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Hello, I've learned a lot about my writing this semester. I found out that I'm an excellent technical writer. I try to get to right to the point in my work. This portfolio shows my growth throughout the semester. It starts with a profile piece I wrote about myself the first day of class, which I find very funny because it doesn't read like I wrote it at all. It ends with a paper about traditional and social media, where I share what I found important during a visit from two women who currently work at GolinHarris. I think I've done a solid job in this class. It was all very easy after I decided what direction I wanted to take the Houston-Canonsburg Food Pantry. It's a great organization and it needs a lot of work in public relations. I believe that I could potentially help the organization outside of the assignments during class. The plan outlines what I would potentially do for the organization. I want to give the pantry an online presence and integrate it as a staple in the community. All of the work correlating to the pantry works for the nonexistent budget that pantry has. I'm proud of all the work I've done in this class and I would happily show this portfolio to anyone. I think that these works were my best in the class and I'm excited to share them. This work shows emotional depth, technical skills, and detailed planning. I hope that anyone who will look at this will agree.

Thank you,

Thomas Cornell

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Contents Personal Profile Piece ...................................................................................................................... 4 Houston-Canonsburg Food Pantry Public Relations Plan ............................................................... 6 OVERVIEW/PROBLEM ............................................................................................................ 6 RESEARCH ................................................................................................................................ 6 PLANNING................................................................................................................................. 7 Objectives ................................................................................................................................ 7 Target Audience ...................................................................................................................... 7 Strategies ................................................................................................................................. 7 Messages ................................................................................................................................. 8 Obstacles/Barriers/Threats ...................................................................................................... 8 EXECUTION/TACTICS ............................................................................................................ 8 School Visits............................................................................................................................ 8 Social Media ............................................................................................................................ 9 Blog ......................................................................................................................................... 9 Website .................................................................................................................................... 9 Contacted Media...................................................................................................................... 9 Outreach ................................................................................................................................ 10 EVALUATION ......................................................................................................................... 11 News Release ................................................................................................................................ 12 Photo Caption ................................................................................................................................ 14 Newsroom Plan ............................................................................................................................. 16 Public Service Announcement ....................................................................................................... 18 Digital and Traditional Media ........................................................................................................ 21

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Personal Profile Piece Thomas Cornell was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Cornell began his college journey at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania after graduating high school in 2009. He transferred to Point Park University where he switched his major to public relations after realizing his dream to be a social worker was unrealistic for him. Cornell transferred again because he still felt that he was not getting the education he wanted and went to Loyola University Chicago where he intends on obtaining a bachelor’s degree in public relations. Cornell was a quiet child until he was about 16-years-old. At that age he began talking so much his family wondered if he would ever be quiet again. That was also when people began telling him that he would succeed in the public relations field and that’s how he decided on the major he is currently pursuing. Pittsburgh always felt too small for Cornell. He realized that after little change in 20 years that it was not going to get any more exciting. It was a great place to grow up, but he needed more and that is when he decided to pack up his things and head to Chicago. Once he arrived in Chicago he realized that maybe the big city also wasn’t for him, but he was so far along in his schooling that another transfer would have pushed his graduation date back. Cornell has been looking forward to graduating since entering college and this was not a realistic option for him. Cornell has had some minor achievements along the way. He was involved with Slippery Rock Illusions at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. Illusions is a competitive dance, baton, and color guard group that traveled around the area to compete with other performers. The color guard came in second place, but they were the sole contestant in the category at one of the competitions. He thinks this is one of the most hilarious moments in his college career. Cornell served as vice president of Point Park University’s Public Relations Student Society of America for the fall semester of his junior year. Cornell wants to pursue a career in the music industry as a publicist. Music has always been a big part of his life. He has been a passionate music listener for as long he can remember. Cornell 4


His first musical infatuation was the Spice Girls and currently he is obsessing over the band Marina and the Diamonds. He wants to use public relations to immerse himself in the music industry as much as he can because he lacks musical talent.

