Why Should a Man Attend a Women in Business Event?

Unfortunately Carving Your Niche has been cancelled.  We look forward to meeting you at a future PRSA Pittsburgh event.

Thank you for your understanding!

 

By Steve Radick, PRSA Pittsburgh President

Maybe you marched, helped someone lean in, or realized how important she was when she left for the day. Maybe you voted for a woman to become President. Or maybe you’ve liked a few Facebook posts. Whatever you have or haven’t personally done, it’s clear men must take on a much more visible role in gender equality issues. And while these public displays of support are great, it’s the everyday moments where we can really start to make a difference.

After 15 years in an industry dominated by women, and having three daughters of my own, I feel uniquely qualified to share some of the things I’ve learned, not from hashtags, conferences, or books, but from honest, candid conversations with dozens of brilliant women over the years. Lest you fear putting your foot in your mouth, sounding completely ignorant, or straight up offending your female colleagues, I’ve gone ahead and done all these things many times.  Here’s what I’ve learned that I’d recommend to men who wish to do more for gender equality:

  1. Develop true relationships with women at your workplace where you can have frank conversations without fear of offending.
  2. What may be a small thing to you may be a huge thing to her. You’ll never know, though, if you don’t pay attention or ask.
  3. Don’t be so afraid to sound stupid that you stop asking questions.
  4. Be especially cognizant of assigning her typical gender roles (don’t always ask the woman to take notes, don’t ask her to get office supplies for a meeting, etc.). You may not think anything of it, but believe me, she does.
  5. Even if you don’t feel comfortable participating in conversations about women’s issues, at least be adjacent to them. Believe it or not, there is a bit of an osmosis effect that occurs just by being around strong women and listening to what they’re talking about.

On Thursday, July 27, you’ll have a great opportunity to put #5 into action. PRSA Pittsburgh is hosting its second annual women in business event, Carving Your Niche at SLATE in the Strip District. You’ll get to hear from amazing women from the back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions and a former Partner at Ketchum, and a reporter turned publisher for one of Pittsburgh’s top magazines, but more importantly, you’ll learn by being there and listening.

I was one of the very few men to attend last year’s event and I can’t tell you how much these types of events have helped me in my career. I wouldn’t miss this year’s event for anything. And whether you’re a man, woman, senior executive or intern, I hope you’ll join me there.

You can RSVP for Carving Your Niche here.


 

Steve Radick is the Vice President, Director of Public Relations at BRUNNER in Pittsburgh. Find out more about Steve here.

Meet the Speakers for Our Second Annual Women in Business Event, Carving Your Niche

Unfortunately Carving Your Niche has been cancelled.  We look forward to meeting you at a future PRSA Pittsburgh event.

Thank you for your understanding!

 

PRSA Pittsburgh’s first annual women in business event, A Toast to Us, was a sold-out success.  With dozens of businesswomen discussing entrepreneurship, leadership and the business landscape, the dialogue was dynamic and the enthusiasm was palpable.  We hosted an incredible slate of speakers including Cooper Munroe, founder and CEO of The Motherhood, Laura Zorch and Sarah Sudar, co-founders of EatPGH, Kyshira Moffett, founder of the KSM Group and Laura Maxwell of Carnegie Mellon’s Women Leadership and Negotiation Academy.

Leveraging the knowledge and motivation gleaned from last year, we’re looking forward to hosting our 2017 event, Carving Your Niche, on Thursday, July 27 presented by WordWrite Communications.  Interested in attending?  RSVP here.  And then read on to hear more about this year’s top-tier speakers:

Andi Perelman, Manager of New Media, Pittsburgh Penguins

Andi is preparing to start her fifth season with the Pittsburgh Penguins. She began as the team’s New Media Coordinator and has since moved up to manage a five-person team as the Manager of New Media. Andi oversees the Penguins’ social media accounts, website, and sections of the team app and has grown the Penguins social accounts to boast over 4.5 million followers collectively. Andi joined the Penguins after earning her Master’s degree in Sports Industry Management at Georgetown University.

