PR Start by Nick Lucido

How to start in the public relations industry.

Trying Something New

As I continue to transition in my new position with Edelman, one thing I’m already finding is I don’t have as much time in the day to peruse news articles and share them via Twitter, Friendfeed, etc. Trust me, I know this is a good thing. Technically, this is my first 40-hour per week gig; for the past couple of years, I’ve always balanced jobs and internships with classes, so I’m used moving around all day.

So, in an effort to continue to share what I feel is relevant to future and current PR pros, I’m going to try something new. I’m going to bookmark a couple articles per day via delicious and automatically post these to this blog. You can check out this feature here.

You know I love feedback, so let me know what you think. I’m here to help, and I hope this will be another tool that will accomplish that.

Filed under: Social Media, , , , ,

Social Network Separation Is Bad

One thing I see more and more often is students who use different social networks for different reasons. For example, using Facebook for a crazy college lifestyle and keeping a professional blog. To me, it doesn’t make sense. Here’s why.

You’re findable

Even if you’ve changed your name on Facebook or use some kind of alter ego for other social networking profiles, don’t risk it. Here are some stats from an MSNBC article I want to throw out:

“According to a March survey by Ponemon Institute, a privacy think tank, 35 percent of hiring managers use Google to do online background checks on job candidates, and 23 percent look people up on social networking sites. About one-third of those Web searches lead to rejections, according to the survey.”

When it comes down to it, there are many more applicants to any one job, so don’t hurt your chances by taking a risk online.

profiles

Linking up

When I put up the new design on my blog, I added my Facebook profile badge. Before, I always thought Facebook was for my personal friends because I have personal information on there, but isn’t that the case with any social networking site you’re part of? Now, I’m open to networking on any of my profiles. Once you get over the initial “I want to post something really inappropriate” hill, it’s not so bad and helps your reputation in the long run.

Remember when Facebook changed and everyone thought it looks like Twitter? And Friendfeed‘s recent makeover to make it look more like Twitter? I think social networks are going to continue to converge (to some extend). Networking professionally on one site but avoiding conversation on another just plan looks bad.

Choose one side

When Facebook opened up to more than those with a .edu address and I started getting friend requests from professionals, I quickly learned about the importance of keeping a professional online profile — no matter what you’re using.

I recommend choosing one side; there’s no point of using some sites professionally and some sites for fun. This, of course, brings up the question of authenticity: do you have to show a different personality that who you really are? Not at all — just keep your illegal habits out of sight.

Be smart

I’m sure many of you already know what you put online is open for anyone to view. I just want to emphasize how important it is to be consistent and clear with your social networks. You never know, it might end up helping you get a job.

So, do you use different social networks for different reasons? Why? Do you think college students should be in a different category since they will be looking for jobs? All thoughts and comments are appreciated.

Photo by M. Keefe on Flickr.

Filed under: Professional Development, Social Media, , , , , , ,

Final Presentation from NMDL

I had my last New Media Drivers License class a couple of weeks ago, and our final project was a presentation on what we learned. I wasn’t a stranger to new media in the beginning, but I still learned so much. I think the most important thing I learned was, while I have some pretty solid knowledge of today’s media, tomorrow will be different. Keeping on top of things is important, but as the brilliant Shannon Paul once told me, the new wave of PR professionals will need to walk on the fence between new practices and old techniques.

I tagged all of my adventures under “New Media Drivers License” with this blog, and you can see more about the class here. Because I already some sort of preexisting knowledge about new media, my presentation was a little different than most of my classmates. I focused on these areas:

  • Your online brand
  • Ethics in social media
  • The power of an offline network
  • Continuing your education

Check out the presentation below or on my Slideshare profile.

I’m hoping to help out Derek Mehraban, the instructor, teach the course next semester, so I’m looking for some feedback from all of you. What would you like to see in a new media class? Does your school (or association) have some sort of indstruction on new media? Any best practices you’d like to share?

Thanks for the help!

Filed under: New Media Drivers License, Public Relations, Social Media, , , , , , , ,

State of the News Media 2009 and PR

picture-11

Last week, Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism published its annual “State of the News Media” report. The title gives a good description of what the report is about, but this year’s report is particularly interesting. I’ll be honest, I work at a newspaper and times really are tough. Walking in downtown East Lansing you’ll find shops that have been there for years are being shut down, and I know this is the case across the country. This is the sixth report, but according to the introduction, it is the “bleakest.” Consider these facts:

  • Newspaper ad revenues have fallen 23 percent over the past year
  • One out of every five journalists working for newspapers in 2001 is now gone
  • Local television revenues fell 7 percent in an election year
  • The number of Americans going online for news jumped 19 percent during the past two years
  • Traffic online for the top 50 news outlets increased 28 percent

So, what do the statistics mean? It means a lot, but here are the six major trends described in the report:

  1. How to finance the newspaper industry is becoming more and more important, yet the solutions are not coming to fruition. The report suggests that the industry is not looking in the right places. In a recent AdAge editorial, the author said media executives are holding on to the idea that the news is a thing – but it really isn’t.
  2. The power is shifting from media institutions to the individual journalist – AKA the mommy blogger next door.
  3. News organizations are not focusing on their audience, they are focused on pushing content to the rest of the Web. Between Twitter, Facebook and other outlets, the media think it’s best to push their content in as many medium as possible. Is it working? I don’t think so.
  4. More media outlets are sharing because they have to – financially, at least. Will there be multiple television outlets in Lansing? Will there be two newspapers in Detroit? How many radio stations are left in Mid-Michigan? These are all things to consider.
  5. Political journalism is on the rise. The 2008 Presidential Election was a time for the media to cover everything related to the election – and beyond. I think we’re still in the honeymoon phase of the election in which everything the new president does is historic. The report discusses how America has become fascinated with “minute-by-minute” updates with politics – cabinet appointments, new bills and updates to the economic situation.
  6. The press was less of an “enterprising investigator” and more reactive and passive. Of course, the Freep reporting on Kwame Kilpatrick is an exception to that, but there is less and less investigative journalism going on. This is mainly because reporters don’t have time – after all, deadline was yesterday.

The full report can be viewed here.

There’s no way to put it softly – traditional journalism is not doing so well. I’m not going to write about the state of the media industry right now, but I think it’s an especially important time for public relations practitioners. Students are taught the media is one of the most important parts of the job, but because this industry is shrinking, PR practitioners need to get creative and innovative. Online media rooms are one alternative to lack of traditional media coverage, and David Meerman Scott suggests that PR people should recognize all kinds of people, not just the media, visit an online media room.

picture-2

Our PRSSA Faculty Advisor, Russ White (the man behind the MSUPRSSA YouTube channel) and a University Relations employee, says people are coming to them for stories about MSU – he doesn’t have to pitch. Check out the MSU news site here; I also took a screenshot. It has stories, people, multimedia, podcasts and subscription capabilities. Their news site is just like a newspaper’s Web site. I don’t want to speak for them, but I think this is directly responsible for the shrinking media. MSU will always have a story to tell, no matter if the media will be there to cover it. These online media rooms make the PR job a lot easier if you take out the pitching component.

Because public relations practitioners have an increasing level of power when it comes to shaping messages, we need to remember to be honest and transparent. While I might be biased to PRSA, I like the WOMMA code of ethics, too. No matter what code of ethics you adhere to, PR practitioners must recognize they are content providers and need to tread cautiously when creating messages.

What do you think about the state of the media? How is it affecting PR? If this a good or bad thing?

Filed under: Public Relations, Social Media, , , , , , ,

My Spring Break

Last week was MSU‘s spring break and contrary to popular belief, I did take the week off. That’s right – no work, meetings or even PRSSA… OK, just a little bit of that. But still, it was nice to finally have some time off to relax.

With all of the new online tools, it’s easy to get lost in work. And with some big exams/midterms coming up, it’s even harder for me to stay away from the computer. I’ll be the first to admit that it was really difficult, but I’m proud to say I learned some important lessons. More than just learning how to step away, I learned a lot of balance. Here’s how I did it:

  • I limited myself online. I went online for about an hour a day, mostly because I normally steal my neighbor’s wireless and it wasn’t working. Needless to say, it was interesting. Between work and school I end up online a lot, so I had plenty of time to get out and enjoy not being connected to the rest of the world. Even though I missed some earthquakes and scandals, it felt great.
  • I made small goals for each day. Instead of cramming at the end of break (like I normally would have done), I completed a couple of smaller tasks each day. For the bigger projects, I broke them up and tackled pieces each day. By the end of break, I had a lot done. I even stayed offline for the entire day yesterday.
  • I scheduled some personal time. Whether it was getting caught up in the reading for the PR Book Club, or taking a nap or even getting caught up with friends, I managed to make sure I had fun every day. Hey, I do this at school already, but I want to get better at making sure I have personal time every day.
  • I studied without my laptop. And I got a lot of studying done in a shorter period of time. This really shouldn’t be a surprise to me. Normally, I’m rocking some Beethoven symphonies with my e-mail open and have my books/notes open. This week I’ll test this out while I’m studying for these exams.

Overall, it was about making my time more efficient and balanced. My new goal is to focus more on each individual task and not to get distracted with other things. And what do you know, Pick the Brain has the perfect post for me today. I’ll blog about this soon. Next step – turn off my phone. We’ll see if that ever happens.

How do you get away from work and commitments? And how do you balance working on multiple projects at the same time?

Filed under: Social Media, , , ,

Recap of NMDL

If you haven’t heard me brag about my New Media Drivers License class yet, here’s a post that will do a lot of bragging. It’s been a great nine weeks and I’ve learned so much about new media and how to use it. Each topic, whether it was Google AdWords or search engine optimization, took a lot more than reading the assignment description. I had to research and practice these new online tools. I learned a lot, but I also realized how much more I have to learn. I plan to continue my new media education through this blog.

Overall, I learned that the traditional public relations principles are the same online, too. This goes along with the new age of public relations – our generation needs to balance their knowledge of tradition methods with new skills. You can’t just know Facebook and studying cases from 1984 isn’t completely helpful either. The industry is changing quickly and by staying on the forefront, you’re offering high value to your clients or company.

Here is what I plan to present to my class when we meet again on March 21. I’m going to primarily focus on strategy vs. tactics. I blogged about this earlier and it still keeps me thinking. I’ll then talk about four main areas that I think are so key:

  • Creating a personal brand online. What are the rules of showing your personality? What social networks should you be on? How do you stay consistent?
  • Ethics in social media. What are the lines ethics in new media? How does ghostwriting play in social media? How does ethics play into your brand?
  • The power of an offline network. We’re good at making friends online, but how do you transfer that to an offline network?
  • Continuing your education. Why continue your blog? What should you be doing now?

We’re also reading Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds. It’s pretty intriguing and I’m hoping to refine my presentation skills before the final class. Whether you’re in advertising, PR, marketing or other fields, you’re probably going to be doing some presenting now and then. Check it out – it’s a pretty quick read.

In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be preparing a slide show and will definitely be posting it. Stay tuned. Until then, please feel free to comment on what you think I should include in my presentation.

Filed under: New Media Drivers License, Public Relations, Social Media, , , , , , ,

How to Write a Communication Plan

During a recent MSU PRSSA meeting, Kelly Rossman-McKinney, CEO of Rossman PR, came in to talk about how to write a communication plan and important principles to execute the plan. Personally, it was extremely helpful and it served as a reminder that we are in a completely strategic field. Doing something just to do it won’t get you anywhere (for an example, look on Facebook for all the companies who have a Facebook page but don’t do anything with them). The video summary of what she talked about is right here:

Kelly talked about her eight-step approach when it comes to strategic public relations. Whether you are running a political campaign or fundraising for a nonprofit, these principles apply. Better yet, try and create a communication plan within a student group or current place of employment. Here are her steps and strategies:

The eight-step approach to strategic public relations planning:

  1. Background/situation analysis: State who the client is, where the client stands today, why they are seeking public relations services and how the agency understands the mission of the client.
  2. Goals and objectives: State the goals and objectives; remember that goals are broad while objectives are specific and measurable.
  3. Research: Perform some qualitative and quantitative research to help you executive and complete the campaign.
  4. Target audiences: Name the key internal and external target audiences that should be part of the campaign.
  5. Messages: Illustrate the key and secondary messages that will best motivate your audience.
  6. Proof points: Stats, stories and facts to support your stance.
  7. Communication tools: What mediums will best deliver your message? Print newspapers, online media, Facebook, etc.
  8. Evaluation: Have you been measuring the success of the campaign?

