8 Reasons We’re Excited for #SMDay2020

Social Media Day Logo-09

In under ten days Slice Communications will present Social Media Day Philadelphia 2020. Here’s a guest post from Leo Manning, a digital marketing strategist with PPRA member Slice Communications, with all you need to know to get involved.

8 Reasons We’re Excited for #SMDay2020

This year, the conference world is looking a little different. With the COVID-19 outbreak changing plans for all in-person events, it’s a little harder to find relevant networking and professional learning opportunities. However, Social Media Day Philadelphia 2020 is set to be one of the most exciting, and for only $20 a ticket, it’s a deal you can’t beat!

We’ve Gone Virtual!

One of the most apparent changes for this year’s event is that it is virtual. However, going virtual has allowed us to extend our reach even further this year. With speakers from across the country, we’re able to bring more marketing knowledge right here to Philadelphia – and all without leaving our couch!

Staying Social!

Just because we won’t be in the same room building doesn’t mean networking is out! Aside from chatting and engaging through social media (follow us at @smdayphl and keep the conversation going with #SMDayPHL), this year, we will be running a Slack channel! That way, attendees can engage with not only each other, but also our expert speakers! And speaking of networking…

Co-Mentoring Connect

We’re proud to start our new Co-Mentoring Connect! This program will provide professional development and networking outside of our annual event. Marketing leaders and practitioners will be matched to learn from each other and develop their social media and marketing prowess.

Supporting Local Business

All net proceeds from this year’s event will go towards Fuel The Fight, a homegrown initiative that raises funds to buy meals from local restaurants who are reeling from the coronavirus. These meals are then donated to essential workers on the frontlines.

AMAs

Whether you have a question on the basics of social media or paid advertising, or a more specific topic like legal concerns on social media or digital accessibility, there will be experts you can talk to. The panels feature thought leaders from companies like Meltwater, Cisco, Accessibility Shield, Philly Mag, and more!

Flash Talks

For people who want bite-sized case studies, flash talks will be ideal! Instead of larger presentations, flash talks are presented in blocks of 3 and cover specific topics and campaigns, allowing you to learn three bite-sized, unique topics in only 45 minutes!

Workshops
While some people prefer to just listen, some people learn best by engaging! This year’s hands-on workshops feature experts in everything from YouTube marketing to using employees to develop social media content!

General Sessions
Featuring national brands like LEGO, Cisco, IBM, Kroger, and more, the general sessions are 45-minute blocks showcasing higher level strategy.

So, what are you waiting for?
Get tickets for you and your team – right now, you can Buy 4, Get 1 Free!

A Welcome from PPRA’s President-Elect

I’ll try to keep this short and sweet since many of you joined the Annual Meeting Happy Hour last week and heard my remarks. 

For anyone who doesn’t know me, I am a Digital Media Manager at Bellevue Communications Group working primarily in traditional PR and social media for clients in all industries. I live in South Philly, am a proud Temple Owl, also serve on the board of Families Forward Philadelphia, and spend my free time re-watching Gilmore Girls while trying not to kill my growing collection of houseplants. 

Being part of a community has been the driving force behind my experience with public relations from my time at Temple in PRSSA and PRowl to present-day when I sit here so humbled and excited (and of course a little nervous) to be the next PPRA president. Getting to know so many talented communications professionals over the past five years has been an absolute pleasure and inspiration. It’s an honor to be tasked with leading this organization and its nearly 300 members. 

My goals for this year are to:

  • Streamline internal PPRA processes
  • Expand the range of topics covered by our programming
  • Continue and build on Diversity and Inclusion practices 
  • Renew our focus on mentorship
  • Create a greater sense of collaboration between the board and PPRA membership

Written out that sounds like a lot, but I think it all goes hand in hand to help us continue serving our membership in the most meaningful and impactful ways. One thing I know for sure is that I can’t make all of this happen without your help so I have two requests: 

Get involved! We have 18 committees currently recruiting chairs and members. Join one that compliments skills you already have or one that will help you grow new ones. It’s great for your resume and you’ll meet some really wonderful people.

Connect with us! I want to hear what YOU want from our programs, networking opportunities, and mentorship options. Email me any time at lfaust@bellevuepr.com or connect with me on social @londonfaust. 

Thank you for trusting me with this organization that has done so much for me. I’m looking forward to working together to make this year another great one. 

Between You and MEdia… with Marc Narducci

As PR professionals, we all know the importance of building meaningful relationships with members of the media – reporters, producers, assignment editors, etc. But how does that happen, and where do you start? 

In this new section of the PPRA blog, PPRA members will share insight, tips and tricks, and fun facts learned from members of the media through informal interviews. You won’t have to wait for our “Media Mingle” or “Editors Panel” to get your tough questions answered and connect with the media. Our goal with this blog section is to continue engagement with our media counterparts in an informative and fun manner. So, between you and me – enjoy!


Marc Narducci has been a Philadelphia Inquirer sportswriter since 1983, offering stories, videos, photos & commentary mainly on the 76ers & Temple football. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic he has shifted some of his reporting to news and The Upside – the Inquirer’s newest section which celebrates good news, good stories and the very best of the Greater Philadelphia region. Marc is a passionate storyteller whose love for his craft and this region shine through in his reporting. Learn from PPRA member Melissa Fordyce on how he got this start, how he likes to be pitched and the favorite story he’s covered. Photos courtesy of Marc Narducci.

Narducci_Marc

How did you get started as a journalist?
I first started out as a reporter for a local newscast in cable TV while I was still in college in 1979. I stayed there for five years, but while there, I realized that I better become a little more versatile so through contacts I was able to do some freelance sports stories for the Courier Post and a few for The Inquirer. When The Philadelphia Inquirer debuted a South Jersey section in 1984, I was hired. It wasn’t full-time but back then there was an unlimited freelance budget, so I was working full-time hours. I didn’t become full-time until 1997.

