SOC Students' Blog Posts Featured on PR Expanded

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Deirdre Breakenridge
Communication strategist Deirdre Breakenridge partnered with professor Jason Mollica to challenge students to craft compelling blog posts.

Students at American University are able to partake in extraordinary opportunities because of connections that faculty have with outside professionals. Professor Jason Mollica tasked students in his Introduction to Public Relations class to write a blog post as one of their assignments for the semester. As an added incentive, the top six blogs would be featured on PR Expanded, a website created by communication strategy expert Deirdre Breakenridge.

Breakenridge has more than 25 years of public relations and marketing experience. She helps senior executives communicate better with their stakeholders. She also helps with image and reputation management, crisis communication, media relations, leadership, and social media.

“The goal was to help the students understand the value of building relationships and how solid writing skills can help now and in the future,” says Mollica. This project was used to motivate his students and create new opportunities for them share their work and gain more experience.

For her part, Breakenridge hopes to share new perspectives and increase engagement of educators and other Public Relations professionals with students.

Winning Posts

“The Three Cs For Targeting The Hispanic Market”- Stephanie Lopez 

Lopez explains the need for businesses to target their marketing campaigns towards a specific audience inside of the Hispanic community. Many companies make the mistake of translating their marketing campaigns into Spanish, but don’t think about the regional and cultural differences between American people and different Hispanic groups. She explains that there are three ways for businesses to tailor their campaigns to their Hispanic audiences: credibility, charisma and control. Credibility establishes respect and trust with the audience and shows that the business does their research on their target audience. Charisma allows businesses to tap into the cultural connections and familiar influencers that can make their credibility more believable. Charisma allows the audience to relate to the business or marketing campaign. Control is a tool businesses can use to reward or skew their audience by appealing to important factors, such as family values or brand loyalty. 

“Three Ways You Can Benefit From #PRSSA”Jolene Levesque

Levesque writes about the opportunities that the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) gives to students who utilize the organization. She shares three main examples: enhancing education, broadening professional networks, and launching careers. PRSSA can enhance a student’s education by giving them opportunities to listen to guest speakers, attend bi-weekly meetings that update them on current PR events and introduce them to scholarships to support academic achievement. She writes that it can also broaden a student’s professional network by attending the annual national conference and by making connections with other students in PRSSA and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the parent affiliate. PRSSA can help launch careers by connecting students with mentors in PRSA, create connections through its internship board and give students a discounted membership to PRSA when they graduate.

“Guide For International Students: How To Use Media For Studying Abroad" - Liza Vozjakova

Vozjakova, an international student from Russia, knows what it’s like to study abroad. She shares five of the most important tips to help other international students adjust to living and studying in a new country. Step one is getting inspired to go abroad. She writes that looking at travel bloggers and social media can get people excited about the place they will be going to study. The second step is researching the country. Research can help students understand the nuances of the culture and basic information, such as language, cuisine, and legal aspects. Step three is making connections. She writes that students should not be shy about reaching out and talking to people, especially to those who have studied abroad there before and have had to adjust. Step four is making updates. It is very important to stay in touch with friends and family back home to stay connected. The final step is “don’t worry, be happy”. She writes that social media can help make a student excited about upcoming events in the area and about meeting new people.

“Four Ways to Stay Curious & Creative in Our Digital World”Abby Bacardi

Bacardi explains how difficult it can be to differentiate unique ideas by ones that have already been created because of the overwhelming presence of social media platforms and communication channels. She gives four ways that people can reclaim their creative identity online. Her first step is to ask “why?” Once people start thinking about the daily choices they made on social platforms that can begin to evaluate the effectiveness of their communication style. The second idea is to visit a bookstore. Instead of using Google as the only tool for getting information, reading a book outside of one’s professional field can facilitate personal growth and enhance creativity in the workspace. The third step is to rekindle your inner child. Children have the largest capacity for creativity and curiosity and professionals can learn a lot from their ability to think outside of the box. The fourth suggestion that Bacardi gives is to practice unplugged listening. By getting rid of digital distractions, people can have more thought-provoking conversations that can lead to understanding different styles of communication.

“The Key to Overpowering Arrogance” - Christine Roque

Roque’s article is about how power can position people to control others and not think about consequences for their actions. The #MeToo movement has created a dialogue surrounding sexual assault and has shed light on how long men in power have gotten away with their actions. The purpose of the movement is to one day create a society where both men and women are treated equally and are mutually respected. However, she writes that although women are fighting back and are exposing men for their vulgar acts, trying to rise above them in not always the answer. The best way to handle a crisis is to show humility instead of using testosterosis, which is defined as the “state of extraordinary irritation and agitation when something goes awry which makes us want to lash out rather than fess up”. When a person has power, it is important for them to act humbly because their actions have an impact on people.

“How Sports #PR Has Changed for the Better (Mostly)”Aaron Dean

Dean’s article is about how social media is changing how the sports world is conducting their PR. In the past, they would update fans through traditional forms of media, like television, radio, and newspaper. But, now social media is the most important tool for them to share updates, engage with their fans and share live content. Fans can now watch games on more platforms than just television or radio. Social media also allows fans to interact with their favorite players through Twitter or Snapchat. However, social media can also be detrimental to sports teams and players if they do something wrong. Everyone can see what is posted and scandals don’t go away overnight. But, overall social media is a positive tool for sports teams and players to promote themselves and also interact with their fans.