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Photos are important but you should relax

This week I took about 80 staff portraits for a couple of different websites – the Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO) is a client and I’m managing the launch of a shiny new website and I’m a long-time volunteer at HIV Alliance.

But taking that portraits in such short time frame brought up a couple of things that I thought I’d share.

My takeaways:

  • Man, we are uncomfortable in our skin. Too this… not enough that… “hope you brought an extra camera because I’ll probably break it.” Taking pictures always reminds me how beautiful people are. We have warm smiles and beautiful eyes, we’re friendly and genuine. Sure, we have a little gut, and our noses look weird at that angle, but who cares? 
  • It makes me very, very sad when say people haven’t had their photo taken in years. Biz portraits aren’t so important, but family photos and capturing memories is. Your family and friends want photos of you. You will want photos of you. Document your lives! It’s nice to hire a professional once in a while to capture the great above-the-mantel portraits, too.

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How did that tweet get there? It’s not magic and unicorns.

As an intern or young professional, you may assume that because you know how to use Twitter that you are ready to step into doing so on behalf of an organization. However, strategic social media is a lot more complicated than personal social media and there’s no magic social media unicorn… 

This side of social is not necessarily intuitive and the learning the process is an important part of doing a good job for clients. We’re ramping up some social media work for a client right now and that has me thinking about the process I use and how to convey that to my team.

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Leadership & Life Lessons from an Investor Relations Pro

ir futuresI’m not going to lie, as an undergrad, the idea of doing investor relations would’ve given me the heebie jeebies. Math? numbers? all those regulations? Blech.

As a professional, I’ve learned that not only are numbers and math your friends, they can be a lot of fun. And regulations? Everyone’s got ‘em. Communicating complex info in a clear, persuasive way while navigating the rules and regulations along with company culture and politics is pretty much what we do.

Had I had some mentorship or just some instruction in financial communication, I might have taken a different path. Or I’d at least had some sense of all the options for a career in public relations.

So I was pretty excited when, this spring, the PR sequence at the SOJC launched IR Futures, an investor relations-focused student club. We have a couple of stellar faculty who have expertise in investor relations and financial communications and this is a growing area of focus for the PR sequence.

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If You Could Have a Superpower…

If you could have a superpower, what would it be? 

Apparently, all “successful” people can answer this question immediately. From The Muse blog:

Tina Eisenberg says that all the most successful people she’s met have been able to answer this question immediately: John Maeda, who led the MIT Media Lab and Rhode Island School of Design, responded with “curiosity.” Maria Popova, who curates the popular Brain Pickings blog by reading 12-15 books a week, said “doggedness.” Eisenberg’s own superpower? Enthusiasm.

I agree, this is a great question. However, I’d argue that the answers she gives are not the answers to that question, but to another: If you have a superpower, what is it? Curiosity, doggedness and enthusiasm are “superpowers” that have helped each of these people be successful.

I do like this question, though. My superpower would be the ability to extend time.

What’s  yours and why?

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Ask Good Questions and Listen to the Answers: A Source’s Plea to Young Journalists

I get interviewed quite a bit. Once every couple of months or so I’m asked to speak as an “expert” about PR, social media, technology, trends or any other random number of things, mostly by student reporters and TV reporters. I love to talk, so if a reporter shows up prepared, listens and asks good questions, I truly enjoy the process.

Regardless of what kind of content you’re creating (doing journalism, writing e-newsletters or blog posts or feature articles for the company magazine), being a good interviewer will help you tell a better story.

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Strangers Kissing: Smart or Sleazy?

People don’t like to feel like they’ve been tricked. They don’t like to be drawn into a story and then learn that story is somehow a calculated concoction designed to get them to buy stuff. However, people also don’t like ads. They don’t trust most ads. They ignore them, change the channel, etc.

So should we get mad when an “ad” doesn’t say it’s an ad – doesn’t have a product name prominently displayed, but draws you in and makes you smile, get a little nervous butterfly stomach flutter and leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy because we didn’t know that we were being “sold.”

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Taking Flight: “Best Of” Student Blog Posts from Winter 2014

My Strategic PR Writing students blogged twice a week for seven weeks this term. It’s a feat to get all those posts done! I picked a “best of” from each blog to share with you. You can learn more about the background on the students’ assignment here.

Congrats to all 16 of my students on their blogs! In no particular order… here are this term’s best ofs:

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Just Keep Swimming: Week 7 Linky Loves

We’re on the downhill slide of the term. Just three weeks to go (and a ton of grading), and winter term will be in the books. So just keep swimming! We’re almost there.

This week’s links feel very random, to me, but each interesting on its own merits. You can learn more info about these “linky loves” and the background on the students’ assignment here.

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Making the Most of Office Hour Meetings

I truly enjoy meeting with students. One-on-one chats provide time to explain a confusing topic, go over feedback on an assignment or just chat about career (or life) goals. And everyone’s time is valuable – your time as a student, my time as faculty member and a PR pro.

I ask students to make appointments with me using an online calendar system because it helps me manage my schedule and be more available and present for students.

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Gold Medal Linky Loves for Week 6

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are in full swing. I must admit that I haven’t been watching much, just keeping up on the periphery. However, this week’s linky love best of posts seem to have naturally gravitated toward sport this week on their own with the Olympics, college football signing day and a high-profile NFL potential draftee “coming out.” Even if the topic is sports, the ideas are bigger.
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