Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What's #HAPPO-ning: Rock your summer PR internship

On Thursday, April 26, the latest installment of the HAPPO Twitter chats will take place to cover tips on how to rock your summer internship.Here's a primer on the chat from Deanna Ferrari (the moderator):
Everyone remembers his or her first internship – the first real foot in the door for landing a career. With college graduations right around the corner, summer internships will be starting up all over the U.S. in the next few weeks. That’s why us HAPPO Champs (you know, “Help a PR Pro Out,”) have decided the timing is just right to do our next live Twitter chat to get you ready for your summer internship.
Participate: Hop on to Twitter at 2 PM EST on Thursday, April 26 and follow the #HAPPO hashtag. Make sure you follow @helpaprproout and this chat's moderator, Pittsburgh HAPPO champ, Deanna Ferrari to see the chat questions. I suggest you ask questions and actively participate through replies and RTs in addition to sharing your tips and advice. (If you need a way to follow and participate in Twitter chats, try using Tweetchat. It's super-easy and keeps the flow manageable.)

Tips: I think tips for summer internships is a fantastic topic for HAPPO not just because of the timing but because there is a wealth of knowledge ready to be mined by students and shared by pros. I really like what Jason Mollica shared earlier this week in his video about the chat for prospective interns -- be a sponge and write as much as possible.

Share: If you are so inclined, pass this post along or perhaps copy/paste one of these below from Deanna,
Summer internships are around the corner. Join the next #HAPPO chat for tips on how to rock it! Thurs, 4/26 @ 2pm ET http://wp.me/pzcY7-CH

We want up & coming pros to succeed - the first step is that summer internship! Next #HAPPO chat is Thurs 4/26 @ 2 ET http://wp.me/pzcY7-CH
About HAPPO: Help a PR Pro Out is a nationwide movement that seeks to use social media to leverage relationships and help connect those seeking a job in the PR industry with employers. It’s lead by co-founders Arik Hanson and Valerie Simon. I serve as the HAPPO champion for Dallas/Ft. Worth.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Highlights from Simon Salt's "Conversing with Consumers"

Last week, Simon Salt (@incslinger) spoke at the Greater Ft. Worth Chapter of PRSA April luncheon with his presentation, "Conversing with Consumers." He covered the types of conversations that consumers are already having about your brand, plus how you can join in and more importantly, when it's appropriate. These are the highlights:

The social consumer has a much larger network from which to gather advice/guidance for purchases. The old sales paradigm was relatively simple: your brand has product(s)/service(s) and you exchange those for money. The new sales paradigm includes social capital. Simon explained that the social consumer expects more from the exchange. They want a way to accrue goodwill from a brand and be rewarded for leveraging their network.

You need to know where they are sharing
Salt reaffirmed the reality that social media is not the silver bullet or the center of the universe. Social consumers share IRL (in real life); face-to-face, over the phone, etc. Are they using social media tools? Yes, of course. But bear in mind the influence is still very much a relational activity. Using a grid of opportunity and engagement, Salt touched on mobile and brand property compared to face-to-face and social media for relevant reach.

He gave the stat that 70% of brands fail to respond to negative tweets and that if you'd do that small thing, you'd be outpacing much of the competition. He also is a proponent of leveraging Yelp with the caveat that customers don't know how to rate you. Rating are not the end of the conversation, just the beginning. (I think this could be an area for deep-dive for retailers, restaurants, and other service-industry types.)

You need to know why they share
"There are no wallflowers in social media," stated Salt on using social media to share all of the details of your day. "Your life isn't really that interesting." I think he's right since being an Internet celebrity often seems to be the name of the game for some especially those that go way overboard on the 'personal branding' kick. It goes back to having a motivation to improve social capital. He also said do not dismiss the fact that some people may be paid to bash your brand by other brands. (This concept seemed to shock some attendees.) Look for the sharer's deeper motivation.

On monitoring, Salt listed and touched on a few of his favorites like Google Alerts, Social Mention, Lithium, Viralheat, Radian6 and Visible Technologies. (Personally, I've been using BurrellesLuce Workflow with Engage121 for traditional media and social media monitoring and have kicked the tires on Meltwater.) Bottom-line for PR pros, you need to have ways to listen to the conversation, filter and respond appropriately.

At this point, Simon Salt shared a breakdown of the Conversation Triage likening it to emergency response color-coded tape for dealing with injuries:

RED - Critical; YELLOW - Urgent; GREEN - Non-Urgent; and BLACK - Non-responsive

I was particularly intrigued by this concept and asked him to explain it again after the meeting. Here's his response:

He gave some quick advice on what to do with typical interactions in social media. If you/your brand gets:
  • Praise - Say 'thank you'
  • Question - Route it to the appropriate person and respond as necessary
  • Complaint - Apologize
Simon gave a funny tongue-in-check response to the concept of viral: "The secret to getting something to go viral, piss people off."

