Cara Mitchell

April 21, 2009

Do The Right Thing.

Filed under: Other — by caramitchell @ 1:15 pm
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Is Bad/Unethical/ Unthoughtful PR ruining our reputations before we (PR students) even get in the door?

Throughout the semester our PR class has been studying examples of both good and bad PR – because there is definitely a lot to learn from both the good and the bad of what PR people are doing.

Lately, some examples of bad PR are making me think…

The words “public relations practitioner” already automatically leave a bad taste in some people’s mouths. Often this is because of several reasons (possibly the media’s depiction of the field, and actual PR practitioners who are not good at what they do for various reasons [ex: lack of strategic thinking/ planning, lack of ethics, etc.]).

Many times the examples of bad PR are shocking, but this one from the Bad Pitch Blog is THE craziest thing I’ve heard. A texted pitch!!?? This is unbelievable and ridiculous. (I though it was a joke…I usually don’t even like when my friends send me multiple pages of text. This goes against just about EVERYTHING I’ve learned about PR).

This is so unreal to me because of the class time we have spent learning about how to pitch, the group projects we’ve done learning the best ways to pitch, and the numerous blog posts I’ve read by PRofessionals about how to pitch depending on who you’re pitching to and what it is for.

In this post Dave Fleet touches on this subject by telling us that “PR isn’t the enemy”, but it’s Bad PR that is…one of the commenters drives this point home when he says that this is the case in any field- one bad apple can spoil the bunch, but this should just be fuel for us up and coming in the PR world to practice PR the way that we have learned to do it – the right way.

The way that doesn’t pitch to a journalist before even knowing what s/he writes about. The way that is strategic about the moves about to be made. The way that works to develop relationships with journalists and keep PR personalized. The way that works to tear down the wall of gobbledygook (lol) that so many companies are building with publications and press releases filled with big word that don’t say much. I can go on, but *hopefully* you get the picture.

Radio Raheem in Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing

Spike Lee's film: Do The Right Thing

What you do in PR can make that difference between someone or loving or hating PR, so do the right thing!

Overall, these bad/unethical/unthoughtful PR practitioners are definitely making it harder for us, but they will also make us look better when we get out there and show our employers, publics, fellow employees, and the media that there is a right way to practice PR, and that we can do it that right way.

What do you think about this?


April 17, 2009

Good PR: TOMS Shoes

Filed under: PR Examples — by caramitchell @ 5:43 pm
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The TOMS Shoes movement has been going on since 2006, and some recent great PR strategies are making people more aware of this important cause.

It works like this: You buy a pair of shoes from TOMS and they donate a pair of shoes to a child in need. The focus is on shoes because it’s a fact that “the leading cause of disease in developing countries is soil-transmitted parasites which penetrate the skin through open sores.”

Good PR:

This month TOMS Shoes used the pseudoevent tactic to raise awareness for this cause. On April 16th TOMS launched “One Day Without Shoes” where people everywhere are challenged to go barefoot to spread the word about TOMS and what it’s doing to help children in developing countries.

I learned about TOMS through an event for “One Day Without Shoes” on Facebook. I went to the Web site and Facebook is promoted as a way to ‘pledge your support’. Universities all over the country, including Clemson University, are listed on the TOMS site as having a “One Day Without Shoes” event.

Also, this month I began seeing an AT&T commercial featuring TOMS Shoes.

“One Day Without Shoes” was definitely a fun and creative way to raise awareness for TOMS.

So if you like shoe shopping, or even if you don’t 😉 take a look at what TOMS has to offer.

April 16, 2009

Comment on “Brand Yourself…on and offline” by Allie Fox

Filed under: Blog Comments — by caramitchell @ 1:10 pm

I comment on Allie Fox’s post: “Brand yourself on and offline”. In this post Allie reminds us of the importance of not getting so caught up in social media networking that we forget about the basic communication face-to-face skills that also play a role in personal branding.

April 7, 2009

Comment on “Applying for PR Jobs and Internships out of College” by Alyssa Maute

Filed under: Blog Comments — by caramitchell @ 12:02 pm

I comment on Alyssa Maute’s post where she shares some useful info she learned about how to present the best resumes and cover letters. This is a very useful post- especially because of its timeliness. Right now many students (including me) are sharpening our resumes and cover letters to land summer internships.

Just to add to Alyssa’s list of useful tips, I got some great advice from this online chat given by experts Heather Huhman and J.T. O’Donnell. (I wasn’t able to sit-in on the chat, but the transcript is posted here). And here’s another must read article by Huhman about cover letters.

