PR Pros: Choosing Clients’ Causes Carefully

By: Toni L. Rousell                   Original Post can be found here

Your advice is not only valued, as a hired PR professional, wise counsel is required.

So, how do you help your clients choose the causes they support? Being driven by emotions or going with what’s popular, is sure to be a recipe for disaster.

Discouraging clients from seeking alliance with causes they really have no sincere desire to support, or no real understanding of, should be number one priority.  It can be hard to steer them in a more beneficial direction, avoiding self-destruction of their brand, but it’s responsible and necessary.  They’ll thank you later and you’ll sleep better at night.  Throwing support to a cause they don’t truly believe in, will only lead to their support waning, which will consequently reduce the value of their endorsements as they appear “flaky”, or even unstable, in the public-eye.

Local vs. National

It can seem convenient to offer support to the largest, most visible organization when it comes to “giving-back”, but could a local organization, requiring more hands on support, be more beneficial to your client’s long-term philanthropic goals and public image?  Analyzing the organization’s mission, do results support that mission?

Local organizations will allow for your client to see the lives their efforts effect. They will be able to look directly into the eyes of those benefiting from their donations and volunteering, and will also be more likely to give to those in their hometowns who directly affected their success, which makes for excellent public relations.  This encourages a more faithful, less “fair-weather”, connection.

Alternatively, national organizations offer the opportunity for clients to give-back to multiple communities at once.  If your client lives or their primary business is based outside of their hometown, this choice would allow them to give-back to their hometown community, as well as to the new community that has embraced them. There should be no lack of effort on the client’s part to make their presence known, even when the cameras are off or not around.  A national organization will also be more likely to have consistent PR representation, affording a better grasp on public support of the cause and offering more flexible events your client can join.

Making the Commitment 

Sometimes a client desires to support organizations with a focus that may require a little extra effort for educating the public or validating the connection. Is the client truly committed? This is where your client’s genuine beliefs will come into play. The work required will expose the true intent: is it pub or love?

One example of true commitment is that of Actress Ciera Payton. Being raised, until the age of 13, by her grandmother and drug addicted (now incarcerated) father, Ms. Payton wanted to align her brand with organizations that would allow her to connect with youth growing up in an environment similar to herself: children of incarcerated parents.

But how understood is this cause?

Most children of incarcerated parents are misunderstood and, in many cases, ignored.  Many can site statistics, and some can actually admit they’ve become a statistic, but Ms. Payton’s focus is clear: share the fact that she has overcome the statistics.

By welcoming audiences in, sharing some of her most painful moments growing up in a life-threatening environment, Ms. Payton reaches those who can relate, finding those in need. She credits the Arts for saving her life, and not only commits funding, but diligently focuses on giving-back to youth facing the same battles she’s faced by mentoring.  She has chosen a mix of both local and national organizations to support, allowing her to give back to her hometown of New Orleans as well as her new home of Los Angeles.

Maya Angelou quote (pic)

PR and Publicity vs “Puff and Fluff”

While announcing the partnership, be honest with the public.  Don’t puff up your client to be more than what they are or try to fluff up their support to be more than what it is.  Instead, once the choice has been made, be sure to connect with those who genuinely share in the cause.  Reach out to those who are long-term supporters, whether celebrity or not. This will not only increase the support base for the cause, but will also strengthen your client’s alliance.  Joining forces and sharing ideas for creative support, increases public awareness and makes the difference between superficial “puff and fluff” and careful PR and publicity.

Remember, it’s the man who has more that gives more and philanthropic efforts are what keeps many in need going and feeling encouraged.  Giving back for the cameras is bound to be exposed and never worth the backlash.

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PR pro: Don’t call us marketers

By Kevin Allen The original post can be found here
Earlier this year, I published a piece that may have suggested that PR is a “fallback” career for journalists. The piece garnered 50+ comments; clearly, some PR folks are easily offended.

List Brian Kilgore among the easily offended. He recently penned a piece for The Huffington Posttitled, “Don’t Insult PR People by Calling Them Marketers.”

The offending part is the Globe and Mail, which called CBC’s new boss a former “marketing and public relations executive.”

Marketing and public relations are different, Kilgore asserts.

The piece is actually more of a 101-level “This is what PR is and this is what marketing is—see, aren’t they different?”

I think Kilgore seriously mischaracterizes the approach of a modern brand. Social media has changed everything. The most successful brands don’t function within an old school model under which PR, marketing, and advertising function in their own silos and it’s up to PR to pitch journalists.
Sure, you can still function in that model, but a coordinated approach—with PR, marketing, and advertising functioning as fingers in a fist, with social media as the thumb—can spark much more influence than any department working on its own.

PR people shouldn’t be offended by being perceived as marketers any more than marketers should be offended by being seen as public relations pros. We should all recognize that the lines are blurred in the new paradigm—it’s only when the efforts are coordinated that the best things happen.

