pr writing

Media Pitch: Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites

Good morning,

With the first day of summer just around the corner, we’re encouraging families to consider 12 great day trips to any of the state historic sites. With locations all over the state, it’s a great way for Hoosiers to have some fun and learn the history of sites  which have shaped their community.

We would love for you to encourage your audience to take a trip! More information about the state historic sites can be found at the attached press release and at indianamuseum.org

Thank you,

Marissa Smith
Street Team Intern
Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites

pr writing

Experiential Update: working with an active Indy nonprofit

This past semester, as a requirement for a public relations course at IUPUI, myself and three other IUPUI students created a public relations plan for the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art (iMOCA, http://www.indymoca.org). The creation of this plan involved analysis of the organization, its key stakeholders, and the public relations situation at hand – a lack of awareness of the organization and its exhibitions around the city of Indianapolis.

In addition to those analyses, research was conducted in the form of a survey and tactics, goals, and objectives were established in order to help the organization increase its event attendance and Indianapolis residents’ overall awareness of the organization. Linked at the bottom of this entry are the slides as they were presented to the iMOCA staff representative we collaborated with on this project.

This assignment was created over the span of three months, according to both what iMOCA required as an outside entity and to what the professor of the course, Fred Bagg, had asked of us. The work was divided equally among all members of our team, which consisted of myself, Lindsey Stafford, Morgan Holian, and Leslie Salazar.

I greatly appreciated this experience, as a young professional who is interested in the nonprofit sector of public relations and communications. I am excited to continue building my PR skillset over the course of my career and see where that budding interest takes me.

Copy of iMOCA Presentation

pr writing

Mock Press Release: iMOCA Special Event

Below is an example press release written as part of a group project in collaboration with the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art (iMOCA). Event accreditation belongs to iMOCA – http://www.indymoca.org.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
CONTACT: Marissa Smith
(e) ms204@umail.iu.edu
(p) 765-555-5555
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ATTEND AN EXCLUSIVE DEMONSTRATION WITH ONE OF INDY’S HOTTEST ARTISTS

Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art presents: Glass Artist Benjamin Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, MARCH 13, 2017 – The Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art will be hosting the Benjamin Johnson Spacetime Catalog Release and Demonstration on Saturday, April 8 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Indianapolis Art Center. It will be an opportunity for 30 ticket holders to watch a glass-blowing demonstration and listen to the artist discuss the creation of Spacetime, a series of prints of the moon’s lunar cycle.

Tickets are $50.00 each and the perks of attendance include: a glow in the dark pint glass handmade by featured artist Benjamin Johnson and a copy of the Spacetime exhibit catalogue. Guests will also enjoy Sun King Beer and light hors d’oeuvres from Black Plate catering.  Mr. Johnson will do a glass blowing demonstration and discuss how he created his Spacetime prints of the moon’s lunar cycle.

Interested persons may purchase tickets by going to www.indymoca.org and selecting the Spacetime event page. Event capacity is limited to 30 attendees, so be sure to purchase your ticket before they are sold out.

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About Spacetime:

Spacetime depicts imagery of the moon throughout the lunar cycle via 20 vitreography prints and 7 glass panels. The exhibition also features a nine by fourteen foot installation of hand-pulled hot glass cane created with UV reactive materials and lit using special UV LED lighting, which makes the entire piece glow in the window space.

About the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art (iMOCA):

iMOCA is Indianapolis’s only museum dedicated solely to showing and advancing contemporary art. As a non-collecting institution, iMOCA’s mission is to bring contemporary exhibitions and programs to the Indianapolis community to stimulate minds, inspire new discoveries and demonstrate the vital connections between visual culture and life.

blog, pr writing

Support systems which uphold young professionals are invaluable

A reflection on the impact of university programming and on-campus families.

I recently have had the opportunity to begin work as a writer, edit, and content strategist at my university, a position which has already helped me grow immensely in the brief months I have held it. My first task within this role was to write Student Success Stories for IUPUI’s Diversity Enrichment and Achievement Program, known around campus as DEAP.

It took a few weeks to get into contact and interview four different, busy students around campus, but in the end I had a great time combining their words and my writing skillset to share their stories. I was tasked with drafting pieces that would demonstrate the positives of being a member of DEAP, and the depth of the results (pun possibly intended) surprised me.

I was apprehensive, when beginning this project, as to how much people would be willing to share with a stranger whom they only knew as being a writer for the school. Their eagerness to open up was a pleasant surprise, and as you’ll see if you read their stories, being a part of DEAP impacted them all greatly in different ways. Each of them was able to say that the program’s staff and students had become a secondary family, and I think connection between that type of support and the success of these young people should be recognized. 

College is an enormous alteration from high school on its own, and when you factor in all the other possible changes (“I have to get good grades and work enough to pay the bills?!”) it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I myself spent a lot of time that first semester in a puddle of salty tears.  However, each of the four students I interviewed overcame those and quite a few other odds to become confident leaders in the community, growth which they all attributed to the support system they found in the program. 

Finding something stable and supportive to hold on to in the never-ending whirlwind of life can literally change a person’s life. 

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Media Advisory

The following text is a sample Media Advisory written as an assignment for a Public Relations Writing course. All event details are fictional.

Contact: Marissa Smith Sept. 29, 2016

(p) 555-555-5555

(e) ms204@umail.iu.edu

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: IT’S NOT ALWAYS A DRILL

What would happen to your family if you had to go days without electricity or outside contact?

When disasters strike, most Americans must rely on emergency services reaching them. However, in certain situations, emergency services are unable to reach those affected, leaving families stranded and scared. The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) will spend time presenting tips on emergency preparedness in order to improve the general public’s ability to handle a natural disaster. This would be an excellent event to cover, as it will provide reporters with the opportunity to interact with area residents as well as obtain direct quotes from an IDHS employee.

WHO: John Erickson, Director of Public Information, Indiana Department of Homeland Security

WHAT: Presentation titled “How Prepared Are You For a Disaster?”

WHEN: Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016 at 4 p.m.

WHERE: Room 3100L, IUPUI University Library, 755 W. Michigan, Indianapolis, IN 46202

ADDITIONAL DETAILS

The presentation should last no more than an hour, including time for audience members to ask Mr. Erickson questions. It will then be followed by a hors d’oeuvres reception sponsored by Federal Emergency Management Agency, during which Mr. Erickson will give one-on-one interviews with any reporters present. This event is open to the public and free parking located in the lot directly across Michigan Street.

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IDHS provides statewide leadership, exemplary customer service, and subject matter expertise for the enhancement of public and private partnerships. It also works in collaboration with local, state and federal agencies to continually develop Indiana’s public safety capabilities for the wellbeing and protection of its citizens, property and economy. For more information, visit dhs.in.gov.

 

Past Assignments

What Happens to the Umbilical Cord After it’s Cut?

The following text is an example of a backgrounder I was assigned to write in a Public Relations Writing course. The proposed client was the National Cord Blood Program, and I was tasked with writing the copy for a brochure with a Flesch Readability Level between sixth and seventh grade (the current reading level for the general American public). My source for the copy was the NCBP website: http://www.nationalcordbloodprogram.org.


The Answer is Up to You!

Congratulations, you’re going to have a baby! Choosing what happens to your umbilical cord is probably not one of the first things that comes to mind when you think about parenthood, but it is an important one. As a mother, you have the option to have the cord disposed of after you have the baby, or to donate it to a cord blood bank such as the National Cord Blood Program.

What is the National Cord Blood Program?

The New York Blood Center started the National Cord Blood Program (NCBP) in 1992 to help people who required a bone marrow transplant for treatment but could not find any matching donors. Today, NCBP has banked the most units of cord blood of any non-profit public bank. The program has collected over 60,000 units of blood and given over 5,300 units to people in need of transplants.

NCBP is set on giving the best possible cord blood to its patients. This mission is supported by NCBP being the first cord blood bank to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The program has staff on-hand at hospitals around the U.S. Once the cord blood is collected, it is frozen and stored until it is needed by a patient. Staff in the lab hand-pick each unit for the person in need and it is shipped to the hospital of the patient seeking a transplant.

Why Cord Blood?

Umbilical cord blood, called cord blood for short, has proven to be a good choice for many medical uses for a few different reasons. First, it is easy to collect and store. After your baby is delivered it no longer needs the cord. In the past, this tissue and blood was thrown away, but we now know it can be stored and used for its stem cells.

Secondly, the stem cells found in cord blood make red and white blood cells the same way that stem cells from bone marrow do. Using these stem cells for transplants is becoming more common. This is really important for patients who suffer from diseases related to their blood, immune system or genetics. Once the cells are given to the patient they will begin replacing the diseased cells and making healthy new blood cells. So far, cord blood has been proven to help fight over 80 different illnesses.

FAQs

Q: Will donating affect me or my baby?

A: No. Cord blood is only collected once the cord is cut and your baby is delivered.

Q: Does it cost any money to donate?

A: No. The National Cord Blood Program is entirely free for the donor.

Q: How do I become a donor?

A: You may plan to have your baby at one of the NCBP hospitals (a list can be found at www.nationalcordbloodprogam.org). If there is not a NCBP site near you, talk to your doctor about giving your cord blood.

Q: What will my cord blood be used for?

A: The blood and stem cells will be stored until NCBP finds a patient that matches with you. That person will be given the blood and stem cells so that their body can start making healthy new blood cells. So far, cord blood has helped people with over 80 different diseases.

Q: What happens to the cord blood if I choose not to donate?

A: Your hospital will dispose of any blood and tissue after the baby is delivered if you choose not to have it donated.

For more information, visit: www.nationalcordbloodprogram.org

blog, Past Assignments, pr writing

Three Things to Understand in Order to Connect with Millennials

Who are millennials, and what makes them different than previous generations?

Since this age group first emerged as consumers, companies began devoting enormous amounts of time and money into the search for definitive answers to those questions. Such an investment is not without its value, a Goldman Sachs infographic supports, as the millennial generation, which consists roughly of people born between 1980 and 2000, is the largest in U.S. history. Though varied, the answers found throughout the course of this research have certainly proven beneficial for advertising purposes, but what do the generalized behaviors of the millennial generation mean to organizations who are not attempting to sell a product, but rather to persuade these young people to feel a certain way? Just as advertising agencies must adjust their strategies in order to better reach this target audience, public relations specialists must also understand the best ways to communicate with millennials.

How They Think:

The first thing to understand about millennials is how they view themselves and the world around them. To view the thoughts, values and beliefs of young people on an individual basis, one would most likely look to social media sites such as Twitter. However, as anyone who has researched a certain demographic has experienced, it becomes much more difficult to pinpoint common values of a group of people on a large scale. When patterns do present themselves, it is very important to recognize them.

A common attitude amongst millennials has proven to be an overall skepticism of the American political, judicial and economical systems. Data gathered by Karen Foster from the Greater Good Science Center at Berkeley University provides a discussion on millennials’ views from such a standpoint.  While voices in the media often depict this generation as apathetic, Foster’s data argues that they are actually just “disenchanted” by the United States systems and policies. They have witnessed, via the tribulation of their parents and grandparents, that throwing yourself into a job doesn’t always mean you can rely on keeping it and that just because you place your vote doesn’t mean the elected official is going to make the changes you desire.

That is not to say millennials do not have beliefs that directly correlate to certain political or social issues, in fact, as we saw with the Bernie Sanders ‘revolution’ this past year, there is a wild desire for change when prompted by the right voice (which somehow ended up being an elderly man from Brooklyn). In comparison to their predecessors, says Foster, millennials “self-identify” as being more tolerant of “different opinions, sexualities, ethnicities and cultures,” a notion that could eventually lead to wave of change amongst the societal norms that have been in place for decades, if millennials so choose to voice these views.

How They Take in Information:

Naturally, if you want to get a message across to any group of people, you’re going to need a basic understanding of how they learn and absorb information. The first step in doing so is choosing the right medium for communication. “Managing for Dummies” author Peter Economy advises that for millennials it is best to address them where they “already spend the most time–on their mobile devices.”

As far as the format and content of your messaging, Economy and Jayson DeMers of Forbes magazine agree that whatever you are trying to convey you should do so quickly. As DeMers writes, millennials are accustomed to having devices with answers to almost any question at their fingertips. As a professor once said to me, “[the millennial generation] has no excuse for not knowing something.”  This means that you must hit them “with fast, thorough information” in order to get their attention, DeMers concludes. The pace of your message isn’t just about the way you present content either – millennials are more likely to use a site or application that loads “quickly and easily” on their devices.

How They Work:

Amongst other unique qualities, millennials have a different approach when it comes to the work force. With the entrance of this generation into all fields, innovation in the way businesses are managed is a must. Dixie Gillaspie, a contributor for Entrepreneur magazine, writes that millennials are responsible for changing the way businesses operate, in part because they value “life over work-life balance.” Millennials tend to be passionate about enriching their lives rather than heightening their position on a corporate ladder.

This dedication to a fulfilled life, writes Dian Schaffhauser for Campus Technology, means that young people have placed a “premium on their time,” and prefer not to hold face-to-face meetings unless they are absolutely necessary. I mean, who doesn’t love the idea of staying at home in your pajamas for work? They like to work in the “most efficient way possible,” rather than committing themselves to sit at a desk for set number of hours each week, a notion that is a step away form Generation X’s stress on the work-life balance and goes so far as to directly oppose the strictly ‘loyal’ work ethic of Baby Boomers. As Gillaspie puts it, it is a generation that “believes in efficiency… for maximum impact.” Forbes magazine’s Kate Taylor cites data in her article “Why Millennials Are Ending The 9 To 5” that says nearly half of young people prefer flexibility at their job over a larger paycheck. Again, they would rather have less time in the office and more time spent experiencing the world outside of it.

Millennials are not afraid to leave a position that does not value such preferences either – the desire for flexibility has lead to an increase in freelancing and self-employment, with “60% of millennials leaving their job in under three years,” in search for opportunities that better suit their needs as employees.

What This Means to the Communications Field:

In summary, millennials:

  • Are skeptical of the United States economic and political systems
  • Identify as tolerant of differing opinions, cultures, ethnicities and sexualities
  • Communicate via mobile devices
  • Favor fast-paced messaging
  • Value a life of experiences over careers

But what do all these things mean to public relations professionals?

Taken together, we can deduce that millennials are selective – their computer-based skills allow them to use the internet as a tool for shopping around. This means if you’re selling a product, it better be the best out there – at least according to reviews written by millennial peers – and the same goes for representing an organization. You better prove that your client is the best at what they do, that they do it with integrity and that they believe in social responsibility.

Additionally, you’ve got a very short amount of time to get that message across. Millennials are -unsurprisingly – busy. With society’s push towards requiring a college education for entry level jobs, they have been tasked with balancing university workloads with paying positions, while also pursuing the type of fulfilled life that they can be proud of. They have also been raised in an era where the incessantly staccato messages of social media and the internet rule, which means they’re accustomed to getting their information quickly.

Designing a communications plan around these stipulations may seem daunting, but once you’re armed with a basic understanding of the way millennials think, learn and work, effective communications strategies are not far behind.

pr writing

IUPUI Weeks of Welcome

As we near the month of August, I thought I would take a moment to upload some of the content I have worked on as the Marketing and Communications Lead for IUPUI’s Weeks of Welcome Student Steering Committee.

Weeks of Welcome is a program sponsored by IUPUI’s office of Educational Partnerships and Student Advocacy (EPSA) which takes place the first two weeks of every fall semester. Those two weeks are packed with amazing events all over campus that help incoming freshmen get to know their new home as well as welcome back other Jaguars. There are resource fairs, field day activities, tons of giveaway items, scavenger hunts, and mystery events that are revealed the week of!

For the past several months I have had the privilege of helping plan Weeks of Welcome 2016 (WOW) by operating the official Facebook page, as well as working firsthand with graphic designers to create marketing tools such as handbills, flyers, electronic ads, and even Snapchat filters. WOW 2016 is just a little over a month away at this point, but I thought I would share some of the content we have created thus far that won’t reveal too many surprises.

Past Assignments, pr writing

Mock Press Release, Media Advisory & Media Statement

The following are links to three types of Public Relations documents, all of which were designed as practice in PR as well as creativity, with the only prompt being the original story of Red Riding Hood by the Brothers Grimm.

Press Release – Marissa Smith

Media Advisory – Marissa Smith

Media Statement – Marissa Smith

 

 

Past Assignments, pr writing

The Mind Trust Social Media Process

I worked with The Mind Trust, an Indianapolis organization dedicated to improving education in the community, to draft a document that would highlight the benefits of utilizing social media as a Public Relations tool.

Click the link below:

MindTrust Social Media Process – Marissa Smith

Supplemental Documents:

Document A

Document B

For more information on the organization:

The Mind Trust Website