Thursday, November 29, 2007

ACS Colleges Against Cancer PR presentation

This morning my second Campaigns team made its presentation on a campaign for the American Cancer Society's new University of Georgia chapter of Colleges Against Cancer.

Three of their most visible projects were revamping the Web site, creating a Facebook group, and interviewing Katherine Richt -- mom, water girl, and wife of UGA's football coach -- about her experience with cancer. A PSA recorded after the interview is posted on the Web site and on YouTube. They also set up a detailed plan for next year's Great American Smokeout. I hope the chapter decides to use it.

I think it's safe to say the team learned a lot this semester, but not in the ways they probably expected before the semester started. Working in a team, working with a client, dealing with change in the midst of their project -- all things they'll definitely need to know while working in PR!

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Connect client presentation

The Connect conference client presentation I mentioned last week is available now on SlideShare. My students used Josh Hallett's Flickr photos as the background and used the slides for their PR Campaigns class presentation.

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The Week's Best, 26 November 2007

7 Observed Twitter Archetypes, Will McInnes (via Judy Gombita)
PR Blogs List Update: November 2007, Constantin Basturea
The Pitch is Dead -- R.I.P., Brian Solis
Social Media is Not "the End of the PR World As We Know It," Heather Yaxley
Blogging's Double Helix, Dan Greenfield
Who Is Blogging and Why? Is the Blogosphere in a Digestion Phase?, Alex Iskold
Cleaning Up Your Twitter Stream, Julia Roy
100 Notable Books of the Year, New York Times

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Connect team client presentation

The event planning team for Connect presented their campaign to Diane Murray (Grady public service and outreach) and Karen Andrews (Grady event planner) today. They created a very cool PowerPoint presentation that used black-and-white versions of Josh Hallett's Flickr photos for their slides, and all in all their presentation went smoothly.

Among other things, their post-conference evaluations showed:

All told, the team quite rightly concluded that they had met the conference's goals of promoting Grady as an expert in social media, teaching professionals and educators about social media, and providing networking opportunities for attendees.

After the formal presentation, I asked the students to sit down and discuss what went well and what didn't (including the fact that we were over budget by $907). We also brainstormed what we would do differently if we did it again. Will we?

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Monday, November 19, 2007

The Week's Best, 19 November 2007

Don't Get Too Comfortable At Home After Work, Penelope Trunk
Is Marketing to Blame for PR's Poor Reputation?, Heather Yaxley
Participatory Journalism in the USA: My Talk, Amy Gahran
It's About Building Relationships, Not About "Posing as a Typical User," Kami Huyse
Is Live Blogging Really Stealing?, Lauren Vargas
WOMMA Takeaway Points, Melanie Seasons

A few links from UGA's PRofessional CONNECTION of general interest to PR students:
Can't Decide If You Want to Go to Grad School? This Should Help, Lizzie Azzolino
Professionalism 101, Asha and Professionalism 101 Roundtable, Gentry
Preparing for the Interview, Katie Vandergrift

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Measurement Meme

Kami, joined by Geoff, is urging the PR blogosphere to spend some time thinking about measurement issues, and she tagged me to jump in the conversation. I put it aside for a few days, which turned out not to be a good idea, because so many people are talking about it now that I had to catch up on the reading. ;-)

Kami's basic question is, "Do you think measurement of social media is important, and why?" As usual, I'm thinking about PR students as I answer it.

It depends. (That's a running joke in our PR graduate program, as well as my answer.) As Katie Paine talks about in her book, and as Kami discussed in her presentation, there can be no measurement without objectives. If your objective is to practice writing, as it is for many student bloggers, you measure whether or how your writing has improved. You don't need social media measurement tools to do that. Similarly, my original mission for this blog was to reflect on and improve my teaching: no reader stats or subscriber counts needed here.

But many PR objectives -- increased sales or new client acquisition, positioning as a thought leader, or launching a new product or service, for example-- do require measurement, if only to justify to yourself (or the boss) the time and effort -- that's return on investment or ROI -- you're expending on the effort.

But let's stick with a student-related example: your objective might be to build an online portfolio for the larger goal of helping you find a great job after graduation. How could you measure your progress? Obviously you can search your own name, which everyone should do BTW, and see what comes up -- you want it to be you, and you want the engine to point the searcher to positive things like your own blog, other blogs that have linked to things you've written, and so forth.

However, social media measurement tools let you go far beyond that. Feedburner can tell you how many subscribers you have. Technorati can show how many other bloggers have linked to you. How impressive is that on your job application? It shows not only that you know how to use the tools, but that you know how to navigate the blogosphere in ways that have gotten you some positive attention.

Cool, but for a PR campaign, that's not enough.

Many of my students conduct PR campaigns that include social media, and they're required to complete evaluation of these programs. As Katie said, and reiterated, and said again, at Connect, we've got to get past counting eyeballs and measure relationships. Do people comment on your blog, or just pop in and bounce right back out? Do they trust you? Do they act on the information you provide? The Connect team is analyzing not only how many blogs mentioned UGA Connect, but also what people said about it (which sessions they liked, which speakers were specifically mentioned, overall evaluation of the conference, etc.). They also read the comments to see what other people said. This will be added to the evaluation attendees filled out at the conference itself to give us a better picture of how much progress we made toward our goals. (I'll have to do another post when I can tell you what they've found.)

In other words, start with the goals and objectives. Then figure out how to measure. I think it was Katie who said the data are out there, you just have to find a way to access and analyze them.

My colleague Kaye Sweetser provided more specific tips on blog measurement that are useful to newbies, and I'm tagging her in case she wants to add to the conversation.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Guide to Twitter for PR students

During the Connect conference, a bunch of UGA students got hooked on Twitter, so I thought I'd provide a few tips on how PR students can use microblogs like Twitter to the best effect.

1. Don't take "What are you doing?" literally, at least not all the time. Use it for networking by providing links to interesting posts, podcasts, video, news stories, etc. that others might also enjoy.

2. Don't Tweet too many times in a row (thanks, @AdamDenison) -- if you have that much to say, consider doing a blog post instead. Or updating your Web site (thanks, @ashleyb33).

3. Keep it professional. Like any other social media, use it to help build your online reputation.

4. Security measures apply here, too, just like on a blog or Facebook page.

5. Twitter helps create conversation, which means you have to follow (and be followed by) other people for it to work. Set aside some time to find people to follow-- start by adding PR educators like @prprof_mv, @rdfrench and @kmatthews (and, of course, @KarenRussell!), then look through the people they follow to find their students and professionals who are interested in PR education. In addition to the Twitterati mentioned throughout this post, I can recommend @vargasl, @paullyoung, @jspepper, @bryper, @LukeArmour, @prblog, @michaelallison, @ceubanks ... just for starters. Just read their most recent posts and see if they're writing about things you're interested in, and if they are, click Follow. And if someone starts following you, consider following them, too.

6. Twitter is unreliable (thanks, @kamichat). Learn not to be annoyed.

7. Read about why some people don't like Twitter and 17 tips for writing Kickass Twitter Posts, in which B.L. Ochman recommends asking and answering questions on Twitter, advice I followed to help me write this post!

Update (19 December 2007): 8. Use Tweetscan to make sure you've seen any posts replying to or concerning you. Just type in "@yourusername" and it'll search for all references to you.

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The Week's Best, 12 November 2007

If You're Not Hiding Anything, Why Mind the Light?, Mike Driehorst
You Define the Risks in Social Media, Toby Bloomberg (via John Cass)
Starting Small with Social Media: Georgia Aquarium Flickr Photogroup, Josh Hallet
PR Practitioners Should Put Up or Shut Up, Heather Yaxley
Apex PR's Credibility Survey Released: New Media Twice as Credible Among18-24 Year Olds, David Jones
Boiling Down Blogging Ethics: What Would You Do?, Amy Gahran (via Judy Gombita)
Finding, Following, Joining, and Creating Conversations Online, Bryan Person (podcast)

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Intro to social media for PR students

I'm going to give a 30-minute guest lecture on social media and decided to try something new. I'm linking to my slide show here and will start my lecture from this post to show how easily and rapidly information can be shared.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Advice from the pros

Grady College telecomm students filmed a couple of the sessions from the Connect conference, so those of you who weren't there can still join us. Download the first session, Advice from the Pros (Josh Hallett, Katie Paine, and Constantin Basturea, aka my social media dream team) here.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

The Week's Best, 5 November 2007

Did someone say it's November? No excuses about the end of the semester's fast approach; here are some thought-provoking posts:

How to Pitch to Bloggers -- 21 Tips, Darren Rowse
Reputation Management for Digital Natives :: My Conclusions, Christi Eubanks
10 Things to Remember, Dan Santow
How to Write Kickass Twitter Posts, B.L. Ochman
A Credibility Gap, Greg Hazley
What PR People Should Know About Social Media, Brian Oberkirch (via Eric Eggertson)

In addition, Chris Anderson created a blogstorm this week with his post, Sorry PR People: You're Blocked, so I recommend reading it and responses, including:
PR and the First Amendment and Keeping Your Job, Seth Godin
Dear Chris Anderson, An Open Letter to Make Things Right, Brian Solis
Won't Anyone Think of the Phone Calls?, Chris Edwards
No Need for Media Relations, Not When You Make the Blacklist, Bill Sledzik
Scaring PR: Chris Anderson, Wired, Copywrite Ink
Things Turn Ugly in the "Hacks vs. Flacks" War, New York Times

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Don't click here

Went out of town for a few days and came back to discover that the spambots have finally taken notice of Teaching PR.

I've deleted about 20 so far but there are still comments with links that you don't want to click. So, if it looks suspicious, it is.

And yes, everyone, this might be what it takes to get me to migrate my blog to a new and better site. In the meantime, don't click here.

"More important than the curriculum is the question of the methods of teaching and the spirit in which the teaching is given" --Bertrand Russell

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