16 networking mistakes that can derail your career

By Jim Dryburgh This post can be found here

Networking is a skill that can help you develop long‐lasting business and social relationships.As with most skills, you can network well or poorly—perhaps to the detriment of your career.Here are the 16 most common networking mistakes to avoid:1. You think you don’t know anyone.

You are connected to more people than you realize.

Take 10 minutes and write a list of past and current work colleagues, industry contacts, friends, family and acquaintances. You will likely be surprised by how many people you know. Store these names in a file and add new people as you meet them.

Once a month, go through your list. Call at least one person, and email three. The key is to stay in touch. Find out what’s new with people personally or professionally, react to news in your industry or set up a lunch. Put a note in your files to remind yourself what you talked about.

Now check out some social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, which are powerful ways to expand your network. If you have a blog or website, check out who’s been corresponding with you lately.

Continuously reach out to new people and you’ll see networking possibilities grow.

2. You wait for a reason to network.

A network is a social and business resource that you must cultivate and nurture.

Your network supports and sustains you in good times, but is the key to your survival in bad times. Too often people start networking only after they need something. Imagine a friend or relative who only calls when he needs money. Do you take his call? Do you look forward to hearing from him?

Effective networking means creating contacts and relationships now. Dig your well before you’re thirsty, as Harvey Mackay says.

3. You fail to create a networking script.

Avoid fumbling and stammering for the right words by practicing what you’re going to say about yourself, your job or another topic of interest.

Practice it. Practice smiling as you say it so people get a sense of excitement and energy about you. Then think about questions that might come up and how you’ll respond.

Whether you call someone or talk in person, consider what you want and what you can realistically expect from the person. Think about the purpose of your conversation—is it to find out information or seek other contacts? Being clear about what you want will be a more effective use of everyone’s time, and will create a better impression than a rambling speech. Be aware that the person may not be in a position to do much; be gracious if all he can offer are ideas, advice or experience.

Requesting a job isn’t appropriate at this stage, and may result in you losing the contact. For networking emails, be personable and upbeat, but make sure your tone is appropriate to the person you are contacting. For example, don’t go into networking mode if you are just reaching out to an old friend.

[RELATED: Ragan’s new distance-learning site houses the most comprehensive video training library for corporate communicators.]

4. You’re unprepared.

Thinking you know what you want is not the same as knowing it.

Treat networking the same way you would an appearance at Carnegie Hall. Practice your pitch as well as your answers to questions that might arise.

Knowing what you want to get out of a conversation will make the best use of everyone’s time. Do you want a new job? Sales contacts? Information about a competitor?

If you don’t know what you’re after, you’ll either embarrass yourself or walk away having accomplished nothing.

Do your homework and plan ahead to avoid arriving unprepared. If you’re meeting with someone or attending an event, know why you are going and the types of people who will be there. Research specific contacts who may be there and prepare some conversation topics ahead of time.

5. You talk about yourself too much.

When networking, listen to what everyone else is saying. People help by offering advice; they’re not interested in hearing how much you already know.

While a big part of networking is marketing yourself, it’s important to know where to draw the line. Give others some room to get a word in. Prompt them to tell you a little about themselves. This way, not only will they feel like they are part of the conversation, but you’ll learn a little about them. The more you know about them, the more you’ll know what they can do for you, and-brace yourself-what you can do for them.

6. You monopolize someone’s time.

At a networking event, everyone wants to mingle and meet different people. Although making a connection with someone and getting into an interesting discussion can be a great experience, you should keep conversations at networking events short and sweet.

If you’re networking over the phone or by email, remember that the person you’re speaking with has a life beyond you and your needs and interests. A good rule of thumb is that if the person is carrying less than half of the conversation, it’s time to move on.

7. You lack etiquette.

Etiquette can extend from table manners to punctuality to your approach to social networking. If you think people don’t notice, you’re wrong. Committing this blunder is self-destructive, so mind your manners!

There are a number of things that violate networking etiquette:

  • Showing up late.
  • Interrupting people when they are talking.
  • Talking for an extended period of time about yourself.
  • Not asking other people who they are and what they do.
  • Barging into a group when it is clear they don’t want to be disturbed.
  • Blatantly looking for the next person to talk to.
  • Drinking too much.
  • Talking with your mouth full.
  • Not keeping your emails and your social media profiles professional.
  • Sharing a person’s contact information without his permission. (This is a huge no-no that will quickly land you a top spot on the blacklist. Always check with people first, even if you’re doing them a favor.)

8. You forget to bring business cards.

In one of his books, Jeffrey Gitomer argues that the main purpose of a business card is to get the other person’s card. When you hand people a card, they usually want to do the same. The key is to get their cards so you can respond after the meeting with a note that connects you and the conversation you had.

Always carry business cards with you—especially if you’re attending a networking event. It’s unprofessional to give out your contact information on a scrap piece of paper or napkin. Doing so may discourage a contact from getting in touch with you in the future.

9. You have an unprofessional email address.

Your friends may know you as “Daddys1Girl,” “HotStud4U,” “Cougarlady” or “RumAndCoke47,” but when you’re building a network, use a serious email address—preferably one with your real name. And when you use this email address, make sure you have a complete signature at the bottom.

