Predicting the Media’s Future

As we enter a new decade, we also enter a new advancement of technology and media relations. Now, I don’t claim to be a media psychic (if those even exist), but I believe I can reasonably predict many 2010 changes in the social media-sphere. Most of these predictions are based on the early development of 2009 trends, or the general buzz going around the PR professional world.

Here are a few 2010 social media projections I’ve gathered:

* Social media exclusivity. With the development of twitter lists, facebook fan pages, and niche networks, social media may become more exclusive and include multiple small networks. According to a blog post by David Armano, exclusivity is bound to happen. Armano says, “Not everyone can fit on someone’s newly created Twitter list and as networks begin to fill with noise, it’s likely that user behavior such as “hiding” the hyperactive updaters that appear in your Facebook news feed may become more common.”

* Mobile social media will increase. With the rise of organizations banning social networks, social media addicts will begin to rely heavily on their mobile online access. We can only hope this will prompt an improvement in mobile social network access and capability.

* PR professionals will look beyond corporate blogs, twitter and facebook. I’m not declaring a new social network, but more of a platform built off the three networks. I’m hoping to see businesses rise to the occasion and creatively master tactics beyond “customer service via twitter,” or a fan page on facebook. According to a blog post by David Mullen, advertising may take over if PR cannot find a new social media platform in 2010. Mullen says, “If PR people don’t get smarter about this in 2010 and look beyond “Tweeting 101” as a prominent example of the social media value they bring to the table, advertising shops are going to eat their lunch.”

* Organizations will realize that social media isn’t always the go-to communication channel. Although social networks have performed miracles for many organizations, some brands and businesses cannot benefit from a social media presence. Yes, it’s cheap and fast, but that doesn’t mean it’s a right fit for every brand. Mullen says social media is “… a smart channel to integrate strategically into a well-rounded marketing plan, but it alone won’t be a marketing cure-all for most companies. In the coming months, many will learn that first hand.”

Those are a few of my 2010 predictions. I’m very excited to see what 2010 will bring to technology and PR.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Got the Job Searchin’ Blues?

career_success

I graduated from the University of Oregon in June with a few internships under my belt and a great GPA. You might assume I’ve already landed a great entry-level PR job? Think again. I wait tables at an unauthentic Mexican restaurant where the tips are low and I am treated like the public’s slave. OK, so that may be a bit of an over exaggeration, but most days it feels like that. I try to put an optimistic spin on waiting tables, telling myself that it could benefit my PR career because I work and communicate with all walks of life. But at the end of the day, I’m just a waitress. Usually I wouldn’t be so pessimistic or blunt about my situation, but I know many of you out there are in the same boat. It is so easy to get down about the economy or the job market, but when the cookie crumbles, the responsibility falls on you to do something about it.

So, how do you pick yourself up off the floor (again, a little extreme, but sometimes it feels like that)? Well, I have been job searching for the past three or four months and up to this point have landed one phone interview and one face-to-face interview. I have re-worked my résumé at least five times since graduation, contacted all my business and family connections for job opportunities, asked for informational interviews at companies I am interested in, applied to over 50 jobs online, and the list goes on and on.

I thought I had done it all and luck just wasn’t on my side. Until I started researching job search tips online. At first I thought it was useless because of the overload of information I found, but then I came across a great blog by Ron Culp, titled Culpwrit: guiding the career in public relations. One of Culp’s blog posts condenses the overload of information to a list of “100 Great Posts to Jumpstart the Job Search,” including categories that each post or article falls under, such as résumés, interviews, new grads, older workers, how to stay motivated, and many more.

Some eye-opening articles I discovered on Culp’s blog post were:

* 10 Tips to a Killer Résumé by MSN Money. This post narrows down ten tips to re-vamp your résumé. It emphasizes the importance of imagining yourself as a salesperson when writing your résumé. It also says to quantify everything you can when writing about employment experience.

* Top 5 Résumé Tips, a post on the Interns Over 40 blog. This post is interesting because it focuses on branding yourself, as a company would do. One tip details the importance of creating a branding statement for yourself, thus providing personal attributes to set you apart from every other applicant. Another great tip in this article is to tell the story behind your accomplishments. For example, write about the challenge, the action and the result when detailing your previous job experience.

* Phone Interviewing Success, a post on CollegeGrad.com. Phone interviews can be difficult because it can be hard to show personality over the phone; however, these tips gave me great ideas for my next phone interview. For example, because it’s over the phone, you can have notes or cheat sheets in front of you during the interview, which can help to remember relevant stories or information about the company. Another great tip is to stand up and look in a mirror during the interview. Standing while on the phone keeps your blood flowing, and looking in a mirror maintains your smile and enthusiasm, both of which are easy to read over the phone.

* Interviewing During the Economic Downturn: How to Look Confident in a Job Interview, a post on Submityourarticle.com. This details the importance of confidence and attitude during an interview. The first impression is huge during the interview process and it’s the easiest thing to control. Professional appearance, positive attitude and confidence show you’re ready for the workplace.

* How New Grads Can Take Charge of Job Search Rejection from Monster.com. I found this post extremely helpful for my situation. It’s easy to get discouraged during the job search, especially when you get rejected. This article says you should ask for feedback from the companies that rejected you, and tailor your interviewing and résumé to the feedback. It also emphasizes the importance of applying to as many jobs as possible because the job search is essentially just a “numbers game.”

Obviously, there are 95 more educational and beneficial articles on Culp’s blog post; however, I thought these were important points to bring to the surface.

There are many ways to strategize the job search, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to perseverance and attitude. I could go on every day complaining about waiting tables, but when I take the time to look at the big picture, the simple reality is: I am lucky to be employed.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Ducked Crisis?

Oregon_Ducks_2

As a recent University of Oregon (UO) alum, it’s my duty to bleed green and yellow. Like many other UO students and alumni, I look forward to the UO football season from February until September. This year was no different. The UO football squad kicked off its season with a major nationally televised game against the Boise State Broncos. Facebook and Twitter were over-updated with hundreds of game predictions and hopes for the big game.

And then, the game was live. UO started off to a horrible first half, and never quite rose above it. There were disappointed Duck fans everywhere. But, as Duck fans, we have lost before, and it was nothing we couldn’t bounce back from.

Then the crisis occurred. One of Oregon’s running backs, Lagarrette Blount, got into an altercation with another Boise State player. Blount ended up punching and knocking down the Boise State player. UO coaches and fellow teammates held him back. And then he struck again, going at Boise State fans in a rage. Here’s a video of the incident:

The bounce back from the loss was now the least of UO’s worries. The UO football team was breaking in a new head football coach, Chip Kelly, as well as a new athletic director, Mike Bellotti. This incident spread over ESPN and sports networks around America. Kelly and Bellotti knew they were in the public’s hot seat. This violent act not only showed poor sportsmanship, but also affected the entire image of the UO athletic department, one in which was in high regard previous to this classless act.

This is where the PR crisis communication steps in. As new athletic leaders, Kelly and Bellotti knew they had to make a decision that would ease the enraged public and show support for the UO athletic department. The first PR mistake occurred when Blount interviewed with ESPN directly after the incident. Not only is Blount a terrible interviewee, but he was also in an emotional state. Kelly should have stepped up directly after the event and spoke about the incident. Bellotti and Kelly came to a decision within the next 24 hours to suspend Blount for the remainder of the season, yet keep him on scholarship at UO.

The American public has shown two reactions to this: one side says this is far too harsh of a punishment, and the other side says Blount shouldn’t even be considered for his scholarship. Here’s the thing: If this hadn’t been a nationally televised game and the media hadn’t blown the incident up, Kelly and Bellotti wouldn’t have made such a decision. As representatives of the UO, the UO football team and the UO athletic department, their names were on the line and they were required to take action in order to save face. Realistically, in any other situation, Blount most likely would have been suspended for a few games, not the whole season. This was a PR decision that was necessary to save the UO’s reputation.

Lets just hope for a calm remainder of the season.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Political Twitter

social-media-peopleThe public continues to grow more and more confident in the effectiveness of Twitter’s 140-character updates. Although it has taken some time, a rising number of organizations and political leaders are seeing the benefits to tweeting. Yes, it can be used strictly as a social networking site; however, if used effectively, tweeting has the potential to move the public into action.

Within the last week, Twitter was flooded with the popular hashtag of “#IranElection.” Why? Political change. For the Baby Boomers who lived through the Vietnam War era, this may seem ludicrous; however, to the Millennials, it’s efficient and perfectly normal. Protesting via Twitter may have a larger influence than most of us think. These online protests have the potential to spread to millions of people in mere minutes, whereas a street protest is confined to a particular city or region. This type of political action has the capability to move a younger generation into action, something needed for quite some time now. If only we had Twitter during the Bush administration…🙂

So what exactly has occurred in the Twitterverse the last few days? Since the re-election win of Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, reports of the country’s turmoil has leaked onto Twitter. Many tweets have surrounded the controversy of the validity of the voting process and counting, as well as protests toiran_tweets_0616 “free Iran.” Included in these tweets were stabs at the American mainstream media for not covering the details of the Iran election and Iran public opinion. In particular, CNN received a good amount of backlash from the Twitterverse, retaining the hashtag of “#cnnfail.” Consequently or coincidentally, CNN began to air a significantly larger amount on the details of the Iran election and Iran public opinion stories in the following days. The media have finally picked up what Twitter has thrown down.

According to Time Magazine, Iran officials reached out to Twitter and asked them to delay an upgrade that was scheduled for Monday night to protect the interests of the Iranians who use Twitter to protest the presidential election. Twitter was not made to be in the midst of political turmoil, rather for social networking and entertainment yet suddenly it has to worry about being suppressed by the Iranian government? Now that’s a responsibility.

Time Magazine says that Twitter has become the “medium of the moment,” boasting qualities that the everyday American wants and needs: free, easy, quick, personal and highly mobile. These qualities also make Twitter the perfect medium of mass political movement; it’s easy for the average person to use and very hard for the government to control.

So why is Twitter the ideal medium from all the others? The others don’t serve as a newscast. Time Magazine states, “The same might be true of e-mail and Facebook, but those media aren’t public. They don’t broadcast, as Twitter does.” With American mainstream media and government controlling what each citizen hears and sees, the public is yearning for a genuine and real news outlet. This isn’t just occurring in the American Twitterverse, the Iranian Twitterverse is booming with personal stories from those directly involved in the political turmoil. Would CNN disclose those stories? Highly doubtful.

Although large political protests usually don’t start via Twitter, this online platform has shown the potential to spread the emotionally charged political word to those outside of the country and gather the public in a fight against political injustice. As Time Magazine states, “there’s no question that it has emboldened the protesters, reinforced their conviction that they are not alone and engaged populations outside Iran in an emotional, immediate way that was never possible before.”

Twitter continues to prove its potential to change society with each day, just ask Iran.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Menacing Media Pitch

newspapers

In the past month I’ve helped plan, organize and implement four large events for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. That’s right: four in one month. As you can imagine, the PR for these events involved loads of media pitching in a short period of time. As a soon-to-be college grad, I have learned a lot of PR how-tos in the last four years; however, media pitching was not one of them. Yes, I learned how to write a news release, fact sheet and backgrounder, but I hadn’t learned how to communicate properly with the media, pitch an event, or reach reporters. What I thought would be an easy news release, turned into an intimidating task.

I started with the basics: constructing media lists, drafting news releases, fact sheets and backgrounders, and preparing a standard e-mail pitch. Now, all I had to do was e-mail the media kits to the respective newspapers and radio stations. Not so fast. I quickly learned (the hard way) that media pitching is a process.

According to a blog post on UnderstandingMarketing.com, there are ordered steps to follow in the world of media pitching:

1. Create a newsworthy and interesting press release. This will eventually be used as background information for the reporter or editor. The news release should include all information about the event and usable quotes.

2. Write a short e-mail pitch letter telling the story in a conversational manner. Explain the news and why it would benefit their readers or viewers.

3. If the reporter doesn’t respond within 24 hours, call his or her office and have a 30-second pitch with talking points ready. Although you have talking points, don’t rely on those; it’s still important to sound conversational.

4. You will receive one of three answers: a not interested reply, a request for an interview, or a request for more information. If the reporter requests for more information, then you send the news release. According to PublicRelationsIdeas.com, it’s best to send the news release through fax. Avoid broadcast e-mails unless you already have a profound presence in the media market and trusting relationships with the reporters. As for snail-mail, don’t use it unless you have a story that needs a photograph to make it substantial, and if that’s the case, mail the photograph along with the news release.

