Just trying to RELATE…


Georgia Southern University Office of Career Services 2010 Eagle Expo

Posted in PR Praticum by meshae on April 21, 2010
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Before I share my experience at this year’s Eagle Expo, I’d first like to share my true feelings about career fairs as a whole.

What is a career fair? The assumption is that it gives those seeking employment, a chance to speak with prospective employers about opportunities with their respective agencies.

Ya, I’m pretty sure that sums it up nicely.

And as a soon-to-be college graduate, I know and understand the importance of networking and conversation at career fairs. It’s not unheard of that one can get hired on the spot at a career fair. Unfortunately, as a PR major, I must dig deep to find the public relations opportunities at agencies. Having that challenge; however, has given me a lot of practice in networking and marketing myself.

Almost every company needs a PR person in some form. So, here’s a PSA to my fellow PR people.

Attention PR PEOPLE! Don’t walk into a job/career fair expecting your dream job to fall out the sky. As usual, you must work to find where you’ll fit. Ask questions. Market yourself. Be bold.

I must admit I never get my hopes up at career fairs. Most often, I leave without any real connections to possible career ventures. That’s not to say that I don’t attempt to network or mingle with the employers. It’s just that as a Public Relations major with hopes of working in professional sport public relations, the pickings and direct connections are slim.

This year’s career fair; however surprised me and I left pretty excited with what I had done. Coincidentally, I happened to stop at the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce table and meet “Ashley.” Ashley’s husband has worked for the Jacksonville Jaguars for over five years and is working his way up through the ranks. I explained to Ashley my career goals and the conversation took off from there. She took a copy of my resume’ and also gave me a few websites to check out.

I visited several other tables as well, including, the Social Security Administration table and the Target table. The most important thing I learned at the Expo is to never sell your self short. Just because a career fair seems like it won’t have anything for you, it never hurts to mingle and network. I left with the motivation to continue my grad school and internship search.

Events like Eagle Expo make me truly appreciate Georgia Southern and all the things I’ve experienced as a student here.

PR Connection: Toiling Tiger and Reckless Roethlisberger – PR and Pro Athletes

Posted in Assignments,Social Media by meshae on April 20, 2010

As a sports fanatic, I do my best to keep up with current sports happenings and the athletes that keep the industry buzzing.

Lately, two athletes from two different arenas come to mind, golfing great Tiger Wood and NFL quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

With the 2010 Master’s Tournament only a few weeks passed, the media jumped after Woods announced his return to competition. I tuned in to some of the Master’s coverage and sure enough there was “more than enough” coverage on Woods. Tweets were posted the whole week that acknowledged the massive amount of information being shared about the blemished golfer, his wife and his current “situation.”

After sharing his adultery with the world, Woods faced some pretty tough audiences and arguably lowered himself to the “just another pro-athlete” status. I’m sure most would agree that prior to his “accident” over the 2009 Thanksgiving holidays; his image was spotless compared to his athletic colleagues. Since last November, Woods and his entourage have been toiling to reclaim his position as one of the world’s most respectable athletes. Is it possible?

The question has been asked before, but why is it that we scrutinize the personal lives of professional athletes?

Before you attempt to answer that, let’s move to Pittsburgh Steeler Ben Roethlisberger. After a March visit to small-town Georgia in 2010, the QB found himself in the spotlight…a not-so-good one might I add.

According to the Associated Press, Roethlisberger was accused of sexually assaulting a college student in Milledgeville, GA. Fortunately for him, charges were dropped after an investigation was completed; however NFL commissioner Roger Goodell didn’t let Roethlisberger go without consequence.

Because of the athlete’s irresponsible behavior, Goodell suspended him for six games this upcoming season. Some may ask “why,” especially considering that the charges were dropped. However, from a PR perspective, Goodell’s decision is one of merit. The suspension shows that the NFL will not tolerate the reckless, negligent behavior of its athletes and that league values its reputation.

I chose to discuss these two athletes because unlike, former Atlanta Falcons QB Michael Vick and Tennessee Titans’ Adam “Pacman” Jones, Woods nor Roethlisberger committed a crime. Although some might argue their wrongs were no different, the consequences administered were indeed.

Turning my focus back to public relations, I can’t help, but discuss the aforementioned “scrutiny” that “we,” society place upon professional athletes, as well as other public figures. It is important for public relations specialists working in the sports industry to recognize this “scrutiny” and be aware of its challenge.

Our job is to keep the images of clients and organizations we represent clean. When issues arise, we must be swift to the scene and remedy the situation. Though other professional industries face scrutiny, in my opinion those who venture to the wide world of sports face the greatest of it.

My Chat with PR PRO, Marla Bruner

Posted in Assignments,PR Praticum by meshae on April 2, 2010
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Recently, I was fortunate enough to sit down and interview Georgia Southern University (GSU) alum and Public Relations professional Marla Bruner.

Ms. Bruner has been in the field since 1999, the year she graduated from Georgia Southern. Currently working as the internal communications manager for GSU, she had a lot of valuable information to offer. I can honestly say that I left her office motivated and even more excited about starting my career.

As Ms. Bruner and I talked, she really confirmed many things that my professors had already said.

She graduated from Georgia Southern with a Communications degree and is now working on her Master’s degree in Literature. Because she is a GSU alum, I felt a real connection to her and was interested in all she had to say.

I started the interview asking how prepared she felt after graduation. Her response was very encouraging. “Coursework gives you an idea of what you’re getting into,” said Bruner. She ensured me that there is “a means to the madness” of the sometimes frustrating coursework of your undergraduate career.

As we began to talk about today’s “college student,” Ms. Bruner emphasized the opportunities college students have these days. She also talked about how students underestimate their experiences and complain about inadequate resumes.

“Students have many opportunities to get experience,” Ms. Bruner said. “The question is, what translates as experience?”

College offers students many opportunities to gain experience for their prospective careers. Students should take advantage of those opportunities and get involved. By doing so, their “experience” could land them great jobs and careers. Ms. Bruner advises students to “put on their PR hats” and thoroughly explain their experience and what they can offer future employers. As PR students, we are trained to do a variety of things and it’s important to be able to get that message across when applying for jobs.

Ms. Bruner’s everyday responsibilities reflect the amount of variety and flexibility needed in the PR world.

At Georgia Southern, Ms. Bruner is the informational “go-to” person. Partnering with Information Technology services, she updates the university calendar with new dates and events. She also populates the university’s homepage and is partly responsible for the new MyGeorgiaSouthern layout and design. Atop her informational responsibilities, Ms. Bruner also works closely with campus departments and organizations. Although the university has its own graphic design department, her knowledge allows her to design things as well.

And when it comes to writing, Ms. Bruner’s remarks were not surprising. “I write every day all day,” said Ms. Bruner. She shared that taking classes that highlight writing for electronic media can be very beneficial. She also emphasized how important it is to be familiar with the different types of formatting involved in public relations writing.

Basically, she was saying, “learn everything.”

The life of a public relations pro is very busy. Ms. Bruner revealed that she completes about 14-15 projects a day.I quickly realized how important it is to be a well-rounded Public Relations professional.

Below, you’ll find Ms. Bruner’s 3 tips to someone just starting out in Public Relations:

  1. Do the work for them. Give your publishers and designers a break by doing most of the work for them. This way you can guarantee a good relationship and also be sure the final product is 100% correct.
  2. Be in contact…constantly. When working with clients, be sure to stay in contact. Being in contact with them ensures that you’re doing the job they expect and are happy with. As the PR professional, your responsibility is to make the client happy.
  3. Prioritize by audience. Know your target audience. Your public relations attempts may go unnoticed if you fail to identify your audience.

When asked what she wished she’d known before graduating, I was a bit surprised by her response. Ms. Bruner spoke of the myths that surround protected salaries and life after college. “Your job won’t be about just public relations or marketing,” Ms. Bruner said. She shared how important it is to be familiar with the entire office/organization. Students should also save their work. “Keep everything,” she advised. This helps the portfolio-building process a lot easier.

Since graduating college, she’s been able to see the “major shift from print to web” firsthand.

“Today’s communication industry is very fast-paced,” she said. “People expect a response immediately these days, so you only get one chance.”

Ms. Bruner said it is a must that a public relations professional be “constantly updated,” because time is of the essence.

I wrapped up my interview with Ms. Bruner with what I think was one of the most important questions I asked.

What makes someone a good candidate for a job? What makes he/she stand out?

“How one would handle certain situations is one of the most important things to learn during the hiring process,” said Ms. Bruner.

She also listed having examples of a candidate’s work in a digital portfolio and the ability to manage crisis as other important factors. When hiring, Ms. Bruner said, “I wanna see it, not hear it.”

Overall, my chat with Ms. Bruner was amazing and she made me really excited about graduating and beginning my career in Public Relations. To view some of her work, visit www.georgiasouthern.edu.

“Who’s that girl on the field?” – Sports and PR Podcast

Posted in Assignments,Social Media by meshae on April 1, 2010
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Hi!

For my Social Media class, my professor, Barbara Nixon asked us to create a podcast that related to some form of PR.

Because I am a big sports fanatic, I decided to do mine on Sports and Public Relations.

I’ve provided a link to the podcast, as well as an outline for the podcast below. Listen in and enjoy!

Tune in at: http://meshae.podbean.com/

Outline of Episode 1: “Who’s that girl on the field?”

Introduction:

  • MeShae Hankerson, Senior Public Relations major
  • Today’s topic – “Public Relations in Sports”
  • Aspiring Sport PR Professionals

Why Public Relations is important in sports:

  • Sports has an international reach
  • Touches all aspects and areas of Public Relations
  • Crisis management, event planning, community relations, and media relations

What do Sports PR Professionals do?:

  • Everything
  • The job is 24 hours and 7 days a week.
  • Important to have a new media background and interest in communication.

