Tag Archives: public relations

To PR, or not to PR.

Prior to this course, I was–as they say–completely in the dark when it came to Public Relations. Obviously, I knew it had everything to do with communication, but my interest in the field was so very minimal that I didn’t care to delve any deeper. However, due to course requirements, it became essential for me to take a class outside of my primary focus (Rhetorical and Cultural Studies). By no means was I dreading the course; in fact, I was excited to learn about something new. But, I also knew that I had no desire to be involved in Public Relations in the future. Regardless, I knew I would benefit from learning about the topic. I guess you could say I knew I would get out as much as I put in.

That being said, I’ve done my best to actively engage with the course by participating in lecture and turning in assignments that are well thought out and organized. While on one hand I do think Public Relations is a very interesting field–and I definitely understand how it can be very appealing and fulfilling for some–I’m realizing it’s not quite the realm I want to take part in. Or, perhaps I should explain better–I do not want to be solely involved in Public Relations. I have no interest in working for a PR firm, and I definitely don’t want to do PR for a major corporation. It is worth mentioning though that I am open to incorporating different aspects of PR in whatever I do. For instance, I’ve already mentioned I’m interning for a nonprofit organization this year. A part of this task has been generating a communication strategy. I’ve helped with the blog and other social media platforms. But, what I find the most interesting is the grant writing I’ve been doing. I have a very strong writing background and am very passionate about it. I know that PR can be very writing intensive, so I can apply this passion if I want to, but as of now I really just don’t see myself fitting into the field. As usual, though, this opinion has plenty of potential to change.

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The Acceptance Phase

…oftentimes connected to the “admitting-you-were-wrong” phase.

I realize this may seem like an over-statement, but after successfully resisting for a few years, I’m finally realizing and accepting all of the associated glories of Twitter. Before this semester, I was exceptionally hesitant to take on an additional social media persona. Facebook seemed like enough. “How many life-consuming tech-habits can one have?” I thought. However, despite my strong resistance, it suddenly became necessary to join Twitter as a class requirement (for several Comm. classes, I might add)–a requirement I initially found utterly annoying. For the most part, I maintained a mostly unconvinced mindset, but I set up my account and attempted a few tweets.

Flash forward two months as I find myself staring wide-eyed at my computer screen clicking the “Follow” button frantically. Music, entertainment, food, news, blah blah blah–the categories are endless. And as a result of the unending options, I believe it is accurate to now label myself “Officially Obsessed.” I have heard over and over again how Twitter can be a valuable communication tool once you learn how to truly utilize it. While I might have scoffed at this sermon before, the tables have finally turned. I’ve even caught myself preaching to others about how useful Twitter can be. In fact, I’ve even convinced a few non-believers to join.

In class, we’ve discussed how important Twitter is for Public Relations. I had no problem accepting Twitter as a useful communication tool for companies–it’s hard to ignore blatant evidence–but now I’m realizing how much fun it is from the public’s position. And, frankly, I felt it was an appropriate time to admit it.

Follow me! @secomeaux

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Wait, you mean I can’t go to school for forever?

I have yet to decide exactly which company or industry I want to work for/with in the future. However, I’m getting a lot closer to figuring it out. Or, I’m at least starting to understand where my true interests are–I think that’s an incredible start. Currently, I have an internship with a local Austin non-profit called Students of the World (SOW). My title is “Program Management Intern” to be exact, but I’m finding that title umbrellas a wide variety of tasks. Working with a non-profit offers an amazing opportunity for anyone who can get past the unpaid aspect of it. In reality, the fact that you’re not getting paid makes it a lot more fulfilling.

At this point, I’m helping SOW create a successful communication plan. For example, we’re trying to organize a strategic and effective way to utilize all of the different social media tactics. Also, as SOW continues to formulate plans for expansion, my duty (which I kind of appointed myself to do) is to revise the content to better align it with the next chapter. Having taken many communication and writing courses, I’m finding it much easier going about all of these tasks. Maybe easier isn’t the right word, but I at least feel a lot prouder of the work I’m producing because I’m familiar with a lot of it. In PR we’ve talked a lot about social media and how it’s important for organizations/ companies to create objectives for each tactic. I’ve definitely been applying this information when generating ideas for SOW’s strategy. As far as revising content goes, I can thank my Technical Writing professor for helping tremendously with going about that one. (Cheers to all the nit-pickers out there!)

In the future, I plan on continuing to involve myself with the non-profit sector. It’s rewarding when you locate an organization with similar values as yourself, and you’re able to help them generate as much positive influence as possible. That to me is a lot more appealing than taking on a job at an agency or corporation. For anyone else looking to get involved with non-profits, my suggestion is to hop on the internet and start searching. I used internmatch.com, but there are endless ways to get connected. Did you know there are more non-profits than bars and restaurants combined in Austin? And all of them are open and appreciative of any help they can get. Communication majors are extremely valuable  because non-profits have to garner a good amount of attention in order to be successful. Therefore, communication strategies are essential, and who better to help than a communication extraordinaire?

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Public relations? What is that?

Truth is, a lot of people don’t really understand exactly what public relations (PR) is; in fact, I’m still working on figuring it out myself. One thing I do know, though, is that there are a lot of misconceptions out there. As a result, professionals have tried over and over again to debunk the different myths about PR. For a list of some of these myths, see Richard Edelman’s article, “PR Profiling.” The real question is, after 32 years in the business, why does Edelman feel obligated to defend himself and PR as a whole?

Oftentimes, people think of PR as an unethical field devoted to controlling the minds of the impressionable, general public by using disingenuous, deceptive, and/or highly manipulative tactics. In his article, “PR prof: It’s ironic to read journalists complain about PR,” Tim Penning emphasizes the importance in recognizing that misinforming the public is not at all the standard and accepted practice. Instead, PR positively contributes to the fundamental goals of democracy by informing people before they make important decisions.

So, now that I’ve helped you form  a general idea for everything PR is not, what the heck is it? Well, here’s what I’ve learned so far. PR is:

  • a process
  • deliberate
  • planned
  • performance based
  • concerned with public interest
  • 2-way communication
  • part of strategic management
Furthermore, successful and effective PR involves research, action, communication, and evaluation (R.A.C.E). It is concerned with publics (groups of individuals) and aims to identify, establish, and maintain beneficial relationships between these publics. By these standards, PR isn’t all that bad, right? If you’re still a little confused, here’s a video I found that might help: http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Video/477.aspx.
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