Hillary's Blog

Hangin with Hillary

PR Connection: A Hug from Taylor April 27, 2010

Filed under: PR Connections — Hillary @ 11:40 pm


Two Auburn students, Michael Wekall and Ryan Leander,  have been on a quest to receive a hug from their idol/dream girl Taylor Swift. They started a website in January called http://www.ahugfromtaylorswift.com, which was composed of videos stating their goal and mission to get a hug from Swift. Swift decided to play along and posted her own video challenging the two students to do a good deed and they would earn their hugs. The two had many Facebook and Twitter friends help them compose a video of them helping an elderly woman across the street.

After seeing they completed the task, Swift met their succession with another challenge: Incorporate her lucky number which is 13 into a good deed. Wekell and Leander launched the video April 13th and once again had their friends help them make videos of doing good deeds with the number 13 in them. They gave 13 doughnuts to some friends, a shot from above of 13 cars parked in the number 13, and 13 places to get a hug from Taylor Swift herself.  Swift responded saying she would email them at 12:30 p.m. that day with their 3rd challenge.

The two students then went on their Facebook and Twitter websites and asked fans and friends to meet them at 2 p.m. at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center. What were they planning? Taylor Swift’s song “You Belong with Me” karaoke style! Over 350 Auburn students met and all sang together the song while Swift was looking through a screen claiming she wish she could be there. All of a sudden she jumped up, said she had an idea and walked away from her computer/camera screen.

Suddenly, Swift and her band members appeared on stage all wearing “A hug for Ryan and Michael” t-shirts. Swift and her band then put on a mini concert for the fans present that day. She then told Wekall and Leander that hugs weren’t enough and she offered them both front row seats to one of her concerts. Swift later tweeted about the event saying, “So we might have flown to Alabama for a surprise show today … One of those unforgettable days. Thank you Auburn!”


Social Media News Releases (Final Project) PRCA 3330 April 23, 2010

Filed under: PR Connections,PR Writing 3330 — Hillary @ 2:52 am

People are conversing about companies throughout social media in real-time in various ways such as blogging, videos, images, blog comments, Twitter, and Facebook just to name a few. Dominos such as is how and why companies need to have a Social Media News Release (SMNR). SMNRs are vital to companies due to rapid technological advancements through the Web 2.0. Companies don’t have a choice but to adapt and take part in the social media trends. 

The Social Media News Release (SMNR) is a press release format designed for the online media world, according to Real Wire. SMNR’s are written in various formats so that they can be shared through social bookmarking, blogs, and throughout social media communities such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and PROpenMic just to name a few. Companies and organizations are beginning to create social media news releases due to the web and social media 2.0. 

SMNRs make it easier for journalists and other people who are interested in your company to find information in one place on the Internet.  Social media users share free information, advice, and tips through different ways such as blogging, videos, and on social media sites. As a result, information about a company can reach more people than traditional news releases because of social media and Web 2.0. “Social media press releases provide links to more resources that are helpful for story research and they also package information into formats that are easy to use for quotes and citing references/statistics. Images, audio and video also add impact to the release,” said Lee Odden . However, Social media news releases are only successful if they have creative and simple key terms and tags. 

Social media is more than engaging and participating; it’s about understanding what social media tools to use along with knowing what social media sites best fit a company.  For example, it is easy to upload an image to a site and into a social media news release. With each image however should be a description, key terms, and tags that are used in the description of the image as discussed on Lauren Hopkins’s blog.  This one example of  how SMNRs are optimized for the web 2.0 and for search engines.  Having a social media news release means that companies need to understand what social media tools to use within a SMNR and how these tools benefit the company.  Companies, organizations and agencies have to decide what their image or purpose throughout social media is. From there, they can create a social media news release using various tools throughout social media. 

With anything, there are some negative aspects to having SMNRS, which is “bad news travels fast.”  Domino’s for example, had to release to tell the public how they make their pizza and as a result have changed their advertisements as a solution to the crisis. Because social media is in “real-time,” companies can no longer hold back information internally. Companies are obligated to inform the public as a crisis happens and with social media, the news will travel faster than ever.  Social media users will converse with one another about crises companies face and as a result, companies have no choice but to release information to the pubic about whatever problem about how they are resolving the issue (as we have seen with Dominos). 

SMNR Tips:

  • use key terms within the social media news release
  • use tags
  • create blogs so that you’re able to receive customer feedback
  • have creative key terms that are simple
  • upload all sites or links you have throughout the Internet
  • if images and videos are used, have a description, categories, key terms, and tags under each

Additional Tips on creating a SMNR & examples of SMNRs:

Definitive Guide to Social Media By Brian Solis

The Basics of a Social Media News Release

Social Media News Releases: Do Them or Not

Free Website for creating SMNR

Pitchengine: Social Media Press Release Builder

Ford-An example of a social media news release


PR Connection:Pink is the New Red:”Buckets for the Cure” April 22, 2010

Filed under: PR Connections — Hillary @ 1:36 am

Fast Food has recently joined a cause other than giving heart attacks to people by their greasy food. Using the campaign slogan “Buckets for the cure,” KFC  jumped on the bandwagon immediately. KFC decided to team up with Susan Komen to help fight the ongoing issue of  breast cancer.

People have been questioning the restaurant’s actions in entering the fight. Some seem to think it is an oxymoron. Being overweight can cause your risk for breast cancer to increase. Why would an unhealthy restaurant join the cause? Although there was questioning at first to have a fast food joint aid in the fight for breast cancer, sales have already pulled in 2 million dollars and counting.

Instead of their usual black, white, and red buckets, they now have pink buckets, representing the pink ribbon, serving fried chicken. Even the colonel who is known for his white suit will be sporting a pink suit also representing the pink ribbon for awareness. For each bucket of chicken KFC sells, they are donating 50 cents to the Komen organization. They are also aiming to help educate women in breast cancer and breast health, supporting the cause, and is trying to make the biggest donation in the history of the organization.

“Mother’s day is typically KFC’s biggest sales day, so the idea was that this would be a good window for this promotion… We find that when people see these kinds of promotions, they act on it, whether by going to the website, talking to a neighbor or a doctor, and that’s critical to us — that awareness,” says Andrea Rader, director of marketing and communications at the organization.

People will have until May 23rd to join the cause along with KFC and the Komen Organization. All you have to do is head to the nearest KFC and purchase a bucket of chicken. Pink is the new red! Drumstick or breast anyone?


PR Connection: Haiti Relief: Hope and Help found Globally April 20, 2010

Filed under: PR Connections — Hillary @ 2:48 am

On January 22, 2009 musicians, athletes, and actors alike joined in the effort to raise money for relief for Haiti. Over 100 different celebs volunteered to help take donations over the phone. The telethon “Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief,” lasted two hours and was hosted by George Clooney and with the assistance of MTV and CNN.  The large broadcasted event took place in a few different cities: London, New York City,  Haiti, and Los Angeles.

Alicia Keys kicked off the benefit with a heart-touching song that made everyone tear up. Throughout the night different celebs touched the viewers hearts with songs and performances. Justin Timberlake sang an astounding version of ” Hallelujah.” There were several performers throughout the night and several actors who mad appearances to make sure that every cent of your money would go directly to organizations that aided in the relief to Haiti. The telethon ended by the words of Wyclef Jean “Enough of the moping. Let’s rebuild Haiti!”

The deadly earthquake that struck Haiti so violently, was a magnitude of seven. It left Haiti with pitiful conditions and severely devastated the country. Thousands of children were left without homes and families after the earthquake. The earthquake destroyed thousands of homes and left thousands upon thousands people injured or even killed. Several kids from Haiti were brought on stage that night to tell their story of what happened to them and what they are going through.  Anderson Cooper who was reporting from the benefit in Haiti chatted with people who told of their horrific stories of survival.


Apple offered to post the performances and songs from that evening on the telethon on iTunes. Apple said that they will donate some of the proceeds to the Haiti relief. Some of the other charities involved with the benefit and cause include: Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, the United Nations World Food Programme, Oxfam America, Partners in Health, the Red Cross, UNICEF and Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti Foundation.

Celebs Performing "We are the World" song dedicated to Haiti relief


PR Connection: Tiger’s Apology April 15, 2010

Filed under: PR Connections — Hillary @ 10:09 pm

Well, the cat er uh…tiger is out of the bag. Everyone has been talking in circles about Tiger Woods and his latest controversy with his affairs on his wife. His PR Reps must be working 24 hours around the clock to help Woods cope with the mess he got himself in. Woods recently publically apologized to the country, his family, and fans about his recent decisions. There is no doubt in my mind that his PR Rep prepared most of that apology for him. I’m sure he had some say in it but all he did was read off of his paper the entire “speech.” He rarely looked up from his podium. Could it be because out of shame or he didn’t want to lose his place on the paper sitting before him? I do commend Tiger Woods for stepping up to the plate.  He finally is starting to act like an adult about the whole situation. He admitted he was wrong and sorry. He also has managed to compose himself rather well during all the tabloid bashing of him and even his family.

