The End

As the semester comes to an end, I have been reflecting on my experience during my time at the Manship School of Mass Communication at LSU.  This semester as a part of a service – learning class we got the opportunity to work with real clients in the community.  Our campaigns are ending and we are beginning to evaluate the work we did for our clients.  Did we do our best?  Did we meet our objectives?  Did we help our clients?  Most importantly, did we learn something?

As I began reflecting I thought about those classes that I took that I truly learned something.  It was those classes that I wasn’t focused on getting a good grade, but more focused on learning because I enjoyed the class.  I think students often focus so much on being a perfectionist and getting that “A” that we forget about the real purpose of school, to learn.  I truly understand that because of this class.  As we were working on the campaign book we became extremely tense and stressed with worry about making a good.  While I think its important to make that good grade, I realized the point of the class was to gain “real world” experience and to learn something.  I explained to the group that we may not have reached all our objectives, but we tried our best and more importantly we learned.

We learned about Istrouma Sports Organization and met extremely passionate people.  No matter your religious beliefs, it is always inspiring to see people who are passionate about the work they are doing to bring good to the community.  We learned how to be effective communicators and how to deal with clients.  Our client, ML Woodruff, was not always the most decisive or talkative contact, but we learned how to work with him and it has been a pleasure to work with him.  We learned not only how to plan a PR campaign, but also how to implement a plan.  Most importantly, we learned about ourselves.  We learned about the kind of professional that we would like to be in the real word.

Classes are coming to an end and I can’t help but be that perfectionist student, but I know that no matter what grade I receive, I tried my best and gained experience about what is to come in my future.

Now the stress begins with finding a job.I have had a few interviews with Ketchum PR in San Francisco and have already used things I have learned in this class.  I know in a few years I’ll be begging to come back to school, but for now the senioritis has set in and my countdown to graduation has begun.

Follow me on twitter: @MatthewTHenry

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , ,

It’s hard to believe that Istrouma Sports Organization Sports Fair is 3 days away.  The invitations have been sent, the supplies made and the food is ordered.  All we can do now is just wait and hope that people show up.  ISO Sports Minister, ML Woodruff has been such a great help.  After hearing what some other groups have been going through, we feel blessed to have such a great organization to work with.  He has been there to help us in any way that we need it.

This past Saturday, March 24, we got the opportunity to go to the Summer Camp Fair at the Manship YMCA on Perkins.  At the event we got the opportunity to reach a different audience rather than just the congregation at Istrouma Baptist Church.  Our main focus was on the Extreme Sports Camp that ISO hosts during the summer, but we also got the opportunity to talk about ISO’s sports league during the year.  This was a great chance for us to explain what ISO was about and clear away any rumors or misconceptions that people had before hand. All in all, we exposed ISO’s message to around 200 people that day.  Considering that, I think it was a great success.

Yesterday we met with ML to talk about ISO Sports Fair and to get everything finalized.  As we were closing up he asked about things he thinks ISO can work on.  This was the first time that we got to candidly talk to him about what we thought and it felt great!  We told him the importance of having a strong message and using.  ISO already has the tagline “Doing sports a different way” but we told him to make sure that message is understood by the target audience.  We had a conversation about what competitiveness v. non-competitive meant.  After that it became clear that saying ISO is non-competitive is not fully understood and can often turn away potential consumers.  It is more important to say that ISO focuses on the fundamentals of sports while allowing equal opportunities to play.  Lastly we introduced ML to the Positive Coaching Alliance.  The Positive Coaching Alliance trains coaches how to coach in a way that is both effective and positive toward the athlete.  We gave ML about the cost of the training and told him it would be a great way to “legitimize” the league and the coaches.

Overall I feel our campaign is going great.  ISO Sports Fair is our last big event then it comes time to work on the book and presentation.  Even before evaluating, I feel that we have helped to progress the communication from ISO and can’t wait to see how we can further improve it.

Follow me on Twitter:  @MatthewTHenry

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , ,

Would you take a couple of minutes to fill out this survey…

True story from surveying people at Istrouma Baptist Church.

“Excuse me, I’m a senior at LSU and as a part of our senior project we are creating an awareness campaign for ISO.  Would you take a couple of minutes to complete this survey for us?”

