Public Relations 101

What is Public Relations?

PR is all about persuasion. You are trying to persuade your audience to purchase your product, buy your service, or buy into your idea. It involves using strategic ideas to reach an audience with your idea or product. PR is also building trust with a relationship with your consumers/customers.  PR can also be used to protect, enhance or build reputations through the media, social media, or self-produced communications.

Here is an infographic to help understand more about Public Relations



Public Relations V. Marketing/Advertising

You may be asking, isn’t Public Relations the same thing as Marketing? Well the answer is no. While both are geared towards bringing in business, there are many differences in the processes and duties. To begin, Public Relations is Unpaid vs. Paid. Earned vs. Purchased. Credible vs. skeptical.  Public relations tastes great, advertising is less filling. To sum everything up in one idea, Advertising/Marketing is paid media, Public Relations is earned and trusted media.

More elements of PR

PR involves many other important communication categories. One of these important categories of PR communication is crisis communication. Crisis communication is important for the image of a company or person whenever something devastating happens. It is important to continue to keep your the public updated on the situation and continue to be honest with them, always.

Another element worth noting in the field of Public Relations is developing press releases. The whole point of public relations is to obtain free, positive publicity and press releases help to secure that. PR specialists send press releases to journalists containing the information needed to write a positive story about the client. Newspapers, radio and TV stations (especially local ones) are always looking for fresh story ideas, particularly those with a “human interest” angle. This is great to obtain publicity through the media.



Westfall Goes Blue

Chris Westfall came to Indiana State at the end of March to share his thoughts and ideas with the Scott College of Business, our Public Relations class, and also to anyone that went to watch his presentation. Chris Westfall is a pitch coach who has coached many people to success. He is also a great author and a fantastic Keynote speaker.


Check out more photos of the Westfall visit HERE

Some Key Items I learned From Chris Westfall

Leadership Starts With Your Story — Chris told us this and also gave us bracelets that had that written on them. He explained that what he meant by that is that we should use our story and what we’ve learned to be leaders and teach from our experiences. Also, he explained that we should also use our stories to portray our passion and to explain why we are doing the things we are doing.

Create Value for Your Customer/Employer — Westfall explained to us during his visit that it is important to create value for your customer or your employer, instead of just telling them why you are good. Basically, you should make your service valuable for them instead of just saying that you know what you’re doing or you’ve been in service for a certain amount of time. He mentioned that you want to prevent them from being able to say “So What?” whenever you are pitching yourself.

Listen When Someone Tells You That You’re Good at Something– This is something that I was able to learn from Chris in class when he was talking about his story. He explained how he never thought that he would be good at what he was doing but he began doing it because he had people in his life telling him that they saw something special in him. This is helpful for me to listen to the people that are going to take time to tell me that I’m good at something or that want to help me succeed.

Chris Westfall is great at what he does and has a bunch of knowledge to share! I look forward to reading more from him and continuing to read his books. Here is Chris’s website if you want to check him out!


Class Reflection

Comm 368, Public Relations, is easily one of the best classes I have ever taken! I looked forward to going to this class every day that we had class.

Preparing for Your Career

The reason this class was one of the best classes I have ever taken is because it prepared me to succeed in my career better than any other class I have taken before. Mullen is very good at preparing students for their career and building a great professional portfolio. We learned how to make a good resume, make business cards, how to write a cover letter, and many other things for our career.

Social Media

Another aspect that Mullen taught us that was very helpful was learning to use social media to help our careers. We learned how to set up and use LinkedIn which is a great tool to make professional connections. LinkedInScreen Shot 2017-05-03 at 11.11.09 PM is something we can use outside of this class and for the rest of our careers to grow our networks and contact other professionals. Also, we learned how to write blogs to help our careers and to learn basic writing skills. This will help us in the future when we need to do any writing and also if future employers want to see any writing samples.

Public Relations

The final aspect of class the Ms. Mullen was great in teaching us was how to do certain things in Public Relations. One of the things that we learned in this area was how to write a press release. That was something that I did not really know how to do before and will help me in the future. A few other things we learned about public relations were campaign strategies, crisis communication, and even how to make fliers.

All of our assignments were helpful and were fun for the most part. The only thing I wish we would have covered more is the crisis communication. The reason for that is really just a personal preference because I enjoy learning how to handle those situations.

Overall this was a fantastic class and I would highly recommend!

A Winning Campaign Because of a Brand

Make America Great Again — Donald Trump was able to steal the presidency with fantastic campaign strategies and more notably, his slogan. Although he was heavily criticized during his campaigning, he was able to edge out his opponent, Hillary Clinton, with his strategic and intelligent campaigning.

His Campaign Manager

Kellyanne Conway is responsible for the planning of Trump’s campaign. Conway was very successful in laying out Trump’s agenda as well as smoothing out any of his controversies throughout his campaign. She also did a great job of sticking behind all of his ideas and principles throughout the whole campaign. In other words, she stuck with the message which I believe is very important for any campaign.

