Tag Archives: Public Relations

PR Student Summit

The most helpful session at the PR Student Summit on February 12 was given by Scott Thornburg, Ike Pigott and Julie Senter on the topic of social media. Though the session didn’t cover much material I didn’t already know, it did reinforce principles that I have learned through my PR and social media classes at Samford.

The 5 basic tips about social media they gave were:

  • The basics of PR still apply. Research, planning, implementation and evaluation.
  • It’s not about you. Be open to new social media outlets even if they don’t interest you, they could interest your audience.
  • Understand the why.
  • Test and track.
  • Always be learning. Platforms will change so stay on top of the best practices and pay attention to industry trends.

Another helpful session, led by Brandon Wilson, was about resumé do’s and don’ts:

  • DO use all your resumé real estate wisely.
  • DO be active on paper.
  • DO focus on impact, not just experience.
  • DON’T use overly clever email addresses.
  • DON’T include references.
  • DON’T lie or overstate accomplishments.

Overall the Summit was a great review of the basics of PR I have learned while at Samford.

Alabama PRSA Student Summit

The Alabama PRSA Student Summit was recently held on February 12 at the Alabama Power headquarters in Birmingham. The summit brought together PR practitioners from throughout the state and PR students from colleges in Alabama and Mississippi. Events for the day included discussions on social media, resume building, and finding a job. Participants were also able to take a tour of the PR department at Alabama Power.

One of the most significant takeaways from my time at the summit was how prepared I felt during the sessions. For example, the first session on social media discussed the importance of using social media and looked at new and innovative techniques for reaching customers and audiences. All of these tips were extremely important, and almost all of these tips were previously discussed in my JMC classes. Throughout the day, the examples that were given and the ideas presented were all a part of my curriculum at Samford. I left the summit feeling more confident in the education I have received in the JMC department and at Samford.

The summit’s keynote speaker was Julia Hood, who works with Haymarket Media. Hood talked about the importance of seizing opportunities in the public relations field. More specifically, her advice for PR practitioners was to:

  • Follow your passion. Whatever it is, there is a need for communications.
  • Don’t fear the off-road, or the U-turn.
  • Embrace your public life in communications.
  • Mentor, and be mentored.
  • Travel everywhere.
  • Build relationships, not contacts.

Each of these pieces of advice was important in its own way, and Hood’s presentation was a beneficial part of the summit. She provided advice for real world public relations that is applicable both today and in the future.

Overall, the PRSA Student Summit was a day well spent. I had the opportunity to learn more about PR, meet professional PR practitioners, and meet other PR students from other colleges in the Southeast. The day provided a unique look into the life of real world PR.

Take-aways from PRSA Student Summit and Real World Conference

On February 12th, 2013 I attended the PRSA Student Summit in Birmingham, Alabama. I approached this day with zero expectations alongside my classmates who were soon to be separated from my side when we were placed at assigned tables for the day. However, I soon made friends at the table and we then proceeded to listen to multiple sessions learning on topics ranging from social media to advice from professionals. All information was insightful, yet, it seemed to be information I’ve heard at least once before. Though I know it never hurts to hear it more than once, I left craving a more and wished I had more opportunities to meet professionals and ask them personal questions. However, I was able to leave knowing that I already had signed up for the Atlanta PRSA Real World Conference, and  felt hopeful that this day would provide with a little more to take away.

So, though it was not required for class, I decided to attend the Real World PR Conference on February 22, 2013 in hopes that I could make some connections in my hometown.  I have not officially made up my mind as to if I want to be in Birmingham or Atlanta, but I was excited to see some of the differences between the two cities and see if my heart was led in a specific direction.  Immediately entering Real World, I knew that the day was going to have a lot to offer, seeing as if Atlanta stepped it up a couple of notches compared to Birmingham. Being in a bigger city, I expected this but I had no idea the expertise which I would soon encounter.  In addition to the expertise and professionals who attended the conference, I was amazed by the amount of students and recent graduates who were there to share experiences and recommendations. I believe Real World did a great job of preparing interactive seminars which focused on building up our PR skills, but also helping us with personal branding and professional development which could help us land the job. They had a great understanding of the position we are in, and wanted to help build us up in a manner which would celebrate the skills we have but also open us up  to what more there is to learn. I personally enjoyed the sessions which helped me to create a story for my life and form a sustainable personal brand for myself. As PR students, we focus on learning about the client’s brand but often overlook our own. I know now, that being confident in my own brand will only lead to greater career satisfaction.

I could probably talk for hours about the take-aways from this conference. I was constantly taking notes and asking questions. This may be due in part to the fact that ‘Real World’ gave us the opportunity to choose our own break-out sessions, therefore allowing us to pick topics which would interest us the most. For example, for my first session I choose “Corporate World, Agency Life, or Nonprofit” instead of learning “Media Relations 101”, since I was interested in hearing the differences between the three fields of PR and learn how to help determine which path is a better fit for my working style.  My favorite breakout session was “Secrets from the HR Gatekeepers: Get the Interview. Land A Job” and with all of the information I got from that session, I could write a completely new blog on what I need to do to get a job now.

