The Art of Blogging

For my last post I would like to say thank you Professor Schoenberg because this will probably not be my last post.  I am sure that this was your goal all along.

For my writing for public relations course I was required to complete 13 blog posts, and during the process of writing these posts I have discovered that there is a lot more to blogging than I thought.  Here are a few things that I’ve noticed about blogging:

1. It’s therapeutic.

Blogging is like talking to yourself, only better.  You have time to sit down and type out your thoughts.  While writing you have a chance to think about issues or topics more deeply and then express your thoughts more clearly, and be as articulate as you can.  You really have more time to think things through.  I wish I had that capacity when speaking in real time (It would stop me from saying things I shouldn’t).

2. You can make it what you want.

Take this list for example.  In a blog you can write lists, sonnets, or even one-liners (I don’t know if that would constitute a good blog per say, but I’ve definitely seen it happen).  There aren’t very many rules to your writing except those you make for yourself.  You’re definitely allowed to get as creative as you would like.

3. It lets you practice your writing skills.

And explore new writing styles.  For instance, a conversational writing style is rarely encouraged in college classrooms, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important.  I think it’s good to learn how to write how you speak, because in the long run it may even help you speak more eloquently, because again, you have a chance to sit down and really think about what you’re saying.  Along with that, I think it’s a good idea to practice good writing when keeping a blog, and I’m not just doing that because I’m earning a grade on these, but because there is a possibility that other people will actually read my blogs.

4.  It sparks conversations.

When I was first told that we were to keep a blog for my public relations class I was a bit skeptical.  A blog?  Why?  It’s not like anybody is actually going to read it, but the reality is that people do.  Whether they randomly land on your page or they are actively exploring a specific topic, chances are that random people from all over the world will read  your stuff.  I haven’t been blogging all that long, but I’ve already received responses from people that have stimulated my brain and really made me think.

In conclusion I would like to say that I am really glad that we were given this assignment.  I’ve enjoyed blogging more than I anticipated.  I am going through a time where I am trying to figure out if public relations is really what I want to do and it has been great to explore different topics within the public relations industry or in some cases familiarize myself with smart tools for public relations professionals.

Public relations is an industry based on good communication, and it’s no surprise that PR professionals are taking up blogging.  It’s a way to easily connect and communicate with other people, and build new skills that will help one become an even better communicator.

The value of a good PR internship

When I first started college and someone mentioned the word “internship” I definitely freaked out.  When I was told that we were required to take one for credit as part of our program I had a panic attack.  I started wondering…what if don’t get one?  Will it be an indication of my mediocrity?  What if I get one, but I hate it?  Will it change my life-perspective?  Turns out internships really aren’t that scary, and they’re not really that hard to get either, and they do change your life-perspective but only for the best.

I was lucky.  I showed up to my first internship fair as a sophomore.  I wasn’t even really looking, I just figured I should give the career fair a try before getting my heart broken the following year, but undeniably I got an email from Ruder Finn Public Relations a month later asking me to come in for an interview.  I went in super excited and I must have said something right because a month later I was hired.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Ruder Finn.  It was my first encounter with the public relations world.  At the time, I had not taken many PR courses yet so I was a bit nervous, but thankfully they did not throw me right into the lion’s mouth.  Instead they gave me projects that I could handle and they introduced me to agency life.

I was afraid that I was going to be thrown into the spotlight and asked to write press release and pitch letters, something that I would not have been comfortable doing at that time but instead, I learned that before you even write all those fun things you have to do some grunge work, like for instance, compiling the media lists with the contact info of the editors who will be getting your news releases.  Or creating award and speaking databases for clients, which I also took part in.  I didn’t even know that it was PR people who compiled these, but I guess it makes sense since it is in their job description to make companies look good.

Towards the end of my internship I was given the opportunity to spearhead a research project for one of our biggest accounts, and by the end of it, I was fully capable of making some good recommendations.  I felt very proud since I had worked very hard on the project.  It was good to see a long complex project overseen by me from beginning to end.

I loved working at Ruder Finn, part of it might have been because Forever 21 was across the street and  I enjoyed running over there when I took my full lunch breaks, but also because I loved working with the people there.  They created a fun culture that I enjoyed being a part of.  They were always willing to help, and they seemed happy at their jobs.  Now that’s what I aspire to; a job that I will be happy to go to every day, a job that will provide opportunities for advancement both personally and professionally.

I think overall, the greatest part of working at Ruder Finn was the invaluable experience that I gained.  What have been your most valuable internships?

Courses that matter

Over the past several years I have sat in classes where I found myself wondering…why am I here? When will I use this?  Why does this even matter? While I am sure that at some point in my life, I will find myself being thankful for some of those courses, for now all I can say is that it is incredibly refreshing when I find myself enrolled in a course that actually matters.

As part of my advertising/public relations core I am required to take a public service class.  In my public service class this semester we have been assigned to work with a pro-bono client to develop a full service campaign from beginning to end.  I am so thankful for this assignment, because it is the first campaign that has actually been real.

Youth Outreach Services, a non-profit organization in Chicago, is getting help from my class to create several campaigns to recruit 150 mentors for their mentor program.  They will then take the best campaign, or pieces of the ones they like and actually make them happen.  In my previous advertising and public relations classes we have created parts of campaigns, or campaigns for products that don’t exist.  I understand that those have been good practice, but this public service campaign seems to matter a little bit more because I know that the person getting it could actually put it to work.  It has been a lot of work, but my group and I have monitored every single detail.  Everything from the research to the execution of the artwork has been real.  Even the presentation was real.  Our client came in and listened to us as we pitched our ideas.  For once we were put on the spot with a real client.  It was super scary but very appreciated.

I wish Loyola offered more courses like this.  I know that it is difficult because we first have to learn the basics, but I feel like this time I was motivated to work even harder on this campaign because there is a chance that it will actually be implemented.