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Houston-Canonsburg Food Pantry Public Relations Plan OVERVIEW/PROBLEM The Houston-Canonsburg Food Pantry, located in Canonsburg United Presbyterian Church, serves more than 120 families every month. The pantry serves people who aren’t always able to afford food for their families. The pantry, working on a food stamp system, offers an assortment of non-perishable goods to these families. The pantry has expanded well beyond just offering food. The pantry’s current coordinator, Barb Jones, gathers backpacks, notebooks, and other school supplies to offer the families at the beginning of each school year. The pantry also offers some clothes and toys. The pantry operates solely on food donations and volunteer efforts. Many of the volunteers come from Canon-McMillan High School and Chartiers Houston High School. These students are completing community service hours for a number of different reasons. Not everyone there is a volunteer; some workers have court-ordered community service. Donations come from the community. The food pantry works with Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of America, and the post office among others to gather food donations for the pantry. The food bank has been getting by, but it really needs more volunteers and donations. Sometimes the public will donate spoiled or damaged goods that can’t be handed out. The school supplies program is not very well known, so it’s harder to get people to donate these goods. It’s great that some of the local high schools are putting in time, but there is always room for more help.

RESEARCH Primary research will include interviewing volunteers from the past and present. These interviews will give insight into what kind of people volunteer at the pantry. This would also give information about what volunteers actually do while they work there. Interviewing Jones would also be an important part of the primary research. Jones runs the food pantry by herself, so she knows the organization inside and out. The information from Jones would provide details about Cornell 6


what needs done with the organization and what efforts that are already in effect need more attention. This would ensure that correct information is being distributed to the public. Experiencing a distribution day will also be important for research. Secondary information will be minimal on this plan. There is very little information readily available about the organization other than a short blurb on Canonsburg United Presbyterian Church’s website.

PLANNING Objectives

1. Increase number of volunteers at the food pantry 10% by reaching out to local high schools, churches, and businesses. 2. Increase number of donations 15% by educating the public about the pantry and its services. Target Audience The main audience for this program will be high school students, ages 13-18, who are committed to community service. Students that go to Canon-McMillan High School, Chartiers Houston High School, and Peters Township High School will be targeted specifically. No specific gender will be targeted. These are the targets for volunteers. The target audience for donations will be men and women aged 35-45 with a college education. The audience will also earn between $50,000 and $100,000 per year. These people are committed to making their community better, but have little time to help with time and are willing to donate food and other goods.

Strategies A different number of strategies will be used to gain new volunteers and donations. Representatives will be sent from the food pantry to all the nearby high schools to speak to classes and after-school groups about the pantry. Press releases will be given to local media; including local bloggers, newspaper and broadcast journalists. The organization currently does not utilize any social media and these will all be created and utilized throughout the campaign. A blog, written by Jones and other volunteers, will be created.

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Messages

1. The Houston-Canonsburg Food Pantry has the power to change people, just like Barb Jones, and help them move onto bigger and better things. This is why you should donate. 2. The food pantry is located in our neighborhood. We should strive to make our neighborhood better. Obstacles/Barriers/Threats There are many obstacles that need to be overcome to help the food pantry. The main issue will be getting people to believe that the Houston-Canonsburg Food Pantry deserves their food donations and time. Threats would include other food pantries like the Peters Township Food Pantry, Avella Food Pantry, and Monongahela Food Pantry. If they already have a strong affiliation it will be hard to break people’s view. This isn’t to say that any organization is more important than the others; it’s to bring more attention to the Houston-Canonsburg Food Pantry. Some people believe that people who utilize these services somehow got there on their own accord and don’t deserve help. Getting people to see passed the social stigma is a major obstacle.

EXECUTION/TACTICS

School Visits Jones, and a team of volunteers from the food pantry, will visit Canon-McMillan High School, Chartiers Houston High School, and Peters Township High School. Jones and her team will educate students in different after-school clubs on the importance of donating time to local organizations. They will also explain why the food pantry is specifically worth their time. The idea is to connect with the journalism clubs in these high schools first. Hopefully, they would do a story on the Houston-Canonsburg Food Pantry and write about how the organization needs volunteers and donations. Targeting other groups is an effort to gain volunteers. These visits would be at the beginning of the campaign so that the food pantry could potentially have more volunteers during distribution days. Distribution days occur on the third Thursday of every month. This is when the people who qualify for the program come to get their food, or if they’re unable to make it, food will be delivered to them. Students who already volunteer for the pantry will be strongly advised to share their positive experiences with their friends by word of mouth. Cornell 8


Social Media The Houston-Canonsburg Food Pantry currently has no social media. A Facebook page will be created. All volunteers will be encouraged to “Like” it. The page will contain updates about upcoming events and attempt to engage the community in events with other organizations. There will be a strong bond between the pantry’s page and Canonsburg United Presbyterian Church’s page. Posts will often correspond to each other. The church’s page will notify its public about upcoming events for the food pantry as well. A Twitter page will also be created for the food pantry. The Twitter page will contain information as well as engage its public in conversations. Live updates will go out on Twitter during events by the food pantry. These updates would range from funny to serious.

Blog A blog will be created using WordPress. This blog will contain information about the food pantry as well as stories about volunteers and people who have benefitted from the program. The purpose of the stories is for people to get emotionally attached to the food pantry and the people involved.

Website The food pantry does not have its own website. This would be created with the intention of providing better information about the pantry online. The website would include links to all social media. The blog would be implemented into the website. It would include information on where to donate, upcoming events, and how to volunteer. Developing a strong online presence would only benefit the pantry. The website include a sign-up page for email blasts.

Contacted Media Many different types of media will be contacted about events occurring at the food pantry. Canonsburg, Pennsylvania is located in Washington County. Washington has its own newspaper titled the Observer-Reporter. Other newspapers that will be contacted are the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and Pittsburgh City Paper. The major broadcast stations to be contacted are KDKA-TV, WTAE-TV, WYEP-FM, and WPXI-TV. The Cornell 9


idea is to build strong relationships with people from each of these mediums. The HoustonCanonsburg Food Pantry would supply the mediums with newsworthy and noteworthy stories and the mediums would supply coverage for the pantry. Local bloggers like Pittsburgh Mom, I Heart PGH, and That’s Church will also be reached out to.

Outreach Outreach to local organizations, businesses, and individuals about donating food will be a big part of the campaign. Reaching out to other organizations could increase volunteers, but educating them on the organization to increase food donations would be the main purpose. Educating the people is important. They would be educated on what goods are accepted and what condition the goods should be in if you donate. There has been a history of spoiled donations at the pantry. We will ask businesses like Giant Eagle, Shop N’ Save, and Kmart to have donation boxes located near their registers so people who just finished shopping at the store have easy access to donation places. Volunteers at the food bank would empty the boxes regularly. The boxes would include information about what types of food are accepted. It would also ask them to make sure that none of the food they were donating are expired or damaged. Developing relationships with important people in the neighborhood will also benefit the pantry. Jones could reach out and develop relationships with these people. If she networks properly business owners might designate certain days for their businesses to volunteer and help out at the pantry. Jones can also speak at different events where she can talk about her experience at the pantry. These speeches will hopefully get the pantry new volunteers and donations. Every year in Canonsburg there’s the 4th of July Parade. This is a major event in the Canonsburg area. Residents set out their chairs weeks in advance. Creating a float to ride in the parade would be very beneficial to the pantry. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the parade receives about 50,000 viewers each year. The negative to this plan is that more than 100 floats and groups participate in the parade. The float must contain a message that stays in people’s minds during and long after the parade. Many other groups give out candy and flyers. A press release would be sent to the previously mentioned mediums about bringing nonperishable foods to the parade. The float will collect canned goods on the spot as well as promote continuous donating.

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EVALUATION Success will be analyzed for each tactic differently. Social media will be tracked by how many followers we gain from their creation to when the campaign ends. Volunteers will be counted at each distribution day. Success will be determined if there are more volunteers at the end of the campaign than at the beginning. The number and quality of news, broadcast, and blog posts will be tracked. These will be deemed successful if our message comes across and people who come to volunteer or donate mention one of the mediums as their source of information. New volunteers will be asked how they were referenced. Tracking this would identify what sources are doing the most for the organization.

