Monday, July 26, 2010

Sacred cows and School PR - NSPRA 2010

In addition to the sessions at the NSPRA conference, I also enjoyed having some great conversations with school PR colleagues from across the country. One such professional was Shane Haggerty, from Ohio Hi-Point Career Center. We were talking about the slaying of sacred cows and he had some interesting insights:

Be sure to also check out Shane's blog, A recent post covers some quick steps to getting your school district started in social media marketing and communications.
Have sacred cows been an issue for you in your organization? How have you handled the "but we've always done it this way" issues that come up? Have you successfully looked outside your field for inspiration on how to do things in better ways?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

School PR and the News Media - Ken Haseley, NSPRA 2010

Protest Rally Against Mainstream News Media   ...Image by asterix611 via Flickr
Note: This is cross-posted over on Shane Haggerty's blog, Social Learning Lab.
Last week I attended the National School Public Relations Association 2010 Seminar. In addition to speaking during my brief stay I also took away some great insights from some respected communicators. One such speaker was Ken Haseley from The Ammerman Experience. Haseley gave a session entitled The News Media Today: Ally or Adversary?

In his session, Haseley touched on the shift from the news media being a public service to being more about profit and entertainment. He even pointed out that to a degree the news today is delivered as theater with reporters/anchors as the stars (think high graphics, dramatic music, and celebrity journalists on location, like Anderson Cooper from CNN.) He spoke about creating allies and how to handle the adversarial relationship school PR professionals tend to have with the media. I have attended Ken's sessions before on a variety of topics so I knew his would be one not to miss.

Important take-aways from The News Media Today: Ally or Adversary?

Today's news media:
  • Expect to have more contact with junior-level journalists. 
  • Expect more errors or inconsistencies
  • Communication pros need to do more hand-holding and listen more closely. (Example: During a phone interview, listen to how the reporter sums up your quotes and especially if there's anything that seems to still be confusing at the end.)
  • While the newsrooms may be shrinking, the news landscape is still expanding. Journalists have even greater levels of expectations today in reporting and content production.
Creating Allies:
  • Recognize the PR and media symbiotic relationship.
  • Think in terms of marketing and build relationships.
  • Remember business etiquette. (Example: It's so important for call backs. It's highly frustrating for a journalist to have to wait on you to get back with them. Call back even if you don't have the answer at the time.)
  • You will gain greater confidence (and competence) with media training.
Handling Adversaries:
  • Don't pick a fight with the media. (The old adage is still true, Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel)
  • Learn how to just say no. (Sometimes it's ok to decline an interview request. This works when the story is not about your organization or it's a round-up piece that doesn't rely on your involvement. Say, "thank you, we've decided to pass on this one. Don't forget about us in the future." You still need to call them back.)
  • Have a straight-forward approach. Don't waste a reporter's time. They'll remember you for that too.
  • To fix errors in reporting you can either ignore it or take action. If you take action, Haseley suggests
    1.) Call the reporter to point out the error.
    2.) Ask for a correction.
    3.) Call the editor or news director
    4.) Strategically use letters to the editor or even paid advertising if necessary.
  • Mend fences. You never know when those adversarial reporters are going to wind up as communications and PR colleagues in the future.
In addition to his presentation, Haseley was gracious enough to spend a couple of minutes to share some thoughts for a brief video:

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Media Shmedia: Be Your Own Newsroom - #NSPRA

The following is my presentation deck from the 57th Annual Seminar of the National School Public Relations Association:

Additionally, some attendees were asking about some guidelines they could use. Here's our school district's blogging policy for comments and Facbook Page Rules of Engagement for a School District.

Feel free to use and improve on anything where you can.

Now it's your turn: What is your school district using to engage your communities? What communication channels do you find most strategic for your efforts? The comments are yours.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Vacation ends as #NSPRA professional development begins

Hello from NSPRA 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

I'm back after a much-needed break in the gorgeous state of Montana where I recharged the batteries for a week. I've been quietly off the blogging-grid for nearly three weeks. In my absence, my blog turned two (apparently July 11 is the Next Communication blogiversary).

This is not a result of being weary of blogging. On the contrary, I have plenty of public relations and communication professional post ideas swirling around just waiting to be put down on screen.

Let's just call it being distracted with scenery like this below. (From our campsite on Flathead Lake in Montana):

The above view has been replaced by a rather pleasant view from the 13th floor of my hotel at the National School Public Relations Association 2010 Seminar in downtown Charlotte:
Granted, it's no mountain view, but it lets me know it's time to get back to work. Let the the school public relations professional development and networking continue. This is already turning out to be a very solid conference. (Btw, next year's NSPRA seminar is in San Antonio so I hope to see more Texas school PR friends attending.)

I'll be back very soon with a post or two from the NSPRA conference. If you are one of my school PR colleagues at the conference, drop me a quick comment, come see me at my presentation on Tuesday afternoon, or just hit me up over on Twitter.

Until then, a couple of questions for you: How do you decompress from work realities and responsibilities? How do you know when you're batteries are charged and ready to go? As always, the comments are yours.