5. If you send additional information out or the reporter hasn’t returned your call, follow up with another call a week after the initial e-mail pitch. This time, try to come up with a new twist to your story that could entice the reporter even more. Maybe you have a new interview set up or a development in the story; whatever it is, make your story that much more newsworthy and important.

As I said, I had to learn these rules the hard way. I didn’t think of media pitching as a process; I thought of it as a task. Although it may be a daunting process, if you follow the rules and pitch a newsworthy story, those reporters will be coming to you for their next big article.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

1-800-Twitter

picture_2_2

We’ve all been the frustrated customer on the other end of the extremely long “Will you hold please?” phone call. This phone call can entail jumping through 20 hoops before you get your problem solved– resulting in further frustration and an overall detestation for corporate customer service.

At some juncture, it’s understandable– we can’t expect a business to be at our beck and call every second– Or can we?

With the rise of social media, the expectation of good customer service has increased. The businesses that use social media to address customer concerns or questions have created an easy and direct two-way communication with their customers, thus evading the infamous “put on hold” experience.

According to Todd Defren of Shift Communications, customers have started to get “accustomed to Red Carpet Service” through the evolution of Twitter and company blogs. Defren says that big business has responded well to the effectiveness of Twitter and is properly utilizing its benefits. One major customer service Twitter account is @ComcastCares, which exists solely to answer questions and address concerns of Comcast customers. These responses come quickly and resolve many customer complaints.

Defren says that social media has made the customers feel like “stars,” whereas the usual 1-800 customer service hot line has made them feel like “shmoes.” The frustrated customer feels more important when he or she is directly addressed and heard. However, Defren notes, “you can’t be great at Social Media if your service sucks.” Meaning, although your business may be responsive online, that can’t make up for poor telephone service. Social media should serve as an easy starting point to re-vamp a business’ entire customer service system. Defren says, “I predict you’ll feel an overwhelming need to put a laser focus on all aspects of Customer Service.  The mandate will come from below, from the people you’ve impressed online.” The most effective customer service communication will stem from a business’ social media presence and response. From there, a total customer service makeover can emerge.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Media Takeover

2738451853_6e0015ef91

What would we do in a world without Google? Think of how many times you have asked Google for restaurant reviews, directions, news reports, or any other important yet random pieces of information. For most of us, the number is too many to count.

This is one example of the world’s reliance on new media. This reliance has affected all other aspects of “old media,” such as newspapers, magazines and T.V. According to Paul Gillin, a long-time technology journalist, old media has struggled with the harsh economic times.

Here are some “old media” statistics from Gillin:

  • Magazine newsstand sales fell 12 percent in 2008 and have dropped another 22 percent this year
  • TV Guide was sold in October for $1, which is $2 less than a single copy
  • 2009 TV station ad revenue to drop 20 – 30 percent (Bernstein Research)
  • NBC prime time audience down 14.3 percent in the past year
  • NBC and CBS executives have publicly entertained the possibility of becoming cable channels
  • Age of average network evening news viewer: 63

To compare and contrast, here are some “new media” statistics:

  • Teens watch TV 60 percent less than their parents and spend 600 percent more time online than their parents
  • Twitter membership grew more than 1,400 percent last year (Nielsen)
  • Facebook’s population would make it the world’s fifth largest country
  • 64 percent of online teens create some kind of published content
  • One-third of Americans under the age of 40 say the Daily Show and Colbert Report are replacing traditional news outlets

Gillin says that the media are a revolution in process, meaning the Internet is bound to take over many aspects of the traditional media models. Clay Shirky, an Internet technology writer, says, “When someone demands to know how we are going to replace newspapers, they are really demanding to be told that we are not living through a revolution. They are demanding to be lied to.” A pretty harsh statement, however, it is a statement that rings true in this economic downturn.

Technology and media are continually and rapidly growing. Although social media and Internet news sources currently hold the title of “new media,” these channels will be replaced and re-vamped in the coming years.

Here is a great YouTube video showcasing the effect of technology and media in today’s society:

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized