Amber Laurin's Blog

PRactice makes perfect… my first blog!

TOW 11: Infographics November 30, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330,TOWS — amberlaurin @ 3:59 pm

Infographics according to Search Engine Land “are visual devices that communicate information or data in an easily digestible manner.” They have been used by computer scientists, mathematicians, and statisticians for many years to ease the process of communicating conceptual information, support it, strengthen it and present it within a provoking and sensitive context. Infographics are image-based and usually contain very little text. Images speak a thousand words especially when images are used together to visualize an architecture of information.

Infographics would be useful in creating a story for a client because it provides a visually appealing and neatly organized presentation to viewers. If your piece is not appealing than social media users will be less likely to read information or view your page. They also have the power to make dull data more interesting. Search Engine Land says that, “This is important in capturing a user’s immediate attention and directing their eyes through a visual flow of information in a timely fashion. Infographics have a higher chance of becoming viral and being shared with friends online.”

Sites to help you create an infographic:

Here are a few examples of infographics that I found online.  Each of these is very different in purpose and presentation of information but is also very appealing to the eye.

 

TOW 10: WordPress Site Stat Page

Filed under: PRCA 3330,TOWS — amberlaurin @ 3:17 pm

This week we were asked to review the site stat page of our personal blog. Below I have attached a picture of my site stat page.  I will be describing the different sections that are viewable from this page.

Total number of visitors: This section allows users to see how many people are viewing the blog by days, weeks, and months.  PR practitioners would benefit from this because it allows them to track the traffic at their blog.  This would allow companies to alter their blogs to make them more user friendly or advertise their blogs in high traffic areas.

Referrers:  This section allows users to see where their blog is being advertised and who is referring your blog to others.  My personal blog has been referred to other users by both my professor and other students in my class.

Top posts and pages: This section allows users to see which posts have been viewed the most in the last day, week, or month.  This section would be most beneficial to company blogs because they can see which posts are most popular with customers or consumers.

General: This section allows users to view basic facts about their blog including total number of posts, comments, categories, and tags.  It also includes information about subscriptions, spam, and shares.

Incoming Links: This section shows users links to which their blog is featured on.  My blog receives direct links from my professor’s blogs.

Search Engine Terms: This section shows users which search engine terms link audiences to your personal blogs.

Site stats are important for both personal and company blogs.  They provide the creators with an in-depth look inside of their blogs.  Company blogs can use the site stat page to alter their blog in a way to increase stats or as a pat on the back for a popular blog.

 

TOW 9: PROpenMic November 29, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330,TOWS — amberlaurin @ 2:36 pm


I am actively involved in several networking sites including Facebook and Twitter. I recently joined PrOpenMic and so far have enjoyed exploring the site. This is an excellent networking site created for PR professionals, students, and recent graduates. Here are few sections that I found most interesting:

1. Jobs/Internships: This area is most beneficial to recent graduates and PR students looking for internships. There is an area to search recent postings, links to jobs/internships resources, and other helpful information.

2.Blogs: This section was the most interesting to me. It lists recent blog post by members. This area provided me with several resources for my PR Writing class in particular. I was able to comment on other PR student and professionals blogs and also network.

3. Forums: I found this area to set PR OpenMic apart from all other networking sites. Members are able to post discussion questions and other users can reply or post additional questions. I saw several members who posted links to survey’s for their PR classes or businesses. This sparked an interest because for my PR Research class this semester we had to give a survey out about inadequate exercise, if I would have been more familiar with the site I could have posted it in the forum and received responses from students and professionals from all over.

Overall I am extremely impressed with the layout, ease of use, and features of PROpenMic. I will definetly be using this to network with professionals and students from all over the US.

 

TOW 8: NewsU The Lead Lab

Filed under: PRCA 3330,TOWS — amberlaurin @ 2:15 pm

This week I took the NewsU The Lead Lab.  Throughout college I have taken various journalism  classes where I have learned the basic of writing stories.  This course was an excellent refresher as well as a source of new information.

The part of the course I found most beneficial was the section about creating good leads.  Leads are very important because they are what starts out your article and draws the reader in. If you have a bad lead you could potentially lose many readers. One tip to follow is the “read aloud” rule. You should focus on the following elements when following this rule:

  • Can you say it in a single breath?
  • Do you stumble over the words?
  • Does it sound like something you’d tell a friend over the phone?
  • Does it put you to sleep or confuse you?

By answering all these questions, you can determine if you have a good, persuasive lead or if it needs to be revised.

While taking this Lead Lab I also learned the “Seven Hot Spots.”  They are:

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • When
  • Where
  • How
  • Why
  • So What

The best part of the course is the ability to work at your own pace.  Students can spend as much or as less time on certain areas of the lab.  It also had graphics that kept students interested and allowed those who took it to get feed back about their leads.

 

TOW 6: How Newsworthy is your News? November 8, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330,TOWS — amberlaurin @ 1:12 pm

This week we were asked “What makes a story newsworthy?”  Personally I believe it all depends on the audience.  However, I have found several sources that have different sources that list specifics of what to look for in a story.  In our textbook, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques 6th Edition, Chapter 4 is all about Finding and Making News.  The authors list important things that make news:

  1. Timeliness
  2. Prominence
  3. Proximity
  4. Significance
  5. Unusualness
  6. Human Interest
  7. Conflict
  8. Newness

Because I have already written a blog entry about this chapter I will be explaining a different list of qualities as described by About.com, in the article “What Makes Something Newsworthy” written by Tony Rogers.

  • Impact or Consequences.  The greater the impact the story has, the more newsworthy it is.  Events that have an impact on your readers, that have real consequences for their lives, are bound to be newsworthy.
  • Conflict. As human beings we’re naturally interested in conflict.
  • Loss of Life/Property Destruction. If it bleeds, it leads.  What that means is that any story involving a loss of human life (whether a shooting to a fire)  is bound to be newsworthy.  Likewise, nearly any story that inc9olces property destruction on a large enough scale is also newsworthy.
  • Proximity. How close an event is geographically located to readers. 
  • Promninence. If people in story are famous or prominent, the story becomes more newsworthy.
  • Timeliness. News needs to be about what’s happening this day, this hour, this minute.
  • Novelty. “When a dog bites a man, no one cares.  When the man bites back – now that’s a news story.”  The idea, of course, is that any deviation from the normal, expected course of events is something novel.

Both lists have things in common and things that differ.  But overall the most important points to remember when writing a story are timeliness, prominence, proximity, conflict, and unusualness/novelty.

 

TOW 5: Give Credit When Credit is Due.

Filed under: PRCA 3330,TOWS — amberlaurin @ 12:57 pm

Plagiarism is defined as a piece of writing that has been copied from someone else and is presented as being your own work.  Beginning in middle school we were taught that plagiarism is bad and if you do plagiarize you will fail the paper or maybe even the class.  But have you ever received  tips  on how to avoid plagiarism?  This week we were asked to research different methods of how to avoid that horrible “P” word in our writing.

MyCollegeSuccessStory.com recently posted an article by Katharine Hansen, Ph.D listing the top ten ways to avoid plagiarism in your writing. Here are some of the tips that they mentioned:

  • Plan your writing assignments and avoid procrastination. I think this is one of the most important things.  I know far too many college students are affected by the “procrastination bug” and that it is very typical to pull an all-nighter at “club Henderson” the night before a big paper is due.  Hansen explains that when students are in a bind they become careless about citing others work at crunch time.  So begin planning your papers weeks or maybe even months before the actual due date.
  • Know what plagiarism is. Hansen says that you must credit any source that you quote directly.  You must place the source’s words in quotation marks and insert a citation in the style your professor requires.
  • If you question whether or how a source needs to be cited, ask your professor. Although information that is “common knowledge” does not need to be cited but if you are writing about a discipline with which you are not familiar, you may not have a good grasp of which information is “common knowledge” within that field.  It is best to remember when in doubt, ask.
  • Begin constructing your bibliography early. As soon as you begin gathering source materials, you can start your bibliography.  I always like to keep a copy of all my sources in a notebook so I will have quick reference to them as well as the information for citing.
  • Don’t succumb to the argument that “everyone’s doing it.” Even though, plagiarism and other forms of cheating are widespread on college campuses.  It’s not worth the risk of failing or getting kicked out of college for it.  Also, cheating/plagiarism charges show up on your record and future employees may be turned off.

The website also provides a list of other websites to check out for more tips:
Plagiarism.com: Frequently Asked Questions
Avoiding Plagiarism



 

Chapter 14: Writing E-mail, Memos, and Proposals November 7, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Reading Notes — amberlaurin @ 4:33 pm

Chapter 14: Writing E-mail, Memos, and Proposals

The challenge of Managing Communication Overload

  • Completeness.  Whether you are writing a 10-line memo or a 32-page annual report, you must be certain that it contains the information needed to serve its purpose.
  • Conciseness. Less is better.  Conciseness means brevity. Your objective is to be as brief as possible, because people don’t have the time or the patience to read through long messages.
  • Correctness.  you must be accurate in everything you write.
  • Courtesy. There are personal communications.  Personal names are used extensively, and both senders and receivers have considerable interest in the material.

Responsibility.  Be prudent and think about how your communication will be perceived by the recipient.  A letter or e-mail is highly visible record of what you say, so be careful about setting the right tone.

Email

Purpose: According to a survey of communicators in Fortune 500 corporations, e-mail (1) reduces the cost of employee communications (2) increases the distribution of messages to more employees, (3) flattens the corporate hierarchy, and (4) speeds decision making.

Memorandums

Purpose: A memo can serve almost any communication purpose.  It can ask for information, supply information, confirm a verbal exchange, ask for a meeting, schedule or cancel a meeting, remind, report, praise, caution, state a policy, or perform any other function that requires a written message.

Letters

Purpose: A letter may be used to give information, to ask for information, to motivate, to answer complaints, to soothe or arouse, to warn, to admit, or to deny.  It is a substitute for personal conversation, although it is not as friendly as face-to-face conversation.

Proposals

Purpose: The purpose of a proposal is to get something accomplished– to persuade management to approve and authorize some important action that will have a long-lasting effect on an organization or its people.  By putting it in writing, you let management know exactly what is proposed, what decisions are called for, and what the consequences may be. 

All information in this post can be found in Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques 6th Edition