 

 

Kelley Skoloda, Chief InfluencHer and Angel Investor, KS Consulting and Capital

Kelley is a global trend spotter and recognized authority on consumer marketing to women and moms. Hergroundbreaking research and initiatives for PR firm, Ketchum, helped it become a top consumer agency worldwide while positioning her as a leading spokesperson on this topic. Her business book, Too Busy to Shop: Marketing to Multi-Minding Women, was named a “must read” by Publishers Weekly. Kelley is a founding member of and investor in the Next Act Fund, an angel funding group focused on female-led, early-stage businesses.

Betsy Benson, Publisher, Pittsburgh Magazine

Betsy has nearly 30 years of experience in journalism and media, serving as publisher of Pittsburgh Magazine since 2002. Founded in 1969, Pittsburgh Magazine is one of the market’s leading multi-platform media brands with a growing audience for its publications, e-media and events. Betsy graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and spent the first 15 years of her career as a reporter and editor at the Pittsburgh Business Times.

 

 

 

 

 

Each of these women has carved her niche and is championing the next generation of leaders.  Hear their stories and more at Carving Your Niche, presented by WordWrite Communications, on Thursday, July 27 beginning at 5:30 p.m.  The event will be held at SLATE, a newly opened event space produced by Shayla Hawkins Events.  We’re also hosting a raffle benefitting Glimmer of Hope, a woman-owned breast cancer awareness non-profit.

PRSA Pittsburgh member tickets are $45 and non-member tickets are $60 – you can purchase yours here.  See you on the 27th!

The PR Debate: Old School vs. New School PR

By Hollie Geitner, Vice President, Client Services at WordWrite Communications

[ This is a post from WordWrite Communications, a strategic communications consulting firm based in downtown Pittsburgh. This article originally appeared on WordWrite’s blog. ]

Until social media came along, the public relations field had remained relatively unchanged, save for the technology used to identify reporters and distribute press releases. Now, a debate seems to have divided the industry into two segments—old school vs. new school public relations. Is it time for industry veterans to accept that it’s all digital, all the time? Or, should millennial PR pros take a pause from social posting to grab coffee with a journalist?

When I began my career in corporate and media relations, I would spend countless hours standing by the fax machine sending my press release and waiting for the confirmation report indicating it went through successfully. I would often follow up with a phone call to key reporters—sometimes I’d even visit them and hand them the release inside a press kit I’d carefully put together.

Over time, email became the preferred method for delivering information, saving me from dozens of paper cuts. No matter how I shared my news, one thing remained a constant—my relationships. I made it a point to personally visit the key reporters in my region who wrote about the company for which I worked. I found out what interested them, learned a bit about them on a personal level and tailored my story pitches so no one received a blast email from me—or worse yet, a pitch that had nothing to do with their beat.

As social media has continued to evolve from the once music-focused MySpace into a complex universe of channels and segmented audiences, it has become another tool in the PR toolbox. I’ve happily hopped onto the bandwagon and embraced it as a necessity in today’s information-packed world. Ignoring it is not an option because the conversations are happening whether you are a participant or not.

While most of us PR veterans agree this is an exciting time for our industry, we remain true to the fundamental tenet of building relationships first. More tools to deliver a message are great, however relationships have always been the foundation of any successful media relations strategy.

According to Cision’s 2017 State of the Media Report, journalists are still looking for credible industry experts for their stories, however they prefer to be contacted by email. In fact, 90 percent prefer this tried and true method over phone calls or pitches via social media platforms. This is true despite the fact just about every journalist uses multiple social channels to stay abreast of breaking news, be informed about industry updates for their beat and to share their own stories. As for what actually drives their coverage, journalists have indicated exclusivity and an existing relationship with a PR agency or a representative are their top considerations.

