Jason M. Hartline

Jason Hartline has worked in the Public Relations field for going on three years in various fields of the discipline from educational to consulting. Public Relations can easily be described as an obsession in Jason's life. He loves everything from the study to the practice and hopes to broaden his education through the course of his life and career in PR. While attending South Plains College, Jason was the chapter president of the SPC student Government Association, president of Region 1 Student Gov. which consists of 16 junior colleges in West Texas. Jason held the position of News Editor for the Plainsman Press and Vice President of Leadership for Phi Theta Kappa. Because of Jason's dedication and involvement at SPC, he was able to receive his B.A. from Texas Tech University in just one year. His duration at TTU allowed him to truly dive into the Public Relations discipline and explore many areas of the study. Jason had the opportunity to intern in for the South Plains College Office of College Relations, and for Nomiss Communication. "The education I received at both institutions and through my internships was absolutely phenomenal," Jason said. "I've had the pleasure and opportunity of meeting great professors, classmates, members of the community and being personally taught by amazing mentors. I feel I have acquired a high skill set in Public Relations because of the experience and education I have received." Jason plans to further his education by obtaining a Master's in Public Affairs. After, Jason strives to become a foreign diplomat for the Department of State. Specialties: Jason specializes in multiple facets of public relations including print and broadcast media, graphic design and social media, to name a few.

Homepage: https://prismttu.wordpress.com

I don’t know what you’re talking about. Have you Tweeted it yet?

Although this comic is humorous (or absolutely hilarious), it is a good depiction of how Twitter has engulfed society.

The great thing about any new trend in the realm of communications is that we as PR professionals can exploit it to get our message across to a number of target markets at once.

Although Twitter is not relatively new, it is constantly evolving. This is where the fun of frequently staying current with new lingo, conversation techniques and monitoring tools separates a hobby to a paycheck.

The lingo changes quite often. Here is a list of the most popular lingo and twitterisms used at this time.

๏ tweet – a message of 140 characters or less

๏ hashtag – tweets that start with a # (tracking)

๏ tweme – same as hashtag (twitter meme)

๏ tweetup – twitter meetup

๏ tweetchannel – add #channelname at start of tweets

๏ tinyURL – for URLs longer than 30 characters

๏ DM – direct message (private)

To incorporate twitter into public relations, here are three tips that don’t stray very far from their roots.

  1. Open the Twitter doors to the company’s president of CEO. It’s ridiculous to expect a company leader to have the time to keep up with a blog or answer all Facebook comments and messages. Because Twitter is limited to 140 characters at a time, it is all about short thoughts and comments. With the current level of cell phone technology, your president or CEO can tweet from anywhere in the world as a marketing and PR apparatus.
  2. Keep in touch/Monitor media and bloggers. It is extremely easy to monitor someone on Twitter by following them. Often times, they will follow you back. Even if you don’t join Twitter or follow someone, you can monitor what people are saying about any person, company or brand. Twitter has a search engine that was designed to carry out this task. You can subscribe to these searches by RSS to keep yourself updated. Another tip is that you can “follow” all the people you find talking about your company. If they are talking about your company, they would probably be pretty ecstatic that someone from the company wants to follow them.
  3. Promote blog articles, webinars, interesting news, etc. It is recommended to often post links to blog articles relevant to your company, or other news articles that hold relevance, or your own blogs/ news articles. A good idea is to post articles on other websites that are relevant to your business, like a customer success story or other PR coverage.  If you have other content that is appealing to your audience like a free webinar, post links to those as well.

 

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Social Media Release

The classic public relations press release – a traditional public relations device, once paraphernalia for print journalists, has evolved to a way that can be applied more into the online world. I call it the birth of social media magic.

The social media release originated from a blog post back in late February 2006 by blogger and former Financial Times correspondent Tom Foremski titled, “Die! Press Release! Die! Die! Die!” Foremski complained that traditional press releases were narrative exercises in spin that took time to deconstruct and reassemble into a story of interest to his readers.

Foremski offered several suggestions, which SHIFT Communications principal Todd Defren took to heart, so much so that, May 23, 2006 brought about the unveiling of the first social media press release template.

Although this template still holds true as a great guideline, a lot has changed since 2006 in the realm of social media in public relations.

A recent study by the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR) found that most releases now target consumers and customers directly, rather than through the filter of the news media. The study also provides rich insight into how successful the incorporation of a SMR can be.

“Another goal of the study was to provide insights as to how public relations professionals can understand these changes in order to work more effectively with journalists,” SNCE pointed out. “[Also to] provide more value to the journalistic community.”

Public relations analysts Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge describe a social media release as “the opportunity to share news in ways that reach people with the information that matters to them, in ways that they can easily use to digest and, in turn, share with others through text, links, images, video, bookmarks, tags, and so on, while also enabling them to interact with you directly or indirectly.”

The same company that developed the first template offered this updated version 1.5 in April 2008:

Jeff Mascott, of the Washington, D.C.-based PR firm Adfero, led a workshop addressing some basic guidelines for writing a social media release.

Who does a social-media release target? SMRs simultaneously target three types of audiences, Mascott said:

  • Traditional, mainstream journalists
  • Bloggers and other digital influencers
  • The general public

Mascott points out that SMRs should be written for three types of readers:

  • Real people
  • Search engines
  • Social-networking sites

Where do I put a social-media release? Solis and Breakenridge recommend putting SMRs on a blogging platform such as WordPress, or on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.

Keep headlines short. Make sure the headlines are no longer than 80 characters, Mascott counsels. “If you want something that’s going to be shared, a long bureaucratic headline is not going to generate any word-of-mouth or traffic on social-media websites,” he says. Ask yourself, “If this appeared on Facebook, would I click on it?”


Tell a story. “Write like a person and not an organization,” Mascott says. Get rid of the marketing-speak and craft a narrative you’d like to read in the newspaper.

Aim for “diagonal” readers. “Diagonal” readers take in a story in 10 seconds or less. “People don’t read an article like they read a book,” Mascott explains. “There’s an awful lot of scanning going on.” To help readers hit the most important points, Mascott offers the following:

  • Subsection headers. Search engines can also index a story more effectively if the story is broken up into subsections and write a subtitle for each section using keywords.
  • Boldface. Search engines appear to pick up on bolded and underlined words better than plain fonts.
  • Pictures, graphs and summaries. Make key concepts easy to grasp.

Create multimedia objects. Creative use of video, photos and interactive objects can be embedded and shared. Rather than including a quote within the story, Mascott offers to consider recording a video of an executive making the statement and uploading it with a transcript.

Provide resource links. Link to executive bios, company fact sheets, downloadable logos, and a delicious or Digg page that aggregates articles supporting — or even opposing — the point of view. These features are timesavers for journalists and bloggers, making them more likely to turn your SMR into a story.

Make sharing easy. Ensure the release syndicates to RSS readers, shows up error-free when pulled into Facebook, Twitter or other sites, and comes in a printer- and e-mail-friendly version. Include one-click buttons for popular social-media sites at the bottom of your SMR. If you don’t have an IT person to help, go to a DIY site such as AddThis.com or ShareThis.com to generate embeddable code.

Make feedback easy. Include a section for moderated comments at the bottom of your release. SMRs are all about fostering dialogue about your news.

 

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Drunk Texting Would Be Heaven Compared to This

“Were taking tot shots. If toddlers could drink these are the size of shots they would take.”

“If I die I am blaming you for not answering to tell me the proper dosage of horse tranquilizers to take.”

“I just watched a girl in the library pull a vodka bottle out of her bag. I think I’m going to give her my number.”

These are actual text messages from a Web site called Texts From Last Night. Yes, of course this Web site offers hours of fun and laughter, but it also makes a gruesome point…sometimes when we go out to have a good time we don’t always remember how to keep our social media shirts on.

Personally (not saying I drink in excess), I would much rather send someone an inebriated text message than wake up to a Facebook video of me dancing on a bar pulling my shirt off…and with $40 lying all around me.

EITHER WAY – if you or your friends are among the 28 percent of the population with smartphones, you are prey walking among hungry lions.

Although I have no idea how to warn the general public that even one Four Loko will make the most composed of creatures giggle uncontrollably and crave sweet, delicious Allsup’s burritos with taco sauce at ridiculous times of the morning, or shield the eyes of a girlfriend from a video on Facebook showing you at that bar, in which she was not in attendance, and where you may or may not have taken your shirt off (and made $40), but I have found some killer tips on how to avoid your bad social media decisions.

  1. This was developed by Brenna Ehrlich and Andrea Bartz of CNN: “Let’s start with the most old-school of communication devices — the phone — and a simple exercise: 1). Take out your phone, 2). Close your eyes, 3). Scroll through your contacts 4). Open your eyes, 5). Dial. If you’re now thinking to yourself, “Oh, no! Don’t call THAT PERSON!” it’s time to clean out your phone.”
  2. In the past, the lesser-known Gmail feature only gave you 5 seconds to un-email, but a few months ago, the service extended that limit to 30 seconds. To unlock this ability, merely click the little green icon on the top right of your inbox, which will take you to Google Labs. Find “Enable Undo Send,” do so, and choose the 30-second option. Remember: After enabling it, you still have to go up to “settings” to change the duration. Still don’t trust yourself? Scroll down to the “Mail Goggles” app in Google Lab — during windows of time you assign (say, 1 to 6 a.m.), it asks you to complete a few simple math problems before you proceed with the emailing. It’s like a more helpful version of, “How many fingers am I holding up?”
  3. Developed by the same two girls, I have to share this tip given by them:

“It’s 4 a.m. and you are a pathetic loser. You’re tweeting incessantly about how your parents think you’re a disappointment, how you think you’re in love with your intern and how that weird rash on your– Oh, and did we mention there’s a half-empty bottle of vodka and a fully empty container of Mexican takeout in bed with you? Yeah. Times are tough.

Luckily for you, you can actually prevent such sad-sack behavior with a simple download. Just last week, web security company Webroot came out with a social media sobriety test. It’s basically a Firefox plugin that, once installed, will require you to pass a test (like typing the alphabet backwards) in order to access services like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace between certain (inebriated) hours.

Now if only you could install said plugin on your fridge. Did you really need to consume an entire block of cheese?”

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Personal Social Media Marketing and PR

To follow up to the previous post, it is important to realize that if you are going out for a job in social media, there is a great chance your future employer knows how to dig around your chosen social media Web sites.

This is why it is important now, more than ever, the build up your brand through social media. Brand

In the realm of public relations, we are only as strong as the relationships we build. These relationships hold value only through the practice of honesty, integrity, advocacy and loyalty. These suggestions will help your social media accounts reflect that type of person.

Who wouldn’t want to hire you?

  1. Look at your social profiles – make them as comprehensive as possible. Remove anything that could be detrimental to your job search.
  2. Google your name and see what is on page one.    You need to have excellent content that showcases your abilities on that page.
  3. Buy your name as a domain name. http://www.yourname.com
  4. Create a blog that is your resume.  You can use WordPress, but do it on your own name domain. Get technical help if you need.
  5. Make your LinkedIn profile as complete as you can. Optimize it for search around the terms a recruiter or potential customer might look for, if they wanted to hire someone like you.  Join relevant groups on LinkedIn and Facebook.
  6. If you are not on Twitter, start an account. At the end of each blog post put Follow me on Twitter and link to your Twitter account. Add Join my network on LinkedIn and link to that.  Tag the links with your name.
  7. Use Social Mention to find conversations about the industry or job you would like to have
  8. Analyze the conversations you find.  Look for mentions of possible openings or conversations about your industry or subject.  Just as companies look for statement of purchase intent, you can look for hiring intent.
  9. Identify topic trends and influencers in the conversations – the thought leaders in your field. Follow them on LinkedIn and Twitter.  Like their content on Facebook.
  10. Read their blogs, comments, tweets, status updates. Comment appropriately. Retweet their content.
  11. Publish content that shows your expertise. Stay abreast of topics, trends and research in your industry.  Post interesting and compelling content that people might want to share. Write articles and get them published on relevant industry websites.
  12. If you see a post or tweet that you can reply to intelligently and offer something that adds value to that conversation, engage.
  13. Build a core group of people you can network with and get them involved with you.
  14. Integrate your social media activity with your offline networking. Make every effort to connect personally with the people you have found online. Watch for conferences they will be attending that you could go to.  Find out if there are local places where you can mingle and meet people you have contacted online.
  15. Join appropriate local industry networking groups and attend regularly. See if the people you meet there are online and follow them.
  16. Join general networking groups. You never know who you could meet there.

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Finding a Job Through the Power of Social Media

Although this blog is centered on the topic of public relations in social media, why not take on the topic of finding a public relations job through social media (or any job for that matter)?

If you are reading this blog, PR is obviously an interest of yours. However, I ran across this video that does a great job of explaining what it means to be a PR professional.

In 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported public relations specialists held about 275,200 jobs.

“Employment of public relations specialists is expected to grow 24 percent from 2008 to 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition reviewing the field of Public Relations. “The need for good public relations in an increasingly competitive and global business environment should spur demand for these workers, especially those with specialized knowledge or international experience. Employees who possess additional language capabilities also are in great demand.”

With social media becoming more productive and evolving everyday, instead of Tweeting how much you hate class or bringing down your reputation with expressing how hung over you are through your facebook status (classy), why not direct some of that attention into finding a job?

Twitter is leading the way in social media sites when it comes to job postings. Sharlyn Lauby wrote a blog on Mashable/Social Media saying about 300 to 500 jobs are posted on Twitter per minute. Carmen Hudson, CEO and co-founder of Tweetajob, gave out this information.

Tweetajob is a company that sends job tweets that match a job seeker’s location and career interests.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, Hudson heads a warning.

“Many of these jobs are duplicates, or from aggregators. It’s likely the number of real opportunities could be much lower,” Hudson said. “There is quite a bit of ‘job pollution’ on Twitter, because the job boards and many employers don’t target their job tweets.”

Don’t let this be a discouragement. The name of the game is finding the jobs!

This is where hashtags come into play.

Through the recommendation of Hudson, hashtags offer a way to sift through all the mud and uncover the sweet treasures of employment.

Here is a great site that provides an synopsis of Hashtags.

Here is a list of hashtags off Lauby’s blog, and some others I have found.

  • #prjobs
  • #jobs
  • #greenjobs
  • #jobposting
  • #jobadvice
  • #jobhunt
  • #jobsearch
  • #dreamjob
  • #hired
  • #PR

There are hundreds more but these are the ones I found beneficial. To check out more, visit the Career Rocketeer for their 100 top job search hashtags.

Another great place to look is on Mashable’s 40+ Jobs in Social Media You Can Apply for Today.

If you are interested in social media, or just plain addicted, Mashable’s job boards features job listings for a variety of positions in the web, social media space and beyond. It truly is amazing and a push in the right direction for…oh, say…the senior Texas Tech University student looking to move to the D.C. area? Yes.

The best thing to always remember comes from the audible chocolate of the great Jameson Webb:

“Don’t seek anything you can’t see yourself doing everyday for the rest of your life. Why work all week waiting for the weekend and when the weekend comes you already dread Monday. That’s not life – that’s a slow death.”

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Is Measuring ROI With Social Media Possible?

I came across a great post written by Christina Warren on Mashable titled “HOW TO: Measure Social Media ROI.” Not only is this post organized in a way that is very easy to follow, it literally walks a public relations professional, or student, through the process of how to measure the return of investment a social media campaign can offer. In a money-driven business world, this is an essential tool.

According to Warren, and the affiliated Mashable team, 84 percent of social media programs don’t measure return on investment.

Obviously, businesses are diving head first into the world of social media. However, for a business to remain successful it must compare what works with what does not – what makes and what looses money.

This is why a business, brand, or product needs to assess the impact a social media campaign is having. Whether this be awareness or monetary driven, a measurement of ROI can be difficult, but not impossible.

Warren points out that there are many aspects of a social media campaign that are difficult to track. The post offers a guide on how to track these pieces and fully determine the ROI the business is receiving.

Also included in the post is a PowerPoint created by Olivier Blanchard titled “The Basics Of Social Media ROI.” It takes a humorous and fun approach to a boring topic. Everyone has experienced death by PowerPoint in some form or fashion. His approach avoids the drooling, half awake PowerPoint comatose state and effectively establishes a base on which to build upon.

The rest of the post is broken up into categories including Defining Clear Goals, Metrics Tools, Sentiment Analysis, Social Media Product Suites and Making the Data Usable.

As a student and working professional of public relations, this information is highly useful.

PR students at Texas Tech University are required to take a marketing class where they obtain the knowledge of how to use marketing tools, such as how to measure ROI. However, that is where the application ends. I question if TTU will incorporate a more comprehensive teaching method that will help future PR professionals have an edge on the competition. Not to would be to hinder the future success of PR students.

In the working world, to be able to measure ROI in a social media campaign and show that to a client reveals stability. It can also be used as a strong, motivating sales pitch to prospective or existing clients. This, in turn, means more money. We would not be in this field if not to make money. That’s called a volunteer.

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PR, Politics and Social Media. A Match Made in Twitter.

I recently found a story on Mashable covering Tweetminster and Tweet Congress.

It’s author, Stan Schroader, calls Twitter the swiss knife of communication platforms because of its simplicity and versatility.

Tweetminster, by Schroader definition, follows the UK political scene through Twitter. It helps users find all the UK politicians that are active on Twitter, but it also organizes tweets in a useful way. A user can check out which political party is the most active on Twitter, and has the ability to sort tweeters by constituency, and – if a politician is not active on Twitter – it can contact them directly from the site and try to convince them they should join.

The UK service was inspired by the US-based service, Tweet Congress, which includes a map of the United States, graphs and stats for Twitter using US politicians.

The Tweet Congress initiative aims to foster communication between lawmakers and the individuals who placed them into that position, the voters. This is yet just another form of connecting politicians to the publics in which they serve.

“We believe transparent government is better government,” said TweetCongress.org. “Twitter enables real conversation between lawmakers and voters, in real time. Find your representatives in Congress, follow them and give them a tweet full!”

What does this mean for PR in politics?

Well – now through Twitter, people not only have an additional news stream of their choice, but they can also mark messages with hashtags (#).

This enables a PR professional to link content with other tags that have related content. This is unique to Twitter. Hashtags are a great way to see unique conversations, along with different views and really be able to spread a message. Politicians are able to track a public conversation between friends and the publics that have placed them into office.

Having these avenues to communicate with voters, lawmakers and private citizens levels the playing field. Voters have the ability to have a voice in rural West Texas, all the way to Washington, D.C. They can ask questions and receive answers to them as well, giving the voters a sense of belonging in an online space – and ultimately, creating a better image if politics through the power of PR.

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