Posts Tagged ‘#PRStudChat’


Overcoming Blogger’s Block

Monday, February 7th, 2011

What to blog about?

istockphoto.com Good IdeaThat is the question I’ve been asking myself for a few days. In my pursuit of a topic for a post, I realized I’m not alone… Writer’s block has always been something that communications professionals, and others, have struggled to overcome. But now that audiences expect instantaneous access to new content and materials via blogs and other social media, it’s becoming even harder to keep up and remain, well, “fresh.”  

In hopes of beating my own blogger’s block, I decided to take a look at some PR resources for inspiration. I’d like to give you some, in case you, too, find yourself in a similar situation.

One: Arik Hanson recapped a blog discussion last November on 24 ways to feed the blog beast. I’ve referred to this list several times. In fact, my BurrellesLuce colleague Valerie Simon has utilized number nine, summarizing various Twitter chats, several times since she leads both the #PRStudChat and #HAPPO chats. I especially like number 20 on using best of posts. This strategy allows me to include information from multiple, valuable sources and give some “link love” to other great blogs.  

Two: My Google Reader is a great resource for searching for topics and other blogs of interests. Josh Braaten, Big Picture Web Marketing, notes this tip in his post, Four Tips for Overcoming Blogging Writer’s Block. He also suggests using Twitter to review hot topics and ask for ideas.

Three: The startup, Skribit claims to be the cure to writer’s block. The application allows you to get feedback and suggestions from readers of your blog. Mashable even highlighted the tool in its Spark of Genius series, and based on the comments, I would give it a try.

Four: I’ve asked my network for ideas. I don’t always use the ideas, but the act of reviewing their ideas often leads to new ones. For this post, I asked Peter Shankman for some  good writers’ karma, because he had tweeted about  how a blog post just came to him and he had a great writing session. And he sent it (the good writer’s karma) my way via DM.

Five: And don’t forget the traditional media! My colleague Tressa Robbins recently wrote a blog post, News in Our Digital Lives: “Old” Media Still Matters, recapping the annual joint meeting of PRSA, IABC, and CSPRC.  Amy Mitchell, deputy director for the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism presented some interesting finds, confirming the importance and reliance on traditional 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.”

How do you get ideas for your blog posts? What themes have resonated with your readers? What topics would you like to see covered on Fresh Ideas?

Personal Connections: Key to Professional Success

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Last week, Valerie Simon interviewed me for her BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas post, “Maximizing the Value of an Event.” In advance of #PRStudChat Twitter chat, where I was one of the special guests, I got to offer a few tips for enhancing your networking experience at industry events.

On the subject of networking, I’d like to dive in a little further….

My husband is currently looking for a job, so he has had to ramp-up his networking. It seems he’s not alone. Often at networking events, you will find a lot of job seekers. But, why wait until you need to network? Why not do it all the time? This way, when the need arises, you are already connected with many people who can help you. You can use networking to help you find mentors, collaborators, partners, and future colleagues. Remember, if you help someone, they are more willing to help you.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Lauren Lawson-Zilai, media relations manager, Goodwill Industries International. In the video below, she describes the many ways she has used networking to help her professionally.

There are many places you can network with other professionals—

  • Professional organization events
  • Conferences
  • Tweetups
  • Award events
  • Meals out with other professionals
  • Happy hour events
  • Places you volunteer

Once you’re there, here are a few tips:

  • Mingle often and don’t spend too much time with any one person or group of people.
  • Bring cards and be sure to ask for cards from the people you meet.
  • Write notes on the back of the card (if culturally appropriate) about the people you meet.
  • Follow-up! Keep the connection going by sending them a note and inviting them to connect with you via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Plaxo or another social media channel. (Note: you can connect your LinkedIn and Plaxo accounts, so you don’t have to send two invites.)

The same night as the #PRStudChat, I attended a Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR) Speed Networking event, where I had a chance to meet several people in a short period of time. The next day, I had several emails from attendees about volunteering and working together. I was really impressed with the great follow-up!

Do you have any advice for other readers? What helps you expand your network?

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.

When PR Experts Emerge As Tastemakers…

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Valerie Simon

Last Friday I attended PRSA T3 conference and as promised, I wanted to share a glimpse of my experience with you. The incredible line-up put together by conference co-chairs, Rich Teplitsky PRSA Technology section chair and my #PRStudChat partner, 2.0 expert and author Deirdre Breakenridge, offered a full day of lively sessions,  including an intriguing session by Christine Perkett, President of PerkettPR, on “Driving your own influence: PR experts as influencers.”  Here are some of the key tips and takeaways from Christine’s presentation, provided by Heather Mosley of PerkettPR.

