That one time we all decided we needed to have yoga balls instead of chairs. It’s probably a good thing we’re all a little weird.
March 22, 2017
March 21, 2017
A new kind of creative professional has emerged in the video production world over recent years. As cameras and software have become cheaper and more user friendly, the face behind the equipment has begun to change. Previously, anyone involved in film or video production would have a solo discipline. If you were the cameraperson, operating the camera was your only job due to the complex nature of operating such large and expensive equipment. Rarely, if ever, would you venture into another role, on set or off.
Today, that is no longer the case. The creative professionals who make up the world of video must operate as a “one-man-band.” The knowledge and skills for all things video are expected to be – and need to be – a mile wide and a mile deep. Not only must videographers be creative, they must also be technically literate and able to use both sides of their brain simultaneously.
As the video department grows at Buchanan Public Relations, I’ve noticed just how many hats those working in video need to wear. My main job, as well as my supervisor Amanda’s, is to execute our clients’ vision in video. The road to the final product is often a long and winding one, and the journey to the end can feel like a marathon. Whether our client has a clear idea in mind or a vague concept for her video, the steps to reach the final product are always the same.
Pre-production is the foundation for any and every project. Organization is key as it can make or break your entire production. If you are looking to get into the world of video, I would suggest learning about effective video pitches, project organization, storyboarding, creating and maintaining schedules, budgeting, and location scouting to name a few necessary competencies. Good communication skills are vital, as well as being a good listener, having an eye for detail, and the ability to balance multiple projects at one time.
An effective, creative video professional needs to understand basic camera operation for correct exposure such as aperture, ISO, and shutter speeds. Having a grasp on cinematography, including framing, camera movements, and set design, will separate your work from that of an amateur. Lighting is an important element that dictates what the final picture will look like, so knowing how to light specific scenes is a must. Proper sound recording techniques, effectively directing talent and making them feel comfortable, having a running knowledge of the various equipment on set, as well as the ability to stay on a tight recording schedule will make you a valuable member of any team. (Even if the team is just you.)
You’ve made it through pre-production and your project has been shot. Congratulations, you’re almost at the finish line! The only step left is post-production (my personal favorite). But, don’t be fooled. Post-production is a frustrating and time consuming process that can get the best of even the most seasoned professionals. Similar to pre-production, organization is imperative. Asset management will be your best friend when dealing with the hundreds, if not thousands, of video and audio files you need to sift through for editing. I suggest creating a strict file organization system early on and diligently sticking with it. To the layperson, editing footage may seem like an easy task where specific shots are placed together on the timeline, but it’s much more involved than that. Editors are storytellers and good editing is often invisible editing. To be an effective editor you should know how to craft an interesting story, make connections through your edits and edit for continuity. Other skills an editor/post-production supervisor must possess are sound design and audio mixing, color correction and grading, graphics and animation, along with the various software and applications that make all this post work possible. On an even more technical side, knowledge of video codecs, compression, storage, encoding, and appropriate delivery systems will round out your skills nicely.
As in any profession, having multiple skills makes you a valuable resource. The more versed you are in various production roles, the better equipped you are to develop videos for clients. So if you’re interested in becoming a creative video professional, be prepared for a lifetime of learning and adapting. There is never a boring moment!
March 17, 2017
The staff at Buchanan Public Relations has had their fair share of lucky moments; but instead of a pot of gold, our rainbows end in top tier media placements, unlikely connections with celebrities, and even the opportunity of a lifetime. Take a look, and may the luck o’ the Irish be with you!
March 14, 2017
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, not Christmas – March Madness.
According to a recent study by Office Team, 32 percent of managers say March Madness activities are not welcomed in the workplace. And while 57 percent are okay with allowing it in moderation, only 11 percent of managers truly welcome the tournament in their offices.
As a Villanova alumnus, last year was magical, and I was lucky to have a boss in that 11 percent, as I celebrated Villanova’s first championship since 1985. I think it’s important to remind everyone that Buchanan PR President Anne Buchanan went to North Carolina, the team that lost to Villanova in the National Championship. Was it a bad career move to mention that? For the record, she was a very good sport about it!
While I’m admittedly biased about March Madness, it’s a once-a-year event that can increase morale in the office. This USA Today article offers two reasons employers should embrace March Madness (everyone will be paying attention, and it creates a more positive workplace), but I want to add a few more.
It’s a stress reliever. March Madness comes near the end of the first quarter, which often includes the busiest few months of the year. The games are played Thursdays through Saturdays (with the exception of the National Championship, which happens on a Monday night), so it doesn’t take up the full work week. Of course, I’m not suggesting that clients and work be pushed aside so everyone can slack off for a few weeks, but allowing employees to get into the spirit for a couple days over three weeks will give them time to relax a little before gearing up for the second quarter. After working hard to kick-off the year, it’s a nice way to unwind before swinging back into high-gear.
*DISCLAIMER: This strictly applies to work stress, and does not apply to the stress of watching your team in a single-elimination tournament.