What does this mean for PR professionals? Truthfully, not a whole lot. Experienced PR practitioners have always focused on relationships and always will. A media placement from a press release isn’t a bad thing—in fact, it’s good. However, what happens after that news is old? Will that reporter ever call you or consider you/your client for future articles? If you haven’t developed a relationship with that person, it’s highly unlikely. And, the quality of your placement can certainly be called into question. A story with interviews and photos is worth much more than a small blurb pulled directly from a press release.

While the public relations field has evolved with new technology, the fundamentals remain the same—relationships trump all else. Used wisely for research, sharing information and engaging with influencers/customers, social media is a fantastic tool for anyone working in public relations. Conversely, when used solely as a bullhorn to blast out information or to annoy reporters, it is a waste of time and could be detrimental to any future outreach efforts. A one-way communication channel does not build relationships so why bother? You’d be better off standing by the fax machine.


 

Hollie Geitner is vice president, client services for WordWrite Communications.You can find her on Twitter @JustHollieG

5 Steps to Take Before Your CEO Goes on Camera

By Bridgette Borst Ombres

Note: Before you commit to any media interview, make sure you’ve researched the outlet and reporter and have decided it’s a good idea to take the interview in the first place. In a crisis, refer to your crisis communications plan for more detailed guidance around engaging with media.

Need a toolkit for getting your executive camera-ready? You’ve come to the right place – this post is jam-packed with tips, a “cheat sheet” you can download and additional resources that will ensure your CEO aces his or her next interview and lands killer soundbites.

Develop 3-4 key points

The soundbite has been shrinking for years so with limited time to get the main point(s) across in an interview, make every second count.

Honing in on a few key points will keep your spokesperson focused. If he or she shows up for an interview with a laundry list of things to say, this waters down the message and may come at the cost of getting attention around the most important things your brand wants to get in front of stakeholders.

Role play

Interview scenarios allow the CEO to apply communications skills/techniques in real time and provides the executive with an opportunity to practice the toughest questions.

If time allows, always record the role play takes and critique them afterwards.

Review bridging, bump-and-run, commenting without commenting and turn table techniques.

The CEO should build a verbal “bridge” from the reporter’s question to his or her answer (referring back to tip #1).

If a reporter fires off a tricky question, make sure the executive understands how to “bump” the question with a quick answer (yes or no) and “run” back to the 3-4 key points.

Commenting without commenting: In straightforward terms, the executive should explain why they can’t say more (i.e., the interviewee should stay in his or her lane and shouldn’t weigh in on an issue or subject that isn’t related to his or her duties).

It’s perfectly OK for the CEO to pose a question and quickly “turn the table” to answer it. For example, “The real question here is: ‘how are we responding to the cyberattack?’ We have a plan…”

As a former television reporter, I can tell you there’s no phrase more damning to a spokesperson than “no comment.” The reporter (and viewers) hear, “I’m guilty!”

Straight from Mr. Media Training himself, here’s a great read on how to answer tough questions.

Eliminate umm’s, like’s, uh’s and so’s.

Get rid of the verbal litter – it doesn’t add anything. In fact, it takes away substance, can become distracting and makes the interviewee appear less intelligent and polished. Sometimes it’s difficult for people to recognize this bad habit themselves initially, so the spokesperson must train his or her ear to listen for it. That’s why recording role plays is so helpful.

During media training clients, here’s a short exercise I use to help people become aware of using filler words:

Ask them to pick any object in the room (i.e., printer, television, filing cabinet, etc.) and talk about it for 30 seconds. Make note of how many times they use a verbal filler and point it out to them afterwards. This helps the person be more attune to when they’re using fillers since most people don’t even realize they do it.

Practice positive body language

Since most communication is nonverbal, be sure not to overlook this step. Positive body language isn’t limited to remembering to smile and not shifting your weight. It’s important to run through energy, tone, eye contact, gestures and posture with your CEO (another reason why recording role plays is critical in preparing for a media interview – so you and the CEO can see any negative body language issues that should be addressed).

