A reflection on the continuation and success of the Beyond the Books campaign for East Baton Rouge Parish Library

As we wrap up our campaign for the East Baton Rouge Parish Library, it’s hard to believe how much Novel Media has accomplished in one semester. Everyone in the group has enhanced their knowledge of public relations campaigns and learned new skills through the campaign’s execution. Throughout the semester, we have continued to develop the Beyond the Books campaign, created by Sweet Southern Public Relations. An important aspect of the continuation of the campaign was that the new Main Library branch is now open. Instead of focusing on changing the opinions and attitudes of the audience, we focused on increasing the awareness and interest of cardholders about the library’s resources by celebrating the 75th anniversary milestone.

After months of performing research, strategic planning and event planning, Novel Media wrapped up one of the last objectives of the campaign with our event, the EBRPL Day of Sharing.  The Day of Sharing incorporated our campaigns goals of enhancing relationships through stewardship and increasing awareness of the library’s resources.

75th anniversary signage at EBRPL's Day of Sharing

75th anniversary signage at EBRPL’s Day of Sharing

Our event was a huge success, and because of the event we have a variety of tactics that can be recycled for stewardship purposes throughout the remainder of the 75th anniversary celebration. We evaluated the campaign’s success through focus groups and were impressed to see that there was an increase in awareness of resources and an interest in using these resources as well.

Looking back on the semester, there are four main tips that we picked up along the way regarding successful execution of a campaign:

1. Maintaining professionalism
As account liaison, I further realized the importance of maintaining professionalism in communicating with a client to achieve a desired goal. When working with a client, you quickly realize the importance of being unbiased, as the client will naturally be biased in favor of their organization.

2. The power of analytical thinking
Megan, Jayme and David, our research and strategy directors, were crucial parts in the developing, analyzing and figuring out ways to implement the research we performed. We were extremely surprised to see how much research has an affect on the direction of a campaign. Although we have been introduced to public relations research in other Manship classes, performing research of this caliber was both a rewarding and challenging experience.

3. Knowing how to handle constructive criticism
A big part of working together with a group of people is being able to take constructive criticism in a positive manner. Mallory, our writing director, and Caroline, our design director, received input from the entire group constantly throughout the semester. By taking constructive criticism from others with a positive perspective, they were able to receive different input on their work without taking it personally.

4. Organization
Organization is key throughout all parts of executing a campaign, especially when planning an event. Stormy, our event director, learned the importance of staying organized with a variety of details. In addition, we learned the importance staying organized with communication between multiple people who each play an integral role in the execution of the campaign.

Novel Media members, Megan Senger, Cathy Juarez, Caroline Simpson, Mallory Richardson, Jayme Tumminello, David Jones and Stormy Good

Novel Media members, Megan Senger, Cathy Juarez, Caroline Simpson, Mallory Richardson, Jayme Tumminello, David Jones and Stormy Good

As we continue to finalize our campaign presentation, this will sadly be Novel Media’s last blog post. We have enjoyed sharing our journey with you this semester, and we would like to thank you for following along. We look forward to using the knowledge we have gained through this campaign in our professions after graduation.

Cathy Juarez
Novel Media account liaison

Cathy Juarez is a public relations senior from New Orleans, La. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn or email her at cjuare1@lsu.edu.


East Baton Rouge Parish Library Day of Sharing: Handling Crisis Communication and Last-Minute Event Details

After returning from our last-ever spring break this week, Novel Media realized that a break is just what we need every now and then. However, we jumped right into finalizing all the nitty-gritty details for our Day of Sharing event this upcoming Saturday. Now that we are exactly four days away from our event, reality is setting in. Novel Media has made last minute phone calls to the caterer, print shop and East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s public relations team to ensure that everything will run as smoothly as possible this weekend.

Event planning, as we have all learned during this process, is a little more tedious than we thought. In addition, we encountered some bumps in the road that we did not expect, but it taught us how to properly handle a crisis. For example, yesterday we learned that there was a miscommunication between the public relations staff at the library in regard to printing edited materials for our event. After our design director contacted the library to resolve the issue in a professional manner, all was settled. We also found out that our caterer had double-booked a larger event on top of our event. Originally the catering company was supposed to bring and serve the food at our event, but they informed us that all of their employees had to work the large event, and that we would have to pick up and serve the food ourselves. While unfortunate, we rearranged our task schedule and made sure that David could pick up the food and man the food table at the event.