“What is ISO?”

“ISO is Istrouma Sports Organization.  They are a sports ministry here at Istrouma and have several different sports leagues here.”

“Awareness about what?”

What we wanted to say:  “Obviously you know nothing about ISO.  That’s what.”

What we actually said: “Well mam, it has come to our attention that not many of the members here at Istrouma are aware of ISO and their services and our main goal is just to get the congregation more informed.  By filling out the survey you are not signing up for anything, but only helping us gather data.”

“My daughter is only 4 she isn’t old enough to play.”

“ISO leagues start at 4 years old.”


You would think that most people have two minutes to spare to fill out a simple survey to help out an actual ministry at their own church.  But we were wrong.  Trying to get some people to fill out a survey was like trying to pull teeth.  We were originally supposed to have a table set up in the church waiting area with an ISO sign, but when we arrived it was clear that wasn’t going to happen.  Instead, we were forced to approach people ourselves and explain every time what we were doing.  Some people were perfectly nice and would either fill out the survey or would take the survey with them and return it later.  Other people, like the lady in the story above, were confused about our purpose and not quite as willing to complete the survey.  Either way we gathered enough data and it was time to move on.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about uncontrollable things that have happened or may happen.  Well the uncontrollable has happened again, but in a good way.  Last week  we were informed that we were signed up to attend at summer camp fair at the YMCA.  At first, we were a little upset that we were just told that we were to attend this event, but later we realized that it was going to have some major advantages.  Throughout our campaign so far we have been focused on our primary target audience:  parents that already attend Istrouma Baptist Church.  By going to the YMCA we are exposing ISO to the larger community and even to kids who may be in attendance.  I think that this event will similar to the event that we are hosting at Istrouma, but our event is more targeted to Istrouma Baptist Church and is only about the services offered by ISO.

I left the last couple of blogs with a bit of uncertainty or confusion about what was going to happen next, but not this time.  We are beginning to compile our campaign book and to use all of the strategies and tactics that we outlined.  Maybe I’m more confident because things are actually getting done or maybe it’s because I know graduation is only a short two months away!

Follow me on Twitter: @MatthewTHenry

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 15, 2012 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , ,

The Uncontrolled

For a while now we have been working under a cloud of stress, not knowing when the rain was going to start pouring down.  But at last, I think we some light.  We are nowhere near the completion of our campaign, but have come to the point where it is time to start implementation.  With implementation comes a new, different kind of stress.  A stress that isn’t based on how we perform, but a stress that worries about how OTHER people will respond.  Will the congregation at Istrouma Baptist Church fill out our survey?  Will people respond to our advertisements and come to our event?  Will journalists and writers pick up stories we pitch to them?  As a group, we can spread the word about the event, pitch stories as best as we can, but there is an overwhelming sense that what lies ahead is uncontrollable.

Speaking of the uncontrollable, our team has four weeks to set up this event.  The event is going to be an “open house” for Istrouma Sports Organization (ISO) in hopes that people will learn more information about the program and perhaps persuade them to register their children.  One of the challenges we have faced from the beginning of the campaign is a lack of social media presence from ISO.  ISO does indeed have a Facebook page, but it is not used efficiently.  One way we are going to try to combat this is by having a Facebook competition to get people to like the page and start having conversations about ISO on the internet.

Not only do we want to have conversation about ISO on the internet, but we want to develop relationships with some print media in order to gain some free coverage through them, not just through advertisements.  I have already started developing a couple of stories that may attract the eyes of journalists, but the scary part is the uncontrollable.  We may think that what ISO is going is great and beneficial to the community surrounding them, but a journalists may see the organization and think it is all propaganda in order to influence people to attend Istrouma Baptist Church.  Whatever we may say to the journalists, they can come up with their own opinion about ISO whether it is good or bad.  I think we can target to specific journalists enough so that we can get a couple of great stories, but the finished products are still out of our hands.

The foreseeable future may be uncontrollable, but I am confident that Champion Sports PR will approach these next few weeks with a desire to succeed, and that’s all I can ask for.