April 2, 2009

Comment on “Message still matters more than method…or math” by Tiffany Sellers

Filed under: Blog Comments — by caramitchell @ 4:28 pm

I comment on “Message still matters more than method…or math” by Tiffany Sellers. Even though Tiffany isn’t in our PR class this semester, she is right in line with what we are learning with this post. It sums up much of what we discussed in class on yesterday about Twitter as a PR Tool.

In our discussion of Twitter as a PR Tool, we learned all about:

-how to determine whether or not a company should be on Twitter

-the importance of goals for Twitter use for a company

-how to use Twitter strategically based on publics and goals: how to get started, and what to tweet about/how to handle certain comments

Prior to this class, our assignment was to research various brands on Twitter to see how some companies use the site.  This allowed us to see how companies are currently using Twitter and to see what goes into making the most of Twitter for particular companies and what constitutes poor use of Twitter.

In response to Tiffany’s realization that the message still matters more than the method…or the math, I agree. And, I believe that it will always be the message that matters the most, regarldess of how many bells and whistles are developed, and in this case how many “tweeps” are following you – your message is ultimately the most important.

March 27, 2009

How do you explain PR?

Filed under: Other — by caramitchell @ 12:02 pm
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Many times when I meet new people (especially people older than me), and we have that introductory conversation, it often goes something like this:

PLAIN JANE: So, you’re at Clemson what’s your major?

ME: It’s Communication Studies.

JANE: Oh okay….so what do you want to do with that? 

ME: I’m hoping to work in public relations.

JANE: Oh, okay…So, what exactly is that?

As PR students, and people interested in PR, we know how to define PR. We know all about the multiple definitions our textbooks give, and the multiple views that people have of PR.

But, how do you explain PR?

First of all, I’m a bit shocked by how many people still really don’t know what PR is.  So, how do you explain PR to these people. I was at the beauty salon over spring break and one of the barber’s who worked there and I had this conversation.

Lately whenever a conversation goes  this way I’ve started asking the person to pick any organization or company. And then I explain to them what a public relations practitioner would/could and is supposed to do for that organization.

Through my public relations classes I’ve also learned that it’s also important to emphasize to people who don’t know what PR is, or who have a skewed view of PR that it is not underhanded and all about putting the right spin on a message- when it’s done PRoperly :).


So, how do you do it?

I’m sure that many of us ( especially students) find ourselves in the situations all of the time where we are explaining PR, so how do you find yourself telling others about what PR is? I’m just interested in knowing if there are other people who have a particular way of answering this question (that I seem to be asked all of the time).

Please, share your stories and methods!

March 25, 2009

Comment on “BAD PR”

Filed under: Blog Comments — by caramitchell @ 9:17 pm

I comment on “BAD PR” by Allie Fox on March 25, 2009. This post highlights an example  of horrible PR by a restaurant owner- check it out and learn what to NEVER do in communicating with valuable stakeholders.

Comment on “Blogging=Backstage Pass”

Filed under: Blog Comments — by caramitchell @ 9:02 pm
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I comment on Ashely Hall’s post “Blogging=Backstage Pass” where she talks about how Charleston Magazine is covering Charleston Fashion Week event’s with the creative director and  models blogging about everything going on behind the scenes. So, read Ashley’s post, the concept of blogging as the new backstage pass is fascinating.

February 26, 2009

Comment on “Being the Difference”

Filed under: Blog Comments — by caramitchell @ 5:56 pm
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I comment on a post on the Being the Difference blog on February 26, 2009. This blog is not directly related to PR, but I wanted to share it anyway for anyone who might find it interesting. I came across this blog through the Have Fun Do Good blog and it’s motivating and inspiring! The blog shares stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to change the world- check it out!

P.S.: This blog relates to PR because it revolves around getting your story out there and connecting to people. Since we just covered feature story writing and are in the process of writing feature stories for our Comm. Studies newsletter- these are good examples of to read.

February 11, 2009

Comment on “Is you is or is you ain’t: Social Media Expert”

Filed under: Blog Comments — by caramitchell @ 6:16 pm

I comment on fellow PR student Erin Sanders post: “Is you is or is you ain’t: Social Media Expert” on February 11, 2009. This post (in response to a post by Dave Fleet) raises questions that anyone who claims to be a social media expert should be ready & able to answer.

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