CAP 105 Highlights Throughout the Semester

During my Winter 2016 semester, I found my CAP 105 class to be most beneficial for future career opportunities. This class was focused around technology and it’s relation to APR professions. I found that there are many aspects of technology that we as students forget to acknowledge when applying for future jobs. Being social media gurus, it is crucial that we understand how to manage and connect with consumers through social media. And if there is one thing in this class I won’t forget after graduating it is all the social media advice I received.

Although there was a vast range of technologies I explored during my time in this class, social media was the one that stuck. You never really think about the impacts a simple hashtag can have on your SEO and recognition from potential employers. Managing social media that displays and engages with posts and articles that relate to your future career ambitions is crucial in setting yourself up for success. Through social media one can also excel in an APR profession. Learning, connecting, and communicating with publics for a company can be huge and social media is the ticket in to performing these tasks efficiently.

Overall, this class has taught me not only how to brand myself for future success, but also how to lead a company to that success. Understanding technology is huge in our generation and through this class I have learned much more than I ever thought I could. Establishing effective social media can make or break your personal image as well as a company’s image. I am thankful for the knowledge and skills I have obtained from this class. I think they will excel me in my future endeavors in an APR profession.

PR Reflection

Throughout this semester, I have gained knowledge and experience within the public relations field. I never thought that over the course of 14 weeks I would have developed such a new perspective on public relations. This class has presented me with a variety of opportunities to further my understanding and respect for my major. I have grown throughout this process not only within this field of study, but as a student.

In the beginning of this experience, I thought this class would be just like any other class I have taken at Grand Valley. All I wanted was to get in and out of the class with a good grade. I wasn’t expecting the experience that I was about to have throughout this class.

I never would have thought I would have come out of this class knowing how to create and design an entire campaign plan book for an actual client by myself. The fact that I have gained the understanding of how to do that is a huge step in applying for careers in the future. A campaign book is a huge project and a big deal in the realm of public relations. Having gained this knowledge, I feel that it will continually benefit me within my future.

When it comes to basic public relations information. I can now say I know exactly what public relations professionals do, where as before I had no exact idea of the profession. Gaining this piece of knowledge has helped me better grasp the fields of business that I will be exploring when it comes time to find a career. And this also has allowed me to explain exactly what public relations is to my parents, who either don’t know what it consists of or think that it is only observing social media. Public relations is more than the stigmas placed on it. It is an intricate process that is composed of various parts. It is a large part of a company’s dynamic and without it, companies would struggle to appeal to their target audiences.

If there is one thing I have learned from this class about public relations it is that it is a profession that conforms to the needs of it’s clients. Whether or not you want to do something because you feel it would be successful, it is not about you. Every decision is made based upon exponential amounts of crucial information that is found solely by the public relations professional. It is not only looking at social media, blog posts, articles online, or performing primary research, it is all these things combined. The process is critical for a successful campaign within public relations and missing a step could be detrimental to a company.

Overall, I have learned that this class is not only a benefit to my knowledge, but a benefit to my future and success within a company. This class has given me knowledge and understand of public relations that I would have never known without it. It has taught me all the elements of creating a campaign and it has given me the confidence to trust in myself to make decisions. This class taught me how to be independent and push myself to find the answers. I have appreciated the time I have spent within this class and the new perspective and knowledge it has given me.

ROI in Public Relations

The measurement of Public Relations campaigns and tasks is a lot to gage. The various types of measurements that can take place on different aspects of a campaign solely come down to a PR team’s ROI, Return on Investment. ROI is used by various public relations professionals to measure the success they are creating for their clients.

One way that public relations professionals use ROI is through social media. When looking through various social media platforms used by a company, ROI measurements help decipher which posts are receiving the most attention from the public eye. Using the ROI measurements they, “Consider how many mentions are mainstream or first-tier and how many  are less popular, yet highly influential” (Obrien, 2013). Professionals are also able to assess the quality and impacts their campaigns are making on the public.

