TOW #16

I cannot believe this semester is already coming to an end.  It felt just like yesterday that I was starting the semester off and creating a new blog for this course.  My blogging skills have definitely gotten better throughout the semester and if I were to give advice to a new blogger this is what I would say:

1. Proofread often. I do not blog a lot but when I would go to a person’s blog and see that every other word was misspelled or their grammar was poor I moved onto someone else’s blog.  One advantage of using Word press is that it offers a proofreading section to make sure you do not have a ton of misspelled words on your blog.

2. Be brief when writing posts. The number one thing that turns me away from a blog is when it is too long and boring.  Keep you posts short and to the point.

3. Think of topics that you are interested in and write about them. For me one of the hardest things for me was to just get started with a topic.  If I was interested in the topic then usually my readers were interested in it as well so it was easy for me to write about it.  So when getting started think about what you would be interested in reading and just write about it.

4. Keep you blog lively and make it draw attention. Even if you are not a natural born writer, you can write for your blog. Just write like you’re speaking to your friend or to yourself!

5. Read your comments on your blog. In order to get more people to write on your blog you need to read what they have to say about your posts and respond.  This helps to build connections with your avid readers.

6. Comment frequently on other users blogs. Once again the whole purpose of writing a blog is to leave and receive comments.  I noticed to more comments I left the more comments I received from my readers. 

7. Create a fun an interesting layout. The first thing that drew my attention to other people’s blogs was their layouts.  If they had a pretty background or pictures I tend to remember their site and return often.  Chose a background that best represents your personality and then start writing!

8. Use clear headlines. The first thing people read are your headlines so if they are not interesting then people may skip over what you have written.  Write in bold and keep it short but make sure to make it interesting.

9. Link on your posts often. This helps to builds credibility and positions you as an expert in your field.  Linking to other blogs and websites can also help build connections.

10. Update often. If I did not update often it I usually forget what I had written in my previous weeks.  Updating often helps to build more readerships and encourage others to comment on your site more often as well.


final project


What is it:

According to RealWire a social media news release is a press release format designed for the online media world.  Initially press releases were only created with the press in mind and in  the online world you need to write a format that is relevant to a wide variety of people.  They are also designed with community nature of the online world in mind so it can be shared and commented on in social bookmarking, microblogging and social networking communities.

There are many different ways a social media news release can be written.  It can either be produced in the “traditional” narrative style or be deconstructed so that the core facts, quotes, contact details and boilerplate are all individually segregated to allow users to disseminate its various elements. It can be company branded and can accommodate images, audio and video.

Socialtraining defines a SMNR as something that takes advantage of linking, multimedia, and social media capabilities of the Web to make release more reader-friendly and useful.  It also aims to completely rethink the narrative, text-focused approach to news announcements.

Advantages and Disadvantages:

After watching a YouTube video called Social Media News/Press Release by: realwirefromwebitpr I was able to learn about a lot of advantages and disadvantages associated with SMNR’s.

Advantages: They allow you to communicate with a much broader scale of people on the web.  It also provides bloggers with diconstructive content in the form of news facts and quotes.  News is presented in a more factual manor with rich content.

Disadvantages:  After reviewing a numerous amount of sites the only disadvantage I was able to find was that it is hard for people to access the news releases if the do not have a computer or do not know how to use basic computer applications.

When should a PR practitioner consider using SMNR?

When you have clients that want to get vital information out fast and to a large amount of people.

Links to help you Create an SMNR:

SMNR Example:

Tips on Creating SMNR’s:

Smartblog gives some great tips and advice on how to create a SMNR:

  1. Keep headlines short. Make sure your headlines are no longer than 80 characters
  2. Tell a story. Write like a person and not an organization,  Get rid of the marketing-speak and craft a narrative you’d like to read in the newspaper.
  3. Create multimedia objects. Make creative use of video, photos and interactive objects that can be embedded and shared. Rather than including a canned quote within the story, consider recording a video of an executive making the statement and uploading it with a transcript.
  4. Make sharing easy. Ensure your release syndicates to RSS readers, shows up error-free when pulled into Facebook, Twitter or other sites, and comes in a printer- and e-mail-friendly version. Include one-click buttons for popular social-media sites at the bottom of your SMR.
  5. Make feedback easy. Include a section for moderated comments at the bottom of your release.