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News Release CONTACT: Thomas Cornell Houston-Canonsburg Food Pantry Cell: (724) 554-4404 Tcornell1@luc.edu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Houston-Canonsburg Food Pantry Debuts Interactive Float Attendees asked to bring nonperishables CANONSBURG, Pa. (June 29, 2013) – On July Fourth, the Houston-Canonsburg Food Pantry will be participating in the parade down Pike Street in Canonsburg for the first time ever. The people at the organization are doing something different than handing out candy, the typical attention tactic. Barb Jones, the pantry’s coordinator, is asking all people attending to bring one undamaged and unexpired nonperishable food donation with them to the parade this year. “I’m really excited about participating in the parade this year. It will provide the pantry with exposure to so many people. We could have more than 50,000 new items for the pantry if every person brings just one item with them to the parade. That would be an amazing achievement for the food pantry, but more importantly for our community. Volunteers and I will be collecting the goods from the people standing on the side of the road and adding them to our float,” said Jones. The Houston-Canonsburg Food Pantry is consistently looking for volunteers and donations. This event would be a huge boost to the inventory at the pantry. There is sometimes a problem with people accidentally donating goods that have expired or are damaged. People interested in donating should be sure to check the expiration dates and condition of the products they plan on donating before heading out for the parade.

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-more-

Pantry at the Parade/2 Jones is a perfect example of how a food pantry can turn someone’s life around. She had trouble after she had her first child and went to the Peters Township Food Pantry. She was so thankful for the help she received there that she decided to give back to the community the way it once helped her. Jones has been volunteering at the Houston-Canonsburg Food Pantry since 1992. About the Houston-Canonsburg Food Pantry The Houston-Canonsburg Food Pantry serves more than 120 citizens in the Canonsburg area. The pantry, located in the Canonsburg United Presbyterian Church at 112 West Pike Street Canonsburg, PA 15317, provides food and other resources to families who are in need of a little extra help. ###

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Photo Caption

CONTACT: Thomas Cornell Houston-Canonsburg Food Pantry Cell: (724) 554-4404 Tcornell1@luc.edu PHOTO CAPTION CANONSBURG, Pa. (July 4, 2013) – Barb Jones, wearing a tiara, and her team of volunteers take a break from planning their float for their first ever ride in Canonsburg’s Fourth of July Parade. ###

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TWEET @CanonsburgFoodPantry: Bring an undamaged and unexpired nonperishable food item with you to the parade today! Help our community! #CanonsburgParade #HappyFourth

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Newsroom Plan The Houston-Canonsburg Food Pantry currently does not have a website. Since it is located in the Canonsburg United Presbyterian Church, the church’s website has a short blurb about the pantry on its site. The blurb doesn’t provide very much information, but does include when distribution days occur and how to donate. The pantry is not as big as any of the groups that TEKgroup creates newsrooms for. A website would be beneficial to the pantry. Many people have access to the Internet these days so getting the pantry connected only makes sense. A newsroom might be too much for the Houston-Canonsburg Food Pantry. Currently, no one does public relations for the organization so there would be no one to list as a public relations contact. I also don’t believe it would be necessary to have a media credentials registration. Any type of press would be good for the pantry. The most important part of the proposed website would be connecting to social media. One of the goals of this public relations plan is to give the pantry more of an online presence. Many high school-aged kids are on social media and they’re one of the target markets so getting involved with social media is important. A Twitter feed would definitely be embedded on the organization's official website. It will also be important to include links to the pantry’s Facebook and link to its Twitter. The pantry’s website will include an email sign-up link for people to receive a monthly enewsletter that will update the public about what’s going on in the pantry and other things going on in the community. It will also include stories from the last distribution day, and information about other events that occurred in the prior month. A blog will also be integrated into the website. Including a blog was already an important part of the plan, but it would definitely work better embedded in the pantry’s website instead of as a standalone website. The short blurb on the church’s website does not include any contact information. A “Contact” tab will be included. I think it’s important to include a photo of Barb Jones, Cornell 16