Make it easy for people to remember and contact you later. Your email, LinkedIn profile and standard messaging are key parts of your brand. Consider getting a website and using your email as the address. You can do this for the cost of one business book, and it’s another way to expand your brand.

10. You forget you only have one chance to make a first impression.

Dress sharply when you attend an event. Give firm handshakes, stand up straight, make good eye contact, repeat names back to the owners and show respect to everyone in the room. Never say anything negative about any person, event, company or organization, regardless of your personal views.

Remember that a networking event can be like a first interview for your next job, but no one will help you get your foot in the door if you put forth an unprofessional or negative attitude.

11. You don’t know how to work a room.

Men and women with contacts and power meet many people, but they only remember those who stand out from the crowd.

If you “just aren’t very social” or if networking “just isn’t in your personality,” then be someone else for the networking event. Be assertive and act like a leader you admire. How would your hero handle this situation? Communicate self‐assurance and confidence. Don’t let your introverted preferences get in the way of building the network or career you want.

The good news is you can learn how to network. The news you probably don’t want to hear is that in today’s communication‐driven world, just about everybody has to do it. There’s no sense trying to avoid it.

12. You don’t ask follow-up questions.

If you’re networking for a job opportunity and someone says, “I wish I could help you, but I don’t know of any openings right now,” take a minute or two to ask some follow-up questions:

  • What’s the outlook for the future?
  • Do you know anyone else in the industry who might have something?
  • Do you have any thoughts on what my next step should be?
  • Who would you contact if you were in my shoes?

Follow‐up questions show interest and may help the person you’re networking with come up with ideas he might otherwise have overlooked.

13. You lie.

Would you ever recommend someone who you knew stretched the truth?

A wise man once said, “Always tell the truth. That way you won’t ever have to remember what you said.”

It’s tempting to say, “So‐and‐so gave me your name and told me to call.” It might even get you a meeting. But eventually such‐and‐such will learn so-and‐so did not tell you to call, and you’ll have burned not one, but two, bridges.

Building relationships is all about building trust. If you don’t trust someone, you’ll hesitate to contact him when it’s time to make an important business decision. You don’t want someone to hesitate about you.

14. You don’t follow u p.

You’ve gone through all the trouble to make a contact, so why let it go to waste?

You need to follow up after every meeting or job interview to reiterate your interest and ensure you remain at the front of the person’s mind.

Remember, people are busy, and you probably aren’t their top priority. But they are your top priority. Make sure they know it.

Always thank a contact for her time and advice via a handwritten note or follow‐up email or call. Let your contact know whether her suggestions panned out. You may think your networking is over, but your paths may cross again.

Don’t be afraid to get back in touch with someone. Send her an article or notice of an event that might interest her. Keep in touch through social media or drop her an occasional email telling her how you are.

What goes around comes around. Follow up with contacts who helped you. Keep them up‐to‐date about the company you are now working for or whether the information or leads they provided you were helpful.

This will help you to maintain people as contacts in your network, and allow you to return the favor when they’re in need.

15. You don’t tie up loose ends.

Too often when people in your network help you and give you the opening you need to achieve your goal, you think “It’s finally over.”

Not quite.

After any business meeting, you should document what actions people committed to—particularly you. In most cases, sending a note regarding your commitments will make you look professional and competent. You will probably need those people again in the future.

Write the person a thank‐you note for her help, and let her know what you ended up doing. Don’t just do this for the person or people who helped you find a job or a client. Do it for everyone who offered to, as well.

16. You don’t pay it forward.

Networking is a two-way street.

If you reach out to your contacts every time you need a something—a job, sales lead or favor—without ever giving back, people will stop being so willing to help. A good networker is ready and willing to help their contacts whenever they can.

Did you meet someone who would be a great contact for your colleague? Introduce them! Do you know of a job lead that might be perfect for your contact’s unemployed son? Hook him up!

If people see you as a resource, they’ll be more inclined to nurture and maintain the mutually beneficial relationship.

If you know what not to do, you can network with purpose, add value to your network and become outstanding at the art of networking.

Jim Dryburgh is president and founder of The Balanced WorkLife Company. A version of this article originally appeared on Careertopia.

Sold Out Summit Brings Women In PR From Around The Country

After a successful, sold out, intense, but very educational Women In PR Summit in Houston, Texas at the Doubletree Suites Galleria.

Women In PR is known for providing a way for students and professionals to learn what it will take to succeed in the public relations industry. Many PR professionals have been eager to give back as a keynote speaker or participating on the panelist.

This year the summit was about the business of PR. Topics that were discussed was everything from social media profiles to how to find sponsorship money.

A highnote was Nicole Garner of The Garner Circle who gave the closing keynote address Running In Heels. Providing tips on how to be successful in the beginning and how to become the publicist that you imagine yourself to be.

This year panelist included Cher Jones, the social media guru, Ruth Ann Wiesner of Raw Marketing, Aerial Ellis and Perri Dugard-Owens from Dugard Ellis, Raven Robinson of PR2Politics, Julie Griffith of J.Griffith Public Relations, Kristi Jackson of Women CEO Project, La Shawn Thomas of Miami Entertainment Law Group and many more.

Women In PR is glad to announce the next Summit will be in Chicago in August 2014. With the continued success of the summit we are ecstatic to go to the windy city next year. Women In PR passion is to teach what can’t be learned in the classroom but by real life experiences.

For more information about the Women In PR Summit http://www.wiprsummit.com

Co-Founder of WIPR Anje Collins and Attendees

Co-Founder of WIPR Anje Collins and Attendees

Co-Founder of WIPR Anje Collins and Attendees
Keynote Speaker Nicole Garner of The Garner Circle

Keynote Speaker Nicole Garner of The Garner Circle

Panelists Kristi Jackson of Women CEO Project, Ruth Ann Wiesner of Raw Marketing, Anje Collins of Women In PR, Julie Griffith of J Griffith PR and Perri Dugard Owens of Dugard Ellis PR

Panelists Kristi Jackson of Women CEO Project, Ruth Ann Wiesner of Raw Marketing, Anje Collins of Women In PR, Julie Griffith of J Griffith PR and Perri Dugard Owens of Dugard Ellis PR

Fancy Yourself A Fashion PR Girl?

by   This post can originally be found here

 

Ah fashion PR. Ever since the the high brand fashion PR girls (you know…the fashion media goddesses, such as the almighty OscarPR girl/Erika Bearman…) decided to publicly tweet, blog and Facebook away about her job antics..with you know the “usual” 9 to 5 agenda,  the casual name dropping of celebs, the oodles of international trips and champagne swilling parties, a career in Fashion PR has never before looked so (in the worlds of the immortal Coco Chanel) “classy and fabulous.”

The success of popular reality TV shows like “Project Runway,” “Kell on Earth” and “The City,” have also inspired many public relations students and recent graduates to break into the world of fashion PR.  But one must remember that all these lavish ladies such as Whitney Port, Olivia Palermo, Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington… they are at the peaks of their careers. And before you can even think of sipping some martini’s at a high end Monte Carlo fashion bash or hailing that yellow cab in New York City, you may have a long and laborious ladder to climb first.

So what does a PR do exactly? Since publicity is free, a fashion PR company or executive would be responsible for; building relationships with the press (they basically have to make friends with fashion editors, writers and journalists so that these people will write about/feature the product); organising and managing guestlists for promotional events; gifting (sending free product to key editors or celebrities in the hope that they’ll use or write about it); writing, distributing and following up on press releases and press packs; dealing with requests from the press and celebrity PRs; and reporting back to clients on the publicity they’re getting for the brands. PR Reps also help maintain the public image of the brand. They may help with marketing initiatives, or photo shoots, or just maintain the overall perception of the brands mission and image to the market.

So like any other sector in the media (such as journalism for instance) fashion PR is becoming more and more competitive because of how popular culture is depicting is as one of the most charismatic and glamorous jobs in the fashion industry. All the fashion aesthetic and pleasure without the hardcore and challenging sewing/design work. And of course it can be all these stylish things, but only in good time. One must be be prepared to start from the bottom and become acquainted the pains, pressures and hard work that will in due course put you on the winding road towards PR success. So, still fancy becoming the next Gucci PR Gal or Lavin PR Lady? Darlings, go get yourself a notebook and please be ready to take note…

Here are some essential pointers that could assist you onto conquering the yellow brick road of a Fashion PR career:

1. University degree: If you are lucky enough to live in the metropolis of London you may be able to just study for a college diploma in Fashion or for your A-Levels and brave the world of fashion by falling straight into internships. However most Fashion PR wannabe’s will consider doing an undergraduate degree first just as educational insurance in case this becomes a requirement later on. Regarding the academic discipline of your degree it be anything you wish. Still most successful employees in the PR industry usually have an undergraduate degree in the following areas: Journalism, PR, Media studies, English, Fashion, Marketing, History etc. If you don’t have a degree in these disciplines it may still be possible for you to pursue a career as a PR associate however you may need to do some independent research/work to put you up to scratch with the others. I suppose if  you want it enough you will be determined to prove your worth!

2. Work experience: This is a absolute must if you want to place a foot in the first rung of that PR career ladder. While employers aren’t so fussed on your degree discipline, nothing in the world beats hands on experience on the job. When you do your work experience however is entirely up to you. Many students who do a sandwich 4 year course at university will opt to do an industry placement as part of their course. Other students who follow through with more traditional degrees like English may have to do work experience alongside their studies and attempt to balance it out. The best advice is to gain some sort of work experience in the first or second year of your degree so you can concentrate getting the very best marks in your last year. And if you live outside of London where many of the placements and internships are, be prepared to plan ahead and email in advance to avoid nasty surprises of clashing dates and availability!

