Friday, May 24, 2013

Social media's monumental impact on PR campaigns

Social media has taken the PR world by storm, but is still rather foreign to many business people. When going over the results of a campaign, many professionals will cite "social media impressions". However, are impressions enough to gauge the success of a campaign? Many people say no. Executives want exact numbers and to see the true impact social media has on consumers' feelings and behaviors.  In response to this, Bulldog Reporter conducted an investigation on the best way to prove social media's worth in a PR campaign.

M Booth, a global communications agency, was approached by Partners in Preservation to increase consumer advocacy for old buildings. In essence, M Booth's main task was to grasp people's attention via social media and traditional outlets to come and see the historic buildings. The company succeeded in bringing thousands of new advocates to the cause through the use of blogs, hashtags, and live grassroot gatherings.

In order to get people's attention, M Booth knew that photos would not be enough and instead, set out to encourage people to actually come and visit the sites. Additionally, M Booth yearned to reach a younger crowd and concluded that they could not be reached via traditional media. Therefore, they set out to find a hipper, alternative outlet. 

In the end, bloggers were the saving grace of the campaign and allowed it to be the huge success that it was. M Booth sorted through one hundred candidates and decided on twenty influential bloggers that they wanted to get behind their campaign. The bloggers were encouraged to visit a few of the sites and post various blurbs and pictures featuring them. For example, Swagger New York, a fashion, music and pop culture blog, shot a fashion video editorial at one of the sites. Because the bloggers were able to put their own creative spin on the campaign, it appealed to their fan base and encouraged their subscribers to rally behind the cause. This would prove to be M Booth's biggest success.

In addition to the blog outreach, a traditional press event was held and a "Preservation Station" was created that traveled and encouraged support. Foursquare was also utilized in the campaign. Ultimately, M Booth attempted to create the most efficient combination of social media and face-to-face encounters. 

Here are the results of the campaign:

  • 107 posts
  • 289 tweets
  • 130 Facebook posts
  • 740 placements (NY Times, The Wall Street Journal, Today)
  • Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers voted for preservation
  • 40 NYC historic sites received grants
  • 3 historic preservation projects were fully funded
  • Won bronze in "Best Use of Social Media Tools" at the 2013 Bulldog Awards for Excellence in Media Relations & Publicity
To read the full Bulldog article, click here.

Friday, May 17, 2013

PR agencies under scrutiny for unpaid internships

For a Marist Communications student, unpaid internships are the norm. We have come to expect it and don't really question the fact that we work long hours with little to no pay. Personally, I am extremely thankful for the experience and although it would be nice to be receiving money, I understand that these are my dues that need to be paid. 

I was under the impression that many felt the same way until I came across a PR Week article discussing an investigation being done by the HMRC regarding unpaid internships. According to Intern Aware, "PR professionals are among the worst offenders for exploiting interns". A number of firms are currently under investigation and ten percent of them are either PR agencies or advertise PR roles. The issue under investigation is whether or not the employment law has been broken due to the fact that interns do not receive compensation for their work.

Intern Aware is an organization that advocates for paid internships and they have passed on the investigation to the HMRC, or HM Management and Customs. A spokesperson for Intern Aware said that the list contains various sized firms and that there are many agencies which specialize in food or fashion PR. 

This is not the first time that unpaid internships have garnered negative attention. In the past, they have been said to discriminate against those who cannot afford to work for free or relocate for the summer or semester. The PRWeek/PRCA campaign to end unpaid internships began in October of 2011 when a list of agencies that agreed to pay their interns minimum wage was created.  Here is the full timeline of events:

  • October 2011: PRWeek and PRCA launch campaign to end unpaid internships
  • March 2012: The CIPR concocts an "Internship and Work Placement" tool kit
  • June 2012: PRCA and Intern Aware discover that out of 150 PR interns, 23 percent are paid
  • April 2013: 85 agencies are now listed by the PRCA as providing minimum wage to their interns
Ultimately, it will be interesting to see where this investigation goes. Like I stated earlier, I am willing to work without pay because I know that the experience I am receiving offers great value. However, it is true that I am blessed to be able to afford not being paid and commuting to my internship. For many people, this is not an option. Does that mean that they should not get to experience internships and be a step behind upon graduation? I don't think so and that is why I feel that Intern Aware and PRCA may see some success in their fight to end unpaid internships.

