Uncategorized,

Learn Crisis Communication from a Pro

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The School of Journalism and Communication is offering its first professional masters workshop at the Turnbull Center in Portland, Ore. this fall. Taught by Tom Hagley, one of the professionals I respect most, the Crisis Communications workshop will be invaluable to professionals.

I have been working with Tom on creating the lecture materials and editing the workbook for the course. I would highly recommend this workshop to anyone in the communications field who wants to understand how to create a crisis preparedness strategy.

From the brochure:

“In difficult situations, truth establishes trust. This workshop uses role-playing and roundtable discussions to take workshop participants vicariously into dangerous situations dirived from the instrutor’s own consulting experiences. The workshop teaches students how to apply rules of advanced engagement, a technique that has yet to be fully discovered by the profession, to enable their organization to work with all of its stakeholders in managing the turning point of a crisis.”

One of the highlights of the workshop will be the participation of the Southeastern Area Interagency Incident Management Team that took command of the Black Crater Fire, a first-priority national emergency resulting in the evacuation of nearly 500 people near Sisters, Oregon.

You can get lots more info about the workshop here and you can even register online here.

Uncategorized,

Spreading the Virus, Prepsta Style

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Sometimes, you just have to remember that this PR gig is just plain fun. You get a chance to be extraordinarily creative, work with some of the best and brightest minds on some of the coolest campaigns (yo!).

The Smirnoff Raw Tea campaign makes me laugh. Download the video and check out the “prepsta guide.” I think I’ll buy some just to reward the ad/marketing agency that came up with this campaign.

viral marketing: Any marketing technique that induces Web sites or users to pass on a marketing message to other sites or users, creating a potentially exponential growth in the message’s visibility and effect.
Uncategorized,

PR Firms that Blog

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The Bivings Report provides a list of PR Firms that blog. If you’re considering a PR Agency career, I’d recommend you check these out. If you’re not considering an agency career, but would like a career in public relations in some capacity, I suggest you check these out. If you plan on coming into contact with PRos sometime in your career, I suggest you check these out. In short… check these out.

I really enjoy Richard Edelman’s Blog: 6 A.M.

And I gotta say that the MWW Groups “Straight Talk” is pretty interesting. Timely and topical with a strong dose of the author’s opinion. Love it! I hadn’t come across it before, but it’s now on my Bloglines subscription list.

What do you think is more valuable to you as a PRo in training? A blog that’s primarily commentary on current events, or one (like The Horn Group), that’s more focused on the agency’s work and capabilities?

Uncategorized,

Reflections of an AAE

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In the first of what I hope will be many contributed posts, Nathan Strauss, a former student and the past GM of Allen Hall Public Relations talks about his first couple of months as an Assistant Account Executive at Edelman in New York.

Reflections of an AAE

Today is the last day of work for Edelman interns. As they begin to pack up their cubicles and eagerly chatter about returning to college, it sets in that I’m not leaving with them. At this time last summer, I too was an ambitious intern. Now, a full-time employee, I reflect on my transition and the career I’ve begun in public relations at Edelman in New York.

Transition

Fortunately, my transition from intern to AAE has been seamless. I credit this to my always attempting to work at least one level above my title – a golden rule in agency PR. As an intern I was always persistent in trying to get work that’s usually reserved for an AAE. Now, as an AAE, I’m managing vendor relationships for our satellite media tour as well as for an event at our client’s headquarters – AE or SAE stuff.

At times, it may seem there is little differentiation between interns and AAEs other than a nameplate; however, entry-level professionals must always remember that expectations are higher for them – in terms of the quality of their work as well as in the length of their working day.

Challenges

While I’ve been able to excel at Edelman, there have also been challenges. Foremost, re-adjusting to the working world – 9+ hour days in an office is a difficult contrast to college life. Even more difficult are the slow days – where account work is few and far between. While in college nothing to do was a rare blessing; sitting idle in a cubicle is a different story.

When things are busy, it’s invigorating. The fast pace and short deadlines agencies are known for isn’t a myth. While this type of working environment is my preference, in my excitement I’ve made careless mistakes that reflect poorly on me – mistakes I won’t make twice. Quality is just as important, if not more so, on a short deadline.


Advice

  • Be excited about what you do, for your own sake. Although mundane tasks like media monitoring may seem dull, keep the bigger picture in mind. Take pride in finding that breaking news story and being the first to send it out to your team. If you lose interest, not only will you be miserable, your team will lose interest in you.
  • Listen, listen, listen. Take advantage of who sits around you. At Edelman, where even SVPs sit in cubicles, eavesdropping is not only valuable, it’s unavoidable. Listening to interactions with clients and other execs is always insightful.
  • Image, while not everything, counts for something. This is PR, after all. Come to work looking professional and put-together, every day. Matthew Harrington, one of the most senior executives at Edelman, wears a suit to work every day – even on casual Fridays.
  • Don’t go into debt. You’re not in college anymore; you should be paying off your loans, not incurring more debt. If you’ve chosen to move to cosmopolitan city (like New York) this can be difficult. While it may seem like spending 70% of your income on rent is reasonable, think twice. Stay in the black, even if it means you have to make sacrifices to your lifestyle.