Who/what inspired you to pursue journalism and what keeps you inspired?
I just always had a love for sports and wanted to report on it whether electronically or for print. Over the years I have done a lot of small cable TV sports stuff such as covering games, sports shows, etc. I just always wanted to have a career where I was covering sports and for the most part that is how it has been. Now due to the coronavirus, I have been also writing news (until the games return) and that has also been interesting. It is not my comfort zone but have met a lot of good people and have done several different types of stories from straight news to features.

What’s your favorite aspect of your job?
The fact that I am covering something I love and get to tell the story. It’s always said that no two days are the same. I wouldn’t go that far, but there is so much different that occurs. Each story presents its own new challenge. I especially like covering a team on a day to day basis, because you become so familiar with the participants and the subject.
 

What’s your favorite story that you’ve worked?
I just finished a 12-part series on the 76ers 12 most memorable playoff games, which is still running now. The reason I enjoyed it was I went back and interviewed players and coaches and learned so much that I didn’t know about many of these famous games. Some of the information I had never read before and that is always good to uncover new information and it was fascinating to see how well people remembered events that in some cases were more than 50 years ago.

Take us through your story process – What elements do you look for?
Where do you start? You always look for a hook. The story we always ask is why should this story be published. What about it makes it worth pursuing. When you are covering a team on a day to day basis, you are often doing the news of the day, although you are always looking for a different slant to a story everybody else is covering. When doing a feature, then you want to really say, what makes this story worth publishing.

We get pitched on a lot of stories with similar themes, so we are always looking for what makes this story stand out. For instance, while working for The Inquirer’s Upside section, we get pitched on so many people doing good things for charity. That should never be discounted, but then we look at what makes this story so unique. Maybe it is something that they are doing different. Maybe it is the individual who has a good and unique story. But we always look beyond just the nuts and bolts of a story and look to see what will make it stand out.

How do you work with PR professionals?
I love working with PR professionals because for the most part, they know what we need. The really good ones know how to pitch a story, know our needs and can deliver us the people we need to talk to. That is the most important thing. Not only getting a good story but getting the people who can talk about it in an interesting way. You know within a few minutes of a phone call or even from reading an email if a PR professional is sharp.

What advice would you give PR professionals looking to pitch you?
Read the product you are pitching to. Don’t pitch me a story that ran in yesterday’s paper. Also have a little idea about the work the reporter you are pitching to does. The more effective pitches come from people who are not just cold calling but have a familiarity with what we do and possibly the type of stories we need.

How many pitches do you get a day from PR folks? Since working for the Upside section, it has increased to probably several a day, but that is fine. The hardest thing is to say no to somebody. One thing I do is I will pitch every story idea I get unless I think it has no chance to succeed. For instance, if we have done a story or even several on a topic I pitch, I will tell the PR person that it isn’t likely that it will be used.  

How do you prefer to be pitched? What is the best way to make a pitch stand out?
I like email. Everything is outlined there and plus you have a record of it. I keep a file of all the stories I am pitched and it is easy to do it that way. Also, I like the people who even if I turn them down, that they come back with more ideas.

Favorite local sports hero – past or present?
Always loved Hank Aaron. I thought he is the most underrated sports superstar and love the way he still carries himself today with so much dignity.

Favorite game or sports story you’ve covered?
IMG_5140The Eagles 41-33 win over New England in Super Bowl LII. I was in Minnesota the entire week doing pre-game stories and it was exciting to be part of our coverage. I normally don’t do this, but after the game and long after I had filed my story, I went down on the field and had my photo taken there. Normally I remain neutral. I don’t root for teams, I root for no injuries and a good storyline, but the fact that it was the Eagles first Super Bowl title and to be part of it was pretty special.

Favorite spot to think through a story?
My kitchen. That is where I do most of my work. I take phone calls, write the stories right here. The only problem is when my wife runs the microwave, then it gets a little hard to hear, but other than that, it’s my spot.

The best way to reach Marc: mnarducci@inquirer.com

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

#PPRAMemberMonday – Brianna M. Taylor

Brianna M. Taylor

Brianna M. Taylor is the Director of Public Relations for Garfield Group. She has been a member of PPRA since 2013.

Twitter: @garfieldgroup

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GarfieldGroup/

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/garfield-group

Brianna M. Taylor leads the public relations practice at Garfield Group, an integrated marketing and communications agency in Old City. Prior to Garfield Group, she spent five years at Devine + Partners.

Brianna has significant experience developing and executing public relations campaigns on behalf of clients, but her real passion is in understanding clients’ businesses and goals, and developing effective strategies to help them achieve those objectives. 

During her career, Brianna has worked on campaigns for financial service firms, emerging technology companies, and some of Philadelphia’s most well-known cultural sites. Brianna received an M.B.A. in strategic management from Villanova University and a B.A. in political science from Haverford College.

PPRA: Who are your clients and/or what are you working on right now?

BT: Most of our clients are B2B brands with a focus in technology. 

PPRA: What is your favorite part of your job?

BT: Working with clients across industries and providing insights and strategies that move them closer to their goals. From finding a compelling media hook to developing a spark of an idea into a strategy – it’s a beautiful process! 

PPRA: What one piece of advice would you give to your fellow PR pros?

BT: Pick up the phone! Relationships aren’t built over email.

PPRA: What book or movie could you read or watch again and again?

BT: Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers and James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

BT: Fairmount Park – There is so much green space to explore.

PPRA: Favorite Philly Food?

BT: Ramen from Neighborhood Ramen. It’s the perfect combination – great food, low-key, good people.