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The Award for Best Blog Goes To….

15 Apr

At the end of semester, after visiting many blogs this year, it was a tough decision to decide which blogs I thought were the best of all the ones I read. However, after much thought, I decided that these two blogs stood above the rest for their own reasons.

My favorite professional blog would have to be the blog from Ragan’s PR Daily. PR Daily is a daily news site that delivers news, advice and opinions on the public relations, marketing, social media, and media worlds. I love articles on PR Daily because there are a wide variety of articles and they are written by many various contributors. The articles are also short, easy to read and have great information. You can also subscribe to PR Daily and you will receive email notifications with a list of popular articles and links. Each post is also easily shareable via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, or accessible to print or email. Many of the posts I have commented on or that have inspired me for my blog posts have been from Ragan’s PR Daily. I would recommend PR Daily for anyone in the field of public relations or marketing or aspiring to take this career path.

One of the student blogs from my class that I would like to commend is Taylor Flumerfelt’s PRestigious blog. I felt like her blog always had great information for the field of Public Relations which is obviously what I’m studying and very interested in. As the President of our student chapter of Florida Public Relations Association, she always has a variety of topics in her blog, whether it is connecting to a local PR contact or writing tips for the PR world. What I like is that her posts never drag on, they are straight to the point and usually have pretty pictures to accompany them!

What Makes A Video Go Viral?

8 Apr

On Youtube, 48 hours of video are uploaded every minute, resulting in nearly 8 years of content uploaded every day. However, only a small percentage of these videos become viral. So what exactly are the components of a video that make it go viral? It’s hard to say exactly what the formula is for making a video something people want to watch and share with their friends, but Youtube’s trends manager, Kevin Allocca, discusses the reasons a video goes viral in this talk from TEDYouth.

As we can see, the three main reasons that Allocca says make a video are:

1. Tastemakers
2. Communities & Engagement
3. Unexpectedness

First of all, tastemakers are those opinion leaders such as celebrities or thought leaders who already have a community of followers who come across your video and share it.

Communities and engagement are the components of your video that target a certain community that is already established that would love to take your video and run with it.

“Charlie Bit My Finger” is one of the top viewed Youtube videos of all time. Something that makes this video so appealing is the small children and British accents. I’m sure a slew of parents and any one that loves adorable children (anyone with a heart) can appreciate the cuteness of this video. Perhaps also the reason this video is so popular is because of how “quotable” it is. Come on, admit it, if you have seen this video, you probably have quoted soon after in your best British accent, “Charlie bit my finga, and it weally hurts!”

Unexpectedness is the key ingredient that makes your video worth sharing! Something that is unique, unexpected, and different which will make your video stand out from the crowd.

Maybe Scarlett falling off this table wasn’t incredibly unexpected. We all kind of saw it coming… a girl getting on a table and singing, kind of the recipe for disaster. However, the tumble is just TOO good!

So as you can see, there really isn’t a formula, per se, that makes a viral video. But when making videos really think if it is unique and if it is something that people will want to spend their time watching and share with friends! And if you somehow have crazy connections with celebrities, get them to post it on their pages!

Widgets & Badges….Shazam!

1 Apr

Widgets and badges… sounds more like something off of Harry Potter than you use in social media, doesn’t it? However, widgets and badges are both tools that can be used on your social media site.

A widget could be something as common as an advertisement on a page or anything from a voting poll to a weather forecast to a list of current headlines or a crossword puzzle.

Widgets are great for company pages because they can link to outside social media sites such as the companies Facebook, Twitter, Youtube page, or blog. For this blog, some of the widgets I’ve utilized include an RSS feed so people can subscribe to my blog, a drop down category list, a calendar, and blog statistics about the traffic to my page. Widgets also allow people who visit your page to have a more interactive experience.

On the other hand, a badge is a small image used on websites that has a link back to its source. A badge is great way to display one’s membership or presence in a community on the Social Web. Badges can also show products used in creation of a page or product, to indicate a specific content license applied to the content or design of a website, or to comply with an application’s terms of service. Web badges are useful because they can help give credit where credit is due!

Currently, I am the Assistant Director of Student Ministries at First Presbyterian Church in Lakeland and the church website has widgets that link to its Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as a web badge that gives credit to the source that powers the web page for the church.  A widget for a calendar is used to show what is going on at the church. I believe that the church could use more widgets such as a survey for church members or a Flickr feed of pictures from recent events.

Although widgets and badges may not be as cool as a Harry Potter magic spell, they have their benefits for your website.

Social Bookmarking: How is it useful?

25 Mar

Until recently, I had heard of social bookmarking but I wasn’t really sure what the purpose was or how social bookmarking could be useful. Being a public relations student, I’m usually pretty up on my game in the latest in social media. But social bookmarking was never something that particular drew me in. Let’s be honest, we hear a lot more about Twitter and Facebook than we do Diigo and Delicious.

Too many bookmarks on your browser make for a "sticky" situation

So what is social bookmarking?
If you’ve ever emailed a friend or family member with a link to a website that you think they’d find interesting, then you have participated in social bookmarking. The purpose of social bookmarking websites is to tag a website and save it for later. Except for instead of saving it to your web browser, you are saving them to the web.

I just think of all the websites I have saved in my toolbar or “Favorites” page and cringe.  Although they are easy to access that way, you can only have so many saved at a time before going ballistic with the number you have saved in your main toolbar. So setting up a Diigo account solved that problem for me!

 How can college students benefit from social bookmarking?
Social bookmarks are great for college students! The wonderful thing about social bookmarking websites compared to saving on your own computer is that you can access your bookmarks from any computer—just by logging into your account! They are also great if you are working on a group project because instead of emailing links out to the other group members, they can just view your profile and see the links you have saved.