3. Finding work experience: Finding work experience has never been so easy in this day and age. Long gone are the days were we would have to write letters and deliver them by snail mail post, now we have the world wide web at out fingertips. Sit down with a brew and scour through job websites such as FashionMonitor.com and FashionJobs.com to keep up to date with the latest internship and work placements as and when they happen. And do not just limit yourself to search engine websites. The social media era has now become pervasive with everyone, in every country and with every age. Even your Grandma has probably got a Facebook account and is probably in more tagged pictures than you are. So instead of just using Facebook and Twitter for talking to your friends use it for tracking down companies and employers!

4. Twitter, the biggest social network of them all: Never before has Twitter been in demand so much. Many find it an unfamiliar social media to begin with but once they have sent a few dozen tweets and gained a few followers, it has never become so addictive. You find yourself hash-tagging everything in virtual sight. So if you find yourself on Twitter more times than you would like to admit, use that internet hovering to good use! Track down other who are in similar positions to you to ask for advice, tweet companies directly asking for work placements, follow important people in the industry who might be able to get you a job and reply to their tweets as friendly as you can, in order to show an interest…believe me in the end you will be rewarded for your research and friendliness!

Nonetheless even though Twitter may have its advantages, I’d advise also to be wary of what you voice on there. Unlike Facebook, Twitter has less privacy settings regarding your personal information so don’t write anything down on there you would not want a prospective employer to see.  But all in all, regarding PR placements and internships, Twitter is thee place where they are most regularly advertised. All day every day. You never know when Jonathan Saunders may need an assistant or if Henry Holland  requires a few dozen interns. You just have to be at the right virtual place at the right virtual time…

5. Blogging – As a PR student it might be an idea to show an interest in your area of work by writing a fashion blog. Fashion bloggers have really made their mark in recent years and because of their willingness to write fashion/beauty reviews, articles or whatever interests them they have ended up landing secure PR jobs and placements because of that blog. An employer for instance would gain a brilliant insight into your personality and a taster of how much you want a particular role or how you would fit into the philosophy of their company just through looking at your blog content. And never fear if it’s not as good as some of the other “big bloggers” blogs. Employers will be able to see through that facade of how many “followers” and “comments”  being tantamount to your “success.” It is sheer nonsense. Evidently if you have hundreds of followers then that by all means is fruitful. BUT they will appreciate content over the social factors of it. Blogging after all is not a popularity contest nor should it be enthused to be so.

6. Gaining work experience: Congratulations on getting a placement! But this is were the hard work begins. You must ensure you are punctual for your first day in order to set a good impression. Be friendly, appeasing, willing and approachable as the team you are working in will appreciate those qualities. As it’s fashion PR they won’t expect you to dress so corporal so feel free to dress to revel in your own normal attire. Nonetheless remember it is a fashion placement so be sure to adhere to particular style that will get you noticed for your creativity or wear certain trends you know to be in vogue to stress that you are indeed “style savvy.”

Sadly you may be making tea, photocopying, sitting at a desk, liasoning, answering the phone, on Excel etc on your first day but don’t feel disheartened by this. You must take it on the chin and continue to smile. What did you expect on your first day? That’d you be whisked away with a senior member of staff to eat danish pastry The Savoy or to go to an exhibition in Paris? Of course not. So remember to use your time to observe productively. See what other employees are doing. Ask them questions on how they got their role or to show you how to function particular software or operate different tasks. As a result you will be appear an interested and eager individual and more likely to be remembered for all the right reasons instead of sulking in the corner like a diva. This may be a job in the fashion industry but it gives you no right to appropriate “model behavior” akin to that of Naomi Campbell.

7. After the work experience: YAY you have survived your first tests of PR Fashion girl work. Now what? Well the experience should have taught you whether you feel that PR would be the right career for you or not. If it is and you imagine yourself in your mind as the next Olivia P then you should be focused on securing your next placement. However that does not mean you should disregard the first company that took you under their wing. If you had a really productive time, perhaps suggest an opportunity for working for the employer again in the next few months? Perhaps write down the names of the contacts you have made and ask whether you can keep in touch? Remember networking is crucial to the fashion industry and by regularly tweeting, writing emails and referring to a previous colleague who knows what that person could do for your potential career prospects? One day you could work with someone who knows Kate Moss, Lily Cole or the editor of a big fashion magazine. What I’m saying is that without networking, if you never ask, you will never know! I’d particularly stress making a LinkedIn account to, a social networking site designed for professionals. (www.linkedin.com)

These tips then are just the basis to springboard your career into the fashion PR industry. These points would probably be the most traditional of avenues but don’t feel you have to completely adhere to it. Most PR employees have diverse and wide ranging backgrounds of how their secured their jobs in the industry which makes it all the more interesting, attainable and reassuring to us who may be apprehensive or nervous about whether we can succeed! Still, it would not hurt to take this advice on board to know what you are up against. As a person you need to be (like with any other career in the fashion industry) determined, hard working, willing to work long and unconventional hours, fashion conscious and knowledgeable, adaptable, passionate, calm under pressure, have a range of interpersonal skills and most significantly of all, be confident. Fashion is a industry full of strong willed characters therefore it is essential that you raise your voice high and proud to have it heard. There are no quiet or mousy plain Jane’s in this field of work. Oh no. Only a parade of colourful and loud characters that bring personality and essence to a brand. Candidates of the highest style calibre if you please…

So the question is…could you then be the next OscarPR girl or a Lagerfeld lass? Oh Reality TV watch your back or indeed watch your production budget…because slowly but surely they’ll be a new influx of PR girls swarming into town…

 

 

PR pro habits that journalists despise

By Kevin Allen | This post can be found here

Katie Burke has penned the post that many have been waiting for.

On the HubSpot blog, Burke’s post, “S%*t PR People Do That Journalists Hate” provides a fantastic indictment of all the lazy, annoying, and stupid things that PR people do to try to get journalists to write about their clients.

Among the complaints:

• Calling on the phone, ever.
• Pitching canned and boring story ideas.
• Using all caps.
• Spamming.

All the complaints are collected in the following SlideShare:

http://image.slidesharecdn.com/shitprpeopledo-130710113630-phpapp02/95/slide-1-638.jpg?1374087602

It’s begging for a response, so the challenge to PR pros is to offer enough material for “S%*t Journalists Do That  PR Pros Hate.

7 underrated skills every PR newbie needs

By Jessica Malnik| This post can be found here

 

In an ideal world, nascent PR pros and neophyte journalists should know how to do a variety of things before they walk across the stage and get their diplomas.

 

There’s no need to be an expert in everything, but it helps to have some familiarity with a variety of tasks and programs. As someone who’s been in the workforce for a few years now, I offer seven underrated skills that all aspiring PR pros and journalists should have:

1. Basic HTML knowledge

By this, I mean basic. There’s no need for PR pros to know how to code websites, although it could be helpful. There is a need to know to how to post a blog post using WordPress, Blogger, or Posterous. Knowing simple HTML commands for headlines, body copy, bold, italic, and bullet points is HTML 101.

 

2. Video editing

This can be daunting to learn. I’m not saying everyone should be fluent in Final Cut Pro or Avid, but there is no reason that a marketer or PR pro should not have some familiarity with iMovie, Animoto, or Jaycut. These are simple programs that enable you to upload and edit videos, often in minutes.

3. Excel

Creating simple spreadsheets and tasks in Excel can be difficult for newbies. Though it may be a tough program to learn, there’s no excuse to do so. You will use it more than you think.

4. Proper grammar

Writing well is a staple of just about any career. Good grammar and spelling are at its root. Channel the advice of your middle school English teacher whenever you construct a sentence, paragraph, white paper, presentation, or blog post. Good grammar matters.

5. Basic math

Whether you’re analyzing statistics, comparing percentages, or helping prepare a budget, simple math skills come in handy more often than you might think.

6. SEO

Understanding how SEO affects your site’s search rankings is important. At the very least, you should know to craft an SEO-friendly headline and keywords for site content. Any added knowledge is gravy. For additional SEO resources, check out SEOMoz blog, a phenomenal resource.

7. Social media familiarity

It’s mind blowing how many marketers and PR pros handle “social media tasks” professionally when they have no or little experience using those platforms. You don’t have to be super active on Facebook, Twitter, G+, etc., but you should at least be on the sites and know how to use them.

 

What other skills should marketers and PR pros have? Please leave them in the comments section below.

Jessica Malnik is a PR/marketing coordinator, social media specialist, videographer, and an avid Gen Y blogger. A version of this article originally appeared on her blog.

What Do You Do When Your Venue Closes Days Before Your Event?

When the Children’s Book Choice Awards planners arrived for load in, they discovered a lock on the venue’s doors and had to act quickly to save the event.

By Beth Kormanik | This Post can be found here

<p>  The Children's Book Choice Awards switched venues at the last minute, but it brought along its bookshelf lectern.</p>

The venue for the Children’s Choice Book Awards changes each year, and planner Lizz Torgovnick of Sequence Events and her clients at the Children’s Book Council had carefully scouted locations before choosing the Liberty Theater for this year’s event in May. The historic facility—with its unique layout and original theater boxes—had even inspired the event’s red curtain theme.

When the load-in crew members arrived on Friday to prep for the Monday event, they found an event planner’s nightmare: a padlock on the door and a post detailing liquor and other violations. The team faced a quick decision: Hope the legal issues would be resolved by Monday, or change venues.

“The first hour was spent asking, ‘What the heck is going on?’ Was it still possible to have the event there,” Torgovnick said. “We couldn’t get our venue contact on the phone, so it became clear very quickly that we needed to find a new venue for our event. After a few semi-frantic calls to team Sequence, everyone was on the case. We called every venue we’ve ever worked with that could accommodate this event.”

They needed an open venue that had space for a cocktail reception, award presentation, and dessert reception for 300 people—without increasing the budget. Finding an open venue in a matter of hours, even in a city like New York with its numerous options, is no easy task. The first round of phone calls yielded no results. Liberty Theater’s audiovisual contact suggested a not-yet-open space called Stage 48, fewer than 10 blocks from the original venue. It was still finalizing details of its build out, but it was available, and the team scheduled a walk-through.