coordinator of the pantry, with her phone number and email for contact information. Jones is currently the sole contact for the pantry and runs it herself so she would be the only person listed. This page would also include a biography about Jones and why she’s so devoted to this cause. This page will include an information and interview request form for the media. It will be important to include a “News” tab. This tab will include current and past news releases for the pantry. This tab will also include coverage the pantry received and an events calendar. There will be an option to subscribe to this feed via RSS. There will be a search bar on every screen. The trouble with including photos, video, and audio on this website is that people who utilize the pantry’s services have a right to privacy and footage of them would not be useable on the website because of it. These elements will focus on volunteers and Jones. We’d have to get permission from the volunteers to record them and use photos of them on the website, but it would be beneficial to get people who are actually involved to talk about their experiences. People would be able to see what volunteers do while they’re at the pantry. The website will include an “About/FAQ” tab. This tab would include an informational video that explains what you would do as a volunteer. It would also include a video from Jones where she talks about the history of the organization and its current state. This tab will have a FAQ section that will list frequently asked questions with detailed answers.

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Public Service Announcement What I hope to accomplish with this public service announcement is a large donation drive from the community. Currently the Houston-Canonsburg Food Pantry is running low on donations and Barb Jones, coordinator, is worried about what is to come for the food bank, especially with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years coming up. The target audience for this PSA is adults aged 35-50 in the Canonsburg and Houston area in households with an income with more than $80,000. Preferably these households will be family households.

Media Outlets KDKA-TV WTAE-TV WPXI-TV WPGH-TV

Hook: The goal is to grab people’s attention with a somber setting and having people imagine themselves in the scenario. The PSA asks the audience to put themselves in the shoes of the people in the commercial.

Key Message: The Houston-Canonsburg Food Pantry is in your community and it needs your donations to help it. There are people who need help in the community.

USE: Between November 1, 2012 – January 1, 2013 TIME: 30 Seconds AGENCY: Houston-Canonsburg Food Pantry TITLE: Hungry Holidays

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VIDEO:

AUDIO (122 Words):

The camera pans across a family of four

Mother V/O: It’s your favorite holiday

sitting at a quaint dinner table with empty

and there’s no food on the table. Times

plates and silverware dressed in Christmas

are tough and you’ve just been laid off.

attire. It’s obvious that nothing has been eaten and that there never was food.

You don’t know where the next paycheck will come from and you don’t know how

The camera zooms into the mother’s face,

you’ll pay for groceries.

obviously she’s very concerned. How do you explain an empty table to The camera pans to the children, who are

your kids?

staring sadly at their mother. The Houston-Canonsburg Food Pantry is The camera cuts to Canonsburg United

our local food pantry, but it’s running

Presbyterian Church, where the food pantry

low on donations. Getting through the

is located and shows the emptying shelves

holiday season is a difficult task for most

of the pantry.

families, but without a job feeding a family becomes even more difficult.

Donate to the Houston-Canonsburg Food Pantry so fewer families will be having The camera cuts back to the family. The

conversations over growling stomachs

Houston-Canonsburg Food Pantry’s address

during the holiday season.

appears on the bottom of the screen as well as a phone number as you hear four empty stomachs growling.

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Cover Letter:

Dear John,

Earlier we discussed WPXI-TV airing a public service announcement for the HoustonCanonsburg Food Pantry in Canonsburg United Presbyterian Church. I know we talked about run times and it was decided that it should only air from November 1, 2012 through January 1, 2013. The focus is on the less fortunate not having food for the holidays. I know that that’s a busy time for everyone, but the message would be most effective between those dates. I’m very thankful that you’ve considered airing our public service announcement. The pantry serves a small demographic in the Pittsburgh area, but community is very important to everyone at the pantry. It was a pleasure to meet you and the pantry is looking forward to what WPXI-TV has in store for the public for the rest of the year.

