Posts Tagged ‘multimedia’

Storytelling for the Digital Age: 2011 PRSA International Conference

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

This post first appeared on PRSA ComPRehension 10.27.11 and is reposted with permission.

Even though the PRSA International Conference was my 12th in the past 13 years, I was excited about this year’s theme of Envisioning the Future of Public Relations. As I’m a PRSSA mentor and adviser, and vice president of BurrellesLuce Media Contacts, the future of the profession is close to my heart.

One of the sessions I attended was led by my colleague Johna Burke, on the topic of storytelling and its importance in this digital age. I came away with two pages of typewritten notes, but here are what I believe to be the key takeaways.

Burke began by stressing that storytelling is the core competency in the public relations profession, next to great writing. She talked about this being the “Web 2.0” of storytelling. No more is it just local library readings, storytelling festivals and other analog channels. We now have multimedia, hypertext, social media, user-generated broadcast, etc. Public relations professionals must leverage the art form — make your story compelling, make it stand out.

Blasting your message out to the masses is not the way to reach everyone. The most important considerations:

  • Where is your audience? Target your story through the proper channels.
  • What matters? Understand who your community is and what they want. 
  • What is sustainable? Understand how your organization makes and spends money. Channel your resources in the proper way so that you aren’t wasting time and money talking where no one is listening.

In the spirit of being in Orlando, Burke referenced Walt Disney as one of the best storytellers of all time; he knew who his audience was. He knew that kids were his primary market, yet he recognized his secondary market was the parents (using allusions above the kids’ heads to amuse the adults). He also didn’t forget there’s always a tertiary market — audiences we may not have originally anticipated but who still matter and who take an interest in our stories. These audiences should be identified as they emerge. 

The key is to understand what your brand means. Being generic dilutes the message.

Public relations professionals must empower their audience by digging deeper, driving the story. She warns to beware of the desire to be the newest, coolest — using the “all sizzle, no steak” analogy. People see through this, and will not support long-time relationships, which is what you need. You do want to be relevant — visuals, videos, info-graphics are powerful, but don’t miss the opportunity to tell your story.

Tressa Robbins is vice president of Media Contacts for BurrellesLuce. Tressa is a regular contributor to BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog, a member of the St. Louis PRSA chapter, Champions for PRSSA section member, PRSSA mentor and Professional Adviser. She recently served as a panelist for the PRSSA National Conference and speaks at the local and regional level. Connect with Tressa on LinkedIn and follow Tressa on Twitter @tressalynne.

How to Become an Influencer: Lessons from the 2010 PRSA Counselors Academy Spring Conference

Monday, June 7th, 2010

(L to R) BurrellesLuce's Colleen Flood, Paula Whittington, Johna Burke, and Debbie Friez at the 2010 PRSA Counselors Academy“We should all become influencers, and move away from pitching,” said Brian Solis at the PRSA Counselors Academy Spring Conference in Asheville, NC. He suggested that you can start by writing your press release in 120 characters, so there is room for others to re-tweet it. This was just one of the great insights I picked-up at the conference.

Keeping with this theme, I am offering some of the other best tips (under 120 characters or at least 140) I learned.

Blogging and Social Media

  • Use your #blog to showcase expertise in particular areas so you can win business. (@bgindra)
  • Lesson learned-get the video on 1 take, even if you have to record it several times. It’s easier than editing on computer. (@jaybaer)
  • Google wants to provide multi-media search results, so post some video. (@jaybaer)
  • Digital is not about knowing the answer; it’s finding the answer. (@jaybaer)
  • 4 degrees is the new 6 degrees of separation thanks to #SM. (@Brianna)


  • Give people something to talk about to help elevate the brand. (@kalbritton) Example is @lenovo photography contest.
  • Every company has a 1% Group of core active customers…you need to engage them. (@jaybaer)

Green Initiatives

  • The grammar of green: Clear, Credible, Consistent & Compliance.
  • Praise companies for doing what is right with being #green instead of looking at all the bad things they have done.


  • The new KISS: Keep it simple & share. (@briansolis)
  • QR (Quick Response) codes are great for sharing information, like at a trade show or games.


  • The new CEO = Chief Editorial Officer. (@briansolis)
  • Don’t give community management to an intern.
  • Every company should have a social media crisis plan. (@jaybaer)
  • Set goals and objectives before you start social media monitoring.
  • Interesting way of looking at the #SM conversations – what are people saying about my company & is it in the right context & with the right influencers?

For more great information from this conference, checkout, my BurrellesLuce colleague, Colleen Flood’s latest Fresh Ideas post, “Are You Shifting Marketing and PR Plans Based on Hispanic Demographic Trends?,” as well as the PRSay blog, Jay Baer’s blog and others.

Have you learned some new ideas you can share from a recent industry event? What do you think makes an influencer?

Change, Though Often Exciting, Is Never Easy

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Valerie Simon

Lauren Simon - Valerie's DaughterYesterday I chatted with Tara Leurs at the Tennessee Department of Tourism. It was Tara’s last day with the Department; she has decided to leave the job and profession that she is extremely passionate about to stay home with her new daughter. While Tara is certainly excited at the prospect of spending more time with her baby girl, she is well aware of the rapid pace of change in the field of public relations, and wants to be sure to remain up-to-date on these developments.

Tara explained that one of her biggest challenges as a PR professional has been keeping up with technology and the rapid changes in media. As we spoke, I contemplated all the new sources of media that we have begun monitoring since I began working for BurrellesLuce.

“I don’t think traditional media is going anywhere,” Tara explained, “but although traditional media remains an important part of the Tennessee Department of Tourism efforts, the PR department has also embraced emerging media such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.”

The tourism website uses multimedia to engage visitors. Videos by Tennessee celebrities such as Keith Urban and Martina McBride share their “Tennessee stories” and encourage readers to publish their own “Tennessee story” right on the site.  Tara was incredulous at how the use of online video has emerged in the past few years, recalling when YouTube was “a place to show off skateboard tricks.” Now, of course, YouTube is an extremely important piece of the media mix.

Tara knows that, just like her new daughter, the media will continue to grow and change. And while change can be challenging, it certainly offers new opportunities. Tara has promised to keep in touch with me through Twitter and may start blogging or writing. While I don’t know what the media landscape will look like when Tara’s daughter turns 2 or 5, I am certain that she will learn and share information in ways we have just begun to imagine.

How do you see the media landscape changing in the next five years?  What do you believe will be the next platform for sharing news?