It is important for both parties of the event to engage in two-way communication and understand each detail every step of the way—especially when edits are needed or things change unexpectedly. Our agency will do our final walk-through at the library on Friday at 1:30 p.m. to make sure everything will go as planned. We will make sure all printed materials for the event are ready as well as finalize where each “booth” or table will be set up on the day of the event.

Novel Media has been so grateful to work with the East Baton Rouge Parish Library for this entire semester (especially since the library has a wonderful budget). The library’s public relations team has been nothing but helpful and a pleasure to work with.

The Day of the Sharing will take place this Saturday, April 26, 2014 from 2-4 p.m. at the East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s new Main Branch on Goodwood. Our event is free and open to the public. We encourage you to stop by and share with us why you love EBRPL.

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 7.03.32 PM

(Image from East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s Facebook)

To learn more about the East Baton Rouge Parish Library, feel free to visit its social media profiles: TwitterFacebookInstagramPinterestTumblr and YouTube.

Jayme Tumminello
Novel Media strategy director

Jayme Tumminello is a public relations senior from New Orleans, La. Find her on LinkedIn or email her at jtummi1@lsu.edu.

Consistent public relations messaging proves key to East Baton Rouge Parish Library success

“Innovative. Fresh. Unique.” These are the three pillars we embody when brainstorming for campaigns. These three words are featured on all Novel Media documents and deliverables because it is a promise we have made to our clients. As a group of dedicated, creative public relations practitioners who exemplify these words, we strive to make our brands innovative, fresh and unique in the eyes of their publics. However, we’re quickly finding out that sometimes consistency is more important than being “fresh.”

This week Novel Media has began finalizing our GOST (a.k.a. Goals, Objectives, Strategies and Tactics) for this year’s East Baton Rouge Parish Library awareness campaign. Our overall goal is to increase public interest in library resources by educating EBRPL cardholders on those resources that are available to them. We began to think about our campaign messaging and slogan. Some options were:

  • “It’s starts with the card”

  • “All-access: EBRPL library.”

  • “VIP Cardholders.”

Nothing exactly fit.

We began looking to the previous campaign group for ideas, whose slogan was “Beyond the Books.” Their goal was to increase awareness of EBRPL’s modern technologies and services among East Baton Rouge Parish residents. After researching further, we found that our campaign was almost an extension of the previous one. We didn’t want to copy what had already been done, but we felt it was important to remain consistent. As a group, we decided to speak with our professor, Dr. Jensen Moore about our dilemma.

Beyond the Books logo courtesy of Sweet Southern Public Relations

Beyond the Books logo courtesy of Sweet Southern Public Relations

Dr. Moore advised us to not worry about changing the slogan. She confirmed that our campaign was an extension of the previous campaign and “Beyond the Books” was still applicable to us. We realized exactly how important it was to be consistent. Consistency increases the effectiveness of a message, and it establishes reputation, creates recognition, ensure relevance and allows for accountability.

With this newfound knowledge and reassured confidence we began refining our GOST. We created two objectives: 1) to increase 100 East Baton Rouge Parish Library cardholders’ awareness of  library resources by April 30, 2014; and 2) to position East Baton Rouge Parish Library as an opinion leader in the community. We plan to accomplish these objectives through our “Day of Sharing” event and various informational deliverables that will aid in awareness of library resources. Some of these deliverables will include a press release, media advisory, social media release, media kit, an annual report and a promotional video that EBRPL will debut at the library’s official 75th anniversary celebration in September 2014.

Graphic created by Novel Media Design Director Caroline Simpson

Graphic created by Novel Media Design Director Caroline Simpson

The upcoming weeks will be busy for Novel Media members as we begin creating deliverables for our campaign. However, I have full confidence we will accomplish our goal with ease as long as we remain consistent. Stay tuned next week for updates on our progress.

To learn more about the East Baton Rouge Parish Library, feel free to visit its social media profiles: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and YouTube.

David Jones
Novel Media strategy director

David Jones is a mass communication senior from Central, La. Connect with him on LinkedIn or email him at djones7136@gmail.com.


