You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category.

These days, my worst enemy is the clock. I hate that there are only 24 hours in a day. Sometimes I am also furious at the human body, frustrated that it needs sleep to function.  If you find yourself thinking like me (and if you are in PR, it is likely that you do) then my guess is you also have that never ending to-do list. That is why I was so eager to read Amber Naslund’s post titled “10 Rules for Consistent Execution,” where she gave helpful tips about managing time. While she provided really good ideas, she is also an established professional with a career, something that I am not fortunate enough to claim (yet). So I tweaked her list a bit to tailor it to other college students like myself, especially to the PR students who are more likely to relate to my life’s struggle of time management.

1.) Make lists and keep planners. These things keep my life organized. I have the giant planner with the whole monthly calendar on one page, because I need to see what lies ahead of me.  I always make to-do lists, often multiple ones in a day, which helps me prioritize what needs to get done. Sometimes I never look at them again, but just writing the stuff down that I need to accomplish makes me feel better (I’m old fashioned and still prefer a paper list). Plus there is no better feeling in the world than seeing a completely crossed out to-do list!

2.) Limit your social media usage (for fun). I find myself getting easily distracted checking my Facebook page and somehow a half hour has passed and I did nothing productive-I know we are all guilty of this! So now I am trying to limit my social media “for fun” usage to twice a day for no longer than a half hour. Yet I do not count my Tweet deck or Facebook notifications that get sent to my phone. 🙂

3.) Get a smartphone. While this may not be in the budget for some, having a phone with immediate internet access has saved me so much time with its convenience. I have instant access to my email and can accomplish a lot without having to drag my laptop everywhere. Plus, it is extremely beneficial for managing a client’s social media account and monitoring media coverage.

4.) Do not over commit. You do not have to do it all and you can say no! I find myself eager to do too many things, and then I have my plate too full. Even though I really want to write that press release and do those media pitches, sometimes it’s okay to pass it up to another if I already have a bunch of other stuff to do. And even though I always want to help a coworker out and make extra money, sometimes I just need to say no, I can’t pick up that extra shift.

5.) Get sleep! While some can operate on 3 hours of sleep, I cannot. I am completely useless the next day.  While sometimes lack of sleep is inevitable, I try to avoid it. Because even though I think staying up till 3 AM to finish stuff will benefit me, the next day I cannot even think straight and the other things I need to do will suffer. Coffee only gets you so far and trust me, I know this. I’m a barista.

While some of these tips may seem obvious, it took me awhile to figure out a system and rules that work for me. Do you have any other tips or ideas on time management?

Social media has changed the world as we know it. One world in particular that is being drastically effected is the sports world. And, just like the rest of us, the sports world is still trying to find its head amid this firestorm of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and everything else associated with Web 2.0. It also seems that the sports industry is more hesitant than others on accepting this new, strange tool called social media. However, social media provides a great opportunity if conducted correctly.

The sports industry is unique in that its driving audience is the fans.  Social media has presented an opportunity for leagues, teams, players and other sports organizations to connect to their fans on a whole other level.  For instance, providing up-to-date Tweets allows fans to have instant access to any relevant information. The Boston Celtics, who are often praised for their social media strategies, even provide exclusive locker room footage for their YouTube subscribers. Fans thrive upon inside access. This type of access, and also interaction, creates a valuable experience for the fans, which is essentially what sports are all about.

Social media also provides an opportunity for two-way communication, and the best sports social media pages are the ones that are interactive. This entails being the first to respond to questions directly from the fans, or even address criticism and complaints. Or this can be done by creating contests that online followers can participate in. Putting in this extra effort also shows they value their fans and supporters. Creating personal interactions via online conversations also creates the feeling that people are apart of something. This increases involvement, loyalty, support and enthusiasm, all of which are crucial in an industry relying on fan base.

And of course, there are the athletes who have their personal social media. Fans love access into an athlete’s personal life. I don’t know why, but knowing what Shaq ate for breakfast is so enthralling. Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco, who has a famous online following, takes his social media to new extremes by broadcasting parts of his life on Ustream. When athletes create this “intimate” connection with their fans by allowing access into their personal lives, fans are able to put a face behind the celebrity. This also creates a loyal fan base and following, even from people who are not die hard sports fans.  You no longer know them as a jersey, a number, or face on the highlight reel, but as a person.

