Archive for the ‘Media’ category

4 Reasons to Register for the 2012 PRSA Mid-Atlantic District Chesapeake Conference Today!

October 5, 2012

Wanna know why you should register now for the PRSA Mid-Atlantic District Chesapeake (#Chessie12) Conference?

4. Clear Your Schedule!

By registering early, you can block the day out on your calendar, eliminating the possibility that one of your colleagues will schedule an important meeting with you that day.

3. Get a Jumpstart on Your Networking!

Research the presenters and keynote speaker in advance so you know who you want to meet at the conference.  Gotta capitalize on that investment!

2. Formulate Your Plan of Attack!

Read over the agenda and figure out which sessions you’d like to attend.  You can choose to participate in all the sessions in one of the three tracks (PR Essentials, Social Media, and Strategic Business/Leadership) or mix and match from the 12 seminars.  Make sure to mark your calendar to arrive early at the conference for the networking breakfast and stay for the happy hour as well!

1. Save Some $$$ (and guarantee your spot)!

That’s right — the No. 1 reason to sign up today is to take advantage of the early bird discount and save, save, save!  Also, don’t let anyone take your spot because space is limited!

It Was a Good Ride…

July 6, 2010

We had an exciting time this year at the 2010 Chessie Conference #chessie10.  This year’s theme was 2010: Launching a New Decade of Excellence.  We had excellent speakers this year who willingly shared their insights into some of the most pressing and relevant topics in PR today.  

We’d like to thank all our speakers for dedicating their time and expertise for our collective benefit for one day.  We’d also like to thank our morning keynote speaker, technology entrepreneur Dave Troy, as well as our luncheon keynote speaker, Lisa A Shenkle, President of Verb! Communications.  They both gave very enlightening presentations on their creative efforts to publicize the City of Baltimore and make the case for doing business here. 

During the event, Stockfield Photography took lots of photos while we were learning, sharing, and having fun at the happy hour.  If you’d like to order high res versions, you can contact him directly

Didn’t take copious notes during the conference?  The 2010 Chessie session handouts are still available for you to view on our website.

Creating a Winning Awards Entry

April 7, 2010

So you have a great success story. Now you’re wondering if its award-winning material. Only one way to find out – submit it for one of the industry’s prestigious awards like the PRSA Silver Anvil or PRSA MD’s Best in Maryland. (Note the 2010 Best In Maryland entries are due May 7 with a discount on fees for entries received by April 23!).

Before you finalize that submission, did you know that at least 25% of entries get pushed aside not because they aren’t creative, effective and successful, but because the entry wasn’t – as in wasn’t creative, effective, well-presented.

Here a few tips from some pros – pro’s at winning and at judging – that may help you create an entry that is as successful at your program.

Peter Stanton, APR, Stanton Communications:

Keep in mind that the awards are as much about what you did that’s new and innovative as what you did well.  While the judges may be impressed that you scored a major hit in the national media, it’s far more interesting to know how you did that.  Did your overall program incorporate some new approach or some new tactic that galvanized media attention?  Was there something in your program that could be instructive for the rest of the profession?  If
so, flag it.

Judges may be called upon to review dozens of entries.  If you are hoping they discern the key element of your creativity, they may miss it.   If you are hoping they will be awed by very traditional tactics and outcomes, you may be disappointed.  Demonstrate innovation and prove that it accomplished your goals and not just achieved a nice news piece.  That’s the way to win.

Chuck Fitzgibbon, APR, Weber Shandwick

Two thoughts:

Judges value outcomes more than output.  Behavioral change is seen as more valuable than volume of messaging, impressions, material distribution, etc.  Smaller, local programs that moved the needle and affected real change often receive higher scores than massive national programs that had a lot of output, but didn’t demonstrate real change.

Organization is key.  If your entry isn’t organized as specified in the guidelines, judges may overlook critical information in your entry, or may assume that either you’re not paying attention, or just resubmitting an entry from another competition.

Paul Eagle, APR, Imre

Winning entries go far above and beyond typical campaigns …

  • Results must match objectives
  • Campaigns are too focused on media placements – especially “integrated campaigns”
  • Pay close attention to the categories you enter – I judged three last week that were simply in the wrong category
  • Backup is critical – if you say you wrote a plan, include it…or at least parts of it so we know it exists
  • Research is more than “we conducted an informal poll at our agency”

Jody Aud, APR, MedImmune

Make sure what you are entering is really a “campaign.”. So often I see entries that are really a single tactic. – such as the launch of a  newsletter or an Intranet and the entry focuses on just the tactic and why it was selected, audience reach and so on. That’s the kind of thing you enter in a Bronze Anvil. For me, an entry that’s primary importance on the research, planning and evaluation – and secondary importance on the tactics is usually one that will stand out from the rest.

Lisa Miles, APR, Miles Public Relations

My biggest frustration when judging entries (both Silver Anvils and other chapters) is that MEDIA RELATIONS IS NOT A MEASURABLE OBJECTIVE!  It’s a tactic used to reach your target audience.  Start asking yourself the question of “why” each time you write an objective and if you can get to something measurable and timely, THEN you have an objective.  Also make sure your objectives match up with the rest of the program, particularly the results.  I heard a great quote from another judge when we were at the Silver Anvil judging this year – it’s the Alpha and Omega that we look at first – the beginning and end.

Harry Bosk, APR, Bosk Communications

Make sure when you say that you want to increase awareness that you state with whom, why and by what measurement.  Otherwise, it’s not a measurable objective.

Have your own tips and ideas? Add them. Have questions for the “pros”? Ask away here or send an email to PR Awards Pros at info[at]prsamd[dot]org.

How Would You Handle Toyota’s Crisis Communications?

January 30, 2010

“Quality was [Toyota’s] differentiator and now it’s their Achilles heel,” says Brenda Wrigley, chair of the public relations department at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Her comments appeared in a Forbes article this week, which draws a partial comparison between Toyota’s handling of the current PR crisis involving faulty accelerator pedals to Johnson & Johnson’s text-book handling of their 1982 PR crisis involving Tylenol bottles that were tampered with and poisoned. (J&J immediately recalled 20 million bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol from store shelves and replaced them with new product in tamper-proof packaging, sending a clear message to the public that it values consumer safety over profits.)

Over the past two weeks, Toyota has issued recalls on millions of cars, stopped production of eight of its models at plants across the globe, and ordered dealers to pull cars off their showroom floors. The problem with the accelerators isn’t entirely new, but it has rapidly escalated into a crisis. Some critics say that Toyota, in its aim to be the world’s top car manufacturer, has outgrown its quality control measures, thus undermining the essence of its brand.

What do you think? Are Toyota’s current crisis management efforts sufficient to maintain consumer confidence in a brand that has been synonymous with quality? What message is the current recall and halt on production sending to consumers? Is Toyota’s handling of the problem comparable to J&J’s handling of the Tylenol crisis? How would you handle the current crisis?

Visit Toyota’s Web site for official information about the recall.

Tips for Dealing with the Changing PR Landscape

January 22, 2010

Planning for PR programs in 2010 will be more difficult than in past years because of the dynamic and continually changing PR landscape.


Choose one: (a) strongly disagree, (b) disagree, (c) unsure, (d) agree, (e) strongly agree. Fifty percent of public relations professionals surveyed chose (e) agree, according to Frank Strong, public relations director for Vocus. Strong addressed PRSA-MD members Thursday morning at the University of Baltimore (left), where he discussed some of the factors that make PR planning increasingly difficult, and what you can do about it. Here are a few of my takeaways.

Maintain your media relationships. Last year 293 newspapers folded, 1,226 magazines disappeared, 10,000 radio employees were cut, and 100 TV stations were affected by Chapter 11. In short, massive job loss. Where are all these editors and reporters going? Some of them are getting into PR, but many are going to online publications. Wherever they move, they’ll land somewhere and may continue to be relevant contacts. So don’t let your relationships go. You never know where a sacked reporter might resurface.

Master SEO and other new media tools. Attention is the new deficit, and social media can help break the threshold. Increasingly, PR professionals are giving testimonials about how their blog or tweet or discussion board made a difference for their organization or a client. It’s not just about the message anymore. We need to think beyond text, giving more consideration to  posting videos, engaging readers in conversation, tagging and, above all, SEO. Figure out which social media tools are appropriate for your organization—and learn how to use them. (Note: SEO is a must for every professional communicator’s toolbox!)

Learn crisis communications. You’ll need it. Up until now, the prevailing wisdom has been that crisis communications should be left to specialists. While this may still hold true for major crises, it’s also true that social media leaves everyone exposed to previously nonexistent dangers. Know how to respond when a customer or employee launches a withering attack at your organization or its leadership. You may not be able to control it, but you need to know how to deal with it, or better yet—prevent it.

Integrate your communications. Social media’s rejection of commercialization makes PR central to an organization’s communications efforts. Users can sniff out marketing copy, but a good PR professional knows how to connect to people with authenticity—in other words, without selling. Okay, so does a good marketer, but relationships are the essence of PR. It’s not worth considering which of these two functions is more important. They’re both important for many organizations. A better question to ask is, How can PR and marketing work together?

For more information on this topic, check out Frank Strong’s whitepaper, Meeting Change: Public Relations Planning in 2010.

Test Your Story

October 2, 2009

With the Chessie Conference only a few days away, attendees hopefully are fine-tuning their story ideas in preparation for the Speed Pitching Session, which is scheduled from 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. Don’t miss this opportunity to pitch your story idea face-to-face with reporters, editors and producers.

This year, the journalists participating in our Speed Pitching session are:

Julie Scharper, Baltimore Sun, Community Coordinator, Maryland News

Rob Terry, Baltimore Business Journal, associate editor/Web editor

Liz Farmer, The Daily Record, reporter

Dave McHugh, WMAR, producer of “Good Morning Maryland”

For great tips on successful story pitching, see the blog entry “How to Pitch Your Story,” dated 9/17.

Support Your Local Breasts

September 29, 2009

The Maryland Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure is part of the largest network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting breast cancer. But what most of us in Maryland don’t know is that they aren’t a big nonprofit. In fact the staff numbers just eight. Yet in 2008 Komen Maryland granted over $2 million to local breast health and breast cancer awareness projects across the State. Up to 75% of net proceeds generated by Komen Maryland remains in Maryland and 25% support national research and scientific programs around the world.

So how does a small staff with a big vision (to end breast cancer!) build success? Besides energizing thousands of volunteers and great pro-bono partners like PUNCH, Komen Maryland’s ad agency, they tap the new media along with the traditional. So they married an new edgy ad campaign, Support your Local Breasts, with Facebook to create excitement and success.  The focus of the ad campaign is to educate the community that they are the MARYLAND affiliate, separate from our national headquarters and we provide services here throughout Maryland. 

They began with a complete analysis of the race (next one is Sunday, Oct. 18) and discovered that 10% of our participants were raising 90% of our race revenue! To enhance and secure the success of our signature event, Race for the Cure, we identified our focus to communicate better the need that all participants do some fundraising.  We hired Adcieo, a local solutions management company to help with web-based efforts and overall electronic communications.

They dove into social networking especially with their Facebook page to promote the ad campaign, Race for the Cure and all the efforts of our affiliate.  There Komen Maryland is holding a Support Your Local Breasts photo contest on a special fan page. In the campaign, Komen asked Facebook “fans” to find a bus shelter poster around town featuring the new campaign, snap their picture with it and enter into a photo contact via Facebook for a chance to win Komen goodies.

The campaign was a success – will the race be? Well we won’t know until October 18, but on October 6th, we’ll hear from Komen reps more on the details of their campaign. On tap to present and answer questions will be: Lenore Koors, development director and Rebecca McCoy, MPH, grants & education program manager both with Komen Maryland and Dennis Chyba, president, Adcieo.

The session not to miss is Activating Grass Roots at 10:30. With Komen Maryland, you’ll hear the story of the End The Wait Now Campaign, a project of the Developmental Disabilities Coalition and The Arc of Maryland which is tapping the power of YouTube.

The power of social media is in giving voice — and action — to small nonprofits.

Another View of Chessie 09

September 22, 2009

Here’s another look at the Chessie Conference …

Wordle: PR Chesapeake Conference

image by

PRSA’s Blog Post Becomes Great Case Study

September 20, 2009

It all began with Ben Garrett’s innocent posting on PRSA’s ComPRehension blog
“Status Update: Millennial Staffers Can Update Your Social Media Plans” in which he recommended we tap into new professional’s experiences and skills in the social media arena. The innocent turned a little ugly with the use of phrases that sound a bit demeaning to younger professionals, and perhaps because the role suggested was just another version of “serve the coffee” rather than “help us learn.”

This post spread on Twitter – much like the wild fires in CA.

Then back to the blog – where comments and replies fanned the fires.

And generated of course a number of blog posting like this from Maddie Grant which offers a very case study of the scenerio and Lauren Fernandez’s which offers a reply from a young professional with valuable insight and good suggestions.

The point here isn’t to rehash Ben’s posting but to point out the lessons learned and the opportunities afforded to organizations when we open the doors – and windows and all other portals – for conversation.

First the challenge. Rarely does an expressed opinion have no detractors. It becomes for all of us a challenge to balance the opportunity to nurture discussion – which leads to new thinking, new solutions, new opportunities – without letting the discussion undo the good. Remember the line of advice given to married couples: never go to bed angry?

Now the opportunity. When we open all the portals, welcome discourse, we draw others in – we demonstrate that we have a community that cares. Vibrant discourse can yield new ways of thinking and new solutions. It can even yield knowledge creation.

In this case, Ben’s blog posting did just that. It’s provided a case study on social media for all PR professionals, generated interest in their blog (of course we’ll have to wait and see how much), drew in new people.

This is a whole new area for many which is precisely why PRSA Maryland’s annual conference on Oct 6 is focused on the new and traditional media. One session by Weber Shandwick’s Bill Atkinson “Defending Corporate Reputation in the Age of Social Media” covers the new crisis pr while David Warchawski will help us decipher the role of the new tools in our PR strategy.

What’s your take on social media tools – challenge or opportunity?