It fosters office camaraderie. Almost everyone who follows the tournament will fill out a bracket. This presents an opportunity for employers to create an office tournament. You don’t have to follow the traditional format – you could go through an online challenge or even assign each person a school to root for. The winner doesn’t necessarily need a monetary prize, either. For example, last year for the National Championship, Anne and I made a friendly wager. If North Carolina had won, I would have had to make cheesesteaks for the office, but when Villanova was the victor, Anne made the office Carolina Barbeque. It’s little things like this that all employees enjoy, and can create fun and memorable team bonding experiences.
It builds trust and alleviates lack of productivity. Did you know that distracted employees could cost employers $4 billion this March Madness? Anyone who cares about it, including employees working for the aforementioned 32 percent of managers, will find ways to check scores and their brackets during the day. However, instead of making them feel the need to hide this, employers can incorporate this into the workday. Whether you have an hourly score check or allow employees to watch the final minute of a close game, employers can create perks to allow employees to feel part of the madness, as long as productivity remains high during the rest of the day. Trust between managers and their team should increase as well, as managers shouldn’t feel the need to snoop on their employees, and workers will be trying hard to earn those perks.
March Madness is a once-a-year phenomenon, so instead of fighting to keep it out, let the excitement and team spirit permeate the office. Go Cats!
March 7, 2017
I can’t stress enough how important it is to us – and our clients – that we work with trusted news sources. We rely on them to disseminate our clients’ announcements, quote executives as credible expert sources and provide us with the most up-to-date facts and current events.
Prior to 2017, fake news was defined as a source deliberately publishing propaganda, hoaxes and intentionally misleading information. It could be disguised as fictitious articles intending to generate profit through clickbait, fabricated content hoping to go viral, rumors or gossip, and more. Most people with an ounce of media literacy could tell the difference between “fake” and “real” stories fairly easily.
However, since the 2016 election, the definition of “fake news” has become increasingly vague.
Today, “trusted sources” seem to be a matter of opinion. The below graphic breaks it down pretty interestingly:
While a news organization may be legitimate, if it skews heavily liberal or heavily conservative, it’s unlikely to be trusted widely. And, while a publication may reflect some minimal bias, it may not necessarily be “fake” news. Whether news is real or not is not a matter of whether the reader likes or agrees with the story.
Ever see those stories shared by your friends on Facebook and wonder whether or not they are legitimate? From my unscientific, public relations-minded perspective, here is an unofficial list of what may constitute present-day fake news versus real news.
- Has a questionable domain or URL (may end in something like .com.co)
- Cites only one source, or none at all
- Stories are formulated around speculation
- Stories are formulated around a single opinion, rather than all sides of the story’s multiple perspectives
- Language is sensational and/or embellished
- States conspiracy theories
- Heavy partisan bias
- Not reported on by any other news outlets
- Notes an older publish date and time, or none at all
- Cites multiple sources from differing perspectives
- Language is straightforward
- Facts are proven with reports or statistics
- Does not cite “alternative facts”
- Headline is truthful and reflects the story
- Contains all elements of a story – not just selective components
- Minimal partisan bias
- Journalist has a reputable history of fair stories
- Publish date and time is recent
How do you judge the legitimacy of news?
February 21, 2017
– Sean Udicious
Last week, Account Coordinator Lesley discussed several important ways you can turn your internship experience into a full-time job in Buchanan Public Relations’ new vlog.
As the agency’s current public relations intern, I’ve already taken much of what she, as well as everyone else in the office, has said to heart. Of course, in a world as unpredictable as public relations, you always need to be ready to adjust and adopt new practices. Here are some things I’ve learned.
Take a breath, take your time.
Initially, I would be so eager to get working on projects that I was assigned, and I would be so intent on getting them done quickly, that I would make careless mistakes, which could have easily been caught if I had spent a few extra minutes on proofreading. I’ve learned that promptness is an essential quality in public relations, but so is accuracy; no amount of speed is worth making mistakes.
But, don’t take too much time.
On the flip side, while you should never rush an assignment, you must be cognizant of impending deadlines. Pitches and releases do not have the luxury of rolling acceptance – if you miss the date on a deadline, that opportunity may be gone forever. Additionally, missing deadlines can harm the relationship with your client or a reporter. Now, I always make a point to ask the account manager for the timeline on each project, and I am sure to finish early enough to allow time for any necessary edits.
Don’t be afraid to take initiative.
A watched pot never boils. Similarly, a watched piece of news never gets pitched. During my first couple of weeks on the job, I would always ask others if they needed help with pitches rather than taking the initiative to identify topics to pitch on my own. As time has passed, I’ve grown more confident and I’ve begun to send pitch ideas to the account leads. Even if my idea isn’t the right fit, it still sends the message that I have been following the news and am willing to take initiative.
Be open to constructive criticism.
Unfortunately, some people have a difficult time accepting criticism of their work. They see it as a personal attack rather than as a learning opportunity. Knowing that I lacked public relations experience before I started my internship with Buchanan PR, I have welcomed the advice thrown my way. As a result, I’ve improved my writing and know the type of news I should be monitoring. Additionally, I’ve shown my co-workers that I am willing to listen and apply their feedback to my work.
Get to know everyone.
At my previous internships, there were interns who were smart and friendly, but didn’t make the extra effort to build a connection with the full-time employees or embrace the workplace environment. For example, they might not have tried to grab lunch with others, or would go home at the end of the day without saying good-bye. Despite their can-do attitudes, they didn’t form lasting connections. The concept of “networking” that many interns fret about does not apply only to superiors. By being open with all of those around you, you gain connections that can pay dividends later.
Do you have any personal take-aways from your own internship experiences? Let us know in the comments.
February 15, 2017
So, you’ve landed the internship. Your next few months are going to be full of learning, networking, and new experiences… but then what? Account Coordinator Lesley has the best tips on how to turn your internship into a job offer, and she knows best– she did it herself!
February 14, 2017
Congratulations! You’re going to graduate summa cum laude from a top university, and you’re applying for internships in hopes of eventually landing a full-time position. You have great work experience, relevant coursework, and joined all the appropriate clubs and college networks at your school. But wait, what’s this? Your resume has a few mistakes? You left an empty bullet point under your most relevant internship experience? You sent us a cover letter meant for another company? Yes, these have happened, and unfortunately, more often than we would hope.
A resume is your life blood when applying for a job. It represents who you are, and you should take pride in it when sending it to a potential future employer, especially when this is the first, and only, document the employer will use to decide if you get an interview. No one wants to be removed from consideration because of a silly mistake, so before hitting send, proofread everything and ask others to proofread it as well. Your future, employed self will thank you later.
Since the office has been very busy, I’ve started to help VP and Internship Coordinator Nicole sort through the many resumes we receive every day for internship opportunities. I go through the stack and send over the acceptable resumes to Nicole. Please take note: I look for relevant PR experience or coursework; clean, clear and consistent formatting; and no errors. Not one or two errors. Zero.
By now, I’ve seen every resume flaw in the book, but here are a few repeat offenders that will guarantee you will not be hearing from us:
- Spelling and grammatical errors. Please, make sure your major is spelled correctly. And please, make sure your school is spelled correctly. While these are easy mistakes to make, they are even easier mistakes to fix when you proofread your resume. If you have worked tirelessly at your resume and simply cannot look at it anymore, have a friend or family member read through it. A second set of eyes can always help, and will identify what needs to be fixed.
- Inconsistent spacing or format errors. Like I said before, I’ve seen resumes with empty bullet points on them. I’ve seen the use of too many spaces between sections, causing the resume to be longer than one page (more on that later). Please make sure you have consistently lined up all of your sections, formatted each new section the same way, and used the same colors, fonts and symbols throughout the entire document. This allows the reader to look at each section and locate the exact information she wants, and it also shows that you can lay out information in a clear and concise way. Plus, it’s easier to read, and we appreciate how considerate you are for thinking of us.
- Too much information. Sometimes too much information can hurt you. Your resume should list all of your recent, relevant experience on one page. We are glad to see you’ve been a great leader since sophomore year in high school by tutoring middle schoolers, but that was 6 years ago. We are glad you enjoy “finding the best brunch spots and dancing.” However, these are examples of topics welcomed in the interview to highlight your personality (and believe me, we love brunch here and could use the help finding new spots). Use the space on your resume for important information like relevant coursework, college scholarship information, university honors, or class projects instead. And, don’t forget, please keep this information to one page.
- Incorrect information, and other careless mistakes. There have been times when we look at a very strong resume in the pile and think, “We could extend the job offer to that applicant without even an interview, but look at the cover letter.” We’ve had cover letters addressed to a different agency, with the wrong year, and sometimes both. Proofreading could have prevented that. How can we bring someone in for an interview, if he or she couldn’t name our agency correctly in the cover letter?
- List your most relevant experience first, even if it’s not your most recent. This isn’t really a mistake, but more of a helpful tip. I know some school career counselors will tell you to list your work experiences in chronological order, and yes, employers like that. However, if you’re applying for another public relations internship, list your previous PR internship first. Your PR experience outweighs your part-time swim instructor position, even if the internship happened last year. You earned that experience and now is your chance to say, “This is what I’ve learned and this is what I can bring to the table.”
No one is perfect. Everyone is human. We get that, because we are humans, too. However, if you’re applying for a position in a public relations agency, you’re likely seeking a writing-intensive job. If your resume is filled with mistakes, how can we trust you to write a press release for a client? Our clients will not (and should not) tolerate careless mistakes from us, so we can’t hire someone who doesn’t proofread their own resume. If you don’t like to proofread, you might want to ask yourself if public relations is right for you.
February 7, 2017
February 1, 2017
Have you ever struggled when it comes to pitching complex or technical clients to the media? Buchanan Public Relation’s President Anne Buchanan breaks down why simplicity is key.