Discussing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Public Relations and Beyond

PPRA DEI Event

PHOTO: Queen Muse during PPRA’s DE&I webinar on June 30.

 

On Tuesday, June 30, David W. Brown, Diversity Advisor to the Office of the Dean at Temple University, led a discussion with Queen Muse, Digital Contributor for Philadelphia Magazine, and Sabrina Ram, Founder and President of Blu Lotus, about the meaning of “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DE&I) in the workplace.

The discussion builds on ongoing conversations around companies’ responsibility to be advocates for diverse communities. Queen and Sabrina emphasized the undeniable value of diversity and offered the following actionable tips to help PR professionals integrate DE&I into their lives, corporate culture, and counsel.

Be authentic and actionable, not performative.

When crafting statements, leaders should strive for authenticity by speaking about what they know to avoid hollow messaging. The statement should be transparent, noting any past missteps or shortcomings the company may have had—even if they make them look bad—as reflecting on the past is necessary to mapping out the path forward. Calling out injustice or inequity should become second nature for companies that are truly looking to evolve.

Educate yourself.

It’s impossible for white individuals to truly understand what people of color have withstood, but it is possible for them to educate themselves on their plights, interests, opinions, and more by reading their stories, listening to Ted Talks, and studying history. Queen stressed that education is key to understanding diversity, and it will inherently guide authentic messaging.

Make sacrifices to make room.

Organizations must invite diverse talent into the room and offer them a seat at the executives’ table. Majority leaders should willingly step aside and invite a person of color to fill their position to broaden the company’s perspective and deliver impactful messages to their diverse audiences—especially in a city as diverse as Philadelphia. Hiring managers should look outside of their immediate circle by consulting organizations that cultivate pools of brilliant, diverse talent, and those without hiring power should be willing to speak up and ask what the company is doing to increase diversity.                                

Amplify diverse voices.

Hiring people of color to positions of power fosters diversity, but diversity is not enough. They should be empowered to speak and drive decision making so that their voices, perspectives, and creativity can be heard and can trickle down throughout the company. Sabrina noted that to keep the momentum going, we should highlight companies that are doing DE&I right so that others can learn from them.

Hold yourself accountable.

The conversation surrounding DE&I has been bubbling to the surface for decades, but 2020 is the time for change. Ambiguous statements are no longer acceptable. All of us need to set goals to foster DE&I however we are able, and we need to hold ourselves, and our companies, accountable by pairing each goal with a deadline, routinely evaluating progress, and seeing each goal to the finish line.

Look out for more PPRA programming around these important issues as the discussion continues to evolve, because this is not the end of the conversation, but rather the beginning of long-lasting change.

-By PPRA member Jamie Shore

Video from Home: Top Videography Tips from a Pro

On Thursday, May 28, PPRA members were treated to a master class on videography.   Ricky Haldis founded Wise Owl Multimedia, a photography and videography company, in 2015. A proud Philadelphia native and storyteller at heart, Ricky has worked with PPRA and many of its members to craft visuals that resonate. He graduated from Holy Family University in 2016 with a bachelor’s in Digital Communication and Media/Multimedia.

Haldis, a friend of PPRA, shared best practices designed to help clients look their best on camera and, most importantly, achieve their communication goals

Prepare people to be as simple as possible”

It all comes down to simplicity. A concept that should be quite familiar to public relations professionals who exist to help a client’s message shine through, not to show the world how many fancy words they know. Ricky believes the same is true when it comes to video. 

The fundamentals count”

Keeping three concepts front of mind will lead you to success: how the video is shot (pick a small, quiet room with a simple background), how the video is lit (soft light is preferred – avoid direct sunlight and backlighting), and how the video sounds (to achieve best sound quality use a lapel mic. Furniture, carpet, and wall coverings dampen sound to prevent echo). 

Video is entirely psychological”

All video producers are ultimately seeking the “the brain’s approval.” Planning carefully, ensuring the message is on brand and putting the end goal in writing helps the client win the ever-elusive audience “approval.”

Genuine, organic and natural”

Ricky ended the webinar by empowering attendees to create professional looking videos on their own. With a modest investment of time and money, quality videos that present our clients well and help connect with audiences are within reach.

– By PPRA member Jill Flanagan

Tips for Students during COVID-19

Students around the region: We hear you. There is a lot of anxiety and uncertainty in the communications industry right now, and it can be daunting to think of your next steps in the midst of the current crisis. But one of the key characteristics of a good public relations professional is being nimble and pivoting to maximize any opportunity. Below, the PPRA Board shares some tips for building the foundation of your career during this time. We encourage you to reach out, connect with us and get engaged – now is as good a time as ever to start forging the professional relationships that will serve you well throughout your career!

We’re so #PPRAProud of you all, and we look forward to welcoming you to our community. To learn more about PPRA and how it supports students, reach out to the Co-Chairs of the College Relations Committee: Ryan Wall and Thomas Logue.

“Take note of examples of organizations that are really practicing stellar public relations at this moment. Then reach out to the people behind those organizations, introduce yourself as someone who is entering the field, and let them know what you noticed about their good work. Ask if they’d mind having a Zoom coffee meeting as an informational interview. I’m doing this too and making new connections as a result.” – Adam Dvorin, Media Relations Director, Winning Strategies; Adjunct Professor, Temple University adamdvorinppra@gmail.com

“Remember that nearly every industry is struggling, so try not to take it too personally. Use this time to hone your skills, relax and reconnect with loved ones. The rest of your life will be spent in the rat race anyway! :)” – Alexa Johnson, Senior Marketing & Communications Manager, Visit Bucks County alexaj@visitbuckscounty.com

“Get creative and stay hungry. Find new ways to make connections. Even though it’s our profession to watch the news, don’t give in to the ‘doom and gloom.’ We will get through this.” – Anthony Stipa, Communications Manager, PHLCVB; Temple alum anthonystipa@gmail.com

“Find something you care deeply about and volunteer your communications skills to an organization that supports your cause. You will make a world of new contacts and build your portfolio at the same time. Keep a diary of your COVID-19 experience. You are living through an extraordinary time in history. You are a writer, so write! Also, reach out to alumni from your school who work in communications and ask for informational interviews now. One of my best employees ever came to me that way. When someone we had just hired took another job, the woman who had the informational interview got the job! Finally, know that ‘no’ isn’t final. It means ‘not today.’ Keep in touch with the network you build. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at what happens over time.” – Bev Volpe, Partner, Snap2 Marketing/PR; Penn State alum bev@snap2mkt.com

“Research companies in the news, research their web sites and who their spokespeople are. Pay attention to universities and non-profits.” – Bonnie Grant, Executive Director of  PHL Life Sciences, Philadelphia’s Convention & Visitors Bureau; Temple alum bonnie@discoverphl.com

“Join professional organizations in your desired field. Network as much as you can. Taking the first step to a new connection can make all the difference. And remember to nurture these relationships.” – Deirdre Hopkins, Director of Public Relations, Visit Philadelphia; PPRA President deirdre@visitphilly.com

“While there may never (I hope) be another event that affects the world on such a scale, there will always be obstacles to overcome. Understand that and prepare for them, even if it is getting used to the sense that you cannot control every variable. Learning to be flexible, how to pivot, how to adapt, is one of the most important skills one can have in their career and in life. It allows you to see new opportunities and let go of the things that don’t work anymore. That’s not to say ‘give up on your dream’ but know that most paths are not a straight line. Try to learn new things and add skills wherever you can find them. Be open to new employment that may not fit your ideal job description.” – Hope Corse, Director of External Relations, Science History Institute; Temple alum hcorse@sciencehistory.org

“Invest in yourself, professionally and personally. Use this time to read a book, learn a language, make a bucket list. Consider what this pandemic has shown us about the future of work and consider enrolling in a free course to fine-tune your digital skills.” – Jennifer Micklow, PR Account Director, Brownstein Group; Rowan alum jmicklow@brownsteingroup.com

“Use this time to reconnect with others. Invest time in your relationships and they will often pay dividends in the future. Don’t let fear or self-doubt keep you from reaching out. You’ll often find that people are generous with their time and advice.” – Kellsey Turner, Account Manager, Vault Communications; La Salle alum kturner@vaultcommunications.com

“Use this time to develop new skills – there are so many free courses out there right now, it’s a great time to take some on Adobe Creative Suite, photography, videography, SEO, Google Analytics, Facebook Advertising and more. These are the skills that will set you apart when you’re trying to get hired in a hyper-competitive environment. Don’t be afraid to reach out to professionals right now – we’re all figuring this out together and 9 times out of 10 the person you’re hoping to connect with will be willing to chat.” – London Faust, Digital Media Manager, Bellevue Communications Group; PPRA President-elect; Temple alum lfaust@bellevuepr.com

“Use this time to build your portfolio. Review past projects, refine them. Get additional feedback and work to put a stellar collection together.” – Melissa Fordyce, Executive Director, Marketing & Communications, Philadelphia Foundation; Temple professor; Villanova alum melissa.a.fordyce@gmail.com

