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 Remove pages that are no longer active, and look for new brands, reporters and influencers to follow that are relevant to your accounts.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.

Temple’s Public Relations Student Society of America Celebrates 50 Years

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Temple’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is celebrating 50 years of dedication to mentorship, leadership and networking. To commemorate this occasion, the members of PRSSA implemented several projects throughout the semester, the largest and most extensive being the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference, “Being A Full Service PRo.”

On March 22 and 23, students and communications professionals from up and down the East Coast came to network, listen to industry experts and celebrate Temple PRSSA’s 50th. Jim Kenney, Mayor of Philadelphia, opened the conference and spoke on the importance of public relations. The lunchtime keynote panel, PR the Age of the #MeToo Movement, was a powerful discussion about public relations practioners’ role in the #MeToo Movement. During the conference, attendees donated more than 150 children’s books to Mighty Writers, a local Philadelphia non-profit supporting children’s literacy. The conference received media coverage from 6ABC, PR trade publication Bulldog Reporter and other notable outlets.

Outside of the regional conference, Temple PRSSA celebrated the 50th anniversary through mentorship and networking events aligning with PRSSA’s mission. Temple PRSSA’s mentorship program pairs mentors and mentees together to help students learn from each other. This semester, mentorship pairs took parts in several events such as a game night where mentorship pairs were able to learn more about each other.

Throughout the semester, students have networked with Temple PRSSA and PRowl PR alums by reaching out to them and writing a spotlight blog on their career path. Alumni have also participated in alumni takeovers on PRSSA’s Instagram account.

The organization also hosted several social events such as a behind-the-scenes session with the Philadelphia Union’s communications team followed by the game at Talen Energy Stadium; agency tours at SEER Interactive, Maven Communications, Tierney, Sage Communications and Garfield Group; and a speed networking event.

All Temple PRSSA members have the opportunity to join committees as part of their experience with Temple PRSSA and supporting the overall mission and efforts of the chapter. The fundraising committee planned several successful campaigns including a chocolate covered strawberry sale for Valentine’s Day and a t-shirt sale. The community service committee volunteered with the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission and partnered with Cradles to Crayons, a local non-profit, while the digital and public relations committees helped support the chapter’s efforts in celebrating the 50th anniversary. Each committee enhances member’s skills and develop their leadership knowledge.

Where Journalists Are Marketing and Marketers are Selling Journalism

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By Adam Dvorin, Winning Strategies

You could say the tone of the day was set in the very first 10 minutes.

Here we were — a collection of communications professionals sitting in a conference room at CBS as part of a daylong tour of national media outlets organized by the Philadelphia Public Relations Association.

We were listening to Adam Sechrist, a booker at CBSN, describing his target market as young, technologically-savvy, news consumers.

“There were 3.8 million cord cutters in 2018 — and we want to be their national news provider of choice,” Sechrist said. “Our audience tends to skew a little younger — under 34. And they want their news a little more direct, without as much opinion as cable news stations.”

If you didn’t know — and many of us did not — CBSN is a streaming news channel that one can watch without needing a cable subscription. The news presentation is a bit more traditional — information without the bombastic tone that caused one Philadelphia TV anchor to remark that cable news had become a “Hollywood Squares of Hate” during a recent panel on which I served.

Mostly, CBSN isn’t trying to win audience share from a competitor. The network saw a whole new market — in this case, cord cutters — and raced to create a product that catered to this community.

Listening to Sechrist talk, I was struck by how much he sounded like a marketer — or at least a journalist with strong marketing sensibilities. And, as our group snapped photos and prepared to travel to our next stop, I couldn’t help but think that we, as as media relations professionals, need to strategize in a similar manner if we want our clients to earn as much coverage as possible.

Audience targeting increasingly matters in this post-mass media world. If you want to secure earned media coverage, then pitches need to be more customized and individualized than ever before. That much is crystal clear.

For example, later in the day, we paid a visit to Bloomberg and heard New York bureau chief Lauren Berry explain that she considers “business leaders in New York” to be her target reader. If a story resonates at Goldman Sachs, it likely has a home on one of Bloomberg’s platforms — TV, radio, traditional wire or the professional-based wire that few outside the financial industry ever get to see.

Usually when PPRA members come to New York, we hear advice that doesn’t sound that much different than what we might hear at our regular media panels. Spell the contact’s name correctly. Know about the outlet you’re pitching — don’t offer a cooking segment to NBC Nightly News, for instance. Journalists venting a set of time-tested PR pet peeves.

But this time, I saw a noticeable shift in the tenor of our talks with media decision makers. We were going to a higher level! We heard about journalists making editorial decisions more strategically considering their outlet’s target reader, listener or viewer much more than before.

