I love being a public relations consultant for the past few decades, and have enjoyed representing New England's largest and longest-running Renaissance Faire for the past five. Running your own PR firm can be fascinating, and we are required to keep all the “balls in the air” at all times. Just like a good juggler at the Faire, I’ve uncovered eight life lessons gleaned from observing master performers, including my favorite: the “grand finale” is a simple compilation of many smaller achievements.
Whether you are striking out pitching a story or creating a clever idea, or just need extra motivation for a personal goal, here are tips to keep our mind and energy focused on steps needed to achieve our goals.
1. Timing is everything. E ... ⇢ read more
Best Practices for Millennials by Millennials
Solveig Raftery, The Firm Public Relations & Marketing, www.thefirmpr.com
The journey to understand the millennial generation is as vast and arduous as the opinions about them. However, Millennials are now the largest living generation in the U.S. and represent the largest generation in the U.S. labor force. It’s safe to say that if you haven’t worked with a Millennial, it’s only a matter of time before you do.
According to Pew Research Center, Millennials are defined as those born after 1980 and the first generation to come of age in the new millennium. As an agency owner, I employ both “younger” and “older” Millennials. E ... ⇢ read more
With all the many channels in which people communicate, nonprofit organizations need to find ways to outreach to both current and potential audiences. Social media is segmented, based on each platform’s users, so nonprofits need a strategy to outreach, share and “rally the troops” to effectively break through the myriad of messaging out there. Three such groups, ambassadors, avengers and advocates, can be an instrumental part of organization’s comprehensive communication plan.
Ambassadors are folks who are tied into your community. They tend to be influencers who are willing and able to help spread the word about your organization at events and ... ⇢ read more
The drumbeat over the growing spate of “fake news” stories reached a crescendo last week when the 2017 AP Stylebook felt compelled to address proper journalistic style when referring to “the modern phenomenon of deliberate falsehoods or fiction masked as news circulating on the internet.” Ironically, “fake news” is far from new. The Onion and National Inquirer were peddling this cheap brand of journalism long before Al Gore ever invented the internet.
What is new is the impact “fake news” is having on the Fourth Estate; where trust in traditional news media is at an all-time low. A September 2016 Gallup Poll revealed that “Americans' trust and confidence in the mass media ‘to report the news fully, accurately and fairly’ has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup pol ... ⇢ read more
For companies like Pepsi and United, these past few weeks have not been “friendly” after long hours trying to battle crises within their respective organizations.
Every time a crisis hits major corporations, such as these, public relations professionals are left scratching their heads wondering who is in charge and why the PR people “didn’t have a seat at the table?”…from the beginning.
PR professionals are oftentimes called in after the crisis hits versus having a seat at the table during the initial planning and strategizing phases.
It’s clear that in the case of Pepsi, the advertising firm created what they thought was a home run ad for the soft drink maker: Model Kendall Jenner handing a police officer a Pepsi during a protest rally. However, my guess is that no one ran the ad by their Communications Director or possibly their outside public relations counsel because if they did, I wou ... ⇢ read more
According to a recent survey, more than 50 percent of journalists visit online newsroom sections of organizations’ websites at least once a week.
What are they looking to find in the online newsroom? More than news releases. The online newsroom should serve as an organization’s online filing cabinet with news releases, company information and digital assets readily available, including:
Smart PR professionals are now thinking about online newsrooms as a full section of a website, rather than just a single newsroom page.
- news releases;
- visual assets like photographs (including key leaders’ headshots in print-quality resolutions) and video;
- succinct information about products and services;
- biographies of key executives;
- media contacts, including cell phone numbers;
- financial statements.
Five tips to take your client’s online newsroom to the next level:
1) Filters: ... ⇢ read more
It’s time to vote! Perhaps you ran to the polls this morning to help the candidate you love become our next president. Or, maybe your vote just celebrates your right to do so and the end of a very long ad season. Either way, there’s no denying the Trump/Clinton race has been particularly intense. Dominated by unprecedented levels of mudslinging and scandals—the effect may last longer than Election Day.
A sky-high level of controversy is characteristic of this year's election. But, it begs a question about whether Trump and Clinton are that much more controversy worthy than candidates in the past. Could this level of scrutiny be just a natural outcome of running for office in the Digital Age?
Trump and Clinton have both had their turns wiping egg off their faces. Trump has been skewered for such things as his tax returns, ⇢ read more
By Solveig Raftery, The Firm Public Relations & Marketing
It's a turning point many companies and organizations eventually reach: After establishing a promising product or service, you decide to hire a PR agency to promote your valuable efforts. You conduct due diligence, research PR companies, and find one that offers the services you seek and that understands your vision and goals. You sign a contract.
Hiring a PR agency is a significant investment, and of course you want to ensure this investment is effective. Fortunately, when an organization and a PR firm collaborate well, they can reap very satisfying results.
Listed below are simple tips to help maximize this relationship.
The first step toward a successful PR campaign is preparation. This involves an in-depth planning process, including compiling a strategic schedule for PR efforts such as media ... ⇢ read more
By Jennifer Evans, Principal of The CKP Group in Houston, Texas.
My spouse and I work in different environments. He leads a technical team in the oil and gas industry. I spend my time at The CKP Group building robust communications efforts for clients. Still, we frequently “talk shop” and share best practices. There are two things we both detest: rudderless meetings and ineffective or missing measurement.
Meetings that matter
Meetings should be meaningful and strategic. Most meeting appointments originate from either an information gap or a problem that needs to be solved. Face time is key to relationship management whether it comes through video calls or traditional settings, and non-verbal cues foster connection. This is not an “older generation” preference. I recently surveyed communications colleagues and peers and found there was an overwhelming desire from ... ⇢ read more
I have a story I tell college students when I am trying to illustrate the point of how far technology has come, just over the course of my own career, in helping public relations practitioners do their jobs.
I share with them that when I first started working in public relations in the mid-1990s, I would often stand in front of a fax machine for hours at a time, sending news releases to media outlets around the state.
At this point in the story, their eyes glaze over because most of them have never seen a fax machine.
Then, I tell them how our practices changed when we got email and started communicating with reporters that way. This often generates a raised eyebrow, because they can’t imagine a time when people didn’t have email.
Finally, I talk about social media and how it has changed not only the way that public relations professionals communicate with journalists, but also in the way that online communications opened the doors to enable us to take our messages dire ... ⇢ read more
[caption id="attachment_1106" align="alignleft" width="300"] Apple watch photo courtesy of Associated Press[/caption]
By: Melanie McCraney, McCraney Communications
When Apple chief Tim Cook unveiled the Apple watch with a typically unfussy flourish March 9, he accomplished something most CEOs only dream of; he made news with a product announcement. Even better, the event kicked off a lively conversation that’s been happily buzzing ever since. Media mentions have been in the millions and the PR value attached to those stories is calculated at many times more. Apple enjoys the elite position of not having to pitch its news to the media; the media knocks on their door.
NBC’s Today Show had Carson Daley on the story, setting it up with ... ⇢ read more
- Conduct Thorough Planning