Musings of a PR Professional


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Assignments category.

Finally finished!

We just finished editing our video for Safe Harbor! It’s about three minutes in length, and looks good! It’s not the most complex video in the world, but I think that any more editing or effects would have taken away from the woman’s story and thus the point of the video. I really like our final product. I think it is perfectly moving so that the audience will really appreciate her story, but it also sheds light on how much Safe Harbor can do for a person. I’m glad that we were able to get the point across that Safe Harbor is a very important organization that has the ability to change a person’s life for the better, and I hope that it motivates people to call the organization if they, or someone they love is a victim of domestic violence.

It took a little while to figure out what we were doing with the editing program, but once we got the hang of it we were able to get the editing done relatively quickly. It looks really professional, and I am excited about being able to share it with our class on Thursday. I also hope that Safe Harbor likes the video, and that they will find it useful.

Looking back over the entire semester, what really sticks out in my mind regarding this project is how lucky we were to be able to actually go to Safe Harbor and speak to a domestic violence survivor. By being able to do so, I felt I became much more connected to the organization which ultimately motivated me to really take this video seriously. I wanted to give them a final product that speaks to the genuineness of the organization. It is unfortunate that we were not able to stick more closely to our project proposal and do two videos (one for raising awareness and one for fundraising). But, I think it is almost better that we were able to focus all of our effort and make one really good video.

Overall, working with a nonprofit was actually a lot more rewarding than I thought it would be. For me, doing this project was more than just a grade. I felt like I was really contributing to something bigger and more important than myself, which was an awesome opportunity that this class afforded me. Despite all of the challenges that we faced, everything was well worth it in the end.


Pepsi Refresh Grant: My experience with social media

For the month of November, I have used my social media networks quite differently than I normally do. As you all know, our class has been working to win Safe Harbor the $25k to revive their shelter.

To promote our project, I have been using my Facebook and Twitter to . However, I haven’t gotten much response from my friends on Facebook or my Twitter followers. Where our professor indicated that a lot of her friends on Facebook took interest in the grant project and “liked” or passed along the information on Facebook, I have not had that experience at all. My peers, as those are the majority of my friends on Facebook, have not responded to it at all. I am assuming that it is because they know little about Safe Harbor. In hindsight, I wish I had done a better job of enabling people to understand what Safe Harbor does and how much they need this grant, rather than just asking them to vote right off the bat. It is hard to motivate people when they don’t have a stake in the cause.

Also, I have been in charge of posting voting reminders on Safe Harbor’s Twitter page. (Follow them and retweet the messages!) I have found that people who follow them are more inclined to retweet the message and bit.ly has indicated that people have been regularly clicking the link that I have been including in Safe Habor’s tweets. So, it seems that those who were previously engaged with Safe Habor are more inclined to put forth the effort to vote and pass the word along.

And please, help us reach our goal. We have been steadily climbing the ranks all month and currently are at 85th! Vote daily at http://www.refresheverything.com/studentsforsafeharbor or text 103648 to 73774 (PEPSI). Thank you for your support!

 


Our trip to Safe Harbor

This past Friday myself and my two group members made the drive to Greenville to Safe Harbor’s administrative offices and then later to the shelter. There, we met former Safe Harbor client Deborah, the woman who was beyond brave enough to share her story with us, and in a few weeks once editing is done, the world.

Jacki and Laura (the two other women in my group) filmed while I served as the person whom Deborah looked at while she told her story. I only had to prompt her but once towards the end, which we are so thankful for. Her story flowed beautifully. It seemed as though she was reading my mind, every time that I would think of something to ask her that I wanted her to touch on, she did just seconds later. We really could not have asked for a better interviewee.

After we were done with the interview, we drove to the Safe Harbor shelter to film b-roll of the different rooms. Again, the people there were very helpful and I think we got a lot of good stuff that we can splice in!

The only glitch that we have really dealt with thus far has been the sound. The microphone that Clemson lent us was not compatible with the camera we were using, and we were unable to find a mic that would work so we have to use the audio from the camera. Hopefully we will be able to adjust the volume and quality once we sit down to edit. We plan to start making edits next Monday, once we are all back from Thanksgiving break.

 


Getting the ball rolling again on our video

We got in touch with Safe Harbor! Hallelujah!

A woman from Safe Harbor got in touch with us last night and this morning and we now have scheduled time to come film a client and the shelter! We will be interviewing the client tomorrow morning. Hopefully she will be willing to talk about her experiences and we don’t have to pry! It is such a sensitive issue that we are going to have to approach everything very delicately and with prudence. We are not sure about how anonymous she wants to be, so we will cross that bridge when we get there. Also, we believe that the nature of her story will determine the ultimate angle that the final video will take. Once we are done filming we are going to head to the shelter and collect a bunch of b-roll footage that we will use to splice into her story. We will also be showing statistics and moving quotes from her story throughout the video to add interest and keep things moving.

