Q1: What is SEO? How does it work? Why is it beneficial?SEO is an acronym for “search engine optimization.” Now that may sound like a bunch of jargon, but you would be surprised as to how much you are aware of its effects. The purpose of SEO is to be easily sought out through keywords and headlines.Let’s try something. The link below is a google search for the word “jean.” Click it. What did you notice?The brand Levi is the first to appear with a brief summary below their name to attract the searcher. SEO is very beneficial to companies, organizations, and so forth because the its precedence in the search world.Search engine optimization is of great value to PR work. One of the focuses as a public relations specialist is finding ways to be heard and represent your company. What better than having keywords and tags automatically attract people through a simple online search? Another way to show how SEO works is through this blog. I am going to add a couple tags (keywords) such as “SEO” and “PR” to see if that will attract readers and those searching the web about SEO or PR to visit my blog. It will be an experiment.You are interested in SEO now aren’t you? Well there are a few tips you should consider before jumping right in. When using SEO for PR work specifically it is important to use relevant words. In order to attract the desired readers, make sure the keywords are applicable. Also, write a simple headline (they say no more than 100 words). This way it is straight to the point and the reader does not become overwhelmed. A third tip would be, within your summary of 250 words or less, mix in some key phrases to keep a consistent theme for word searches. Use hyperlinks that take the searcher to sites that favor you and the PR work you are doing. It is a healthy self-love. Lastly, make your boilerplate outstanding. Include language that benefits the search engines and product and services offered. (http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/SEO_for_PR_6_ways_to_make_your_press_release_searc_11154.aspx)To show you proof of the benefits of search engine optimization, here is an example given by PSdaily.com“To demonstrate the value of these tips, we at Cramer-Krasselt conducted a test—search-optimizing two press releases distributed annually by one of our clients. Same timing, same topic, but we optimized the 2012 versions of each release, according to the SEO guidelines above. The result: significant differences in search rank over last year.
During our test, both 2012 releases were pulled into Google’s general search results for several days. One of the releases, which was tied to St. Patrick’s Day, even ranked in results (as part of the news subsection) in searches for St. Patrick’s Day. The optimized releases saw a significant lift (more than 70 percent increase over last year) in the number of sites that picked up the release. “
As many of you have probably heard and seen Kony 2012 was a video, made by invisible children, that went viral in a matter of days. The video received much hype but with that came plenty of criticsm toward the organization as well as founder Jason Russell. So why was the sequel “Kony 2012 Part II- Beyond Fame” made? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_Ue6REkeTA)
Part II gives the public a closer look at the LRA, the fight to bring it to an end, the progress made with the campaign, and the event- cover the night. Thus far, Kony 2012 has encouraged 92 members of congress to sign the resolution in efforts to finding Joseph Kony. The tone of this video was much more informational and a charge to those watching by the steps already taken and encouraging them that way.
The Invisible Children organization chose to release the sequel a month later to do, what could be considered, a follow-up on the first Kony 2012 video. I feel this to have been a wise move for IC. It allows those who at it as though it is simply a fad, or those who believed it to be ignorant to see that change has been made and it is making a difference. We, as the public, want to know there is movement and that there is worth in what we do. With the Jason Russell incident, many may think it was a slight to him by not allowing him to commentate, however, I felt it was a good switch-up. I do not feel it hindered them in any way.
The IC is viewed in a variety of ways. Some understand it to be a great cause and feel empowered to do something about it, others think it to be pointless and ignorant. The media chose to look at it, mostly, from a negative perspective, almost with a hopeless point of view. Facebook at twitter blew up when the video went viral and many celebrities were endorsing it. Hollywood, sport figures, and politicians played a huge role to positively encourage the movement.
“Invisible Children, Inc. is headquartered in San Diego and employs 43 full-time, permanent staff who work alongside hundreds of volunteers to spearhead our awareness and advocacy work internationally.
Invisible Children first began its work in Uganda in 2005. Based in Gulu, Invisible Children Uganda (ICU) began by working alongside local visionaries, such as Ms. Jolly Okot, who identified the areas of greatest need in northern Uganda at the time. Relying on this local leadership and expertise, Invisible Children Uganda worked to develop programs on the ground.