You can reach Nathan at: nathan.strauss@edelman.com or (212) 704-4573

Media Relations,

MR 101: Follow Directions

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Matthew Stibe at Bad Language vents about public relations PRos (using that term loosely) that just can’t seem to follow directions. I’d like to think this is rare… but I know it’s not. And I’d like to think that none of my former students would do this.

Rule #1: Be respectful. If a reporter is clear about his or her deadline and clear about the preferred contact method, respect it.

Seems pretty basic right?

Getting Started, Professional Advice,

Tips for Starting Out

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From Media Orchard (one of mt favorite blogs): 17 Tips for Those Just Starting Out in Business.

I would like to highlight #13

13. Accept responsibility when things go wrong. Be ready to say that something is your fault and apologize for your error. Do so even if you have to accept responsibility for something that is technically someone else’s error. You’ll earn respect.

I would add to this particular tip – be gracious. Accept responsibility graciously and without excuse, without blame. And you can try this tact even before you go out into the business world. Leave your sense of entitlement that you deserve an A at the door and earn it. As the Media Orchard tip says, you’ll earn respect.

Media Relations,

Pitches Gone Very, Very Wrong

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You know you’ve sent a bad pitch when the blog-o-sphere is abuzz about it. Here are some links to recent bad pitches. Read and learn.

Racist PR at its finest. This publicist was fired.
Sleazy PR at its finest. This one was also fired. Remember – it’s bad when your boss has to go back and try to cover your arse.
More bad pitches at The Bad Pitch Blog.

So how should you pitch? Here are some great tips by Alan Weinkrantz.

Uncategorized,

Bookmark This: Web Resources for PRos in Training

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Cruising the ‘net and the ‘sphere (as in blog-o-sphere), I found some great links that you should take a look at:

Writing Tools
This blog by Roy Peter Clark at the Poynter Institute has some great tips for keeping your writing fresh and interesting.

The Bad Pitch Blog
A great blog about what makes a good pitch… and what doesn’t from two journalists.

Media Guerilla: The Best of

Some great tips on blogger relations and the tools of doing PR now.

Oregon Blue Book Media
For my students who don’t have access to a database, and you’re building an Oregon media list – start here.

Green Media Toolshed
This site is specifically for grassroots environmental organizations, but has some really great tips that you can use for any campaign.

Kind of a mixed bag of joy for you. Have fun! If you have links you’d like to see on PRos in Training, let me know!

Thanks, Rosina @ Flickr, for a great photo.

Social Media,

Watch What You Say When the World is Listening

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I try to communicate the importance of online language and “presence” to my students – in class and as an adviser. The basics of spelling and grammar aside, a recent inappropriate post on Jeff Jarvis’ well-regarded blog, BuzzMachine, brings the point home once again.

An individual named Chris (no last name) recently posted a rather obnoxious comment. Jeff has had some trouble with Dell, as in Dell Computers, which he’s documented in his blog. I loved PR Guru Richard Edelman’s take on this saga. He makes some outstanding points.

My take is this – when you are representing a company, whether you are a summer intern (as “Chris” turned out to be) or you’re the executive of the company, you must conduct yourself online as if the whole world is listening. Chris, I’m sure, has spent his high school and college days learning to communicate online through such sites as MySpace and FaceBook. And the type of comment that Chris left for Jeff may have been acceptable in that realm when talking to friends. But it was wholly inappropriate for dealing with a professional writer.

I’m often amazed at how horribly unprofessional emails from students can be. This is an excerpt from a recent email (name withheld):

I’m sorry about not telling U ahead of time about my unplanned absence. Like
I mentioned I didn’t know that I was gonna be absent that day until the day
of. Our plans were to com back the night before and that just didn’t work
out some how.
I’m really sorry that I walk in late a lot. It’s just really hard for me to
catch the bus on time. I live pretty far out & I know that parking is
impossible on campus. On top of not having a license.
I was wondering if our quiz was a scantron quia or a write in answer or a
paragraph? If it’s a scantron do we need to bring out own? Thanx a ton!
BYEEE!
-xoxo

If you were Dell, or even the corner coffee shop, would you want Ms. -xoxo representing you. Is this the way she would pitch an editor?

PRos in training, please remember that what you write in email or online is a representation of who you are and what you have to offer an employer, etc – and – that the whole world may indeed be listening.

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