Amber Laurin's Blog

PRactice makes perfect… my first blog!

T.O.W 9 July 11, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 2330,TOWS — amberlaurin @ 3:53 pm


MY TOP 10 LIST for students new to blogging.

1.    Post weekly and stay on top of assignments.  College is a time where many of us procrastinate; don’t allow yourself to get behind on your blog.  People will begin following your blog and many readers look forward to seeing weekly post.

2.    Try to find videos and pictures that compliment your post. Blog post that are full of text can look bulky.  Use pictures to break up long paragraphs or add a YouTube video that relates to your topic to add variety. 

3.    Title each blog post. Title your blog post with interesting and eye-catching titles.  Some readers may not know what a T.O.W (Topic of the Week) is, so give a brief title explaining what your post is about. 

4.    Categorize each post. It is also very important to put your post into different categories.  This allows readers to easily search through your blog and find what their interested in.

5.    Make your blog unique.  Use a theme that somehow relates to you, not just the automatic one that WordPress gives you at the beginning.  Also make your title and subtitle compelling to the audience.     

6.    Reply to comments and comment on other classmates or PR professional blogs.  When you reply to others blogs they will more than likely link back to yours and read your post.  Networking is an important part of blogging.  

 7.    Make sure to always use spell check before posting.  Spell check can help you find even the smallest mistakes.  Another tip is to write your blog post in Microsoft Word first and use the spell check there too.

8.    Add personal post to allow readers to get to know you. 

9.    Keep paragraphs in your blog short.

10. HAVE FUN! If you are having fun with your blog you will most likely keep up with it! 



T.O.W 8 July 10, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 2330,TOWS — amberlaurin @ 2:36 pm

News releases and press releases are an integral part of a PR practitioner’s job.  They are defined as written or recorded communication directed at members of news media for the purpose of announcing something claimed as having news value.  I found several sites that listed tips for writing effective news releases and compiled the ones I found  most helpful., said,

1.      A Good News Release Should Begin With an Attention-Grabbing Title

The title is a journalist’s first impression of what is to follow in a media release and should therefore communicate something about the media release’s key messages in an interesting and thought-provoking way, without being misleading.

2.      Increase Newsworthiness with Solid Statistics and Compelling Research

            It is important journalists recognize that a media release is not just benefiting the company it comes from, but that the company is endeavoring to make a positive contribution to the community. Compelling research and statistics will give a media release importance and help it to be seen among all the other hopefuls on a journalist’s desk.

3.      Give Some Local Flavor to a Media Release

Journalists should find a media release appeals to the people living in their area, even if the release is intended for national distribution. Local appeal may be gained by ensuring a wide demographic spread of spokespeople and localized statistics.

4.      Time Media Release Distribution Strategically

Avoid running against bigger stories in the race for headlines by having a good understanding of other stories that are likely to break on the day. In some cases this may be easy, such as avoiding big holidays or grand final day, though in the event of a natural disaster or something completely unexpected, this may be possible. The beginning of the week is generally slower than Thursdays or Fridays.

5.      Follow-up a Media Release with a Phone Call

Make sure journalists are aware of a media release by following up with a quick, to-the-point phone call. Prepare a short pitch that captures the key points and point out how the story is appropriate for each media outlet’s target audience.

I found more tips on,

6.       Make sure you wait until you have something with enough substance to issue a release

7.      Make sure the first 10 words of your release are effective, as they are the most important.

8.      Tell the audience that the information is intended for them and why they should continue to read it.

9.      Provide as much Contact information as possible: Individual to Contact, address, phone, fax, email, Web site address.

10.  And finally, make sure the information is newsworthy. 


T.O.W 7

Filed under: PRCA 2330,TOWS — amberlaurin @ 2:11 pm

I chose to listen to The Creative Career’s, Generations in the Workplace, which was originally posted on May 26th, 2010.  The podcast was an interview with David Stillman coauthor of The M Factor: How the Millennial Generation is Rocking the Workplace.

The Millenial Generation includes the generation between 1982 and 2000.  Stillman explained the main factors that have shaped this generation and how the workplace is changing.  The main drivers he discussed were:

  1. The Role of Parents.  Parents (the Boomer Generation) have become more involved with their children, from middle to high school, college, and now in the workplace.  Companies now have to work with parents as well as new employees.      
  2. Entitlement.  General belief about this generation is that this generation has a sense of entitlement.  New workers go into jobs looking for a corner office and more responsibilities.  In a national survey, he found that sixty-one percent of Millennial’s said they were very optimistic that they could find a job if they needed to.  This generation is constantly looking and asking to get further ahead in the job, and working to getting their job done more efficiently. 
  3. The search for meaning.  Generation who is showing up and want work that has meaning from the beginning.  They want to know that the work they are doing is making a difference.
  1. Great expectations.  The workplace is no longer confined to a cubicle in an office, rather more people are working from home and on the go.  Millennial’s need to make sure they keep in constant contact with their managers and other generations so that they are aware of their mobile work. 
  1. The need for speed. 
  2. Social networking.  Millennials are taking the lead in using social networking for research, reaching out to new resources and getting PR.  Millennial should keep in mind, blurring the lines between personal and professional.  More than 70% of bosses said that personal behavior on social networks effect hiring, and promoting. 
  3. Collaboration.  In order for the workplace to be successful, Millennials and other generations must work together. 

I found this podcast extremely interesting and helpful.  I am a part of the millennial generation and will be graduating in a year.  I plan to take his advice when looking for a internships and jobs.  The best advice I got from Stillman was to study the workplace that you’re going into.  PR podcast are extremely beneficial to PR students and new practitioners because you get an inside look into the head of seasoned PR professionals.


T.O.W. 6 July 5, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 2330,TOWS — amberlaurin @ 9:04 am

According to a slide show given by my professor, Crisis is defined as “A nonroutine event that risks undesired visibility that in turn threatens significant reputational damage.”  Almost every business or company will experience some type of crisis over time.  No matter how big or small it may be, companies who are already prepared will eventually recover.

Seven ways to be prepared for crisis:

  1. A list of the members of the crisis management team
  2. Contact information for key officers, spokespeople, and crisis management members
  3. Fact sheets on the company, each division, each physical location, and each product offered.
  4. Profiles and biographies for each key manager in your company
  5. Copies of your company, division and product logos, your press release format and the scanned in signature of your CEO on disk
  6. Pre-written scripts answering key questions that you have generated through your crisis scenario analysis
  7. Contact information for each of you key media contacts both locally, nationally, and if appropriate, key financial press and analysts

Although planning is important for many things, the benefits of early planning can reduce stress, demonstrate goodwill, flow information, and involve stakeholders.

A good emergency personnel team will require someone capable doing each job to ensure that the 3 R’s of Crisis Communication (Research, Response, Recovery) are all addressed and carried out.


T.O.W 5 June 17, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 2330,TOWS — amberlaurin @ 10:12 am

For this weeks topic I will be discussing my one week of twitter.  I had never used twitter prior to this class but I learned a lot during this week.  The most common assumption of non-twitter users is that twitter is comparable to facebook status’.  This could not be more wrong.  Twitter updates are more professional and often include a link to a blog, or website with interesting information.  I learned a lot about PR by following a list of a PR professionals provided by Barbara Nixon.  I also followed several celebrities, and news sources.  I retweeted several of my fellow classmates as well as a couple PR professionals throughout the week. 

The main thing that surprised me about twitter was how close I felt to the people I followed.  I will use twitter to further network and hopefully one day to make connections and enter the PR field.  At first I didn’t think I would like twitter and thought it would be a hassle, but after this week I think I will continue to use it.  I downloaded it on my phone so checking twitter is very easy, and once you get the hang of it actively participating is easy as well. 

One thing I would like are suggestions of interesting people to follow.  So if you are reading this post please comment!


T.O.W 4

Filed under: PRCA 2330,TOWS — amberlaurin @ 9:57 am

For this week’s TOW I watched two short interviews with  PR professionals. 

            The first interview of  Martin Waxman, the president and president and co-founder of Palette Public Relations Inc., from  Toronto, Canada.    When he first began his agency the core value was media.  He explained that the three pillars of his agency are 1) simplicity 2) energy 3) integrity.  Instead of writing a blog, Mr. Waxman does a weekly podcast.  He gave a few very good insights to what agencies want to see in future employees which are to understand traditional media relations and to have an understanding of social media. I learned a lot from the interview with Mr. Waxman.

            The next interview I watched was of a man by the name of Kneale Mann who is also from Canada.  He explained the main difference between private and public sectors.  Including that private sectors allow him to have the opportunity to do the overall business strategy of the company and public sectors deal more with just marketing and social media.

            Being new to blogging I found his tips and advice on blogging very helpful. He said that in order to get started blogging and become a better blogger you must just start writing and eventually you will evolve into a seasoned blogger.  He also said when you do not know what to talk about in your blog find something that interests you and make that as your main focus for you blog.  Visit Mr.Mann’s Blog


T.O.W 3 June 3, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 2330,TOWS — amberlaurin @ 9:06 am

Okay so you’ve graduated from college with a degree in Public Relations, Now What?  When beginning a career in Public Relations new practitioners have several options.  They can either start out in a Public Relations firm or in a Public Relations department.  Each option has several advantages or disadvantages but first lets begin with a general definetion of each.

According to AgencyFinder, A public relations firm (pr firm) is a professional services organization, generally hired to conceive, produce and manage un-paid messages to the public through the media on behalf of a client, with the intention of changing the public’s actions by influencing their opinions. Communications are often in the form of news distributed in a non-personal form which may include newspaper, magazine, radio, television, Internet or other form of media for which the sponsoring organization does not pay a fee.

A public relations department is the section of a company that deals with the relations of the public.

One of the main differences in each of these is that if you choose a PR firm you are able to experience and learn the PR industry in great breadth while in a PR department you experience the industry in great depth. As Susan Johnston explains in Working at a Marketing & PR Agency Versus In-house,

Working at an agency will expose you to a variety of different clients and a breadth of marketing or PR strategies. Some agencies focus on a specific niche (like food products or the fashion industry), while others cover several different practice areas.

Gail Sideman of Milwaukee, Wisc. took a different career path. She started out in sports information, working for several colleges and organizations, then spent about six months at an agency before opening her own one-woman agency, Publislide ( ).

Based on Sideman’s experience, “[working in an] organization gives you more responsibility. I think because you’re focused on publicizing the one business, service, or product, you can really get in depth on the different ways to go about it.” 

Often you’ll feel a strong sense of camaraderie working as part of a larger company and interacting with other departments. Being an insider can also help you find new angles to pitch to the press or ideas for an advertising campaign that an outside agency might not know about.

My personal plan is to begin work in a PR agency so I am able to experience different types of PR and decide exactly what my area of interest is.  Once i decide what area of PR I enjoy the most, I will look for a company that offers this area and move into the PR department of that company.

I think that the decision of whether to work at a firm or in-house depends on the individual and their personal interests.  If a graduate knows what area they want to work in then a PR department would be more beneficial but for those who are undecided a PR firm can help them make their decision.