Brainstorm and Be Creative!

I shared these six brainstorming tips with my students last week. (They’re creating advertising campaigns for the Jersey Shore, but these tips can be helpful for anyone in business…)

“Brainstorming” encourages us to think creatively or “outside the box” — and in life, in general, it can help us tackle daily challenges. Whether you’re brainstorming alone or in a group, the same basic steps (outlined below) apply. And, remember: There are no restrictions! Brainstorming can be — and should be — FUN!

  1. Review the facts, then consider the facts in new and varied combinations.
  2. Make a list of random words, ideas, phrases — anything that comes to mind — as you’re reviewing the facts and considering the ideas. (Don’t rule anything out! List everything you think of, no matter how “crazy” it may seem.)
  3. Think about your “audience” or the people involved in whatever you’re brainstorming about (for my students, the audience would be the people who are going to read the ad, or hear the radio advertisement or see the tv commercial, etc.). Think about how these people’s lifestyles can/do relate to your ideas — and don’t forget to write down everything that enters your mind… Keep telling yourself that anything is possible!
  4. Find analogies and relationships — you can consider what you’re brainstorming about and think about how it might be used differently, or what it would be like if it were alive, or relate it to a completely different type of item/person/movie/song… whatever.
  5. Continue to develop your ideas by asking key questions: Who?… What?… When?… How?… Where?… Why?…
  6. Don’t be afraid to link together and connect ideas by following your intuition, gut feelings and hunches… and simply continue to be “free” as you brainstorm all the possibilities.

Brainstorming can be a good exercise to develop your problem-solving skills… and you might be surprised by the successful outcome of your brainstorming efforts! Have fun… and good luck!

Until next time,

Kathy Magrino

Have NO FEAR of social media

As I previously mentioned, my students in COM341 Publicity Methods at Rider University are working with real non-profit organizations this semester. Depending on each of the organization’s needs, we’re developing strategies and plans to help the organizations gain more publicity.

This week, each team in my class is developing a “Social Media Plan” for their client. Some of the clients are very open to the idea of starting a social media strategy for their organizations, but others seem to fear social media. I can understand this “fear” — it’s fear of the unknown, something I (and anyone in business for more than a decade or so) can relate to. I remember how I felt the first time I sent a “tweet” on Twitter (I only have to remember back to this past April…). But, the fear I had was squashed by excitement when I saw my first @ mention — a reply to one of my tweets!

What amazes me the most is how my students have NO FEAR of social media. Social media is simply what they’re used to — what they’ve “grown up” with during the past few years.

I also admire how excited my students are to share what they know with our clients. I believe one of the best ways to conquer fear of anything is to educate ourselves about what we fear. This week, we viewed two very interesting videos about social media. (We discovered these videos through Twitter and in an email from one of my student’s father.) So that you can learn more about social media, too, here are links to the videos:

Social Media Revolution http://budurl.com/yc6g

Media Convergencehttp://budurl.com/2jwk

Have no fear of social media! Until next time,

Kathy Magrino

Learning by doing…

Students in my COM341 Publicity Methods class at Rider University have selected their clients. This semester we’re very excited to be working with “real” non-profit organizations from all over the country (we’re based in Lawrenceville, NJ). Our clients are:

  • 4 Paws for Ability in Xenia, OH – an organization enriching the lives of children and adults with disabilities by placing highly trained service dogs to provide companionship and promote independent living.
  • Chesapeake Service Systems in Chesapeake, VA – an organization providing meaningful work opportunities to people with mental retardation and other severe disabilities.
  • Family Answers in Allentown, PAan organization committed to providing quality programs that promote healthy families living in Lehigh Valley.
  • Feeding Pets of the Homeless in Carson City, NVan organization dedicated to reducing hunger in pets belonging to the homeless and less fortunate.
  • Moorestown School of Music in Moorestown, NJ – an organization fostering the development of musical ability by teaching music the way we learn language.
  • Not Alone in Nashville, TN – an online community helping soldiers and families “struggling with the invisible wounds of war.”
  • The WilLiv Center in Lakewood, CO – an organization dedicated to assisting middle-class women and children going through the process of divorce.

These seven organizations were among 75 non-profits responding to my request for potential clients for our class. It all started with a tweet on Twitter. The tweet caught the eye of Joan Stewart (@publicityhound), who also happens to be one of the co-authors of our e-book textbook: How to Be a Kick-Butt Publicity Hound. In her newsletter, The Publicity Hound, Joan mentioned that we were looking for clients — everything snowballed from there.

We’re going to be busy this semester! Right now, my students and I are getting to know our clients better and starting to set goals and objectives for our efforts. I promise to keep you posted on our progress throughout the semester. Thanks for following!

Until next time,

Kathy Magrino

We Are All Writers Today…

Today people write as never before—texting, on blogs, with video cameras and cell phones, and, yes, even with traditional pen and paper.  People write at home, at work, inside and out of school… — This is a direct quote from the NCTE’s (National Council of Teachers of English) promotion of Kathleen Blake Yancey’s Writing in the 21st Century.

Yes: In different ways, we are all writers today, and writing has become a major part of our lives.

On October 20, 2009, we will celebrate the National Day on Writing with the unveiling of the all-new National Gallery on Writing, an online collection of our writing. I am curator of the Writers on Twitter gallery and I invite you to submit your writing to be included in our gallery.

Until next time, write on! 😉

Kathy Magrino

Anticipating a great semester…

I am always excited as a new semester approaches. However, this semester promises to be especially exciting because, for the first time, my students in COM341 Publicity Methods and I will be working with non-profit “clients” from all over the country — even though we’re based at Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ!

Social media and the Internet have made this possible. E-mail… Twitter… and more!

I’m working on our syllabus now and we’ll be using Joan Stewart‘s e-book “How to be a Kick-Butt Publicity Hound” as our textbook. September 9 is our start date, and we’ll be kicking off the semester by forming project teams and selecting our clients.

More info to follow soon… stay tuned!

Kathy

Writing Tighter

Because of Twitter, I find myself writing tighter these days. (Actually, I should say “writing more tightly,” but that’s five more characters and spaces than “writing tighter”…)

If you’re a Twitter user, you know that we’re limited to 140 characters and spaces for each “tweet” we write and send. Mastering writing for Twitter is becoming easier and easier as the days and months go by. But, there are some downsides: I can’t always be grammatically correct, and I find myself leaving out punctuation. (Not natural or good for me, since I teach writing… What will my students think?!)

In addition to writing tighter, I think I’m also giving more thought to each word and reviewing the overall message I’m trying to convey each time I write — and not just on Twitter. I’m finding that I’m doing the same in my everyday writing — emails, writing assignments for clients and more. These are good “side effects” of being forced to write tighter each and every day.

Tell me: Are you writing tighter, too?

Until next time,

Kathy Magrino

A big ‘THANK YOU’…

My request for potential non-profit “clients” for my COM341 Publicity Methods class at Rider University garnered an amazing response. To date, 65 organizations responded to Joan Stewart’s write-up in her Publicity Hound newsletter last Tuesday. (Thanks, Joan!) Several other organizations have responded to my tweets on Twitter.

Thanks so much to everyone for your responsiveness and support!!

Now, the selection process begins… I’ll keep you posted. Enjoy the week!

Kathy Magrino

We're still looking for non-profits who need publicity…

I am repeating the same info from my last blog post because we’re still looking for non-profit organizations who need publicity for my class at Rider University. September will be here soon…

Thanks for any suggestions you might offer!

I’m teaching COM341 Publicity Methods at Rider University in the fall semester starting in September. In this course, we’ll be working with “real” clients — non-profit organizations who don’t have big budgets to hire consultants or agencies. In the past, we’ve worked with non-profits in the Mercer County, NJ area (Rider is located in Lawrenceville, NJ) and created traditional media kits for these organizations.

As times have changed and the Internet has “expanded” our world and our reach, I don’t think it’s necessary to remain local to NJ this semester when we select our clients. Also, new this semester, we’ll be using an e-book as our textbook: How to Be a Kick-Butt Publicity Hound by Joan Stewart and Tom Antion.

So, I’m in the process of reviewing potential “clients” for my students for COM341 Publicity Methods. If you know a non-profit organization that needs publicity, please tweet me @kathymagrino or post your ideas and comments here. Thank you!

Kathy Magrino

Do You Know a Non-Profit Organization Needing Publicity?

I’m teaching COM341 Publicity Methods at Rider University in the fall semester starting in September. In this course, we’ll be working with “real” clients — non-profit organizations who don’t have big budgets to hire consultants or agencies. In the past, we’ve worked with non-profits in the Mercer County, NJ area (Rider is located in Lawrenceville, NJ) and created traditional media kits for these organizations.

As times have changed and the Internet has “expanded” our world and our reach, I don’t think it’s necessary to remain local to NJ this semester when we select our clients. Also, new this semester, we’ll be using an e-book as our textbook: How to Be a Kick-Butt Publicity Hound by Joan Stewart and Tom Antion.

So, I’m in the process of reviewing potential “clients” for my students for COM341 Publicity Methods. If you know a non-profit organization that needs publicity, please tweet me @kathymagrino or post your ideas and comments here. Thank you!

Kathy Magrino

Do You Tweet Differently at Different Times of the Day?

I am finding that I tweet differently at different times of the day. In the morning, I’m all about discovering and relaying the latest news, promoting business info and anything else that helps me face the day. In the afternoon, I’m listening and reading and responding to “lighter” tweets with more amusing information. In the evening, I find I’m drawn to the ongoing discussions and debates happening on Twitter…

How about you? Do you tweet differently at different times of the day? Let me know. You can reply to @kathymagrino on Twitter, or post your response here. Thanks!

Until next time, take care!

Kathy Magrino