One of our hosts — The New York Times — even strategized an entire array of audio products to meet this shifting consumer demand.

Samantha Henig, the editorial director of audio at The Times, transitioned from printed word editorial positions to start a division that now boasts one of the most popular shows in all of podcasting, The Daily.

Henig wrote the business plan, hired a 25-person production team and began overseeing the team that puts out The Daily and other Times podcasts.

Indeed, in a world where new podcasts pop up seemingly overnight, The Daily stands apart because of its intricate production, concise show length of 25 minutes or less (“the time of most people’s commutes,” says Henig) and involvement of Times reporters.

The Daily, explained New York Times Chief Marketing Officer David Rubin, fits into the Times’ overall branding premise of “Truth.”

The “Truth” campaign, says the Medium, has helped the New York Times surpass two million digital subscriptions (and inspired a clothing products that have been worn by celebrities such as Justin Timberlake).

Rubin, who previously worked for Unilever and joked about “being the man who unleashed Axe body spray on the world,” felt an image-centric campaign would work effectively for a media company in a way that a price-based campaign would not (example: 12 weeks of news for $25!).

So far, of course, he is correct — something that underscores the irony of a marketer positioning journalism as a consumer commodity. Meanwhile, journalists themselves are analyzing their audiences and using marketing sensibilities to develop news products that resonate with their targets.

Journalists often speak of the division between church and state. And, while that still exists, PPRA’s day in New York might suggest that marketing pros and journalists are thinking more similarly these days — something that is not likely to change anytime soon.

Adam Dvorin is Media Relations Director of New Jersey-based Winning Strategies Communications and the immediate past president of the Philadelphia Public Relations Association.

Guest Post: Branding for Business: What Constitutes a Sandwich?

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

What is a sandwich?

This seems like an easy question, right? When you think about it, a grilled cheese and a BLT are sandwiches but what about the hundreds of other bread products like them?

I guess the real question is, what isn’t a sandwich? Is a burrito a sandwich? What about a hot dog? Where in this mess of ideologies do you find yourself?

“A brand’s strength is built upon its determination to promote its own distinctive values and mission.” – Jean-Noel Kapferer

Are you like the USDA – a sandwich is meat between two slices of bread? Maybe you are more like New York where if your food is served on something even remotely bread-like then it’s a sandwich, and that’s the law!As a company you need to know who you are and where you stand against your competitors. If you were selling sandwiches you’d have to know what constitutes a sandwich. You’d have to decide if you were going to fight to be a sandwich like hot dogs in California, or if you’d settle for being a sandwich-similar product like burritos in Maine. This process of branding yourself and your company is essential.

In business, branding is fundamental. It gives the audience a piece of your company that is memorable and leaves an impression. Building your brand up builds value for your company. A brand gives you something to believe in which spurs loyalty to that brand. It also creates trust with the marketplace. Customers are more likely to go to a company that seems like an industry expert.

Going hand-in-hand with branding is Public Relations. Both are about managing the image of your company – spread the right news, handle politics, and build your reputation. Branding must have a home in your PR strategy to ensure both are effective.

Your Blog Could Easily Be an OpEd: Repurposing Strong Content Yields Additional Results

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David Griffith’s opinion article introduces Mindset, a highly-anticipated workforce development program.

By SPRYTE Communications

Doesn’t it seem like everyone has a Blog these days? If not, we should because by now we know that content rules. Content is also what drives thought leadership earned media strategies.

Many Blogs are well-written and present provocative, timely ideas. These Blogs can be repurposed as OpEds and placed in print media including newspapers, online
e-publications and trade magazines.

SPRYTE client David Griffith, Executive Director of Episcopal Community Services, regularly blogs on his LinkedIn Blog Site Muddy Boots.

A blog Griffith posted in January was repurposed and placed in a recent edition of the Philadelphia Business Journal.

It is the first OpEd in an ongoing series, “Poverty: Finding Solutions in The Business Community.” Griffith’s opinion article also introduces a highly-anticipated brand new Episcopal Community Services workforce development program, MindSet, “based on the most current brain science available that provides coaching and financial assistance to help individuals navigate the system and access opportunity that many of us take for granted.”

As the first cohort of MindSet reaches the mid-point of the first phase of the program, Griffith will continue to use his voice as a blogger and social services thought leader to encourage the business community to create the jobs that pull individuals out of poverty. The readers of the Philadelphia Business Journal are an excellent audience for his platform.

Note: PPRA is composed of many distinct organizations and individuals, each with different perspectives and specializations in diverse areas of public relations. Many of these members’ websites feature blogs with valuable insights and advice, and we would like to make this content available to you. Periodically, we will repost content from member blogs. If you would like to see your company’s blog considered, email Stephen Krasowski at skrasowski@rmahq.org.