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Excel At Nurturing Professional Relationships

By Victoria Whitsett

Building and maintaining relationships in the work place can be just as important as building and maintaining the relationships with loves ones. If you have full-time job you spend over 160 hours a month with your coworkers, so it’s important to foster positive relationships with them – as these relationships can make or break your workplace success. Keep in mind, when it comes to being successful it’s not who you know but who knows you!

Here are my tips for nurturing professional relationships:

1. Building Relationships at Work

  • Commit to being social: Don’t let negative past experiences with coworkers deter you from engaging. Be completely committed to fostering strong relationships. If you’re not committed it will show in your body language.
  • Be yourself: To be social with coworkers, you have to be your absolute true self. Putting a false representative in relationships can lead to awkward interactions.
  • Temper your expectations: While coworkers can turn out to be amazing friends and confidants, don’t expect go into every relationship expecting to find your work bff. Instead, keep an open mind and be patient. Your strong workplace relationships are just around the corner!

2. Maintaining The Relationship In The Work Place

  • Stay professional: Being your true self doesn’t mean sharing all of the intimate details of your personal life. While disclosing some personal details will strengthen your work relationship, steer clear of over sharing.
  • Practice forgiveness: A minor disagreement or an uncomfortable exchange may go too far without the ability to forgive. We have to learn to overlook personality differences and forgive minor nuisances in order to keep a healthy working environment. We also have to understand that it’s not always about us, we have to do what’s best for the team. It’s ok to agree to disagree.

3. Maintaining The Relationship Outside Of The Workplace

  • Hang Out With Your Coworkers: Going out to the bar may not be your thing but every now again you should always make a point to gather with coworkers outside of the workplace. Be careful of always having an excuse why you can’t attend, because your coworkers may feel like you’re not a part of the team.
  • Keep In Touch: Your network is your net worth, so be sure to keep in touch with your coworkers even when you find yourselves working in different places. A simple email to say hello every few months or once a year is typically how most business professional keep in touch. If you’re connected on social media, you can keep in touch simply by commenting on, sharing, or liking some of their posts.


Should PR and Advertising Learn to Play in the Sandbox Together?

By Micaeh Johnson, Managing Director Carte Blanche Ltd, PR Practioner

Public Relations and Advertising acting as two separate disciplines is very 2012. If as a PR practitioner you have not evolved your business model or thought process into involving your advertising partners, you are late.  Journalists caught on about 4 years ago, that public relations professionals are now, not only their friends, but as their positions were downsized, PR professionals are now their colleagues and confidants.  Much like how journalists have evolved their network and changed professions, it is now important to not only not compete against our advertising partners for space, respect and dollars, but to now include them in our new business pitches and to maintain value when doing business with our like clients.

According to CareerCast.com Public Relations was noted as one of the top 10 most stressful jobs in 2012.  If nothing else, it is important to our healthy longevity in the profession to carve out ways to decrease the level of stress caused by our career choice. So rather than causing more stress attempting to beat out our advertising exec partners for more worth, client interfacing and cash, here is what value public relations practitioners bring to their advertising partners and clients, why you should collaborate and how to forge a genuine strong partnership. With the right finessing, work ethic, proper execution, and respect for complementary disciplines, the partnership becomes a win for clients and partner agencies alike.

What unique value does Public Relations bring to an integrated marketing and branding campaign:

1. According to the Fall of Advertising and Rise of PR PR creates the brand and Advertising defends the brand.  In a saturated media space, audiences are growing more and more savvy by the minute and less likely to believe advertising is selling them something that they need or is communicating the legitimate functions of an advertised product or service.  Advertising then becomes more of an art form than a tool of persuasion to increase sales. Insert Public Relations, which in its simplest form is, earned media rather than paid media.  Earned by powerfully persuading a third party that has a voice on a large platform, without paying them to do so, to talk positively about a specific product, personal brand or service. Audiences are more likely to believe their favorite media source over an advertisement that could have a 2M-dollar price tag for lets say a Super Bowl Sunday commercial. PR them becomes the leader by creating the brand and advertising follows by drilling in and defending the brand through multiple channels.

2. Public Relations practitioners are tapped into the community. Our jobs are to be at the pulse of what is trending. We are also expected to not only know what is going on in the news, but to know those who are creating the news.  Our network of newsmakers, influencers, and celebrities can create and extend and give life to any advertising and marketing campaigns. By maintaining authentic relationships with influencers and newsmakers, we become valuable to our advertising and marketing partners.

3. Many successful PR practitioners were once considering a career in Journalism but changed our career paths after a Journalism 101 class or our first paycheck at a newspaper.  Even though we altered this course, we maintained our role and abilities as writers.  We therefore can contribute successfully to copywriting, client decks and new business pitches. Writing in a way that is not only clear and concise, but also persuasive.

Why should PR and Advertising Practitioners and Agencies Partner?

1. The lines between marketing and public relations have become blurred.  The New Rules of Marketing and PR, communicates how the Internet has contributed to an imprecise division of the two disciplines.  Both marketers and public relations practitioners contribute to content on the web, one of the leading resource tools for audiences.  It becomes vital for these, once separate departments to work collectively to ensure brand consistently in messaging and creative.

2. Clients are looking for full service agencies. When Public Relations is not a part of your service offerings or vice versa, both agencies risk losing the opportunity to procure new business as well as the opportunity for increased revenue and billing.

3. The art and skill of Public Relations is becoming more popular but no more understood.  More PR Practitioners are entering the field but not necessarily with the education, knowledge and experience that the field requires. With this increase in PR professionals, potential clients are becoming jaded about the field overall. It becomes critical for seasoned professionals to evolve their business model with complementary disciplines in a noncompeting environment in order for their businesses to functionally and emotionally flourish and beat out competitors with less experience and knowledge of the industry as well as continue to build client confidence.

Finally, how do you forge a partnership amongst once competing disciplines?

1. Start the conversation.  Come prepared to sell yourself.  And reach out to you advertising partners with critical case studies to prove your value and worth. Ultimately, marketers and advertising execs are leading the conversations with potential and current clients and they control the budgets. Understand that your partners may not understand how you can bring value to their clients and their teams intially so do your homework and tell them how.

2. Tell them what you can bring to the table. Even today with an infinite amount of platforms to tell your clients stories on, earned media is still not guaranteed. So how else can you bring value while you are planting seeds with the media?  Consider contributing to the conversations amongst creative teams and writers, by offering advice on what is current and trending to their creative campaigns. Speak with experiential and event teams on what events and experiences can create potential news. Integrate your network into creative campaigns and events by making a single phone call to make your partners lives easier.

3. Consider assisting with their business development and internal PR. Can you reach out to B-to-B media for media ops specifically about the work you and your partners are producing for clients? Can you contribute to the award submissions for your partners? Do you make yourself available to pitch new business outside of the current business you and your partner are working on?

With the right relationships, conversations, team energy, similar missions and work ethic, this partnership will beat out the best astrological love match.

Follow up reading:

– Brands that operated with no advertising but PR campaigns only, starbucks, body shop, amazon.com, yahoo, google, harry potter

– Public Relations joins advertising at AHAA conference

Make Your Personal Brand a Success

by Concethia D. Campbell

No matter where you turn, there’s a brand. Doing laundry? Tide is a brand. Checking your email? Google is a brand. Grabbing a quick lunch? McDonald’s is… yep, you guessed it: a brand. A brand is a symbol, words, image, or a combination of all elements used to identify a product and differentiate it from competitors. Ultimately resting in the mind of the consumer, brands are unique. So unique, in fact, that a brand can also be an individual.

Oprah, Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian…they’re all brands.

In present-day society, many individuals are restructuring their image and creating a strong brand personality to promote themselves in today’s market. With the emergence of social media, creating and growing a brand via online outlets is vital to success. If strategically crafted, one’s brand essence can truly elevate personal and professional growth. To promote successful personal branding, consider the following factors:
For starters, be authentic. Authenticity is key. Be yourself! Your true personality will shine through, and as a result, consumers will develop a level of trust and comfort within your brand.

Next, create your very own brand consumer value. Is your value determined by expertise in a certain subject? Is it your winning personality that will attract consumers to your brand? Design your identity. Determine what will bring originality and value to your personal brand. Doing so will convince your target audience to go after you. Similar to most product branding, success in personal branding can also be achieved positively. The best personal brands succeed at being real, true, and authentic. Be yourself!

Getting Started with Social Media

By Shamil C. Clay

Social media promotes exposure, involvement, interaction and the ability to share information with millions of people with just one click. Are you looking for ways to successfully integrate social media into the communications plan of your business or brand? I have four tips to get you started. Let’s go!

1. Share vs. Advertise
Don’t let your press release writing style carry over to social media. Members of your social media community want engagement, not advertising. “Share” your information in a way that compels people to engage with and be comfortable with your brand. Fictitious examples below:

Advertising tweet (I’m trying to sell this to you)
“The Destiny’s 221- FLEXI HD: one of the most flexible headsets around.”

Sharing tweet (I have information that will be beneficial for you)
“If you’re looking for flexibility with your headset, Destiny’s 221-FLEXI HD is the one for you.”

2. Engage vs. Announce
Announcements can be lackluster and out of place in the social media platforms. Social media messaging should not mirror a commercial, radio or a news bulletin. Instead, engage consumers to encourage involvement with your brand and solicit feedback from users about the information you’ve shared. Fictitious examples below:

Announcement tweet (Blanket statement of information)
“Pearl’s is now offering 20% off of every purchase over $50.00”

Engagement tweet (Statement soliciting feedback)
“Pearl’s is now offering 20% off of every purchase over $50.00, will you be stopping by? Which location?”

3. Create Exposure vs. Being Exposed
There are more than 1.3 billion internet users and social media gives them all a voice. From Foursquare to Yelp, online review sites give each of these users a chance to share their opinion about their brand. Take advantage of the ability to share your company’s purpose and objectives through the information that you publicly exhibit. Claim your business, provide differentiating information and respond professionally to positive AND negative reviews to contribute positively your company’s online image.

4. Control Image vs. Controlled Image
Take charge of your company’s online image! If you are not driving the conversation about your brand, social media could take on a life of its own with your company’s image. Your website is not enough. Be willing to initiate conversations with consumers and respond to feedback. When you experience negative feedback, use it as an opportunity to win the consumer over by acknowledging that you heard, understand and are willing to take their feedback into consideration. This is a progressive step in controlling your company’s image by establishing a presence and maintaining a clear and consistent brand proposition, along with proactive and responsive consumer engagement.

Shamil Clay has a broad range of communication experience in public and private sectors. Shamil honed her strategic planning and social media skills at the Department of Transportation (CDOT), the third largest infrastructure department in the U.S. Shamil has had over two years of experience in creating and implementing social media plans, monitoring and analyzing social media data and implementing strategy around her findings. In creating a brand voice and building presence across various social media platforms, she successfully increased CDOT’s following by over 300%.

BPRS Chicago Digital Internship

BPRS Chicago is seeking an intern to serve as a social media coordinator for our digital and social properties. This coordinator will serve as the front and back end of our brand voice, creating and curating content and updating it on the various platforms.

On-the-job training with the BPRS Chicago board members will help this intern to master the skills of coordinating social media properties in one brand voice. At the end of this 12-week internship, the intern will have learned and developed social media management skills integral to his or her career in PR.

An ideal candidate will be a current student majoring in marketing, journalism or public relations who is adept at social media and passionate about staying up-to-date on industry news and views.

You Must:

  • Be passionate about digital media  (a strong digital presence is preferred)
  • Possess outstanding interpersonal, oral and written communication skills
  • Have technical proficiency in social media platforms, content management and website maintenance – or be willing to learn quickly
  • Be organized, paying strong attention to detail
  • Have your own computer and reliable internet connection
  • Be able to work autonomously
  • Spend at least five hours each work week (M-F) managing the BPRS Chicago digital communities
  • Be available for 30 minutes to one hour each week to check in with board members

What you’ll do:

  •  Draft and edit digital content including Tweets, Facebook posts, LinkedIn blurbs and discussions, and website articles and blogs
  • Provide suggestions of news and content to Retweet, post to Twitter and Facebook and post on the BPRS Chicago website
  • Update and maintain the BPRS digital and social properties including, but not limited to website, Facebook group, LinkedIn group and Twitter
  • Spend 5 hour each week managing the BPRS digital communities
  • Check in with appointed BPRS board members at least once per week

Please send resumes to Tiasha Stevenson: tiashastevenson@yahoo.com

13 Tips To Sharpen Your Communication Skills in 2013

By Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager, Business Wire/Chicago

There is a distinct buzz in the air during the final quarter of the year.  In the PR community, this growing sound is our nagging reminder to sit down and think about new business, budgets, cuts and strategies for 2013.   We’re no different, so our team looked at our own best practices to empower you with 13 tips to make you a better communicator in 2013.

13. Commit to commenting. Stop being a social media voyeur.  Be active by liking and commenting on posts you read.  The comments can be as interesting as the posts; many people read them and they’re a good way to make connections.

12.  Give before you ask. No matter what service you provide, even the well-intentioned invitation can be seen as a demand for time, effort, and attention. Take this tip from Chris Sacca, advisor to some of the top social media companies, ”If you’re insightful and helpful, people will want to be around you.”

11.  Refine your elevator pitch. How? Practice, edit, repeat. If you pitch TV stations you know assignment editors are willing to listen, but you’d better be able to get your point across fast! Call five assignment desks, and chances are, you’ll hone your pitch quickly.

10.  Subscribe to industry newsletters and READ THEM. PR/communications newsletters such as CommPRO.Biz, MediaBistro,  Smart Brief on Social Media and Ragan’s PR Daily offer helpful suggestions for improving your written and verbal communication skills and keep you up on industry trends. You might recognize a misstep you consistently make, such as avoiding an overused word.

9.  Get involved with an industry organization.  Don’t just attend events – join a committee, serve on the board, or simply volunteer your time as you can. Be sure not to limit yourself to PR/IR groups.

8.  Learn more about the offerings of your service providers. OK, this one may be a bit self-serving, but don’t shoot the messenger.  Many PR-related service providers are constantly advancing their catalog of offerings, providing free reporting, or creating complementary products to go along with the services they’re most known for.  Take the meeting and find out what else they offer for you to maximize your relationship.

7.  Have an SEO discussion with your web team, your wire vendors and your content creators. If one conversation isn’t enough, have however many it takes for you to understand search engine optimization (SEO) basics and start using these strategies to improve the visibility of content you produce for the web.

6.  Take a class or seminar.   Many schools and professional societies offer continuing education classes at a low cost, and some even offer free sessions. Consider classes in photography, advanced web technology or web design.  You can even brush up with a business writing or grammar class.

5.  Attend a journalism conference. The price tag of some PR conferences can be off-putting.  Directly across the aisle our industry peers are putting together great and pertinent programming at a fraction of the cost.  Check out conferences organized by the Online News Association, Society of Professional Journalists or one of the journalists-of-color member organizations like NABJ, the National Association of Black Journalists.  You’ll learn a lot and make some new contacts while you are at it.

4.  Share your experiences. If you have no time to sit on a board or a committee, offer to speak at one of their programs on a  topic you know matches the interests of their members.  In PR groups, speakers on the topics of social media, measurement, crisis communications, media relations and brand strategy are highly sought after!

3.  Invite a blogger out for coffee. If you don’t work with bloggers, meet up with an editor, producer or member of the Twitteratti who you value having a relationship with.  Even if they can’t meet face to face, the check-in email is a nice gesture and way to keep a relationship top of mind even if you’ve moved on to cover new areas.

2.  Be an active listener.  Multi-tasking, while great in so many ways, contributes immensely to our eclipsed attention spans. Make an effort to listen more closely.  Practice by playing a prerecorded webinar and not clicking away; or watching or listening to an on-air personality you don’t agree with and resisting the urge to turn away or blurt out.  Just listen.  If you improve your listening skills you might pick up the other half of what most people don’t hear when someone is speaking.

1. Immerse yourself in mobile.  Mobile marketing is the future, but the future is today.  To leverage this market for you and your clients you need to use it. Download news apps and visit the mobile rendered pages of your favorite brands. Then make sure your own messaging is mobile friendly.

How to Deal with the Stress and Anxieties in the Public Relations Industry

By Stanley Popovich

Stress and anxiety are very common in today’s public relations industry. As a result, here is a list of techniques that a person can use to help manage the daily stresses and anxieties of their public relations industry profession.

Sometimes, we get stressed when everything happens all at once. When this happens, a person should take a deep breath and try to find something to do for a few minutes to get their mind off of the problem. A person could take a walk, listen to some music, read the newspaper or do an activity that will give them a fresh perspective on things.

When facing a current or upcoming task at your job that overwhelms you with a lot of anxiety, divide the task into a series of smaller steps and then complete each of the smaller tasks one at a time. Completing these smaller tasks will make the stress more manageable and increases your chances of success.

Challenge your negative thinking with positive statements and realistic thinking. When encountering thoughts that make you fearful or depressed, challenge those thoughts by asking yourself questions that will maintain objectivity and common sense. For example, you are afraid that if you do not get that job promotion then you will be stuck at your job forever. This depresses you, however your thinking in this situation is unrealistic. The fact of the matter is that there all are kinds of jobs available and just because you don’t get this job promotion doesn’t mean that you will never get one. In addition, people change jobs all the time, and you always have that option of going elsewhere if you are unhappy at your present location.

Remember that no one can predict the future with one hundred percent certainty. Even if the thing that you feared does happen there are circumstances and factors that you can’t predict which can be used to your advantage. For instance, you are at your place of work and you miss the deadline for a project you have been working on for the last few months. Everything you feared is coming true. Suddenly, your boss comes to your office and tells you that the deadline is extended and that he forgot to tell you the day before. This unknown factor changes everything. Remember: We may be ninety-nine percent correct in predicting the future, but all it takes is for that one percent to make a world of difference.

In dealing with your anxieties at your job, learn to take it one day at a time. While the consequences of a particular fear may seem real, there are usually other factors that cannot be anticipated and can affect the results of any situation. Get all of the facts of the situation and use them to your advantage.

Our anxieties and stresses can be difficult to manage in the public relations industry. The more control you have over your stresses and anxieties, the better off you will be in the long run.

Stan Popovich is the author of “A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity and Non Resistant Methods” – an easy to read book that presents a general overview of techniques that are effective in managing persistent fears and anxieties. For additional information go to:http://www.managingfear.com/