Like with any industry, social media has also brought a new array of problems.  While the positive aspect of social media is transparency, the negative aspect is also transparency. How much information shared is too much? The NFL battles this as it has a strict social media policy, which entails that no employee (including players) can use social media networks from 90 minutes before kick off until after post game traditional interviews.  The NBA has a similar policy, except the time starts at 45 minutes before a game. Why? Because they believe players must respect their obligations to the media, or rather the league’s obligations to the media. Milwaukee Bucks Brandon Jennings got fined $7,500 for tweeting his excitement about beating the Portland Trail Blazers in a double overtime before conducting traditional interviews. Athletes and coaches are also constantly getting penalized for saying negative things about their organization or members of the officiating crew.

What the sports world seems most concerned about, like any other organization, is a loss of control. Yes, people may say bad things about your organization. And yes, players may say things that may not reflect so well on themselves or the organization they are apart of.  But what is important is adapting to this new realm.  Some of the sports organizations are, especially by creating reasonable social media guidelines to adhere to and providing social media training similar to media training.

Instead of shying away from social media, the sports world needs to take advantage of it. Social media provides new opportunities to increase fan base and establish a positive brand image, all of which is key for generating revenue in the sports industry. Besides, all these possible implications do is create a demand for great PR practitioners, and there are plenty of us out there ready to tackle these issues!

Earlier this week, prime time television host Campbell Brown announced she was leaving CNN after two years with the network. I admit, I knew very little about her except that she was on CNN (this is partly to blame for my lack of cable).  Yet she captured my attention after reading this article posted on The Huffington Post website, announcing her departure and her coinciding statement.

Her statement was perfect: open, honest and direct.  Brown announced that she was stepping down for no other reason except poor ratings.  She even said that she could have made other more “positive” statements, such as leaving the show for to spend time with her children, but claimed “I have never had much tolerance for others’ spin, so I can’t imagine trying to stomach my own.”

Since then, it seems she has drawn overwhelmingly positive responses. Tweets about her resignation were popular and extremely positive, and even mainstream media was also supportive and generous.  People appreciated Brown’s honesty and directness, something that is often lost in similar statements by public figures and organizations.  Had she given other reasons for her departure, or not give a reason at all, the pubic would began to speculate at the real reason why she was stepping down. She would probably fall victim to the media, who would more than likely draw out her resignation by digging to find the details and reasons behind her departure.  It would be one drawn out topic amid today’s gossip, or probably just would have gone under the radar.

Instead, Brown’s resignation seems to draw a large amount of positive response and even sympathy.  Brian Stelter wrote an article about it in the New York Times, saying “she is leaving with an extraordinary amount of candor” and even suggesting she was a casualty of the ratings, not a cause.   We will probably see her back on our T.V. sets sooner than later, as another network should be quick to pick her up.

And what do we learn from this, as communicators? Forget the spin. Forget the excuses. In a world full of “fluff” and hidden agendas, honesty and openness is refreshing. It draws much more respect. It should also be something that we as comminicators, and even people, should strive for.

As June graduation approaches, I start to look back at my four fabulous years at the University of Oregon…mmm (smiling and chuckling). Then I start to look at the next four years of my life and my career…AHHH (anxiety attack, short breaths). Okay, so it’s not quite that bad-I’m notorious for being a worry wart. While I feel that I am prepared for the real world, there are definitely some tricks-of-the-trade that I have learned along the way that would have been helpful for me to know from the beginning and maybe would ease my anxiety a little bit for the future.

I recently read a blog post from The Spinks Blog titled “7 Ways a College Student Can Start Becoming a Professional Now.” The author listed 7 tips of advice, which got me thinking of the things that I have personally learned and feel that would benefit me and other young aspiring PR students. While some of the advice I give is repetitive of some of the things listed in that blog post (all of it was great and very true), I feel that there are some things that I wanted to share that I have learned first-hand.

1. Have confidence

Since I was a freshman in college, I knew I wanted to do PR. I also gradually found out that internships are basically an essential requirement, yet I never actually applied for them till late. I always doubted myself, thinking I didn’t know enough and wouldn’t get the position because I had never taken a PR class or had an internship before. Plus I was nervous about putting myself out there, scared people would judge my lack of experience and young age. Consequently, my senior year has been busy, busy, busy and stressful. I have been trying to play catch up and gain as much experience as possible on top of school and work . Not that I don’t love it, because it is definitely teaching me to be organized, but if I would have had the confidence in myself and my abilities I wouldn’t have passed up some amazing opportunities. I have also quickly found that I could have done  these things all along because I have always had the basic skills (writing, communicating, good work ethic, etc).  People are also always willing to  help you learn the rest  and they also understand if you don’t know everything. You have to start somewhere!

2. Network (both online and in-person)

Whether you know it or not, everything you do in your life is a networking opportunity.  Building relationships with people in your classes, your professors or even random strangers can all come back to be helpful in the end. Who knows, that person you had class with freshman year could have a dad who works for your dream company and could introduce you.  So start talking to people; make friends! Get involved on every social media site. This is not only beneficial because you will understand social media (which is practically an essential in PR now), but you can meet and follow other people  in the industry from whom you can also learn a lot.  I have also heard of numerous stories of people getting jobs and internships through Twitter. It’s not just what you know–it’s who you know!

3. Know your news

Knowing current events and trends is essential for a PR professional. You need to be aware of what is going on in the world at all times, so get in the habit now. Maybe first thing in the morning (or night, since I  know morning for young college students usually starts at 1 PM) check online news sites and your favorite blogs. You can even do this on your phone now, which is especially nice for those long, boring lecture classes (Note: I am not encouraging phone usage during class!)  You never know, five years down the road you might be working on a non-profit campaign and it might be helpful to know what that other great, non-profit organization did five years ago that made headlines.

4. Reeelllaaaxxxx

Public relations is ranked 8th most stressful job in the US in 2010.  Discovering ways that help you relax now will benefit you immediately and also later on. Being a college student is stressful too, and if you are a PR student it seems to only gets worse as time goes on (unlike some majors I know).  I discovered exercise to help me relax. Even though it takes time out of my busy day, it is totally worth it. I blow off steam and clear my head.  Make time to hang out with your friends, or you can even try short, breathing exercises if you don’t have time. But I do not recommend crazy nights out full of binge drinking. The all day hangover only sets you back, among other things… trust me.

5. Get Started..Now!

It is never too early to start  any of these things, especially looking for opportunities to build your resume and portfolio.  Writing that totally awesome article in the student newspaper can become a great piece for your portfolio. Start finding other ways to build experience, whether its an internship or a job shadow.  Meet people and build relationships. Learn about the industry.  Attend events.  Whether you end up doing PR or not, I promise you that you will learn great things that will benefit you no matter what you do.

So here I am with my very own blog. Naturally, the question that popped into my head was the same question that most people ask themselves when starting a blog– “so what do I write about?” Pondering this idea over and over in my head, I finally came to the conclusion that perhaps my blog can reflect me.  So what do I know about myself? Well…

– I am a senior at the University of Oregon, about to make one of the biggest transitions in my life to the “real world.”

– My major is Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations and minor in Communication Studies.. . but basically, I love PR and that is what I want to do with the rest of my life.

– I have a love for sports. Period.

There you have it. The three most relevant things about myself (currently), and the subject of my blog. Remind me again why it took me months and months to figure out? So this blog is the reflection of the world as I see it, specifically public relations and the sports industry, but also life in general as a young women about to graduate college and pursue and career in public relations.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, there is more to me besides public relations and sports.  I love reading, candy, candles, sunny days, traveling, being active, Oregon football, the L.A. Lakers (I was born in Portland, OR so I still have love for the Blazers too, but the Lakers are like my not-so-secret favorite child), John Legend, coloring in coloring books, runs in the rain,  shopping (naturally) and anything written by Bill Simmons. But that probablly wouldn’t be so easy to blog about.

twitter.com/joanijones