Flash Communications

Tales from a student-PR agency at Kent State University


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8 Reasons to Listen to the FlashCast Podcast

ICYMI, the Flash Communications students have started a podcast to discuss the latest trends in public relations, social media and communication. In case you haven’t listened to the FlashCast Podcast, here are eight reasons you should check it out.

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  1. Stay current with public relations news and trends. Keep up with the industry trends as we discuss what’s new in the world of public relations. Some of our past episodes have focused on topics, such as Super Bowl commercials, Kent State’s rebranding campaign and updates to social media.
  2. Zabrina. Zabrina provides much of the comedic relief of the show, giving memorable quotes, such as “My cousin thought Bateman was the name of my boyfriend because I talked about it so often.”
  3. Get advice from some of Kent State’s top public relations students. How do students balance their time while taking classes, working, being involved in extracurricular activities and maintaining a social life? How should you develop your personal brand? The Flash Communications students have answered these, and other questions in past FlashCast episodes.
  4. Through the power of technology, you will be able to hear Marcus Donaldson’s voice. And he has a lot of interesting information to share.
    Continue reading


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Magazines succeed – and slip up – across social media platforms

Magazine Journalism Major Kelli Fitzpatrick evaluates the social media efforts of top magazines

Magazine Journalism Major Kelli Fitzpatrick evaluates the social media efforts of top magazines

As a magazine journalism major, I love the world of magazine media. Whether it’s in print, on an iPad or online, I consume magazine content every single day. The method I most frequently use to gobble up celebrity, fashion, food and culture news is social media. I follow many of my favorite publications on Twitter, where I watch tweets roll in by the minute. Today, most magazines have accounts on many platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram. I’ve looked into my three favorite social media sites to uncover how magazines are using their accounts to promote their brands with style—or are struggling to do so.

Twitter

Doing it right: @slate, 780,000 followers. Slate, a daily online magazine, seems to have mastered tweeting new original content every few minutes with funny, catchy headlines. “Does Pope Francis support gay civil unions?” and “Reminder: 10 percent of people will believe anything” are just two gems to attract readers to slate.com to read more. @slate also retweets followers who share Slate stories, putting on display the articles that actual readers are enjoying.

Needs some work: @marieclaire, 1.45 million followers. Fashion mag Marie Claire regularly commits a Twitter crime: way too many repeat tweets. I understand tweets roll in so fast that a media account must repost links to keep its content near the top of followers’ feeds. But Marie Claire goes overboard in repeatedly pushing its content. Case in point: the early-morning celebrity news on March 6th was Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s setting a wedding date. @marieclaire posted a link to its news article six times, each with a different paparazzi shot of the notorious couple, between 6:24 and 7:06 a.m. Maybe I’m biased because I am anti-Kardashian, but this incessant coverage was nauseating.

Facebook

Doing it right: Entertainment Weekly, 1.7 million likes. Entertainment Weekly uses a combination of horizontal photos and links to content and to other Facebook pages to make its posts pop on the Facebook news feed. EW’s albums of “exclusive” photos and videos make visiting this page worth your time.  Regular posts tote exclusive content on EW.com, with heavy emphasis on daily TV and movie news.

Needs some work: Seventeen Magazine, 2.4 million likes. The fashion magazine of my youth struggles to stay relevant on the Facebook news feed, with its first offense being a boring profile picture. Instead of updating its photo to the month’s cover star—as most magazines do—Seventeen uses its plain pink logo, which gets fuzzy in thumbnail form. The page could also do more to liven up its posts. Seventeen doesn’t use nearly enough photos, leading to plain posts with simple callouts such as “How to shop smart online and avoid counterfeit sites.” I know the 17-year-old version of myself wouldn’t be persuaded to click that link, making the post a failure.

Pinterest

Doing it right: Vanity Fair, 50,000 followers. Vanity Fair creates an eclectic, enticing array of 43 boards. With a total of more than 1,300 pins, the magazine presents a smorgasbord of topics: The VF Oscar party, retro photos from the magazine’s 100 years of production and even a “Classy Cats” board of celebrities with their felines. The entertaining mix doesn’t stop there: “Style in the Streets” features street style on celebrities and normal folk alike; “Vanity Table” delivers food pics; and “Office Treats” shows off goodies enjoyed by the editors in their New York City office.

Needs some work: Reader’s Digest, 6,400 followers. With just 11 boards, Reader’s Digest has a good start but needs to step it up to make it in the world of Pinterest. The “Quotable Quotes” and “Fun Food” boards seem to be the most shareable. But outdated boards such as “Christmas Crafts” from 2012 drag down the account because it has so few other boards to explore.


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Kohl’s Twitter Wins the “#AdBowl”

English Major Grace Snyder shares her experience on the #adbowl's second screen.

English Major Grace Snyder shares her experience on the #adbowl’s second screen.

The Super Bowl is not only the biggest football game of the year, it is also the biggest day for company advertising. Companies pay top dollar to have their ads played during commercial breaks. Usually these commercials are funny but some years advertisers seem to drop the ball.

In my opinion, this Super Bowl was boring, not only because of the shutout by the Seahawks but also because of the mediocre commercials. There were only a few that I considered memorable.

Due to the lack of excitement, I was glued to my phone and my favorite app, Twitter. While browsing through my Twitter feed, I saw a promoted ad from JC Penney. They seemed to be tweeting numerous typos and were gaining a lot of attention from the misspelled tweets. I was intrigued so I clicked on their Twitter to check it out.

It turns out they were misspelling words on purpose to promote their new mittens. They called it “mitten tweeting.” Basically, the cause of the grammatical errors was because the person typing had on said mittens.

I thought the concept was clever. That is until I saw a genius response from a competing company, Kohl’s. The Kohl’s Twitter account responded to the mitten tweets with a jab that, in my opinion, takes the cake for Super Bowl ads. They suggest that JC Penney try Kohl’s leather texting gloves when tweeting next time. JC Penney got served.

Leather Texting GlovesI was so amused by their response. Kohl’s took advantage of an amazing opportunity to not only show up JC Penney, but they also promoted their own product. In my sheer amazement, I replied to Kohl’s brilliant comeback telling them I could not stop laughing. Then, to my surprise, the Kohl’s account responded to my tweet.

I was very excited to have received a response from the clever company. Not only did Kohl’s make a hilarious social media comeback, they showed their appreciation for my feedback. Kohl’s is a great example of how companies can take advantage of social media advertising. In addition, they show that engaging with other companies can not only be beneficial, it can also be comical.

Looking back at all of the advertisements last night, Kohl’s response to JC Penney is the moment that stuck with me. I name Kohl’s the winner of the “#AdBowl.”


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Social media and personal branding from a college student’s perspective

Junior PR student, Bryan Webb, shares a few tips on personal branding from a college student's perspective.

Junior PR student, Bryan Webb, shares a few tips on personal branding from a college student’s perspective.

Ever since MySpace surfaced when I was in middle school, I have been an avid social media user. I can’t quite figure out why social media intrigues me so much, but it certainly has something to do with the networking aspect of it.

I’m a person who likes to get out, meet new people and take advantage of professional opportunities as they arise. I haven’t always been like that, but networking through social media – and in real life – has helped me gain confidence and, more importantly, experience in what I want to spend my post-graduation life doing.

Immediately when you network through social media, you begin to build a personal brand. That is, your online presence (whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or blog sites) is the beginning of your mark and reputation.

I’m sure I’ve had my fair share of regrettable Tweets between eighth grade and now. But building a personal brand on Twitter requires young adults, like me, to be very conscious of what we send out to the world.

The most fascinating aspect of this whole social media and personal branding craze, to me, is Twitter. I’ve had my account since 2006, so I’ve seen the website come a long way with the addition of retweets, hashtags and mentions.

I have written for multiple publications thus far in my college career, and I have learned many things. Although I am no expert, I came up with three things you could be doing with your Twitter account to maximize your personal branding:

  1. Use hashtags.
    People, and especially companies, search specific hashtags on Twitter multiple times a day. Look at some professional and company accounts to see how they are using hashtags. Hashtags are also commonly used for live-tweeting and tracking live events, although there are a few cons to live-tweeting. Be careful not to overuse hashtags, though. I’ve always gone by the rule of three, maximum, per tweet.
  2. Mentions are key.
    I write for Black Squirrel Radio, and over the summer I made a list of “Ten Country Songs You Should Be Listening to This Summer.” I tweeted the article out to every artist on the list and, by doing that, I got a reply and retweet from one of the artists. Avid fans also search Twitter for mentions of their favorite artists. That list ended up being my most viewed article of the summer. Most companies also check their mentions and sometimes engage in conversation with their followers. (You may even get a new follower from it.)
  3. Tweet links and information about your desired industry.
    This is something potential employers may be looking for, and it shows them that you’re dedicated to what you want to do. It also shows that you’re in-the-know of what’s happening in your industry. And who knows, you might be able to Tweet your way to your next job.

As a junior in college, I still have a lot to learn about personal branding and utilizing social media in the most effective ways. Getting a head start, though, never hurts and I believe that you can always learn more.


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The Importance of Social Media

Nicole Winkleman, Senior Public Relations Major, shares her thoughts on the importance of Social Media for students

Your teachers always tell you to keep your Facebook and Twitter accounts professional. Obviously that’s a good idea, especially when looking for a job or an internship, but it can be invaluable and help you land the interview!

I’m a fashion merchandising, public relations double-major at Kent. Although I work at Flash, I haven’t fulfilled my PR internship yet. The summer of 2011 I completed my fashion internship with the Cleveland Indians.

How Twitter helped me. When I first found out about the opportunity, I immediately started following the Indians on Twitter. The day after my interview I had a request to be followed by @tribeinsider. They were tracking my social media use and wanted to see if it was professional. Because I keep my Twitter professional, it helped me land the job.

How you can find jobs. I also started following @PRSAjobcenter recently on Twitter. Although I am not looking for a job yet (I need an internship first), you can easily find what markets are hiring and what types of jobs are out there for entry-level PR professionals.

Don’t be fake. Just because you’re being professional, doesn’t mean to be fake or overdo it. You don’t need to constantly post links to articles and #hashtag things. Make sure what you say is genuine, but it never hurts to link to a good article when you read one.

LinkedIn. Also, make a LinkedIn page if you haven’t already done so. This will help people find you and it is also a way to network with people that went to the same college as you. Sometimes that’s all you need for a recommendation from a colleague.

Network. Although social media isn’t all about networking – it is! Connect with people you’ve had classes with, people that work at a job you’d like to work, any professional in the field. You never know when someone will stumble on your blog, Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook and will want to get to know you better. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to professionals, but don’t stalk them. A lot of professionals will think of you as a go-getter, if you reach out to them.

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/n_winkleman 
Read my blog: http://portsandlinesoftheair.wordpress.com/ 
Connect with me on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=151992892&trk=tab_pro
OR email me: nwinklem@kent.edu