Flash Communications

Tales from a student-PR agency at Kent State University


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Five Tips for Choosing a Good Minor to Complement Public Relations

So you’ve settled into public relations as your major – Congratulations! You’ve chosen well.

But on the first day of classes in your new major, you realize that many of your new classmates not only have their PR major, but also have minors – and some of them have more than one.

You may panic for a second: “Minor?! I just chose my major, and now I have to choose something else?”

Well, never fear! Here are five tips to help you chose the perfect minor:

Passion is key

Passion is key

When it comes to choosing any minor, it’s always good to start with something you’re already passionate about. Do you like fashion? Try a fashion media minor. Do you want to work in the corporate world? Maybe a minor in business or marketing would do the trick. Are you interested in sports? A sports administration minor may be the right fit for you.

Luke Armour, an assistant professor in Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) sequence says that choosing a minor for PR should revolve around your future goals.

“Public relations is a multi-faceted field. You can work in sports, entertainment, healthcare, public affairs, internal communications, technology, higher education – the list goes on and on,” Armour says. “Kent State has a lot of programs that can help you gain a better understanding of a specific field of study that can help you – so be sure to look around. The possibilities are vast.”

Diversify yourself

Diversify Yourself

Along with being something that holds your interest, a great PR minor should help you to stand out among your fellow PR students. The public relations industry is a competitive one, and you should jump at any chance to get a leg up on your opposition.

Michele Ewing, an associate professor in JMC, says that a minor for PR should further enhance a person’s ability as a communicator.

“I especially advocate for students to study a second language,” Ewing says. “Public relations professionals who understand different languages and cultures are more effective communicators – and more marketable for jobs.”

Complement your major

As previously mentioned, minors that complement the PR major should serve as a way to further enhance your education in the PR sequence. For example, a psychology or sociology minor will help public relations students with analyzing audiences and developing a communication strategy. Be sure to think about potential career interests and find a minor that will provide some additional expertise.

Complement your major

Stephanie Smith, an assistant professor in JMC,says that selecting a minor is comparable to  picking a running mate for office.

“You should ask yourself, ‘what makes a good balanced “ticket,” and what will supplement the skills and competencies you don’t have and won’t necessarily get from a PR curriculum?” Smith says. “If you’re not sure what field you want to enter, stay flexible and strategic. I’d look at some fields of study that employment and demographic trends tell us are going to be highly impactful in the future.”

Be decisive

Be Decisive

You don’t need to choose a minor in your first semester, or even in your first year — but once you do decide on a minor you think you’ll like, try to stick with it. Much like changing your major, repeatedly switching minors can set you back for graduation and leave you with a bunch of class credits that don’t go towards anything.

A good way to avoid this is to take a class or two in your chosen subject prior to declaring a minor. You can also meet with an advisor in that program to discuss what requirements accompany each minor you are considering. This way, you can decide whether the minor is for you before fully committing.

Armour also recommends looking directly at the classes you’ll have to add to get your minor.

“Look at the content,” Armour says. “Is it really in line with your interests? Will it make you more valuable to an employer? Will it give you skills or knowledge you need in the industry? And definitely talk to upperclassmen who have selected that minor – are they happy? Be sure to find out everything you can about your prospective minor before you choose it.”

Don’t overwhelm yourself

Don't Overwhelm YourselfIf you’ve read all of the previous advice and are still nervous about choosing a minor, don’t worry! You’re not alone — this just means you’re taking your education in PR seriously, which is a good thing.

Take a deep breath, clear your head and let that knot in your stomach ease up. Declaring a minor isn’t a requirement, nor should it cause you to stress out. Just start from the beginning – make a list of the areas you’re already passionate about, and go from there. There are plenty of resources and people in Kent State’s  public relations department will be there to help you out along the way.


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A Day in the Life: Working at Flash Communications

Flash

What better way to gain real-world experience in the field of public relations than interning through the University Communications and Marketing Department? As a Flash Communications intern, you can quickly enhance your writing, interviewing and time management skills.

At Flash Communications, we primarily write public relations stories or briefs about anything positive, exciting or new happening at any one of the Kent campuses. Flash communications is under the University Communications and Marketing department and is headed by Professor Luke Armour. Every week you’re working on new stories, upcoming events or accomplishments in the Kent Community.

Different roles you may hold are social media management, assisting in event staffing or an assistant coordinator. Working at Flash Communications also allows you to work with professionals like Eric Mansfield and Emily Vincent, giving you a chance to see them in action with their real-world duties. The office environment continues to be exciting and refreshing, allowing you to write stories on different topics in short period of time.

Since we all have a different class schedule, you’re able to work with different interns throughout the week. Every day here is different – one day you may be working on contacting sources or interviewing for a story, writing social media posts or in the office compiling stories for the weekly faculty and staff e-newsletter, E-Inside.

Carly Evans, a junior public relations major, joined Flash Communications this past spring after hearing about the position from a Kent State staff member.

“It’s really cool getting to meet different people all across campus,” Evans says. “You get to know so many faces and personalities around campus.”

Holly Disch, junior public relations major, is in her second semester at Flash Communications and says one of the highlights working here was a jazz story she did last semester on a professor, Bobby Selvaggio, who is an amazing sax artist.

“I got to interview him while also interviewing famous jazz artists because I needed to incorporate more than one source into the story,” Disch says.

Gael Reyes, one of our assistant coordinators here at Flash Communications, says her position has allowed her to gain great experience and build her portfolio.

“It’s an environment that allows me to grow as a student and as a professional,” Reyes says.

Disch says her one of her favorite parts of working here is getting the chance to collaborate with other amazing PR students.

Reyes advises students who are interested in working at Flash Communications to do your research before going into the interview.

“Have a good idea of what we do here at Flash,” Reyes said. “Also, have a solid understanding of PR basics.”

Interested in applying? Send your resume and a list of completed and scheduled JMC classes to Professor Luke Armour at Larmour1@kent.edu by April 21,, 2017.


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Three tips for managing your social media like a pro

Before I took on the position of social media director for Her Campus at Kent State, social media was just another way to entertain myself. I can’t say I never cared about putting effort into maintaining my platforms, but it took on a whole new meaning once I began to manage accounts for work. In the past year, I’ve come to realize a few things about cultivating a successful social media presence. Here are three things to keep in mind that apply to both professional and personal accounts.

  1. Stay true to your brand (yes, you have a brand)

The definition of what a “brand” is constantly changes, but Forbes reports that it is essentially “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.” You may think this definition only applies to those with a product to sell, but consider this: You are a product and you advertise who you are as a person when you use social media. The key point to remember about your brand on social media is consistency. That’s not to say you don’t have room to grow, but just like you wouldn’t expect ESPN to start tweeting about New York Fashion Week, you too should stay true to your identity.

Here’s an example with the main Huffington Post twitter account dipping their toes into the entertainment world and getting criticized in the replies.

  1. Multimedia elements are your friend

A quick scroll through my timeline shows very few plain text tweets and there’s a good reason for that. According to Twitter, “tweets with photos get 313% more engagement.” Everyone from The White House to “Common White Girl” knows the power of a good multimedia tweet. Just take these posts for example:

  1. Contribute to the Conversation

What are people talking about and how can you become a part of the conversation? Not every situation needs a response and there is something to be said for selective participation, but if it *makes sense for you to participate, then go for it.

Here’s a great example from Her Campus Kent State from our Women’s March coverage. I had one of my social team members live tweet while they marched and a fair number of people picked up this particular tweet.

*see tip #1

I’m sure you know how your social media presence comes off and you were probably already posting pictures and commenting on current events before I told you how important it is. My point is to do these things consciously so that next time you type out a tweet, you know that it’ll be a hit. Now go forth and conquer social media like it’s your job.


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YouToo Social Media Conference Recap

IMG_0947I can’t believe the ninth-annual YouToo Social Media Conference has already come and gone! A lot of preparation went into the day, and the day could not have turned out better.

Kyle Michael Miller

The morning began with a keynote from Kyle Michael Miller, lead social media producer for NBC’s TODAY show. Kyle spoke about everything from content to his working environment. He reminded us all to look for stories.

One thing he said that really stood out to me was, “People aren’t going to Facebook for the TODAY show. They’re going for their mom, friends and dog.” I thought about that quote a lot during the rest of the day, especially when I was in a later session and Alyssa Purvis from Key Bank said the same thing. Being in charge of a brand, you become enthralled with what the brand is doing, and it’s important to you. However, it may not be so important to others, and that is where creativity and research come in.

Kyle shared with us the story behind the post of Kathie Lee Gifford talking about her recently deceased husband and why it was so successful. “Authentic moments always win in the social space,” Kyle said. People can tell when you’re being unauthentic. People are responsive to raw emotions. As Kyle said, does anyone really pass up a video of a husband crying after seeing his wife’s new makeover?

Another huge theme of the day was social media analytics. Looking at the analytics of posts to see how they were received by your audiences is beyond important. Having the ability to judge the success of a post on more than just how many likes it received can help you craft future posts and learn more about what content is best received by your audiences. Kyle talked for a while on Facebook analytics and how he uses them daily to track the reception of posts. That information then carries over into future posts.

Two key takeaways from Kyle’s keynote:

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20 Times Parks and Recreation Described Being a Public Relations Major #PRProblems

When you attend your first networking event and try represent yourself as a professional.

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You’ve picked out the perfect blazer for the occasion and practiced your elevator pitch at least five times.


When someone asks if PR is like Samantha from Sex and the City or Olivia Pope from Scandal.

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No, public relations is not party planning, spin, or covering up murders.


When you stop at Starbucks every day before class.

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If I’m not supposed to go to Starbucks every day, then why is it located two minutes from Franklin Hall?


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Takeaways from YouToo Social Media Conference

Haley Keding shares her takeaways from the 2015 YouToo Social Media Conference

Haley Keding shares her takeaways from the 2015 YouToo Social Media Conference

A few weeks ago, I attended the eighth annual YouToo Social Media Conference where I learned about social media’s place in the professional world of PR. The conference was phenomenal, and I loved listening to keynote speakers Gini Dietrich, author of “Spin Sucks” and founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, and Mark W. Smith, mobile web editor at The Washington Post. Both professionals had great things to say at the conference so I wanted to share some of their tips on social content and ethics that stuck with me.

MarkSmith

Mark W. Smith opening the YouToo conference with “What IS Social?” Photo by @ebatyko

First off, it’s important to understand what makes social content good or bad. Smith said that when people scroll through their timelines and news feeds, they want short, quick information, so good social content is short, sweet and to the point. If readers choose to click on a link, he said they want to clearly understand what they will read and the experience they will have from that link. This is definitely a tip I want to use on my social media accounts- especially Facebook. Thankfully, Twitter has a 140 character limit, but on Facebook, it’s easy to write a paragraph or two- or five. When I post things in the future, I plan to treat it like a news lead; I’ll keep it to one or two sentences and get the main point of my post across clearly and quickly. I don’t want anyone to be bored with my posts or confused about what I’m telling them, so I plan to ditch the cutesy, fluffy intro for the sanity of my Facebook friends.

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Entertainment PR Tips from an Intern

PR Senior Amanda Knauer provides tips on getting ahead in event public relations

PR Senior Amanda Knauer provides tips on getting ahead in entertainment public relations

Since the day I heard about Allied Integrated Marketing when I was a sophomore, I knew I wanted to eventually intern there. Allied “builds impactful and results-driven campaigns for entertainment and lifestyle clients.”  The agency’s closest branch to me is in Cleveland, but there are offices all over the country (Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, San Diego, Boston, Washington D.C., and the list goes on). At the branch in Cleveland, the agency works basically with new movies coming out in theaters.

After applying and interviewing for the position this past December, I kept my fingers crossed as I waited for the phone call. You can imagine my excitement when the agency finally called and offered me an intern position. I saw it as a way to get my foot in the door. The entertainment sector is a tough one to get into when it comes to public relations.

So, although I have only been an intern at Allied for about a month now, I have learned and experienced many different things about the entertainment industry. Here are a few tips to being successful as an entertainment PR intern:

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