I also found a cool infographic depicting internship trends for 2013. Interestingly enough, compensation was listed as the least important consideration when looking for an internship!

Friday, May 10, 2013

New Social Media Websites to Try

As college students and PR majors, we are constantly looking for the most up-to-date social media websites that set us apart from the competition. According to Ragan's PR Daily, there are currently thirteen new sites that they are loving right now. I decided to investigate and give you guys my top seven to familiarize yourself with before you start your summer internships/new jobs! Be the first to tell your boss about any of these and I am sure they will be blown away:

  • Tagboard
    • So cool! Type in something that is being talked about, and this website will bring you every single piece of content including that hashtag in order of relevancy.
    • For example, I searched Marist and the picture above is what it gave me.
    • This is a great resource for keeping an eye on your client on social media.

  • Woobox
    • This platform should be used by people who wish to engage their followers in things like contests and sweepstakes.
    • It allows for easier marketing and monitoring of various coupons and contests.

  • Piktochart
    • Marist PRSSA members love infographics
    • This site allows users to create their own infographics using various designs and templates

  • Feedspot
    • This tool will allow users to keep up with their favorite websites easily and efficiently.
    • It helps find blogs and websites that are similar with users' interests. 

  • Picozu
    • Want to make your photos look even better than usual? Use this site!
    • It features editing tools that will set your pictures apart from the competition's.

  • Rockmelt
    • Think of it as a combination between Pinterest and Stumbleupon.
    • Users can search various topics and get Pinterest style icons to scroll through and explore.

  • LiveTweetApp
    • If you want to generate word of mouth at your events, use this tool.
    • This app decides what is actually relevant and will then broadcast it to your audience.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

3D Printing

Picture via Forbes

Last week on our Agency Tour, a firm mentioned that they have a 3D printer in their office. Immediately, I was enthralled by the fact that such a thing even exists and was further blown away by the description of its capabilities. Apparently, you can put materials like plastic, rubber, or metal into the printer and create whatever shape you want it to become.

In terms of utilizing it in a PR sense, the firm mentioned that they sometimes use it to print things for potential clients upon their visits. Here's how it works:

  • Some printers scan, while others allow you to digitally design what you wish to create
  • A virtual blueprint is then concocted
  • Detailed dimensions allow the printer to prepare to print out the object in layers 
  • Once you are happy with your design, it is sent to the printer
3D printing will undoubtedly have a huge effect on various industries. It is already being used in the healthcare sector for things like custom leg braces and hearing aids. Additionally, architecture is advancing through technology that is able to print out entire rooms. Ultimately, the only setbacks 3D printing will see are issues with cost and copyright infringement. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Final esPResso of the year is hot off the press!

I am pleased to announce that the fourth issue of our Chapter newsletter, esPResso is out today! It couldn't have been done without our contributors who wrote an outstanding total of 20 articles this month. Be sure to check out the newest addition, PR Crisis Hotline, a two-page spread of the latest PR crises and how the controversies were handled. You can also turn to page eight to learn more about our 2013-2014 e-board!

As the semester comes to a close, I want to thank everyone who helped make esPResso possible this year. I highly encourage all of you to participate in any way possible next year. It's a great experience! I'm going to miss working on this great newsletter when I'm out in the real world, but I have all the faith in the world that the future issues will be amazing! I can't wait to read each one!

Enjoy the last few weeks of the semester and spread the word about esPResso!

(Check out esPResso here: