Dream Big; Live Bigger

Jeremiah 29:11-13

Blogging for Beginners March 31, 2011

Filed under: Topics of the Week — Angela @ 10:28 PM
1. Make it your own.

Come up with your own color scheme. Most blog sites offer users themes to choose from; employ one in your personal blog. Themes and colors make everything (yes, even reading!) more fun.

2. Do some research.

When you do research, make sure you link to where you got the information. The amount of research  you have done will be obvious; people will be able to tell if you know what you are talking about or if you are merely chicken-pecking at a keyboard.

3. Double-check grammar and spelling.

There is nothing so distracting as a misspelled word or poor grammar. Correct grammar and spelling will make your post(s) easier for people to read and understand which will reflect better upon you as a blogger.

4. Use pictures, short video clips, or other graphics.

Graphics, pictures, and videos make blogs (and other websites) more interesting. Typically, a reader’s eyes are immediately drawn to the graphic rather than the dull type.

5. Comment on other people’s blogs.

When you leave comments on others’ blogs, you in essence advertise your own blog. When you show interest in other people’s blogs, the likelihood of people becoming interested in your blog also increases.

6. Find out what other writers are blogging about.

Gain knowledge of what everyone else is blogging about, and then spin it with your own creative (yet accurate) flair.

7. Make the title interesting.

While graphics grab a reader’s attention when they have already opened  your blog post, the title is what grabs their attention to begin with. Play with sounds; make it flow; be funny; go out on a limb.

8. Speak your mind… respectfully.

When you blog, you have the power to say (almost) anything you want. Yes, Americans have the right to the freedom of speech, but be cautious to not offend anyone. Remember, there is a time and place for everything.

9. Make it lively.

Colors, themes, and graphics make things attractive, but there is more to being lively than just eye-popping features. Use descriptive wording.

10. Have fun.

The bottom line is: have fun. If your blog is just a school assignment, it can still be fun. If it is a business blog, it can still be fun. Blogging is a type of online diary or journal. You will only get out of blogging the amount of effort you put into it.

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Podcast Post March 25, 2011

Filed under: Topics of the Week — Angela @ 10:27 AM

For Immediate Release is one of the podcasts that I chose to write about. Shel Holtz, one of the hosts for this particular podcast, interviewed the chief executive of RealWire, Adam Parker. RealWire is a UK-based service that distributes press releases to the public. They primarily service the UK, but they have clients in Israel and the United States.

In the podcast, Parker and Holtz referred to the new feature of RealWire- the PR Filter. It is a quick way to find news releases about what people are interested in without requiring them to search too hard. This feature will take some time to catch on, but it offers many answers to what people are looking for.

Holtz mentioned that for some, the press release is dead, but he and Parker agreed that press releases are still alive and well. Google offers responses to what is going on whereas press releases releases fresh information. The press release is just a tool, and if fused properly, is still effective. Parker says that press releases need to findable and update the way they are composed; in other words, press release writers need to be active on the web. Parker urges people to be creative and interesting in the way they write up their press releases.

With PR filter, the kinds of stories companies are telling is filtered and monitored. It offered RealWire the knowledge of what PR people are looking to write about. The top brand to write about was Microsoft. Secondly was Facebook. The topics of what people were interested was also discussed. The question is are these topics and brands too overwritten about. Are journalists and bloggers just writing about what they think people are interested in?

This comment really struck me. Journalists and bloggers should take some chances here and there. They should write about something that has not been covered by a hundred other writers. That will make their readership increase. New PR practitioners and students should take advantage of listening to podcasts about public relations because it will expand their knowledge. Listening to other voices with various experience in the field of communications is always advantageous. If new PR practitioners and students are serious about the careers or studies, they should take every opportunity to seek out more knowledge.

 

 

Info Please! March 19, 2011

Filed under: Topics of the Week — Angela @ 10:35 PM

Infographics represent information, data or knowledge. They are used to explain concepts in  better and quicker manner. They can come in handy when trying to sell your company or product to the consumer or even advertiser, especially when the company or product is a new one. The main thing to remember when creating one is research and learning or knowing your stuff.

There are five factors to creating an infographic that is powerful and eye-catching.

1. Skeletons and Flowcharts

Since inforgraphics are used to serve the purpose of explaining new or unfamiliar concepts, use pay              attention to the way that it is designed. Keep it interesting yet simple to understand.

2. Color Scheme

Colors give everything a more vibrant feeling, but keep in mind that having too many colors will cause        distraction. Assigning certain colors to certain words or topics will keep audiences engaged and focused      on the presentation.

3. Graphics

There are two kinds of graphics: theme and reference. A theme graphic refers to the visual aid itself                whereas reference graphics are used to reduce the infograhic from appearing too cluttered.

4. Research and Data

Know your audience; there is a difference between marketing to kids and marketing to senior                            citizens. Aim to make the the amount of graphics equal to the amount of data presented.

5. Knowledge

Keep in mind the way that colors, font style, and font size affect the audience. Using bright colors to              depict a sobering reality will not have the effect you wish.

Infographics are a visual aid for an invisible concept that most people are still grappling to comprehend. Like with anything, learning how to make an effective one takes time, but the profit is rewarding. Infographics are not designed to make people feel stupid. The complexity or simplicity of an infographic is ultimately up to the designer. Since people are so visually-based, the more visual aids a company creates for itself, the better.

 

HARO to the Rescue March 13, 2011

Filed under: Topics of the Week — Angela @ 11:10 PM

HARO, or Help a Reporter Out, is a free service that links news stories, businesses, reporters and bloggers together. I had never heard of this great service until recently. Not only does this service provide reporters with potential stories, but it also is another social site for networking with other professionals. Help a Reporter Out was founded in 2008 by Peter Shankman, a businessman, author, and speaker, among other things.

Help a Reporter Out is beneficial for several reasons. Some reporters may like to stray away from the typical stories revolving around politics and tragedies occurring around the world. That is where HARO comes into play. With over 100,000 news sources to peruse, a reporter will surely be able to find something worth writing about for his publication.

The fact that so many people use this service provides more opportunities to network. When a reporter or blogger begins to network, he is in essence marketing himself to potential employers, clients, contacts, and other professionals. The people you know, the easier it can be to score an interview with someone you might otherwise not be able to meet with.

HARO allows users to submit pitches. This is useful because it allows users to share ideas about a particular company. PR practitioners can submit pitches to reporters to spread the word about the company they work for. Submitting pitches on HARO (and other online sites) is a much faster method of spreading word about company events and news than faxing and e-mailing. This is because the site is constantly being fed and updated.

This is an excellent site for people who are just beginning in the public relations field or for people who have been reporting for years or even for entrepreneurs who are running businesses. When using this service, as with any news service, it is important for companies and individuals to use discretion with  what they post.

 

Pokemon: 15 years of success March 10, 2011

Filed under: PR Connections — Angela @ 10:37 PM

Every company has an ace product, that product that keeps on selling. Public relations professionals have their work cut out for them when working for popular products or businesses in that they must to make the public realize again and again that there is worth in using or purchasing the product.  One such returning product is the Pokemon phenomenon. The Pokemon franchise has been a success for fifteen years now. An article that I read taught me many things that I did not realize go into having such a successful product. The Pokemon franchise extends beyond just the games. Gaming consoles have been designed with Pokemon themes. A television show and a few movies have been produced. Comic books and the card game are popular as well. Of course, there are the action figures  and plush dolls in the shapes of Pokemon characters.

Gaming companies should look at the Pokemon franchise as a guide for how to succeed because the industry has raked in $24 billion. That figure is only in regards to the games and does not include the other merchandise that has been released. That places Pokemon second after the Mario game series.

Bugs are what inspired Pokemon’s creation. Pikachu, the famous electric mouse-like creature, got its name from Japanese words that are used to describe electricity and squeaking noises. The world of Pokemon and some of the humans’ names in the game are based on real-life places in Japan and a couple of the guys behind the Mario franchise.

So why write a blog post on a kids’ video game? The reason is because it the Pokemon franchise can teach many lessons to PR workers. Friendship and loyalty are just two of the themes found the world of Pokemon. Teamwork is another huge factor of success. Never write something off as a possible source of enlightenment. After all, much wisdom can be taken from the most seemingly childish of places.

 

POYNTER INSTITUTE: WHAT CAN IT DO FOR YOU? March 1, 2011

Filed under: Topics of the Week — Angela @ 11:54 AM

The following is a blog post that Cindy Cromeans wrote on February 20, 2011. This blog post is for the “guest blogger” blog assignment for my class.

Journalism Students by: Adam Tinworth

Poynter came into being to make sure that exemplary journalism is available to all Americans. To best ensure this, they have set out to teach those who “manage, edit, produce, program, report, write, blog, photograph and design,” whether they belong to a news organization or are entrepreneurs. They desire to help teachers and students in middle school, high school and college so as to produce a high standard of journalist for tomorrow.  They also want to teach the public to better understand the way journalism is made and how to perceived credibility for themselves.

The Institute has seminar rooms on their main campus at 801 Third St. South, St. Petersburg,. These rooms are used not only for teaching seminars.  They also sponsor community events and have world-class writers, broadcasters, photographers and designers, as well as other innovators in the media and business world.

Throughout the year, Poynter hosts a variety of special events to help members of the community to better understand the issues that surround journalists and other news professionals.  On March 15, 2011, the Institute will host journalist and best-selling author Bob Woodward.

Poynter’s NewsU partners with thousands of teachers.  They have a program called the Syllabus Exchange in which they allow teachers to share their teaching materials with other educators. Other tools for educators include a certificate program where teachers do the teaching and coaching, and NewsU provides various accessments, activities and readings that facilitate instructors in evaluating student skills and supplement other teaching materials.  They also provide training points that allow you to earn points every time you watch a webinar or participate in other e-learning at NewsU.  Later you can redeem your points for software, training, video tutorials, etc.

NewsU also has made many resources available for all journalism related issues.  Some of these include: resources for local investigative “watchdog” journalism,  and resources for covering the BP oil spill disaster.  I myself have had the opportunity to hone my skills through various online information and quizzes provided by NewsU. I have found them to be very helpful, and will make use of other topic assessments in the future. If you haven’t checked out the many offerings of Poynter Insitute and their NewsU courses, you are missing out on a great resource and you should rectify that situation right away!

 

Grammar: goof vs. guru February 27, 2011

Filed under: Topics of the Week — Angela @ 8:31 PM

I have always prided myself on my ability to understand and use proper grammar. I even won the English award at my high school graduation. Where math and science failed to compute, English made sense to me. Despite my natural inclination to excel in the language arts, I still have a lot to learn as Cleaning Your Copy: Grammar, Style and More taught me.

The main thing I learned is that I am not quite as talented in my English ability as I once thought. I learned just how big of a deal that spelling is. The course said that people will not notice how fantastic and spot-on one’s spelling in. They will, however, definitely notice if one’s spelling is atrocious. Spelling is a relatively small thing, but it greatly affects the way one’s work is received by the professional public.

I was surprised by the amount of grammatical topics this course covered. Grammar (of course), style, punctuation, and spelling were discussed. This is useful because someone might excel in spelling but need help in style or punctuation. The way this course was presented was comprehensive and helpful.

I want to learn more about can and may. I have a ongoing debate with a friend of mine. The question is: Does one use can or may when one asks someone else for something or to do something for him? For instance is it, “Can you pass me the remote?” Or is it, “May you pass me the remote?” I always was told can is the right word in this case, but that is one pair of words that this course did not address.

This course is perfect for journalists, novelists, and students. Almost anyone who takes this course will learn something new. Some aspect of one’s writing capability will be enhanced through this course, and I highly recommend it.