Advice to current and aspiring Sports PR professionals:

  • Visit Brian Gleason’s blog and read “3 Items for the Sports PR person to keep handy” – http://prinsportsblog.com/
  • Network. Network. Network.

Trade Book Review: Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody

Posted in Assignments,Social Media by meshae on March 11, 2010

What did I say?

Posted in Assignments,PR Praticum,Social Media by meshae on March 9, 2010
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Here are the links to my comments on my classmates’ blogs:

Week 8: T.O.W.- How to make your Business POP with PODcasting!

Posted in Social Media by meshae on March 6, 2010
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I must admit that until recently, I had no idea what podcasting was.

So for those of you who are/were like me, allow me to explain…

A podcast is basically a group of digital files that can either be downloaded or streamed from the web. They can be video or audio.

One of the coolest things about podcasts is how accessible they are. Not only can you find and watch them via the Internet, you can also download them and watch or listen to them anytime you want on your PC, laptop, smart phones and even your iPod.

From a business perspective, podcasts are simple, easy outlets for FREE advertisement. Wait! Did I mention that they are FREE?

That means your business could record a message to your clients/customers for no immediate cost. Podcasts allow you to basically say whatever you want for however long you want.

From a PR perspective, I suggest being consistent and starting a series. Plan a time each week that your business will air a podcast. It could be about new campaigns, products or philanthropies that the business wants to promote. A podcast series promotes your business as well as brand loyalty. Your customers will eventually look forward to your podcasts.

Another cool thing about podcasts is that they can work for large business as well as small ones. Owning a business can be somewhat dehumanizing, but podcasts allow you as a business owner to reach your customers in a more “down-to-earth” way. Podcasts are  a way to reach your publics on a different level. And with “podcatching” technologies, like iTunes, your customers can subscribe to your podcasts and “catch” them whenever they want.

If you’re looking to start utilizing podcasts in your business, check out this short video from PodGrunt:

http://gruntmedia.com/podgrunt_001_view.html

Good luck and happy “casting”!

Week 7: T.O.W – Let’s PLAY Foursquare!

Posted in Social Media by meshae on March 5, 2010
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I remember playing Foursquare when I was younger.

Welcome to the adult version of Foursquare.

How many times have you heard the words, “It’s all about location”?

Well the creators of one of social media’s newest outlets, Foursquare, have taken the phrase to a different level.

According to the website, Foursquare allows its users to “check-in” with their friends. The idea of the site is to share your favorite places to eat, hang out or grab a cup of coffee with others.

For businesses, the site means free advertising.

Imagine if every time you went somewhere new to eat, you announced it to your friends so that they could try it out. And with Foursquare you can announce it via Twitter and other social networks. Now all of your followers and friends and see where you’re eating and how great it is. That’s load of free publicity for that establishment.

Foursquare allows users to share their experiences, which is something we all do anyway. Whether good or bad, Foursquare is a way to make your good experiences more public and help others avoid bad ones.

I am not one to try “that new restaurant that just opened around the corner.” With Foursquare, I can see what people are saying and decide whether or not it’s worth a try.

And being the skeptic that I am, I worry that Foursquare could potentially be breeding ground for “stalkers.” Eek!

Making my location public has always worried me. The site has a lot of potential and is growing rapidly, but I still worry that users will soon abuse its capabilities.

All I can do is hope that people understand the purpose of websites, like Foursquare and Twitter, and behave accordingly.

If you’re still not sold on how YOU can use Foursquare, check out this video from Co-founder Dennis Crowley.

Good Luck!

Let’s Make Whuffie: A reflection on Tara Hunt’s “The Whuffie Factor”

Posted in Assignments by meshae on March 3, 2010
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Check out this brief presentation on Tara Hunt’s The Whuffie Factor:

Your Mouth is saying “this,” but your body is saying “that.”

Posted in PR Praticum by meshae on February 16, 2010
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As a veteran communications student, I’ve been able to learn as well as observe the effects body language has on the deliverance of a message.

Ironically, your body language speaks volumes. Through nonverbal communication, we send countless messages all day long. Your gestures and movements can tell a lot about you and how you’re feeling.

For those entering or currently in the job search, here is a piece of advice.

Learn to control and use your body language effectively. It can be the deciding factor in whether you get a job or not.

Today’s employers are looking for confident, engaged employees and if your body language is screaming every thing but that, you may be in trouble.

A firm handshake and eye contact can get you almost as far as a strong resume’.

Often times, when we are anticipating interviews or meetings with potential employers, we get nervous. I’m here to tell you, those nerves aren’t going anywhere. Therefore it is important to prepare yourself.

Take time to write out exactly what it is you want to do and what you plan to get from your efforts. This way, you’re able to communicate your expectations and goals confidently.

And before it’s time for your interview, be sure to do some background research on the organization itself. Know when it was founded, its purpose and how hiring you could be beneficial. Not only does this show how well you prepared, but it also shows just how confident you are.

After all, this could affect the rest of your life. You want to make the best of each opportunity you’re given.

Stand tall.

Shake firmly.

Speak confidently.

Get the Job!

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