Posts Tagged ‘Shonali Burke’


PR Industry Conferences: Connecting, Networking, Mentoring

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Like many of you, I attended the 2012 PRSA International Conference (as well as PRSSA—student conference) in San Francisco.  Since returning, I’ve been following many blog posts on what PR professionals (and students) learned and took away from the myriad sessions offered.  However, one post really struck me and I’d like to expand on it.

Shonali Burke posted to her Waxing Unlyrical blog that she believes the true value of these conferences has more to do with connecting and networking.  She says:

“The point is in collectively sharing, and participating in, and learning about, and growing our industry together.”  “The point is in relating to each other as people, and not just as ‘networkers,’ or ‘prospects’.  Because when we take the time to get to know the people behind the prospects, we learn what makes each other tick. We’re able to help each other out, even if there’s nothing in it for us.”

She goes on to say:

“And though we may not walk away with new business signed and sealed, I can guarantee you that the people we take the time to connect with – because we genuinely like and respect them, or we were just being nice – will remember us when someone asks for a referral, or has a job opening.”

I personally, met nearly 20 people in real life that I previously had only known through social media, as well as re-connected with a number of industry leaders that I only get to see that one time of year at a conference. It allows us to solicit feedback on our services related to the PR pros business—to ensure what we are offering is what they need. 

But, I’d like to go even one step further and encourage every PR pro (whether they are a PRSA member or not) to take some additional time and invest in the future of our profession by offering to mentor young pros or about-to-be pros (students).  Your practical guidance can complement their education, sharpening their focus on their career goals and helping them develop the professional and interpersonal skills they’ll need as they navigate the real-world. Students need your help, advice and friendship as they evolve into tomorrow’s public relations leaders. 

There is also the benefit of reverse mentoring. Ken Jacobs, principal at Jacobs Communications Consulting, recently talked about reverse mentoring in a BurrellesLuce webinar, “Managing, Motivating, and Leading Millennials,” which is available for download, by clicking the link. Your mentee very well may help you learn more about yourself and other generations.  They know things you may not and can teach you new job-specific skills. After all, we know that in this profession we never stop learning! Mentoring may even give your organization an edge when it comes to recruitment, as well as help making you a more effective manager.

The time to start investing in your mentoring relationships is now.  Are you ready? Please share your mentoring success stories here on the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog.

2012 Counselors Academy Conference – Beyond the Hype of Influence: Unleashing the Power of PR

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Colleen Flood*

“Going beyond the hype of social media and online influence means going beyond the numbers and popularity games. It means digging into the real meaning of influence and finding the true value of making connections with the right people,” explained Pierre-Loic Assayag, CEO of Traackr, and Shonali Burke, VP, Digital, MSL Washington D.C., at the 2012 PRSA Counselors Academy.

There are many tools to measure influence, including Klout, Peer Index, Tweet Level, and Tweet Grader. The problem with tools that measure influence is that they cannot agree and that is because marketers are asking the wrong questions. Rather than try and use new tools based on old practices, marketing and PR professionals must understand that influence varies – both qualitative and quantitative – and depends on content.

With three percent of people creating 90 percent of the impact online, it is imperative that communicators understand influencers as they pertain to individual clients. Not all influencers will fit the bill. Therefore, marketers must identify the right people for the job. In other words, marketers must choose relevance over popularity.

  1. Influence is both an art and a science. Search, secure, rank, and track.
  2. Focus on the task at hand. “Cognitive blindness” causes many marketers to miss influencers.
  3. Commit. Discover, listen, and engage to understand what the conversation is about.

Once marketers have found the relevant influencers, then what? Assayag and Burke say that it is time to “manage influencers” and that PR professionals must approach the relationship as if “it is a marriage and not a date.” Part of managing the relationship involves understanding the different metrics that define success such as web traffic, brand mentions, sales, engagement metrics, and sentiment/tone, among others.

In the end, finding the right influencers is really about providing value (what can you do for them?), being relevant, and being genuine and then finding the right metrics that help drive value and not hype. In wrapping up, Burke talked about the Blue Key campaign and how it used the power of influencers. Check out my colleague, Andrea Corbo’s post, When a Hashtag Leads to Help: PR Tips from #BlueKey

How are you unleashing the power of your PR? What metrics drive the most relevancy for your clients?

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*Bio: Colleen Flood has been a sales consultant with BurrellesLuce for over 12 years and is eager to become a more integrated part of the social-public relations community. She primarily handles agency relations in the New York and New Jersey metro-area. She is not only passionate about work, but also about family, friends, and the Jersey Shore. Twitter: @cgflood LinkedIn: Colleen Flood Facebook: BurrellesLuce 

When a Hashtag Leads to Help: PR Tips from #BlueKey

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Andrea Corbo*

Peacekeeping - UNAMID

Flickr Image: United Nations Photo

We all know there are many reasons to use social media, but why not use it for a good cause? Well, that’s what many non-profits, NGOs, and supporters do! 

Let’s take a look at a recent social media campaign launched by USA for UNHCR. The initiative, called The Blue Key campaign, aims at raising awareness of UNHCR refugee work and raising money through the purchases of blue keys that symbolize a key to a home, which refugees no longer have. Their goal is to “dispatch 6,000 Blue Keys by December 31, 2011.” To date, they have dispatched over 3,400 keys. The campaign has had huge success this year and still has a presence if you run a Twitter search today. #BlueKey

I recently had the opportunity to talk with Shonali Burke, a public relations and social media strategist based in metro D.C., who consulted on The Blue Key campaign (USA for UNHCR is her client), and blogs at Waxing UnLyrical. From our discussion, I was able to see that the tactics fell into several categories.

