Just trying to RELATE…

Week 2: T.O.W.-The Haitian Disaster from a PR point of view

Posted in Assignments,Social Media by meshae on February 9, 2010

On January 12, 2010, the world was taken by storm as one of its poorest countries suffered what many would consider one of the worst disasters in history. After almost two weeks, the Haitian disaster continues to make headlines in newspapers and breaking news on television. In some way or another, we’ve all witnessed the countless efforts of humanity to run to the rescue of the Haitian people.

The American Red Cross, known for its international philanthropic work, was quick to use social media to rally support for their efforts in the Haitian disaster.

By sending a quick text message, supporters all over the world could donate to the Red Cross’s Haiti Relief Fund. Long gone are the days of collection buckets. Shortly after the news hit the airwaves, large amounts of money were already being collected.

Not only were text messages used, but social networks were also. Sites like Twitter allowed account holders to add “twibbons” to their avatars, commemorating the lives of those killed in the earthquake.

As a society, we were able to see the true power of social media through this disaster. I, myself, was able to get complete coverage on what was going on and how to get involved through Twitter.

With social media, the world became one big “family” of sorts and was able to aid those in need. As a communications professional, I am proud to see the positive side of social media finally unveiled on a global level.


Social Media and the JOB SEARCH

Posted in PR Praticum by meshae on February 8, 2010

Ever been asked by an interviewer whether your FaceBook, MySpace or Twitter accounts were reflective of a potential employee?

Well, I have.

Social media and its utilization is a growing practice in the employment world. Weaning out the “not-so-good” has become a much easier process and now only takes a few clicks.

From spring break to happy hour, employers can see into the lives of job applicants with little to no effort. I am not saying that employers look for “perfect angels,” but there is a certain level of professionalism and responsibility needed when using social media.

Those pictures of you and all your fraternity brothers drinking may not be the best representation of how socially responsible you are. And that photo shoot your friends had with your camera that highlighted your “passing out” may not be a good reflection of your work ethic.

When using social media networks, you must remember that ANYONE ANYWHERE has the potential to view what you post.  Employers use your social network accounts to see you in more social, relaxed environments. They don’t want to see you spending every moment of your free time in the bar.

However, every story has two sides and there are benefits to being involved in social media prior to entering the job market.

I’d even go as far as to say that he benefits of being involved in social media outweigh the pitfalls.

For starters, having a presence in social media can be a way you show employers your “human” side. So often, we lay so much pressure on ourselves to be professional that we forget to live. Employers want well-rounded, versatile employees. Live life, but do so responsibly.

Use social networks, like Twitter and LinkedIn, to show how passionate you are about the career you plan to pursue. These networks allow you to connect to so many different people and promote yourself. Use them to your advantage.

Keeping your cover letter on TARGET

Posted in PR Praticum by meshae on January 18, 2010

It's important to keep your cover letter focused. Know your target.

After reading several different articles on writing a cover letter, I must say that the “top 5” tips I chose were pretty consistent across the sources.

And with that said, here are the TOP 5 things I think your cover letter should do:

  1. Make YOU stand out!
  2. Simply let the reader know who you are and why you’re writing.
  3. Grab the reader’s attention.
  4. Target the right person
  5. SHINE!

Now you may be thinking “how is my cover letter supposed to shine” or “how do I ‘simply’ grab attention?”

No worries. By the end of this post, I promise you’ll know how.

Let’s revisit #1. As with your resume’, your cover letter should also stand out. Your cover letter introduces who YOU are to the reader, who in this case is a potential employer. So go ahead, ask yourself “why am I applying for this job?” What makes you capable and worthy of filling the position? One thing, you must know how to do is market yourself.

On to #2. The key word in #2 is “simply.” Often times, we get carried away with words and “overdo” the cover letter. Remember a cover letter is only an introduction; it should be simple and to the point. When done correctly, the reader will want to continue learning about you and move on to your resume’. A simple cover letter tells who you are and why you’re writing.

Pressing forward to #3. I know. I know. I will admit that it is very hard to simplify, yet keep someone’s attention; however it is possible. Not only is it possible, Accent Resume’ Writing (http://www.accent-resume-writing.com/covertips/ ) suggests using their model and simply answering the following four questions:

1) For what position are you applying?

2) How did you learn of the position or company?

3) Why are you perfect for the position?

4) Who will contact who?

See. It’s not so hard once you target what you need to say.

Almost done. On to #4. If you want to ruin your chances of getting the job/interview, address your cover letter to the WRONG person. Do your research and figure out who you should address the letter to. This takes a little extra work, but you’ll be glad you did it. Dear sir or madame is not enough, nor is it professional. Go the extra mile. After all, at this point you have absolutely nothing to lose.

And last, but certainly not least #5. Though all five tips are important, #5 may be the most important. Make your cover letter shine by using quality paper and printing. The last thing you want to do is send your cover letter in on flimsy, not-so-nice paper. Be sure to use the same type of paper for your cover letter and resume’. Don’t forget to check the printer before you print, either. Your cover letter should be stainless. Professionalism should always be your priority.

Using these 5 tips should keep you on target on creating a stand-out cover letter. Find your target…and ACT! Good luck!

MeeSH: Take 3

Posted in PR Praticum by meshae on January 11, 2010

With graduation only a few short months away, I have been forced to focus on what it is I want to be when I “grow up.”

Being in Professor Barbara Nixon’s class has aided in my quest. Her classes have forced me to step outside my box and explore social media in a way I was not initially comfortable with. I love it now, though. This is my 3rd time making an “About Me” post, so I’m going to change it up a little and talk about who I am now.

I am 22 year old Shequilla “Meesh” Hankerson. I am a Public Relations student at Georgia Southern University, a university I’d like to think is one of the BEST in the nation.

Upon graduating in May, I plan to pursue a Master’s Degree in Sport Management. As a matter of fact, I am currently searching for a dual MBA and Sport Management program, so if anyone has a suggestion, feel free to share it. My goal is to make to the NFL within five years of receiving my Master’s degree. I want nothing more than to work in the marketing department for the NFL.

Besides being super busy with my post-graduation plans, I have been engulfed in my presidency…of my sorority of course. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been able to see how many people really dislike or misunderstand the Greek community. My personal mission for the rest of the semester is to help foster some change and shed light on the positive aspects of being or “going” Greek.

I have also recently joined an initiative through Georgia Southern’s Office of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement that brings college students into local schools to help non-English speaking students with their coursework. For anyone not familiar with Statesboro, Georgia, there is a large Hispanic population along with several other non-English speaking populations. These students barely speak English themselves and have to sit in a classroom where they can not comprehend or understand. I am very excited about helping out. Serving has always been a passion of mine.

For the most part, I can say that I am just enjoying my last semester in college. Take it all in. Enjoy it while it lasts. These are the best times of your life. All those things have been said to me.

So, I’ve enjoying the things I love most. I love being a big kid, hence the NERF wars my friends and I have been having for the past few weeks. I enjoy modeling. By the way, if you’re in the area, GSU’s Black Student Alliance presents “Blaqshion 2010: Once Upon a Blaqshion” on February 6 at 7pm in GSU’s Performing Arts Center. Blaqshion is the organization’s annual fashion show that allows students to model/design in a large-scale production. As a model coach, this large-scale production has been my life for the past few months. It’s sure to be a great show. You should come.

I am fun. I am outgoing. Overinvolved at times. Loving. Ambitious. Most importantly, I am Meesh…all the time. Welcome to my world.

5 Steps to Mastering Public Relations Research

Posted in Uncategorized by meshae on December 9, 2009

What PR Publications taught me.

Posted in PR Publications by meshae on December 2, 2009

It’s not so bad after all…

Posted in PR Publications by meshae on November 30, 2009

For my PR Publications class, we were given the task of choosing a client and then designing publications for them.

I was really unsure what type of organization I wanted to represent. I thought about everything. What about representing my chapter of my sorority? Nah, I don’t think so. What if I represented my roommate’s off-campus organization? That wouldn’t work. She’s always busy.

And then it hit me. I could represent my dad’s small business. After all, he could use the extra help. So after a small discussion with my dad and his best friend(co-owner), I chose Big Oak Barbecue as my client for the semester.

In the restaurant’s three years of business, the only real publications it had were business cards and menus. My dad seriously needed my help. I honestly, didn’t know where to begin, but my PR and marketing courses offered some guidance.

Because I have some marketing experience I was able to help my dad figure out a game plan. First, we sat down and discussed what it was he wanted his patrons to know about his business. Big Oak Barbecue was an idea my dad and his best friend got after winning a grilling competition in my hometown. From there, the idea took off and in October of 2006, the restaurant opened.

My dad wants his customers to know that Big Oak Barbecue isn’t some fancy, gourmet establishment. Instead, it’s a small town, old-fashioned restaurant where everyone is welcome. My dad didn’t realize it then, but he had already completed the first step toward Big Oak recognition. He had single-handedly established the culture of the business, which is important in marketing a client.

Since then, I’ve been able to help my dad do several other things, like interior decorations, exterior signage and brochures. Overall, representing my dad and Big Oak has been a blast. In choosing Big Oak, I have learned a lot about business, the food service industry and what works when targeting a specific group.

I guess you could say representing family isn’t so bad after all.

Reflections of a PR student…THANKS GSU.

Posted in PR Publications by meshae on November 30, 2009

Throughout the semester, I’ve learned so much. I’ve also received a lot of hands-on experience. From the representation of clients to the production of professional publications, I’ve been able to finally use all the things I’ve learned.

I must admit that when I switched my major to Public Relations initially, I had NO IDEA what I was going to do with a PR degree. Fortunately, after months of prayer, research and even a little soul-searching, I was able to pinpoint what it is I want to do.

After speaking with many of my classmates; however I was never alone in my uneasiness. Because PR is such an open field, it is hard to focus on one thing you want to do. Luckily, my tenure at Georgia Southern has shown me that the possibilities in PR are unlimited and that you can truly go ANYWHERE with a degree in PR.

So as this 2009 holiday season commences, I must express how thankful I am for all my PR professors and their guidance(or at times lack thereof) because I have grown so much. My excitement and love for this field continue to grow.

I’m a FONT fanatic!

Posted in PR Publications by meshae on November 30, 2009

I will never forget the first day I learned how much power “font” really has.

In high school, I was on yearbook staff and my teacher was truly a “font fanatic.” Prior to being on the staff, times new roman, arial, and comic sans were the only fonts I really used. Much like the attached video satirized, I stuck to the basics.

Luckily, my yearbook experience opened my eyes to the wonderful world of fonts and the importance of effective typography. 

As I prepare for professional design ventures, it is even more important to evaluate which fonts I use. Several things affect a designer’s decision of which fonts to use. The one that should  automatically come to mind is the audience the publication will reach. Audience is important because you want to be sure that publication is comprehensive and more importantly readable. The reader should be able to focus on the information provided and enjoy it.

Another thing to consider is the client you are representing. Your client should gain recognition via your design. For example, when creating a logo for your client, you must remember what type of client they are, what they represent and again the audience they want to reach. When designing for a client, it is important to seek their guidance so that your work is reflective of what it is they seek.

Experience has taught me that being able to recognize design elements is a must in creating things for your clients. With today’s technology, there are so many ways to make your client’s designs distinct and recognizable. One very easy way is to venture from the fonts on your computer. As I said, times new roman, arial, comic sans…they’re all played out.

Sites like dafont.com allow you to download legal, free fonts and also serve your client much better. Below you’ll find an instructional video on how to download fonts on your computer and get your design juices flowing.

For Windows Vista:    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99M2E_JTZsU

For Mac:    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmf0reiTBVc

Hope this helps!

Let’s Talk Images: The Language of the Image

Posted in PR Publications by meshae on October 26, 2009

There’s an old saying that pictures are worth 1000 words. Well the “Language of the Image” module I completed for my PR publications class showed just that.

The module made available through News University (newsu.org), really took an in-depth look into photographs/ images and how they affect the readers and viewers that see them.

Informational, passive and active are the 3 types of photographs outlined in the module. A photo fits into one of these three categories according to certain characteristics it may possess. Some of those characteristics include, emotion, sense of place, point of entry surprise and moment. For example, a photo of a father walking his daughter down the aisle may be one filled with emotion. Another characteristic, point of entry, is based on the angle from which the photographer decides to take the picture.

There is a lot to be learned about choosing images that are news-worthy, informative and complementary to your publication. As PR professionals, we must be knowledgeable about images because they play a big part in the effectiveness of our work.

Because News University allows you to set up an account and view this module whenever you want, I will definitely be visiting it more often. It provides great insight and really help you improve not only your picture-taking skills, picture-choosing skills as well.

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