Archive | October, 2011

The 4-1-1 on Info(graphics)

29 Oct

Although photographs are beautiful and artsy ways to tell a reader what a story is about, sometimes more information needs to be shown than can be illustrated in a normal picture. This is when infographics come in handy.

What is an infographic???

Information graphics, or infographics, are computer-generated artwork that is used to display information, data, or knowledge in the form of tables and charts.

Why infographics???

I’m a visual learner. Sometimes, it wouldn’t matter how well something is described or a process is detailed in an article, or a comparison is made. I would need a drawing to visually comprehend what the article is trying to say in so many words. For a PR practitioner, an infographic could be useful in a story for their client because it illustrates information in a simple symbol for others to understand easily.

How can I make one???

Many infographics can be created on your own computer using programs such as Microsoft Office, PowerPoint, etc. I created the infographic in this blog using Microsoft Word under “Charts”.  However, many companies turn to graphic artists and commercial illustrators to create a chart for them. If a company is preparing material for distribution to the media, they want it to be as professional as possible, which is why turning to graphic specialists could be the best option for your company.

A GREAT infographic is….

  • Clear. It provides easy to find information
  • Visually stimulating (Colorful, uNiQuE, and catches your EYE!) Bottom line: The reader needs to say “wow!”
  • Clever! Present data in a way that is surprising
  • Shareable! You want the reader to show your infographic to others. Don’t forget to embed the code, badges, Twitter/Facebook buttons, etc.

Bottom line: You want readers to be attracted to your infographic and understand what you are trying to get across

Guest Blog Post

15 Oct
I think every now and then having a guest blog post is great for widening the span on your blog, and even recognizing other great blogs. The guest blogger I chose for my guest blogger is beautiful fellow Public Relations student, Emily Meade. I loved this post from her blog PRetty in Pink. Be sure to check it out!
TOW #2: They help us…what?

"Bloomburg Businessweek" from businessweek.com

Let’s just say… Bloomburg Businessweek isn’t exactly a PR website/blog web address, but then again, any current event source that PR individuals can gain is vital to create a well-rounded PR educate. There are seven drop-downs that you can choose from at the home page: home, finance, technology, innovation, management, small business and global. Under the home drop-down, you can choose the option “blogs.” Here, there are blogs relating to many topics from traveling to media to entrepreneurship. What does this business site have to do with a PR student, you may ask? Well, here’s my take on it.

PR professionals always are keeping up on everything. We are the social media gurus. Changes in society, politics, and citizens can alter what we are trying to accomplish in our everyday jobs. In seconds we can be forced to resort to plan B… or C. But many times, one of the venues we work with is a business. So shouldn’t it be smart to keep up with what businesses are saying about things? Staying in touch with what’s happening in the business world can be vital for our success.

"Popping Bubble" from intermissionthoughts.blogspot.com

As students, we should be well-rounded in all areas of education. That’s why we go through general education classes to obtain a broader perspective that could better help us in our career someday. Among others, Bloomburg Businessweek can help us stay in touch with topics that can come in handy some day when we enter in the PR world as a professional. And if, by any chance, it doesn’t, well, you will have a little history with whatever topics you choose to read!

Josh Hallett from Voce Communications talks blogging

15 Oct

For the September SEU FPRA meeting, guest speaker Josh Hallett from Voce Communications came  to speak. He shared some great insight on blogging and how to be strategic with a business blog.

Josh Hallett, Director, from Voce Communications

Four elements he touched on that are important to a company blog are:

  1. Awareness: How do you tell your company story?
  2. Engagement: How do you identify and act on market conversations?
  3. Conversion: How do you encourage your customers to take action?
  4. Advocacy: How do you enable people to share their preference?

One thing that I found incredibly useful is what he said about driving traffic to your blog. I’ve wondered how to do this to my own blog and some of the advice he gave was to publish more often! According to Hallett, when they began publishing more often on blogs, the traffic went up exponentially! This is why Facebook is so popular. Because there is always something new to look at!

Hallett also emphasized participation. He said that you should respond to comments on your own blog because people will begin coming back! This also shows the public that they can relate to you and people want to involved. People are egotistical, so commenting back helps them because they want to know they are noticed!

Storify: Revolutionary Way to Write Stories

7 Oct
TOW #7
Social media is taking over my life! I get excited when someone follows me on Twitter, check my Facebook instinctively after signing online, half of my emails are from LinkedIn and my WordPress blog, and just today I caved into getting a Pinterest after being bugged multiple times by my roommates to get one.The main reason I love social media is for the quick retrieval of pieces of news and updates. However, you have to cut through all the trivial statuses about sitting at work, going to the gym, baking cookies, or feeding the dog, to get to the interesting newsworthy updates. Ever wish you could just compile all the tidbits of news that you hear on Twitter, Facebook,Youtube, Google, Flickr, etc. and create a great story from all of these sources?

A new website called Storify, allows you to do just that. Storify links Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, and Google (just to name a few) on one platform in which you search a topic and then drag the elements you like and arrange them to create a story. Storify also notifies the sources in which you take your information from and cites your information for you! Storify is so easy to use and incredibly revolutionary. It is a great tool for journalists and bloggers alike to easily create stories with multiple elements. Storify was named by TIME as one of the 50 Best Websites of 2011.