I do feel for his wife and familyhowever. This is such a private and personal matter and here it is: spread all over magazines, TV, and tabloids for the world to see. She has been handling the media well even though she must be a wreck on the inside. Her husband has been cheating on here with not one…but several women for who knows how long. Finding out news like that she should be curled up in the fetal position trying to hide from everyone. However, she is facing the truth and facts head on. She composes herself well, especially in front of all the TV cameras and reporters that are in her face constantly trying to get a shot of her.  

Should this be a private matter or does the public have a right to know? How much is too much? Should this affect Woods and his golf game? Do you think a lot of fans have sworn him off because of what he’s done?


PR Connection: PR Crisis: Taylor Swift vs. Kanye West April 13, 2010

Filed under: PR Connections — Hillary @ 12:32 am

On September 13, 2009, the Best Female Video Award was presented and given to Taylor Swift at the Video Music Awards.  She was nominated along with Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Lady Gaga, Pink, and Beyonce. The young singer approached the stage looking shocked and grateful. Swift started her acceptance speech but before the country singer could get out her thank-you’s, Kanye West jumped onto the stage grabbing the microphone from Swift cutting her off. 

“Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’m going to let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time,” he proclaimed as Beyonce looked on from the audience, in disbelief. The crowd started to boo at West and he immediately stormed off the stage leaving Swift dumbfounded and speechless clinging to her award. She was clearly unable to continue so then was quickly escorted off of the stage but only to reappear moments later to perform on stage.

Later in the evening, Beyonce was presented the Best Video award in choreography. Instead of her standing on stage saying her thank-you’s and acknowledgements, she recalled when she was 17 years old and was awarded her first award with Destiny’s Child. She then called Swift back out to the stage and let her finish having her moment, which was taken from her earlier that night.  

Kanye West’s PR Reps claimed that the reason he acted out so was due to him sipping on Hennessy prior to that on the red carpet that night. They claimed he didn’t really know what he was doing or going on. Still fans, and even some celebs like Pink and Kelly Clarkson were all outraged at his behavior that night. They claimed that there was no excuse for it and it wasn’t right to steal Taylor’s big moment that night.

Eventually, Kanye apologized to Swift over his blog saying, ” I’m sooooo sorry to Taylor Swift and her fans and her mom.” He also said, “‘I’m in the wrong for going on stage and taking away from her moment. Beyonce’s video was the best of this decade . . . I’m sorry to my fans if I let you guys down . . . I’m sorry to my friends at MTV . . . I will apologize to Taylor.” Even though he did apologize, he still managed to put in there that Beyonce had the best video of the DECADE.  Some apology huh? Swift accepted the apology anyways and is an even bigger winner to fans now because of the way she dealt with the situation so tactful and graceful.


Podcast with Martin Waxman March 24, 2010

Filed under: PR Connections,PR Writing 3330,PR Writing 3330 TOW's — Hillary @ 1:04 am

I thought what Martin Waxman had to say was very surprising. I expected a person using Skype and being very involved with public relations would be the first to tell you that being tech savvy and writing a blog everyday is a must. Although he did say it would be good and convenient to have some technological skills, he made it very clear that you don’t want to lose the basics when it comes to PR. That is very refreshing to me because I am definitely not a tech savvy person and have always relied on just my writing skills, a pen, and paper.  Times are changing to where it is very important to be knowledgable about a computer, blogging, and definitely social media. It still is relieving to me though that Mr. Waxman is still looking for the basic PR skills that we all learn in college and on the way to our careers.

Another thing that stood out to me was his three stances on PR which were: simplicity, energy, and integrity. These three thing are all so important to have when involved in public relations. Energy is what stood out to me the most because in this type of field, the hours and work can get exhausting so one must have energy to keep pressing on. One must not give up on his/her client so energy is a very important aspect to have when in PR, or for any field in that fact. I think Mr. Waxman was very interesting and even more interesting when I heard he works out of Canada. Most of my family is from North Dakota and some have lived in Fargo, so he hit close to home when he shared where he was from, and I would love to look more into PR firms and practices more around there! I appreciate Mrs. Nixon in sharing Mr. Waxman with us.

Link to get to podcast: http://www.screencast.com/users/barbaranixon/folders/Default/media/2bd677bb-7215-481a-9ba4-18925fb1d0cc