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PR Tactics Worth Using and Evaluating

Working as students who are immersed in courses that highlight mass communication and public relations, I have noticed that PR tactics and channels are evolving as generations are continuing to develop. Social media is the more obvious example to this discussion, because we are in a society now where self-generated content has become normality and traditional news mediums have taken a backseat to newer platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. As the Account Liaison for Broad Magnolias, I have learned that a SWOT analysis is sometimes not enough. Other types of evaluations including a PR audit are also efficient when it comes to evaluating.

More specifically with Broad Magnolias, a PR tactic that I did not consider but feel is worth mentioning is to utilize your channels effectively. We had our research director produce press releases for our upcoming event, Housing the Arts, a silent auction we will host next week to raise awareness and funding. However, instead of creating direct press releases, it was advised to us last class to produce editorials that tie in with Youth Oasis and our organization. By composing editorials we would be remaining relevant and exposing ourselves and information to a broader audience.

Immediately after our first meeting with our client, Broad Magnolias began drafting an awareness survey to evaluate the local knowledge of Youth Oasis. Based on the results it can be concluded that not enough people know that the organization is only one of two in the entire state.

Youth Oasis does not consult media when hosting an event and we are hoping for a larger spanned audience because of such. Broad Magnolias will evaluate this based on our post-awareness survey, which will be distributed after our kickoff event, Housing the Arts. Going forward from our previous survey, our team will add more questions related to the specific event to gage if awareness was increased and also keep questions from the initial survey to determine how we should help Youth Oasis when it comes to communicating important facts about their organization to their publics.

As mentioned previously, we received great advice on editorials as well as tips regarding our GOST from our peers. A strong PR tactic is to communicate with the professionals around you; ask for advice, editing assistance and for contacts or general ideas. While this may not be an actual evaluation process, it allows for the same activity to take place.

While working with Youth Oasis, Broad Magnolias will prepare a social media strategy plan for the nonprofit organization. In the process of creating a strategy plan, an analysis of Youth Oasis’ current state is required. Youth Oasis currently has a Facebook and Twitter to complement their initial website. The latter deliverables mentioned are mediums for the Broad Magnolias to evaluate the three objectives Youth Oasis strives to achieve: awareness, acceptance and action.

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Changes in PR Tactics: Modern vs. Traditional

Since the early days of public relations, the strategies and tactics utilized by PR professionals have changed many times. This is usually due to changes in technology, culture and public opinion. One early form of PR took place when nations around the world fought to abolish slavery hundreds of years ago. Another early form of public relations includes propaganda used by the U.S. and Germany during the world wars. The one similarity shared among all PR strategies is the need to spread a certain message and change public opinion, and the tactics that help to carry out these strategies change frequently.

A person who understands public relations should also understand the ongoing changes that occur in the media and PR world every day. For example, traditional PR tactics merely sent a message to key publics, and left it up to their publics to interpret the message and form their own decisions. Modern PR tactics are usually more conversational than traditional ones. Social media is a perfect example of this because it allows organizations to interact with their customers on a deeper level. Organizations can receive feedback from their key publics while also sending out their messages quickly and efficiently.

All PR professionals should understand how changes in PR strategies affect them and find a good balance between traditional and modern tactics. The press release and several other traditional PR tools are still relevant in the present day, so it is important for PR professionals to understand these. It is also important for professionals to understand modern PR tools like blogs and social media. The introduction of tools like blogs and social media allow PR practitioners to develop a more accurate and personalized message to send to their audience. Creating a more personalized message makes it easier for PR professionals to relate to their publics and create a positive image for their organizations

Broad Magnolias have utilized both modern and traditional forms of media in our campaign to raise awareness for Youth Oasis. Our team has utilized both print and digital media to help raise awareness for the organization and help them to continue growth and development even after we graduate from LSU. I believe that a truly great PR professional knows when it is best to utilize both modern and traditional media. When this concept is understood by an organization, it is easier for their PR practitioners to reach more than one audience.

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From PR Experts to Youth Oasis Experts

As senior public relations majors, group campaign projects are nothing new to us. This is, however, our very first (and last) service learning class that will challenge us to take everything we’ve learned as public relations students and apply our knowledge as professionals in a real public relations scenario. So when it comes to determining whether we would call ourselves experts, we as a group would have at first responded with a very enthusiastic answer of “absolutely not.” However, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the exact definition of an expert is, “having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience.” When we take into consideration the fact that in 88 days, we will all have bachelor’s degrees in mass communication and have been taught by some of the most knowledgeable public relations educators in the country, we begin to realize that we are, in fact, experts.

Now that we know we have the capabilities of being an expert, we have to go the next step: we have to become experts in the field of our client, Youth Oasis. According to our textbook titled “Strategic Planning for Public Relations”, we have to know what we’re talking about when it comes to spreading the message of our client to be considered true experts. A specific objective of ours is to “specifically increase the Baton Rouge community’s understanding of the services that Youth Oasis provides to homeless and displaced youth.” In order to do this, we must be more than experts of public relations; we must also be experts of all things Youth Oasis.

Mashable.com released an article called “How To: Become an Expert in Your Industry” in 2009. It lists several benefits of being an expert. It tells that being an expert helps you, “establish yourself as an industry leader, get interview and media coverage, help others and become a trusted resource.” One of the goals that we discovered is requested of us through our time with Youth Oasis is media coverage, which as we just found through the article is a benefit of becoming an expert. By meeting with our client and establishing trust with them, we will not only help them but also we will be establishing ourselves as more credible public relations professionals. Youth Oasis wants us to tell their story, and their story is a great one to tell. They are a noteworthy organization with amazing humanitarian efforts in order to make Louisiana a better place for children of all ages. The fact that they are seeking help from public relations professionals provides further evidence that they are also experts in their field. Commpr.biz released an article this summer stressing the importance of hiring public relations professionals. It stated that public relations practitioners bring “their expertise in writing, in social media, media relations and special events to the plate.” All of these things are specific to the positions that we fill within our group. We are very excited to pull together all of our expertise and go to bat for Youth Oasis this semester. We look forward to getting to know them better and helping to better brand them to gain them more recognition in the community.