Category Archives: TOW

TOW #9: My Top 10 PR Blogging Advice

Coming from someone who is a brand new blogger, I found this to be a wonderful opportunity to interact with readers, post helpful tips about social media, and give people a little bit of my personality. There are things and tips I picked up on in the process of blog development that I will continue to use. Here they are:

 1. Stay on Track – Be sure to stay up-to-date on whatever you may be blogging about. Getting behind on current events or topics will cause you to lose potential readers.

2. Link – When blogging, it is important to let your readers know what the source of your information is, if you have one. Be sure to link certain parts of your post in order to guide readers in the direction of more information on what the post is about. This also gives credit where credit is due in order to avoid plagiarism.

3. Mediums – Keep the feel of your posts fun and entertaining. Make your blog pop with pictures, videos and interesting fonts. Visual appeal is crucial. No one wants to look at a textbook blog.

4. Be Creative – Blogs are a way to express creativity, so do it. This will give the readers more drive to visit your blog. Entertain not only with words and creative writing, but also with visuals.

5. Personal Interest Should be Conversational – Create your personal interest blogs as if you were telling a story.  This makes your post seem more personal. It also gives your reader a chance to get to know you better.

6. About Me Page – Use this page as a way to introduce yourself. This allows your readers to know you before they read what you write, giving them a chance to feel more comfortable at your post.

7. Maintain the Focus – If you have a topic theme to your blog, be sure to stay on that focus. Someone searching for blogs about social media do not want to see posts about the latest model BMW that just came out.

8. Use Word – Blogs should be totally error free. Using Microsoft Word to type your text is a great way to eliminate mistakes. Word not only checks spelling, but it also checks for grammatical slip-ups. Once finished in Word copy and paste the text into your blog.

9. Keep Things Uniform – If you capitalize all the letters of some of your posts, capitalize all the titles. Keep things looking as if they all belong to the same blog. It makes it easier for readers to follow your style and also makes things look more organized.

10. Play Around – Most blog sites, such as WordPress, provide the option of changing and customizing your blog. Take advantage of the widgets and themes that are offered and be sure that your blog appeals to YOU as well as others that may be reading.

Get started here:

Blogging shouldn’t be lonely.


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TOW #8: 10 Ways to Drive a Journalist Crazy

In the PR world, PR practitioners and journalists are always going to have to network. Though practitioners are not aware of all of the duties of journalists and vice versa, those in the PR field have a tendency to annoy journalists. Here are several ways PR practitioners drive journalists crazy and ways to prevent them.

1. Too Much Contact – Instead of constantly trying to get in touch with the journalist, be patient. If you do not see your story published or if you have questions regarding your story, call once to check up on its status. Do not hound the journalist with calls and e-mails. This will not only annoy them, it will also cause you to gain negative work ethics; don’t ruin your reputation.

2. Not Enough Contact – On the other hand, too little contact will also leave a bad impression. It is likely that a journalist will need to get in touch with you at some point before publication. Be sure to be available. Availability will insure that the journalist is able to get any questions answered, or to gather further information about the story.  A quick response time is also crucial.

3. Being Unprofessional – When communicating with a journalist, be sure to be professional. Acting as if you are the journalist’s “buddy” or acting as if you are reporting just “another story,” will turn the journalist off. Be sure to use formal titles like Mr. and Mrs. and speak as if you are addressing a group of executives or someone that you want to make a good impression on.

4. Not Having Answers – Don’t expect your journalist to do your research for you. There is nothing the waste time like trying to find answers to questions that the PR professional has left you to find. Come prepared. If you do need to leave some strings untied, leave the journalist a direct route to the source.

4. Not Noting Revisions – Let’s not forget that deadlines do exist. When revisions are made to a release, let the journalist know. Without warning, the journalist is left to proofread and proofread in an attempt to spot slight changes. Do yourself and the journalist a favor and make note of what is revised.

5. Not Meeting Deadlines – Be conscious and aware that deadlines are a critical part of getting a story released. Sending important story information to a journalist will likely result in not getting your story published. Not staying on task will bother and possibly interrupt a journalist while they are busy on another story. Deadlines are not always set by the journalist either, pay mind to the fact that they are also following deadlines that have possibly been set by their company or boss.

6. Using Incorrect Formats – Sending a journalist a story or release that is error-free and in the correct format will only make their job easier. The last thing a journalist wants to do is correct mistakes that could have easily been avoided. Making a journalist mix formatting and grammatical errors will cause them to possibly get behind in other work and make them think less of you as a practitioner. Proofread and proofread again.

7. Using PR Lingo – Though most people may understand certain terminology like “chart-topping” or other phrases, most journalist want to know exactly what point you are trying to portray. Use simple phraseology when developing your story to ensure that the journalist will know exactly what you are trying to say.

8. Enough Consideration – Before sending a story to a journalist, be sure to consider every angle. Make sure you have done your research and every side to the story or release. Also take into consideration their feedback. It is important to interact with the journalists and make sure they know that you are interested in getting your client exposed in the media.

9. Inappropriate Releases – Be sure to consider what is really newsworthy before submitting a story to a journalist. Stories should not be only of personal interest but should appeal to a large audience. Sending in irrelevant stories or releases will only waste the journalist’s time, leaving them annoyed with you. Also consider what work the journalist is publishing and to what medium they are publishing. A story about the latest wild fire sent to a Glamour magazine journalist is likely not going to get published.

10. Sending Information out in Masses – Be sure to narrow down your journalist outlets as well as your target market. At some point, mass e-mails and information about your story will be looked at as spam, causing your story to go unnoticed. Make your journalist think that you specifically sent them the information in hopes that they will publish it. This makes you and your work seem more relevant.

These tips and more can be found from various sources:


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TOW #7: NewsU – Five Steps to MultiMedia Storytelling

Steps to Multimedia Reporting:

  • 1 – Choosing a Story
    • Best ones are multi-dimensional
    • Nonlinear
    • “this part” and “that part” not “first part” and “second part”
    • Gather all info before planning
  • 2 – Making a Storyboard
    • A sketch of how you plan to organize a story
    • Parts:
      • Define the elements
        • Avoid linear thinking
      • Identify the media
        • Decide which pieces of the story work best with each medium
      • Storyboard the concept
        • Put it all together
  • 3 – Reporting with Multimedia
    • Pack your bags…. Be prepared for the report
    • Prepare for everything
  • 4 – Editing for the Web
    • Know how to edit your content with each medium such as: Video, Audio, Still Photos, Graphics, and Text
  • 5 – Producing the Story
    • After you complete a few multimedia stories, collaborate your site’s designers to create a handful of story templates.

There were several elements of developing a multimedia story that I learned. I have never really made a storyboard for one of my stories before and now I know how to. I didn’t realize there were so many steps and procedures to get through in order to develop a good story. Like making sketches and finding not only different references for information but also finding different forms of information.

I was surprised to learn that you need to take every precautious measure in order to be extremely, over prepared. Taking tape and rubber bands in case something breaks or falls apart is something that you need to think about. Also the weather and conditions will affect your equipment.

I would have liked to been able to actually make my own storyboard and develop a story that I could have submitted to see how I would do from clues that were given. I enjoyed this exercise and think it will prove to be beneficial to me in the future.

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TOW #6: Podcast

Personally, I find podcasts to be distracting. I am a very visual learner and found it difficult to comprehend the point and purpose of Maggie’s speech. I listened to For Immediate Release: Speakers & Speeches: Maggie Fox on Understanding the New Media Landscape and found that while Fox offered some great information, it was hard for me to keep focused on what she was saying due to the fact that I was not able to see her speaking.

She discusses ways in which social technologies are transforming the marketing and communications landscape. She points out that many companies are spending way too much money on creating microsites and provides ways and ideas for creating other channels.

Her main focus was on how to save companies money on online marketing and broadcasting. She gives resources and structure you need to have in place to support this new model.

Podcasting is a method of producing a media file and uploading it to the Internet, providing an opportunity for people to subscribe to and receive them automatically as they are uploaded.

They are great for giving people an online voice, and provide a chance for listeners to tune in whenever is convenient for them. In today’s busy world it is unrealistic to try to plan your schedule around when something will be aired.

The ability to subscribe to podcast also gives the listeners a big advantage. They can automatically receive updates whenever they are created. This provides complete freedom and flexibility which quite possibly can be the biggest advantage to podcasts.

To find out more about podcasts, visit: - Free Articles Directory

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TOW #5: My New Addiction

I have always been a huge fan of social networking. At one time I was an information technology major with an emphasis in graphic design. I love designing, creating, and socializing via online outlets. I am a one-and-a-half year old ‘tweeter’ and have never really caught the hang of it. I knew how to post tweets and twitpics but when it came down to RT, referencing, direct messaging and so forth, I was lost.

Since having to use Twitter this week and following PR professionals and PR organizations, I have discovered that Twitter is a spectacular networking site. There are endless opportunities of what you can tweet about and what you can get your hands on. I feel that having the ability to share links and access profiles and accounts that could not be found on other networking sites, has truly made Twitter a step above the rest.

I am still in the process of finding a good mobile site for Twitter. I currently use ÜberTwitter which is descent, but I am unable to accept follower requests. Now that I have become a more frequent user, I am receiving more requests from people and am not able to respond as quickly as I would like.

I find Twitter to be more helpful than Facebook in that I have the ability to get in contact with a specific type of people. I can find people strictly involved with public relations, rather than sifting through profiles to find someone who may have a little to do in the PR world.

This Twitter experience has pushed me to learn the Twitter lingo and better understand how to type effective tweets. Also I think it is a wonderful idea to be able to reference or mention something just by using a symbol (#). It is a great way to find a certain topic of interest without much research. If I wanted to see all the tweets and posts about PR I could just simply reference and see.

I have really enjoyed using Twitter in this class and look forward to making a habit of tweeting. It is a wonderful networking site and being a senior in college, I need to get out in the PR world as much as possible.  

I would love to know more about including links and other characteristics in my tweets. Much to my surprise, being tech savvy and all, I was totally stumped on how to make “tinylinks” to include.


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TOW #4: NewsU – The Leading Lab

How to Write a Lead:

  • Look for the tension in the lead.
  • Chose the more fitting lead for your story.

Exploding the Myths of Lead Writing:

  • Leads must never begin with quotes.
  • Leads must always contain attribution.
  • A good lead is never more than three or four lines long.
  • A lead must sum up the story in a paragraph.

Types of Leads:

  • Direct – “tell me the news,” focus on breaking developments, summarize story in single paragraph
    • Tell Me the News Leads:
      • Summary – 5 W’s and H
      • Analysis – analyze the events and issues of the day
  •  Delayed – “I know the news, now tell me a story,” wanting to know the details of the story after you have already heard that something happened.

Tell Me a Story Leads:

  • Anecdotal – storytelling lead, begins with a compressed story that illustrates the story’s theme or situation
  • Significant Detail – significant or interesting detail
  • Emblem – using a single instance or individual to illustrate something emblematic of the subject or theme of a story
  • Round-Up – round up anecdotes, illustrations or examples to demonstrate a trend

The Elements of Effective Lead Writing:

  • The 5 W’s, and H, and SW

Revising Your Lead:

  • Cutting and moving and pasting, asking tough questions, searching for the right word
  • Think of the lead as a piece of clay that you can play with and refine
  • Tips:
    • Follow the “read aloud” rule
    • Play the revision game
    • Remember the basics

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TOW #3: Is a Blog, a Blog without Comments?


Blog comments are an integral part of blogs because they engage the reader with the writer. As Professor Nixon says, “Blogging should not be lonely.”

Comments are a way for readers to not only give feedback but to also feel as if they are part of a discussion. Just like in most other social networking sites, feedback is almost necessary for the success of the site.

 If you are blogging about something that is going on in the country, your city or state, so forth, comments are a great way for you to know how others feel about what you are writing and also a way for you to learn how others feel about the same issues.

Blogging should be “two-way” just like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. We, bloggers, post things that we feel are of common interest of our target audience. For example, I am producing a PR blog and post mostly things that I feel would benefit or entertain those also interested in PR. Blogs can be considered somewhat of a small community depending upon which interests and writing topics you are sharing.

I read the article How to Write a Great Blog Comment by Grammar Girl and found other ideas and reasons for comments that I did not think of myself. She recommends:

  • Make yourself seem like an expert in the field. If you are going to comment on a blog post about politics, know what you are talking about. It is important to make a point and not just ramble.
  • Be grammatically correct. You need to proofread and be sure that all links and punctuations are working and correct.
  • And also, be respectful. Appreciate others opinions and thoughts and comment open-mindedly.

I would recommend doing some research and find other sources before commenting. Know what you are writing is true and relevant. It is hard to find specific posts that are of extreme interest to you personally so when you find them, make you comment good. It is also a good idea to link references in your comments; this gives other people another way to get more information about the post.

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