Motivation: You Can Do It!

Motivation. This is a term we are all very familiar with, am I correct? Yes, we all face days where it is hard to get anything done, but we have to find the motivation to do it somewhere and somehow. Just because you may be having an “off day” does not mean the world will stop spinning. It keeps moving and life goes on. So where do you find motivation when all you may want to do on a Monday is lay around on the couch catching up on Jersey Shore episodes you may have missed?

Here are the steps I take when I need to be motivated. I hope you find them helpful!

  1. Get out of the house. As a student you may call your house your dorm room, and you may have a desk to sit at, but get out of your house/room and go somewhere else to work! While I do love working from home when I can it can also cause me to not get anything completed. Personally, I find home to have to many distractions, so I have to go to my office (Catamount Communications has a student office on campus and I definitely take advantage of this!) or Starbucks on campus to get anything done. You can also go to your campus library or public library. I know that always, without doubt, motivates me to get things done! Find the place that is best suited for you and get some work done.
  2. Conferences. While you may not be able to attend every single conference that comes along, pick a few to go to. Being around other students and professionals that share the same passion as you will put you in the mindset to get things accomplished, and fast. I attended Real World PR 2011 this past Friday and I can definitely tell you I am way more motivated this week than I was last week. Conferences, in a way, are a friendly reminder that all of your hard work while in college will pay off. Networking with fellow students and PR professionals helps me become more motivated and stay motivated.
  3. Read. Google Reader is probably my top favorite thing in the world. I have every blog that I love to read on my Google Reader and I set aside a time at night to read all of the blogs I love. I read the news in the morning and while I am out in town I pick up a copy of the local newspaper. Reading other blogs and the news makes me more motivated. I have created a whole new plan for my blog this past weekend, because if other people can find time to write three or four blog posts a week, so can I! However, do not just stick to reading the news and blogs. Read books as well! I am currently reading Twitter Power by Joel Comm and I love it! Yes, as a student you are required to read your textbook(s) for class, but set time aside to read a book you want to read as well.
  4. Time management. Let’s face it. Time management is a difficult thing to balance, but when you find a good balance stick with it! I am currently reorganizing my priorities so I can get more things accomplished in a timely manner. I do not have classes on Monday, Wednesday or Friday each week, so I have plenty of time on these days to fill with meetings, office hours, homework, etc. At the beginning of this semester I made a schedule for myself just for these days so I can get things done. Trust me, it is tempting to lay in bed all day, but I choose not to do that. I wake up around 9 a.m. and read the news and plan out my day. This keeps me in a motivated mindset.
  5. Positive attitude is key. Last, but not least: stay positive! Do not think of your growing to-do list as a chore. Think of it as a reward. When you complete the things on your to-do list reward yourself to something you like: movie at Redbox, mani/pedi, dinner with friends at your favorite restaurant, etc. This helps to keep me motivated! Knowing that I am getting a reward (even if it is me rewarding myself) keeps me in a positive attitude! Also, set goals and have rewards for each goal that you accomplish. Just remember to stay positive and remind yourself that you can do it!

While I have many more things I could share with you on how I stay motivated, these are my top steps. Hopefully these steps will help you stay motivated when you need it. I know these things definitely help me to stay motivated!

What are ways that you stay motivated? Do you have a weekly/daily routine?


One Year Later

Exactly one year ago today I started this blog. At the time I had no idea if people would actually read any post I wrote or even how to promote it. Needless to say, I quickly discovered that Twitter is a powerful, and helpful, source to getting the word out about your blog. While my first couple of posts may not have been PR related at all, it was one way for me to start writing more and discover where exactly I wanted to go with my blog. Writing is something I am very passionate about. Growing up I used to keep journals to write about my day and of course I had a LiveJournal account at one point (which I forgot the password to or deleted… not really sure what happened to it).

Blogging, to me and I am sure a lot of other people, is a lot different than a personal journal. Over the past year I have grown my blog to be focused on different aspects of public relations that I love. I will be the first to admit that I am definitely growing and learning more and more about blogging all of the time. I feel like social media is something that everyone always has room to grow and improve on. For me, it is a new project I am going to start at some point this year (hopefully sooner than later!) with my blog. I did not have this idea until I was chatting with Kerry this past Friday when I decided to finally buy my domain name: Be on the lookout in the next couple of weeks for the new project I am starting! I would give you a hint, but I am still in the planning process of where I would like to take this.

So here we are, 3,441 views on my blog later: another year of my blog. My promise to you for this coming year is that I will post at least once a week. I always have a lot to say and I like to share with everyone that follows my blog, but I slacked off this past year. I am also full of goals and new aspects of things I would like to blog about. Hope you are ready for this! I know I am. I am ready to bring it on this year, full force!

Thanks to all of you who take the time to read my blog! You guys inspire me to keep writing. You are all great!


Wonder is a Wonderful Thing

I am finally jumping on the bandwagon and participating in #reverb10. I have read so many great entries, so here goes with my first one.

The prompt today is wonder. To me, wonder is equal to “what if.” I am, and have always been, a “what if” person. This is not something I am very proud of, but I must say it has helped me view many situations in depth before making a decision.

The way that I have cultivated a sense of wonder in my life this year is through the experience I have gained in public relations.

I have only been a public relations major for a year and at the beginning of the spring semester of 2010 I decided I wanted to be very involved with anything and everything PR related I could get my hands on. I started utilizing Twitter, Facebook, other social media websites, PRSSA, CatCom, and the list goes on. Through these experiences I have gained more knowledge than I could ever imagine about public relations. I have also met some amazing people through social media and at conferences. One person in particular is Harrison Kratz. Harrison brought me onto the Kratz PR team over the summer and I have loved every minute of it. I am very fortunate to know someone like Harrison, a great individual that lives by his own moto: “Ambition Knows No Limits.” If you do not know Harrison, he has more ambition than anyone else I know. I feel honored and lucky to be able to work with such an ambitious individual!

The point I am trying to get across, and the way wonder ties into everything I just said, is I wonder where I would be right now if I had not been as motivated exactly one year ago to get involved and to gain experience. Yes there are times when I am extremely exhausted because I tend to say yes to every opportunity that crosses my path, but where would I be if I did not push myself as hard as I do? Probably not where I am today. So while I wonder how things would be different if I had decided to stick with music education, or had found a different major, I know deep down that public relations is exactly where my heart is. I have more passion for PR than I could ever dream of. While I do miss music, I wonder how my life would be at this very moment in time if I had not found, and feel in love with, public relations.

PRSSA National Conference 2010 Schedule

Here it is… finally! I have had my sessions picked out for a while, but could not find time to add it to my blog. So… here it is! 🙂

Friday, October 15
♥Special Session- Why Social Media Is Not a Career — but Strategy Is (Definitely will not be missing this one!)
♥Chapter Development Session 1- Going Global: From Campus Clients to International Success and Six Degrees of SePRation: Linking you to your Future
♥Chapter Development Session 2- Bonding With the Pros: Building a Relationship With PRSA and Creating Your Campaign: Building a Personal Brand

Saturday, October 16
♥Professional Development Session 1- Creating a Career in Entertainment and Sports
♥Professional Development Session 2- The CW Session
♥Office Roundtable Discussions- Publications & Student-run Firms

Sunday, October 17
♥Special Session- Student-run Firm Workshop
♥Pre-registered Session- Third Annual Grunig Lecture — Public Relations Excellence 2010 (So sad I could not register for speed networking!)
♥Professional Development Session 3- Using Social Media to Promote Clients
♥Professional Development Session 4- Everything Internships or To Be Bold and Beautiful. Leaning more towards the fashion PR session, but it would be amazing to meet Lauren Berger!!!

Monday, October 18
♥Professional Development Session 5- Targeting Your Audience

I am beyond excited to get to DC and attend these sessions! There is so much to learn from the professionals that will be there and I plan to NETWORK like crazy! As far as being in DC goes I definitely plan to tour the city and finally meet/hang out with all of my Twitter friends. This is going to be one amazing conference.

Are we attending any sessions together? Let me know!

You can check out the full schedule here.

Research, Research and More Research.

In the past year I have come to realize how important researching truly is, especially in the PR field.

When I first came to college I was a music education major, but after my first semester decided I love music but teaching it is not for me. I went undeclared for a semester and stumbled upon public relations. While I did not know a lot about it, I soon discovered through research what it is. I also got hands-on experience before I even changed my major to PR while I was a stage manager for a play my theater teacher was directing. Needless to say, here I am today, very passionate about my major and very sure with what I want to do with my life.

The point of the rant I just went on about changing my major is that while I was a music major my professors did not say how important research is, while in PR research is one of the most important things you can do and professors stress that to me all of the time. You have to stay on top of the industry and follow the trends. This is a very competitive field, and being a college student I can gladly say I research a lot. When I run across something interesting in the New York Times or on CNN I usually dig deeper to see what I can find.

Not only do you need to research news stories, but when working with a client it is vital to research the client before you begin working with them. Know as much as you can before the initial meeting and bring questions to them. They should not have to spend half of the hour you get with them explaining what they do. Also, when applying for jobs researching companies you apply to is key. A company is unlikely to hire you if you do not even know what it is they do. Find out if they are involved with social media, what their most current projects are and so on. Impress them in the interview. They do not want to be questioned about what their company is by someone applying for a job. They want to ask you the questions!

Research, research, research! Even if you are not in public relations, research the field you are in. Stay on top of it, because nine times out of ten it changes regularly. Do not be left in the dark, research!

In the Name of Writing

My name is Mike Blight. I am a P.R. student at Illinois State University going into my fourth and final year of my undergrad. I’m addicted to social networking, marketing and P.R. campaigns, writing and contributing to the greater good of society. Outside of that, I am a young and aspiring P.R. professional with an insatiable hunger for competition. From sports to politics and on to other controversial points of discussion, I am always ready to contribute to a conversation. I love my family, friends, two dogs and life. You can read my blog by following this link: The Blight Experience. You can find me on Twitter here: MichaelBlight

Around a week back I was contacted by the one-and-only Ashley Funderburk in regards to writing a blog to be featured, well, here. The thought was heartwarming and I wanted to make the post both informative and applicable to the P.R. world. Listed below are a few tips-and-tricks for anyone that falls within the spectrum of up-and-coming P.R. professional and super star.

Know YOUR basics

There is nothing in the world more frustrating than the misuse of words. If you want to persuade someone, the first step in the opposite direction would be to misspell their name, company’s name or any words along the way. A P.R. professional’s greatest skill is his or her writing. The mantra that was imparted onto me was “Revise and rewrite.” If you have checked your document or email five times for grammatical or structural errors and you think it looks great, check it again. Don’t be afraid to admit that you’re wrong! Also, know the differences between “your” and “you’re” and other contractions meeting the same rule. Understand the rules of singular and plural possessive terms and all other guidelines of the English language.

AP Knows Best

Despite popular belief, the AP Stylebook that all of your P.R. professors make you buy is definitely worth it. Not only is it an excellent resource, but it makes you a better writer. As nerdy or embarrassing as this example is, the Executive Board of PRSSA and I were SO excited when AP made the change from “Web site” to “website.” If you are only recently joining the P.R. movement, this probably sounds confusing or down-right foolish. The fact of the matter is that there are a number of benefits that come from owning a copy of the AP Stylebook and utilizing it each opportunity you have.

Stick with one descriptor

This point ties into the one above, but I feel as though it is crucial to writing for success. When you are talking about terms of financial security, stick with the word “financial” for the duration of the paper or piece you are writing. While fiduciary, fiscal, monetary, economic and pecuniary sound fantastic, they will often confuse the reader if used interchangeably. Nothing turns heads away from your work like the sense of an overused thesaurus to prove your point. If someone has to use a dictionary to get through your writing, chances are that individual will stop dead in his or her tracks at the first speed bump along the way.

Check validity and coherence

Make sure that everything you write is logically sound and make sense to the point you are trying to convey. By checking validity, you are inadvertently saving face for yourself. If a reader thinks something sounds incorrect and finds out you are wrong, your credibility is immediately shot. Sure people understand mistakes, but you should never use that as a crutch. By ensuring coherence, you are making sure everything fits together well. Most people do not have the patience nor time to reread your piece because part “A” does not match up with part “B” or vice versa. Those two simple steps can make the world of difference when trying to promote a point or idea.

Every word is worth a thousand dollars.

Short, sweet and to the point. Those are the three goals when you are writing. Imagine that each word you write is $1,000 out of your pocket and you are not being reimbursed. Scary, right? Each word should tell its own story and speak volumes for the topic at hand. There is no reason why you should sacrifice clarity because you wanted to make something sound whimsical. Get to the point!

Say what you mean, mean what you say.

One of the fastest growing problems in the world of communication is a lack of sincerity. Companies are trying to convince their audience, or public, that they genuinely care about those in need and those invested in their product. Credibility is one of the toughest qualities to build and conversely the easiest to lose.  Bad news is still bad news no matter how you present it. People appreciate honesty and straightforwardness from others. Deception and a shroud of dishonesty? Not quite. Every word that you speak as a P.R. professional should be a reflection of you, the company you represent and the true meaning you are trying to convey. If you’re thinking about telling a lie to safe face: Don’t. Show a sense of conviction when you are talking and people will soon recognize that you are someone that they can trust and soon after your credibility will blossom.

Are YOU on the Bandwagon?

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Social Media is on the rise, and boy has it risen above most others. It is very obvious that people are obsessed with this new fad and it is not stopping anytime soon. This past week as I participated in various chats on Twitter (#SMMackChat#u30pro #blogchat ) I realized that a lot of people tweet about social media while using social media. Yes, I have obviously jumped on the social media bandwagon, but have you? This blog post is dedicated to my top three favorite social media sources that I use on a daily basis.

1) Twitter

We all use it. Twitter is great for many reasons, the top reason being networking. I have gained so many student and professional connections via Twitter and it is all because I actively engage in conversations. I will admit that for a while I would sit back because I was too timid to mention someone in a tweet or actually participate in chats like #PRStudChat or #u30pro. Instead I would occasionally send the, “Today is going to be great!” or “Cleaning around the apartment.” until I realized this past semester that you have to be confident on Twitter. So many great things are happening on this social media outlet, so why would you choose not to get involved? Plus, it is free!

Out of all of the social media sites that I engage in, Twitter is in my top three. I love the fact that you can do research via people you are following or by searching for it. You can start a conversation with a stranger and build a relationship solely because you have similar majors or live in the same area. There have been countless times when I have found people who major in public relations and I tweet to them on a daily basis. Something that actually happened today was a connection I made from the prstudchat-class-of-2011 list. I was looking to see if any other students graduating in 2011 had been added to the list and I saw @sandrulee so I decided to say hello. I discovered that she is from Turkey and we discussed some social media that had been banned in the country.

I feel like Twitter really is more than just a site to “update your status”. Twitter allows you to exchange information about various topics with people by mentioning, hashtags, or DM’s. Obviously it is an amazing source to network and connect with as well. When I signed up for it I was not a public relations major yet, but now I use it constantly because it is a great tool for the PR world.

Follow me on Twitter. I would love to chat with you!

2) LinkedIn

LinkedIn is still fairly new to me because I just joined a few months ago, but I love it! I have only connected with 46 people, but they are really great individuals to network with. LinkedIn is a website to upload you resume with the opportunity to add more content so people have a more in-depth understanding of everything listed under each section (Experience, Awards, Education, etc). It is obviously a fantastic way to network with professionals and students in the same field as you. It also allows you to join groups and interact with people. I recently gained a connection by joining the HAPPO group on the site. I definitely think it is worthwhile to join groups on the site, but do not just join them, get involved! Talk to fellow group members. You can help each other if you have questions about something or if you just need advice.

LinkedIn is a social media site that students and professionals should all join. It is professional and like I said before, great for networking and connecting with others. Come join me on LinkedIn! I would love to have you in my network.

3) Facebook

Of course I had to add everyone’s favorite, Facebook. I have had Facebook since it became available to high school students in 2006 and I am still engaged with the site even though there are privacy issues. When I first signed up I rarely got on to do anything. For a while I thought it was more stalker-friendly then anything. Eventually I got over that stage because I discovered it is a great way to stay in touch with friends that move, family members that are not near you, and sharing photos and videos. After I became a PR major I discovered how to really utilize Facebook to fit into being social media savvy.

One of my favorite things about Facebook is the ability businesses have to create fan pages. People can “like” fan pages to stay up-to-date with what is going on with a company, store, or organization that they like. Of course there are fan pages for everything, but many of these are pointless to me. I guess if people like the idea behind the page then they like it (no pun intended! :p). I personally control five Facebook fan pages and I love that I can interact with people who comment on the page by answering question or just saying “thanks for the comment”.

The PR Real World Conference workshop that I attended about social media taught me to keep Facebook fun and professional. Yes, it is great to go out and have fun and see pictures that your friends post from the night before, but be smart about it. Do not post pictures of you drinking and doing illegal things. Employers can and DO look at your Facebook page so keep it tidy. They are more likely to hire someone who has a cleaner profile then someone who has pictures and status updates of themselves going out to party every night.

You can friend me on Facebook as well!

That is my list of favorite social media outlets!

Now I have a few questions for you to think about or answer:

Are YOU on the bandwagon?

What are your favorite social media sites? Do you think Twitter will become “out-dated” in the next few months? How do you feel about LinkedIn? Are the privacy issues with Facebook going to cause you to “quit”?