Sincerely,

Thomas Cornell Houston-Canonsburg Food Pantry Publicist

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Digital and Traditional Media It was really nice having Alissa Green and Lindsey Auslander come to our class and speak about what they are doing at GolinHarris. Their take on things is refreshing after sitting in boring classes all day. It’s really nice to hear what professionals are doing right now in the field that we are preparing to enter. The first thing that Auslander talked about was the structure for GolinHarris. They call the structure G4. It breaks the company down into four different groups. The groups are strategists, catalysts, creators, and connectors. Strategists are the business analysts. They are there to inspire campaigns and analytically measure success. Catalysts are change agents who drive the integrated campaign execution and look for new opportunities. The creators are the bold thinkers who generate game changing ideas and they design and produce content. Lastly, the connectors are channel experts who engage consumer, business, and trade audiences. These four groups are essential to GolinHarris functioning at its best. Auslander explained that they aren’t separate groups, but that they all interact with each other to create a stronger business and better work for clients. Auslander explained that media relations is extraordinarily important for a public relations campaign. She explained that she uses media as a source to validate the client's message. Unlike advertising, this media is earned and not paid for by the firm or client. Contacting producers and reporters can be tricky and Auslander explained how to handle oneself when reaching out to them. She explained that they receive hundreds of pitches each day and many of them are off topic or aren’t the beat that the reporter usually covers. Reporters are busier than ever with all that they have to do now. Reporting staffs are shrinking and they are required to do more than they ever had to with writing for online and keeping up with social media. She lastly told us that many public relations professionals aren’t knowledgeable about what they’re pitching and this is

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troubling because if they can’t properly explain what they need, reporters wouldn’t be able to do it either. She emphasized that one would have to have a newsworthy story from the media’s standpoint to break through the clutter of other pitches. There was also an emphasis on having information, facts, and quotes prepared if the reporter would ask for them. She also said that most or much of editorial content begins with a publicist. Auslander explained the do's and don’ts of pitching to the media. The class was told that one should do research before pitching. Know the who, what, where, when and why of what you’re pitching. One should also know the outlets one is pitching to and be a consumer of them. If one were to pitch to People, would one do it in the same way one would pitch to The New York Times? She also said to do the reporter’s homework for them. Know who to contact and know how they prefer to be contacted. She explained that phone pitching is a must. She said to start with an email before calling. One should be prepared before dialing. Introduce yourself first and then immediately go into the pitch. If the reporter is interested offer additional information and ask when to follow up. She said to stroke their ego a little bit, even when you’re not planning on contacting them for a pitch to let them know that you liked their recent work. Auslander’s last bit of advice was to offer stories exclusively, but warned that this can be difficult. If one offers a story as exclusive it must remain that way. She used an example of Lisa Ling, who was to appear on behalf of a client on Anderson Cooper's talk show, working with another company doing a publicity tour. Auslander gave a list to the other client telling them that they couldn’t book Ling on a specific list of shows because it would jeopardize Ling’s appearance on Anderson. The other company disregarded it, but everything did get worked out in the end. Alissa Green, senior manager of digital, spoke right after Auslander about the role of social media at GolinHarris. She first revealed eight social media myths. The first myth is that social media is free. She explained that social media requires man power, hours and can cost up to $250,000. Social media is now offering paid support and promotions on their websites. An example of this would be a

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promoted tweet that would show up in targeted Twitter feeds. I also believed that social media was free so it was interesting to hear that it wasn’t free. Another myth she covered was you must be an expert to succeed. She explained that as long as you’re willing to learn you can go pretty far in the realm of social media. She used herself as an example. She went into social media jobs she wasn’t really qualified for and learned on the spot. Green then explained the psychology behind different social mediums. She said that Facebook elicits a user’s desire to belong, connect, and have a public persona. People like Pinterest because they get to express their passion. She said technology doesn’t change human nature, it affects human behavior. She emphasized that social media efforts should start with the consumer. There many reasons for people to follow brands and companies on social media. She specifically mentioned promotions, coupons, information, lifestyle, and exclusive offers as reasons. She went into real time marketing. That’s leveraging current news by connecting brands to the consumer. At GolinHarris they have a program called Bridge, where employees scour the news for their clients and tell them where they’re getting attention. I learned a lot from both of the women who came to speak. I learned a lot about both traditional and social media. It was fun to hear the myths of social media and it was nice to finally have someone explain how social media works in the realm of public relations. There’s a severe lack of this information being distributed in the classroom. Many professors will talk about the importance of social media, but never teach us how to utilize it. Green did in a way that I had never heard before. I was pretty familiar with traditional media, but I definitely learned a lot from Auslander.

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Public Relations Writing Portfolio