Measurement
If you are a PR professional running a campaign, you may choose to set a goal that you can measure such as a set-amount of followers, hashtag mentions, or number of group members. (One of their goals was the number of blue keys.) You can then relate these quantitative metrics to monetary measurements and numbers of people positively affected as a result of such aid. You can also take a look at qualitative metrics, think tone or sentiment, to see how people may be reacting to your campaign and how your campaign may have shifted their awareness – positively, negatively, or neutrally.  What types of response can you get?

To understand how analytics helped UNHCR tell their story, check out this interview between Shonali and Beth Kanter, author of Beth’s Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media.  

Timeliness/Relevancy
Use holidays and events to your advantage. A great idea in the Blue Key campaign was to incorporate an online frenzy via a tweetathon (on June 13th) that approached World Refugee Day, held each year on June 20th.  These tweets then led to more awareness which, for UNHCR, resulted in a direct increase in support through purchases of blue keys. In fact, the tweetathons were so successful that they were held again in September and again on Monday, October 24th in honor of United Nations Day.

According to a recent email message sent by Marc Breslaw, executive director, USA for UNHCR – The UN Refugee Agency, the tweetathon held last week generated 1, 800 tweets with the hashtag #bluekey and have helped to spread even more awareness and keys.

And as 2011 draws to a close, another tweetathon is planned for November 17th from 9am – 9pm.

Word-of-mouth
Clearly, USA for UNHCR and other organizations can create their own campaigns to raise awareness. But how can people get involved with these organizations if they don’t launch the campaign themselves? That’s where the Blue Key Champions come into play. Social media users, in general, can aid in these campaigns by participating by spreading knowledge, posting info for events or fundraisers, and sending targeted info to their friends.

Community Engagement (In Real-Life)
Since part of the goal is to actually bring real world action to causes, it is important for organizations and the communities to meet in real life, not just online. Today (November 2nd), in the NYC-area there is a  tweetup (NYC #bluekey tweetup) organized by local Blue Key Champions and the D.C. #bluekey tweetup will be on November 10th. These tweetups are a great way for people who are passionate about a cause to come together and meet others who are equally as passionate and foster a sense of active community.

 

Want some other causes to follow on Twitter? Help promote a cause that you are passionate about. Use your social media power to your advantage. Here are a few Twitter handles I suggest you follow to get started: @UNRefugeeAgency@planuk@unicefusa@Polaris_Project, @PlanGlobal@tkhf, @VolunteerMatch, and @ecoteer.

I hope I’ve encouraged you to get involved and help promote through your social media accounts. It’s easy and it means something important. What organizations do you follow on Twitter? Tell us by leaving a comment on Fresh Ideas.

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Bio: After receiving a B.A. in communications, and briefly working at a TV production studio, Andrea began volunteering abroad. This lead her to work in the non-profit world, where she was fortunate enough to learn about international education, women’s empowerment and social issues for the elderly, while traveling to over a dozen countries.  Since joining BurrellesLuce in 2011, Andrea is excited to share her thoughts and views on branding, social media, and communications with the growing Fresh Ideas audience, as well as her passion for cultural awareness, volunteerism, and sustainable efforts. Twitter: @AndreaCorbo; Facebook: BurrellesLuce; LinkedIn: BurrellesLuce

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?

From Breaking News to Break-ins: Public Relations, Marketing, Crime & More on Twitter

Monday, June 8th, 2009

flickr_brokenglass_2490896753_fabc3ffd43_m.jpgGail Nelson
With millions of users, Twitter reflects the more of the real world with every passing day. Among last week’s naughty and nice Twitter surprises:

  1. A celebrity baby arrival: Lance Armstrong broke the news of his son’s birth and included a Twitpic (photo).
  2. A big consumer brand comes very late to the Twitter party: Coca-Cola, one of the world’s best-loved brands, has finally launched an official Twitter site. 
  3. A house was burglarized:  A criminal (probably) used Twitter  to find out when the homeowners are out of town.
  4. Intellectual property attorneys have a new place to look for business: Twitter handles may violate trademark law.
  5. The spread of human kindness: See this Mashable link for a roundup of how Twitter is saving the day, all over the globe. My favorite warm and cuddly story of the week is a dog tale. Using Twitter (among other media) Shonali Burke helped Darby, a German Sheppard left homeless upon the death of his owner, find a new family.

And there’s a lot more. Did anyone see this dust-up on tweeting in church

All this innovation has inspired the BurrellesLuce Marketing team to try something new, too. Bypassing our customary wire and paid online distribution services, we used Twitter to distribute our latest news. (Twitter isn’t all we did, of course. We sent our release to our list of journalists and bloggers – something our Media Contacts service helps with. And we published the release to our website.) So far, given the audience for this type of release, BurrellesLuce Vice President Johna Burke will speak at the AMEC media measurement conference in Berlin, Germany – it appears this economical method of Twitter the release is effective. 

Have you seen other remarkable uses for Twitter lately? What can you share about your new Twitter frontiers?