I found a few other good tips on creating SMNR’s at technorati:

  1. Try to outline the fundamental elements of what you are writing about: the “Who, What, Where and When” of the event, product or announcement.
  2. Develop a way to try and direct viewers to your site by using hyperlinks, and include your social contact information somewhere on your site that is easily accessible.
  3. Use templates such as pitchengine.com along with the other sites that i have listed above


TOW #14

During this week I took a course on NewsU called Five Steps to MultiMedia Storytelling.  I learned a lot from this course, especially since I had never really heard of multimedia story telling before.

During the course I learned that the best multimedia stories are multi-dimensional. They include action for video, a process that can be illustrated with a graphic , strong quotes for video or audio, and/or powerful emotions for still photos and audio. They use the strengths of each medium to tell the story in a way that draws in readers.  They are also non-linear which allows readers to choose which elements to read and when to read them.

Before you start to write you story create a storyboard which is done in three parts:

  1. Define the elements
  2. Identify the media
  3. Storyboard the concept

Since before taking the course I did not know a lot about multimedia story telling a lot of what I learned really surprised me.   I had no idea that when going out into the field you had to bring so much equipment.  It really surprised that technology wise you have to bring DV tapes and microphones.  Some other basic needs that surprised me when taking the course were that you have to bring rubber bands, backpack vest, and a pocket knife with you while in the field.  Some of these things I felt were a little bizarre to bring while obtaining news.

Overall I learned a lot but there are a few things I would like to learn a little more about.  I would like to know a little more about how to edit your story and actually putting it on the web.  The course did not go into much detail about how to actually produce your story after it is written as well.  I felt that they could have provided a few more examples at the end of the course for me to understand how to create a multimedia story as well.



TOW #13

Although PR professionals can be very helpful they can sometimes drive journalists crazy.  After reading chapter11 out of my Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques book I found some good examples of how PR professionals can drive journalists a little crazy sometimes.  Below I providing examples that I got from my book and an explanation of what a PR person could/should do instead:

  1. Poorly written materials- After writing there materials they should review and proofread their writing several times before submitting it.  Also having a friend or fellow employee read over the work would be a great idea as well.
  2. Unfamiliar with the editorial requirements-  This can be eliminated by reviewing the requirements several times before getting started.  After doing this if you still are unsure about what is required then it would even be helpful to ask the person you are writing to for a better explanation.
  3. Unfamiliar with the publication’s format and content-  There are many sources out there that give explanations about publication format and content so review those sources before getting started.  If you are still unfamiliar with the content ask advice from others that may understand the material more than you.
  4. Too many unsolicited emails, faxes, and phone calls-  Do not call, email, fax more than once.  If you have a questions make sure you do it all at once instead of through several forms of communication.
  5. Do not know the product or service-  Ask questions.  If you are not fully informed on the topic it does not hurt to ask questions to become more familiar with the products and services.
  6. Repeated calls and follow-up- If you constantly annoy journalists with repeated calls then it can drive them crazy.  Wait until you are completely done with your writing and then ask all the questions that you need to with one phone call.
  7. Spokespersons not available- Find an alternate person to speak when the main spokesperson is not available.
  8. Do not meet publication deadlines- Review the requirements and know when the deadlines are.  If it has already past then try to ask for more time.
  9. Sloppy reporting- Have someone review your writing and ask questions if you are unsure of information before reporting it.
  10. Biased reporting- Do not give your opinion on a topic.  Stick with the guidelines and facts that they requested and go from there.


TOW #12

During this week I had to listen to at least an hour of different PR/marketing podcast.  Over the summer I was introduced to InsidePR  and found it very interesting.  Since the summer I have tried to listen to a podcast on this site just about every week.  i have tried out a few other podcasts and have felt that InsidePR is definitely the most informative for a college student like myself.

