A Journey of a Semester

The fall 2018 semester is coming to a close, and it is time to reflect on all that I’ve done. After these last few months, I can say that public relations publications has been one of the first classes where I feel like I have put to use my toolbox of PR skills that I have been collecting.

We have created business cards, direct mailers, newsletters, and are now working on a video project. I have learned the ins and outs of InDesign and Adobe Photoshop.

When looking back at my old blog posts, I can’t help but laugh at how little faith I had in myself. All of the editing software we have learned to use has been daunting at first. After lots of trial and error, I managed to work my way through the programs to create work I am proud of.

The assignment which I am most proud of as a representation of my best work and creative effort is the newsletter. I created the newsletter while following the Starbucks general brand. However, we utilized both indesign and adobe photoshop to create our newsletters. Using these two programs in sync to create a finished piece felt like culmination of all the learning I have done this semester.

Going forward, I feel as though I have become a better public relations professional. I now have a pretty full toolbox of skills and knowledge that I can use in my future career. I have learned how to work quickly and efficiently, while not being discouraged by mistakes. Furthermore, this class has sparked an interest in me for graphic design that I look forward to pursuing.

 

More Tools in the Toolbox

These last two weeks, my PR Publications class has continued to expand the knowledge of tools we can use to create various publications.

Last week, we completed an assignment that focused not only on good design, but on speed. We only had two class periods to create four social media graphics for any company of our choosing. The graphics were supposed to be advertising a Halloween themed event.

We were introduced to Adobe Spark, a design program which is free and available online for anyone to use. The program was fairly easy to learn how to use. It’s interface is not that much different from the interface of Canva, an online design program which I’ve used before to make simple publications such as business cards.

The graphics were intended to be Halloween themed to advertise an adoption event.

I chose to create four graphics designed for a Halloween-themed adoption special, organized by the Humane Society. The most difficult part of this assignment was including valuable information within the graphic, while at the same time keeping the design clean and appropriate for social media.

A graphic I made using Adobe Spark

Admittedly, it was also very difficult to think of four fresh concepts to use for the social media graphics. The Halloween theme helped a lot!

After creating these graphics, we are now returning back to more complex design with our Newsletter project. For this project, we will be utilizing both Adobe Photoshop as well as InDesign to create a three-paged newsletter for a Fortune 500 company.

The most difficult part of this assignment so far is creating a template with an aesthetically appealing, on-brand header which is not too expensive to print and still functions as a newsletter. I have decided to go with the company Boeing, a Fortune 500 company which specializes in, among many things, airplanes and commercial travel. I’m looking forward to incorporating their sleek, blue and white design into my assignment.

 

Better with Time!

This week, we finished creating direct mailers for our theoretical client, the OU office of admissions. More than a couple of things were tough about this task, from learning how to use photoshop for the first time, to being creative and designing in an attractive way while following OU’s brand guidelines.

The process of deciding which students to target with my direct mailers was lengthy and full of changes. Eventually, I narrowed down my groups to two very distinct demographics.

The first group I decided to target is student veterans. In my mind, the students are those who have served and are now entering the college world needing a good community, and scholarships.  In my research I learned that the University of Oklahoma has made a good attempt to connect with student veterans, including requiring Green Training from the faculty.

To target this group I included familiar student veterans logos, while keeping the direct mailer clean and simple.

The second group I decided to target are the aspiring “campus climbers”. This group of students are those who are interested in things like community service, leadership groups, and other student organizations.

To target this group, I included pictures from various student organizations and attempted to showcase the many opportunities OU offers for involvement. I also used a more charismatic color scheme.

 

This assignment has taught me a lot of useful skills which will help me as a PR professional. I learned how to resize and combine images, create transperant images, recolor items, and how to create an attractive publication. After working with the photoshop program and going through so many processes, I can now create a work from scratch in photoshop, which is a nice feeling.

While I still prefer InDesign, I feel prepared to use photoshop in the professional world, and I look forward to creating more.

