Public Relations campaign comes to an end

It’s the final weeks of school and everything is wrapping up.  It’s a bittersweet moment for myself and classmates right now as this is our last and biggest project we’ve had during our college career at LSU.  While I’m not graduating until August, this is my final true Mass Communications class.  It’s weird to think about how things can and have changed over what seems like a short four years.  I definitely feel like a different person leaving LSU than when I came in 2008 when I thought I already had everything figured out.

After Spring Break (I have no clue who those people are in that picture) it seemed like time was moving slower than ever but it also seemed like there was not enough time to finish our campaign book.  The campaign book is supposed to consist of about 40 pages of everything we’ve worked on this whole semester – goals, objectives, key messages, strategies, tactics, evaluation and stewardship.  It isn’t only what we’ve worked on this whole semester but it includes everything we’ve learned over the past four years.  This is our final grade of not only what we accomplished with our campaign but with what we’ve learned throughout college and implemented together as a team.  PPR has been meeting almost everyday to complete our campaign book.  Yesterday we met for about three hours and completed close to everything we need.  There a a few more parts to finish writing and then there are only revisions left to do.  I can’t believe we’ve come as far as we have.

PPR was the best team I could have ever wished for.  We worked together and respectfully the whole time.  We helped one another out not only with school and the campaign but with anything and everything.  Everyone brings such an amazing and different aspect to the team and campaign.  It would not have been the same or as great without the girls I was with.

Our client, Louisiana Delta Service Corps (LDSC), was also an amazing organization to work with.  If you don’t know anything about them then I highly suggest you visit their website or read my blog for information about our campaign with them.  I’ve heard horror stories from horrible clients past campaign classes have had to work with and am blessed to not have been in the same situation.  I hope our campaign was everything they wanted and something they can grow from.  We’ve put together some great recommendations for them to use in the future and I know they will prosper with no problem.

If you wish to keep in touch (which I hope you do!) you can find me here on Facebook or here on Twitter!

Thank you and have a great day!

-Grace

Social Media and Event Planning

With our event less than a week away, things have entered into crunch mode.  We met with our teacher, Dr. Jensen, this past week to get feedback on our rough draft for our campaign book and on our progress.  She was very helpful and has given us some direction from our stationary condition.  One of our biggest problems from the start was hitting the ground with social media.  With our target group being college students, we know how to best reach this group as we are college students ourselves.  Our survey we used for our research also proved us right – social media is the way to reach this target audience.  Our client, LDSC, however, did not feel comfortable giving us control of their social media so quickly.  This is completely understandable so PPR composed a list of mock tweets for Twitter and Facebook status updates to give LDSC an idea of what we would like to use their social media for.  This subject kept getting put on the back burner so we finally decided to take action and create our own social media sites for them.  We did not want LDSC to feel as if we had gone behind their backs, we simply wanted to start building these social media outlets to gain followers and “likes” to help spread the word about LDSC and our event.  We informed LDSC about what we were doing and we’re given the go-ahead to use them as we would like which was a burden lift for all of us.

Since then we have grown from 30 “likes” on Facebook to 260 in a matter of two days.  We are now currently in the process of working out every detail for our event.  We are having an informational meeting with four speakers – Betsy Irvine, the Executive Director, two past corps members and two current corps members.  We know that college students have a short attention span and have limited our speakers time to give each an equal part to share their stories, experience and lessons.  I’m really excited for the speakers and hope they have as much an impact on our audience as they have had on me.  Like I’ve said in previous blog posts, Betsy is very passionate about LDSC and I think this will have an affect on audience.  Afterwards we will have a question-and-answer session which audience members may participate in.  We also have some specific questions that we will give the speakers to answer about some details that may be left out.

These are only minor details about our event but I hope everyone comes to check out what LDSC has to offer!  The informational meeting will be held next Monday, April 2, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. at St. Albans.  We’ll be putting out more information on our Facebook so “like” us at www.facebook.com/LouisianaDeltaServiceCorps and help LDSC make a difference!