--> Content strategy must be a part of the planning. <--

He shared some thoughts on working with influences and fans plus the idea of having brand advocates as defenders. They will defend your brand if you empower them.

Simon Salt closed with the three keys to giving your content greatest opportunity to spread:
  1. Make it Fun - Humor works. (Self-deprecating humor is best. Don't make fun of your customers.)
  2. Repeatable
  3. Shareable
His parting example was a Nike-inspired video. Trust me, it's awesome. You'll want to watch it. (The hashtag #makeitcount is also pretty neat. )
Attendees can get Simon Salt's slide deck here: incsl.gr/PRSAFW after submitting a name/email for follow-up and e-newsletter sign-up.

Photo credit: fragmented via Flickr Creative Commons

Friday, April 6, 2012

PR Roles explained through Baseball Positions

In honor of the start of the 2012 MLB season and excitement I have for my favorite team, Texas Rangers, I thought it was time to repost something from a few years back: a list of the roles and functions for public relations pros explained using baseball positions.
  1. Pitcher (P) - In baseball, the pitcher is the player who throws the baseball from the pitcher's mound toward the catcher to begin each play, with the goal of retiring a batter who attempts to either make contact with it or draw a walk. In PR, the pitching role is one where the professional attempts to garner publicity or attention through effective media relations.
  2. Catcher (C) - Positioned behind home plate, the catcher can see the whole field; therefore, he is in the best position to direct and lead the other players in a defensive play. In PR, this is the role of strategy. Like a catcher, the PR professional sees the big picture where they understand that actions will lead to specific reactions.
  3. First baseman (1B) - A first baseman is the player on the team playing defense who fields the area nearest first base. In PR, this is the role of first response. The initial response to problems and/or crisis will make or break the situation.
  4. Second baseman (2B) - The second baseman often possesses quick hands and feet, the ability to get rid of the ball quickly, and must be able to make the pivot on a double play. In PR, this role is of measured quickness. A public relations professional helps to protect reputation and vital relationships when an organization is under attack.
  5. Third baseman (3B) - Third base is known as the "hot corner", because the third baseman is relatively close to the batter and most right-handed hitters tend to hit the ball hard in this direction. In PR, this is the role of coordination and quick reactions that comes with experience from having to catch hard line drives or difficult internal communication challenges.
  6. Shortstop (SS) - Shortstop is often regarded as the most dynamic defensive position in baseball so naturally the PR role is one of adaptability. The one constant is that things change, it is up to the public relations professional to be aware and keep up with the broad and shifting landscape of the PR profession, media, and organizational industry.
  7. Left fielder (LF) - Outfielders must cover large distances, so speed, instincts, and quickness in reacting to the ball are key. They must be able to learn to judge whether to attempt a difficult catch and risk letting the ball get past them, or to instead allow the ball to fall in order to guarantee a swift play and prevent the advance of runners. In PR, this role can be equated to good judgment. Professionals need to understand when not doing or saying something will provide the best benefit to the organization.
  8. Center fielder (CF) - The center fielder has the greatest responsibility among the three outfielders for coordinating their play to prevent collisions when converging on a fly ball, and on plays where he does not make the catch, he must position himself behind the corner outfielder in case the ball gets past him. In PR, this role is made up of the credibility a professional must possess in order to be an effective communicator to both internal and external audiences. Just like a center fielder, the PR professional needs excellent situational awareness, vision and depth perception.
  9. Right fielder (RF) - Of all outfield positions, the right fielder often has the strongest arm, because they are the farthest from third base. However, oftentimes, as in lower-levels of baseball, right field is the least likely to see much action because most hitters are right-handed and tend to pull the ball to the left field and center. In PR, this is the role of monitoring and measurement. Unfortunately, many professionals are not as up to speed in this area (me included) as we should do whatever it takes to learn how to measure. Thankfully, there is a greater push in PR measurement these days, so I consider this is a bright spot for the future of our profession. It requires additional work and research, but it is one of reward, sales, leads and maybe even justification for jobs well done.
Additional Positions
  • Designated Hitter (DH) - The designated hitter is the official position in the American League to bat in place of the pitcher. In PR, this is the role that the professional understands the usefulness of social media for listening and engaging an organization's community. We are well past the time of whether or not a PR pro needs to know how to use social media tools. They are indispensable tools in the toolbelt. The PR professional needs to fully grasp various aspects and nuances of the social web to reach audiences including, at times, as a way to by-pass the mainstream media.
  • Manager - A manager controls matters of team strategy on the field and team leadership. In PR, it's the same thing; strategic coordination of play and tactical movements are integral for successful public relations.

Play Ball!

Photo credit: ESPNDallas