When PR professionals are measuring their campaigns through an ROI, they tend to focus on media platforms and their quantitative numbers. According to Sandy Sponaugle’s article, she demonstrates that professionals tend to base their measurements off of “…1) how many outlets picked up the story, 2) how many stories were in the media and 3) increased traffic to the company’s website” (Sponaugle, 2013). ROI measurements have turned towards the outcomes social media is presenting about a company after a campaign has been adopted.

According to Max Weiner, the quantitative measurement, “…offers guidance to achieve significant and true business outcomes that can help attract, retain, or avoid spending millions – or billions – of dollars” (Weiner, 2006). In reference to this, Weiner brings up the crucial point that measuring a public relations campaign is essential to a company and their investments. Millions of public relations professionals are hired across the country, but without the proof and measurements of their successes, company’s will not know the amount of money they could be saving. It is important for companies to invest in teams of PR professionals that will make them invests without using a million dollars to do it. The cost of campaigns can be expensive, but using measurements on investments, companies are able to save their investments and gain from their efforts rather than lose money.

Although ROI is focused a lot of the numbers and investments made by a company, it also tends to look at the quality of the data. The data and research collected from media must also show positive correlations about the company to help understand the total ROI. It may be a number that the company is receiving, but without positive media there is no true measurements of the tactic’s success from a campaign. It is important that the feedback being given through media and the public is positive and promoting the brand well. Many social media platforms can grab a lot of attention from negative campaigns and unsuccessful brand promotions. It is crucial that professionals recognize how they are influencing the public eye.

ROI measurements in public relations are compiled of a variety of different aspects of a campaign. The use of these measurements is essential for a company’s success when if comes to their efforts of promoting brand awareness. It is crucial for PR professionals to understand these various aspects of ROI measurements such as social media, news reports, blogs, and various other media platforms. By taking into account all the forms that make up an ROI, public relations professionals are able to provide companies with successful returns on their investments.

References:

Obrien, A. (2013, February 23). 10 Ways to Measure the ROI of Public Relations. Everything-PR. Retrieved November 24, 2015, from http://everything-pr.com/roi-public-relations/41033/

Sponaugle, S. (2013, May 30). Measuring ROI of a PR Campaign. Platinum PR. Retrieved November 25, 2015, from http://platinumpr.com/measuring-roi-of-a-pr-campaign/

Weiner, M. (2006, March, 6). Splitting hairs: Value, expectations and ROI in public relations. PR News, 62(10), 1. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/docview/204207421?accountid=3947

Social Media & Public Relations

With the fast development of social media in today’s world, the profession of public relations is facing the challenge of creating a new definition for itself. Public relations professionals now use forms of social media to gain knowledge to create their campaigns, communicate with publics, and enhance their clients target audience. According to the Stuart Elliot’s article in the New York Times, one member of the participants trying to change the definition of public relations, Adam Lavelle, stated “Before the rise of social media, public relations was about trying to manage the message an entity was sharing with its different audiences,” (Elliot, 2011).  The previous definitions of public relations do not encompass, in the slightest bit, the impact that social media has on the organizations and their public relations departments. The impacts social media has made are tremendous when it comes to a company’s image and perception to the public.

As much as the use of social media has been effective, it has also been questioned on how truly effective the use of social media is in public relations. In an article of research conducted by Maureen Taylor and Michael L. Kent, they discovered that the use of social media was beneficial when it came to public relations because it is a unique tool of communication (Taylor, M. and Kent K. L., 2011). They focused their research around the PRSSA and education when it came to students coming in to the profession of public relations. With this in mind, Taylor and Kent discovered that although social media is an advantage in public relation professions, there should be a balance (Taylor, M. and Kent K. L., 2011). Young professionals should also be taught the limits of social media when it comes to forming tactics and strategies of campaigns (Taylor, M. and Kent K. L., 2011). Therefore, the upcoming of social media has advantages when looking at aspects of public relations professions but it should not encompass one’s entire knowledge of how to conduct public relations tasks and campaigns.

