Posts Tagged ‘opportunities’

Maximizing the Value of an Event

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Valerie Simon

Tomorrow, November 18, at 9pm eastern, my BurrellesLuce colleague, Debbie Friez, will be joining the #PRStudChat (PR Student Chat) community on Twitter as part of a special panel of experts who will be discussing events for professionals. Whether she is attending events on behalf of BurrellesLuce or helping to lead them as President of Washington Women in PR (WWPR), Debbie has an innate understanding of how to maximize the value of an event.

Debbie notes that social media offers many opportunities to create awareness and generate enthusiasm for events. “With Debbie Friez_8141WWPR, we try to post information and teasers on the event across many social media platforms, like Facebook fan pages, Facebook events, LinkedIn groups, LinkedIn events, and Twitter,” she shares. “If the speaker(s) have a Twitter handle, we like to promote it and our hashtag #WWPR. And, we encourage live tweeting from the event. We have found several free calendars on the Internet, which we use to promote our events.”

For students, and seasoned media relations and marketing professionals, alike, Debbie offers valuable advice — “In Washington, DC, networking is big, but not always taught in school.” She suggests that attendees looking to maximize learning and relationship building at events:

  1. Make a goal to meet X number of people at each event you attend. And, try to spend only two to five minutes talking to a new person before you move on to meet more new people.
  2. You should always carry business cards, even if you are in school, to help people remember you. After the event, send them a personal note and invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn or other social media.”

Have you found industry events to be an effective means of building new business relationships? What best practices would you recommend? What challenges have you encountered? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of Fresh Ideas.Valerie-Simon-photo

I hope you’ll join Debbie (dfriez) and I (ValerieSimon) Thursday evening for what is certain to be a dynamic conversation that helps bridge the gap between academia and the public relations profession. If you are new to Twitter chats, be sure and download Using Twitter Chat for PR Success available for free in the BurrellesLuce Resource Library.

Crowdtap: A New Platform in the Social Media World

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

by Denise Giacin*

CrowdtapI’m always up for checking out new things in cyberspace so when I came across Crowdtap I figured I’d give it a try. Still in beta, Crowdtap is a way for consumers to “tap in and ideate, engage and promote with leading brands, entertainment properties, non-profits and startups,” according to its website. The basic idea is to participate in what you want to and you will be given status and rewards for your time.

Let’s take a look at my profile, for example. I sign in using my Facebook account and immediately see my avatar, status level, total cash earned and total points at the top of the page. Any actions available for my participation are located below my status bar. “Quick Hits” are generally poll questions (multiple choice or short answers). “New Actions” are opportunities posted since I last signed in, and “My Actions” are discussions I am already taking part in. I can comment and engage my peers as we actively participate.

By clicking on the “Stats” tab at the top of the page I can look at all my data for my actions, cash, and points. Your “Quality Score” is on this page, as well, and is important because the site asserts that participants need to maintain a good reputation in order to receive new actions. Participation, solid answers with details and photos, and sharing content are ways to keep your Quality Score up.

Similar to other social media platforms (Foursquare comes to mind) Crowdtap rewards participants with badges for their participation. You have the opportunity to earn “brand badges” or “action badges.” For example, I performed three actions for Mr Youth, an agency in New York City, and received the “Mr Youth” brand badge. I also responded to three moderated discussions and received the “Ideator” badge.   

In addition to badges, I’ve also been earning points, which have promoted me to higher levels of status. I’ve gone from “cardboard” to “plastic” to “oak” and now I’m “bronze.” Each new level gives the participant more opportunities, such as sampling products when you reach level three and receiving advanced notification when you reach level four. The advanced notification part is key for opportunities that give cash rewards. When you earn over $10.00 you can redeem all of it to charity, or you can redeem 5 percent and take the rest on an Amazon gift card.

I signed in as a participant, but you can also sign in on the Crowdtap Client Site, where you can be the one asking all the questions. There are options for polls, feedback questions, discussion boards, sampling opportunities, sharing  (such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube), or even hosting a party.

Will you check out Crowdtap as a consumer or a client? Do you think this is an innovative social media site? Do you feel Crowdtap will “empower influential crowds to drive measurable peer-to-peer marketing results” like the website claims? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas. 


*Bio: Prior to joining the BurrellesLuce Client Service team in 2008, Denise worked in the marketing industry for three years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Connecticut, where she gained experience interning in PR and working for student organizations. By engaging readers on the Fresh Ideas blog Denise hopes to further her understanding of client needs. In her spare time, she is passionate about Team in Training (The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s charity sports training program) and baking cupcakes. Her claim to fame: red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. LinkedIn: dgiacin Twitter: @denise10283 Facebook: BurrellesLuce

PRSA Counselors Academy 2010: Abbie Fink, HMA PR, Interviewed by Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE: Hello, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and I’m here at the PRSA Counselors Academy with Abbie.

Abbie, will you please introduce yourself?

ABBIE FINK: Sure. My name is Abbie Fink. I’m vice president and general manager of HMA Public Relations in Phoenix, Arizona.

BURKE: And, Abbie, you’re also the co-chair of Counselors Academy. Can you please talk a little bit about the programming and how you as an agent see–drive some of that content to make this a valuable attendee event for some of the participants?

FINK: Sure. Counselors Academy is a special interest group of the Public Relations Society of America, and it’s attended by owners and managers of public relations firms. And so we are all here–it’s our professional development opportunity for agency owners and managers to really learn about our businesses. We are talking about growth strategies, what are the trends that we’re seeing in the marketplace as it relates to social media, green initiatives, Hispanic communications; really, the types of things that we can look at as new revenue-generating sources, new business opportunities that we can then take back into our own markets and implement new programs and things that we’ve learned as a result of the conversations that we’ve had here.

BURKE: Great. Thanks, Abbie. And where can people find you on the web and in social media?

FINK: Well, thanks for that opportunity as well. We are on the web at We also host a blog at And then you can find me on Twitter @abbief, that’s A-B-B-I-E-F, and of course on HMA Public Relations page on Facebook. And I look very much forward to connecting with you there.

BURKE: Thanks, Abbie.

FINK: Thank you.

PRSA Counselors Academy: Mark McClennan, Schwartz Communications, Interviewed By Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE: Hello, everyone, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and I’m at the PRSA Counselors Academy. And we’re here with Mark.

Mark, will you introduce yourself?

MARK McCLENNAN: Sure thing, Johna. It’s Mark McClennan. I’m a senior vice president at Schwartz Communications.

BURKE: Mark, now, you just gave a session on growing your talent from within. Can you give a couple of the takeaways, for those people that couldn’t be here, of how they can do that at home?

McCLENNAN: I’d be happy to. When you’re talking about growing the talent from within, there’s really three fundamental things you need to make sure you do. From point one, you need to make sure you establish buy-in to the company vision and the power of folklore from day one. Make sure people understand where your company is, where they fit within the company and how they can grow within the company.

Point two is you need to make sure you’re constantly giving them opportunities to fail. I mean, fundamentally, the only way to grow your supervisors, your vice presidents, is you encourage people to make mistakes and learn from them. You know, give them the maximum responsibility at the earliest possible moment. Eighty percent of the time it’s going to work well for you, 20 percent of the time it’s not necessarily going to work as well, and those are the learning experiences. And you need to make that commitment because short term there may be an impact, long term you’re going to get a significant ROI. And that’s how you’re going to grow the people that know your company, know what you need to succeed, and they can help drive things forward.

And finally, you need to make sure, when it comes to training, that you don’t do the work for your employees. You need to give them the opportunities to begin the discussion. You need to–when you get a horrible press release, you can’t rewrite it. What you need to fundamentally do is figure out ways to help them through an…(unintelligible)…process to fix it. Ask them during every team meeting, `What do you see as the trends? What do you think we should do?’ When they come to you with questions, don’t answer the question. The first thing you should say is, `What do you think? How do you think we shoot–we should do that?’ And by doing that, you’re going to have people aligned with the company vision, you’re going to give them the confidence they need to succeed, and you’re going to really help develop the future leaders that will help your agency grow.

BURKE: Mark, that’s great. Thank you so much.

McCLENNAN: Thanks so much.

BURKE: And where can people find you on the web and in social media?

McCLENNAN: Sure. Well, there’s a lot of places there, but basically, and our blog is Crossroads, so And you can find me at @mcclennan at Twitter.

BURKE: Great. Thank you so much, Mark.

McCLENNAN: Thanks. 

Big Media, Mass Media, New Media – Oh My!

Friday, September 10th, 2010

A few days ago, I read NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen’s inaugural lecture to the fresh crop of future journalists at Sciences Pos School of Journalism in Paris. I’m not going to recap the historically rich (and lengthy) address, but will borrow a piece or two for the purpose of discussion here. (Note: his post can be found here if you’d like to read it in its entirety.)  This address was directed to future journalists, but I think public relations practitioners that deal in media relations, can learn from it just as well.

Rosen began with a clip from the 1976 movie Network, which is about a TV news anchor who begins to act out on the air. I realize this was before many of you were born, but please take a few minutes to watch what is probably the most well-known scene in the film.

Rosen believes the filmmakers are “showing us what the mass audience was: a particular way of arranging and connecting people in space. Viewers are connected ‘up’ to the big spectacle, but they are disconnected from one another.” He explains, “But Howard Beale does what no television person ever does: he uses television to tell its viewers to stop watching television. When they disconnect from TV and go to their windows, they are turning away from Big Media and turning toward one another. And as their shouts echo across an empty public square they discover just how many other people had been ‘out there,’ watching television” – concurrently yet disconnectedly. 

I agree with Rosen’s belief that this clip clearly demonstrates the great event we are living through today: the breakup of the mass audience and the shift in power that goes with it. What if today’s TV personality acted like Howard Beale? Rosen answers: “Immediately people who happened to be watching would alert their followers on Twitter. Someone would post a clip the same day on YouTube. The social networks would light up before the incident was over.  Bloggers would be commenting on it well before professional critics had their chance.” 

Cases of where citizens beat journalists to the punch are numerous but a few off the top of my head are: the Mumbai attacks, the Hudson River plane landing, or more recently the Discovery Channel hostage situation.

Rosen goes on to explain, “The media world today is a shifted space. People are connected horizontally to one another as effectively as they are connected up to Big Media; and they have the powers of production in their hands.”

The digital revolution changes the equation, according to Rosen. “It brings forward a new balance of forces, putting the tools of production and the powers of distribution in the hands of the people…”.

From my media relations standpoint, this means the days of blasting out a press release to every big (or small) media outlet are rapidly coming to an end. NO, I’m not saying big media is dead, nor is the press release (sheez, don’t get me started!)

What I am saying is that PR agencies, public relations practitioners, branding/marketing folks, small business owners, etc. now, more than ever, have additional opportunities to reach out to their publics in multiple ways – connecting with their individual audience(s) – and each other wherever they hang out.  Big media and small media alike are still very much part of that equation, but now there are even more possibilities.

That’s my takeaway from Rosen’s speech and the clip. What is yours?