In the field of public relations, as within any other industry, “stars” emerge. Those who offer value and receive exposure gain attention. And while in the field of PR it is usually our clients who take center stage, Christine’s presentation highlighted tastemakers such as fashion PR maven Kelly Cutrone and social media experts such as Brian Solis who have become influencers in their own right. She encouraged those seeking to become influencers to share; write a book, offer quotes for a book, blog and tweet. Christine also cautioned that while sharing and participating in social media is essential, equally important is the need to offer value. Consider everything you put out there especially in writing, and what value it offers to others.

Following the session, Christine shared a few thoughts with me for young PR practitioners who seek to become influencers.

So here is my question to BurrellesLuce readers: What are your thoughts on PR experts as influencers? Is it the role of the PR practitioner to stay behind the brand, or do those PR influencers who are able to emerge as veritable tastemakers offer an added value to both clients and their community?

Integrating Social and Real-Life Networking

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Valerie Simon

Integrating Social and I could not be more excited to attend the PRSA T3 conference on June 11, 2010. The co-chairs, PRSA Technology section chair Rich Teplitsky and my #PRStudChat partner, 2.0 expert and author Deirdre Breakenridge, have put together an incredible agenda of topics and speakers that are sure to excite anyone looking to stay ahead of the curve in public relations and social networking.

Here are a few of the ways I’ll be integrating social media into my conference experience to assure I make the most of the opportunity.

Advance preparation

  • Twitter: If you follow me on Twitter, you may already have seen that I’ve begun tweeting about the conference, speakers, and other attendees using the hashtag #techprsa. In addition, I’ve participated in a pre-conference Twitter Chat and started a Twitter list of T3 attendees, so that I could get to know them better outside of the hashtag. I’ve even set up a column using hootsuite.com to begin monitoring pre-conference conversation using the conference hashtag.
  • LinkedIn: I’m a longtime member of the PRSA LinkedIn Group and am watching closely a discussion posted by Nicole Zerillo, marketing communications social media manager, PRSA, regarding the conference. I also joined the PRSA technology section group which is much more focused on the upcoming conference than the general PRSA group on LinkedIn.
  • Facebook: My Facebook account is really more personal, than professional, but sometimes the lines blur a bit. For example, I’m keeping a close eye on the PRSA Facebook page and have left a comment on one discussion about the T3 conference.
  • Google Reader (RSS): I’ve confirmed that the blogs of all speakers are in my Google Reader and organized them in a special folder. Now to continue adding the blogs of other attendees I anticipate meeting…
  • General Social Media: When it gets a bit closer to the event, I plan to update my status on all social sites and share that I will be attending the event. 

As important as the online preparation is, don’t forget the value of offline communication. Many speakers are also authors; in fact, I am hoping to finish speaker Justin Levy’s book, Facebook Marketing: Designing Your New Marketing Campaign, before hearing his session!

Live attendance
When the big day comes, I’ll be there early. While a conference offers many opportunities to share information live, I don’t intend to focus on live blogging/micro-blogging. I am there to take advantage of the benefits of face-to-face networking and learning. Perhaps I’ll tweet a few of the brilliant remarks from speakers, but only if I find that it is not distracting me from making the most of what is happening in that room.

But don’t worry, I won’t forget about you, the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas. I’ll bring my flip cam, in hopes of introducing you later to some of the incredible people I meet. Perhaps I’ll take a few photos to share; I’ve really enjoyed the Whrrl stories created by Perkett PR… maybe it’s time I create my own, or perhaps interview some of the speakers for a future Fresh Ideas or Public Relations Examiner post.

Conference follow-up
I am sure that I will return from the conference with many new connections and valuable resources and expect that the night (and weekend) after the conference, I’ll be very busy. In general, I make it a point to follow EVERY new contact on Twitter (and plan to add those from the conference to my T3 PR Twitter list); this allows me the opportunity to continue listening and learning from them. And I send personal LinkedIn invitations to those I have connected with, and want to be sure I keep in my network. 

I’ll also be downloading video and sifting through notes, taking some time to contemplate all that I heard and learned, before sitting down to blog. And finally, I intend to make a trip to Barnes and Noble. (I always seem to walk away from these conferences with some great new book recommendations.)

Whew. It seems like a lot, but I am a firm believer that there is a direct correlation between investment and return. What steps do you take to maximize the opportunities of the conferences you attend? What are your plans for this year’s PRSA T3 conference? How are you integrating social and real-life networking and capitalizing on the ROI?