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I'm Kelcey Blanks, a 23-year-old public relations/marketing professional. I'm obsessed with all things social media. My family, friends and pup make my world go 'round. Clothes, jewelry and shoes make me happier than a kid on Christmas. And chances are I'm already planning my next meal in my head. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Role of PR in Event Planning

Whenever an organization wants promote a new product, service or cause that it is supporting, it does this by hosting an event. An event can be held in a variety of ways, but the main idea is to provide information and fun to people within an organization and its audiences or stakeholders. Because an event is all about connecting a client with its publics, event planning has become a very important and specialized part of public relations. Event planning entails generating buzz surrounding the event that is being promoted.


Recently for an internship, I planned an event centered on the reopening of a salon due to its change in ownership that occurred at the beginning of the year. I had never planned an event in my life, so not knowing where to start, I did what any future public relations professional would do and started promoting the event on social media. I used the company’s Facebook and Instagram accounts to release online flyers of event information. I planned all the essentials after that, including food, beverages and entertainment.

Social media flyer created by me

I only had about a month to plan everything to it all happened very quickly, and I didn’t get to plan everything as well as I would have liked to. As a part of public relations, event planning is something I will probably have to do as a part of an entry-level job in the future, so I wanted to ensure that I would be prepared next time I would have to plan an event.
  • Develop a PR plan for the event – develop a communications plan (like we have been doing in class) that lists the goals, objectives, strategies and tactics for the event. It will also include who the target audience will be and what the key messages will be. It is very important to know how the audience wants to be reached:
    • Social media
    • Traditional media
    • Integrated media
  • Make a list of event details in advance – everything from d├ęcor to food needs to be decided upon months in advance. It doesn’t need to be pushed aside until the very last minute.
  • Have a hook – what is going to be interesting about the event you are promoting? Are there going to be prize giveaways, entertainment or a theme to differentiate it from past events. Make the event stand out and promote what ever it is that makes it special.
  • Have a budget in mind – it’s not the most interesting part of planning an event, but you must know how much the business is willing to spend so you can plan accordingly.
  • Promote the event to local residents and businesses – for the event I planned, we used the local newspaper and the Chamber of Commerce to disseminate information about the event to local businesses and residents of the community. We also had a ribbon cutting ceremony that many business-people attended and it was featured in the paper the next week.
  • Promote the event through social media – to me, this is the most important part of event planning. You want to inform your audience, which takes the time to follow and engage with your business on social media, about the event. Start Facebook contests or Twitter and Instagram hashtags a couple of months in advance to create excitement for the upcoming event.


Spiewak, M. (2012, May 8). It’s My Party: The Role of Public Relations in Event Planning. Retrieved March 28, 2014, from http://smpsboston.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/its-my-party-the-role-of-public-relations-in-event-planning/

Warner, J. (2013, June 2). 42 Tips For Producing A Memorable Small Business Event. In Small Business Trends. Retrieved March 28, 2014, from http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/06/small-business-event-planning-tips.html

Friday, March 21, 2014

Public Relations: Becoming More Prepared for Security Breaches

It seems as though breaching customers’ privacy is becoming more and more common for companies. I was just one of the many Target customers who had credit card information hacked between November and December of 2013. It is now being reported that over 110 million cards were affected by the breach in security. Information including card number, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, names and address were accessed during the process and could now be affecting one-third of the United States population.

The entire situation poorly affected Target’s well-known and respected reputation that it had with its customers and the United States population. After the breach in privacy, many loyal Target shoppers were forced to go elsewhere for shopping wants and needs, without worry of having their information accessed. A store that was once positioned highly in the mind of the consumer has now sunk to the bottom because of a security violation that could have been completely avoided.

Picture retrieved from Target

But are companies now planning for attacks on security to better their reputation?

Picture retrieved from Media Bistro 

According to a recent report by The Economist, that is exactly what happening. Some companies are viewing breaches in privacy as an unavoidable incident that is bound to happen at some point in the future anyway, instead of trying to do everything it can to prevent it from happening and saving the company and its customers future harm.

The majority of business have recently put in to effect a security plan, to be better prepared just incase something does go wrong. Although it does seem like a smart idea to have a back-up plan for security violations, companies are relying solely on it instead of other planning.

An article of the report on PR Newser expressed that company executives believed these plans would help to improve the reputation if a breach in security were to disrupt the company.

According to the article:
  • Two thirds of execs think that effective responses to such incidents can improve their corporate reputations
  • 60% of orgs polled now have formal response strategies in place
  • Yet, while 73% of orgs feel “somewhat prepared“, only 17% of business leaders surveyed feel “fully prepared” to address breaches
(Information retrieved from Media Bistro)

From a public relation standpoint, it seems in the best interest of the company and its stakeholders to protect them at all cost. A plan to protect both interests should be in tact and set by company executives.

According to the article, though, hackers are not responsible for the majority of violations in security. Twenty-nine percent are due to system outages and 27 percent because of loss of data. So maybe if hackers aren’t the main issue, the company should pay more attention on being responsible with its information and making sure it is safely backed up incase of system outage or power failure.

Planning for emergencies and breaches in security or privacy is a good idea, but the reputation won’t need to be managed if the company remains responsible and smart with its information and customers.


Reisinger, D. (2014, January 10). Yikes! Target's data breach now could affect 110M people. In CNet. Retrieved March 21, 2014, from http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-57617034-83/yikes-targets-data-breach-now-could-affect-110m-people/

Coffee, P. (2014, March 21). More Companies Now Plan to Use Cyberattacks to Enhance Their Reputations. In PR Newser. Retrieved March 21, 2014, from http://www.mediabistro.com/prnewser/more-companies-now-plan-to-use-cyberattacks-to-enhance-their-reputations_b88419

Friday, March 7, 2014

How to Act Professionally in the Business World

For my internship class this week, I read “You Did What? Biggest Mistakes Professionals Make” by Kim Zoller and Kelly Preston. The book was, for me, very enlightening to say the least. The authors of the book wrote the book for people like me who are going into the business world and need to adjust their social interactions in order to be successful. In a study done by Carnegie Institute of Technology, 85 percent of success at a job can be contributed to one’s personality and how they deal with others.


I really enjoyed the book and definitely believe anyone interviewing for jobs should purchase the book, read it and highlight certain details that maybe you could benefit by working on. It’s a very short read but full of helpful information that I wasn’t aware of before reading the book. These are only a few of Zoller and Preston’s biggest mistakes from the book that caused me to be aware and that I think others could also benefit from.
  • Forgetting to stay one step ahead: This can include first impressions, how one dresses for a meeting and body language. Stop thinking about unimportant things that don’t make a difference and starting thinking with and endpoint in mind and how you are going to get to that place. Since I get nervous before interviews, for me this could include planning my outfit in advance and mapping out talking points so the meeting goes smoothly.

  • Using Body Language Improperly: This chapter resonated the most with me since I am absolutely terrible at this. It is important to make eye contact, control body movement and sit in a proper manner. Nothing is worse than an employer wondering why you can’t look them in the eye or sit in an upright position like how we are taught to do at a very young age. 
  • Forgetting Names: When someone is talking to me, in my head I am creating my response and completely forget to remember their name. It’s not a hard task to accomplish, and yet it is important enough for the writers to make a chapter about, so apparently I am not the only one doing it. It is a simple, respectful gesture that takes absolutely no effort at all.
  • Failing to Follow the Guidelines for Professional Dress: This chapter is really helpful because it gives appropriate guidelines of professional dress for both men and women. I was aware that your clothing should be appropriate and conservative, but little did I know that jewelry and nails are being examined. I wear cross jewelry quite frequently but the authors suggest no religious symbols. They also advise to wear rings on the ring and pinky fingers only and to have your nails manicured, short and natural in appearance.

  • Being Unprepared for Interviews: When arriving to an interview, it is better to be over prepared than underprepared. Bring your portfolio and resume and always carry paper and pen. Also, they advise not to sit anywhere until you are asked to do so.

The tips that the authors give in the book seem like such easy tasks, but yet so many people, including myself, forget to do them. I recommend this book because it allowed me to take a step back and evaluate how I’ve been doing things in the past. It is important to examine yourself from a professional standpoint so that you can fix your mistakes and be more prepared for future endeavors.

Source: Zoller, Kim, and Kerry Preston. You Did What? The Biggest Mistake Professionals Make. Fifth ed. Dallas: Brown Books Publishing Group, 2011. N. pag. Print.