“Read. Read. Read. Know what is going on in the world from many perspectives. This will help you become an asset in PR or any field and will help you have thoughtful conversation with prospective employers, mentors and the media.” – Michelle Sonsino, Director of Marketing and Communications, Germantown Friends School; UPenn alum msonsino@germantownfriends.org

“During this time of social distancing it’s important to have a polished digital portfolio. Update your LinkedIn profile by publishing articles on relevant topics to the area of communications or public relations that you are interested in. This will help you stand out from the competition. You may not have the opportunity to meet prospective employers in-person so become familiarized with video-conference interviews. The days of handshakes may be behind us but making a good first impression will never go out of style!” – Nina Rodebaugh, Adjunct Professor – Digital Analytics for PR, Temple University; Immediate Past President, PPRA; Cabrini alum nina.scimenes@gmail.com | Twitter: @NinaScim |LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ninascim/

“When I was a sophomore, a summer internship I thought I had secured fell through and I was devastated. But, a week later, I found another opportunity that ended up forming the foundation of my professional career. Don’t compare yourselves to others, and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to adhere to a strict timeline. Attitude is everything, and if you keep your chin up, you’d be surprised to find that the world is often smiling back at you, cheering you on.” – Ryan Wall, Account Executive, Brian Communications, La Salle alum rwall@briancom.com | Twitter: @ryan_wonderwall | LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ryanmwall/

“First, be sure to take care of yourself. This is a strange and uncertain time and it’s okay to be uncomfortable with that. In the same spirit, once you’ve settled in, take the time to think about what you want, your immediate goals and plan accordingly. Figure out how you can get your dream job or internship – does it require you to know a specific skill? Then, find a free, online class. Do you need to reach out to someone in that field? Do some virtual networking, or send an email to a professional (that includes professors!). During this time, build a clear roadmap for yourself and put it to action!” – Samantha Byles, Senior Account Executive, Bellevue Communications Group; Temple alum sbyles@bellevuepr.com

“Always follow up after applying for a job! Don’t assume “they don’t want me.” They probably are just busy. I got internships at the White House and U.S. Senate by simply making a follow up call – in both cases, they called me back right away and I’d secured the internship by the next day. Following up shows that you’re committed, responsible, and mature.” – Sarah Maiellano, Owner, Broad Street Communications sarahmaiellano@gmail.com

“The COVID-19 crisis will likely put a freeze on communications hiring for some time, so set the stage for success on the other side of this. Use every opportunity to make yourself more marketable. 1) Closely follow the news. We are living in a watershed moment that will likely change the way communications professionals think and operate. Be conversant in how this has impacted our world. (You don’t want to be caught off guard in an interview). 2) Bolster your resume. Whether you’re simply touching it up or getting new certifications outside of the classroom, do what you can to make your resume stronger your peers’. 3) NOW IS THE TIME TO NETWORK. Set aside 15 minutes (or more) every day to research a company or agency that seems interesting to you. See how they operate. Reach out and share your story. (You were looking into their company because they appeal to you in some way, and you’d like to learn more.) Have a genuine conversation with them, (avoid asking them about openings) and learn everything you can about where you might want to land in future.” – Thomas Logue, Account Executive, AKCG – Public Relations Counselors tom@annekleincg.com

Guest Post: The PR Guessing Game Is Gone for Good

Brianna Taylor, PPRA member and Director of Public Relations at Garfield Group, shares the benefits of efficient data and analytics to PR. The complete post and its supporting images can be found on the Garfield Group blog.

It’s 2019. And the word of the year is “data” (don’t fact check me on that).

Today, data is as essential to modern marketers as oxygen. But this necessity isn’t always satisfied so readily. Most CMOs and their agencies know that they need data to measure the effectiveness of their programs. But when it comes to measuring PR efforts, there are often questions about what to measure and how to prove a true ROI.

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PR and Data — Together At Long Last.

According to the 2019 Global Communications Report from the USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations, big data analytics is the top skill that future PR and communications professionals will need to be successful. What’s more, “70 percent of B2B marketers would shift more of their budgets to PR if it could be related to financial impact,” reports Cision.

As a result, the PR industry has been adapting to prove the impact of their programs. It’s why at Garfield Group, we’ve begun to provide our clients with custom-tailored analytics dashboards — readily displaying the metrics that best indicate how well we’re delivering on their communications objectives.

A Portfolio of PR Metrics.

What are the most important public relations metrics? Of course the answer is those that measure success against specific KPIs or communications goals. It’s a customized view of what matters most to an organization. To provide some examples, however, we’ve outlined four of the most common data/metrics categories here:

Media Mentions

This is a simple count of the number of times a brand is mentioned in the media. Media mentions can be tracked over time to show an increase in the company’s “share of voice” in a particular industry and the traction of PR investments.