Forgive the cliché, but practice makes (almost) perfect. Repetition helps to internalize the key message points and reduces the risk of going off-message or completely bombing the interview. No matter how seasoned the spokesperson, being prepared is the best recipe for a successful interview. If you can, try to pre-interview the reporter to get a better sense of the story’s focus and questions.

Whether you’re preparing for your next media interview or prepping the CEO (or another spokesperson) for one – click here to reference this quick “cheat sheet.”

Interested in learning more about how to land a successful media interview? Check out this blog post on what not to do – “Media Interviews: The 7 Deadly Sins.”


 

Bridgette Borst Ombres is a former television news reporter turned PR and marketing professional with a decade of experience working in the communications field across agency, corporate and nonprofit sectors. Bridgette is the director of marketing and communications at a tech company in Pittsburgh and also consults for a variety of businesses.

She is a member of PRSA Pittsburgh, serves on the TEDxPittsburgh committee, the co-founder of Not Your Mama’s Book Club and volunteers as a mentor at both of her alma maters.

 

 

5 Secrets to Outrageous Success in the APR Process

By Ben Butler, APR

[ This is the fourth post in the APR Journey Series exploring the Accreditation in Public Relations credential and the journey to getting it. Check out the introductory post here. ]

So, by now you understand the process, you’ve checked your qualifications and you’re rip-roaring, ready to go. You’re probably wondering, “What’s the best plan of attack to momentously completing and succeeding at getting your APR credential?”

Here are 5 secrets to help you achieve success:

Secret 1: Set a Steady Pace

Just like a run, pace is the most important aspect at achieving success. In the APR process, you’ll need to set a pace that’s repeatable for the duration and gets you across the finish line.

Your first step is to submit an application. Once you receive approval to engage the process, you’ll have exactly one year to complete the journey. That may sound like a long time, but it’ll go far quicker than you think.

You’ll need to maintain a disciplined routine and high-tempo pace if you hope to finish. I’d recommend trying to complete this as soon as your schedule allows. If you happen to have the time available, this is especially relevant. Use availability to its maximum potential because you never know when a work or life event will disrupt your flow.

Secret 2: Start Studying for the Exam before You Present Your Panel Review Presentation

This piece of advice — given to me by former PRSA Pittsburgh Accreditation Chair Jeff Worden, APR — was a game-changer for my APR journey.

When given approval to start the APR process (Step 1), dive into the recommended texts and the official study guide. Be well-versed in that content before you even prepare for your Panel Review Presentation (Step 2).

The study process takes the longest to do, so it’s best to begin early and not save it for last (exam is Step 3). More than that, however, it’s a great refresher on the full scope of the practice of public relations. Shaking the dust off the full range of considerations for public relations will help frame your mentality through the rest of the process.

You’ll also be able to move from successful completion of your Panel Review right into the examination with serious momentum. That will pay dividends in the end.

Secret 3: Get a Study Buddy or Study Group

Entering the process with a buddy is worth considering. Together, you can study and hold each other accountable through the process.

Secret 4: Book Time Weekly for APR Activities

Doing APR activities on a “whenever” basis won’t work, especially with what needs completed. I recommend allotting one day a week to hunker down on the studying and preparation. Evenings and weekends seem to work best with most schedules.

Secret 5: Lean into Your Accreditation Chair

Leaning into your Accreditation Chair is the best decision you can make. Yes, you’re going to have a lot of questions, but I’d take things a step deeper.

  • Before you begin, consider having them review your application.
  • Ask them to review your materials and preparation work through the process.
  • Ask them for feedback on your Panel Review Presentation before setting it up. They’ve been there, they know the grading code and they can help make sure you’re successful.
  • Ask them for study tips and connections with relevant professionals who can help mentor you in expertise areas you’re curious about.

 

Need help making this a success? Get in touch with me — I’m happy to be your sherpa.


 

Ben Butler, APR, is the client services director for Top Hat, an award-winning marketing communications firm in Pittsburgh, and the Accreditation Director for PRSA Pittsburgh. In his past life he served as a public relations guy for a motorsports complex, director of inbound partnerships for an inbound marketing agency and head of communications for a software startup. He’s been named a Top Under 40 Communicator and is Accredited in Public Relations (APR)—a distinction held by less than 20-percent of all practitioners.

3 Customer Experience Strategies You Can Steal From McDonald’s, Red Bull and Domino’s

 [ This article originally appeared on The Way, Sprinklr’s content hub. As one of PRSA Pittsburgh’s sponsors, each month Sprinklr will be delivering you with some insights into how you can use technology to make your marketing more efficient and effective. ]

The sharing economy has taught us that customers crave experiences, not things. This isn’t just a platitude; it’s evidence of a significant trend in spending behavior–especially among millennials. And to stay ahead of the game, marketers need to shift their strategies accordingly.

The good news is that advertising is no longer limited to buying ads and renting billboards. Those tactics simply sell products. On social media, however, marketers can move beyond one-sided interactions and create lasting experiences that engage customers across multiple platforms.

That may seem tough to do, but leading food and beverage brands like McDonald’s, Red Bull, and Domino’s have already mastered the art of building customer experiences that keep audiences coming back for more.

Here are three top-notch customer experience strategies you can steal from them.

1. Use Customer Insights to Deliver What People Love

It’s hard to create a unified customer experience when your brand has over 36,000 locations, 28,000 social accounts, and 60 social mentions per minute. That’s the challenge McDonald’s faced in 2015.

The company saw an opportunity to delight customers by offering the Egg McMuffin all day long–instead of just for breakfast. But before they could make this change across 14,000 US locations, they needed to be sure customers were on board.

By partnering with Sprinklr, McDonald’s was able to sift through social conversations dating all the way back to 2008, and pinpoint mentions of all-day breakfast. Once they saw that demand was out there, they prepared to launch their All Day Breakfast campaign.

The brand began by messaging the first person who ever tweeted about wanting McDonald’s breakfast 24/7.

McDonald’s then sent 12,000 personalized tweets directly to its customers, instead of just shouting its news to the masses.

 After making this commitment to customer experience, McDonald’s saw a 10% year over year improvement in public sentiment. It also drove company growth after 14 consecutive quarters of decline.

McDonald’s didn’t need to put up a big billboard or pay for social ads. It just needed to listen to the voice of the customer and use insights to offer something people love.

2. Promote the Culture, Not the Product

If Red Bull just promoted an energy drink, it wouldn’t have 47 million Facebook followers and 5.8 million YouTube subscribers. Just look at similar brands like 5-Hour Energy and Rockstar, which have much smaller social followings.

Red Bull set itself apart by moving beyond the label of a “beverage brand” and transforming into a full-blown media company. It built an entire culture around extreme sports and high-octane stunts, offering thrilling and inspiring customer experiences across multiple platforms. Oh, and it happens to sell energy drinks.

Take Red Bull TV, for example. The brand launched its own Netflix-like hub of original sports, music, and adventure content. Recent top picks include the snowboarding film, “The Art of Flight,” and “Who is JOB?” a series that takes you around the world with pro surfer Jamie O’Brien.

Red Bull TV

Image source

Red Bull TV even became the first branded content channel to stream on Apple TV. Meaning, it’s right up there with other apps like HBO GO and ESPN.

The company also launches livestreamed events like the historic Red Bull Stratos campaign. In October 2012, skydiver Felix Baumgartner broke records for the highest and fastest freefall jump when he lept from “the edge of space,” 24 miles above land. The adrenaline-pumping event was livestreamed, and it all happened in Red Bull’s name. It also broke the record for the most-watched livestream in YouTube history, with roughly 8 million people tuning in at the same time.

The highlights video on Red Bull’s YouTube channel now has 41 million views and counting:

Red Bull doesn’t have to tell people that their energy drinks are good. Instead, they show them what high-energy adventures look like, and inspire them to create exciting experiences of their own.

3. Make Life Easier for Them With New Technology

Ordering pizza is pretty easy to do. But Domino’s found a way to make it even easier. In May 2015, the brand became the first to let people place an order with an emoji. All customers needed was a Dominos.com account and a saved Easy Order. Then they could just tweet or text an emoji to the pizza company, and receive their order in 30 minutes.

Thousands of people ordered with emojis on the first day, and over 500 people signed up for an account to take part in the fun. The campaign also earned 1.2 billion media impressions, and press attention from Jimmy Fallon, The Today Show, TIME, and Good Morning America. Ellen DeGeneres even used emojis to order pizzas for her live studio audience.

This new ordering system didn’t stand alone, either. It was part of the Domino’s AnyWare initiative, which enabled customers to place orders via Smart TVs, Apple Watch, Ford Sync, Google Home, and Amazon Echo.

This venture helped prove that Domino’s cares about the customer experience and is willing to take risks to delight its audiences. The brand essentially changed the language of online ordering. It allowed customers to use trendy graphics–emojis–to place an order without leaving their their Twitter feed or text app.

To put a cherry (or pepperoni, maybe?) on top, it also encourages customers to associate the oft-used pizza emoji with Domino’s, and not with a competitor like Pizza Hut or Papa John’s.

Provide Your Audience With Memorable Experiences

Customer experience isn’t just about offering great service–though that is important. It’s about building a community that keeps customers engaged, even after they’ve made a purchase. It’s about showing people that you’re not just out to push a sale; you’re committed to helping them improve their lives.

Take these lessons from McDonald’s, Red Bull, and Domino’s. Use data to understand what your audiences want. “Wow” your customers with new technologies. And be the voice of your culture, not just your products. So when people go looking for great experiences, they’ll find your brand, and they won’t be disappointed.


 

The author, Ben Waldron, is a former journalist and PR professional, who joined the Content Marketing team in 2016 as Associate Editor.

Letting the Cat Out of the Bag: 6 Things I’ve Learned about Leadership

By Bridgette Borst Ombres 

Imagine you’re driving hard to bring the development of a new campaign across the finish line when your team just learns the client’s business goal has changed – a surprising, unwelcome twist on a Friday afternoon that squashes any weekend plans.

There is one team member who jumps right in with solutions, eager to recommend a new course of action while another individual starts asking questions.

Ever think the first person to come up with fresh, new ideas is the smartest in the room – or the leader of the group?

I’m going to let the cat out of the bag.

Next time you’re in a group setting, sit back and watch the people who lead with questions instead of answers. It’s one of the tell-tale signs of a leader.

As we start to unpack leadership in this post, I’ll start by admitting that early on in my career there was a time I believed “boss” equaled leader. The corner office. Expensive car. Fancy title.

Don’t get me wrong – a boss can be a leader, but not necessarily. A leader could be the person sitting next to you who shares your stapler. Most of us have been in situations where the real leader of a team or even a whole organization, is not the boss. Someone else is. Leadership has nothing to do with age, a job title or one’s position in the hierarchy of an organization.

A decade later as a communications professional, I’ve reported directly to and worked with CEOs; done a fair amount of traveling for business; managed teams and met a lot of great people both in PR and across other industries.

Based on my mashup of experiences in the workplace, here’s what I can tell you about leadership:

People may respect the boss but everyone loves the leader.

That’s because they are skilled at emotional intelligence. They practice humility and they are positive and approachable. This guy right here is a model for just that – not to mention, he’s one of PR’s finest.

Great leaders pass the credit and take the blame.

This means when you win the RFP – the leader gives a little more kudos to the team than earned and when an ad falls flat, accepts a bit more of the responsibility than deserved.

Leaders are masters of effective communication.

Learning to communicate effectively is one of the most important life skills and it’s especially critical in public relations.

If you want to lead well, begin with the end in mind.

That’s called vision.

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” – Steven Covey

Excellent leaders work hard to understand the other person’s perspective. A lot of people listen with the intent to reply, not understand. Don’t pretend to be listening and enter the conversation only to get your point across.

Leaders act like winners before they start winning.

Remember that confident, talented kid in your theater class who is now on Broadway or the super-driven, recent grad who started as a marketing assistant and is now the CMO of a Fortune 100 company? Leaders start with having the right mindset.

While leadership can be defined in many ways – to me, the legendary John C. Maxwell says it best:Leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.”

Think Gandhi. The single most important part of the Indian freedom struggle against colonial rule.

MLK, a visionary whose tireless and inspirational work to advance the civil rights movement in the United States continues to live today.

Mother Theresa: Nobel Peace Prize winner and humanitarian who fought for the rights of the sick and helpless.

Looking back at historic leaders, some have brought peace to troubled lands while others have even strewn corruption. Regardless, the one thing they all have in common is the power to influence people. It’s having the ability to turn vision into reality.

Contrary to my recent-grad viewpoint years ago, a boss is simply a person who is in charge of the workplace. It’s an individual who is focused on process, but not always people.

As I put the pen down on this leadership post, I’ll leave you with this –

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, become more, you are a leader,” John Quincy Adams.

Interested in learning more about leadership and hearing different perspectives? Check out these killer TED talks here and here.


 

Bridgette Borst Ombres is a former television news reporter turned PR and marketing professional with a decade of experience working in the communications field across agency, corporate and nonprofit sectors. Bridgette is the director of marketing and communications at a tech company in Pittsburgh and also consults for a variety of businesses.

She is a member of PRSA Pittsburgh, serves on the TEDxPittsburgh committee, the co-founder of Not Your Mama’s Book Club and volunteers as a mentor at both of her alma maters.

 

Employee Communications: Tactics June Issue Recap

By Bre Stephens

Employees are the backbone of an organization—which is why it’s important to create a culture in which they can thrive while keeping an open, effective line of communication.

With a focus on employee communications, the June issue of Tactics provides readers with a variety of insights into utilizing modern internal communication platforms, increasing productivity in the workplace and implementing successful strategies to keep employees engaged.

Email Sign Out: Why Some Communications Teams Are Switching to Slack

  • Say goodbye to old-fashioned email and hello to Slack. Natan Edelsburg, executive vice president at Muck Rack, talks about how PR teams and agencies can benefit from Slack’s modern twist on internal communications.

How a PR Agency Can Maximize Company Culture

  • Catriona Harris, CEO of Uproar PR, discusses how agencies can maximize company culture by hiring employees who mesh well and creating a welcoming, nurturing office environment.

Play at Work: Increasing Communication and Productivity in the Workplace

  • Who said play was only for kids? Samantha Roblin, general manager, ZogSports Corporate Culture Business, tells readers how play in the workplace can foster a sense of community—leading to increased productivity, morale and engagement.

Food for Thought: Amy Jenkins on Internal Communications at Chipotle

  • Get a glimpse into internal communications at Chipotle Mexican Grill’s as Amy Jenkins, internal communications manager, explains how her team handled the foodborne-illness outbreak crisis. She also offers best practices for engaging employees and effectively communicating with them in crises.

4 Lessons From 4 Years of Running an Agency

  • Ben Butler, APR, founder and client services director for Top Hat, shares four lessons he’s learned along his journey running an agency—one of which is understanding how business works.

Read the latest issue of Tactics here.


 

Bre is an assistant account executive at Havas PR. Follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Announcing PRSA Pittsburgh’s Second Annual Women in Business Event, Carving Your Niche

Unfortunately Carving Your Niche has been cancelled.  We look forward to meeting you at a future PRSA Pittsburgh event.

Thank you for your understanding!