ICU currently employs roughly 100 Ugandan professionals, working alongside four international staff members to implement and manage program activity on the ground. Three out of four of ICU’s senior management team are Ugandan. Current international staff members fill roles that revolve around communicating with IC’s San Diego office and international supporters.” http://www.invisiblechildren.com/about.html
Within the last month Invisible Children uploaded a 30-minute video to Youtube in hopes that it would catch the attention of enough people that word would spread about the Kony 2012 campaign. Little did they know, in just 72 hours the short film had over 43 million views.
If you have not heard about Kony 2012, here is a brief history of the situation and drive behind the heart of Invisible Children and the Kony 2012 campaign. Joseph Kony is the leader of the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army), a rebel movement in Uganda. “
Joseph Kony’s tactics were—and remain—brutal. He often forced children to kill their parents or siblings with machetes or blunt tools. He abducted girls to be sex slaves for his officers. He brainwashed and indoctrinated the children with his lies and manipulated them with his claim of spiritual powers.” What the campaign sought and continues to seek after is raising awareness to Kony and his degrading, destructive ways. If enough attention is brought to the evil he is doing, together nation can join in bringing him to justice and freeing the children who have been enslaved to the LRA.
How did they do it? The Kony 2012 campaign was strategically designed to reach the younger generation through its choice of music, design and simplicity. The film sought to configure responses of emotion, inspiration, and motivation. Invisible Children also choose twenty “culture-makers” to help this film spread fast. Tim Tebow, Justin Beber, Rihana, and other high profile celebrities were receiving tweets and making tweets of their own in support of Kony 2012. There were over 5 million tweets about the video within the first week it went viral. It received plenty of recognition and was seen by people all over the world.
This campaign is one that should not be ignored by other organization or businesses. Invisible Children has brought another element and new understanding to social media and the impact of “going viral.” It would be wise for others interested in the same type of viral effect to strategize similarly to that of Kony 2012.
As many have probably heard, shortly after the release of the Kony 2012 video, founder and producer Jason Russell was taken to a medical facility to be evaluated after being seen in his underwear, disrupting traffic and speak incoherently. Ben Keesey, the CEO of Invisible Children made a statement regarding the situation, “The past two weeks have taken a severe emotional toll on all of us, Jason especially, and that toll manifested itself in an unfortunate incident yesterday. Jason’s passion and his work have done so much to help so many, and we are devastated to see him dealing with this personal health issue.” Unfortunately, the media grabbed this incident and blew it up and out of proportion. I am sure many of you heard he was arrested when in fact that was not the case. Invisible Children, with the PR side of this story, I believe handled it to their best ability. They did not want to become defensive, but they did want to present truth and be honest.
If I could encourage Russell I would offer him this promise from the Lord in Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Russell was dealing with a lot, but the Lord has to be our strength.
PRSA’a vice president, Arthur Yann, published a response in reaction to a PRNewser article. The article exposed publisher Jack O’Dwyer’s “practice for charging public relations agencies to be included in his 2012 ranking of the industry’s largest firm.” Should this be considered unethical? I would agree with Yann in the fact that paying off an editor in order for your company to be ranked with some of the industry’s largest firms is simply wrong. It does not promote honesty and sincerity. Why should someone trust a PR firm that pays a publisher off in order to be seen as successful? Also, it is very unethical for O’Dwyer to have accepted and been apart of such a trade.
PR ethics are a list of guidelines for professionals to abide by in order to maintain an open and honest relationship with the public. The issue at hand is one PRSA calls “Pay for Pay” (PFP). This “occurs when PR professionals make undisclosed payments to journalists or media to publish or broadcast a client’s story. Or, when PR professionals compensate journalists or media to allow placement in stories that appear to be editorial material, again, failing to disclose that the information was provided by outside sources and for which compensation (including advertising) was provided in some form of exchange for publication or broadcast.” What Jack O’Dwyer did was accept compensation from PR firms if he added them to the 2012 ranking.
On example that many people are most probably aware of has to do with President Nixon and his 1972 Campaign. In the book “Richard Nixon, Watergate, and the press: a historical retrospective,” it mentions that a columnist who was “traditionally friendly” with Nixon was offered and paid money in cash and cashier’s checks to write favorably about Nixon and negatively toward his component. Not only was this particular columnist paid, but there were others who were on Nixon’s “payroll.” This situation was completely unethical. It is unfair and immoral for a politician to pay for any form of “dictated” publicity. President Nixon did his best to keep this and other similar scenarios under wraps. Makes you wonder if this is happening in our government today?
When the New York Knicks played the New Orleans Hornets on Friday night, Jeremy Lin (New York Knicks basketball star) was targeted in a racial slur due to his nine turnovers. The ESPN mobile website was found having a headline that read “Chink in the Armor.” With no surprise to the public this caused uproar and “created a fire storm for the worldwide leader in sports.” Within 35 minutes the headline was removed, however, many had already seen it. Of course comedy networks and comedy websites found this as a perfect opportunity to entertain.
ESPN took immediate action in the situation. They were recorded making the statement “At ESPN we are aware of three offensive and inappropriate comments made on ESPN outlets during our coverage of Jeremy Lin.
Saturday we apologized for two references. We have since learned of a similar reference Friday on ESPN Radio New York. The incidents were separate and different. We have engaged in a thorough review of all three and have taken the following action:
• The ESPN employee responsible for our Mobile headline has been dismissed.
• The ESPNEWS anchor [Max Bretos] has been suspended for 30 days.
• The radio commentator is not an ESPN employee.
We again apologize, especially to Mr. Lin. His accomplishments are a source of great pride to the Asian-American community, including the Asian-American employees at ESPN. Through self-examination, improved editorial practices and controls, and response to constructive criticism, we will be better in the future.”
2) The media coverage given to this controversy is more than what may have been expected. As soon as it got out it spread like wild fire and it seemed as though everyone had an opinion on it. SNL found it to be humorous.
Glen Beck was also another voice in the media who had something to say about the situation.
“ ‘We’re talking a little about freedom of speech, and let’s go to an unusual place: ESPN,’ Beck said on his radio show Monday, listened to by an estimated 10 million people a week.”
3) Within the last month the Asian race seems to have been targeted in racial slurs. Is this a new trend? It may be. I cannot read or understand the personal intentions behind those who have made the comments, however, it can come off as only intended for humor as opposed to a direct insult. I would make the statement that this is our country’s attitude as well. I do not believe it to be cold-hearted, but rather light-hearted. In order for companies to keep emloyees aware of the inappropriateness of racial slurs or names, they need to stress the fact in training and they must constantly remind.
“We are committed to fostering a workplace where employees are treated with dignity, fairness and respect. Every employee, at every level of the company, has the right to work in an atmosphere that is free of discriminatory practices and harassment. “
Some wonder if it is ever something that can ever, truly, be prevented. “The University of Connecticut has dropped from its student conduct code a ban on racial or ethnic slurs after deciding the ban was impossible to enforce. The school’s trustees voted unanimously last week to drop the ban, school officials said Tuesday. In five semesters of use, the ban had resulted in few sanctions against students for their speech, said Carol Wiggins, vice president for student affairs and services. She said the ban only raised student expectations that the threat of sanctions could prevent racism and sexism.”
Chick-fil-a went under fire recently when a cashier, working at Jamboree road in Orange County, California, insulted two Asian customers by writing “Ching” and “Chong” on their printed receipts. The employee was fired following the incident. Chick-fil-a commented by saying it was “immature behavior, failed judgment, and human error,” CBS Los Angeles reported.
Papa John’s shared a similar incident. On January 7, 2012 a customer of Papa John’s when looking at her receipt saw that she was referenced and titled as “lady chinky eyes.” The customer posted a picture of the receipt to twitter and within three hours it was re-tweeted and had 25,000 views. When the Hiffinton post got wind of the situation they went to question the manager who knew nothing of the issue. She apologized and assured matters would be dealt with, however she did not speak of details.
With the negative media attacking Chick-fil-a, they were well aware that damage-control must be done. The company made a statement as followed:
Please understand and accept our confirmation that the inappropriate, and unthinking behavior of a young team member at one of our restaurants does not support any claim or even suggestion of racism at our restaurant. The individual clearly violated our operating standards; the matter was addressed and discussed immediately with the guests on the spot; and a confirmation was provided that the employee was immediately dismissed for the individual behavior.
Our Chick-fil-A restaurant Operators and their employees try very hard every day to actually go the extra mile in serving ALL of our customers with honor, dignity and respect. The circumstances here are a simply case of immaturity, failed judgment, and human error….it has nothing to do with the service and operational standards of our Chick-fil-A restaurants which are consistently rated at the highest level of service in the foodservice industry.
Papa John’s had to address in a similar form. They chose to respond by saying “We are very upset by recent receipt issue in New York & sincerely apologize to our customer. Franchise employee involved is being terminated.” It was quick, efficient and to the point. Nevertheless, on their twitter account they chose to directly response to angry customers by re-tweeting, but the same re-tweet was given many times. Not so personal anymore.
Out of the two responses and analyzing the way they were handled, I would offer my agreement to Chick-fil-a. I felt they showed responsibility, direct action, and class. Papa John’s did not handle it wrong, necessarily, but it could have been done with more overall thought.
Gerald Corbett, Chair and CEO of PRSA has a developed thought and opinion on how to handle negative media. “I think the primary reason folks get bad publicity is because they are not telling the truth,” said Corbett. “They are not being forthcoming with their constituencies, and they are not being authentic. It’s not rocket science — just be open and tell the truth.” In addition, Corbett goes on to say businesses should “tell everyone about it. Tell them what’s going on and what you are doing about it.” I do believe his approach is the best option. To be informative and honest will be received well and appreciated by customers and the public.
Within the past few weeks the Susan G. Komen foundation has faced plenty of arising issues regarding funding for breast screenings and Planned Parenthood. The foundation was created by Susan Komen, a cancer survivor, and it has now successfully invested more than 1.9 billion in the breast cancer movement. The crisis that had recently taken place has caused a lot of controversy because Komen withdrew her funding of breast cancer screenings from Planned Parenthood. People understand this choice having been one of politics and no longer about women’s health. The Komen foundation had supporters in an uproar and they knew decisions to calm the storm must be made quickly. Komen and Brinker (CEO) made a response on February 7, regarding the fiasco. ” “Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s mission is the same today as it was the day of its founding: to find a cure and eradicate breast cancer.
“We owe no less to our partners, supporters and, above all, the millions of people who have been and continue to be impacted by this life-threatening disease. We have made mistakes in how we have handled recent decisions and take full accountability for what has resulted, but we cannot take our eye off the ball when it comes to our mission. To do this effectively, we must learn from what we’ve done right, what we’ve done wrong and achieve our goal for the millions of women who rely on us. The stakes are simply too high and providing hope for a cure must drive our efforts.
“Today I accepted the resignation of Karen Handel, who has served as Senior Vice President for Policy since April 2011. I have known Karen for many years, and we both share a common commitment to our organization’s lifelong mission, which must always remain our sole focus. I wish her the best in future endeavors.” (Komen.org)
Professionally speaking, was the public relations aspect handled effectively. I would not say so. It was more of a PR nightmare. The decisions made by Komen and her executives seemed unstable and “flip-floppy” (a political term). PRSA had an opinion on the situation as well. It was said, “But last week, when The AP broke the story that Komen would no longer award grants to Planned Parenthood, and then days later – following a media firestorm and a particularly swift public rebuke via social media –reversed its decision, it revealed an equally powerful strength of brand advocates: backlash. Political opinions aside, the Komen/ Planned Parenthood issue represents one of the biggest (if not the biggest) self-inflicted public relations misstep in modern business, and provides a lesson for all professional communicators” (prsa.org)
As a christian planning to work in the field of public relations, I can’t help but to wonder how I may have gone about this situation. Hypothetically speaking, if I worked for the Susan G. Komen foundation and we agreed on the view of abortion as being wrong, then even though our fund toward Planned Parenthood were for breast cancer exams, I would still feel obligated to pull the ties. I understand that regardless it would cause an uproar in the media. To stand against what is considered politically correct, and stand for something conservative, outrage is always lurking around the corner. However, I would have to believe that if I was ending something connected with an act that is not glorifying to God, that He would remain faithful and bless our obedience. God deserves all our trust and obedience, I could not be apart of something that has no regard for His word. In Psalm 139 it talks about how God knew us before we ever existed. He knit us together in our mother’s womb. We are alive and to kill the living is considered murder. Not many people would openly be ok with murdering someone. Then why with babies?
To overcome PR circumstances such as these can be a real challenge, and I have so much to still learn about it. But I pray, when the time comes for me, when I am placed in a scenario similar to this, that I stay faithful to the most faithful and stand strong and firm on my foundation-the Word of God.
Welcome to my view and opinion on the world of public relations. This world is one that consists of research, persuasion, understanding of dynamics, culture and much more. However, I do believe it is one that should stay centered and founded on ethical principles. As the author and creator of this blog I would like it to be a place for you to read up on current PR events, strategies, and ways to stay true to oneself within this field. Enjoy!