“Luckily, it was a pretty good fit,” Torgovnick said. “It was 80 percent of what we needed from a venue, and the rest was doable. It was kind of a miracle.”

With the client’s approval, they made the switch. But the crew still faced several hurdles: ordering a new menu without a tasting, creating a new floor plan and new seat assignments, and alerting guests to the change in location. Then there was the stage itself. Intended more for live music events, it did not have stairs for winners to climb to receive their awards.

So planners asked the chef to recreate as best he could the original menu and cobbled together a staircase from materials the venue had on hand. The Children’s Book Council emailed event guests about the new location, and the night of the event, a hired staffer stood outside of the old venue in case anyone missed the message.

Another challenge was the elevator. It was not operational, so guests had to climb to reach the third-floor reception site. To accommodate guests who couldn’t make the hike, staffers kept the bar open on the main level and brought in hors d’oeuvres.

Despite the change, the event largely stayed on budget. Stage 48 matched the original venue price, and there was no haggling with the Liberty Theater since it had not cashed the deposit check. The only loss was for a satellite truck that planners had hired for a live online broadcast of the show. Its signal, which had been tested at the former venue, did not work from the new one.

The Liberty Theater’s William Curran told BizBash that the violations were from the theater’s in-house restaurant at the time, Famous Dave’s, which was operated separately. Curran said the management took care of the violations in court that Friday and reopened in time for dinner service. (He added that Famous Dave’s had been replaced by the Liberty Diner under new management.)

“We could have done the event here, but they felt more comfortable moving,” Curran said. “In my 30 years I’ve never had something like that. I understood that the event planner was very upset to say the least, and that’s why I did everything I could to help them.”

Torgovnick said she was disappointed that her client never received an apology from the Liberty Theater, but the experience had taught her valuable lessons.

“Be prepared,” she said. “Be on top of all of the details. If you have all of the puzzle pieces, if you have to reassemble them in a different place, it’s possible. Expecting the unexpected is part of our job, and in a sick way is what we love about the industry. The biggest problem that anyone could face came our way, and we still had a fantastic event.”

 

15 tips for a successful PR career

By Dave Fleet – Post can be found here

 

 

 

 

One of the things I enjoy most nowadays is having the opportunity to speak to the future leaders of the PR profession when they’re starting out. I often get asked: “What tips would you offer to get ahead in this field?”

 

Now that summer is upon us and students are turning their minds to life after school, I thought it might be timely to offer some advice here.

Here are 15 top tips for success in a public relations career. Funnily enough, I’d give the same advice to someone 10 years into their career, like me:

1. Be a sponge.

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it made the PR pro. Whether you’re just starting out or if you’ve been in the business for years, it’s incumbent upon you to constantly learn in order to stay on top of our industry. Never stop being curious.

 

2. Stay on top of the news.

Make time to stay on top of current events. Read a newspaper (online or offline). Set up news alerts for your company and/or your clients. Listen to the radio or to podcasts about industry news. Watch the news in the morning. Whatever approach you choose, it will make you more interesting and it will make you better at your job. Consider it an investment.

3. Focus on details.

Nothing hurts the credibility of a pitch, a proposal, or a program like sloppy mistakes. Meanwhile, people who become known for outrageous attention to detail become go-to people in a team. Be that person. Read and re-read your work. Be your own devil’s advocate in order to think things through and make sure you’ve covered all the angles. Double-check your calculations. Question your assumptions.

4. Learn to juggle.

This one applies especially to agency folks, but it goes across the board. Learn how to prioritize, how to focus when you need to, and how to manage your time. Life in PR is a juggling act, and you need to know how to manage your workload and the expectations of your clients—however you define them.

5. Learn to write.

Take the time to learn how to write well. Practice. Learn from others. Take a course if you need to. (I recommend the eight-step editing course by the Editors’ Association of Canada, but there are many others.)

Crucial for many new graduates, you may need to unlearn what your professors taught you in university. Short paragraphs, short sentences, and clear language help you to convey your point much more easily than the opposite.

Oh, and if you could put “by zombies” at the end of a phrase, it’s passive. Keep your voice active.

6. Embrace numbers.

Measurement has been a weak point in the PR profession for a long time. Nowadays, companies demand more. This is especially the case for social media and paid media programs. The days of output-focused measurement are numbered, and outcome-focused measurement is on the rise. You don’t need to be an expert in dissecting website traffic (especially if you have a measurement team supporting you), but you should know the basics and know how to coach clients and people within your organization on how to approach measurement effectively.

7. Measure through the life cycle.

Measurement is so much more than reporting, and companies are demanding more from PR measurement nowadays. Know how to take full advantage of the potential that measurement holds throughout a program:

  • Inform your objectives (setting realistic goals, fueled by insights from past programs);
  • Fuel your planning (again, with insights from past work);
  • Identify and help to address issues mid-flight;
  • Measure results and generate new insights to fuel future work.

[Check out more on this in my recent presentation on Social Media at Scale that I gave at PodCamp Toronto.]

8. Provide solutions.

Tough challenges are a fact of life in the PR industry, where the role of communications is often to help to change behavior or perception. That’s difficult. Few things will endear you to your boss more than this: Become the person who comes forward with solutions alongside their problems. It doesn’t have to be the solution they choose (that helps, though), but the fact that you’re thinking it through and considering solutions demonstrates the kind of mindset that managers adore.

9. Learn to stay level-headed.

PR pros frequently have to deal with difficult situations, many of which can’t be predicted. These are moments where you can distinguish yourself and improve your reputation, or the reverse. Be one of those people who keep a cool head. Stay calm, and focus on solutions (per the earlier point). Remember: frantic doesn’t mean effective.

10. Know what you don’t know.

Self-awareness is a valuable trait, regardless of where you are in your career. Be humble enough to know when you’re out of your depth, and to learn from those who have experience in areas you don’t. Make sure that when you find yourself in that situation you don’t sit paralyzed until it’s too late for anyone to help you.

Bonus points for thinking things through ahead of time and coming prepared with a suggestion: “I’m not sure of the best approach here… here’s what I’m thinking… what do you think?”

11. Learn the difference between objectives, strategy, and tactics.

Nothing makes me cringe more than seeing people confuse objectives, strategy, and tactics with each other.

Simply put:

  • Objectives are what you need to accomplish. They should relate to business goals.
  • Strategies are how you plan to accomplish them. They should drive toward the objectives.
  • Tactics are the actions you take. They should funnel up to the strategy.

Learn it. Preach it.

[Read more on how to set better objectives or download my ebook on communications planning for more pointers.]

12. Become a trusted advisor.

Whether you’re dealing with executives in your company, or with clients at other firms, strive to become a trusted advisor to them. Go beyond what you “have” to do and become a partner. Flag opportunities and threats. Offer strategic opinions. Learn to empathize with them. Have difficult conversations when you need to. Push them to take the right approach (but know when to accept their decision).

Don’t just take orders.

13. Learn from your mistakes.

Accept that you’ll make mistakes. We all make them, and they’re a key piece of how we learn and improve. If you don’t make mistakes, then you’re not trying hard enough or not trying enough things. The key is to make them at the right time, in the right setting, and to learn from them. Conversely, people who constantly shirk responsibility for mistakes, or make excuses, will never learn.

Some of my most valuable lessons, and most beneficial experiences, have come from making mistakes. They weren’t pleasant at the time, but I learned from them and I’m better for it. What’s important is owning them and figuring out what to do differently next time.

14. Think outside your bubble.

It’s easy to get caught up in your day-to-day routine. Instead, look around and proactively identify ways to expand your expertise. That could be by finding new ways to get better at tasks, or by getting involved in a project that stretches you, or by learning more about a relevant field.

15. Understand converged media.

This point began life as “understand social media,” but nowadays it’s broader than that. Start with understanding social media-monitor and participate in relevant conversations; think about how your programs might play out in social channels, and so on. Social media is just the beginning now, though. The key nowadays is understanding how earned, owned, and paid media play together. You don’t need to be an expert in all of them, but you do need to understand how to leverage them.

There you have it-15 tips for success in PR. What would you add to the list?

A version of this article originally appeared on DaveFleet.com.

A PR fee for your thoughts?

By Donn Pearlman This post can originally be found here

Airlines, banks, and even Las Vegas hotels are all pounding the public with various fees for services that used to be free. Perhaps the public relations profession should consider adding surcharges, too.

Many hotels in Vegas tack on so-called “resort fees,” so I think the PR profession should have “last resort fees” to compensate for wasted time and tears of frustration.

Here are four you might consider:

We’ll have to chase our money fee: Automatically add 20 to 30 percent to the invoices of clients who you suspect will delay payments for 90 days or more. This fee is on top of any lawyer fees or court costs if you have to sue to collect money owed.

Unrealistic expectations fees (part I): An additional 10 to 20 percent will be tacked on to each month’s invoice for every three times you have to tell the client their routine, 300-word “new hire” news release is not going to be on the front page of The New York Times nor attract 10,000 followers on Twitter.

Unrealistic expectations fees (part II): A flat fee of $500 will be added to the invoice in any month during which you have to yet again explain the meaning of an editor’s prerogative to edit and the differences between a news story based on a press release and an actual paid advertisement for which the text you submitted is used verbatim. This usually occurs when the client again asks, “How come the (name of news organization) didn’t print the news release exactly as we wrote it?”

General aggravation fee: A 30 to 50 percent surcharge will be added to the invoices of clients who incessantly call, email, or text every 15 minutes to find out what’s happening with their project and argue each time that their cousin “who used to be in PR [in the 1970s] doesn’t think you’re doing it right.”

Donn Pearlman is an award-winning former Chicago broadcaster and journalist and is president ofDonn Pearlman & Associates Public Relations in Las Vegas. He says he has not charged any of the above fees—yet.