Danger: framing a social media strategy as a “campaign”

February 14, 2008 at 6:30 pm (social media) (, , , , )

Computer deskPaul Dunay‘s post about the terminology of “campaign” in the realm of social media really caught my eye.

Recently, I’ve been working on a small social media strategy for a client at AHPR. I realize that there is so much more to it than just sticking it into a PR campaign, which is what my team and I ended up doing. It needs to have its own strategy along side the PR campaign because there are so many components for a client to understand.

First of all, it is true – the word “campaign” is dangerous to frame a social media strategy. Social media take a lot of time to build and sustain. It is much longer than the standard PR campaign. From my understanding, for example, it can often take up to a year for a blog to obtain a steady readership (courtesy of my professor, Kelli Matthews). Framing the social media strategy as a standard campaign can increase client expectations for both timelines and strategies.

Here are two things that I think are important to convey to a client when proposing a social media strategy:

  • Emphasize that it takes time. Getting noticed in the information age takes a while, especially on the Internet. It will take a while for readers to trust you and consistently keep track of your social media efforts, as well as results of increasing search engine optimization.
  • Reiterate the importance of the client’s role and participation. The client needs to know that being part of the Web 2.0 means continuous surveillance and activity. In order for the audience to trust the client, the blog posts and comments, and any other social media tactic, need to come from the client. It means he, she or they need to take the time to research and write. The social media realm is too personal to have a PR professional write personal notes as the client to the public.

I’ve talked to the AHPR client about these two things, and the social media strategy is still moving forward. However, in the future, I know I will emphasize the size of it and make it a separate or supplemental plan.

*Image courtesy of Flickr: Paladin27. It was taken under the Creative Commons license.


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Editing: a key part of the writing process

February 8, 2008 at 4:01 pm (PR Writing, Uncategorized) (, , , )

EditingGetting Ink gives some good constructive criticism to a few press releases it has seen this week. Some mistakes include grammar, capitalization and style. Of the three analyzed, my favorite is:

8 Tips to Help Your Child with SATs tests This May

If I was a parent and saw this headline, I would not read it. Why should I trust your tips, if you can’t even write correctly?  

As a PR student, the consequences for grammar and writing mistakes are pretty rigorous. I took a class called Writing for the Media that rewarded a big fat ‘F’ if there was one mistake – harsh, but a great incentive for proofreading. Luckily, students in that class had the chance to rewrite each ‘F,’ but this is not how the real world works.

There are very few, if any, second chances once you send out a release to a publication. Training early to watch for errors is good.  As the editorial services director for Allen Hall Public Relations, here are a couple of common errors I’ve seen that can be easily avoided:

  • Misspelled names and titles – It is extremely important to spell names correctly because no one wants to see his or her name spelled wrong. The person always notices. 
  • Incorrect title punctuation and style – This is the first thing the reader sees. It should be error free and appealing. 
  • Inaccurate information – What is the reporter going to do when it finds your information is inaccurate? First, the person will either conduct more research than necessary or not write the story. Second, the person will toss your next press release.
Proofing your own work is actually quite hard. Sometimes you just don’t see things. I’m still learning. A good tip from one of my professors is to read everything out loud. It also may be a good idea to have a buddy or someone else at work proof it for you before you send it to your boss/editors and the media. 
* Image courtesy of FlickrMr. WrightIt was taken under the Creative Commons  license. 

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Social media privacy

February 6, 2008 at 2:59 pm (social media) (, , )

Can I get a little privacy?Yesterday, I gave a brief presentation on a Web 2.0 service to the Advanced PR Writing class I am taking. I chose Yelp.com. However, during the selection process at Go2Web2.0, I came across another service that posed a privacy issue.  

I was registering for Zookoda, a free e-mail marketing service for bloggers, when I was prompted to give personal account information. The service would not let me sign up without providing my physical address. Red flag! Granted, it wasn’t as serious as asking for my social security or bank account numbers, but it still seemed odd to me. For a service that is Internet-based, it should not need my address. 

In the last couple of years, Facebook has undergone huge privacy changes due to the increase of users and information options. I distinctly remember an outrage by users when they implemented the  news feed application with little privacy options. Luckily, the Facebook team immediately addressed and fixed it so users can choose how private they want their profiles.  

What I don’t understand is why social media services aren’t taking extra precaution when it comes to privacy before it becomes an issue. I personally do not post my address on Facebook for safety reasons. You can never be too careful.  

How do I know that Zookoda is a legitimate service when I sign up and not a hoax just to get addresses? Social media needs to be responsible and perform all the same precautions that online stores (that really need private information) do. 

On the other hand, you need to be aware of what you are signing up for. Your privacy is automatically lowered when you join the Internet, social media realm, but if you are careful, it won’t be an issue. Be responsible and selective. 

Don’t get me wrong, I think social media services are fantastic resources and tools – just don’t ask for my address if it’s not necessary.  

*Web 2.0 graphic courtesy of Flickr: Montara Mike©.  It was taken under the Creative Commons  license.

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Looking the part

February 3, 2008 at 1:41 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

Professional dress code

Everyone says that a first impression goes a long way. It’s true, and part of it is looking the part. Penelope Trunk gives some great tips in her Brazen Careerist blog. Whether it is an interview or your first few months at a new job, what you wear is a huge part of how people view you.

 Although I’ve only had a few internships, couple jobs and probably double the interviews, here are a few tips of things I’ve found to go by:     


  • Always dress formally, conservatively and professionally. You don’t usually know the dress code of the company. If you are dressed accordingly, chances are the interviewers know you are serious about getting a job there.
  • Make sure everything is ironed. A wrinkled shirt can show the interviewer that you are not detail-oriented. I’ve found that “detail-oriented” is a great characteristic to have, and if you say you are, then you must show that you are.
  • Trunk advises to find a good tailor. This is another example of showing how detail-oriented you are. Plus, it decreases the number of distractions the interviewers may notice. You don’t want them to watch your slacks drag on the floor.

 First few months at a new job:

  • Get to know the dress code, and follow it. A good way to show the company that you know what you are doing there is following all of its guidelines. It leaves one less thing for your managers to worry about for a new employee.
  • Limit the amount of flashy jewelry. Some of these things can sparkle under light and become a distraction. Remember – you want them to look at your capabilities, not your accessories. Trunk gave some good tips for girls that work for both looking older and decreasing distractions.

Whether or not you feel qualified for a position, looking the part is important to gaining the respect of your colleagues and interviewers.    

** Photo collage courtesy of Flickr user: waldrup_2000 

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PR as a Community

February 1, 2008 at 4:56 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

web 2.0I’m not going to lie. Writing this post is pretty scary for me. I’m actually getting into the PR blogosphere with bloggers that have been in the industry, that is PR, for years. So, I’m going to tell you where I stand here – I’m new and learning.

As I was looking around at all the different blogs suggested by AdAge Power 150, I noticed something. Everyone knows everyone else. Many of the blogrolls contain the same links, and posts talk about other bloggers’ thoughts and comments. Then, I came across Joseph Thornley’s Pro PR blog. His Advice to the class of ’08 post caught my attention.

Thornley said, “The old PR was about communicating messages to an audience. The new PR is about being part of a community.” 

Entering the social media world means involving yourself in a community. It’s not just about networking anymore, but more about maintaining a steady stream of conversation with those in the PR industry. It keeps you connected and helps others get to know you more as a PR practitioner and conversationalist, opposed to the business-card-sitting-in-the-Rolodex PR contact.

The community concept can and should be applied to clients. Getting involved into a client’s community is probably a better and more credible way of influencing its target audience’s behaviors.

So, it’s good that I’m starting now. I can build my relationships and immerse myself into the PR community.


Jeremy Pepper also has an in-depth post about community at POP! PR Jots.


*Web 2.0 graphic courtesy of Stabilo Boss at Flickr.  It was taken under the Creative Commons  license.

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January 29, 2008 at 5:51 am (Uncategorized)

Eileen Chang

Welcome to my new blog. My name is Eileen Chang, and I am a senior at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism & Communication, concentrating in public relations. This blog is an opportunity to create conversation and to display my portfolio. The main topics within this blog include all the realms of public relations, as well as other fields of communication. Aside from conversing about public relations, I am also interested in fashion, technology, medicine and sports. 
I currently am a member of Allen Hall Public Relations and Public Relations Student Society of America. These organizations help me stay involved in the practice and network with other public relations individuals. I also currently work for the Oregon Football Department as a Teamwork Intern. I have previously worked at Nike as an IT Communications Intern and Kosmos Central as a Web Marketing Assistant. Blogging will increase my involvement and enhance my knowledge and participation.  
As I continue to develop this blog, please look for a resume and samples of work. Feel free to explore, chat and get involved in the conversation. 

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