Monday, September 29, 2014

Social Media on the Rise

As the times are changing, so are the expectations of employees. Part seven in Share This discusses the importance of internal communications. It specifies that the way you speak to your employees and customers is more important than the focus of technology itself.

As technology has gotten quicker and more innovative over the recent years, people expect quicker responses. It is crucial in a business to make employees feel important because the work that gets done, more than likely gets done because of their hard work. Social media is changing how internal communication and employee interactions work.

There are plenty of examples of how this is happening. When people look to go to a new restaurant or see a new movie, they often turn to the internet for other opinions on these decisions before making their own. There are websites specifically made for this purpose such as Flixster.

Flixster is a website and an app where people can rate movies that they have seen in the theatre and then others can see the ratings and it helps them decide which movie they would like to see. There are apps and websites just like Flixster but they are for rating restaurants instead of movies.

This is a quick service for customers to share their opinions. Social media is also changing the way things are done in the work place. Now, instead of waiting on a monthly newsletter to come in the mail from work, workers can now get on a website and see the newsletter. It creates easier access for the writers and for the employees.

There are also so many different social channels that provide a new way for employees to mingle. This opens up new channels for feedback and new ways for supervisors to make their employees happy.

Social media has a crucial spot in today's society. It can affect the way people communicate in the workplace and the way people communicate about a business. Everyone should be more conscious of this rise in social media because it can build or break a business.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Getting My Letters Back

I am a proud member of Zeta Tau Alpha. Being in a sorority provides many opportunities. One of these opportunities is becoming a Rho Gamma (RG). A Rho Gamma is someone who disaffiliates from their sorority chapter to help new students go through recruitment rounds.

The purpose of disaffiliating is to provide unbiased opinions to potential new sorority members. Although it was my senior year, I decided to apply for a Rho Gamma position. I was thrilled when I found out I got the position. Although this meant a lot of changes for me such as not sitting next to my sisters in class and hiding my last name on social media, I was ready for this experience.

When I arrived at school this past fall, I was ready. It was very strange at first, not being able to say hello to sisters that I would normally run to in public, but the experience was very worth it. I had a partner through this process who helped direct meetings with me for the potential new members and support them through their process.

I met so many girls as an RG that I would not have met if I were still in my chapter. One of the best parts of being an RG, aside from seeing the girls get bids from the sororities they wanted so badly, was having the girls who got to know me the best guess the sorority I am in. It was very hard to keep a straight face while the girls were guessing but my partner and I both had them fooled.

On bid day, we ran to our chapters and the girls were happy to see us back with our sisters. When I ran to my Zeta family, I cried like a baby. The whole experience really made me realize how valuable my sisters are to me. I took the opportunities and the girls of Zeta Tau Alpha for granted prior to my RG experience but that will never happen again.

This is me crying and excited after running to my Zeta family.

I understand how much a sisterhood is worth and I will never forget the benefits I get from mine.

"From the outside looking in you can't understand it, and from the inside looking out you can't explain it." -Unknown

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My First SPC Event

Event planning is an aspect of public relations that people do not always consider. This year I have taken on the roll of an event coordinator for the ONU Student Planning Committee (SPC). On September 16, I hosted my first event.

This event was Hawaiian themed mini golf. It required time, money and a lot of planning. Luckily I have very willing and helpful group members who take time out of their schedules to help me plan our assigned events.

For this particular event I had to first make sure the mini golf course was ordered from Ultrasound. The SPC adviser ordered this for us because he is the one with all of the money. After the course was ordered we had to plan how we would advertise the event.

We had primary advertising such as a Mac board that we painted and hung up in the McIntosh Center. We also had a Facebook event page that the public relations person for SPC created. Our secondary advertisement was where we had to do some extra thinking. I really wanted to pass out leis because of the Hawaiian theme but I could not find any cheap enough.

After doing my research and failing to find any cheap leis, I spoke with the SPC president. She had the idea to hand out Hawaiian Punch juice boxes. I loved this idea so that's just what I did. I stuck a label on each box that explained details of the event. The day before the event, we went around campus and passed out 100 juice boxes to students.

After figuring out the secondary advertisement, it was time to shop for decorations, food and raffle prizes. I wanted to stick with the Hawaiian theme as much as we could. After a long trip to Wal-mart, we had everything we needed. We got fun raffle prizes such as vacation movies, a back pack cooler, a red lobster gift card and much more.

