PR Chronicles: PR Class Reflection

Now that the semester is about to come to an end I have to take time to reflect on what I have learned. My public relations class has taught me so much about myself. I found out that I am a passionate blogger and a natural when it comes to thinking from a PR perspective. I am so grateful to have such a great instructor and surrounded by brilliant and talented classmates. I have never had to do so much work in such little time but it was a great experience. The course both challenged me and enlightened me. I think I have also challenged my instructor and my classmates by introducing the conversation about ethnicity and racism into the classroom.

Throughout this course I defined and solidified my brand, expanded my social media presence, interviewed PR professionals, conducted a PR campaign for a non-profit organization and secured a social media internship. Can you believe that this is only an introductory course? More than that, I learned that public relations is truly my passion. I feel truly blessed that I have found my passion at such a young age. I look at my friends who are struggling with finding out what they want to do and who they want to be and I feel lucky that I comfortable where I am.

If my life was a book, this semester’s chapter would be called Self-Discovery. This past summer I went through so much and there was a period of time where I completely lost myself and I felt numb to it all. When this semester started, I made a vow to myself that I would do everything I could to feel something again and find me again. I can say at this point right now that I have found myself and found other pieces of myself that I did not know existed. PR is a part of me now.

*Jamina’s Core Values: Honesty, Communication, and Creativity

PR Chronicles: Ferguson

 

Image Taken from stlpublicradio.org
Image Taken from stlpublicradio.org

I cannot be a PR scholar and simply not respond to the events that unfolded last night:

Black people all over the country have been protesting and rioting for months after Michael Brown was fatally shot by Officer Darren Wilson. The Black community wanted to see Wilson go to trial but instead there was a secretive grand jury decision made. More than that, the Black community not only wanted justice for Mike Brown, but they wanted justice for all Black lives. That decision yesterday made it clear that Black lives do not matter.

As I sat there watching the news, I wanted to curl up into a ball and cry. Law enforcement officers are supposed to serve and protect the PEOPLE, not themselves. Your life feels threatened because you have been raised to fear Black men? The news keeps showing the city of Ferguson burning but what about the faces of my Black people who are weeping in pain and disappointment?

Our nation is crumbling. Black people are not safe here. No one is safe here. While our President is fighting for immigration reform, he is virtually abandoning the Black community. When are people going to realize that Michael Brown is our symbol for justice and equality? If he could have received justice, that could have been one step forward for the entire Black community. More than that, Mike Brown is the symbol of our movement. And I vow that I will use all of the knowledge that I gain to advance my people and assist this campaign for justice and equality.

PR Chronicles: #BlogChat

Photo Credit: oggin via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: oggin via Compfight cc

Last night, I participated in my first Twitter chat which was #blogchat. Mack Collier, the brand expert and author of Think Like A Rock Star, is the founder of #blogchat and I joined him and other professionals in a conversation about improving one’s blog. The topic was improving your blog’s layout to enhance readability.

I really did not know what to expect as I had never participated in a Twitter chat before. I did not know anyone I would be corresponding with so the first thing I did was introduce myself to everyone in the chat. I was surprisingly greeted by a complete stranger who said he enjoyed reading my blog post about my interview with Faith McKinney. That really got me pumped for the chat!

At first, I was trying to respond to people’s questions but there were so many tweets coming in that I felt like I could not keep up. I started asking other people questions. I received some responses and then I started tweeting about what I personally do to enhance readability on my blog.

I learned that I am not the only one who uses sub-headings to enhance readability on my blog – I found that many people use that as a tactic to keep readers coming back, as well. However, you do not want to use too many sub-headings because it can make it easy to skip over the content in your posts. I also learned that a simple theme is better for blog readability. You do not want too many distractions on your blog. I think about changing my blog theme all the time to something more fancy but now I am wondering if that is necessary.

