Preparing for the Pope: 1 million visitors, 7,000 members of the media

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This fall, hundreds of thousands of people from all over the globe will flock to our city for the World Meeting of Families. It’s estimated that over 1 million visitors will make the journey to Philadelphia for the week-long celebration. The festivities will have a powerful effect on the area; hotels are already booked, businesses will be booming and the economic impact will be huge. At the latest PPRA luncheon, PR for a Mega Event: Preparing for the Pope, some of the public relations professionals who are helping to ensure the World Meeting of Families runs smoothly spoke on what they have been doing and the excitement and challenges they’ve faced.

Representatives from the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, Visit Philadelphia, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Brian Communications and the Mayor’s Office came together to address a crowd eager to learn about the process of planning for a series of events as large as the World Meeting of Families.

Big PR Challenges for the Papal Visit 

Social media
It is anticipated that social media for the World Meeting of Families will be up and running in 10 to 20 languages. This is a huge undertaking, but the communications partners working to set it all up are well prepared. A big social media center will be working at all hours of the day working to monitor, engage and keep things going smoothly.

24/7 deadlines
This exciting series of events is drawing an international crowd, which means international press. These members of the media will be working with deadlines far outside our time zone and it is important that they are able to meet those deadlines. In order to help facilitate this, there will be a 24/7 media center running from the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Credentialing
There will be between five and seven thousand members of the media in Philadelphia for this week in September. It is realistically not possible to give every journalist, reporter and the like a credential for every event taking place. The professionals behind the media organization are hard at work to find a balance that makes everyone feel involved and keeps everyone informed. Part of this effort includes live streaming of events that can be viewed in the 24/7 media center.

Security
Pope Francis giving a public mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is just one example of an event during the week that will need some serious security measures. The Mayor’s Office is in close contact with police from all over the world, coordinating and organizing the best possible ways to keep the Pope and all the attendees safe and secure. It’s a good thing that Philadelphia is exceptional at hosting large events and will have plenty of test events to try out new security tactics.

Controlling the message
The last time the Pope visited the United States social media was not nearly as prevalent as it is in today’s society. The communications professionals teaming up for the World Meeting of Families are working hard to craft great messaging to put out to all audiences. Social media makes it difficult for the messages to be controlled. Those pushing out information on social media can, in reality, say whatever they want and create their own (potentially false, potentially negative) messaging.  The social media center, set up in the Convention Center alongside the media center, will be crucial in monitoring posts and ensuring the proper messages are being shared on all channels.

Measurement
The great debate in the realm of public relations is how to effectively measure the success of a story placement, event, campaign, etc. The World Meeting of Families team is ready to take on the task of measuring the success of individual events throughout the week and the celebration as a whole. It’s incredibly important to capture this data because it’s a once in a lifetime happening and the chance won’t come around again.

It’s clear that the folks handling the Papal visit to Philadelphia are leaving no stone unturned. Keep an eye out for more developments as the World Meeting of Families approaches and get ready for the execution of an amazing series of events.

London Faust is an Account Representative at Bellevue Communications Group, a public relations firm specializing in media relations, crisis communications and issue management. She is forever #TempleMade, class of 2014. Follow her personal ramblings on Twitter at @londonfaust or her professional doings at @BellevuePRPhl.

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Social Media Landscape for 2015

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Social media is ever-changing and you need to stay ahead of the curve in order to get the most out of it. It is crucial to include social media in public relations and marketing plans. Cass Bailey, CEO of Slice Communications, presented as the keynote speaker at the recent Philadelphia Chapter meeting of NACE (National Association for Catering and Events). She explained the value of social media for the event industry in particular but the same thoughtful concepts apply across all industries.

First things first, what are your goals?

  • Brand Awareness
  • Thought Leadership
  • Sales/Lead Generation
  • Community Relations
  • Market Research
  • Customer Service
  • Recruiting

Once you identify your goals and your key audiences you are ready to put together a strategic social media plan. As always, relevant content is key but enhancing the reach through paid advertising on Facebook and Twitter is an area that has grown a lot in 2014. Your efforts will not be as valuable if your target audiences are not carefully selected. Be mindful of who you want to  reach out to and what actions you would like them to take.

An example of targeting a specific audience on Facebook that Cass used was engaged women within 50 miles of Philadelphia. There are over 50,000 individuals with the potential of being customers.

Slice Communications is a successful integrated public relations and social media agency headquartered in Philly. Connect with Cass Bailey on Twitter at @Cassapedia and @SliceComm.

To view Cass’s complete presentation click here.

This post was written by Nina Scimenes. Nina is PPRA’s VP of Communications and Marketing Manager at Brûlée Catering. She positions the catering brand as a premier event company in the Philadelphia region by being the voice of Brûlée on social media and maintains the website content while fostering relationships with the community and the press. Nina graduated from Cabrini College with a degree in Communications and minor in Graphic Design. Follow her on Twitter: @NinaScim and @Brulee_Catering.

Photo Credit: Phillip Gabriel Photography

Political vs. Branding Campaigns: What Politicians are Doing Right

polsmSocial media has invariably changed communication. So far, nothing has been off limits from social promotion, including Mountain Dew’s Dewrito, a Doritos-flavored soft drink (yes it exists).

The growing trend in the social media atmosphere has shifted into the realm of politics, as politicians increasingly campaign on Twitter. A recent study by PEW Research has shown that 1/4 of registered voters now get political news through their cell phones, 16% of registered voters also follow political figures on Twitter.

Politicians seem to be enjoying this, as it allows them to connect with their constituency and opposition in a unique way. Politicians are now able to use live monitoring via social media in order to understand and inform voters about their stances on issues. They also use software to monitor their opposition, taking screenshots of their pages as soon as changes are made and often catching the opposition off guard.

So what can be taken from these campaigns for your next campaign?

Proofread, Proofread, and Proofread!
Remember to check and double-check every Tweet before it’s sent out. If you’re running a campaign, odds are that no one will notice if you mess up a Tweet and delete it quick enough. Politicians don’t have this luxury, as competition is constantly monitoring campaign handles for updates. A screw-up is liable to land you on the front page of PolitWoops, a website that takes screenshots of all updates, and uploads the botched Tweets. Please folks, don’t be like Senator Hatch; proofread as if all of your Tweets are monitored, even when they aren’t.

SenHMake Connections
As we all know (or should know) social media is all about sharing content and making valuable connections with others. So why should it be any different for your campaign? Politicians know and understand this. They use it to their advantage by interacting with their constituency and sharing important updates. The PEW study showed that 41%, up from 22% in 2010, of those polled said that finding out about political news before others is a “major reason” why they follow political figures on social media.

To put it simply, most politicians are doing it right. Some 78% of Americans who follow political figures on social media say that the content posted by those figures is mostly interesting and relevant. The 16% of registered voters that follow a political figure are more likely to participate in campaigning and are 11% more likely to volunteer their time toward that figure than a non-follower.

Any PR pro will tell you that social media isn’t just about the number of followers you have, it’s about the valuable connections you make. A balance must be struck between pushing your wants and what your audience wants. As such, there can be a variety of ways to be more than just a walking-talking-tweeting ad. The key to creating a dedicated following, is finding what your niche audience wants and giving it to them.

Know your Limits
Remember that social media isn’t the king of all platforms yet. It’s still growing and professionals are still learning.  The story of social media is still being written and we are the authors of its’ early chapters. Social media campaigning is a great way to target select demographics, but not all. I think Gregg Peppin, spokesman for Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson, said it best in an article for the Minnesota Post, “You have to be able to differentiate from what’s feel good and what’s effective,” he said. “There are plenty of people who want to tell you that you will hit this demographic and that demographic if you are on social media,” he said. “It almost gets down to a subliminal hit rather than an overall effective message. It’s a rifle versus a shotgun.”