Photo Credit: <a href=””>christopherdonoso</a&gt; Flickr via <a href=””>Compfight</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;


This slogan that Donald Trump used for his campaign is arguably the most important part of the whole campaign. Trump was able to brand himself with this slogan very well. Trump also portrayed his ‘message’ through this slogan and his plan to restore our nation to a more conservative government with more pride in our country. This slogan was also successful as his brand because he was able to sell hats and t-shirts with this message on it that was something that his supporters desired to wear. The clothing and memorabilia also helped to spread his message very well and support his campaign.

Another key to Trump’s campaign success was where he campaigned and held rallies. Looking at the results of the election, you will se how Trump won over some very important states that carried him to the top with electoral college votes. It was very important for him to campaign in these particular states to help him when over their votes. This same principle of location and the importance of location can be important for any kind of campaign.

Donald Trump’s campaign strategy was very successful and led to his presidency. The strategic campaign tactics and branding was the most important parts to his success.

Click HERE to view Trump’s website!

Interviewing a Professional

Whenever deciding who I wanted to interview for class, I wanted to make sure I found a person that has a career similar to the one I desire. I found this somewhat challenging because I do not know many people in this field and have little connection to this specific area. Thankfully, I was able to meet an intelligent man who has had experience in the field of work that I plan on pursuing. My interview with J.T. Jeffries was very helpful and insightful for me and my career.

J.T. has been very successful in his young career. He received his bachelor’s degree in Communication and Media Studies and then went on to receive a Master’s Degree in Recreation and Sports Management. He is now working as The Face of MyFox 10 at WTHI-TV. This position includes being a community/network liaison, assisting in promotions, event planning, assisting in production, and many other important tasks to benefit the network.

Image from LinkedIn: J.T. Jeffries

During the interview, I asked J.T. for some advice for my career based on his experiences and the work he has done so far in his career. Here are a few things he kindly shared to me:

1. “Get connected.” Very simply, he told me that connections are pretty much everything for my career. He was very clear in saying that connections are key to success.

2. “Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort-zone.” He explained that my career would not be successful if I only stuck with what I knew and what was comfortable. He told me that the reason he has been successful in his career is because he has challenged himself to do this.

3. The final piece of advice J.T. shared with me was to “Love what you do.” He told me that I would do my best work if I love the job I am doing. This is great advice that I will definitely take to heart.

I am incredibly thankful for the time that J.T. took to sit down and talk to me about my career and learning about his career. The information I received from him was very valuable for me and my career. I am looking forward to our new friendship and the value that he will bring me in the future.

Check out J.T. on LinkedIn


One Crisis that Created PR

Crisis communication is very important in the world of Public Relations. Actually, it is why we have public relations in the first place. It all began on April 20, 1914 in Ludlow Colorado when the Colorado National Guard and Colorado Fuel & Iron company guards attacked about 1,200 striking coal miners and their families. Around 20 people were killed during the massacre and after this happened, the company of the coal miners was responsible for making a statement on the issue and trying to make things right for the victims and also for the image of their company.

The Rockefeller who owned the company where this took place, was under a lot of scrutiny and now had to do something for their image. This is when they hired Ivy Ledbetter Lee as their PR representative. Ivy Lee worked very hard to get John D. Rockefeller to see what he had done wrong in this case.

Ivy Lee (via Harris & Ewing from

A few things that Ivy Lee did well for this incident that can also be helpful in any crisis management situation are:

  • He was open and honest with reporters
  • He was against corporate secrecy
  • The goal of PR is NOT to fool the public

Lee also forced John D. Rockefeller to meet with the coal miners and their families by having a dinner with them. This helped in two ways. One way this was helpful for their image was that Rockefeller was able to come to his senses and realize that the miners were right in the reason they were in strike. Also, Ivy Lee was able to document this dinner and take pictures for the media to show that the Rockefeller family was taking care
of the issue and this helped salvage their reputation.

Learn more from this great article about Ivy Ledbetter Lee

Blogging for Beginners

Though I am a new blogger myself, here are some tips that might help get you started:

Photo Credit: Olivier Riche via Flickr


Be Familiar With Your Audience

Understand whom you are writing to so you know what they might want to hear. Your audience will dictate what you write about, the words you use, and how you write.

Be Creative

What is going to set you apart from everyone else? Nobody wants to read the same blog over and over so don’t be like everyone else. Incorporate different writing styles and techniques than other bloggers that you read so it sets you apart. Creativity makes your posts interesting and keeps readers wanting more.

Be Concise 

Don’t ramble on about unnecessary ideas. Get straight to the point and be done.

Be Consistent

Your readers will become familiar with you and your content. Therefore, do not change it up because your readers will be upset if you change the way you do things. People like things to be a certain way so don’t change it up!

Be Yourself

Show your voice in your writing. It is important to show your personality so your readers can understand who you are and where you are coming from.

Be Relatable 

Use words to connect with your readers. This goes hand-in-hand with being yourself. Be yourself and relate with your readers. This creates more of a conversation with your readers and creates a way for your readers to connect with what you are saying.

Some More helpful blogging tips that I have used can be found here