Friday, April 30, 2010

Unexpected #HAPPO Help

I opened up my blog for a guest post in the hopes of featuring a college senior about to graduate for the 2nd edition of Help a PR Pro Out (HAPPO). I have been communicating with and invited Kathelin (Kat) Buxton, UTA PRSSA President, to share some insights here on why employers should hire her. However, she sort of turned down the offer and turned things around. What resulted was a wonderful example of PR advocacy:

Kathelin wrote to me and explained why she was turning down my blog feature offer:
I have been fortunate these past few weeks to have been presented with more than a handful of interviews and one or two job offers that I thought it would be better suited to field this blog post opportunity to another PR pro who needs a hand.Below a blog post that Elizabeth Flores wrote, a fellow soon to be graduate and highly underrated individual. She played a pivotal role in the UTA Bateman case study team, and was part of our group that presented at the last PRSSA meeting. She is very dedicated and a hard worker but has not had the opportunity to immerse herself in the world of PR as I have due to other extenuating circumstances and a few too many curve balls thrown her way. I'm sorry if this is not what you had in mind, but what good am I as a PR pro if I can't be an advocate...[emphasis added]

So with that, here is the HAPPO guest post featuring Elizabeth Flores:
Elizabeth E. Flores | @isabella026

Kilma'njaro, captured out the window of our fl...
Mountain climbing might be considered an extreme sport, but it has become my passion over the past few years. More so this past year as I prepare to reach one of the highest mountains tops I have worked hard to conquer. In two weeks, I will have reached my Mt. Kilimanjaro and be the first in a large family to graduate from college. Despite many obstacles that could have prevented the climb, I hurdled the odds and reached the top.

As I try to make my way into the workforce, I know many employers will ask why her? out of the many other promising recent graduates, who might have more experience. There are three rules I came across and embraced to drive myself to success:
  1. Know what to expect and expect the unexpected;
  2. Be Accountable; and
  3. Stay Motivated.
I didn’t have the opportunity to have the best internships to get valuable experience because a full-time school load and job took most of my time. However, by being resourceful I took as many opportunities as I could to get experience through class work, school organizations and professional events.

Success to me is not just about the end result; it is about the journey taken and lessons learned. I can’t and won’t promise perfection, that’s not what I learned in college. What I learned throughout my experience was to work hard for what you want and always strive for the best. What I will bring to the table is a foundation to build real world experiences. My foundation is the core of what will help me contribute to my future employers success. I am proud to say that my foundation consists of integrity, ambition, perseverance, leadership, self-discipline and a competitive and positive perspective. Lastly is determination to always continue my personal and professional development.
I appreciate Kat sharing this opportunity to a fellow PR major and I am impressed with the will and determination by Elizabeth. I expect to see good things from these two and others who are applying themselves to our industry.
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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hungry Hungry #HAPPO: Playing with your PR Future

To recent college grads and graduating seniors:

It's right there in front of you. What is it? Your future. I know, it sounds cliché, but believe it or not, it's real and it's out there. Are you ready?  Are you hungry?

The 1970s-era ad for Hungry Hungry Hippos featured this song:
If you wanna win the game you've gotta take good aim
And get the most marbles with your hippo
Playin' Hungry Hungry Hippos
Hungry Hungry Hippos've gotta take good aim
What are you doing to prepare for your shot at your professional future? If you are seeking an internship or job in the communications and public relations field, I highly encourage you to pay attention to the HAPPO movement.
On Friday, April 30, the second edition of Help A PR Pro Out (HAPPO) will be held fom 12-2 PM EST (11 AM - 1 PM Central).

What's HAPPO? 
HAPPO (Help A PR Pro Out) is designed to help connect PR job seekers with employers looking for top talent. This time we're focusing efforts on college seniors and recent college grads.

* Are you an employer looking to fill a specific role? Contact me or your local champion with details so we can spread your information.

* Are you a blogger?
Would you be interested in helping us build momentum for the event? Donate a post on your blog to highlight a worthy job seeker and tweet it to and use the #HAPPO hashtag.

* Are you a job seeker? Ask a friend who wants to help in your job search to write a HAPPO post for you.

* Are you curious about HAPPO and hungry to get going on your PR future? Check out the blog, Facebook page, search the #HAPPO hashtag, follow @helpaprproout, check out the LinkedIn group, read some of great posts by other HAPPO champions and contributors

...basically, pay attention, use your marbles and put these free resources and collective efforts to work.

(Image credit: Dylan Hartmann)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

2010 #PRSA Southwest District Conference on Speed Dial

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of participating in and speaking at the 2010 PRSA Southwest District Conference in Oklahoma City. First off, great conference and huge kudos and thanks to the committee and Oklahoma City Chapter of PRSA for being such gracious hosts.

Image by 1980Andrew
Dale Chihuly's blown glass sculpture
at Oklahoma City's Museum of Art
Here are the PR take-aways and conference quick bites that struck me as being important:
  • The Roaming Gnome is apparently very popular.
  • So is OKC Mayor Mick Cornett and he's a much better speaker.
  • To make an exit all you you need is an NBA mascot create a diversion.
  • Your network is your net worth.
  • The conference hashtag was #prsasw10.
  • Blown glass is awesome!
 Your Network is Your Net Worth
  • Ari B. Adler wants us to remember LSP (Listen, Share, and Participate).
  • Careers are now landscapes, not paths.
  • Create (join) a community before you need it.
  • Be an information hub.
  • Mentor, mentee, repeat.
 Message Management & Communicating During a Crisis
  • John Deveney advises that during crisis having a proactive and rapid response communication plans are vital.
  • Sometimes you can't get all of the facts before a story breaks.
  • You need 3rd party advocates during a crisis.
  • Crisis communications: Communicate frequently and make sure you are reliable.
  • Secure your position as trusted source.
  • You must be quick to establish who is involved and who is in charge.
  • Don't discount or short-change local news, they know you.
  • Most of the time some people know you; during a crisis, a lot of people are going to meet you.
  • Spokespeople need to feel what they say.
  • During interviews, pauses are the toughest, but best tip.
The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business 
  • Tara Hunt @missrogue says your Social Media strategy won't save you.
  • Be happy social media is complicated because it makes our jobs much more interesting.
  • Think people-centric business that serves existing customers.
  • Concentrating on customer happiness; "enthusiasts" are far greater than "influencers."
  • Whuffie: reputation, trust, reach, positive sentiment, influence, # of people you know, # of people who know you, reciprocity, and known accomplishments.
Rebuilding, Recapturing and Retaining Stakeholder Trust
  • Alan Hilburg, APR and Margaret Ritsch reminds us that communication is about listening.
  • A brand is the trust consumers put into products or services.
  • It's about what someone feels not about what they think.
  • Ask yourself, what are you a protagonist for?
  • Data --> Information --> Knowledge --> Wisdom
  • Culture is the environment in which we make decisions.
Relationships Matter: How to Develop Relationships with The Media To Generate Ongoing Press Coverage
  • Margo Mateas paints a picture of failed media pitches because PR people irritate reporters and our information is often (90% of the time) ineffective and irrelevent.
  • Stop doing stupid things like failing to research the target media outlet.
  • 97% of media relations is preparation. We need to work smarter.
  • Understand a reporter's point of view.
  • Story origami: twist, fold, turn, bend, and turn it into something that benefits their audience.
  • Use an "Editor's Filter" - Summary statement, Why should I care? Are you credible? Call to action.
  • PR people get lost in the unimportant details when we have about 10 seconds to connect.
  • Give them what they need in the way they need it to develop the relationship.
  • Remember to front-load your e-mail pitches with relevant keywords and phrases.
  • Try this when working with a reporter: "Tell me what kind of stories you are looking for so I can help you."
  • You have to be real with reporters, be yourself, be casual, and be direct. Don't waste their time.
These are just a sample of the nuggets of information that I took from the conference. It was great connecting with some new and old friends. The conference title lived up to it's tagline: Your Network is Your Net Worth.
If you were at the conference, I'd love to get your thoughts on these or other sessions. If you couldn't make it, I hope you find something relevant in the post. Either way, the comments are yours.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Finally, Social Media and the Law

From the better-late-than-never files...

I am finally getting around sharing some key take-aways and a brief interview from the Greater Fort Worth PRSA chapter February lunch speaker, Dr. Chip Stewart from TCU on Social Media and the Law.

I completely grasp why you should do something like this immediately after so the content and ideas are fresh, but alas my notes and memory will have to be our guide. (Image credit: roboppy)


Social Media and the Law
Just a few simple points that may or may not be obvious for social media users:
  1. Defamation - If you or your employee say something bad and untrue, you're responsible for it.
  2. Privacy - Unless you have a reasonable expectation of privacy, it's public. And remember, you're never truly anonymous.
  3. Copyright and Trademark - If you don't own it, you need permission to re-publish or distribute. This is a bit of a cultural shift as with many new technologies and social norms, laws haven't completely caught up.
  4. Regulations - The FDA and FTC can regulate commercial speech, even on the web.
But don't forget...

Social media and media-sharing tools are also governed  by Terms of Use. Dr. Stewart mentioned basically these terms of use are adhesion contracts. You have to accept them or no deal. Believe it or not, you have a duty to read these terms. They apply to you even if you don't read them before clicking "accept."

For example, with Facebook you are granting a license for them to share your intellectual property uploaded to the site, royalty-free. By contrast, with YouTube, you retain intellectual property rights, but not control of the commentary.

I appreciated some final thoughts from Dr. Stewart:
  • In social media, once you're in, you're in.
  • You need to monitor, police, and engage. 
  • Have a corporate social media policy in place.
  • Remain connected, stay engaged, and when in doubt, ask your lawyer. (Disclosure, he's an attorney with a good sense of humor.)
Lastly, I'll leave you with a post-luncheon video interview I conducted with Professor Stewart to get some additional thoughts from his presentation. Stewart provides a few fundamental issues for social media and the law; why it's so important to have a social media policy; and what PR professionals should know about communicating on behalf of clients in the social sphere. (Sorry for the background noise, the staff was cleaning up after the luncheon.)

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