The rest of the day continued to be insightful as we continued to choose breakout sessions, then sit through a fantastic luncheon with one of the best speakers I’ve heard in a while. Mickey Nall (the National PRSA Chair & CEO and Managing Director of Ogilvy Public Relations in Atlanta) spoke on “Navigating the Multi-Generational Workplace Lessons from the Public Relations Front”. This topic is not one I have thought much about myself, but I know now that it is important to note the diversity of generations in the work place. Mr. Nall was able to give a great perspective on the different values, attitudes, expectations of each of the different generations and how we can work to integrate together for the better of our clients.

After lunch, we broke into resume critiques (which we also did in Birmingham). It is always interesting for me to see how people react to my resume, and it amazes me how much personal preference plays a role. I have now had 3 different experts review my resume, and though some had the same opinion, most had something completely different to say. Yet, I think I know now how to made changes.  After the resume critiques, we entered the career fair which was lined with multiple professionals from Atlanta seeking to make connections with students wanting internships and jobs. I was so thankful for this opportunity to network and handoff my calling card and resume. Even if I do not receive a call, I loved making connections and practicing talking with professionals. Networking is something we need to do everyday, but its not often we get the opportunity to do this in such a fast pace, pressured environment. It was exciting and I loved seeing all of the opportunities that Atlanta has to offer.

Overall, I had a great experience in Atlanta. I left with a new perspective on Public Relations and was excited to take the necessary steps to start to find that job. The Student Summit also had its high moments, and I know that in upcoming years, as Birmingham continues to grow, it could eventually be as big as Real World has become. I know in the future though, I would recommend Samford students to make the trip to Atlanta and experience this conference if they have the opportunity. And, if anyone has any questions I would love to answer them. I obviously have a lot to say about what I learned and would love to even share some of the tips I learned with the class.

PRSA Student Summit

Tuesday February 12 students from all across the southeast converged on Birmingham, Ala. The PRSA Student Summit was held in the Alabama Power Building in Downtown Birmingham. The summit had students from over 12 schools across the southeast from states such as Alabama, Mississippi and others. Topics from the conference included social media, questions for a panel of Public Relations professionals, and a resume review.

After sitting through several hours of lectures and speaking with students from other universities  I would have to say that Samford University has prepared me for the changing field of Public Relations. Many of the topics addressed in the lectures were already covered in detail in class. Also, the Samford department of Journalism and Mass Communication has given me more than just simple skills like writing press releases and researching skills. We are prepared in layout and design and video giving us a leg up on the competition.

The lecture that I felt was most important was the one dedicated to social media. A majority of articles written on social media etiquette and job prospects would suggest to lock down your social media accounts to prevent party pictures and inappropriate posts from being seen. The speakers at the lecture suggested to instead clean up your social media to show that you have social media skills and that you are not simply locking things behind a door. Also, the panelists said that it is best to have a plan when it comes to social media for a business. Have a plan of interaction and how this will lead to growing and sustaining your business not just getting more likes on Facebook and followers on Twitter who might never look at your page again.

The most important thing I learned was to listen broadly and to take in as much information as possible. This meant read news stories, and information not just from your field but others. Learning from others broadens your knowledge base and allows you to be more versatile in any job.

Chris Davis

Chris Davis spoke to the JMC 492 class at Samford University recently. He spoke about the importance of knowing how to use search engines. Knowing how to use search engines properly can give you major advantages in the PR industry. Chris Davis mentioned his five favorite words for SEO, which are keywords, links, changing, video, and image tagging.


He gave an explanation for each of the words. Adding website keywords will trigger SEO. He says that Google likes it when there are links to other websites in your website. Search engines notice when you update your website therefore you should do it often. They like websites that has the most up to date information.ImageVideo and image tagging in your website will connect it to other people and websites that can help give you more viewers.



Chris Davis Presentation

ImageChris Davis of Fi-Plan Partners spoke to the JMC 492 class on Friday April 13. His experience in numerous fields of work taught him the things that he truly enjoyed in a job. After years of bouncing around in these various professions he finally landed at Fi-Plan partners as their Director of Integrated Communications. Davis’ presentation had one main focus and it was SEO and the intricacies that go in hand with it.

One big thing that he stressed was white hat and black hat SEO. As a company you want to make sure that you are using proper techniques to work with search engines to make sure you are at the top of your respected searches. If you do partake in black hat SEO you will be buried in search results and your company will have almost no exposure.

Another key point he had was that you need to work with Google and other search engines to have your website crawled as often as possible. This will help you climb to the top of the search engine results.

The last thing and probably the one I had the least knowledge of was the use of links and how they can affect your SEO.

“No one is successful without affecting people”- Chris Davis

Hot Coffee documentary heats up conversation

It’s not unusual to see coffee on a college campus. But on Tuesday, April 17, a different kind of hot coffee came on campus. Award-winning documentary Hot Coffee was screened on Samford University’s campus.

The documentary uses the story of Stella Liebeck, the woman who was burned by a scalding cup of coffee from McDonald’s, to raise the issue of tort reform.

The film was shown at Cumberland School of Law on Tuesday, April 17. Director Susan Saladoff and former Alabama Supreme Court Associate Justice, Ralph Cook were on a panel for anyone to ask them questions after the film.

The Principles of PR class had the opportunity to promote the event to Samford’s undergraduate population. Through posters, coffee sleeves, caf table signs and in-class announcements, the class did a wonderful job spreading the word.

One learning experience in the campaign was an accidental misprint of the date of the event on the posters and caf signs. However, we learned the importance of quickly addressing a problem before it turns into a crisis. By changing the date on the posters and replacing some posters with updated copies, we avoided any problems.