Media Impressions

Impressions are a measure of how many people “might have” seen the brand in media coverage. This includes calculating the potential audience reached with a given media mention or an entire campaign of clippings. (Note: this is not our favorite metric, because it typically inflates the sense of a brand’s true exposure. It is, however, a metric that clients frequently ask to measure.)

Content Scoring 

This is a real powerhouse metric. Content scoring is a measure of the quality of coverage a brand received. It’s a methodology to derive a true value of coverage – customized to unique goals and measured on a scale of, say, 1 to 10. Such a system might include considerations such as mentions of key messaging or talking points, whether a publication is one of your top media targets, how prominent your brand was in the coverage, and whether or not coverage was positive.

Traffic Generation

Website traffic and social media reach over time — since the beginning of a PR campaign, for example — are good barometers of the value of the PR investment. By including links in contributed pieces, we can also analyze how many website visitors are directly attributed to specific outlets or pieces of content. This measurement can help identify which sources are referring the most traffic to a website.

Everything in context.

Few marketers are throwing their entire budget into public relations alone. So which strategies best supplement investment in measurable PR?  Integrated marketing is the key — crossing traditional boundaries to combine PR with digital media, social media and beyond. (Look no further than how Oreo’s simple but fun Super Bowl tweet blew up. Seriously, look at all the coverage for “dunk in the dark.”) According to the 2019 Global Communications Report, 90% of respondents predict that the relationship between PR and marketing will become more integrated over the next five years.

As always, the key is your needs, your goals, and your vision. It’s essential to applying insightful strategies and creativity to solve problems and then do a great job of evaluating and measuring the outcomes. Only then can you understand how all forms of communications — including public relations, of course — are moving your business forward.

Guest Post: 5 Spring Cleaning Tips for PR Pros

This post was originally posted on the Devine+Partners blog. Click here to view the original post. 

Soon enough, we’ll be in the full swing of Spring 2019 and what better way to welcome Spring than to declutter, reduce, recycle and get some spring cleaning done in the office. Since less clutter equals less chaos, a tidy workspace can help improve your focus and provide you with all-around better work habits, increase team productivity and help you to create a fresh new start.

Let’s take a look at five ways to adopt some spring cleaning into your upcoming agenda:

Declutter your desk space

Depending on how messy your desk can get, start with a can of compressed air, boxes to organize your belongings, and a large trash bag. Prepare yourself emotionally to purge, and toss the items that you no longer need or use. Trying to get away from printing and killing trees? Focus on digital copies and fewer hard copies. Cleaning your desk will not only clear your work station, but will more importantly clear your mind.

Use your email functions wisely

Is it just me or does seeing 2,399 unread messages in our Inbox make you cringe? I shoot to make that number zero, but it’s sometimes not always possible. I’m sure we can probably all agree that the email search tool is a commonly used function, but instead of relying on this, it is important to take some time to organize your email files. Create folders and subfolders, flag or label items in your inbox, and use the task feature to prioritize assignments. (Or be like me and add it there AND write it down in an agenda book #OldSchool) By organizing your important emails now, you’ll be able to cut down lengthy searches in the future. Be sure to also delete space-consuming junk mail whenever possible.

Freshen’ Up Your Social Media

Often times we forget about the importance of social media decluttering. Whether this is persona or on social media accounts you manage at work, spend a few minutes each day to review your accounts and update your connections. Remove pages that are no longer active, and look for new brands, reporters and influencers to follow that are relevant to your accounts. It’s also a good idea to freshen up your pages every now and then with new cover photos, but continue to keep your logo and profile photo consistent across all channels.

Reconnect with old contacts

When I think of spring I think of the work fresh, as in fresh start. Do you feel like some of your accounts are stale and you’re looking for some new energy or potential new business? I have a box of business cards in my desk and two times a year I will go through to see which old contacts I haven’t connected with in a while. Schedule coffee, shoot them an email or send a LinkedIn message checking in on them personally and professionally. This may bring in some new business in 2019 or at least help you reconnect with an old colleague.

Review current PR strategies

It’s easy to settle into a routine when a strategy works, but there’s always room for improvement! Meet with your clients and your teams to revisit those initial strategies and tactics. Are the strategies still working? What can we do to grow our efforts? Even if your PR efforts are succeeding, check in with the team and think about what other tactics you could be using. Taking the time to brainstorm new ideas will show the client your passion for their brand and help the account grow.

Take these five cleaning tips and spread them out over the next three weeks. I hope they help give you a fresh and re-energized start.