Wondering if you are on the right track with what I am expecting from your blogs? Here’s a checklist for you based on what should be at your blog by the end of February. I will be evaluating your blogs again (for a grade) at some point in early March. It’s likely that I will not announce the specific date ahead of time. I will go back and look at previous posts again.
Georgia Southern classes:
Southeastern University classes:
As I’ve reminded you in class frequently, it’s critical to keep up with your blogs. If you haven’t already done so, you may want to create an Editorial Calendar for yourself to help schedule your required posts.
Finally, in some informal checks I’ve done recently, here are a few things that I’ve noticed:
- When you put in a hyperlink, don’t let the reader see the URL. Ever. Simply hyperlink from a few relevant words.
- Blog comments (the ones you write on others’ blogs) need to be added to ONE post of yours, not as individual posts in your blog.
- Proofread. Any errors diminish your credibility as a future PR practitioner.
- See the Improving Your Blog video I created for you in January after the last blog check.
Are you an outstanding Georgia Southern University public relations student? If so, you might want to submit your name (and accompanying documentation) for one of our annual Public Relations Advisory Board awards.
Nominations/applications are being sought in the following areas:
Public Relations Writing: Submit 3-5 short samples. Samples may include, but are not limited to, news, features, brochure copy, newsletter articles, communication plans, and web-based writings. Preference will be given to published works and successfully implemented communication plans.
Public Relations Design: Submit 3-5 samples. Samples may include, but are not limited to, newsletters, brochures, posters, advertisements, web pages, and PSA design elements. Preference will be given to original designs.
Public Relations Planning: Submit program overview and corresponding materials. Provide documentation of your contribution to this program. Indicate if the plan was completed by a group or individual. Describe each component of the plan and each team member’s contribution to the plan.
Public Relations Research: Submit 1-3 research papers and /or projects. Projects may entail academic investigations or applied projects that contribute to our understanding of public relations and communications. Co-authored work will be accepted based on applicant or applicants’ contributions to the project. Preference will be given to original research papers or projects.
Public Relations Student of the Year: Submit resume and portfolio. The portfolio should exhibit success in the following areas: (a) leadership and extra-curricular, (b) professional development, (c) academic works, and (d) academic or professional presentations.
Visit one of the bulletin boards in Veazey Hall for an application or use this PDF form.
NOTE: You must submit your application no later than Wednesday, March 3, at 5 p.m.
The week of February 22, my PR Writing classes are learning about the components of a news release and writing their first news releases. I have recorded this short presentation for them to share “The Anatomy of a News Release :: A Baker’s Dozen.”
NOTE: I lost my voice earlier this week, and my voice is still pretty wimpy in this recording.
In order to benefit from this presentation, it’s best to have a news release from an organization–any organization–handy so that you can see how the 13 elements are used in “real life.” Go out to your favorite organization or company online, search for a section of the website called “News Room” or something similar, and find a news release there. This week, my favorite product is Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat Tea, so here’s a link to TM’s Press & Media section of its site.
About a week ago, I sent out a request on Twitter for ideas for how to back up a WordPress.com blog. You see, all of my students at Georgia Southern University and Southeastern University (about 200 total) are blogging this semester as part of their course engagement and participation requirements. I had a sinking feeling that some of my students might not have the information they are posting at their blogs saved anywhere else, and wondered what would happen if WordPress.com went down or out of business.
This afternoon, WordPress.com was down for a while. And some of the students (and many, many others) began to — in layman’s terms — freak out. As I suspected, they didn’t have their information backed up.
We love having free services available for ourselves and our students. We expect the services to work all the time. And when they don’t? Life is unpleasant. And a little scary.
Because I wanted a little more control over my blog, I chose to self-host it using BlueHost. It costs me about $100 a year, which is a reasonable investment for me. (GoDaddy is less expensive, but I find its ads offensive so I choose to spend my money elsewhere.) Do I force my students to pay to blog? No. Should I recommend it as a good option? I’m thinking that I should now.
That all said, what should students do to be sure they have backup copies of all their blog posts (especially when they will be graded on their blogs)?
Here are a few ideas:
- Use the WordPress Export feature to back up your entire blog, comments and all. I do this at least once a week.
- Write your blog posts in Microsoft Word, and use Word to publish to WordPress. It’s easy to set up. Sometimes you need to do a little cleanup of the post when it gets to WordPress, but most if the times things come through cleanly. (Save your files to a folder on your hard drive in addition to posting them online.)
- Write your blog posts in Microsoft Word and copy/paste them to WordPress. Sometimes the formatting gets funky when you do this, but if you don’t mind the cleanup, it works okay. (Save your files to a folder on your hard drive in addition to posting them online.)
- Write your blog posts in Google Docs and copy/paste them to WordPress. The formatting seems to come through pretty cleanly with Google Docs. (Save your files to a folder on your hard drive in addition to posting them online.)
- If you’ve lost a post that you already published, you may be able to recover it by going to Google, then searching for the title of the post or the name of your blog. You may find that Google has the information in its cache. Or for older posts, try the Wayback Machine (you’ll need to know the URL to the blog to make this one work).
Bottom Line: When you’re working in the cloud, especially on free sites, have a back up plan. (Back up? Get it?)
What other ideas would YOU recommend?
[Updated from a post written in Fall 2009]
As part of our PRCA 3711/4711 Public Relations Practicum course at Georgia Southern University, students create and present portfolios of their work.
Kelli Matthews, an assistant professor of public relations at the University of Oregon, created a packet of information for her students to help them prepare their portfolios. With Kelli’s permission, I have tweaked it slightly (only removing the U of O specific information) and am sharing it here.
Also, I asked PR professionals on LinkedIn for their advice about portfolios. Specifically, I asked:
- Do you prefer a PR student’s portfolio to be digital or in a binder?
- How many samples do you hope to see?
- What tips would you offer a student who is showing you a portfolio in an interview (how should they show it to you)?
I was pleased to receive nearly 20 responses within a week’s time. Here’s what the professionals said.
After Fall Semester’s PR Practicum students had their Portfolio Reviews, I wrote a short post hitting the highlights (and lowlights) of their interviews. It’s worth a read.
Do you have additional suggestions for PR students who will be interviewing for entry-level positions? I’d love to hear from you!
Students in almost all of my classes this semester are blogging, with varying degrees of success so far. I recorded a six-minute Prezi with tips for them to improve their blogs.
I’ll admit it . . . . I am not a football fan, unless we’re talking about Auburn University football. But I will be watching the Superbowl, for (you guessed it) the ads. Here are all the ads for Superbowl XLIV.
Of all the ads in the game, which one is your favorite and least favorite? Why?