Getting all of this coordinated and gathering the equipment we need to film has been stressful, but we finally have it going. Lights, camera, action!


Safe Harbor Project Woes

Unfortunately, our Safe Harbor video project has not been going as planned as of late. We are coming in on the final weeks of the semester before the final video is due and have yet to film. We emailed our contact at Safe Harbor last Tuesday to let them know exactly what kind of footage we needed and what we needed their help with getting. We asked if we could come to the shelter on Friday, but we never received a response. Not wanting to be a bother, but clearly under deadline pressure, we emailed again this past Saturday and still have yet to hear back from them.

We need that footage! It is beyond understandable that they have their hands full with day-to-day operations and the like, but our group is pretty stuck until we can get in contact with them. Hopefully we will hear back from them in the next couple of days and be able to shoot video before Thanksgiving break. That way, all we will have to do is edit during the last two weeks of the semester.

Keeping our fingers crossed!


Safe Harbor Update

Looks like it’s time for another Safe Harbor update! As a class, ee have a number of things in the works at the moment for this organization, and I am involved in two of them. The first is the Pepsi Refresh grant that I blogged about a few weeks ago.

We are working together as a class on winning the $25,000 grant. Last week in class we worked together to create a list of audiences that we will reach out to in order to gain votes for our cause throughout November. We also determined what media channels we would use to reach these different audiences. We decided to use:

  • Email list-servs that we have access to
  • Safe Harbor’s list of emails that they have access to
  • Our own and Safe Harbor’s Facebook and Twitter accounts
  • Our own personal contacts that we can communicate with in person and online
  • News publications in the upstate
  • Clemson’s newspaper The Tiger
  • The Clemson.edu website

Knowing this, we determined what type of press materials we would need to best reach each audience. So, yesterday in class we split up into groups and actually wrote these press materials and are now just waiting until November to tweak these and start sending them out!

The second thing that myself and two other women in my class are working on for Safe Harbor, something I mentioned briefly in a previous post, are two videos for the organization. One video will aim to raise funds for Safe Harbor and the other will attempt to raise awareness about the organization.

We developed a project proposal to outline what we plan to include in each video. The fundraising video will most likely include people talking about how easy and rewarding donating in as well as what different dollar amounts could mean for Safe Harbor. The awareness video will focus on testimony from a victim of domestic violence that has been saved by Safe Harbor. In the proposal we also included how we will dispense these videos to the public. We plan to put the videos on YouTube and market them through Safe Harbor’s blog, Facebook page, and Twitter.

Now, we are just waiting to hear Safe Harbor’s feedback and beginning to get started on outlining story boards so we know exactly what footage and materials we will need for the videos.

So- here we go!


Nikki Haley for SC Governor

Because we are in the midst of an election right now, and this class is about social change, one of our projects for the semester is to follow a campaign and analyze its effectiveness. I have chosen to follow the Nikki Haley. Haley is running for Governor of South Carolina as a Republican. I have chosen to follow her campaign for two main reasons. First, she is fairly well-known on the national level, due to the affair scandal that broke in the news earlier this summer and I am interested to see how her camp handled this issue. Second, because she is a candidate in South Carolina, I think I will have greater access to her campaign materials and more opportunities to actually hear her speak which will make my political PR analysis more comprehensive.

After a preliminary review of Haley’s campaign, biography, her platforms, who endorses her, I have determined that this campaign is reaching the following audiences:

  • South Carolinians
  • Republicans, particularly those that lean more conservative.
  • Members of the Tea Party
  • Women and Minorities:  Is one herself so people in these subgroups can identify with her.
  • Business owners: One of her main platforms is to cut government spending to help taxpayers.
  • People of varying ages: Her use of social media, which is understood to be an effective way to reach younger demographics, may be an indication that she is trying to reach younger, potentially less-tapped age groups as well as older ones through traditional means and social media.

Refresh Safe Harbor, please!

For those of you who don’t know, or aren’t aware of the specifics, PepsiCo. has started an initiative called the Pepsi Refresh Project. Essentially what it is, is each month Pepsi gives away up to a total of $16,500,000 to the top 32 ideas that plan to do something positive for society. The ideas can come from any individual or any organization, but in order to win, the idea has to get the most votes. Anyone can vote, so the contest is really about who can promote their idea the best.

Our plan is to win $25,000 for Safe Harbor so that they can buy 30 new mattresses, re-do their kitchen, and stock it with food for almost one year.

There is A LOT of money up for grabs to do something great with- and we’re going to win. We’re a PR class full of smart and talented women. We got this!

More than anything, this is a social media competition. Whoever has the biggest, most dedicated social network made up of people who are (willing to be) active online will be the winners. So, a large part of our job will be to mobilize the troops. Of course personal relationships will help us, but we can’t simply rest on the hope that our friends and family like us enough to commit themselves to voting regularly.

So, we will not just throw together an application and pump it out to our friends on Facebook and Twitter. We are going to put time and effort into this campaign so that we are sure to win. We want people we know and people we’ve never met before to feel compelled to vote for our cause. As such, our class has chosen to wait until next month to submit our idea. So, over the next few weeks we are going to work hard to come up with compelling descriptions, stories, pictures, videos, slogans, and more to get our cause out there.

I personally think that pictures and videos will be the way to win votes. I firmly believe that the old adage is true, A picture is worth a thousand words. I believe that if we can show voters the women and children that they will be helping as well as the current, rather dire conditions of Safe Harbor’s kitchen and mattresses, we will be very persuasive.

But that’s my opinion. What’s yours? What do you think will help us win the most votes so that Safe Harbor can win funding?

Believe me- we would love to hear from you! We want to be successful and win this money for Safe Harbor and the people they serve.


The Beginning: Working to improve Safe Harbor’s communication

Safe Harbor is a domestic violence shelter that serves Greenville, Anderson, Pickens, and Oconee counties. In addition to their shelters, Safe Harbor has a 24 hour crisis line and provides counseling, legal advocacy and transitional living arrangements for women starting a new life. And all of these resources are free.

This semester our public relations class is teaming up with Safe Harbor to help improve their communication strategies. In order to get a better understanding of Safe Harbor and what we would be able to help them with, Samantha Tucker, Director of Development and Julie Meredith, Director of Volunteers and Communication came and spoke with our class.

If asked, I’m sure people would overwhelmingly support the cause to end domestic violence and offer shelter to those who have fallen victim to it. However, after listening to Samantha and Julie, it is clear that the social stigma surrounding domestic violence is a huge obstacle that Safe Harbor faces every day. It is hard to rally the public around an issue that is rooted in shame, so they need help raising awareness and raising funds for their organization (and clearly these two needs go hand in hand).

So, keeping these goals in mind we were given the opportunity to ask Samantha and Julie questions about Safe Harbor, their communication strategies now, and how they could be improved. After this discussion and armed with information, our class has come up with 3 ways that we will be able to help Safe Harbor increase awareness about domestic violence and their organization and raise funds. These three projects are:

  • Two videos. One will have the goal of raising awareness about Safe Harbor and will target potential clients of the shelter. The other will have the goal of fundraising for the organization and will target potential donors.
  • A plan for improving their social media practices and Safe Harbor’s website.
  • A PR/marketing plan for how to spread the word about a charitable fashion show being help for Safe Harbor in February. Designing useable marketing materials, such as fliers and invitations, will also be included in this project.

I, with two other women, will be working on the video project. It is my sincerest hope and intention to give Safe Harbor, at the end of this semester, a meaningful, well thought out, and professional quality video. I think it will be challenging, but if working to prevent domestic violence isn’t a challenge worth facing, I don’t know what is.


Rock the Vote: A communicaiton strategy for social change

I think that anyone would be hard pressed to find a young  adult who does not remember the Rock the Vote campaign from the 2004 presidential election. You couldn’t turn on your TV without seeing a commercial featuring P Diddy telling young adults why they should vote or Paris Hilton wearing a little Rock the Vote graphic tee in a hip magazine ad. But what is important about the Rock the Vote campaign is that it worked, and it is memorable.

Bar the fact that Rock the Vote has been around for 20 or so years, most young people had not heard about it until 2004 when the initiative decided to up the ante and really use pop culture and mainstream and online media to connect with young people. Their goal: Get young people to the polls. Rock the Vote did a lot to empower young people politically in 2004, but what they did that I think really worked was connect with young adults on their level. They used the media channels that young people were using, held events like concerts that young adults would want to attend, got “hot” celebrities to endorse their cause, and sold merchandise. While these are not terribly innovative ideas, this strategy was new in the sense that no one had ever made politics and voting cool before. Celebrities, MTV, blogging, and more made voting the it thing to do. That’s social change if I’ve ever seen it because it WORKED. You can check out Rock the Vote’s 2004 Youth Vote Results here, but here are the highlights:

  • Among 18-24 year olds, turnout was up 11 points to 47 percent.
  • Among 18-29 year olds, turnout was up 9 points to 49 percent.
  • More than 20 million votes were cast by 18-29 year olds, and 11.6 million were cast by 18-24 year olds, both up sharply from 2000.

So what can we learn from Rock the Vote, especially during the 2004 election? The best way to reach people is by engaging them through channels and messages they like and will respond to. Because let’s be honest, I’ll look at an ad about voting a lot longer if its Kim Kardashian or Zac Efron and not some random person. Don’t fight pop culture if it can work for you- Rock the Vote used it to create social change and they were successful. Keep up the good work!