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Communicating Around the World – PR Edition

Category Archives: Professional

As all LSU students strive to finish the last two weeks of the semester, I’ve been focusing on what most of my fellow graduating seniors have been looking into: how to position myself as a better candidate for employment than other applicants—something that’s especially important considering the competitiveness the U.S.’s economic distress has created. I was reading tweets and articles about PR when I stumbled upon “10 Tips to Become a More Successful PR Pro,” an article posted to Spin Sucks by Matthew Royse. I thought the article was decent and helpful, but I took much interest in Royse’s fourth tip: “develop deeper relationship.”

In a world that has become obsessed with social and virtual communication (with me included), he reminds us of the importance of taking the time to develop and cultivate face-to-face relationships. Also, Royse puts into perspective the priorities of service-providing fields like public relations.  Clients are our only avenue to success; if not for satisfied clientele we would not be in a position to continue in our professions.

While pushing to put on a successful, effective campaign for Louisiana Delta Service Corps (LDSC), I believe we, Prelude PR (PPR), almost forgot our client. We were consumed with writing and design materials, but luckily, we’d previously planned a meeting with Betsy today to catch up on news within the LDSC office.  This very fortuitously planned rendezvous helped us to assure our client that the organization and its overall well-being is important to us.  Had we not planned today’s meeting, I’m not sure when, if ever, we would have had an opportunity to speak with the organization directors.   The phrase “time is of the essence” has never rung more true than these last few, trying weeks.

Nonetheless, this situation lead me to consider ways to optimize the remaining days to maintain my and PPR relationship with LDSC.  So, like every person of my generation, I started a Google search!  I found four articles that all include thorough lists of different ways to build B2C relationships; I’ll post the links to those articles later, but I’ve compiled some of my favorite suggestions below:

1. Engage in and encourage frequent two-way communication

  • This is a way to ensure that you and your client develop a strong, comfortable loyalty to one another.
  • It also ensures you, the PR agent, are always in the know about the happenings of your client.

          2. “Visit the Trenches” as Kim T. Gordon says 

  • If at all possible, step our of your comfort zone and do some work with your client. Introduce yourself to the client’s responsibilities.
  • This tells the clients that you really are interested in them and the things they are passionate about.
  • It could increase the client’s respect toward you and/ or your agency.

3. Work ethically and stay transparent

  • This suggestion is simple yet profound. Integrity goes a long way, especially when your job is to build a positive image for clients. Practice what you preach.
  • Transparency can provide your client a sense of security and trust toward you and the agency.

What would you propose the best relationship building tactics are?

 

The previous list was a combination of advice and tips from these articles:

7 Relationship-Building Strategies for Your Business by Kim T. Gordon

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About.me: gabriellejenkins
LinkedIn: Gabrielle L. Jenkins

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As mentioned previously, PPR has been working hard to convince our organization heads at Louisiana Delta Service Corps (LDSC) to invest more time and energy into their social media pages and overall internet presence. Currently the LDSC Twitter page is nearly defunct. Its Facebook is in better shape but could benefit from a little more TLC.

LDSC executives are not completely comfortable with giving us full access and control over the pages, which is understandable but makes it very difficult for us to sustain an effective, cohesive campaign. I would assume PPR will be given more autonomy in this area as our relationship with LDSC continues, but I’m not sure the directors understand the advantages or opportunities their organization could be missing out on without using these sites to their full capacities.

Our target audience in the campaign we are running are mainly young adults– a group which tends to communicate predominately through technology and social networks. Besides this face becoming common knowledge, PPR’s research further confirmed that the best way to reach the audience is via digital media. This implies the importance of having well-functioning sites.

Social media networks should not be underestimated. If used properly, these sites can reach a large number of people quickly and easily; they are also an effective way of monitoring consumers thoughts and behaviors towards the business. They are also a free means to releasing important information and/ or directing people to more detailed info. Social networks also have the ability to bring an organization’s image and missions full circle; they can easily be structured to create a cohesiveness between the different plans, departments and functions of the organization. For example, a company’s website could offer information about a competition it is holding. The website could direct people to its Facebook page to participate. The organization’s Twitter page could then create an interesting “trending topic” that allows participants to comment on the competition and suggest their followers to join in on the fun.

Many organizations do not know how to work social networks, while others simply do not think it is important. Granted, some businesses will not necessarily need the site to survive, but nine times out of 10, they could benefit greatly from them. And although many networks start and fizzle off as most trendy fads do, my guess is that the concept of social networking, in general, is here to stay; so we all may as well join in.

Here are a few articles that may further convince you or your clients to use social media.
10 Little Known Social Media Tools You Should Be Using– NOW

Using Pinterest yet? 13 Tips for Gaining Business Exposure for your Clients

What PR Pros Need to Know about Facebook Timeline for Brands

About.me: gabriellejenkins
LinkedIn: Gabrielle L. Jenkins

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LSU‘s Manship School of Mass Communication, rightfully, expects PR graduates to have a good understanding of how to carry out research, present to different audiences and implement plans alongside team members. Throughout the past four years, I’ve been forced to do dreaded “group work.” It was only through this  service-learning experience with LDSC that I’ve started to understand the importance and benefits of teamwork in the PR field.

Mind Tools offers an article that shows a cases good list of time management skills. The main areas discussed in the article include:

1.  Goals—Members should be sure they are all on the same page as far as the specific plans and aspirations of a campaign.

  • PPR’s main goal, at this time, is preparing to research focus groups and planning our informational event.

2.  Priorities—The team should tag levels of importance to different things and aspects of the campaign. They should consider the wisest ways to allocate their time, energy and money.

  • We are currently deciding budgeting for flyers, posters, food and video productions. Although all of those things are necessary for our campaign, we have to decide which is more/ most important.

3.  Meetings—It should go without saying that a group of people should meet regularly. It is up to the members, though, to assure that each gathering is an effective use of their time and efforts.

  • PPR has been meeting at least once a week every week. We discuss and plan times and places over a group chatting app, GroupMe.  We also ensure an efficient gathering by all bringing in key points to discuss rather than sitting together and attempting to think of things to say on spot.

4.  Interruptions—Groups should try to minimize interruptions to maximize meeting times.

  • Our usual meetings consist of people texting, emailing and having a few side conversations, but it is minimal and generally has not affected our productivity.

5. Delegations—Each team should be accountable to other members if something is not correctly addressed.

  • Each member of PPR has a specific task to carry out in the group. Our tasks often overlap, though, because we help each other a lot.

6.  Written Communications—Members should consider how much and how well intercommunications are being used.

  • As mentioned earlier, most of our communication is via GroupMe and our e-mail. It’s very useful.

7.  Procrastination—Don’t waste time and meet deadlines.

  • So far, we’ve been staying on top of all of our class and client work.  Up to date, we’ve turned in all assignments to class and have presented logo options to the LDSC execs.

I see now the benefits of having a cohesive, like-minded group of members. It’s a learning process for everyone, and sort of awkward at first. Once everyone is comfortable with each other, the group can be much more productive and creative than one person alone could be.

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A few week ago a group of my peers and I, collectively called Prelude PR (PPR), were introduced to our client Louisiana Delta Service Corps (LDSC) for our final mass communications (MC) course. The organization is a branch of largely-known AmeriCorps, but unfortunately is being overshadowed by both its parent and partner organizations.

We, PPR, met with LDSC’s directors to assess organizational needs and to get an understanding of their expectations of the campaign we plan to implement. I’ll admit I was a bit nervous walking into the meeting because it was a new venture and I didn’t know what to expect. Our main contact, Mrs. Irvine, turned out to be a wonderfully charismatic person; immediately I could tell she was excited to work with us. Knowing this helped to calm my nerves and get excited about building a relationship with her– an integral aspect of public relations.

PPR faces a huge awareness campaign in addition to revitalizing LDSC’s image and brand, which in and of itself can be thought of as the most important aspect in sustaining any company, business or organization. I’m sure it’s going to be a challenge, but nothing PPR cannot handle.

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