After you come up with all of these steps and plans for a campaign, it’s important to keep a strategic focus. The next list is a set of questions you should be able to answer clearly and concisely.

Principles of effective communication:

  • Credibility: Is your messenger credible – is he or she a trusted and respected source of information – with your audience?
  • Context: Is your message in context with reality and the environment in which your audience is located?
  • Content: Is your message relevant to your audience? Are they interested?
  • Clarity: Is your message simple and straightforward? How far will it travel and how long will it last?
  • Continuity and consistency: Repeat your message for audience penetration.
  • Channels: What channels/tools of communication are you using? What value are they to your audience?
  • Customer benefits: What’s in it for me?
  • Caring, compassion and concern: Does your audience know that you care?
  • Capability of audience: Is your audience capable of understanding the message? Will they take the time to listen/read/watch it?
  • Call to action: What is your audience supposed to do now?

All in all, it was a great meeting and a great presentation. Another online resource I found is from Dave Fleet, who has a great (and free!) e-book on writing a strategic communication plan here.

Any other tips for writing a communication plan? Any resources you’d like to share?

Filed under: Professional Development, PRSSA, Public Relations, Social Media, Uncategorized, , , , , , ,

World Wide Rave

My assignment this week for my NMDL class was to do some free PR for David Meerman Scott. If you haven’t read The New Rules of Marketing & PR yet, you really should. It’s a quick and informative read.

Scott also came out with another book (I just ordered mine on Amazon). Titled World Wide Rave, this book talks about “viral” marketing and how it works. Why is it called World Wide Rave? Scott explains it pretty well:

“A World Wide Rave is when people around the world are talking about you, your company, and your products. Whether you’re located in San Francisco, Dubai, or Reykjavík, it’s when global communities eagerly link to your stuff on the Web. It’s when online buzz drives buyers to your virtual doorstep. And it’s when tons of fans visit your Web site and your blog because they genuinely want to be there.”

I like this description a lot. Viral is a term that is thrown out there too often. It’s worse when you hear someone saying they are going to make a “viral” video. Scott even calls it sleazy, and I agree with him. Even so, there are some really good examples of products and companies online and I’m looking forward to this read. Here’s the page with more information on the book, and below is the video describing the book. Both are worth your time.

Scott also posted some of the rules of the rave:

  • Nobody cares about your product (except you)
  • No coercion required
  • Lose control
  • Put down roots
  • Create triggers that encourage people to share
  • Point the world to your (virtual) doorstep

I realized that there’s a lot of cool stuff you can do for free online to help get buzz for a company or product. This also means that you can do a lot understand to enhance your education. Below is what I did to share this information online and make his book a world wide rave. As a student, try some of these Web sites out, especially if you have student-run firms:

  • PR.com is a free site you can use to post press releases. I posted a press release on World Wide Rave on this site. Who knows, maybe I’ll get coverage?
  • I used Digg and Delicious to bookmark his site
  • I posted some links on my Twitter feed
  • I even wrote this post! That’s free PR, right?
  • I shared some of his posts on Google Reader

All in all, I didn’t realize that there is so much you can do for free.  I wrote a press release and tried out some free PR sites – it’s on my Scribd profile here. It’s all cool stuff. Check out his book, won’t you?

Filed under: New Media Drivers License, Social Media, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , ,

Social Media Etiquette

For someone just entering the social media sphere, like many of my friends and colleagues at MSU and PRSSA, there’s a couple of important things to remember. While there are many cool things about sharing content on Twitter and other social networks, it’s easy to make mistakes, too.

One of my favorite bloggers and colleagues is Shannon Paul. Not only did she write a great post on how not to be that guy in social media and did a presentation on it, too. Here’s the Slideshare version:

I’ve come up with some tips and reminders for the younger crowd on how to participate. I think many of us do know how to participate, but there’s some preventable errors we all make. Check out this list:

Consistency is key

As part of branding yourself, it’s important to be consistent. This doesn’t only apply to keywords, titles and social networking user names, but it also applies to your personality throughout the Web. Primarily, this is concerned with our wacky college lifestyle and how professionals use social networks. The biggest thing I’ve run into is my Facebook “personality” versus the “personality” I show on Twitter, LinkedIn and my blog. So, you have two options: keep Facebook for social uses, or add it to your list of general networking tools. I went with the latter. This article sums up Facebook use pretty well.

When is it OK to tweet?

Sharing information is one of the best things about social media, but it can get you into trouble. If you caught the story about an agency employee posting a negative tweet regarding the city where their client is located, it’s a perfect example about posting the wrong thing at the wrong time. The recap is here. It’s good to have a personality online, but make sure that when you’re sarcastic or joking around, people won’t always take it as a joke.

Also, especially as an intern or entry-level employee, it’s important to make sure you should not be revealing or announcing any client information that should not be revealed. If you let any detail slip, it might ruin your media or audience outreach strategy. Whenever you post something about your client online, make sure it’s OK with your supervisor.

Share

When anyone asks me why I’m on Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc., I say that I like reading and finding new information.. basically, a news junkie. And that’s the beauty of the Internet – you’re able to find all the information you’ll ever need. But remember, share other information more than you share your own content. You’ll quickly find out how soon you lose credibility if you shamelessly self promote yourself all day long.

Disclosure

As interns, it’s cool to share the projects you’re working on with your fans. But just because you are an intern doesn’t mean you don’t have to disclosure your affiliation with the client. Frankly, it’s not ethical when you fail to disclose the relationship. Be honest and upfront when you’re working on a client project and make sure that you’re not getting your company into trouble.

Networking – old school style

As a student, you’re probably using social media to build your network and learn. I know I am. Make sure that while you’re building your network online, you’re doing it in the right way. Remember that relationships are built through conversation and helping others out. These same principles apply online, too. For some tips on how to take this network offline, I wrote a guest post on Rachel Esterline’s blog about the importance of an offline networking – check it out.

One last rule of thumb

In my public relations techniques class last week, we talked about ethics regarding media relations. We came to the conclusion that if you don’t want your e-mail conversations or any other written communication on the front page of The New York Times, then you probably shouldn’t be saying it. The same goes with social media. If you’re talking about how drunk you were last night or how much you hate your boss, chances are all the wrong people are going to see it. It’s not a chance you should be willing to take.

There you have it, some tips and advice when it comes to social media. Any other tips? Have you seen these mistakes being made?

Filed under: Professional Development, PRSSA, Public Relations, Social Media, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why Digital?

Until yesterday, I thought it was because I wanted to learn more about digital media and how it’s changing the public relations industry. That pretty much changed at the PRSSA Regional Activity I attended. In downtown Chicago, I went to a couple of presentations from local professionals discussing professional development and how to get ahead in the industry.

Most of them said that knowing how to use digital media will put you ahead of many, but I disagree. From taking my New Media Drivers License course at MSU, I’ve realized that there is a lot more to digital media that just “doing it.”

406910873_56c8f9ea73

You need to listen to the conversations happening online, but you also need to know how to contribute.Between AdWords, various social networks and blogging, there is a lot to know before throwing yourself or your company out there. All in all, the basic public relations principles apply when moving online: have a clear objective, be strategic and evaluate your progress all the way through.

For more information on the course, I recommend checking out my course Web site. You can get a New Media Driver’s Licence, too.

Photo by Krista76 on Flickr.

Filed under: New Media Drivers License, Professional Development, Social Media, , , , , ,

Add to Technorati Favorites

Delicious

View Nick Lucido's profile on LinkedIn

Twitter

Friendfeed

View my FriendFeed

Flickr Photos