It surprised me how many people were actually participating in the Twitter chat. I had to refresh the page every 15 seconds to keep up with the conversation. I could tell the people who were the “regulars” of the chat and I had trouble keeping up with them. Halfway through the Twitter chat I stopped tweeting so I could read what people were saying. I was also surprised at how many more followers I gained by just participating in the chat. I think I received about 8 new followers who were participating in the conversation.

I think I will be participating in #blogchat again because I want to learn more about how to improve my blog. More specifically, I want to learn how I can build community through blogging. I even offered that as topic for next week’s #blogchat conversation.

Join #blogchat every Sunday at 8pm CT.

My Conversation with Faith McKinney

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Faith McKinney is a public relations professional who is the President and CEO of Faith McKinney International LLC. She did not get a degree in PR but organizations come to Faith for consultation to help them develop their personal brands. Throughout her professional career, Faith has conducted numerous media interviews with public figures such as Hollywood Director Lee Daniels, FUBU founder and fashion Guru J. Alexander Martin, Kirk Franklin, Hill Harper, and many more. She has also written a book called Schmingling – The Art of Being Well Connected Through Blatant Self Promotion which highlights her firsthand knowledge of self-promotion and PR strategies that gets one noticed and helps one garner expert status at the same time.

I found Faith through LinkedIn and asked her if I could connect with her to orchestrate an informational interview about her profession. I interviewed her via Skype and I ventured to obtain a PR professional’s experience with the field that I wish to enter. I asked Faith to give me some advice that would help any young person that would like to enter the PR industry and I would like to highlight her key points here.

BUILD YOUR CREDIBILITY AND BECOME KNOWN

Faith stressed the importance of building my credibility through social media. She advised me to take a lot pictures with people who are in the public’s eye. If I take pictures with notables that I meet at different events and post them of my sites and tag them I can expand my social media presence and get known. Faith carries 4 cameras with her wherever she goes, just in case. She said, “You cannot count on your phone to have the best quality images.” The cameras are convenient because you can take a quick snap and go. Going through your phones apps to get to your camera also takes some time. Following up with the notables I take pictures with is of great importance too. If they are in the spotlight of current news then Faith advised me to repost the picture that I took with them. Posting and reposting images of yourself with public figures is a great way to stay current and get you known.

BUILD STRONG RELATIONSHIPS

Another great way to build credibility is to build strong relationships with people. Faith said, “People do not care about what you know until they find out who cares about you.” In other words, it is not what you know or who you know, it is all about who knows you. She said that I should start building relationships with local reporters and journalists. A great way to get experience and build strong relationships is to shadow PR professionals. Faith advised me to get to know people in my area who are already in PR and learn about what they do and help them in any way I can. Building strong relationships with people in certain positions is important because they might just lead you to your next opportunity.

DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK

Faith said she has no regrets about the actions she has made even when she thinks she messed up but she does regret things that she did not ask. She recounted a time where she wanted to ask a celebrity to take a picture with her and she built the courage to ask him. Out of all of the times she has asked public figures to take pictures with her she has only been told no once. One needs to build enough confidence and courage in order to not let fear get in the way of one’s actions.

Another question that Faith told me that I should never be afraid to ask is, “What can I do to help you?” She said that I should always approach people with a helping hand and a humble heart. In order for me to get some “street cred” I should help and promote organizations in my area. That will be more experience and more things to add to my portfolio until I can start working for pay.

Faith helped me so much and I am glad I had a conversation with her.  It is so easy to use your social media to get connected with people who are in the profession you wish to enter. I gained valuable information from my conversation with Faith and it helped me to realize that PR is the gig for me.

*Faith’s Core Values: Relationships, Authenticity, and Communication.

Find Faith on LinkedIn:

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PR Chronicles: MY FIRST INTERNSHIP!

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I got my first internship as a Social Media Intern for sherights.com! My journey is just beginning and I am so excited about this opportunity. I will keep everyone updated as I get settled into this new position! (: