The New Rules of Marketing and PR – David Meerman Scott

1. The idea that I agree with most in this entire book is the idea that PR is always changing and has changed so much in the last few years since social media has started to boom. That is a pretty broad statement, but PR is evolving and changing every day. This infographic depicts the evolution of public relations in just the last few years. The creator of the infographic was comparing now to about 1997 when the “dot.com” era began. Public relations used to cost so much money, but now you can use social media and barely have to spend money at all (p 16). We used to create press releases to try to get our story picked up, but now the way to reach out is by tweeting about it (p 21). Anything that used to be in ink is now online, and the online news websites that used to be so popular are now mobile news apps.

2. One of the points that I sort of disagree with is the fact that blogs are relevant still. I think that blogs are sort of going out of style, with big blogs like the Huffington Post becoming more of news sites and news sites like The New York Times looking more like blogs. In this article, the author talks about why The New York Times has started to get rid of a lot of their blogs. While maybe five years ago people may have searched through blogs to find product recommendations, now they might search through Twitter or Yahoo! Answers (p 288). Blogs are a good place to have more detailed information about topics, but you are not going to be able to get people to your blog just to read it normally (p 287). Because blogs were so successful, news websites are taking the hint and making their sections more like blogs rather than having two separate entities. I think this is taking away a bit from “regular” blogs by the average person just talking about their opinions, unless their opinions are highly regarded and they have created a following already.

3. My favorite chapter was Chapter 18: An Image is Worth a Thousand Words. Photos are taking the web by storm, and it is much easier to get your content noticed if you include a photo. Instagram is becoming more and more popular because you don’t necessarily have to read the caption to get the general idea of a post. I liked the mentions Scott made of Instagram being like an art gallery because I see so many photos on Instagram that are truly artistic! I know I do my best, and it is really cool to see some of the photos that people take and post. Almost all of these photos are taken with a mobile phone and that blows my mind! It is easy to market products on Instagram because you can post photos of them and post them. You can also show your followers exactly what you are doing at any given moment rather than just telling them. You can post a video of a fashion show that you are at for your clothing store or the coffee at your company’s early morning meeting. This makes your company or organization seem more human and helps followers to be able to connect with you on a deeper level.

4. I really liked this book! It was more up to date and relevant than the other book that we read in this class. Scott talked about pros and cons of different types of public relations and social media. He also connected current public relations practices with public relations practices of the past. Rather than starting with a clean slate and throwing out everything you have ever learned, you learn how to transition the skills you currently have into relevant skills. I found the book extremely useful in this way. I found great points of advice and different directions that you could go in for just one type of website or campaign. Scott also didn’t have as much of an authoritative voice, which I enjoyed. He spoke as if he were a friend talking to another friend about what has worked for him on social media and with public relations rather than writing as an expert that knows everything about the topic. There is no possible way anyone could know or write everything there is to write about social media, and I’m glad Scott did not try. I would recommend this to other students on the public relations track for sure. The book has made me realize how important it is to tweet and connect with your audience rather than just talk at them. There are tons of useful tips that anyone could take and use with any organization.

Little Sisters

So this isn’t the normal kind of post that I write, but I have a lot on my mind and I need to get at least one of those things off of it in a productive way. In the last year or so, I have been really emotional when it comes to my little sister. Little E just turned 13 in February so that means she’s nine years younger than me…nine! You would think with such a large gap between us that we would get along pretty well. That was not the case growing up. At first, we got along well, but she grew up in a much different dynamic than I did. We weren’t very well off when I was younger, but I never went without. We moved four times at least before I was my sisters age and rented most of the places we lived in. I would never say that I had a tough life because I have amazing family and friends who count as family who have always supported us. It was just much different from my sister’s. 