Getting Down to Business

Now that Prelude PR (PPR) basically has our overall idea of what we want to do for our campaign, it has been time to get down to business.  It’s now time to get down to planning every detail there is to plan.  We must consider everything from what methods we want to use to reach our audience to color schemes and fonts for every type of print material we may use. Today our team met to discuss the exact direction we are headed in our campaign, what needs to be fixed and where we need to be within the next few days.

We have a meeting with our teacher, Dr. Jensen Moore-Copple, next Thursday.  For the meeting we need to have a rough draft of all of our materials for the campaign book which includes our target audience, goals and objectives, tactics and logistics, key messages and strategies and evaluation methods.  These are the items we will be working on the next week and a half.  We did an overview of each section which was also a major help in determining what we want and can do.

Public relations is at often times seen as a joke as a major among other students.  They think that PR majors get to clown around throughout college without really learning anything significant.  I would like to see those same students in our position now.  It may seem like our jobs is something similar to “party planning,” but it is much more.  While public relations is not rocket science, it is a science in a different type of field.  It is a science in communication, details, stewardship, management and much more.  You must understand many different things to truly be a public relations professional and I don’t think many people realize nor appreciate the hard work that PR professionals must do.  I am a graduating senior and I realize that I still have much to learn about this profession.  It is not learned or achieved overnight.  Just like everything, it takes time and practice to keep perfecting the business and yourself.

I am currently in my second internship and learning how things are done in a public relations atmosphere.  This campaign has taught me just as much as my internship as well. Each requires a lot of teamwork, cooperation, hard work and time.  Things are going swimmingly with each and I hope they continue that way.

If you’re interested in public relations, visit the PRSA website.  It has plenty of resources and tools to help you!

Moving right along!

Half of the semester is almost over and we are about to be full swing into our campaign.  We are still brainstorming ideas, themes, and events but have become more confident in our ideas and decisions, whereas before we couldn’t come to a clear decision.  Our main event is going to be an influential speaker along with guest speakers in the Manship School Holliday Forum.  Our main speaker is going to be Betsy Irvine, the Louisiana Delta Service Corp director, and a few corp members as guest speakers to share their personal experience.  After meeting and talking with Betsy multiple times, it is obvious to see the genuineness she has for the nonprofit and how inspired she is about the programs. During our initial meeting, I could already see how she truly loved and devoted her life to LDSC, its mission and members. I know that our audience will immediately feel the same way about her. I have not met any corp members yet, but I believe they will be a success.  We plan on having a question-and-answer session after the informational meeting to gauge what the audience wants to know more about the nonprofit, its programs and what they do.  This will help us evaluate what our target audience, college students, are wanting to know about.  Afterwards, we will be able to plan easier methods to reach our target with the type of information they need.

While all these plans have not been put into concrete just yet, I’m excited to see how it will work out.  The only thing I am nervous about is getting students interested in coming to listen to our speakers.  I’m nervous about this because I know, as a college student myself, that I would rather choose to watch television rather than go to a meeting about a nonprofit.  I think this will be our biggest hurdle.  We must get people excited enough to take time out of their day to come listen to the great things LDSC can do for them and the community.

Our last class is this week to get our final tips as a classroom.  We are then given our usual class time for the remainder of the semester to work on our campaign. PPR has already decided to put this time to good use and work on our tactics and details. LDSC has given us a bigger budget than I expected while I believe will help things go smoother. I’ll keep everyone posted on our progress over the next few weeks.  Keep your calender clear for our event for free food, a great experience and inspirational speakers!

You can follow me on Twitter @grace_hiller for any immediate updates!

Only the beginning

After a few weeks, PPR has made significant progress.  We’ve met on a routine basis of two to three times a week to stay ahead of our work.  I’m honestly very pleased with my team’s progress and work.  Instead of treating things individually, we work together as team on everything.  In the past few weeks PPR has been working on creating logo’s for our company, Louisiana Delta Service Corps (LDSC), and our research synopsis.