For decoration, we had some left over items from past years. We had three blow up palm trees, fish net and grass table skirts. We provided fruit and Hawaiian Punch for snacks.

We had a bubble machine and a photo booth set up along the course.

I would have to say this event was  a complete success. It was the first time this event was brought onto campus and I am very excited that my group and I were the ones who made it possible. Everyone really seemed to enjoy themselves.

The ONU Student Planning Committee has given me numerous event planning opportunities. I am beyond excited to hold a leadership position on the committee this year.

"Let the good times roll." - The Cars

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Importance of Press Releases

In this particular part of the book, I learned more about press releases than I had known before. I knew where they originated but I did not know it took until 2006 for the release of the first media news release template.

In my opinion, thank goodness for this template and thank goodness for news releases. The bashing of news releases by Tom Foremski. He claims, "Press releases are nearly useless. They typically start with a tremendous amount of top-spin, they contain pat-on-the-back phrases and meaningless quotes."

This is a very untrue and unfair statement. There are many instances where a press release has saved a company or organization's tush in a crisis. Take the Malaysian Airlines crises that happened somewhat recently. There are many news releases that went out that provided families and friends of the lost airline passengers on flight MH370 with information about what was going on with the search.

This is a webpage that holds the press releases that were released about the malaysian airlines flight MH370. The press releases do not contain top-spin. They do contain "pat-on-the-back phrases" but only necessary ones. Some of them include thanks to other organizations and countries that have been helping to search for the aircraft. There are zero meaningless quotes in these press releases.

Without press releases, there would be less attendance at events, even important events that benefit people with donations for example. Press releases can serve many purposes. Since the time of Ivy Lee, press releases have helped change the world and how people view instances that occur. I understand things may have been different in 2006 when Foremski wrote his critique, but I still cannot understand why he would have said this.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Christopher & Michael

Cystic Fibrosis took one very important person away from me four years ago. Michael Pry was my very special cousin that got taken from this world way too early. He always struggled with cystic fibrosis until he finally got the call for new lungs. He got to the hospital and they prepared him for the operation.

There were complications with the lungs and Michael did not wake up. This shook my family hard. Michael was a very genuine, personable and funny guy with a lot to live for. He was loved my so many people. I miss Michael every single day.

Cystic fibrosis is a brutal disease that affects the people who have it every second of every day. They cannot easily do normal things that people without this disease can do. They get treatment regularly and take several pills with every single meal.

This disease causes the body to have a build up of mucus in the lungs, digestive tract and other areas of the body. People with this disease often end up hospitalized when they catch the common cold because their body cannot break down the mucus that builds up in their bodies.

Christopher Pry is Michael's older brother. Christopher is one of a kind and so special to me. He has the ability to make anyone laugh and smile.

On September 9, Christopher received the same call that Michael did four years ago. He traveled to the hospital and prepared for the operation. It was a success!

Christopher is now breathing on his own and on the straight path to having a normal life. He and I and my other cousin, Dayle, have trips planned for when he is fully recovered. We will see the Eiffel tower lit up at night, we will test our luck in Las Vegas, the whole nine yards! I cannot wait for these experiences and to share them with Christopher.

Me, Christopher, Dayle, Michael
I am so very thankful for the successful operation. I know that in order for Christopher to receive a second chance at life, someone had to be signed up as an organ donor. If you are reading this, please take a second to think about this story and how you too could save a life like Christopher's.

Be an organ donor. Save a life.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Special Guest: Amy Schmittauer

This is my very first podcast and it features Amy Schmittauer, popular vlogger and president of Vlog Boss Studios. Vlog Boss Studios is a video content and social media marketing agency which is based in Columbus, Ohio. You can visit Amy's website at In this podcast, she shares some necessary tips for becoming a successful blogger and/or vlogger and much more.

Click here to listen

Enjoy the podcast!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How the ONU Student Planning Committee Benefits From Facebook

I have always used Facebook socially, not for an organization. I have always known that some people use it for their brand but I have never put too much thought into why or how.

Part 3 of Share This has broken down how and why organizations should use Facebook for their brand. It provides a list of five benefits to doing this:
    1. Build communities
    2. Engage with fans
    3. Amplify your message
    4. Socially enable your business
    5. Sell your products and services
For this blog, I will share how an organization that I am in benefited in all of these ways. The organization that I am in is called the Student Planning Committee. This committee plans many of the events on Ohio Northern University's campus.

I have not personally been in charge of the organization's Facebook page but after reading this list, I would have to agree that Facebook has benefited our organization in all five of these ways.

The Facebook page has built a community for the Student Planning Committee. The community that it has built is full of students who enjoy attending our events. Once they like our page, they are automatically updated with dates and times of events that we have planned. Sometimes there are even contests on the site.

Our engagement with fans is slightly lacking. We engage with them by posting when our events are but because there are not many fans who post or comment on our feed, we cannot interact with them as much as we would like to. When we have event pages, we do respond back to comments that people leave on those.

The Facebook page has vastly amplified the messages that we like to provide to our audience. We have higher attendance and most of that is due to the advertising that our Facebook enables us to do.

This page also socially enables the organization because it allows our fans to share our posts which creates an even wider range of fans that we are reaching.

If it were not for this Facebook page, we would have as much advertisement as we do. This advertisement helps us sell our services by letting everyone know when they can use them by coming to our events.

Along with the social media benefits, there are also pitfalls. When someone is unhappy with one of our events, our Facebook page makes it easier for them to let more people know about their bad experience. This can take some fans away from our organization.

We take great pride in our organization and hope that everyone is happy with our events. If they are not, we would rather them address one of us rather than the internet.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Prepare to be Mind Blown

I was shown this video in a literature class. I was instantly intrigued by what the video was saying. The extensive research that Joseph Campbell had conducted helps us to understand stories and movies and why they are set up the way that they are.

The real hero in all of the stories that we love so much is really our self. Joseph Cambell had an amazing way of thinking which I why I am writing this blog about him.

He truly believed that our earliest moments of life, mainly our childhood, is when we shape how we will view things in the future. He found that even without knowing it, the way we think in our later life is shaped by our experiences in our earlier life.

Mr. Cambell was a writer, a teacher, an editor and so much more. In some of his journal entries that I have read, it is easy to tell he was a very driven man. He wanted to give back to the world which is why he became a teacher; even though it did not gain his highest interest.

After Cambell died in 1987, many more people were introduced to his work. One of his more common books is The Hero with a Thousand Faces. This is the book that the video above discusses. It is all about the hero's journey in books and movies.

At the end of this video, we figure out that we are the hero. We go through all of the motions that the hero goes through in his journey but we do them every day over and over again. Everyone can be their own hero.

There is a Joseph Campbell Foundation. It has a website where you can learn more about Joseph Campbell and the foundation.

He truly was an inspiring man. I am very intrigued by the way he thinks. When I have more time, I would like to read all of his books. I will now leave you with some of his quotes so you too can get lost in his thoughts like I do.
  • We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the on that is waiting for us. -Joseph Cambell
  • Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging. -Joseph Cambell

Thursday, September 11, 2014

If I Was Justin Bieber's PR Person

As we all probably know, Justin Bieber has gotten into some major trouble in the recent years. He has been guilty of egging a house, he was caught on video doing drugs and most recently, he was in an accident that involved him and Selena Gomez on an all terrain vehicle colliding into a mini van. As if the accident was not bad enough, Bieber also got arrested for assault when he and the driver of the mini van got into a tussle.

Now, I should warn you in advance that this may be a very biased post because I lost all respect for Justin Bieber when he almost got punched by Orlando Bloom, but I will try my best not to let my opinions shine through.

If I was Justin Bieber's public relation's person, I would be having a hay day. Not only would I be learning how to handle many different crisis situations, but I would also be making plenty of money digging Bieber out of the holes he digs.

Bieber has all of the assets to hire the best public relations specialists in the business to clean up his messes. This would help him if he didn't repeatedly cause crisis situations. Take his smoking incident for example. There were young girls threatening to cut themselves if he had actually been smoking marijuana. The hashtag "cut4justin" was eventually trending.

His PR people had him publicly apologize for getting caught smoking marijuana. This would have been a great decision if anyone believed it. Honesty is key in the public relations field.

If I was Bieber's PR person during this crisis, I would have requested he do the same thing but instead of apologizing for being caught, he should explain that he had made a mistake and that he would not be doing drugs anymore, but only if he actually planned to stop. He should admit and seek professional help and make it known to the public that he is doing so. This crisis may have blown over but people have not forgotten about how it all happened.

Bieber also has his moments where he acts out on social media without consulting his PR people first. If I was Bieber's PR person, I would handle his social media for him until it got pushed into a more positive light. He and I would work out professional, honest and positive statements to send out instead of posting on impulse like he has gotten in trouble for in the past.

If I was Justin Bieber's PR person, I would be very stressed and busy, but I imagine I would be very rich too.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Listening to the Groundswell

Since I talked about energizing the groundswell in my last post about the Groundswell, I am choosing to discuss the chapter about listening to the groundswell this time. I think listening in any situation is incredibly important so I am very glad to share my opinions on this chapter.

The most important lesson in this chapter is to listen to your customers. This chapter explains a company's branding does not belong to the company, it belongs to the customers. This is because whatever the customers think and say goes as long as enough of them are going along with it and spreading the word.

Take Toyota and Wendy's from one of my previous posts for example. When Toyota had its crisis, the company attempted to fix it by recalling all of the defective cars. They were not honest and many lives were lost over this.

Toyota's customers talked and socialized in the groundswell which left Toyota with a hurt reputation and a negative brand. Toyota has since been working to bounce back from this.

Wendy's on the other hand handled their crisis beautifully by targeting the problem. They were able to control the opinion of their customers and their brand did not suffer as horribly as it could have. Businesses that are making the transition into the groundswell need to learn how to listen to their customers and provide them with what they ask for because when it comes down to it, customers do have the upper hand.

Market research is the number one way to listen to an audience. There are two specific ways to do this, a "focus group" and brand monitoring. In my opinion, brand monitoring would be the easiest. A company is hired to listen to everything that is being discussed on the internet about the company. This information is then analyzed.

While writing this blog I saw a commercial for Lay's potato chips. The commercial advertised four different flavors of potato chips that are very unique from anything ever done before. For example one was mango salsa and one was cappuccino.

This commercial offered a website where one can go to vote on which potato chip they would like to see in stores. This is a phenomenal example of a company listening to their audience. When on this website you are prompted to log into your social media site. This is good for their market research.

If you would like to vote on a potato chip flavor, the website is

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Unwelcome Guest

My bedroom has always been my place to escape to when I am having a rough day or I just need to relax. A few nights ago, that feeling about my bedroom changed. An unwelcome guest made itself at home in my bedroom.

I was fast asleep when all of a sudden I was startled awake by a strange noise. When I opened my eyes, I saw a bat flying overhead. It was flying laps around my bedroom ceiling.

Luckily, my boyfriend, Jeremy, had resided himself in my room that night so I did not have to be the hero. He quickly got out of bed and turned the light on. I made myself safe and comfortable completely immersed in my blankets. I could hear my Jeremy swatting and struggling as I am yelling, "What are you doing!"

I hear a big loud swat and I look up. I do not see the bat anymore. I ask what had happened and Jeremy told me that he had used one of my pillows to hit the bat and it landed behind my futon. He jerked back the futon and the bat came flying out from behind it. It was flying right toward me. I quickly found myself back under my covers.

The struggle between Jeremy and this bat continued on for a little while longer until I heard one loud bang. I looked up and Jeremy was holding a box closed and away from his body. I got the door for him, we ran downstairs and he chucks the box outside.

When I asked him how he got the bat into the box he replied, "Sheer luck." The bat had landed on my dresser and Jeremy whacked it with the pillow as hard as he could. The bat bounced up and landed into the box that I had just emptied and set beside my dresser that day.

I could not believe the story. I was very thankful for the way that things were handled. I am also very thankful that the exterminators will be visiting next week.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

My Public Relations Internship

This summer I performed my public relations internship at Cameron Memorial Community Hospital in Angola, Indiana. There are many public relations tasks that I was assigned to complete throughout my internship experience, but I had three favorites that I would specifically like to discuss. They include:
        • Important writing assignments
        • The annual marketing report
        • The 2014 golf outing silent auction
As for writing assignments, I was assigned many. After all, writing is one of the most vital factors in the public relations world. My favorite writing assignment, however, was about a new policy that the hospital would be adapting. This policy was called “Stop the Line.” I got to interview the chief operating officer of the hospital for this article because she was the one in charge of putting this policy into play.
This policy is becoming more common among hospitals because of its purpose. There have been studies done in hospitals that prove some of the medical mistakes that occur, happen because of a lack of communication.
This lack of communication is because of people not feeling like they have a right to speak up. Nurses are feeling inferior to doctors. When the nurses want to question something that the doctor is doing, they do not speak up. The nurse speaking up could make the difference of a patient living or dying. This is just one example of how this lack of communication happens.
This policy has been created to stop this lack of communication. My job in writing the article was to portray the importance of the policy to everyone else that would be reading it. This is why the assignment was so important to me.
The second public relations assignment that I enjoyed doing was the hospital’s annual marketing report. This job got tedious at times but it was very important. I had to read through every newspaper and magazine that went out in our area and make sure that if there was an article or an advertisement about the hospital in it, I would cut it out. I would then scan it into the computer and add it to the report.
The report contained the title of the article or advertisement, the date it was in the newspaper or magazine and the name of the newspaper or other published item that I cut the item out of. At the end of the year, the marketing report goes to the hospital’s board of directors and they analyze whether the department is accurately marketing the hospital or not. This was an important job because I got to be the person that made this report that represented all of the hard work that our department did.
I also organized the silent auction that was held at the hospital’s annual golf outing. I called past donors to see if they were interested in donating an item to the silent auction. I kept an excel spreadsheet of who was donating, their contact information, what they donated, etc.
I had to create posters for each item to display what the items looked like. I then had to be at the golf outing to set this all up. This was a wonderful experience for me.
Overall, my internship taught me many hands-on public relations skills that I will carry with me into my professional future. It was such an amazing experience.

Monday, September 1, 2014

How I Interpreted Groundswell

In my social media class, I am reading the book Groundswell by Josh Bernhoff and Charlene Li. It is written to teach organizations how to survive the groundswell. The groundswell is, “a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations (Bernhoff and Li, 2008, p. 9).
Part one of this book simply takes you through what the groundswell is and the technologies of it. Part two is where everything gets more interesting. The chapters that most stood out to me were Chapter 4 and Chapter 7.
Chapter 4 opens up by teaching me something I had never thought about before. When people want to step into the groundswell, they have to teach themselves how to do this; they cannot just jump into it. Charlie, one of the authors’ clients, sounds very confused when he calls them.
This part gets me confused because if Charlie has the most advanced website at the point in time that he calls them, (as they say he does) how is he not active and thriving in the groundswell? I guess this could be because his website is successful but he could be doing more with it? When targeting your audience you must target the right audience. Charlie probably needed to choose a broader audience and more than one way of reaching them.
Chapter 4 also explains that there are five main objectives that companies should follow in the groundswell. They include listening, talking, energizing, supporting and embracing. Energizing was the one that most caught my eye and got me thinking.

Chapter 7 in Groundswell is all about energizing the groundswell. I did not have a guess as to what this meant. Can you guess what it had to do with?
That’s right – energizing customers through the groundswell. This can be done by “energizing the base.” It is important to listen to your customers and go the extra mile for them. Anyone can listen, but not everyone chooses to act upon what they hear; that is the key to proving you care. If you do this for some of your most enthusiastic customers, they are going to tell other customers about it. You can do this in numerous ways.

One example that I thought of when reading this is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge fundraising campaign was absolutely brilliant. It started off with a few videos and in each video someone calls out more people which created a spread to such a large amount of people. It energized the base to do the challenge and each challenge created more and more publicity.

There is a video that a young man made about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that also helps with the publicity and success of the challenge.
Although this young man may not have planned to be a marketer with his video, he was just that. Everyone who watches this video rethinks how they feel about the challenge that has become so recently popular. The video touches almost everyone that watches it.
Without even knowing it, this young man energized the base and was probably accountable for many of the donations that flooded into the ALS Association. He energized everyone who watched the video to donate and do the challenge which then spread by word of mouth.

In this situation, the man may not have energized the most enthusiastic people but rather the most sensitive, empathetic or sympathetic people. This can still be his base of customers (or supporters) because the video encourages them to become the most enthusiastic group.

Groundswell explains that the base group will want something in return. In this situation, people will receive the good feeling of either giving a donation or knowing that they are spreading word about something that is important to someone. I think this is more valuable than receiving anything else in return. Based on the audience that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge attracts, they would probably agree with me.

The most important message that Groundswell tries to get across multiple times in this book is to concentrate on relationships more than technologies of the groundswell. People are what give you business, not the technologies you are advertising to them through. Those help, but in the end the relationships that you have with your customers are more important.

I worked at a restaurant this summer and every single day, I saw a different “regular.” This was the label that we gave to the people that came in on a regular basis. These were the customers who brought in the most money and made the place what it is today.

The regulars who I created a stronger relationship with left me with better tips and provided better conversation. This good conversation and profit was because of the servers and bartenders who know how important it is to the business to build these lasting relationships with our customers. The technologies upon which we reach them at only secure this bond even more. It is up to us to create them before we can secure them. This is how I interpreted the importance of the groundswell thus far.