Social media has given professionals a new dynamic way to communicate with both internal and external audiences. The various platforms of social media allow public relations professionals to gear their campaign ideas and communication plans to specifically target certain audiences based upon the variety of unique media platforms. These platforms also allow for a variety of different types of communication (pictures, videos, blogs, etc.) that were much more complicated to execute before without social media and other technologies. In an article by Donald K. Wright and Michelle Hinson, they focused their research not on the impact social media is having on practices of public relations, but on the ways social media is being used within public relations (Wright, D. and Hinson, M., 2014). Their research has shown that, “…the development of various new and emerging technologies has significantly empowered a wide variety of strategic publics…” (Wright, D. and Hinson, M., 2014). Their research has proven that many professionals are conducting research based upon social media platforms. Social media is drastically changing the way that public relations is being practiced.

With that all being said, one can see that the impact social media has had on public relations in the past few years is huge. Specifically among young adults, social media has become a large part of their daily routine. Scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds, reading blog posts, and news articles online has become a big part on how people view certain brands and companies. Social media has developed a new form of communication for professionals to reach different audiences in ways that were not considered possible before. With technology constantly increasing, the definition and practices for public relations will continually be changing. For those of us studying public relations it is important to understand the significant changes that are taking place so that we can develop new techniques for assisting our clients. Social media is slowly, but surely changing the way professionals conduct work and it is impacting the world in bigger ways than we ever thought possible.

References:

Elliot, S. (2011, November 20). Redefining Public Relations in the Age of Social Media. The New York Times. Retrieved November 10, 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/21/business/media/redefining-public-relations-in-the-age-of-social-media.html?_r=0

Taylor, M., & Kent, K. L. (2011, June 4). Anticipatory Socialization in the Use of Social Media in Public Relations: A Content Analysis of PRSA’s Public Relations Tactics, Public Relations Review, 36 (3), 207-214.

Wright, D. K., & Hinson, M. (2014, July 22). Examining How Social and Other Emerging Media Are Being Used in Public Relations. Institute for Public Relations. Retrieved November 10, 2015, from http://www.instituteforpr.org/examining-social-emerging-media-used-public-relations/

Current Crisis: Planned Parenthood

The Planned Parenthood crisis broke out a little over 4 months ago. Blowing up all social media across the nation and exploiting videos that many individuals felt were extremely inappropriate. The Wall Street Journal wrote an article stating, “The crisis this week involves Planned Parenthood and how it is dealing with the release of videotapes showing medical personnel talking to undercover activists who filmed them speaking about collecting and selling tissues from aborted fetuses for medical research (Dipietro, 2015)”. This created a huge scandal amongst many Americans and arose debates amongst political groups on whether or not the process of abortion should be legal.

In recent articles, Fox News spoke out about the disturbing videos stating, “A new, graphic video released by the Center for Medication Progress is the latest undercover video that describes the reported black market for selling fetal body parts (Fox News Insider, 2015)”. This would be the third undercover video that was released confirming that Planned Parenthood officials were discussing the selling of aborted fetal body parts. Once the video was released again, Planned Parenthood representatives spoke out about the videos claiming that they were not true and that Pro-Life activists morphed the videos into something that they believed would grab the attention of other people, especially politicians. They claim that pro-life activists want to use the videos as evidence in passing a law that all abortion should be illegal.

Political debates on the topic have increased dramatically since the tapes were released. This not only put Planned Parenthood in the spotlight, but also many other health centers that deal directly with the abortion process. In recent debates, Jeb Bush has spoken out saying that he believes congress has the right to investigate based upon the videos that have been leaked (O’Keefe, 2015). He also believes that any federal investigation is justified by the amount of federal funding that these programs are receiving (O’Keefe, 2015). The political aspects pertaining to this subject have struck up a great deal of controversy. Laws are looking to be passed against Planned Parenthood due to the videos.

The crisis of the Planned Parenthood videos has caused a great deal of controversy and debate amongst Americans not only in politics, but in every day life. The news coverage of Planned Parenthood representatives has only shed a more negative light on the crisis. Representatives are denying the videos and stating that they were morphed into something they are not, even though they have demonstrated clearly in three separate videos that they are selling fetal body parts. Other Planned Parenthood representatives have been saying that they are, “…stressing special ways to abort babies without “crushing” them so their organs and limbs can be harvested for researchers…(Hall, 2015)”. According to Hall, women are not giving up on reporting the news from health centers to continue to provide new evidence of the leaked video footage.

In my opinion, I think the way Planned Parenthood representatives handled the matter only caused more criticism from the public. I find that after watching videos and interviews, the crisis management team does not appear to be doing any “fixing.” In order to implement an effective plan, there should have been a meeting between all of the head spokespersons for the company to lay down some guidelines. First, it would have been effective to issue a script to those who speak out about the company. If the topic of the leaked videos or anything else confrontational were to come up, the staff would know exactly what to say and most importantly, the statements would be the same across the board. Secondly, there should be an understanding that these videos are in the public eye and denying what the public is seeing is just setting up the company for more negative accusations. The only thing that this crisis management team appears to be doing is just telling their spokespersons to deny the videos and nothing else. Obviously this is not helping the companies overall image, and in order to hold on to the little integrity that they have left, they need to be making more of a real action plan. For example, releasing statements every time a new video is released, writing speeches for executive personnel who will be getting interviewed by the press, holding press conferences, and hosting events that showcase other services Planned Parenthood provides patients. Their image is the number one thing that is being diminished, so showing that they are still a strong company, even though they are up against many pitch forks and screaming protestors, will ultimately help their image for the time being.

References:

Dipietro, B. (2015, August). Crisis of the Week: Planned Parenthood Feels the Heat. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 28, 2015 from http://blogs.wsj.com/riskandcompliance/2015/08/04/crisis-of-the-week-planned-parenthood-feels-the-heat/

Disturbing New Planned Parenthood Video Details Harvesting Fetal Body Parts (2015, July). Fox News Insider. Retrieved September 28, 2015 from http://insider.foxnews.com/2015/07/28/disturbing-new-planned-parenthood-video-details-harvesting-fetal-body-parts

Hall, R. (2015, August 4). Conservative Women’s Leader to CNN: Drop Planned Parenthood Consultant. mdc NewsBusters. Retrieved September 28, 2015 from http://newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/randy-hall/2015/08/04/conservative-womens-leader-cnn-drop-planned-parenthood-consultant

O’Keefe, E. (2015). Jeb bush: Congress ‘has every right to investigate’ planned parenthood videos. Washington: WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/docview/1697998396?accountid=39473

Why research is important in Public Relations

Whether it be simple statistics of competitors or understanding what will please their consumers, research is the main component for these answers. This is why researching in Public Relations, or for any field in fact. As a student, performing research is expected in every course. Once finished with school, consistent researching doesn’t stop there. There is always some sort of information that companies can gain and the only way to do so is to research.

Specifically, how important is research to those in public relations? The answer is, very important. The complexity of data that public relations professionals must comprise is discovered solely through research. In the text “The Importance of Research to Public Relations” by Brigitta R. Brunner, she argues that researching in public relations has a specific structure and without that most research would be invalid (Brunner, 2003). Collecting informal research for a campaign gives a public relations professional knowledge in more than one aspect of a client.  By gaining this kind of information, public relations professionals are able to develop programs for clients.Research is the backbone of a campaign and without valuable knowledge of the client and their products, your campaign would be lacking successful, key components.

The research element of public relations plays a large role not only in developing strategies and campaign’s, but understanding your clients competitors. Without understanding these important values, a company can not learn how to excel their business. Through the use of research on not only statistics, but also social media platforms, blogs, and past work, a company can track their competitors and explore how their campaigns are succeeding or failing in the public eye. “Putting thorough research into any realistic plans help you establish realistic goals, meet communication objectives and increase your campaigns’ chances for success” (Sanchez, 2013).This helps further a campaign by developing a list of do’s and don’ts when PR-ing a product. By doing this, the client will feel more comfortable moving forward with a campaign pitch. In order to gain confidence and trust in the client, you as a PR professional need to show valuable research you have done. This not only builds your credibility but also shows that you have fully taken the time to understand the clients wants and needs.

In public relations, research also allows a team to understand the market that their client is working within. Knowing demographics as well as certain individuals to persuade the product is important. Also, “Market research involves more than demographics – you have to analyze the behavior, lifestyles, and preferences of your audience” (“The Importance of Research in Public Relations”). The client’s main focus is to release effective propaganda to those in their target market. In order to do this effectively, PR professionals need to research the best way to connect with these particular groups of people. If this is not done right then the focus of the entire campaign would be unclear and you would not impress the client or their work done thus far.

Research in Public Relations contributes to a variety of aspects when it come to organizing a campaign for a client. Not only does this cover basic information, but it also allows Public Relations professional to devise a plan geared directly towards the clients wants. Research is the key component to a successful campaign.

References:

Brunner, B. R. (2003). The importance of research to public relations. Review Of Communication3(4), 419-423. doi:10.1080/1535859032000106327

The Importance of Research in Public Relations (n.d.). PR Friend. Retrieved September 16, 2015.

Sanchez, C. (2013, September). 3 Reasons Why Research is Crucial to Effective Public Relations. Weber Shandwick. Retrieved September 16, 2015.

Why I decided Public Relations was the right fit

As a typical freshman, I did what most do and picked a major that I ended up changing within five minutes of being a student at Grand Valley. After spending a majority of my free time playing sports through out grade school, I thought it would be logical to major in athletic training. That was until I attended a few health classes and left more green in the face than interested in fixing peoples dismantled bodies.

Well, the indecisiveness didn’t stop there. While many students take one strait road to their degree, I’m making it more interesting and wiggling down a winding road to mine. You know when the college tour guide tells you that you shouldn’t feel bad about changing a major because it took them multiple attempts to get to theirs? Well, they should start making that “warning” a sticker to put on your binders or agendas because I found out really fast that, that is a common thing most college students do. But hey, I am not complaining! I believe that taking the time to slowly maneuver down my winding road is really helping me understand what is the right major and career for me.

I am in a sorority…shocker, right…well, it was to me. My sister joined her sophomore year and when I came to Grand Valley she pretty much gave me no choice, I just had to join. Actually, to my surprise, I genuinely liked the girls I got to meet and decided, what the heck, I might as well join this organization and see what it has to offer.

Little did I know that those screaming girls dressed in head to toe pastels are the women that would help me understand the educational path I wanted to take. Once I joined the sorority, I was able to talk to girls that were in the same situation as me. Started with a bio major and now don’t know what to do. Immediately after joining, I was given the chances to volunteer around campus and meet great people who I got to work with on events. Also, I was awarded the opportunity to represent my chapter on junior panhel where I was planning events and promoting greek life. One of the girls I was working with knew that I was miserable with my current major and mentioned something about public relations. After some consideration and talking to some girls who majored in public relations in my sorority, I thought it was worth a shot to try it out.

Again, to my surprise, I loved public relations. Once I changed my major and started my PR classes, I quickly realized I was in the right place. What I realized is that public relations is stepping outside of the box and making something look great in the best way possible. Through out my entire time here at Grand Valley that is all I have been doing. I have been taking the time to step out of the box and try things that I may not have thought to be fun or interesting to me. I want to help people see that kind of desire in the product or company that I will one day promote. I want my clients to step out of the box and see the potential that their brand has for success. The more I pursue this career the more I want to succeed in it, and I can honestly say that I will not be switching directions to another major.