Our Design Director, Gabrielle, is amazing!  She does work that seems so easy but would be a day’s work for someone that is design handicapped like myself.  She has already created a few logo drafts for LDSC that we are looking over.  Our research synopsis serves as the starting point to our actual campaign.  Research is the first step in any project because it gauges past and present material.  It helps identify important information such as the company’s history, what has worked/failed in the past, how we plan to achieve our goals, information about the target audience, etc.

In our meetings with Betsy Irvine, Executive Director of LDSC, she has provided an abundance of vital research. One of the main things Betsy has given us is our target audience: young adults between ages 18-27.  This target audience is for people who don’t have plans after high school or college, may just want a reason to live in Baton Rouge or New Orleans, need to pay of student loans or many other reasons.  LDSC can do a lot for anyone, particularly young adults, and we plan raising awareness about the “best kept secret” as Betsy referred to it.  Betsy also gave us a big amount of secondary research from past evaluations.  While this research gave us a ton of information, we wanted to conduct our own research as well.  We created a survey consisting of eight questions pertaining to ethnic/demographic data, modes of receiving information (social media, newspaper, online) and knowledge levels about LDSC.  Our results showed that 93 out of 100 participants either lacked general knowledge about LDSC or had never heard of it.  The most popular way to receive information was social media with 75 percent.  This survey has proved our guesstimates and set a foundation for how we will proceed with our campaign.

Many people do not realize the importance of research and like to do the least amount possible.  However, if they worked harder on the research they would have finished half of the job.  Throughout our campaign we will be referring back to our research synopsis to confirm or fix our objectives, strategies, and events.  By doing this, it will help us identify almost every part of the rest of our campaign and what needs to be achieved.  PPR is on the high road to success and I believe that we will reach even higher.

Let’s get this party started

The beginning of a new semester always feels like a party.  That is, until the party is over and it’s time for business.  I am beginning my last semester (I think) at LSU, which also means I am beginning the end of the party, or better known as the often dreaded Public Relations Campaigns class.  This class is mass communications seniors last chance to prove they have what it takes to put all of our education over our college career to use.

In my previous three years I have heard stories upon stories of this class.  I knew what to expect but also didn’t know what to expect all at the same time.  The first few weeks of class filled me with anxiety about who my team and client would be as they would be the people I would be working with the whole semester.  My anxiety quickly subdued after being teamed with an extraordinary group consisting of five girls.  We’ve named our “firm” Prelude Public Relations (PPR) as this will be an introduction for all of us to something more important in our near futures.

This semester, PPR is joined with a Baton Rouge nonprofit known as Louisiana Delta Service Corps (LDSC), an Americorps program.  Like most people, I had never heard of this nonprofit organization nor of Americorps.  After doing some research I had an overview of what they were but did not fully understand the extension of the programs until PPR’s initial meeting with the Executive Director of LDSC Betsy Irvine.  The meeting was very successful and huge relief for my team and myself.  She explained how the program was originally just the Delta Service Corps which included Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas.  Betsy and few others agreed that Louisiana’s culture was different from the other two states and had different issues to address so therefore established LDSC.  She told us numerous stories and all of the benefits the corps members receive that I wanted to join at that moment.  It is amazing how LDSC has guided so many and what some alumni are doing today. They like to consider LDSC to be Louisiana’s own Peace Corps and have a good reason why.

One of the first things Betsy told our team about this nonprofit was that it is “Louisiana’s best kept secret. And that’s a bad thing.”  This immediately told our team what needed to be done.  Throughout the semester, we will be organizing and implementing an awareness and recruitment campaign to get LDSC’s organization out in the open with new perks and events.

I won’t give too much information to spoil the surprises coming your way but I will let you know that the party isn’t over.