OU PRSSA Takes on National Conference

On Thursday, October 4, Jensen Armstrong and I traveled to Austin, TX to represent our Chapter at National Conference. National Conference is a yearly event, which is held in a new city every year; last year National Conference was held in Boston, MA.

 (Jason Mollica speaking at PRSSA National Conference)

(Jason Mollica speaking at PRSSA National Conference)

The weekend is packed with networking, agency tours, resume critiques, career and Chapter development sessions and award ceremonies. Students who attend National Conference are also highly encouraged to attend PRSA’s International Conference, which is happening at the same time in the same city.

On Saturday, October 6, I attended a personal development session called, “Personal Branding, Digital Analytics and Your Future Success.” Jason Mollica, a professor from American University, led the session. Mollica stressed the importance of how developing your own personal brand never stops, even when you are out in the professional world.  

Mollica stated that as PR professionals, we should always be defining and redefining our brand because even after graduation, you should always be a student who is eager and willing to learn new information. Because of this, your brand should constantly be evolving.

 (From Left to Right: University of Nevada Chapter President Daniel Long, SUNY Plattsburg New York Chapter President Haily Dang, University of Oklahoma Chapter President Chelsea Journee, University of Central Oklahoma President Marc Estuche)

(From Left to Right: University of Nevada Chapter President Daniel Long, SUNY Plattsburg New York Chapter President Haily Dang, University of Oklahoma Chapter President Chelsea Journee, University of Central Oklahoma President Marc Estuche)

Sometimes, we forget to think about our own brand because we are constantly thinking about our clients’ brands. It is important to care about your brand and be proud of who you are. Don’t be afraid of being passionate about something; use your passions to brand yourself.  

Mollica also talked about analyzing your brand. I personally think that is a step that most people forget about because as PR professionals, we are constantly monitoring our clients’ brands on social media and seeing the sentiment of mentions, comments, etc. It is important to take the time to audit yourself.

Remember to audit what you are posting and what you are putting out on the Internet. Tools that Mollica mentioned to successfully analyze your brand included Klear (https://klear.com/), Talk Walker (https://www.talkwalker.com/) and Meltwater (https://www.meltwater.com/).

My favorite thing about PRSSA national events is connecting with students from all over the nation. Jensen Armstrong and I had the privilege of meeting student leaders and Chapter members from California, Nevada, New York, Florida, Alabama, and the list goes on and on.

 (Treasurer Jensen Armstrong and President Chelsea Journee at National Conference)

(Treasurer Jensen Armstrong and President Chelsea Journee at National Conference)

I highly encourage students from our chapter to attend National Conference next year. PRSSA’s National Conference will be held in sunny San Diego in 2019. 

If you have any questions about National Conference, please don’t hesitate to contact me!  chelseajournee@ou.edu 

Erika's Summer Internship Experience: Influencer Marketing

Summer has come to an end, which means it’s time to reflect on what I learned during my summer internship. I had the incredible opportunity to be the public relations intern at i.d.e.a. - an integrated creative agency in sunny San Diego! Most of my time was spent conducting influencer marketing research where I learned a few things. Not only was this type of marketing fun for me to dive into, but it’s a growing aspect of public relations that young PR professionals need to keep in mind as they enter the workforce.

Influencer marketing - this form of marketing focuses on the use of influential people rather than directly marketing to whole publics. Whether you’re using an influencer database such as GroupHigh or doing organic research, there’s a few things PR practitioners need to keep in mind when making their recommendations to their client.

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1. Before you begin your research. Always keep in mind your client’s overall brand, goals and purpose before diving into the research. Your goal should be to find an influencer who can relate to the brand authentically so they can in turn share content that will resonate with their followers.

2. Budget. Influencer marketing is a growing industry with costs ranging from the hundreds to the thousands. It’s important to know your budget before beginning your research so you know what you’re working with. During this time you can establish how you will measure your return on investment (ROI). Are you really getting the most bang for your buck?

3. Social. In the world of technology, social media following and engagement is crucial. The more followers and positive sentiment an influencer has, the more likely your client will reach a bigger audience. It’s always a good idea to scan through the followers an influencer has too. Avoid being misled with bought followers.

4. Bloggers. It’s also important to check if the influencer has a blog. Depending on the client, product or service, blogs may not be as important. Bloggers really come into play in travel and food industries. You’ll want to research the number of unique visitors per month (UVM) the blog has. Resources such as Cision can help identify this number. Much like social following, UVM is important in determining the potential reach an influencer has.

5. Media landscape. If an influencer is big enough, they may have been featured in regional and local news. Do a quick Google search to check if their reach goes beyond social and blogging.

Influencer marketing is a growing trend within the public relations industry and although these tips are not all encompassing, they can be used as you begin learning more about and researching influencers.

Happy to talk more about my experience with you. Let’s grab coffee and chat. Contact me at erika.fierro-1@ou.edu.

Same City, New President: What New Leadership in Washington, D.C. means for its Communicators.

Guest post by Hannah Franklin,  Inclusion and Diversity committee member

Have you been on Twitter lately? Have you talked to your grandma on the phone, or maybe turned on the local news? If you have, then you know Donald Trump has a problem with the media, or “dishonest media.” Whether your answer to any conversation over politics begins with an “R,” a “D” or a “no comment,” as public relations young professionals, we must diligently watch how our role in the media and how media’s role in the U.S. is going through some changes. Will Trump’s administration set a new tone for politics and media or has the tone already been set? Most importantly for us, what is the best way for public relations young professionals to adapt to this new media environment?

I recently dove into a few articles that addressed the expected shift in media. One of those articles came from a website called “The Capitol Communicator.” The article zeroed in on how communications in the Washington, D.C. area will change over the course of the next few years. One of the more obvious changes predicted more Republican-minded communicators will be in demand as is typical when parties switch control. Other media shifts the article discussed included focused messaging and integrated digital campaigns, both of which were used heavily in this year’s election.

As a public relations young professional who's focused a lot on the social media realm of the industry, it's clear to see that political communication, and all communication, frankly, will be incorporating digital methods to reach greater audiences in a shorter amount of time. Digital presidential campaigns were first seen with Barack Obama's 2008 election and was heavily seen in the 2016 race.

My thoughts on this integration? The way social media is evolving and integrating itself into various forms of communication is changing rapidly, and it's never going to stop being interesting and conversation-starting. This works to the advantage of digital campaigns because it calls people to start or continue conversations about those campaigns, thus making numerous people aware of said campaign and politician. But how do D.C. communicators, digital and traditional alike, think about how to adapt to digital campaigns and one of its most frequent users being in the White House?

Al Jackson from EVP Public Affairs in Washington, D.C. offered great insight into how communicators will adapt during this time in the media industry:

There are some big lessons here for public affairs practitioners, not the least of which is the distrust of Washington embodied by the Trump movement. Indeed, voters demonstrated a distrust of government institutions that likely extends to private companies in the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. It’s something we’ve got to keep in mind as we develop programs for our clients. Additionally, the Trump team had a completely different approach to this campaign and this election than everyone else did. We can’t just stick with what has worked in the past — to be successful we’ve got to look at things differently.

I never gave that much thought to what happens to D.C. communication when a new president takes office, but it’s one of the most intriguing times in communications throughout the entire nation. Communicators around the United States and even globally are impacted with the national change in leadership, and this time of leadership has already proven to keep communicators on their toes.

Diversity and Inclusion

Guest Blog Post by Teresa Flores Guillen, OU PRSSA Inclusion Director. 

When I hear about diversity and inclusion, the terms are very often used interchangeably. The message is usually that beyond tolerance, we are trying to create a campus that values every individual the same and gives everyone the same opportunities to succeed. As part of what we called the Inclusion Committee within PRSSA, however, I think it’s important to understand what those words mean individually and why they are both so crucial to the development of the OU community.

A few years ago, I heard someone explain it in such a simple way, I was shocked I hadn't heard it from anyone else. It was a speaker at a networking event whose name I can’t seem to remember but whose words stayed with me until now.

You can look at it this way, diversity is about who gets invited to the table, while inclusion is about who feels welcomed at the table.

It’s a simple enough concept, and it’s that simplicity that made its truth resonate with me. So how do we know the difference and where do we draw the line?

When we talk about diversity in the industry, I think people understand we’re talking about richer ideas that come from collaborating with a group of people with all kinds of backgrounds and knowledge, because they all have a unique view of the world. Diversity occurs in spite of oppressive or exclusionary attitudes or behaviors within an institution because of individuals' desire and drive to move forward and succeed in any industry. 

On the other hand, inclusion is about letting people know that their voices are important, that they have something to say on every matter and they should because their perspective will always be uniquely theirs. Our industry, public relations, is better off when it opens doors to those who can make a positive change and bring innovative ideas to the table, regardless of who they are. This is where it gets tricky. It's never a question of diversity for the sake of diversity, but we must understand how our neutrality can be perceived when the norm has for so long been that minority groups have less of a voice, if they have one at all. The growing effort within the industry to create more inclusive spaces communicates to both its professionals and its publics that public relations is ready to take on the expanding global market, acknowledging those who have a voice, both from within the an organization and from its stakeholders' perspective.

Why are diversity and inclusion important in a public educational institution like the University of Oklahoma? Because this is where many of us really get to see the world and learn about others' experiences. This is the first place that will welcome us as professionals, and give us new ideas and the tools to use them. It’s not about diversity for the sake of diversity, but rather about looking for innovation and understanding, both of which require varied perspectives. Both diversity and inclusion foster an expansion and exploration of ideas that emerge when the individuals in a group have different backgrounds, knowledge and expertise.