Effective Public Relations Material

In my class named Public Relations Communication, many assignments were given to us that would benefit us in the long run during our careers as young and aspiring public relations practitioners. We used real clients, non-profit organizations, to create work that was just not for academic purposes. The works included are: an interactive news release, an infographic, an editorial calendar, a newsletter, an op-ed piece and a social media plan. Below, I explain three works in more detail with big-name companies as they relate to the communications world and how it benefits companies of all kinds.

 

Infographic – The title surely speaks for itself: the perfect tool for visualizing big data! It is also a prettier way of looking at the big data. Infographics usually have graphs and charts instead of text. The visuals in an infographic catch the reader’s eye more than a wordy document would, and companies with information that is usually a little difficult for the average reader to digest would do well with an infographic. A company with a lot of statistics would also benefit from an infographic.

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Via Sergey Kandakov

Interactive news release – An interactive news release works just like a news release, except that there are more options for people to explore a company’s website or social media. There is usually the protocol contact info, with the text underneath for the news release, like of an upcoming event. There can be pictures in the INR, videos, links and a separate section for the social media websites your company is signed up on. If your company is more web-savvy or dabbling in Internet-related work, this is a perfect type of news release.

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Via Laura Thomas

Social media plan – A social media plan is very important for companies that want to really amp up their presence on the World Wide Web. Your posts for your plan varies from site to site, like Facebook and Twitter. Posts are planned out according to what you believe is best exposure for your company via the Internet. By categorizing and organizing posts for social media, you are planning well ahead and being punctual with your Internet presence. Since Facebook posts can be different from Twitter posts, this also helps with your planning. Twitter posts are only 140 characters, so a company cannot use the same post for Twitter that they would for Facebook. Every site is different, so it requires different content.

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Via Gem Webb

When you apply these three examples of PR material, companies can really benefit in the long run through their communications department, and also keep up with the digital world. Traditional media is just not good enough for this day and age; social media is making a trend in the realm of PR and companies should keep up by applying non-traditional media in their plans.

Colbert’s Racist?

Diving into controversial, political topics is the main point of Stephen Colbert’s job, but a Tweet that an account from Comedy Central’s Twitter (@StephenColbertReport) had sent out recently got him into some hot water with social media.

The Tweet by the account was as follows: “I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.”

This Tweet was immediately taken down once the firestorm hit. Many Twitter users were complaining about Colbert’s blatant racism, and even started a hashtag called #CancelColbert.

To get a better glimpse as to why the account Tweeted this in the first place, it is important to look into some background information. On Wednesday night’s show, one of the segments highlighted Dan Snyder, the Washington Redskins’ owner. He created the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation to retaliate against the controversial team name. The Tweet was making a joke in light of that particular segment.

Apparently Colbert’s Twitter followers do not watch the Stephen Colbert show itself, or else they might have understood the context of the Tweet. Although it was written in typical “Colbert” manner, the Tweet was actually meant to be against what the public is accusing the man of: racism. Plus, the account in question, although verified with the check mark and all, is not run by Colbert.

It has recently been discovered that the Stephen Colbert Report is not even run by Stephen Colbert himself (his Twitter name is @StephenAtHome). The Twitter account run by Comedy Central sent out a couple of clarifying Tweets, stating that the account is in no way affiliated with Colbert and his show.

With no context to go along with the Tweet, a public relations crisis fell right into Colbert’s hands. Although the Tweet has since been deleted, Twitter users took a screenshot of the Tweet. So naturally, it is still virally making its way across every corner of the Internet.

Public relations catastrophe at its finest.

With Stephen Colbert actually Tweeting from his own account (in humourous manner of course), the wildfire of controversy ceased: but only so much. The Tweet is still out there, people will not do their research and look for themselves if the account is actually run by Colbert (the check mark is enough, right?) and Colbert is now labeled as racist. The hashtag #CancelColbert has been going strong all day on all platforms of social media (I see the hashtag trend on the side every time I log into my Facebook account).

As a public relations student, I would have to say Colbert suffered a bit of a blow with this social media trouble. I believe the best way to calm people down and clarify information has already been done: The Comedy Central account Tweeted and said they were not affiliated with the show or Colbert. Colbert spoke on his own Twitter. The only thing left to do is simply to make a tasteful joke about it on the next show.


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Variety.com

“Flacking” Up Again

“PR flack touts Amy Adams’ bag at Philip Seymour Hoffman wake.”
“Shameless PR person promotes Amy Adams’ bag at Philip Seymour Hoffman wake.”
“Tacky PR agency announces that Amy Adams carried Valentino to PHS wake.”

Uh-oh. Sounds like another “flack” has crossed the ethics line again.

An apparently unknowing public relations practitioner had promoted actress Amy Adams’ bag who had arrived for Philip Seymour Hoffman’s wake. Adams was using the purse of a client on whom the public relations company represented, and thus milked the appearance for all it was worth, without doing that useful thing called fact-checking.
The press release said: “We are pleased to announce Amy Adams carrying the Valentino Garavani Rockstud Duble bag from the Spring/Summer 2014 collection on Feb. 6 in New York.”

Was Upasna Khosla, the PR executive, lacking of a heart that day and decided to promote the Valentino bag despite why Adams was out? Or did she simply make a mistake, completely oblivious to the black clothing and somber expression on the actress’ face in the picture?

Either way, these news outlets and blogs have given the Valentino bag that the PR company was trying to promote even more publicity. Although it is in a bad light, the bag and its company is still getting awareness and acknowledgment from the public.

Eventually on Friday, the company expressed their apologies:

“We sincerely regret releasing a photo to the media this morning of Amy Adams with a Valentino bag. We were not aware the photography was taken while she was attending the wake of Philip Seymour Hoffman. It was an innocent mistake, and we apologize to Ms. Adams who was not aware, or a part of, our PR efforts.”

To me, these journalists do not know what objectivity means. Using words like “tacky” and “shameless”, although truthful IF that PR company had prior knowledge of the wake, are not words of indifference. The symbiotic relationship between PR folk and journalists wear thin in this tale, and is a classic example of how the two entities clash.

All right, now I am done with being devil’s advocate.

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Source: New York Daily News

It is pretty negligent and ignorant to just assume this PR company had no idea about Philip Seymour Hoffman’s wake. In all honesty, this company probably did know and went ahead with their promotion anyway, just to get more bang for their buck.

Yes, they got some publicity with their dull-looking handbags. But at what cost?
The actress is furious that she was promoted in this way , the public is upset at how tasteless the promotion was and the company is groveling at everyone’s feet stating that they had no idea.

Sometimes, as much as I fight for public relations and how we are not “flacks”, this money-hungry business still happens. It is important to remember though that a whole entity such as the profession of public relations should not be negatively seen just because of one bad rat. These types of companies do no good for our profession.

Time will tell how this story will play out. Oh wait, we already know. People are gonna get fired, and the company is going to have a real hard time trying to get out of this one.

UPDATE: To make things even better (but worse), I stumbled across the New York Daily News’ cover for Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death on my fellow classmates’ blog post. Who is being shameless now?

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