What immediately comes to mind when you see a picture of:
Chances are, your immediate thoughts were something along these lines:
- Ryan Lochte – Olympic medalist, party boy, “ladies man,” hot body, not always articulate (JEAH!)
- Nicki Minaj – singer/songwriter, rapper, wild, over-the-top, colorful, crazy fashion sense
- Angelina Jolie – adoptions, philanthropic, global, actress, Brad Pitt
If you Google these people, the stories and pictures that come up in your search results will likely support these perceptions. Am I a mind reader? No. Has Google started tapping into your brain waves to give you the results you expect? Maybe.
The perceptions we have about these people stem from the fact that they have – either purposely or accidentally – developed clear personal brands. Their actions, fashion choices, relationships and words have built what we see as their personal brand. Over time, this personal brand can easily evolve based on your actions, sometimes turning into a perception that is different from what you intended.
Does Ryan Lochte want to be known as a not-always-articulate party boy? From where I stand it appears the answer is JEAH! But chances are he’d rather be known as an incredible swimmer and an Olympic champion instead. Sure, we know the boy can swim, but our immediate perception goes beyond that now (party boy, “ladies man,” etc.) and speaks more to what his brand has become.
If you’re like me, you aren’t famous (YET – we have to keep hoping, right?), and the masses likely wouldn’t be able to list off what comes to mind when they see your picture. But you still have a personal brand. If you haven’t already, think about what you want to be known for. You should know what you want your personal brand to be, so that you can embody it and so people begin recognizing your brand.
Don’t be shocked by your Google results!
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreedigitalPhotos.net
Photo from: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1280072
By Amanda Coppock
In my time as an intern at Porter Novelli, one of the areas I came to love was media relations. While some enjoy this function of PR more than others, at one point or another it is a skill that we will all have to master. Like any skill, with media relations, practice makes perfect. Sure, at first it can seem like an overwhelming and daunting task, but once you begin establishing relationships with reporters, it becomes more comfortable.
Through my experience with media relations, I have developed a few key steps for writing pitches:
Developing a Tailored Pitch
1. Identify reporters and outlets that have covered similar stories in the past.
2. Develop a pitch that is specific to the reporter, especially if they have covered a similar story in the past. If the reporter has covered a related story, call it out at the beginning of the pitch to let them know why your pitch is relevant to them.
3. Identify the story idea from the beginning of the pitch – do not make them search for it by placing the information too far down in the pitch.
4. Make the pitch work for the reporter – let them know why it is relevant to their audience, what interview opportunities exist and how they can get more information.
Developing a General Pitch
1. Start with the story idea – let the reporter or editor know what you want them to do from the opening of the pitch.
2. Grab the reporter or editor from the beginning – use statistics, provide an interesting fact, make a local connection, etc.
3. Don’t forget the important stuff! – see number four above
The pitch is where you catch the reporter’s attention and make him interested in what you have to say. I find that the strongest pitches are those that are tailored to a reporter or outlet with an interest or recent coverage related to your topic. Sometimes, tailoring a pitch to a previous story may not be possible, so a general pitch will be the route you have to take. Either way, you have to hit the high points and grab the reporter’s interest.
Your internship is a time for you to gain a wide variety of experience, and pitching is likely to be a part of it. One of the reasons I was able to do a lot of media relations as an intern was because I expressed my interest. Don’t be afraid to let your manager know what you enjoy and to ask to do more in that area – you might just become an expert along the way!
It’s safe to say that we live in a world dominated by online communication. When our parents and grandparents began getting Facebook accounts, I knew that social media was not a trend reserved exclusively for Millennials. From Facebook to Twitter to blogs, it seems that nearly everyone and every company has an online voice.
The ability for anyone to take part in online communication means that a lot of what is out there is simply noise that we easily ignore. Therefore, if I’m going to share my thoughts with the entire online world, I want to be sure that I am creating something valuable, not just noise!
An article posted on Ragen’s PR Daily last week outlined tips for creating a meaningful blog to break through all the online clutter. Here are the top takeaways from the blog, with a bit of my commentary sprinkled in:
- Coming up with a direct but enticing title is the most important part of your blog post: A title should catch your reader’s attention, but make sure it relates to your post. I always wait until I have finished my blog or article to come up with a title. That way I know that it relates—and I normally have an “ah-ha!” moment while I’m writing that provides the perfect title.
- The perfect blog post lets readers know immediately what they are about to read: I love a great novel, but I have to agree that when I am reading a blog, once it nears novel (or even short story) length, I lose interest. Especially for younger generations, online is synonymous with quick and easy. Readers will only give you so much of their time.
- Top-10 lists and rankings interest readers and give them a reason to read to the end: I don’t know what it is about a good top-10 list, but people seem to love them. Think about how much excitement and buzz David Letterman builds with his nightly top-10 lists—wouldn’t it be great to create that for your blog? The once-you-start-you-can’t-stop Pringles mentality helps maintain your readers’ attention.
- A great blog needs a lot of outbound links: Just because a blog is your opinion, doesn’t mean that you should refuse to back up that opinion. Links make your blog more credible and a better resource, more than just your opinion. They also help increase SEO, or search engine optimization, which is always a nice plus, especially for a corporate blog.
- Make your post look nice: Organizing your post nicely so that it is easy to read makes your reader happy and allows you to emphasize the things that are most important.
- Adding images or videos is crucial to breaking up text and keeping it interesting: One of the greatest things about publishing your content online is the ability to make it interactive. Try posting a video instead of typing out your blog to give it a since of personality. For businesses, videos make your company seem more personal and better optimize search engine rankings.
- A perfect blog post is concise and stays on topic: You came to this blog to read about…well, blogs. If I randomly started writing about cooking, you would be confused and probably stop reading. Each blog should be able to stand on its own and focus on what it claims to. There’s nothing worse than false advertising.
- Keywords are key: Using commonly searched terms and tagging them in your blog helps bring in more readers.
- Stay under 1,000 words—aim for 500 to 800: Online readers’ attention spans are only so long. Keep it short whenever you can.
- Don’t simply say what everyone else is saying: Blogs are personal. They should include opinion and insight. Readers are much more likely to keep coming back for more if you offer something new. Think about what makes you unique and apply that to your blog. Are you a jokester? Add a humorous commentary to your blog about (insert over-discussed topic here).
So to abide by tip number nine, I will leave you with this: like all writing, becoming a great blogger takes time and learning tricks like these. Find a topic that you are passionate about and make the effort to share your thoughts with the online world (parents and grandparents included!).
By Amanda Coppock
Needless to say, the past month and a half has been a whirlwind for me in more ways than one.
For most recent graduates, vivid images of caps and gowns, diplomas and university ceremonies fill their minds as they enter the working world. My graduation was less ceremonious, and filled with a very different type of vivid image.
April 27 was the Wednesday of “dead week” at The University of Alabama. I had one final standing between me and graduation, not that it worried me at all, since it was in my Twilight Zone class (yes, that Twilight Zone…aliens…science fiction…you got it!). I was looking forward to taking pictures with my friends in our regalia around campus the next day. My family had reservations for the night of May 7 after graduation. Everything was perfectly planned for the culmination of my college career.
I am, always have been and always will be, a planner. But there are some things you just can’t plan for. When I woke up on April 27, I had no way of knowing that a tornado would destroy a large part of the city I had lived in for the past four years, and my plans for the next few weeks along with it. Luckily, the storm spared both me and my apartment. The neighborhoods and businesses surrounding me were not so lucky.
Within the next two days, the university canceled classes, then finals and graduation. Just like that, I was a tornado survivor and graduate all in one week. It certainly wasn’t what I had envisioned. Two and half weeks later, I began my internship in consumer PR at Porter Novelli in Atlanta.
I much prefer the public relations agency whirlwind to the tornado whirlwind I escaped. From the tornado, to quickly moving to a new city, to a fast graduation trip to New York City with my mother and godmother (we left two days after I moved in and returned two days before my internship began), to agency life, I have experienced a lot in the past few weeks. As much of a whirlwind as everything has been, having such a talented and caring team to work with every day has made it seem far less overwhelming.
I am a strong believer that the key to happiness is enjoying what you do. Throughout my internships and PRSSA experience, I have come to love PR and find it is something I grow in the more I practice. Getting to work with the fabulous team at Porter Novelli has been a joy so far, and adds to how much I love the career I chose to pursue. I cannot wait to see how much more I can learn from the talented professionals who surround me.
And don’t worry; I will still get to have a graduation ceremony. I’ll be traveling back to Tuscaloosa in August to walk at our delayed graduation. My nontraditional graduation experience is something I will never forget. Roll Tide!
By Amanda Coppock