Kicking Down Barriers : PR Reflections from a New Lens

As the semester wraps up I always look back at the knowledge I gained with the three basic questions: Was it pointless? Worth it? Did I actually learn valuable information?

This was my first semester at Grand Valley after transferring and I was very intimidated by the APR world, but I never thought I would love Public Relations as much as I do now. Of course, there are plenty of classes ahead of me to satisfy my APR minor, but I feel confident on my newly acquired knowledge base. 

Taking a glance at my first blog of the semester accurately depicts my complete center of knowledge revolving around Public Relations… and as you can see, it’s not much. In the beginning, I thought PR was focused on crisis management and had less to do with publicity and media relations. My assumptions weren’t too off, but rather PR focuses on many components at the same time to fully satisfy the client’s needs. Worrying about primary and secondary research, goals, objectives, strategies, tactics, budgets, timelines, press releases seems like a good recipe for a PR meltdown. Through the long nights, solid research, and proof-reading sessions I am almost done with my first Public Relations campaign and dang, it feels good.

Through the semester, I can say I have grown as a School of Communications student. Walking into this class, I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I discovered the main problem was the fact that I had no idea what the difference was between Advertising and Public Relations. Now I know there is a clear line between the two, and honestly, I couldn’t be happier with my choice. Since I was so busy this year with school and work I wasn’t able to make PRSSA meetings, which I regret. I promised myself next year I will be attending them every other week and I will make it a priority to clear my schedule. This class has helped me reassure my desire for a PR focus in my school and professional life.

Since High School, I’ve always enjoyed social media, blogging, and Tweeting for my own pleasure. It was always my 8th-grade dream to work for a company as a social media manager, and surprisingly, it still is. When people ask me what I want to do with my major (Communication Studies) and my minor (APR) I always say the same thing: My dream is to work at a record label. Once I was introduced to Skelletones, The Orbit Room, and The Intersection back in early middle school I was turned on instantly. Over the past five years, I’ve been focused on my career in the music industry. I applied for many jobs working for publications and thankfully I was able to connect with many journalists and content writers in the Detroit area who were a great help to my beginning in the industry. There have many been up’s and down’s where I’ve convinced myself I will never have a career in music, but here I am once again, fired up and ready to go.

During this semester I wrote a blog about my passion for D.I.Y. bands trying to promote on a budget – which is my favorite blog to date. I feel I can easily apply the skills I’ve learned in this class to many avenues of my life. Regardless if it is in the music industry or not. This summer I will be taking another step in my career and I will be interning at The Intersection. Through the research, blogs, campaign, and reading from the textbook I feel confident on making an impression by my increased knowledge from this class. Sure, there are many things I’m waiting to learn. I am nervous to start a new chapter in my school career, but most of all, I am confident in my abilities thanks to this course.

Visiting back to my first blog, I defined Public Relations to be, “Regulating and overseeing the spread of information between businesses and the public.” Looking back on this definition almost fourteen weeks later, I’m pretty impressed with it, and I believe I was on-track with my definition (even though I wouldn’t believe it fourteen weeks ago).

Regardless, this semester has been difficult. Period.

I am taking some of the hardest courses in my major, learning a new language, and slowly working on my first PR campaign has been a challenge, but thankfully the end in near. This is my third year in college and I hate to say it, but there are many classes that have proven to be useless, but they are requirements nonetheless. CAP 220 has proven to be a valuable tool that many students should utilize while moving their way up the PR ladder. Thanks to the constructive criticism Adrienne had to offer and some needed pushes to keep me on track, I am excited to move forward.

 

 

 

 

 

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Hey! What About the Evaluation?

First, a moment of honesty…
At the beginning of this course, I had no idea how important it was to set mutual goals and objectives with your client before progressing with secondary and primary research. These mutual goals can help you in the end result and measure it accurately. Did you meet the expectations? Goals achieved? Are there any tweaks that need to be made to the campaign? Did something not work whatsoever? Do you have numbers to back it up?

As a fresh PR student who is venturing into this world with a blindfold, I think it’s important to keep telling myself there is always room to tweak, tailor and move forward. Not everything has to be 100% perfect at the first try (tell me if I’m wrong). As a student getting on the same page as my superiors have been one of my main priorities, rather it being at work or at school. Mutual understanding seems to be key at this point in my life and it’s just as important to remember when starting a relationship with a client.


 

After looking back a couple of months, it’s rare to find me buying something without glancing at the online review beforehand. Lipstick, shoes, electronics, clothing — check, check, check AND check. When investing time, money and a couple of trips to the mall to return if it doesn’t fit, I want an accurate evaluation. Sure this seems a bit off from evaluating a PR campaign, but in my mind, it seems fairly close…

Evaluation in Public Relations is focused on analyzing the main objectives and goals for the campaign and seeks results– based on numbers, if possible. As I’ve discovered, there are many methods of collecting data and information to support the campaign. According to a blog post by Paul Tustin (2014), social media, in fact, provides great data and resources that are relevant to your campaign evaluation:

“Social media channels also offer a vast amount of data about your target audience and whether your PR and marketing activity has been effective in raising awareness of a product or service, winning support for a campaign, or is starting to change purchasing habits.”

Along with social media data being useful, Kapril Arya (2014) highlights the importance of Google Analytics when analyzing a PR campaign. She explains, “It is an inexpensive technology which lets users evaluate what media channels were delivering outcomes and providing real value.” According to Arya (2014), it is hard to gain data from awareness or other unmeasurable goals, which stresses the importance of a goal that can be supported numbers — but with the increase of these programs to help assist practitioners with collecting data there are now more options than ever.

Along with Google Analytics, SEO is another great option for an entrepreneur who is trying to analyze the success of a PR campaign while being cost-effective. Mel Carson (2015) explains, “SEO (search engine optimization) is hugely important for any PR effort, as most inquiries about your company, product or service are likely to have been kicked off via a search engine.”

Evaluation is an important step that should never be skipped. Evaluation allows for insights you weren’t able to collect during your research– good, or bad. Using evaluation tools that provide data can enhance the success of the campaign. Overall, Tustin (2014) stresses,”Whichever is the chosen measurement criteria, it should be relevant to the campaign and the objectives agreed at the outset, rather than for the sake of it.” The goal of every campaign is to meet the objectives and main goals,along with always keeping the goals in reach and measurable.

 


 

Arya, K. (2013, March 15). How can the success of a pr campaign be quantified? Retrieved April 03, 2016, from http://blog.ketchum.com/how-can-the-metrics-for-a-pr-campaign-be-quantified/

Carson, M. (2015, July 15). 4 alternative metrics to evaluate your pr campaign’s success. Retrieved April 03, 2016, from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/248191

Tustin, P. (2014, October 7). Six guidelines for measuring the success of a modern pr campaign. Retrieved April 03, 2016, from http://www.freshfield.com/six-guidelines-measuring-success-modern-pr-campaign/