Tag Archives: public relations

Has it really been two months since my last update?

Apparently, almost.

When I first started this blog back in the day, I didn’t really know where I was going with it.  Truth is, I still don’t.  It sorta started as a way for me to expound upon things I enjoy (typically sports, media, advertising, design, journalism, food, you name it) while informing friends back home what I was up to in my graduate studies in Texas.

As most of you know, I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin’s master’s program in advertising in December and then started the job hunt.  Fast forward five months, and I’m finally (yet it really didn’t feel that long) working.  But not without my fair share of excitement.  I moved 1,500 miles back home to Virginia, ate a giant piece of humble pie and conducted the majority of my job search from my parents’ living room.

Anyway, you never know when or how it’s going to work out.  I had my second interview for my current job on a Friday in mid-May, was informed that I got the job that Monday and if I accepted the job, was expected to start Wednesday.  I was crashing with my best friend at the time and barely had enough clothes with me to make it through the first week.  But considering my instantly euphoric “Oh my God, I got a job!” state, I barely noticed.

So what am I up to these days?  I am now the PR/Media Coordinator at a trade association in Washington, D.C.  Every day I learn something new and I’m given the opportunity to use the skills I learned in school in my daily work.  I have been working at my office for about a month and a half now and I’ve already been on two business trips, have helped get press coverage for some of our member companies and have had my first dabbling in crisis communications.  And since I work in an office with such a small staff I am afforded the luxury of being part of the organization’s decision making, the ability to create and tackle projects limited only by my own creativity and the opportunity to learn from such seasoned communicators and professionals.

This Wednesday I’m going on my first overnight trip where I’ll be giving a brief presentation to our Board of Directors about a cable TV project I got to be a(n infinitesimal) part of during my first week at work.  I’ve been putting my PR, journalism and advertising skills to use every day and any day now I’ll get to add graphic design and social media to the mix.  And I couldn’t be more excited about it.

Sorry if this post hasn’t been the most riveting to many of you.  But for some, you finally know what I’ve been up to lately.  If you’re in the D.C. area, you know how to find me, so let’s make time to catch up!  To everyone else:  it’s time to nag me and remind me to give you a call or send you an update.  I miss so many of you all the time.

To everyone else, this is a promise of better things coming.  I have a few blog post drafts that need tending to, but I just want you to know I haven’t completely forgotten about the blog.  And since you’ve actually read this far, what would you like me to write more about?  What topics have you enjoyed me covering in the past?

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If Your Headline Sucks, You’re Screwed

Welcome to advertising. PR. Journalism. All communication really.

Did the headline grab you? If not, chances are you wouldn’t have gotten this far.

A savvy blog post from 2007 made its rounds on Twitter today, preaching the necessity to capture one’s audience with an attention-grabbing headline.

Sure, we’ve been told in journalism, PR and advertising classes again and again to snag attention with headlines.  “If your headline is boring, why am I going to want to read your [copy, article, pitch]?,” you may have heard a professor rhetorically ask.

John Jantsch (the blog’s author and author of Duct Tape Marketing – The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide) argues that the headline is an ad’s best opportunity to reach the consumer and if it doesn’t happen within the first three seconds, the chance is probably lost forever.  Jantsch says:

“It is a scientifically proven fact that 5 times as many people read headlines as read the body copy of an ad. So with the headline, an advertiser has spent about 80% of their advertising dollar. It doesn’t take a genius to realize then the headline is the most important part of any ad.”

80%?  Wow, that’s a lot of money riding a quick one-liner.  If you think about it, the headline is like the pitch within the pitch.  But that’s the challenge we encounter every day as communicators.  Will a newspaper choose your story pitch if the headline bores them?  Probably not, and perhaps more likely, the journalist won’t read your entire news release.  Will Mr. Newspaper subscriber read your story if they yawn while reading the title?  Likely not.  The same works for ads.  As Jantsch later says, if the reader isn’t ensnared in the first few seconds, they’ve already turned the page.

Not surprisingly, this made me more cognizant of what I read today.  Most days I sift through what I’ll read and not read subconsciously.  But today there were a few examples that gripped me right away from the headline.  And you know what?  I usually read the “body copy” or full article in these cases as a result:

ACC Screws Itself – Wow, that’s harsh.  Can you say that?  You have my attention.  How?  Why?  Tell me!

Spam. Spam. Spam. Spam. – I expected this article to be about everyone’s favorite canned meat. That, and the article was on the front page of the New York Times site.  What’s so important with Spam right now?  And four mentions in the title alone?  Well turns out the article was about spam emails on PDAs in Iraq.  Not the most enthralling topic, but the repetition and urgency of the headline got me there.

Uncovered!  The Unseemly Side of Quilts – Quilts have an unseemly side?  What on earth?  I thought they were just blankets that sat on your couch unused until the day you’re too lazy to get up and turn up the thermostat when you’re cold and watching TV.  I’m intrigued…

Dozing Employee Wants Her Job Back – So she wants to work again so she can sleep and get paid for it?  Of course she wants her job back, but can she get it?  So many questions.

What was the last headline that grabbed you?  Why do you think it did so?

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