Though there are some drawbacks to social media campaigns. For instance, a politician must be able to differentiate effective messages to target their audience. Just as well, something buzz worthy is usually just short-lived attention toward the campaign. Keep these tips in mind the next time a campaign idea floats around the office.

Fred Lunt IV is a recent graduate of Temple University. Fred is also a Social Media Analyst and consultant at Mobile First Media, a healthcare public relations and marketing agency specializing in digital and mobile technology.

 

PPRA Members Win Big at PRSA Philly Pepperpot Awards

On December 2, PRSA Philly held its 46th annual PRSA Philly Pepperpot Awards, recognizing the best public relations campaigns and tactics in the region. PPRA’s membership had quite a successful night, taking home awards in two-thirds of the 38 categories. Congratulations to all our partners on your honors!

Anne Klein Communications Group – 2 Pepperpots and 2 ladles
Feature Stories (Pepperpot), Crisis Communications and Issues Management (Pepperpot), Public Service (Ladle), Research (Ladle)

Brownstein Group – 7 Pepperpots and 2 Ladles
Reputation/Brand Management Program (Pepperpot), Community Relations (Pepperpot), Social Media (Pepperpot), Social Media Platform (Pepperpot), Research (Pepperpot), Advertorials (Pepperpot), Media Relations: For Profit (Pepperpot and Ladle), Marketing B2B (Ladle)

Devine and Partners – 1 Pepperpot
Special Events – Seven Days or More and Budget Over $15K (Pepperpot)

Drexel University – 3 Pepperpots
Media Relations: Not for Profit (Pepperpot), Annual Report (Pepperpot), Website (Pepperpot)

Furia Rubel Communications – 2 Ladles
Community Relations (Ladle), Website (Ladle)

Hornercom – 4 Pepperpots and 3 Ladles
Marketing Communications – Established Services (Pepperpot), Special Events & Observances – Seven Days or Fewer and Budget Over $15K (Pepperpot), Press Conference (Pepperpot), Brochures (Pepperpot), Reputation/Brand Management Program (Ladle), Integrated Communications (Ladle), Media Relations (Ladle)

Simon PR – 3 Pepperpots and 2 Ladles
Pro Bono Services (Pepperpot), Marketing Communications – New Products and Services (Pepperpot), Marketing B2B (Pepperpot), Special Events & Observances – Seven Days or Fewer and Budget Under $15K (Ladle), Editorial/Op-ed (Ladle)

Seasoned Strategies

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As the summer winds down and the fall season begins to approach this is a great time for PR practitioners to ponder upon their past strategies and consider what they could do differently in the upcoming months. A recent PR Daily article, “How to craft your PR strategies for fall,” shares some insightful tips on how PR pros can creatively take advantage of the seasons in order to capture the public’s attention.

1. Take advantage of social media. The author strongly suggests seeking inspiration from themed boards on Pinterest. Why not take it a step further and see what’s trending on Instagram? Use the inspiring craft ideas to design campaigns, giveaways and photo contests. Keep the most popular holidays in mind but also consider the most popular events within your community to create strong tailor-made strategies.

2. Consider local PR strategies. When building up your group of brand ambassadors PR practitioners must keep in mind that it’s not all about the monetary gain. Creating brand disciples is a long-lasting effort that could take years to achieve. Tying an impressive story angle to a very specific event within your community is a great way to start forming consumer relationships. Send a clear message to your audience and emphasize that their community interests links up with your brand.

3. Get rid of the old, bring in the new. Spice up your strategies around the holidays. The author suggests keeping the “uncool” factor in mind and leaving cliché storylines at the door. Craft campaigns based around holidays that don’t receive too much attention such as Grandparent’s Day and Sweetest Day.

4. Embrace mobile trends. Web content is in high demand and users love accessing this content through their smartphones. Be sure to design your campaigns in an easily accessible manner that allows users to easily share your content via social media. An app could be just the thing to set you apart from your competitors.

Do you switch up your strategies based on the season? What kind of strategies have worked well and not so well in your experience? Share your ideas and comment below!