I just discovered Storify on TIME’s list of Best Websites. Explore it and more must-see sites on TIME.com.

Twitter is full of pithy, smart stuff, much of which is seen by relatively few people before it is buried and forgotten. The best of it is worth preserving and sharing more broadly. Enter Storify, a clever service that lets you bundle up related tweets, TwitPics, Facebook updates, Flickr photos and other elements onto one page.
You can even check out this article about how professional journalists at The Washington Post and The New York Times have all embedded stories using Storify.
Storify

The Washington Post, The New York Times and the White House have all used the social reporting tool Storify to drag and drop tweets, posts and other media …
Storify makes news writing so much easier and less stressful. Readers are able to go to the original source via your article and check it for themselves. Story writing has never been easier. I guess all the PR pros were onto something with all this social media jazz! 😉
PS. I wrote this post using Storify

How To: Write headings that work

1 Oct

TOW #6

Headings are important for a number of reasons: they attract readers, they organize your writing into readable chunks, and they allow the reader to skim your article quickly.

In your article, headings include the headline and subheadings.

-Headline: gives readers an idea of the content of the whole story.

-Subheadings: group your writing together in relatable content, making it easier for a reader to look over and direct their eyes to what catches their attention.

Photo credit: Karen ❤ Flower

Here are some tips for writing effective headlines for digital media:

1. Engage your reader. Tell the gist of your story in a few powerful words, yet don’t mislead readers by sensationalizing a headline. If you draw them in, and they find out your article isn’t what they imagined, your credibility decreases.

2. Review your content. Make sure you know precisely what your story is about and your angle, in order to write an accurate headline.

3. Compare your headline to others. Once you’ve decided on your headline, input it into a search engine and compare the results to others. Is your wording more compelling than your competition’s? Look at the top results and see the keywords they have in common, you may want to use it too.

4. Use Subject-Verb-Object structure. This structure puts the subject and action first! Seek to use verbs that are strong (short, urgent, and have only one or two syllables), active (active rather than passive voice and present rather than past tense), fresh (verb that isn’t overused), and accurate.

5. Help readers distinguish between different heading levels. Arrange your headings in decreasing levels of importance.

6. Identify tone of content. Write a headline that reflects the tone of your overall article. Tone should be appropriate for your audience and true to your site’s identity, standards, and voice.

7. Avoid Abbreviations. People tend to spell out full words in searches.

8. Be stingy with punctuation. Headings don’t generally include any kind of ending punctuation. Question marks can be effective if the content answers the headline’s question. But a direct statement is better. Avoid exclamation marks, and use strong words instead.

9. Try to have consistent headings throughout. Whether your subheadings are sentence fragments or complete sentences, either is fine as long as it is used consistently.

10. Proofread! Your headline may end up in an RSS feed the instant it’s published. Double-check for any typos or errors.

Thank you Yahoo! Style Guide for these helpful tips!

Dedicated to Freshman Me…

1 Oct

At a SEU soccer game Freshman year

Okay, so you are here. You are a freshman at Southeastern University. You are signed up for your classes, moved into your dorm, said adios to the ‘rents and the rest of your family… you finally accomplished a huge right of passage into adulthood! So now what? Everyone else around you seems to know exactly what is going on, but you just feel incredibly lost and alone. Well, guess what? We’ve all been there before. Now as the much “older and more mature” senior that I am, I am here to give you freshies some tips and tricks to make your first year of college a breeze!

Dressed as the cast of "Gossip Girl" for Halloween in 2008

1. Get involved with campus events! The best way to meet people is to literally just get out there! At the beginning of the year there are tons of events, and usually they are FREE! So save your change, and go have some fun and don’t be afraid to walk up to a new person and simply introduce yourself.

2. Say hi to your professors. Professors are great resources to you and full of lifetime experience which is priceless. Get to know who they are, and their experiences. This is also great for those future letters of reference you’ll need for grad-school or internships 😉

3. Be nice to your roommate. Even if you are an early bird, and your roommate is a late owl. Or she loves blasting country music, and you can’t stand Tim McGraw (disclaimer: I like Tim McGraw!), being nice to the person you live with is vital to having a peaceful living environment.

4. Join a club. Discover your niche and what you are passionate about. Getting involved in a club can help boost your resume and meet people!

Freshman Year 70's Skate Night

5. Love your planner. Don’t think you can just take a mental note of something without writing it down and remember later. That has failed me too many times! As your activities fill up, write them down in one place: planner, calendar, phone, your roommate’s forehead. Just as long as it is written down in a place you can see it.

6. Eat at the cafeteria. It’s tempting to skip the nasty cafeteria food and go out, but the cost really adds up! Looking back at your checkbook, you don’t want to see you spent all your money on food instead of fun activities.

At Lake Mirror Freshman Year

7. Get plugged in off campus. Find a local church body or organization off campus to join. It’s always nice to get away from time to time.

8. Save your class skips! Save your skips to those times you truly are sick or maybe have a last minute paper you need to finish.

9. Take care of your body. Remember what your Mama taught ya. Eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and staying active is NOT overrated. It really affects your performance.

10. Enjoy yourself! You only live college once (hopefully). My good friend Charlie Chaplin once said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” So get out there and do something that you’ll be able to tell stories about one day!… It goes by fast…

Senior Year