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 1, 2012 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , ,


Stress is when you wake up screaming and you realize you haven’t fallen asleep yet – Unknown

Welcome to Stressville…population – me.   It seems like everything happens all at once.  Research report has to be written, surveys have to be conducted, event has to be planed and on top of the EVERYTHING has to be approved.  One of the hardest things that I am having to learn to deal with this campaign is the hierarchy of power that exists in Istrouma Baptist Church.  I’m sure this exists in many organizations, but it is the first time I have come across such an organization.  As my team and I were coming up with our strategy to help increase the awareness of Istrouma Sports Organization we were constantly having to ask ourselves, “will Istrouma approve this?”  While this can be stressful at times, I think it has allowed us to improve our critical thinking skills and preparedness for whatever may come in the future.  As we were thinking we had to come up with several different strategies in the case that one of them was shot down.  After we came up with a strategy and met with ML Woodruff from ISO, our fears were calmed when it became clear that we were going to be able to do most of the things that we wanted.  Stress was relieved.

Now comes what I think is the fun part.  Planning an event.  I’m almost positive there will be much stressed associated with the planning of the event, but as for now, its smooth sailing.  Our hopes with the event is to give information to people who attend Istrouma in hopes that they will join ISO and also to drive people from other churches in the area to see what ISO has to offer, NOT to encourage them to attend the church.  I don’t think we will have a hard time to plan the event, but I think the stress will be in trying to get people to attend the event.  The event can be executed smoothly, but without people to attend it won’t be a success.  One aspect that we want to focus on for the event is encouraging people to use the ISO facebook as a resource and start conversation about ISO online.  As it stands today the ISO facebook page has not been updated since January.  Not only are we going to have to encourage outsiders to use Facebook, but we are going to have to teach ISO about how to use Facebook and how it can be useful to them. PR Daily came out with a list of “5 Facebook tips every small business should know” that I think could be very useful.  The article lists things like knowing what the goal of the page is and how to capitalize on that to knowing how to promote the page through all avenues possible.  It is still clear that we are going to have our work cut out for us, but I am positive in the team we have and know that we will try our hardest and do our best.  After all, we are CHAMPIONS!

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , ,


As students it’s hard for us to think of ourselves as PR professionals.  It’s hard for us to think we are knowledgeable or capable enough to help an organization become what it hopes to be.  We’ve always dreamed of the day when we would have our own clients.  The day when we would be the ones helping to make the decisions.  Ready or not, that day has come.  The day has come when we can impact an organization.  We can prove to ourselves and others that we are capable of managing a real client and a real campaign.

Today was our first meeting with our client Istrouma Sports Organization (ISO).  It was encouraging to see people who loved what they were doing and always tried to influence the community around them.  As we were sitting in our meeting, I quickly realized that while it is great to finally have a real client, the pressure to deliver results would soon follow. As ML was going over the organization of Istrouma it became clear there was a hierarchical system set in place.  One of the challenges that we are going to have to face is that ISO is at the bottom of that system.  One thing that really caught my attention and something I didn’t expect was a lack of participation in ISO from the members of the church.  Only 20% of ISO was from the church itself.  As we continued asking questions about ISO and how it worked, who they targeted and how they targeted people, research questions began popping in everyone’s head.

Now that the first meeting is over the fun can really begin.  As we walked out of the meeting the first thing someone said was, “what’s next?”  Well that really was a silly question considering it has been drilled in our brain for the last three years.   What is that next step?  The R in R.O.P.E.S.  Research, research and research.  Before going into the meeting I admit I was a little confused on what type of research we would need to do and how we were going to do it.  However, I think ML and Istrouma has given us enough information to begin thinking about research that is going to help us throughout the campaign.  We want to know things like why people are participating in ISO?  Why AREN’T people participating in ISO?  How are people finding out about ISO?  Why is participation within the church so low?  These are just some of the questions we are interested in researching so we have a better understanding of who to target and how to target them.

Its only been one day since working with this organization and campaign, but the future already looks bright.  I know we won’t always know the answer and we won’t always be perfect but we will always try our best.  PR Daily cam up with a list of “10 ways to be a dream intern,” and I think if we follow by most of those rules, we will be the dream interns for ISO.

On the way

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 2, 2012 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , ,