I mentioned this article in class on Wednesday, “We’re the Only Plane in the Sky” (Political Magazine, September 9, 2016), which powerfully captures how 9/11/01 unfolded for the team and journalists who were with President Bush that fateful day. Taken from 40+ hours of interviews, this article walks through the day using these firsthand accounts, revealing the emotions and thoughts experienced by those working with and covering the president. It’s a long read, but well worth time time. It also captures thoughts and strategies from a public relations and crisis communication perspective in a way that we don’t often get to hear.
For me, this post brought back so many memories from that day as I recalled where I was and what I was doing as each moment unfolded. Just two weeks into my first media relations role at APU, this is the event that introduced me to the world of crisis communication. I highly recommend you read it, and would love to hear your thoughts and reflections on this piece.
Strategic public relations campaigns are frequently used by nonprofits and others seeking to bring awareness and inspire action around a cause. Locally, KPCC reported yesterday on a 100-day challenge by the L.A. Homeless Services Authority to house homeless youth. To motivate increased water conservation across California, Golden State Water recently ran an #H2OMakeover contest via social media and email submissions. This summer, APU’s own Ride for Water team sought support through publicity and social media engagement. Around the world, nonprofits dedicated to providing clean, safe water are uniting around #SBG6 this week as part of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development initiative.
If you were part of the public relations teams for any of these causes, what tactic might you recommend to help further get the word out? Are there any other cause-related campaigns that have inspired you to take action? What motivated you to get involved or help spread the word?
If you followed the Olympics this summer—or any year—it’s clear that brands have a high stake in the Games and the stories told throughout. Simply Measured identified “7 Brands Winning Social Media” during the Rio Olympics. Which brand campaigns or individual stories stood out to you in the Summer Games? What captured your attention, and why? Did you notice any trends or themes among this year’s top campaigns?
I am thrilled that we are finally launching the new public relations major (and minor) at APU this year. (It’s about time!) A new major brings with it the opportunity for new courses, and I have the privilege of shaping one of those courses after six years of teaching Introduction to Public Relations. Our course this semester—Writing 3: Public Relations Campaigns—will be an opportunity to learn together, to see what works, and ultimately, to practice and fine tune the art of writing for public relations. Throughout this class, we’ll look at public relations campaigns past and present, examining what makes a campaign successful, and how writing plays a part in each one. I look forward to hearing from you, the first class of students to walk through this course with me, and see where the next 14 weeks take us!