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Podcasting 101

Last week, our podcast assignment was due in Electronic Communications. I had never done a podcast before, and I was nervous about making my first one. 

I had a great partner. I’m glad I kind of lucked into being partners with Kaitlyn. We both wanted to start early and get it done before the due date so we would have plenty of time to revise it and ask Jory questions. I’m so glad we got a jump start on it because the project would have been way more stressful if we would have waited.

We interviewed Andrew McGee about his involvement with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. We were really happy with our interview and we got a lot of good quotes from him.  In hind sight, I wish we would have been more aware of giving Andrew feedback throughout the interview.  There were a couple of quotes we lost because we laughed or talked before he finished talking.

I learned about GarageBand, which I had never used before. Although it was basic skills, I will feel more comfortable in the future using it and learning to use it better.  We edited our interview and recorded our parts of the podcast next. Because we started early, we were able to take a day off from working on it and then come back and listen to it fresh, which helped us be more objective about what we had made the first day.  I have more appreciation for people who host weekly podcasts because it took us one week to make our podcast I can’t imagine interviewing, editing and finding fresh material every week. But, I guess practice makes perfect. 

I’m glad that I survived my first podcast. I have a new appreciation for podcasters and my Electronic Communications class too. If I wasn’t in  this class, I would have never learned about podcasts or how to create my own. Our next assignment is a sound slide. So, bring it on!

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Class Podcast

This week in class, I made a podcast with my classmate Kaitlyn Gibson.  Check out our podcast about college athletes who go beyond their sport to help their university and community.

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I wake up in a cold, dark, musty and wet room. I have no idea where I am or how I got here. I can hear the wind howling into this room through the crack in the cement walls but it’s the only sound I hear.  I get up and try to feel around the room, trying to find a door to get out of here because by now I’m panicking and my heart is racing.  I can’t help but wonder if I’m about to die.

Suddenly, I see a light come in through a crack in the wall behind me.  The stream of light gets bigger and brighter with every second.  A door creeks open and I see the shadow of a tall figure. I cannot tell if this person is a man or a woman they just raise their hand and signal for me to walk toward them. I stop where I am and my mind begins to think of all the horrible possibilities that could be about to happen to me. I refocus and make myself think about being rescued or somehow saved by this unknown figure.  Cautiously, I take one step forward and then another. With the second step, I fall into a hole and,  I am all of a sudden falling and falling unable to land.

I wake up at home in my own bed, the sun is shining through my window. I’m covered in sweat. I notice my heart is racing. I can barely breathe. I get out of my bed and open my bedroom door to the smell of breakfast. I realized that the cold, wet, dark room was only a dream. I am home safe and sound and the dream never happened. It’s amazing how life-like and scary our dreams can be, especially because we cannot control what, when or how we dream.

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A Night at the Movies

I hate going to the movies and walking out thinking, “I just wasted time and money watching that movie,” or browsing thousands of movies on Netflix only to choose a movie that I’ve already seen at least a dozen times.  I think I may have found a solution for my problem of “picky movie-watcher syndrome.” I am now a huge fan of Trading Movies, a podcast I stumbled upon on iTunes.

Trading Movies official logo designed by Ethan Newberry

Trading Movies is a podcast dedicated to movies, just like it sounds like it would be. Craig and Maria, the “hosts,” of the podcast swap movies each week and share their thoughts about each movie.  Last month, the podcast featured movies that were in theaters at the time, “Burlesque” and “Another Year.” I really liked the episode because it was great to hear opinions about the movie before seeing it in theaters, which I decided not to go see because of the podcast, although my roommate loved it.

In addition to reviewing movies showing in theaters, Craig and Maria also switch older movies, which is great when searching for something to watch on Netflix. Listening to the podcast is more interesting and offers more of a dynamic review and personal opinion than reading movie reviews on sites such as Rotten Tomatoes, or other movie sites.  Maria and Craig debate and offer insight into why they like or dislike the movies and the listener can identify more with the aspects of the movie they would like as well when the review is coming from people the can listen to over a podcast.

I like the dynamic having a man’s opinion and woman’s. Sometimes I fall into the trap of only watching “chick flicks,” because I’m the typical girl and I love the happily ever after stories, so having two opinions help balance the tendency to lean toward only one genre of movies.  Having a man’s opinion also helps me talk my boyfriend into watching the movies too.  For the movie buff and avid movie-goer, Trading Movies is the perfect podcast to find movies to watch or avoid.

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Avoid the Crap. Know your audience.

Crap. Horrible. A waste of my time. These aren’t the worst things someone could say to you, but if you are a PR professional who just spent hours working on a Press Kit to get only these responses back  from a journalist instead of interest in your client, these words will really piss you off. The more I’ve read about Press Kits the more I’ve realized that even after learning how to do this, many people still miss the mark.

I recently read a blog post, Press Kit Elements that Work, that broke down a press kit how a journalist looks at it, instead of from a PR professional’s viewpoint. Duh, this is how press kits should be written because the ultimate goal is to get the journalist to cover your client. Sometimes PR professionals get so caught up in trying to “sell” their client they forget the best way to get that coverage is to help the journalist out and provide the information that they actually need, not just fluff pieces that keep the interns busy at work.

Here are a couple of the best tips given in the blog post, Press Kit Elements that Work :

“Good publicists are journalist-centric — that is, they think from the perspective of
the recipient, not the sender.”

“Everything in the press kit goes to support your clincher. Everything else gets yanked out.”

“Keep your kit simple, stick to your clincher and think like a journalist,
not a marketer, and you’ll have crafted a first class press kit!”

And of course, the post gives details about the elements of the Press Kit and how to make those elements more useful to journalists too.  The most important thing to remember about a Press Kit is that the ultimate goal is to get coverage for you client, and if you compile a crappy Press Kit you won’t accomplish your goal, instead you will ruin your credibility with reporters. In this industry, credibility is everything and losing it over a crappy Press Kit is stupid. Know your audience so you can avoid sending crap.

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Social Media: The Only Addiction Worth Having

As a PR student, it’s become overwhelmingly obvious to me that social media plays an important role in the everyday life of PR professionals (not to mention everyone else too). Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook have become valuable tools to the PR world. Social media is a great way to create awareness about your company, brand or even yourself.

Case in point, Saxum PR, a PR firm located Oklahoma, updates their twitter and Facebook pages regularly.  I personally follow Saxum on both Twitter and Facebook. Saxum tweets about internships, posts on their blog and other tips relevant to those in the PR industry, and they also use Facebook to reinforce the same messages they tweet about to draw their audience back to their site. Saxum, along with many other PR firms, use social media as a public relations tool.  This tool is usually incorporated as a tactic in many PR campaigns today.

Using social media effectively is a skill that anyone can learn. Learning this skill can pay off enormously.  Social media offers endless possibilities, and with the number of times people check Twitter and Facebook per day, a PR professional could be sitting on a “goldmine,” if they learn to use these tools to their advantage.

According to Brian Solis, in December 2009, people on average spent five and a half hours on social network sites, like Twitter and Facebook, per day. With the increase in popularity of both sites over the last year, the average time spent on these sites has likely increased as well.  These sites also offer ways to track the awareness of your page. 

So, step one to becoming part of the social media world and promoting your company or even yourself, register for Facebook and Twitter (if you are one of the laggards who haven’t quite caught on yet).  Trust me, once you get the hang of it, you will become a Facebook and Twitter “junkie,” like the rest of us, and you and your business will benefit.

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