Through this study on social bookmarking, I created my first social bookmarking profile on Diigo. Check it out and here below are some of the websites I’ve bookmarked. Cheers!

PR Daily News

Public Relations Matters

Red Bull USA

Diva Marketing Blog

Reflections: Mikelle Liette

Taylor Flumerfelt blog

PRetty in Pink: Emily Meade’s blog

Peter Shankman 

Randomly Ravishing: Liz Colburn

PR Disasters

Southeastern University

PR-Squared – Social Media Marketing and Public Relations

Beth Kanter’s Blog

Katya’s Non-Profit Marketing Blog

Marketing for Nonprofits

Addicted to Pinterest? How can companies benefit from this new site?

18 Mar

Pinterest has taken the internet by storm in the past few months! With this website’s explosion in popularity, companies have been wondering how and if they can benefit from the site.

What is Pinterest?
On its website, Pinterest describes itself as a “virtual pinboard” which “allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web”. Pinboards are made of “pins” which is an image that can be added from websites using the “Pin It” button and when clicked, it links back to the original site it came from. Most people use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and share their favorite recipes. Personally, I love using Pinterest to find great ideas for event planning, outfit ideas, and I even used it during the holidays to “pin” items I wanted to buy—like a virtual shopping list!

Can Companies Benefit?
Pinterest is great for companies in the fact that they can pin their products and when people click on the pin, it links back to the company website. However, Pinterest isn’t for just any company! In a recent blog post 11 Stats About Pinterest, I found that the biggest demographic for Pinterest is women ages 25 to 34 and Pinterest caters to recipes, home décor and do-it-yourself crafts. So if your company sells power tools, then Pinterest probably isn’t the best way to create conversations and drive brand awareness of your company.

How Can Companies Use Pinterest?
If you do decide to implement Pinterest, here are some tips taken from 9 Tips: Boost Your Business With Pinterest:

1. Spend the time— Just like years ago when blogging first became popular, Pinterest isn’t something that you can’t give up on right away.

2. Keep It Simple— The main appeal of Pinterest is that the site is exceptionally easy to use. It’s best to mimic the uncluttered aesthetic of the site.

 3. Use other social nets to feed Pinterest— Use your companies Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr accounts to point users to the Pinterest page.

 4. Launch a daily pin theme— Sevenly has created a daily pin to promote its brand. The idea is to come up with a catchy slogan that is tied to the organization’s charity work and memorable enough so that the images get re-pinned.

 5. Follow the big hitters—Follow the big names on Pinterest and if they begin following you back, other users get the message and follow the leader.

Although marketers and business owners are still trying to discover the best way to implement Pinterest for their company, the only sin for a company would be to not jump on the bandwagon early! So go ahead and pin away!

Guest Blog Post

4 Mar

My dear friend and fellow-blogger, Mikelle Liette wrote a great blog post about Pinterest– Pinterest: A Pinboard for Dreamers. Sharing is caring 🙂

For a planner, creator, decorator, or organizer, Pinterest is a dream come true. I first learned about Pinterest last summer and since then I have been addicted. Pinterest is an online pin board and is a place where you can organize and share things that you love. It is easy to join, just go to pinterest.com and click request to join. Pinterest connects with your facebook and allows you to create multiple different electronic ‘pin boards’. Basically you can look at other pinners boards and ‘repin’ the pictures of things that they like. You can categorize your different boards by naming them different things to stay organized. I have a board for wedding ideas, household decorating ideas, engagement picture ideas, places I’d like to visit, hair styles, recipe ideas, jewelry I love, quotes that i love, wardrobe ideas, healthy living tidbits, shoes that I love, humor, little munchkins- someday when I have kids, gift ideas, hostess ideas, picture ideas, and holidays. You can name your pinboards creative names and make them fun!

I love Pinterest because I am a planner. I love compiling creative ideas and making something beautiful out of them. I also love Pinterest because I am able to save these wonderful ideas until someday when I have an apartment of my own and can make them a reality.

Pinterest is a wonderful program and applies to my passions because I can use it in my future with events planning. If I am coordinating an event that is raising awareness about adoption or missions, I can actually create a pin board and begin piecing together visuals of how I picture my event going.

So if you haven’t yet, check it out! But beware, you may not be able to to stop pinning!!!!

Is Podcasting Dead?

4 Mar

How many people do we know actually listen to podcasts on a regular basis? If you had a group of 20 of your family members or closest friends in a room and asked the question “Who knows what a podcast is?” To take a stab, I’d guess many would probably have heard of a podcast, but might not know what it is.

In an article by Socialbrite called Should your organization launch a podcast?, Kyria Abrahams discusses some issues about podcasting and states that few people listen to podcasts anymore. And if they do, it’s nearly impossible to measure!

So what companies should use podcasts? If any at all? UNICEF.org and NPR still have popular podcasts sections. But these companies already have a radio presence and the podcast is really just a way to deeper drive brand affinity. So they are taking pre-existing radio programs, and simply podcasting them. If you already have the resources and material (like NPR and UNICEF.org) then by all means, podcast it! But with all the social media platforms that companies are trying to keep up with, should podcasting really be at the top of the list?

Podcasts aren’t completely dead but there is a lot of work that goes into creating something that looks so simple. It’s all the more important to make sure your podcast is part of a bigger social media campaign or program. Although there are some pros to podcasts, including that they allow people to do their work while listening to one.

So while podcasting is still being used by some audience, before you begin podcasting, your company really needs to evaluate if the benefits of a podcast will outweighs the time and cost of creating one.

Do you agree? Are podcasts dead or are they still useful for companies?