Gettin’ techy with it: Utilizing PR technology tools for East Baton Rouge Parish Library

In today’s ever-connected world, there is a plethora of public relations technologies available for communications professionals to use. These technology tools can range anywhere from productivity applications like Evernote to cloud services like DropBox to social media monitoring tools like Topsy. This past week in Dr. Jensen Moore’s class, my fellow classmates and I were required to research a new public relations technology tool and write a “PR Tools Report” explaining the purpose and best practices of the tool. After presenting my “PR Tools Report” to my classmates, I realized just how many technology tools Novel Media is using to help plan and organize our campaign for our client, the East Baton Rouge Parish Library. A few of Novel Media’s favorite productivity tools to ensure teamwork and transparency are:

  1. Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. Google Docs is a free web-based office suite (offered by Google, obviously) that is similar to Microsoft Office. It is a fantastic collaboration tool that allows users to create and edit documents, spreadsheets or presentations simultaneously. If you have questions about something but don’t feel like calling up a team member, you can G+ chat while working on the document.
  2. Google Calendar. Google Calendar is another web-based tool offered by Google that allows you to manage tasks, events and to-dos in a calendar-like fashion. You can even share and sync calendars with other members of your team to ensure that everyone is meeting deadlines.
  3. Doodle. Doodle is a free scheduling tool that makes finding a meeting time easier (it is especially for our 7-person team). It simplifies scheduling and you can automatically sync appointments to your calendar.
  4. GroupMe. Frankly, our team would not survive without GroupMe—a free smartphone application that allows groups to message each other privately. We use it ask each other questions, remind each other of upcoming tasks and sometimes share a laugh or two.
Image courtesy of Ministry Marketing Solutions

Image courtesy of Ministry Marketing Solutions

As students who grew up in the digital age, we usually know what the latest and greatest technologies are. Thankfully, EBRPL does, as well. Its public relations department has embraced and integrated social media into EBRPL’s communications strategy, utilizing popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WordPress, Tumblr, YouTube and Pinterest. If EBRPL’s public relations department wishes to increase its social media productivity, we recommend that they use the following technology tools:

  1. HootSuite. HootSuite is a social media management system that allows users to update and post to many social networks simultaneously. Not only does HootSuite allow you to post, but it also provides social media analytical reports. If EBRPL wants all of its accounts and analytics in one easy-to-use platform, HootSuite is the ultimate tech tool.
  2. Manage Flitter. Manage Flitter is a Twitter-based social media management system that allows people or businesses to work smarter and faster with Twitter. It is best for learning more about your followers, such as when they’re online most. You can also track who followed or unfollowed you, find out who to follow and manage multiple accounts at once. You can also follow or unfollow a lot of people at one time, rather than visiting each individual account.
  3. Cision. While Excel spreadsheets are still necessary to build media lists, Cision takes media relations organization to another level. You can create and access media databases, distribute press releases and monitor media coverage. It’s an all-encompassing tool for the EBRPL’s media relations specialist—and EBRPL gets a lot of coverage.

If EBRPL can stay on top of technological trends, they will continue to serve as opinion leaders in the Baton Rouge community.

Mallory Richardson
Novel Media writing director

Mallory Richardson is a mass communication senior at Louisiana State University. Follow her on Twitter  or send her an email at novelmedia4005@gmail.com.

Focusing forward: Novel Media displays professionalism while conducting focus groups for EBRPL campaign

After conducting secondary research and finalizing our event details, we are ready to begin the final steps of research before launching our campaign for the East Baton Rouge Parish Library.  This week Novel Media started collecting primary research. Being advised by Dr. Moore, we decided to conduct focus groups to obtain in-depth, qualitative data from our target audience.

The goal of our campaign is to increase East Baton Rouge Parish Library cardholders’ awareness of library resources by 5 percent before April 30, 2014. We felt focus groups would be the most effective way to reach and measure EBRPL’s active public. By the end of the focus groups, we hope to better understand cardholders’ current resource awareness, the appeal of lesser-known library resources and likelihood of patrons using them in the future.

Image courtesy of feedbackforbusiness.com

Image courtesy of feedbackforbusiness.com

Fellow strategy director Megan Senger and I held the first focus group Monday, March 17 at 11 a.m. At first, it was a bit nerving. We walked into the library study room where the focus group was being held and quickly realized we would have to recruit people to participate. To accomplish this task effectively, we had to remain professional, which is a vital skill in public relations. Practitioners are often put in stressful situations where they are expected to remain calm and solve problems in a time crunch while meeting deadlines. Megan asked an employee to make a series of announcements, and I went around to personally invite patrons to join. When I approached prospective participants, I made sure that I was polite and did not interrupt them. I clearly and calmly communicated the purpose of the focus group and did my best to motivate everyone to come. By 11 a.m., we had recruited approximately six to seven dedicated EBRPL cardholders who were eager to share their opinions about the library.

The information we gathered from the focus group participants was helpful and sometimes surprising. Mary Stein, the assistant director of EBRPL, told us she wanted us to target business professionals and the elderly population in our campaign. Before the focus group, I wasn’t fully convinced that business professionals would be interested in using library resources.  I have to admit – I was wrong.  One participant raved about the facilities and meeting rooms, which he often used to hold tutoring sessions for his private ACT/GED-prep business. I think all public relations aspirants and professionals are keen enough to predict how audiences will react, but this experience reaffirmed that conducting research is the only way to be sure.

Novel Media’s next venture will be finalizing our strategic plan and selecting appropriate tactics to reach our target audiences. Stay tuned next week to learn more about our progress.

To learn more about the East Baton Rouge Parish Library, feel free to visit its social media profiles: TwitterFacebookInstagramPinterestTumblr and YouTube.

David Jones
Novel Media strategy director

David Jones is a mass communications senior from Central, La. Connect with him on Linkedin or email him at djones7136@gmail.com.

Event planning and focus group progress for East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s public relations campaign

Novel Media’s days are all “booked” up this spring while we continue to create a public relations campaign for our client, East Baton Rouge Parish Library. After a conference call with EBRPL’s Assistant Library Director Mary Stein,our team finalized an appropriate theme and date for our campaign event. A “Day of Sharing” will be hosted at the new Main Library on Saturday, April 26, 2014 from 2-4 p.m. and will be a “teaser” event that will precede the library’s official 75th anniversary celebration in September 2014. Don’t forget to mark your calendars!

It is important that events have a purpose and target the right audience. The purpose of our campaign event will be getting the community excited about and involved in EBRPL’s 75th anniversary celebration, as well as educating the public on the innovative and modern resources and services the library has to offer. The event will not only showcase what the new Main Library has to offer in terms of amenities and technological resources, but it will also be an opportunity for library patrons and stakeholders to share why they love and support the library. To tie together our “Day of Sharing” event with the official 75th anniversary celebration in September, we will encourage attendees at the “Day of Sharing” to record video testimonials explaining why the library is so important to them. The testimonials will be compiled into a video that will be debuted at the main 75th anniversary celebration. In addition, there will be booths where attendees can learn more about the library’s many resources and sign up for a library card if they are not already a cardholder; booths where children can participate in arts and crafts activities to draw or paint pictures of what the library means to them; and a photo booth where attendees can take silly pictures using props and receive a photo as a souvenir from the event. In addition, EBRPL staff will provide tours for guests that have not yet explored the new Main Library.

We have also finally received approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB.) Because our primary research needs to be conducted immediately, our team has scheduled dates and times to begin conducting focus groups at the Main Library next week. We believe the information that we will gather from these focus groups will help us to better understand our key publics’ general behavioral patterns and attitudes toward EBRPL. The focus groups will also help to better gauge the habits of current library cardholders and how they felt about the resources EBRPL currently offers. We plan to use our findings to help us refine our strategic message plan. Below is the flier Novel Media created to get the word out about our focus groups.

Focus Group flier created by Novel Media

Focus Group flier created by Novel Media

Our team has been hard at work ironing out event details and message plan. We are ready to spring forward (pun intended) and begin the implementation stage of our campaign. Keep a look out for next week’s blog from David about our campaign strategies. Thank you for following along with us as we continue to grow, learn and reach our campaign goals.

To learn more about the East Baton Rouge Parish Library, feel free to visit its social media profiles: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and YouTube.

Caroline Simpson
Novel Media design director

Caroline Simpson is a mass communication senior at Louisiana State University. Connect with her on LinkedIn or send her an email at csimps8@lsu.edu.