The first show I listened to Gini and Joe were the hosts for this day and discussed monitoring comments and how they affect the conversation.  Joe first discusses the topic of comment moderation and wondering if it is worthwhile or not.  Gini doesn’t feel that you should moderate comments and likes when her readers engage with one another with comments.  Towards the end of the show Joe discusses Toronto’s negative reaction to Toronto’s new mayor and Ontario’s election that took place. 

The second show I listened to was hosted by Martin and Joe and they discuss how media landscape is changing online.  They first start out giving recent changes to media landscape such as the Toronto Star now using information from the NY Times and the The Globe is now using information from Jeff Jarvis about publicness.  They discussed how papers are also taking steps to monetize content online and how how conversations on blogs are moving away from the source.

The last show I listened to discusses the new platform for twitter.  During the show each hosts discuss how they first got started using twitter and how they access it online through Ipads and Tweet Decks.  They end the show by discussing how each of them use twitter differently from facebook.

Listening to PR Podcasts can definitely benefit PR students and PR practitioners.  It allows them to connect with other people who are interested in PR and it allows you to keep updated on news in the PR world.  For me personally I have learned a lot from listening to PR Podcasts.  I have made connections and have learned a lot of interesting tips from the hosts who do the podcasts.

TOW # 11

For this weeks topic of the week I will be discussing infographics.  I have never heard of infographics so in order to cover the topic I had to use a little help from Lisa Angelettie’s blog about writing.  Infographics are a visual representations of information, data or knowledge. These graphics are used where complex or a whole lot of information needs to be explained quickly and clearly.  Some examples of infographs are signs, maps, journalism, technical writing, and education.

Infographs can be very useful in a story for a client.  Many studies have been done that prove that stories with graphics and pictures are more appealing to their readers.  When used on a web page it can also allow viewers to click on the infograph and link them to another page with information about the possible client.  The main reason to use infographs is that they build traffic, are helpful to the reader, and build high-quality back links to your site.  As a PR professional one of the main goals is to promote your client the best way that you possibly can.  By making the story more visually appealing by adding an infograph would be one of the best techniques to use to help making your clients story more appealing to readers.

After looking at a few examples of infographs I thought it would be really hard to make them but it is actually quite simple.  A website called makeuseof.com provided a lot of great examples on how to make some really cool infographs.  When creating infographs they recommend that you keep your graphs and illustrations simple by using vector graphic software.  The site also offers a few links to other sites that allow you to create your own infograph for free.  One of the main sites they suggest is Stat Planet.  Stat planet allows you to create interactive visualizations, in which you can then use to create a static image.

I was not able to create an infograph but here is an example that I found at www.illdave.com

Tow #10

During week 10  we were asked to go on our wordpress page and discuss our site stats.  On this page it gives you a lot of statistical information about visitors and posts on my own personal site.

At the top of the site stats page it gives a huge graph with a time chart that tells you the number of people who have viewed your page for each day and a total since my site has been activated.  Just this morning I have already had 2 views and since this past summer when I started blogging I have had 743 views to my site.

Some other information that the stats page shows me are Top posts and pages, Referrers, Search engine terms, Clicks, General posting information, and Incoming links.

As of this morning I have 61 posts, 53 comments, and 5 categories.  One thing I wish the stats page offered was to tell you who has visited your page and their user name.y

PR practitioners would benefit greatly from monitoring their own of their companies blog.  This site gives you a lot of important information and as a PR practitioner you want as many people to view what you have written as possible.  By knowing how many people visit your site and which articles it can tell you what topics are more interesting than others and which ones you need to go back and edit.  Also by having the stats it allows PR practitioners to monitor employees activity on blogs.  If your company is supposed to have a certain number of blogs written each week and someone is slacking then you have proof to confront the employee and tell them they need to start working a little harder on their blogs.

Overall I feel that the stats page is very helpful for any blogger.  It is interesting to know how many people have visited your site daily and it helps you to improve on your blogging abilities to try and get more visitors to your site.