Photoshop: A Game of Trial and Error… and Error, and Error…

 

This week, in PR publications, we tackled the task of beginning how to learn Adobe Photoshop.
Photoshop is one of the most powerful photo editing programs that exists, giving users the capability to essentially work photo magic. Photoshop offers tools that allow users to do numerous things, including merge photos, create shadows, and completely alter colors.

Photoshop is a valuable tool for the PR professional because it can be used to design business cards, letter heads, direct mailers, event ads, and other public relations tools.

Being that Photoshop is so powerful, it is no surprise that it hasn’t been the easiest to learn how to use. We began our learning journey with an exploration of merging images, in this case two pizza related images.

Pizza on Wooden Peel

Pepperoni pizza

It was a difficult task, and took about an hour and a half of replaying turtorial videos, and tweaking settings to get a realistic look. Eventually, I was able to put a pizza holder under the pepproni pizza. Hooray!

 

Unlike InDesign, the other design application we have used, Photoshop works on a pixel by pixel basis, so images have to be spliced.

Personally, I prefer to interface and tools available in InDesign. While the photo editing tools are lower quality, it offers a gridded guideline, and makes it easy to build images centered around fonts and business-type design.

Another of my challengers arose from trying to create works for a client with a really hard set brand. This week we are designing direct mailers for the University of Oklahoma admissions office.

OU has a very set in stone brand, with logo and color guidelines, as well as specific guidelines like what font is preferred for documents.

It has been hard to be creative while following these strict guidelines and creating something which will represent OU, not myself.

 

Montford Inn-Client Launch Portfolio

10 Client Tools for the Montford Inn

Sarah Smallwood

            The following tools were created for the Montford Inn with the goal of helping the inn showcase its luxury, comfort, and romantic southern touch. The tools are intended to show this through graphic design details and effective wording. The tools include building blocks for news releases and a feature pitch, as well as an outline for a speech which might be used to introduce the spa services which are still in the works at the inn. The speech is accompanied by eight potential slide ideas which would accompany its delivery.

            I have also included four photos with captions. These photos might be used on social media pages for various reasons, whether it be to have content to post and attract website visitors, or to showcase other details of the inn, adding to the photo gallery for guests to look at. The infographic is intended for social media use, as it gives potential guests the feeling of romantic comfort while highlighting the small details the Montford Inn strives to provide for each guest.

            I have designed two new possible logos to be used on business cards and in letterheads. The logos are simple enough to be converted into the black and white format as well. I attempted to portray the inn as a modern place to stay, while giving the feeling of prairie romance. The logos are also simple and eye catching.

            The last tools consist of a brochure and business card. I wanted to incorporate the use of color theory into these two objects. Therefore, I carried a splash of purple on both sides of the business card, which hopefully invokes feelings of delicate romance. I also intended for the information of the business card to be slightly compartmentalized on the back, making it easier to read for guests. For the brochure, my goal was to lure guests into the inn without flooding the pamphlet with too many photos, while also designing it to be clean and simple yet elegant. The use of a pale olive green gives the inn an inviting, homey feel, while the photos show the luxury and upscale amenities.

 

  1. Brand Story

Like a wildflower speckling the prairie, the Montford Inn has been spot of romance and comfort in Norman, Oklahoma since it was built in 1994. Ron and Phyllis Murray founded the inn to provide visitors with the comfort and welcome of the south, and so far, they have been successful. For over 20 years, the Montford Inn has been a sophisticated jewel of a bed in breakfast. Since it’s beginning, the inn has drawn the attention of acclaimed guests and dignitaries, from celebrities and movie producers, to professors and politicians.

With time, the inn has grown, adding rooms, cottages and services. It has continued to gain recognition for all the small details which create the atmosphere guests desire. Antique and one-of-a-kind decorations line the walls and rooms, cookies are always baking, wine glasses are filled, the gardens bloom, all coming together to create an experience that no hotel can offer. The inn offers various ways to serve guests, including hosting family reunions, weddings, and more.

The ownership of the inn has changed over the decades, with the inn now being run by the founder’s son, William Murray. Montford Inn remains a family-run establishment, and it still strives to welcome each guest with the same hospitality and comfort as the beginning. With the addition of cottages, each containing fireplaces and couple’s jacuzzies, the inn has begun to attract more and more honeymooners and lovebirds. The Montford Inn plans to expand this aspect of service, hoping to provide touching amenities and a romantic experience for visitors.

 

 

 

  1. 4 Photos with Captions

 

Hidden Hollow, a quaint, private cottage, includes many romantic amenities, including a heart-shaped couple’s jacuzzi tub.

The details in Hidden Hollow, one of the Montford Inn’s many cottages, leave visitors feeling like they have spent a romantic week in a prairie get-away.

Homesteaders, one of the many rooms available at Montford Inn, features small details and photos from the past, creating a nostalgic atmosphere for visitors.

The Montford Inn stands like a jewel on the prairie during a peaceful Oklahoma spring evening.

Warm light bounces off the teal walls of Morningsong, a peaceful room which rests in the corner of the inn, offering guests many windows and an abundance of natural light.

The teal walls and abundance of windows combine to create a relaxing glow in Morningsong, a corner room available at Montford Inn.

 

 

 

  1. Logo

Logo 1

Logo 2

 

 

  1. Infographic

 

 

  1. News Release

To be sent to:

Visit OKC- Tabbi Burwell

tburwell@visitokc.com

Communications Manager

Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau

(405) 297-8973

 

NORMAN, Okla. — The Montford Inn in Norman has announced plans to implement a selection of spa services to their bed and breakfast. The owners intend to provide a multitude of services to their guests, including massages and skin therapies.

The spa would be a romantic addition to the ten bedrooms and six cottages currently available to guests. The innkeepers provide a variety of room services, including stocking rooms with amenities, delivering food orders and insuring the guests’ needs are met. Breakfast is homemade and served every morning, and complimentary wine and cookies are laid out during business hours. Some of the guest rooms feature couples’ bathtubs, including one room with a private hot tub. Cottages adjacent from the inn provide a more secluded option for guests wanting more privacy or a romantic escape.  However, the Montford Inn owners are eager to upgrade the guest experience.

“We want to renovate one of the older upstairs bedrooms to create the spa area,” says Phyllis Murray, a co-founder of the inn. “Our goal is to offer guests and couples yet another way to escape from the stresses of everyday life.”

The Montford Inn was founded in 1999 by Murray and her late husband, William, and was designed to combine a sophisticated atmosphere with the unmatched comforts of a bed and breakfast. Guests stay at the inn for romantic getaways, business meetings, family reunions, or an escape from busy city-life. A stay at the inn is filled with personal touches that no hotel chain can offer.

The inn owners can be reached in person at the inn every week day until 2pm or contacted by phone at 405-321-2200. Interviews are best scheduled a few days in advance. Photos of the inn and rooms are available on the inn’s website, though the owners are open to new photo and video opportunities.

 

 

  1. E-Mail Pitch

Mark Codner: Editor for The Edmond Sun

mcodner@edmondsun.com

http://www.edmondsun.com/opinion/codner-supporting-transportation-by-train/article_a658e546-4d62-11e7-be42-f7f937b20db0.html

Dear Mr. Codner,

The Oklahoma City area is sprawling with growth, and the nation’s eyes are regularly being drawn to our region by our exciting features, such the Oklahoma City Thunder and the successful University of Oklahoma Sooners football program. However, there is a bed and breakfast just south of OKC, in Norman, which continually attracts prominent guests, from celebrities, to dignitaries visiting with business with the university. I would love to help draw attention to that inn.

The Montford Inn has a rich history of guests and a deep connection to Norman. If you have the time, I would like to arrange a meeting between you and the owners of the inn, so they can give you more details about the guests they’ve had. This would make an interesting story which would showcase the entertainment appeal of the Oklahoma City area, showing Oklahoma residents and on-lookers another taste of what we have to offer.

If you have any questions about the inn or scheduling an interview, please let me know. I look forward to further discussing this story with you!

Regards,

–Sarah Smallwood

Public Relations Student

University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism

Smallwood.SarahM@gmail.com

 

 

 

  1. Special Event Speech

Good afternoon everyone, it’s wonderful to see you here today. My name is William Murray, I have the pleasure of managing the Montford Inn with my wife and mother. I first want to thank you all for visiting us today to attend the grand opening of the spa services here at the Montford Inn. Our Montford Inn family has been anxiously awaiting this day for months!

This would not be possible without my mother, Phyllis Murray, who has worked tirelessly to run the inn and plan these new services. Phyllis custom-built the inn with my late father, Ron, in 1994, and has over-seen this jewel on the prairie ever since. Without her guidance, perseverance and leadership, the inn would not have been able to serve Norman these last two decades. She continues to work hard every day at the inn, making sure guests are feeling welcome and everyone’s needs are met.

Our family built the inn in order to provide a premier bed and breakfast experience to guests, and we are over-whelmed with joy to be adding to these experiences. The Montford Inn strives to offer a luxurious yet comfortable stay for the business traveler, or a romantic, prairie get-away for the honey-mooning couple. The inclusion of spa services at Montford Inn will continue these efforts, offering the chance for a small weekend trip to turn into two days of relaxation and pampering.

We are excited to offer guests an assortment of relaxing new options. The spa will include massages, pampering body scrubs, luxury baths, and soothing facials. These services will accompany the lovely touches already offered at the inn, which include couple’s hot tubs, complimentary wine, and daily homemade breakfast, among other things.

We are thankful for the many visitors who have chosen the Montford Inn as their bed and breakfast over the last 24 years of business. The years have been filled with joy and fulfillment, and we look forward to offering these new services to guests who visit our home.

Thank you again for coming today. Please enjoy the spa services and come stay with us again soon.

 

 

 

  1. Slide Deck

Slide 1

Slide 2 OR

 

Slide 3

Slide 4

Slide 5

Slide 6

Slide 7

Slide 8

 

  1. Brochure

 

  1. Business Card

A Reflection on PR Writing

At the beginning of this semester, looking at the long assignment list ahead of me on the Public Relations Writing Canvas page, I was filled with fear. I hadn’t had any idea how I was going to complete all of these assignments or how I was going to contact and find a client who would be willing to let me work for them for a semester. However, I quickly found that, while this class was certainly difficult and tasking, it was one of the most learning-filled college classes that I have taken.

This semester, I learned many things from PR Writing. The first of which is how to properly conduct research for your client. Students were asked to use an array of different research methods, including the Lexis-Nexis database which scans the internet and other databases for any mention of your client. This will be a very helpful tool in the future to gauge the market my client lies in and the competition they face. I can use this tool to perform SWOT analysis for future clients.

Another helpful skill that I learned in this class was how to prepare and write feature pitches and news releases for an actual client. In past classes, we learned the basics of these concepts, however in PR Writing we were forced to put these concepts to use in a real-life situation. This will help me in my career as I will not only know how to format and word a news release or feature pitch, but I will know how to find the correct reporters and media outlets to which I want to send my work.

My skills as a graphic designer have also grown this semester, and the design projects were the assignments which I enjoyed most in this class. I have had the opportunity to create an info-graphic, a logo/letterhead, a brochure, and a business card. Having to design all of these things with a coherent goal and theme in mind forced me to put more thought and time into my work. In the end, I feel more prepared to develop effective media tools such as these.

The only assignment that I did not favor in this class was that of writing a speech. The assignment itself was geared toward the assumption that my client will ever be giving an actual speech, especially with the use of a projector and PowerPoint. While I see the need to be able to effectively write a speech, I felt as though other classes have prepared us for this, and another tool might be more useful to introduce.

There are countless other things that I learned from this class, from time management, to grammar skills, to truly thinking like a PR representative. After getting a taste of the real PR world in this class, I am excited to move forward to continue learning.