By: Jordan Churchman
(Red Stick PR members reflecting on the semester. Video courtesy of Red Stick PR).
As the semester comes to an end Red Stick PR members reflect on what we have accomplished and the knowledge we have gained. One of the most important aspects of our campaigns class this semester was the service-learning component. Through this component, we were able to work directly with our client, Fellowship Church, to facilitate its needs and help further its personal goals.
Louisiana State University’s Center for Community Engagement, Learning, and Leadership, CCELL, offers students and faculty a way to engage in service-learning and community-engaged research. We believe that service-learning is one of the best tools that students can utilize while at LSU. It allowed us to gain accountability, timeliness, professionalism and integrity. When working with a real client responsibilities become a reality.
This past weekend, Fellowship Church South Ascension and Red Stick PR held “Planting Our Appreciation,” a teacher appreciation event centered on the theme of Earth Day, which occurred the next day. The members of our agency planned and organized every aspect of the event. With event planning there are always unexpected hurdles that require people to think outside of the box.
One hurdle we came across was our client’s weak online presence. In the digital age one of the most effective ways to market an event is online through social media sites, website and blogs. Fellowship Church South Ascension shares a website and Facebook page with the main Fellowship Church campus in Prairieville, La. The church has a Twitter account, but Fellowship Church has only posted six tweets since it was created on August 22, 2012. To compensate for this weak online presence Red Stick PR and our client, Todd Blount, posted about the event on our personal Facebook pages, the church Facebook page, the church website, emailed invitations to local schools, delivered fliers to those schools and sent out press releases to the following local media:
- Lutcher News-Examiner
- Assumption Pioneer
- Ascension Magazine
- Gonzales Weekly Citizen
- Bayou Journal
- Plaquemine PostSouth
- The Advocate
- Livingston Parish News
- Vacherie Enterprise
(“Planting Our Appreciation” news release. Photo courtesy of Red Stick PR)
Journalist Rich Brooks offers more helpful event promotion tips in his article “12 Ways to Market Your Event with Social Media.” In the article Brooks said “Whether you’re planning a real-world event (like a conference, tweetup or political gathering) or a virtual event (like a webinar or teleclass), social media can be an inexpensive, cost-effective way to build buzz, fill seats and turn a one-off gathering into a recurring event.” One of the more obvious but sometimes forgotten tips is to use a hashtag. Coming up with a unique hashtag specific to an event can help track the conversation and build event awareness. Because Fellowship Church’s Twitter has not built up a following yet this idea could not be utilized. Red Stick PR is working on a social media plan to help our client utilize its online profiles in a more efficient and engaging way.
Another hurdle we came across was The Midterm cancelling its live performance at the event three days before it was scheduled. Instead of panicking we worked with Todd to secure a backup source of music to keep attendees entertained. We ended up hooking up an iPod to some speakers and played music throughout the entire event. It ended up working out and taught us to be resilient.
As you can see in the video Fellowship Church South Ascension was pleased with the outcome of the event. Community members who were not a part of the church attended and got some great information about the church and its mission. “Planting Our Appreciation” was FCSA’s most successful event they have put on since breaking away from the large, main campus. We are very proud of the outcome, and we could not have done it without working so closely together as an agency and with our client.
One of our course learning outcomes is to create a campaign plan book that reflects mastery of the public relations process. We are currently in the process of putting our campaign book together. We have spent the past week writing and revising drafts for the book and will continue this process.
Another course learning outcome is to develop and refine a hard copy and digital portfolio. Each group member is currently in the process of creating her own portfolio. We are using Weebly to create our digital portfolios. These portfolios will highlight the professional work we have created and contributed to while we were students at the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication. These portfolios will help us stand out as individuals when we start applying for jobs and receiving interviews.
For more information on Fellowship Church or to monitor its progress via other sources, check out the website or Facebook. For more information on me, please check out my LinkedIn profile account. Thanks for reading.