Public Relations For Peaceful People

The wild ramblings of an aspiring betterer of the world

Category: Public relations

SETTLING INTO PARADISE

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I just finished week two of my internship a few days ago, arriving about 10 minutes early every morning.

Punctuality is fairly important to me.

If you say you’re going to be somewhere at a certain time, be there. I understand that car accidents happen, babies are born, and emergencies occur but I’m pretty sure that’s not what’s causing the majority of people to be late. I think that most of the time, tardiness is simply the result of laziness, disorganization, and a diminished understanding of professional behavior. Getting to a party a half-hour late is one thing, but in the professional world I have little tolerance for that kind of behavior and find it fairly disrespectful.

Everyone gets a mulligan of course, but that’s beside the point.

So, last weekend was pretty awesome. On Sunday I decided to have a few friends up to the pad in Topanga for an afternoon of grilling and relaxing. People are busy out here. Like, everybody. I’ll admit I was nervous that people would cancel or get lost or what-have-you.

That was not an issue.

My friend and former Ace-Deucer Brian Robinson showed up right on time around 3 o’clock. With him was his buddy John Boonin who also transplanted from The Deuce a few years ago. Brian is a computer genius for a living and John is an up-and-coming actor, both all-around cool dudes. My neighbor Vinda found her way over shortly thereafter so I made the introductions and we sat and talked for a while.

Very appreciative to be from here. Photo courtesy of http://www.med.umich.edu

Very appreciative to be from here. Photo courtesy of http://www.med.umich.edu

I’d also invited my friend Kolin Bernard (another Ann-Arborite who lives here), and he invited his buddy Mike Lynch (ALSO from Ann Arbor) and wife Krissie as well as their close friend Sara. They’d been visiting Malibu earlier in the day and brought their friend whose beach they were visiting, actor and film producer Cristo Dimassis, up to Topanga with them as well as fellow producer Kamron Saraye and friend Conor Sutton.

The networking was glorious.

I couldn’t have asked for a more positive, intelligent, and enjoyable group of people to spend an afternoon in Topanga with. Everyone was happy, friendly, and genuine. Of course there were the obligatory, slightly awkward “Hello, my name is _____”’s, but within a few beers we were all good friends. I’ll be the first to acknowledge that alcohol maintains a continuous potential to be a highly detrimental concoction, but with the right people and circumstances, its reputation of being an effective social lubricant holds true.

The shindig was very enjoyable for me and if my intuition is as on-point as I believe it to be, everyone else had as fabulous a time as I.

Anyway, in addition to having a really fun weekend, I had some cool weekday stuff happen as well. While settling into my internship over the past week I’ve been continuously impressed with the work environment at Jane Owen PR. All throughout the day people are smiling, laughing, and joking with one another. Don’t get me wrong, these people WORK. Efficiency, motivation, enthusiasm, organization. I’m seeing perfect examples of these qualities every day. It also doesn’t hurt that everyone there seems cool as F.

Did some hard labor at Balinese art importing company Jalan Jalan Imports on Wednesday which resulted in me getting the opportunity to hang out with Mike Campbell, lead guitarist for Tom Petty. So cool! Nice guy. Friendly, unassuming, and all-around normal.

This whole “California thing” seems to be working out really well so far. I’m staying enthusiastic, motivated, and dedicated to achieving what I came out here to do, and if what’s happened up till now is any indication, I’m gonna be alright.
I do miss my Michigan people, I’m occasionally a tad lonely, and things aren’t perfect but perfection is not the goal. Success (as defined by inner-happiness and personal satisfaction) is, and I’m on my way.

Thank you all for the love and support. I wouldn’t be here otherwise.

Talk soon.

 

 

 

 

 

I GOT AN INTERNSHIP IN BEVERLY HILLS!

As if simply living in the Santa Monica Mountains all summer wasn’t good enough, starting last week I’ve been interning at Jane Owen Public Relations, “a boutique PR and Event Planning firm located in Los Angeles, California, with Satellite offices in New York and London.” Soooooo stoked! The story behind how I got it is a pretty good one too.

My new commute

My new commute

THE STORY

So, I arrived in paradise and got settled (read: cleaned house and relaxed for a week or so).

I like to think I’m a kind and positive person, and I guess it shows because within a few days I’d met like six of my neighbors, more than my aunt knows and she’s lived in L.A. her entire life. The woman who lives directly behind me, Vinda, is exceptionally friendly and chill. Within a few short conversations I knew she was going to be a wonderful neighbor and she knew I was attempting to get into public relations. “You know, one of my friends owns a PR firm in Beverly Hills,” she said. “I’ll see if you can get in touch with her.”

A few texts later I had Jane Owen’s email address.

I composed a well thought out message explaining who I was, my aspirations while in California, and my interest in meeting with her. I clicked send and the next day began communicating with the Jane Owen Public Relations Office Manager. I sent her some samples of my work and within a few emails we hammered out a time and date for me to come to the JOPR offices. With a meeting set, I pounded the air with my fist then drove to the beach.

The beach

The beach

The other beach

The other beach

Fast forward a week or so and I found myself driving to Beverly Hills wearing a new suit and a big smile. Arriving at the JOPR offices I walked inside, unsure of how things would progress.

I’ve only been there a week but I can already tell that while many of the fundamentals of public relations remain the same, it’s very different from my previous internship. High paced is an understatement. The clients are much different than, say, a Community College or a non-profit street newspaper.

However, I think that I’m doing well. While I’m definitely still getting into the swing of it in terms of how things are done here and what’s expected of me, the reception has been very warm. The office seems very well integrated in terms of communication and teamwork. Synergy is a fun thing to watch occur.

Well, that’s where I’m at. I’ve been doing my best and I hope that my work is of the caliber necessary to succeed out here. I’m very excited to be doing real public relations work in a place where the opportunity for upward movement in my career is so very present. Now I just need to find a menial weekend job so I can afford to keep trying.

I’ll keep you posted,

Joe

 

Into The Wild Blue Yonder I go!

I woke up this morning and looked out the window like I always do. However, instead of the usual tree-lined Ann Arbor I’m so accustomed to seeing, today I find myself peering out over Chicago and Lake Michigan.

Let me back up for a moment.

So, I graduated from Eastern Michigan University this spring with a degree in PR and have come up with what I think is a glorious idea.

This past Saturday I packed up all my worldly belongings, stuffed what I could in my Saab, and set off on a cross-country trip in search of a challenging and fulfilling career in the world of public relations, with stop #1 being Chicago.

Before I left, I hopped on Facebook and searched for friends and family who live in the places I have chosen to visit during my trip. I sent messages to everyone I know along the route, telling them of my plan and asking for help finding shelter while their city. This worked really, really well. As of now I have a place to stay in almost every city I will be visiting on my way from Ann Arbor to Topanga Canyon, CA.

So, back to Chicago.

I had a wonderful time visiting my cousin Rocky this past weekend. Rocky has lived in Chicago for several years while working for Trunk Club, a company that uses personal stylists to deck their clients out in fashionable, high-end clothing. He graciously opened his home to me, a very nice apartment on the 9th floor of a building that overlooks downtown Chicago and Lake Michigan.

Rocky's place in Chicago

Rocky’s place in Chicago

Saturday night we went out for dinner and drinks and let me tell you, Chicago is a blast! So there I am in some random bar in Chicago and within about a half-hour I notice someone who looks really familiar. I take a closer look and sure enough, it was Elliot Bancel. I’ve known this guy for YEARS! Smiles and hugs quickly followed. What a small world, I love it!

Wrigley Field

Wrigley Field

On Sunday, Rocky and I hit the town to see the sights. I saw the big silver jelly bean, the huge fountain from the intro of the T.V. Show Married With Children, Wrigley Field, The Magnificent Mile, and tons of other fun Chicago stuff. My hamstrings are killing me. In the evening I met up with my wonderful and beautiful friend Sarah Marlow who just recently moved here. Sarah, Rocky, and I went to the roof to relax for awhile, then Sarah and I went out and got pizza at a quaint little place, the name of which I forget.

The Jelly Bean Thing

The Jelly Bean Thing

Well, it’s time to head off. My next stop was going to be Kansas City, but in discussing my route with Sarah last night I decided on a more straight-shot west, passing through Omaha on my way to Denver.

Thanks to Rocky, Sarah, and the city of Chicago, my trip has started off wonderfully. On to the next one.

PR in the age of flying cars

So I just cracked open chapter 20 in Share This: The Social Media Handbook For PR Professionals which is titled “Skilling Up For The Future.”

I was expecting laser guns, flying cars, and Philip K. Dick-esque ninja cyborg women and whatnot. (You can thank the Writing about Literature course I took a few years ago for that).

What I got from the chapter was, while maybe a bit less exciting than watching Indiana Jones battle a robot clown woman, something much more valuable. Knowledge.

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A point is made in the book that (in the author’s opinion) in today’s world the ‘ideal’ PR professional, while being unique (like a beautiful snowflake), will also exhibit a “commonality of structure” (like beautiful snowflakes) that should be instantly recognizable. This commonality of structure includes a few things and is referred to as the “Y-Shaped PR Professional.”

Why Y?

Well, this is Why:

According to the book I keep mentioning, this second-to-last-letter-of-the-alphabet-shaped PR professional will have “breadth and depth across three broad areas of expertize,” those areas being:

1. Storytelling- The “Trunk” of the Y-shaped tree. Totally super-important to be good at it if you want to succeed in PR. No longer a one-way street, it is important to recognize that “getting your audiences to co-create your story is the future,” and that this is made quite easy (compared to years past) through social media.

2. Content- After the stories have been created we need to then ask “what will be the best ways to bring them to life, have them shared and allow audiences to shape how they develop?” Good question which I’m not going to answer, buy the book if you’re interested. However, I will say this: Make sure your writing skills are as good or better than mine and you shouldn’t have problems creating good content. Good writing skills never go out of style, Imho. lol, rotflmao <– (It’s ok, this is a blog.)

3. Technology platforms- I like how the book says “Now, don’t panic. This doesn’t mean we all need to rush out and get a degree in IT to continue working in PR, but it does mean investing time in using and understanding key online platforms.” Good thing I check my Facebook before I get out of bed in the morning I guess. The book mentions learning about Real-time tools such as Radian6, TweetDeck, and Conversocial, understanding the data and analytics portion of social media (shudder!), as well as being insatiably-skeptically-curious when it comes to staying informed about social media and what things happening on the forefront of internet technology.

So that’s the rundown, in a proverbial nutshell, of a few ways that PR professionals can “skill up” for the future. I hope that you all found some worth in this post, if only because of my creative linking practices and mentions of the author of Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep.

Like always, here’s a bit of awesome for ya. One of my favorites:

 

 

LinkedIn: it’s not just for fuddy-duddies and stuff-shirts anymore!

I mean seriously, it’s just a smart idea. Most everyone in the professional arena knows (or should know) about LinkedIn and what it’s for. The third sentence from the chapter on LinkedIn in that book I’m reading, Share This: The Social Media Handbook For PR Professionals makes it pretty clear. “Could you benefit from expanding your professional network?” Ummm, yes.

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If you answer no to that then I guess you don’t need a LinkedIn. Enjoy the long, hard road of mediocrity. Unless you’re a celebrity or super-rich or something in which case, lemme get a job! Sorry for the deviation, but you never know, ya know? Maybe Warren Buffett or Bobby Brown is reading this. I guess to be fair, LinkedIn isn’t a perfect fit for everyone. That book does mention that there are people out there who’s job puts them in a position where being easily found online is not an advantage, although I can’t think of a good example of that right now so I’m moving on. I guess bank robbers don’t really need a LinkedIn, but that’s a different blog post altogether.

LinkedIn is a really awesome tool that professionals can use to bolster their professional network. I found it interesting that this book mentions how people in different positions within organizations tend to use LinkedIn for different purposes. It says that the higher-ups use it mostly for trade industry networking and promotional purposes, whereas middle management uses it to “keep in touch” and network within their industry while the newbies in the business world use it for finding jobs and networking with their co-workers. I could have come to a conclusion similar to that on my own but I trust these folks and their organization’s logo is on the front of this social media book.

To extrapolate on another point the book makes, LinkedIn seems to also function as a sort of social media channel for people who aren’t on social media. As found on pages 82-83, “If you do nothing else — No blogs, no Twitter, no podcasts or videos — LinkedIn gives you a platform to be found and to create a professional online presence. There is nothing (yea, I exaggerate) that I dislike more than trying to find someone online and there’s literally nada. Come on, it’s 2013. If, as a professional, you aren’t online in some way, shape, or form then people are likely to begin seriously questioning your capabilities and desire to succeed in the professional world because quite frankly, you just have to be online. I’m confident that folks reading this don’t fall into that category though. 🙂  So if nothing else, LinkedIn is kind of like an online curriculum vitae.

A function of LinkedIn that I have yet to personally delve into are the different tools that are offered such as Polls, Group management, Answers, and Alumni, all of which can help businesses that aren’t relatively huge to publicly display their expertise in areas relevant to their goals as a company.

Another good reason to get a LinkedIn (for my fellow almost-professionals) is that according to this book I keep referring to, a study was done (way back in June of ’11) that showed about 75% of companies in the U.S. will either always, or at least sometimes check the LinkedIn profiles of their potential employees. I’d bet by now it’s closer to 100%.

Something that seems to run the social media gamut that I often find weaved throughout different conversations I have had and things I have read is the term “human.” Social media allows companies to show their human side which is interesting seeing as social media is technology and machine-driven. It’s true though, even though it is through a digital channel, it’s a huge step towards humanity when compared to those automated phone messages, I friggin’ hate those things.

Ok, it’s getting late. All in all I’d say go out and get yourself a LinkedIn, you have nothing to lose, and a lot to gain so go out there and be a winner! Here’s some motivation:

Disclaimer: Joe Sloan has no professional affiliation with CIPR or “Share This: The Social Media Handbook For PR Professionals,” yet…

Facebook is gonna make me rich some day.

So I finally got my hands on a copy of Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals and let me tell you right now, I am totally diggin’ it. The book is so filled with useful social media and public relations information that can be used to further my career aspirations it’s almost unreal. That’s not to say that reading this book will automatically make me an expert compared to the likes of Zuckerberg or anything, but to the layperson (of which there are many) it will certainly help me to appear very knowledgeable. Simply put, it’s the best single resource I’ve seen in terms of beginning to develop solid knowledge of and insight into the professional side of social media. Go out an’ getchaself a copy, you’ll thank me later.

Not to jump the gun or anything but I’m definitely giving this whole Social Media Specialist/Associate/Representative idea some very serious consideration and after reading but a single chapter of this book I have redoubled my interest in pursuing a job in the PR field that incorporates a significant focus in social media. I mean why not, right? Take two things I enjoy and seem to show potential in, the world of social media and the field of public relations, whip ’em up together real good and voilà! Career.
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So that chapter I read? It was all about Facebook. Specifically, it focused on some of the basic ways in which Facebook can be used by organizations to engage with the public in different ways.

The book outlines several ways that a brand can use Facebook:

1. To build communities- People who “like” your page become part of the community.

2. To engage with fans- I think this is of high importance. Facebook makes it so easy to engage and also offers an efficient two-way communication model.

3. To amplify the brand message- It is possible to reach not only your fans, but their friends as well.

4. To socially enable your business- This involves that little blue “Connect with Facebook” button that appears on websites and allows people to connect third party websites to their Facebook account.

5. To sell products and services- Yup. Make that money.

Something that I found to be insightful and a potentially powerful bit of knowledge was that “Facebook often cites the fact that for every Fan engaged, 120 friends of that Fan can be reached (120 being the average number of friends a person has on Facebook). Therefore, a Brand Page with 10,000 Fans can theoretically reach 1.2 million people through engagement on its Page.”

That’s a big number.

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Sorry, I just love that meme.

I think that the most important tidbit of info that I gleaned during my reading was how necessary it is to create a well thought out strategy regarding the use of Facebook for professional purposes. Many people don’t give strategy enough consideration when they utilize Facebook, or social media in general for that matter, just posting whatever comes up. While being able to incorporate spontaneity in the use of Facebook is definitely a plus, I wouldn’t recommend relying on it exclusively. Kind of like running a fortune 500 company using a children’s lemonade stand business model as your guide; don’t do it.

The book also offers some tips on developing a strategy for your Facebook. There is no sure-fire formula to follow, but the guidelines given are:

– Know who your audience is and what they do on social media.

– Define goals for your Facebook presence.

– Be aware of the rules that govern your industry and make sure your social media presence is consistent with them.

– Strategize what your organization desires in the relationship they develop with the audience.

– Plan out the content you will be uploading in advance.

 – Specify details about who will operate of the page.

I think that as long as serious consideration is given to these general guidelines, the chances of your organization thriving on Facebook will increase drastically. I could keep telling you about all the wonderful insight contained in Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals, but then you wouldn’t buy the book and I would hate to do you that disservice so instead I will play us out with my favorite video EVER.


Until next time.