outside of the door”
  • Better: “He’s outside the door”

 

PR 2.0 Strategies: Deirdre Breakenridge

10 Sep

Public relations is constantly changing, constantly shifting, and constantly becoming more and more important to companies. Also, as social media and technology continues to rapidly change, the responsibilities of the PR professional are gaining new additions. With the ongoing changes, it’s important to stay up-to-date with the field of Public Relations. One way to do this, is through following media blogs. One blog that particularly caught my eye was PR 2.0 Strategies: Deirdre Breakenridge. Breakenridge does a wonderful job with covering a plethora of topics ranging from social networking, blogging, microblogging, podcasting, streaming video, RSS technology and how communications is changing the way that businesses need to think in order to fully take advantage of community networking.

A few of the blogs that I found helpful was the Shifting Roles from Communications Liaison to Blogger. Which was about how in order to reach bloggers, it is best to see things from their perspective by putting on your “blogger cap”. And this can be the same across the board for other professions. Breakenridge writes, “social media allows you to become the people you want to reach”.

Other posts I really enjoyed were the ones about new social media and helpful technology for PR pros. The post Marrying #Marketing & Technology: An Interview with Julie Cros, Founder of Post Planner and Enhance Your #PR Technology Toolkit were both beneficial for learning what is out there to help out those in the field of public relations. Post Planner is a facebook app that helps PR marketers plan and strategize future wall posts. This is definitely useful for PR practitioners in reaching out to their community. The post Enhance Your #PR Technology Toolkit lists four tools that would be useful for communication professionals. These include Vocus (a strategy app it helps you get a handle on how to set goals, determine challenges, identify who to follow, and then to choose the right tactics), Post Planner (discussed earlier), Asterisq Mention Map (Twitter application that helps you visualize the relationships in your brand’s network), and Cloud.li (a world cloud that visualizes the most popular conversations during a chat session).

I’ve only touched on a few of the great posts found in PR 2.0 Strategies: Deirdre Breakenridge. However, this is a wonderful blog to follow, especially for rising PR practitioners.

Blog Comments

10 Sep

Post: Dedicated to First-Year Student Me: Thriving in Your First Year at SEU

Date: September 9, 2011

Comment:

1. Don’t lock yourself into one social group in the very beginning. Reach out and meet as many people as you can at the very beginning!

2. Get to know your professors and other mentors. They are stock full of great knowledge :)

3. Don’t underestimate the power of a daily quiet time

4. Get plugged in to a church off campus

5. Drink Red Bull and coffee for those all-nighters! :)

Post: Public Relations Expanded: Eight Social Roles Assigned

Date: September 10, 2011

Comment:

Great post! I appreciate all the feedback of different roles that are being added to PR. I am a public relations student, so this is great so I can get an idea of what I need to learn more about prior to fully entering the world of PR. I am minoring in Psychology, which I feel may be quite beneficial with the relationship analyzer role. However, knowing that “master of metrics” is also a new role, is good to know so that I can maybe add some business classes :) Thanks for the help!

Post: What’s the Connection Between Tumblr and Teenagers?

Date: September 10, 2011

Comment:

Nice! I’ve been wondering about Tumblr. I don’t have an account, but this post has motivated me to maybe get one. @Ann Marie, great comment about it being a bit like Twitter, with the professionalism of a blog.

Post: Way Back When… Melanie Shoults

Date: September 14, 2010

Comment:

Thanks for using my tip in here ;) I love the tip of talking to the people around you before class. It’s always good to create relationships with those that are in your classes and exchange phone number. This is especially helpful if you miss a class and need to find out what happened that day or just to support each other in general with assignments!

Post: 12 unexpected tips for business communications

Date: 10/6/11

Comment:

Great tips! I loved your points about charisma being the “magical quality that most leaders possess.” I think your definition is pretty spot on… “These are people who look and act like winners. They are kind, empathetic, have a light sense of humor, and are known for their strength of character.” I believe a key word in this definition is “empathetic”. This definitely ties in with knowing your public on an intimate level. If you don’t begin with caring with them, why should your public care about you and what you have to say?

Post: 99 ways to improve your business communication

Date: 10/12/11

Comment:

Super useful list! I think I may just print this out and post it on my wall!
I especially like these pointers…
31. Make all important phone calls before noon.
59. Thank someone when they offer a compliment (don’t argue!)
63. Write with bullet points and white space so your information is “reader-friendly.”

Post: The Quick & Dirty by Liz Colburn

Date: 10/15/11

Comment:

Loved all these health tips! I didn’t know that before about grapes, but it definitely makes a lot of sense. Interesting also that fiber when mixed with water makes your stomach feel full. Thank you for the quick tips! And Elizabeth, that is so interesting about dried fruit! I love to snack on dried fruit because it’s yummy and I always thought it was pretty healthy.

Post: Do’s & Don’t of Business Blogging – From Ivesp.com by Daniel Barcelo

Date: 10/15/11

Comment:

Great advice! I’m just beginning a website for my youth group, and we are going to buy a template for $1,000 and going to pay $20 a month for hosting. In all, I think that it’s pretty inexpensive to have a professional looking website. I really liked #6 “Do have 10 posts written and posted before you launch the blog”. It’s definitely important to have content before launching!

Post: Now Featuring: Shonali Burke by Amanda Furmage

Date: 10/15/11

Comment:

Great guest post! I’m definitely going to check out Burke’s blog. It is always good as a PR student to soak up as much information as we can from those who excel in the field. This really goes for all fields of study. Reading a blog from an expert such as Burke really will help us learn and grow in the field of PR.

Post: Public Relations: It’s Not Kid’s Play

Date: 10/15/11

Comment:

I am a public relations student and the more I hear about the field, the more I hear about how it is, as you say, “not for the faint hearted”. I love the fast pace of the world of communications, but it can be overwhelming. As a student, I would say learning to manage my time will be what will be most beneficial to my future career. I am currently working 2 jobs and taking 17 credit hours. Balance has been key to me and learning to schedule, schedule, schedule, will keep me sane!

Post: TOW #9: Info+Graphic Round Two by Emily Meade

Date: 10/26/11

Comment:

Great post! I love the Starbucks infographic you include. What a good example of an eye-catching and informative graphic. Currently, I am taking a layout and design class and realizing the importance of having a marketable graphic. This goes with even just branding yourself as a PR professional. I hope to make a logo for myself soon! Thanks for the tips!

Post: Hmmm… What should I name this? by Mikelle Liette

Date: 10/26/11

Comment:

These are some wonderful tips! I especially like number seven: Does your personality show through your headlines? Consistency is definitely important in creating and keeping your voice throughout your blog. Your headline is a great way to create rapport with your readers. Standing out is definitely extremely important also with the overwhelming amount of similar news stories out there.
Good job!

Post: 10 Tips to Increase Your Productivity

Date: 11/14/11

Comment:

Great tips! I am always looking for ways to stay productive. I definitely agree with numbers 1 and 6 also. Every morning without fail pretty much, I make a list of what I need to accomplish that day. Without having a plan, I feel lost and overwhelmed! Also, taking short mind breaks keep me alert when I am working. Thanks for tip number 4 too! I need to get better at blocking out distractions.

Post: Why freelancing is for you. by Taylor Flumerfelt

Date: 11/17/11

Comment:

Great post, Taylor! I have never really given freelancing much thought before. But such a great idea! I really wish I had known sooner so I could’ve been building my portfolio sooner (considering I graduate in May) but I think I’m going to try to get some freelancing next semester. Any suggestions where or how to get freelancing opportunities?

Post: Japan Mission Trip by Johny Fernandez

Date:11/17/11

Comment:

I can’t wait to go to Japan! We are leaving in T-14 hours. So crazy! I would love to blog while I’m over there to remember the experience because I believe that one of our responsibilities as journalists is to share the stories of other people. This trip is going to be life changing!

Post: THINKHOUSE- Communicating with youth. by Elizabeth Telg

Date: 11/17/11

Comment:

Very cool! I love that you are thinking ahead and researching PR firms that you would potentially like to work for! Checking out an organization’s website is incredibly important to learn what they are about, and the kind of atmosphere they like to cultivate in their workplace.

Thinkhouse sounds incredibly creative and trendy, so you can begin to tailor your resume for more of a casual, fun-loving, spunky tone. It would probably be a good idea to reach out to a current employee and just introduce yourself and say “Hey, I’d love to work with this organization someday! What are some things I can begin doing now?” It’ll show initiative and that you are truly interested in working with them! Keep up the good work!

Post: TED Talk by Eli Pariser: Beware online “filter bubbles” by Barbara Nixon

Date: 11/17/11

Comment:

This was definitely an eye-opener! Personalization on the internet is nice to a certain extent, like Melanie is saying, because it filters out the tons of information that is on there and puts in the forefront what they believe we would like to see, but this is forming very one-sided opinionated people. Individuals need to broaden their horizons and read on different perspectives to stretch themselves.

Post: Does Participatory Journalism Contribute to the Decline or the Solution of Traditional News Media by Nick Tedeschi

Date: 11/19/11

Comment:

I like the quote about how Twitter is used by News Organizations! Being limited to to 140 characters really forces me to be concise in my writings and still get my point across. Which really is qualities of good online journalism!

Also the part of how participatory journalism will affect the future of journalism is interesting. Since journalists will spark a discussion, rather than just lecture, I feel as though the communications degree is more important than ever to learn how to not only be proactive, but also reactive to what people are saying.

Post: Photos from Morocco: It’s All in the Details

Date: 11/19/11

Comment:

Nice post! I just arrived in Japan to help with the disaster relief and I want to blog about my time here! I was looking up travel blogs and ran across yours. I love all the pictures in your post that tell a story of the place itself. Unfortunately, my camera is not as nice as yours. I just have a point-and-shoot digital. But maybe I can make it work 🙂

Post: In The Ring We Have Facebook Versus Google by Naida Lindberg

Date: 11/19/11

Comment:

I feel like this happens often! But usually it’s not about bad-mouthing another company, just building up their own. People are hired all the time to blog about a product so that others will buy it. I guess why would it be different to hire someone to talk badly about a company? I wonder what the legalities are in this?

Social Media

5 Sep

Topic of the Week #1

Social media is a huge part of the lives of the upcoming generation. Whether it is for keeping up with current events, career purposes, or simply the social benefits, social media is becoming a pandemic- bringing together individuals and ideas cross-continental. The platforms of social media which I currently use are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and of course WordPress.

I use Facebook for about 80% social reasons, and 20% occupational reasons. Since I am a youth intern at my church, as well as a student brand manager for Red Bull at my University, I use Facebook to post updates of events and pictures for my youth group and for marketing for Red Bull.

Twitter is one of my favorite social media platforms to use because it is so simple to tweet updates from my phone and keep up with current statuses of others. Just like Facebook, I use Twitter for both social and work reasons. The great thing about Twitter is that you can follow celebrities and opinion leaders without them having to follow you back. Being in public relations, I enjoy following PR opinion leaders to get pieces of advice and go to useful links which they tweet.

My LinkedIn profile is purely for professional purposes. By posting my resume and making connections with professionals in my field, I hope to one day score a job. In the field of public relations, connections and relationships are vital. It’s important to hold on to your connections and one day potentially use them for job opportunities.

Blogging is a wonderful social media platform as well. A blog is a wonderful portrayal of your personality through the written word and a great outlet to write about your interests. Although blogging may seem like lone territory at times, it can be a relationship builder by commenting on posts by others.

Although I’ve only touched on a few platforms of social media, there are plenty of others out there and more are constantly popping up! If you have not jumped on the social media bandwagon yet, I strongly encourage you to do so because as far as I see, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, are all here to stay!