 

While Pittsburgh is in the midst of a revitalization so, too, is our PR community.  It’s growing by leaps and bounds.  And with dozens of organizations and events happening all the time, why Carving Your Niche?  Simple: we wanted to create collaboration between peers, to start a conversation and to build connections with one another.  And what better way to do that than to host an evening featuring some of the top businesswomen in Pittsburgh?

I’d like to invite you to join us at SLATE, a newly opened event space produced by Shayla Hawkins Events, on Thursday, July 27 beginning at 5:30 p.m.  Grab a drink, grab a seat and get ready to be inspired.  Each of our presenters will share her experience, insights and tips for Carving Your Niche in any industry.  2017 speakers include:

  • Andi Perelman, Manager of New Media, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Kelley Skoloda, Chief InfluencHer and Angel Investor, KS Consulting and Capital
  • Betsy Benson, Publisher, Pittsburgh Magazine

But how will we know if Carving Your Niche has been successful?  Well, if one person leaves feeling empowered to take the next step in their career then we’ll know we did our job.  And if folks feel like they’ve found their niche?  Even better.

Whether you’re an executive leader, a senior manager or an emerging professional, this is the event for you.  Member tickets are $45 and non-member tickets are $60.  Register here

We look forward to seeing you next month!

FAQ: Am I Qualified to Go for My Accreditation (APR)?

By Ben Butler, APR

[ This is the third post in the APR Journey Series exploring the Accreditation in Public Relations credential and the journey to getting it. Check out the introductory post here. ]

Beyond the process itself, the most frequently asked question in the Accreditation in Public Relations Process is: “Am I qualified to go for my Accreditation in Public Relations (APR)?”

PRSA and the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB) — the governing bodies managing APR — recommend a minimum of five years of professional communications experience. The process itself also tests historical knowledge of public relations, of the various niches of public relations, business acumen and vettes your hallmark career case study.

Curious if your credentials have prepared you for the Accreditation journey? Here are a couple of baseline questions to begin asking:

Question 1: Do You Have a Track Record Being a Strategist?

In my mind, the five-year mark can be a helpful baseline, but doesn’t necessarily qualify or disqualify you. It really comes down to your experience being a strategist, rather than a tactician.

That being said, you could have 20 years of experience, but no strategic experience. Or you could have four years of experience (one year shy of the recommendation), but a lively career of strategic experience.

Your strategic experience will be put to the test through the entire process, but is really focused upon in Step 2 of the process, the Panel Review. Here, you present your best case study to a panel of APRs. This case study should exemplify the Four-Step Process, showcasing Research, Planning, Implementation and Evaluation.

If you weren’t integral in a strategic communications plan, I’d recommend pursuing one before going through the process.

Question 2: Do You Wield Well-Rounded Knowledge About the Core Areas of Our Profession?

In all honesty, it’s unlikely you’ll have rounded out experience covering every niche of the profession.

What’s important, however, is that you have a full understanding of the 12 core functions of public relations: trusted counsel, internal communication, media relations, community relations, external communication, research, planning, implementing, evaluating, publicity/special events, issues management and crisis communication.

If you can’t speak knowledgeably about those 12 core functions, and apply the concepts to critical thinking, you’ll need to gain this to be successful.

These concepts will be tested in the Panel Review and extensively in the online examination.

So Far So Good? There’s More to Consider

On a baseline level, answering the above questions can help determine if you’re ready or not. If you’ve checked off those boxes, I’d say you can feel fairly confident.

There are still some considerations to explore before committing fully though. I’d recommend checking out the following resources:

Need help evaluating your credentials? Get in touch with me — I’m happy to be your sherpa.


 

Ben Butler, APR, is the client services director for Top Hat, an award-winning marketing communications firm in Pittsburgh, and the Accreditation Director for PRSA Pittsburgh. In his past life he served as a public relations guy for a motorsports complex, director of inbound partnerships for an inbound marketing agency and head of communications for a software startup. He’s been named a Top Under 40 Communicator and is Accredited in Public Relations (APR)—a distinction held by less than 20-percent of all practitioners.