Posts Tagged ‘International Association of Business Communicators’


PRSSA National Conference: Speed Networking & PR Student Questions

Friday, October 21st, 2011

PRSSA_NC_250_160The speed networking session at PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) National Conference was chock-full of driven, ambitious PR students who will soon be looking to become the next generation of communications professionals. I thought I’d share my experience, and solicit feedback, with the @BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas readers.

How to Craft a Proper Résumé
The predominant question of the day was about the length of their résumés. I responded that if a student is active in PRSSA, works for a student-run firm, and is actively interning, then the résumé could justifiably go beyond one page. However, from what I gather, most large PR agencies, as well as communications professors, advise all students to restrict their résumés to one page without exception – going so far as saying students/candidates will not make the grade and/or the résumé would not get reviewed! 

Subsequently, I advised that they stick to the one-pager, but to note there are samples available, and to be sure to have a portfolio of their work ready to take on an interview. However, I still believe that outside of class and the top tier agencies it is okay to go to a second page if the experience warrants doing so.

Timing Your Job Search
Another question I heard frequently was how soon to begin the job search, to which I snarkily responded, “You haven’t begun yet?” 

Seriously, I advised that they should already be thinking about where they want to go (geographically), whether they want to work for an agency, a corporation or a non-profit, and to begin researching and networking accordingly. For example, in St. Louis (where I’m a PRSA member), there is PRSA, IABC (International Association of Business Communicators) and CSPRC (Community Service Public Relations Council).

Depending on where the student has decided their path will be, they should be networking with the appropriate organization by attending mixers and/or luncheons and getting involved. Or, if they’re not staying in the same geographic market, find those people on Twitter and begin connecting and building relationships.  And, if they are already seniors—especially those that graduate in December—if they haven’t already started this process, then they are behind the eight ball!

There were lots more questions, but these seemed to be the most prevalent. What advice would you give for new and existing PR professionals on the job hunt? Or what questions do you have if you’re looking to start or continue your career in communications?

News in our Digital Lives: “Old” Media Still Matters

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Amy Mitchell PEW Research Center Project for Excellence in JournalismA couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Amy Mitchell speak in St. Louis at the annual joint meeting of Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and Community Service Public Relations Council (CSPRC), of which BurrellesLuce was a sponsor. Mitchell, a native of St. Louis, is the deputy director for the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEW PEJ).

Mitchell spoke to a group of roughly 250 communicators about the new news consumer and media trends for 2011.  It was an intensive presentation complete with plenty of charts, graphs and statistics. I won’t attempt to recap everything that was addressed but, here are some of my key takeaways:

  • No surprise that there is more news consumed now than a decade ago with 33 percent of Americans getting news via mobile devices, and 92 percent reporting the use of multiple platforms to get their news.
  • Internet is closing in but 74 percent still go to television for national and international news.
  • More of us “graze” for news with two minutes and 30 seconds being the average session per site, down from three minutes and six seconds last year – compared to about a half an hour with a daily newsprint product.
  • Sixty-two percent of internet users are on social media, and 77 percent of social network users get their news there.
  • Facebook is the third most popular referral site for news articles – following only Google and the original news site.

Contrary to those naysayers that keep saying print media is dead, this “old” media still provides most of our news!  In one American city (Baltimore), a whopping 92 percent of new content came from “old” media, proving that the published story is just the beginning of its life cycle.

There are lots of new players in the news game: citizens, non-profits, patch (local), commercial entities, corporate communications, newsmakers, privately funded sites, lobby and special interest groups. However, those producing news today have less control than ever in history. 

Mitchell said, “While news in the 21st century offers greater freedom today than ever to take part in the news conversations, it brings with it greater effort and responsibility.” 

So what does all this mean to you?  Obviously social networks are a very important distribution channel, but PR professionals must adapt to the “new” journalism – as a service, not a product that is platform specific. Communicators must be transparent with corporate messaging. What is your organization doing to adapt to the changing media landscape?

It’s Public Relations Award Season!

Monday, May 17th, 2010
Flickr Image: Mags_cat

Flickr Image: Mags_cat

My email inbox, probably not unlike yours, is full of calls to enter local PR awards.  For instance, the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) DC Metro’s Silver Inkwell entries are due June 10. Entries for the National Capital Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA-NCC) Thoth Awards are due June 18. To top it off, Washington Women in Public Relations’ (WWPR) next professional development lunch is on writing successful PR award entries.  And that is just the regional events. Nationally, PRSA, IABC, the Association for Women in Communications (AWC), PR News, PRWeek, and others have awards programs too.

Although entering takes time and cash, winning one of these awards helps prove the value of your hard work throughout the year. “Whether you’re an internal communicator, media relations specialist, work in interactive communications, or any other communication discipline, there is nothing like being acknowledged by your peers, so I urge my communication colleagues to enter. It’s a terrific way to showcase your work, as well as advance the profession,” says Shonali Burke, ABC, president, IABC-DC Metro.

Recently I asked Lindsey Rose, senior counselor, Carmichael Lynch Spong (a client of BurrellesLuce) why she thought it was important for industry professionals to submit to these types of awards. She explains how PR industry awards offer several perks for your clients, your agency and you, as a practitioner:

Your clients: Awards give them recognition for their accomplishments and help raise visibility and drive excitement for their programs. Awards solidify clients’ achievements in their industry and help bring their stories to life. Award summaries also often help clients merchandise their communications efforts/case studies within their internal organization.

Your agency: Awards showcase your leadership through best practices outlined in your submissions. Awards celebrate your relationship with your client and reinforce the client/agency partnership (and oftentimes further reinforce clients’ ongoing investment in your work). Winning awards can also open doors and help bring your agency to the table for new business opportunities.

You: As a practitioner, awards showcase your strategic capabilities from research and planning to execution and generating results. Compiling awards is great practice for any PR practitioner – no matter what your level. Winning awards is even more rewarding.

You can get hints and tips for preparing your awards entries on many of your local and national professional organization’s websites. Some great resources include:

  1. PRSA offers advice on preparing their Silver Anvil Awards on their website.
  2. IABC has a webinar on entering the Gold Quill Awards.

Personally, from having judged several awards programs and chaired a judging committee, I know the key to winning is evaluation and measurement from beginning to end of the project or campaign. The best well-written press release will not win an award without showing how the release had impact. The key is to start early, ideally from the beginning of your project or campaign, and continue to document and save information throughout the program.

So now that PR awards season is well underway, how are you preparing? Are there any suggestions you can add for making the most out of your submission?