I used to think that she was a brat and I don’t think I was very nice to her when we lived together. I will be the first to admit that I’m pretty critical of others because that’s how I am with myself. I grew up quickly so she should too. I never wanted that giant stuffed banana so she shouldn’t either. (That was a real story by the way…) After I moved out of the house to go to college, I think my sister grew up a little bit. She’s still the little sister, but now it’s almost like she’s an only child because she’s the only one in the house. She entertains herself, puts her dishes in the sink, and practices her trumpet. She is a national medal winner for gymnastics and she’s so smart. I think about her every day and I literally think that I would die of heartbreak if something happened to her. Every time I read an article about being an older sister or thinking about a little sister, I burst into tears. And I’m not an emotional person, but I really can’t read these in public because I know I’ll start crying!

I recently found out about a friend’s brother who passed away unexpectedly in a car accident, and I don’t know how they are handling life so well. It is truly heartbreaking when one is taken from us too soon, but you have to be strong and carry on. Do everything for those who have and who still love you. I work hard so that my sister will have a good role model. I work hard because I know my grandpa is watching me from heaven and thinking, “Good work Miss Al.” 

As I make the next transition from undergrad to law school, I’ll need this motivation every single day to get me through. It’s tough to stay focused on what matters, like friends and family and little sisters, but it’s all for a greater good. My relationship with my sister is driving me to become successful so that she can be and feel like an empowered woman.

Social Media is NOT a Waste of Time

I am writing this post in response to an article on Forbes by Robert Wynne, Is Social Media a Waste of Time? I might be biased, but I do not think social media is a waste of time, more specifically for PR professionals. Wynne seems to think that PR pros and small businesses are looking for a quick fix and a way to connect with traditional media sources. He also seems to think that success with public relations means having the most stories on the news or in newspapers. I hate to break it to you Robert, but that’s not everyone’s ultimate goal. Some public relations professionals are actually looking to connect with their public, and in that way, I do not believe that social media is a waste of time.

Scott notes in The New Rules of Marketing and PR that there are now new rules of PR. Public relations pros do not have to rely on third-party ink. “The web has changed the rules,” Scott notes. “Today, organizations are communicating directly with buyers” (p 20). Press releases get lost in the abyss and there is only so much time that the news channels have on air. Wynne argues that unless you are an established brand, you will not have success on social media. I would argue the opposite. Like Scott notes, “If you are smaller and less famous but have an interesting story to tell, you need to tell it yourself. Fortunately, the web is a terrific place to do so” (p 23). Scott also notes many examples of press releases that are going to get picked up by the media like J.K. Rowling issuing a press release about a new book or President Obama announcing a position being filled (p 23). If you are a small organization, even the best press release is not going to outshine one of these stories. However, you can create a viral video or an interesting post that more people could see than they would if it were on the third page of the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

There are also campaigns that are more suited to social media and would not do well with Old School PR. These reach to certain target audiences and appeal to the audience that the brand wants it to. A great example of this would be Taco Bell’s recent campaigns for their new breakfast line. A lot of people were skeptical of Taco Bell having breakfast because it is known for its lunch, dinner and more recently “fourth meal.” Taco Bell has done an awesome job in the last few years of having a great social media presence. Instead of selling their followers something every day, they are having conversations with them. They tweet Mean Girls quotes with their followers, talk back (hilariously) when people dis them, and respond when people have serious issues with a local store.

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Taco Bell unveiled their breakfast menu in late February, causing a buzz all over social media about their waffle taco. Now what Taco Bell has to do is break people’s habits of stopping by McDonald’s for one of their fantastic breakfast sandwiches and instead try Taco Bell’s new menu. The Nation’s Restaurant News website posted an article about Taco Bell’s menu and public relations and marketing techniques. They just released a commercial featuring multiple Ronald McDonald’s…literally men (and boys) named Ronald McDonald praising Taco Bell’s new breakfast. That’s clever. And it’s easily available on YouTube for all to share. In her article, Jennings notes how Taco Bell has been building the excitement for “First Meal” for years. “[It] was first offered in about 750 restaurants in 10 Western states in 2012, and the chain later expanded the test to about 900 units, refining the menu over time, until it settled on the core [menu].” Taco Bell stated creating a social media sensation by sending key “influencers” what they called Breakfast Phones. The Breakfast Phones would receive calls and texts with missions from Taco Bell to do things like “tweet about their favorite breakfast item” Jennings says. These influencers also received prizes like a Taco Bell watch or a Waffle Taco pillowcase. I have also seen quite a few pictures of people wearing t-shirts that Taco Bell sent them.

If Taco Bell tried to do this through traditional means of media, they would not have had as much success. I don’t even think they could have done this through a traditional means of media. This is a core reason that social media is not a waste of time. If one uses social media in a novel way, they can reach to the public that they want to reach or a broader public if their content goes viral. Not everyone is looking to get a story in the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. Sometimes companies are just trying to get on the timeline of people in the St. Louis area. You cannot always have “face time” with people, but you can more easily take up 15 seconds of their Facebook time and without any cost to your company.

PR Progress

Through the last few weeks, we have been reading a lot about how public relations is changing and evolving as technology becomes more advanced. If you have ever studied PR, you know that some of it is not much like what you actually study. As I have been getting out in the field and doing public relations, social media is much more a part of modern-day public relations than we are taught. Classic means of reaching out to your public, such as press releases and feature stories, are not as effective as they once were. Typical press releases that were in paper form are virtually unheard of now. If you are going to send a press release, you definitely need to have something more interesting than you might have had before, like adding hyperlinks or pictures to your release.

Although much is changing, we don’t need to throw out everything we have learned. We know what sorts of things people like reading and what will make them interested, so we just need to learn how to apply what we know to different mediums. In an article for PR Daily, Jessica Lawlor notes five trends for PR and social media in 2014. The first two are about giving up control of your brand and letting your superfans do marketing for you. A great example of this is stated in Putting the Public Back in Public Relations by Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge. They talk about SkullCandy and the people who tweet and post about them. There are over 180 SkullCandy blogs online, showing that “the brand’s customers are its surrogate sales force” (Solis & Breakenridge, 2009, p 22). This is hard for public relation pros because you want to be the person giving out the information about the brand, but it’s silly to think people aren’t talking about your brand anyway. By giving up control and letting others take some of it, you make your brand seem more genuine and trustworthy.

The last three are more about just being smarter with what you’re posting. If you overload the people who follow you with links, spam and retweets, when you want them to read your content, they won’t notice it. There’s a difference between staying on the radar and being annoying. We have to remember that we are not only being the content creator for the brand, but are also participating in the conversation (Solis & Breakenridge, 2009, p 38). We can shape perception of a brand just by posting things ourselves. I have noticed by doing public relations for a few different brands that if I retweet or share content, my friends will see it and talk about it. This is the new form of word-of-mouth. Instead of telling your friends face-to-face, you’re sharing content with them. They, in turn, can easily share that content with all of their friends as well. This works almost better than word-of-mouth because you don’t have to worry about the “telephone effect”, where content gets disfigured and details get left out. The web is so interactive, and this makes brands personal and portable (Solis & Breakenridge, 2009, p 39).

I have noticed that I talk about Twitter way more than any other form of social media, even though it has been proven that more people are on Facebook than Twitter. Twitter is versatile and I like the conversation/thought aspect of it. You can so easily share content, which makes it perfect for public relations. You can also be anonymous, so Twitter may seem safer to people than Facebook for Pinterest. There’s a level of safety and openness on Twitter that there isn’t in other mediums. It might also be that I use Twitter more than I use anything else which is why I think that it will be around more than other forms.

I’ve also thought about how I could use social media in different classes. For my senior assignment, I’ve been working for Bonfyre, a start-up social media app in St. Louis, and creating Bonfyres for different classes in departments at SIUE. It has made me realize how much I would love to be able to communicate with people in my other classes outside of class as well. I like Bonfyre because it is very private. You do not have to share your number, your Facebook, your Twitter, or even your real name if you don’t want to. You don’t even have to have a picture! I do obviously, but it could help with privacy concerns. I have enjoyed using it in my classes because I can share content just to the people in my class rather than sharing it on Facebook which can become embarrassing for me or annoying for my friends. I think the thought of “narrowcasting” is a novel one and something that public relation professionals need to be on the lookout for in the future.

I’m so ill…

One of the hardest parts of getting older is that when you’re sick, you can’t call in to school and just say you’re not going. Ok…so that’s what I did today, but I still had things that I had to do even though I’m not feeling hot at all. Here are a few of the things that have helped me recover the fastest:

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This Campbell’s Chunky Classic Chicken Noodle is my favorite when I’m sick. It’s easier than making mom’s homemade chicken noodle, and I like it better than the classic chicken noodle because of the big hearty noodles and chunks of veggies. Yumm.

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These are already open because my cold is that bad. But if I could recommend anything for a sore throat, these would be it. They help with your cough, but about halfway through one, you get a burst of the syrup center which helps if your throat is dry and sore like mine. I like Ricola because they have natural ingredients and don’t make my mouth feel as sugary as other cough drops. These will also help clear any sinus issues you’re having because they’re strong.

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DayQuil is a lifesaver. It gives you that extra boost of energy that you don’t have when you’re sick. I’m excited to try the new “max strength version”. I’ll let you all know how it is later this week.

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If pills aren’t your thing (they’re not mine normally), Emergen-C is the real lifesaver! You just add the pack of powder to your water and drink up. I really like the lemon-lime flavor; it’s not as bitter as the original. There’s all sorts of good things in this stuff like electrolytes, vitamins to help your immune system, and vitamins to give you natural energy for your day. This is my go to when I’m sick…and this box of 30 packets was only $10 at Walgreens.

What’s your remedy when you’re sick?

Oh La La…

about Rue La La! If you haven’t checked out this site, you HAVE to right now. You’re supposed to be invited, so click below for your personal invite!

 ruelala

Rue La La is a website that has tons of deals on name brand designers. They almost always have Jack Rogers and Lilly Pulitzer under some category. There’s a ton of options of things to buy, from clothes to kitchen supplies to whole vacations! I haven’t bought anything from this site yet, but I am always so tempted!

Mother’s Day Gifts

Every year, it gets harder and harder to find a gift that is suitable for my wonderful mom. This year I went to the Hallmark store in my town and got the perfect card, and I was planning on getting my mom some of her favorite flowers and chocolates. HOWEVER, I ran across the perfect Groupon for a massage and decided, with a little help from my younger sister, that it would be a more suitable gift.

A Groupon is a perfect gift for a college student to give. Let’s face it, we’re not made of money, no matter how much we try to deny it. When I get my parents gifts, I like to buy them with my own money because I feel like buying them with their money defeats the purpose. I got my mom a 60 minute massage, plus a 15 minute HydroLuXe massage (whatever that means) for $30! (originally a $90 value) I think this is a gift that will help her unwind AND it fits in my budget.

On a more strict budget? Your mom would love anything that comes from the heart. A card that you spend some quality time picking out could be something she cherishes for years. Here’s some ideas of gifts from Target that Mom will love.

Mother's Day


Glitter shoes / Pocket wallet / Post back earrings / White umbrella / Nail polish, $12 / Essie nail polish / Essie nail polish

Another idea is pulling out that bucket of craft supplies in your closet (we all have one) and making Mom a cute craft. My first year in a sorority, I made my mom a paddle for Mother’s Day. There are so many things that you can do with a little time and effort!

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Spray paint some old vases to make them into a new gift.

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Craft some old mason jars (these are baby food jars, so you could do that if you have them) with ribbons and buttons and secure it with hot glue or Mod Podge! Add a few seeds or cheap flowers you can pot yourself to make a great, cheap gift.

What are you giving your mom for Mother’s Day?