A Student’s Take on Pro-Am Day

Earlier this week Cincinnati PRSA hosted local PRSSA students for their annual Pro-Am Day. Students from Xavier University, Northern Kentucky University (my alma mater, woot!), University of Dayton and Miami University took advantage of this great networking opportunity.

The event started with a panel discussion with 3 Cincinnati PR professionals with varying backgrounds and levels of experience discussing the things they wish they would have known early on in their careers. To see the highlights from the event check out my storify post from the luncheon.

After the panel discussion students were able to shadow the area’s top professionals to get a taste of what the “real world” is like.

As the Cincinnati PRSA New Pros committee chair I had the opportunity to recruit and pair these students and seasoned pros together for the job shadowing portion of the day. Throughout the pairing process I was surprised by the varying degree of responses I received from each student. For some students I felt like I was pulling teeth to get a response for an event that could land them a job. Needless to say, I was a little surprised.

Fortunately, to counterbalance the lack of responsiveness from some students, there were tons of students who were on top of their game. One of these students was Rachel Drakulich (@RachDrakulich) from The University of Dayton. Rachel  stays kind of busy being the President of UD’s PRSSA, the Marketing Team Leader at University of Dayton Recreation Complex and being the Assistant to the Office of the President at Sinclair Community College; all while taking a full load of classes.

Because I was a bit surprised by some students lack of interest in Pro-Am Day, I asked Rachel to take a minute and share her experience. If you’re a student considering participating in Pro-Am Day, or other networking opportunities with professionals in your area, take a minute and check out what Rachel had to say about her Pro-Am Day experience: (Thanks Rachel!)

In May I will graduate from the University of Dayton and I am also the outgoing president of UD’s PRSSA chapter. Prior to attending PRSA Cincinnati Pro-Am day for the first time ever, my expectations were relatively high based on other professional networking events I have attended in the past. Throughout my time as an undergraduate I have come to understand the power of networking and the importance of learning from experienced professionals. This rang true during my whole Pro-Am experience.
I was fortunate enough to enjoy a delicious lunch with two of Northlich’s employees, Jessica Kelly and Kate Bebee. During lunch we talked about their past experiences and how they ended up in Cincinnati, my future plans after graduation, and started following one another on Twitter! As the luncheon ended, I had a stronger sense of pride for the public relations field based on the panel discussion.
Jessica and Kate then took me to shadow Northlich. The other employees welcomed me with warm smiles as they showed me around the office. My favorite part about the whole day was listening to Jessica’s and Kate’s experiences and what they have learned in their few years out of college. They shared the mistakes they experienced as interns, the hours spent working on events, doing their first cold call to a reporter, yet it was all worth it for the satisfaction when they saw their first hit in the media.
Overall, the scope of information I gained from Pro-Am day exceeded my expectations. I am a strong advocate for events such as Pro-Am day because of the benefits and experiences members of both PRSA and PRSSA receive from one another and the relationships that blossom as a result.

Let’s Get Instagrammed (with guest speaker Lisa Weser)

I have some awesome news. On Tuesday March 27th at 6 p.m. at Rockfish Interactive join me and Cincinnati PRSA New Pros Committee for a special Skype presentation on all things Instagram from Fleishman Hillard Senior VP Lisa Weser (@lisaweser). Thanks to Justin Goldsborough, co-moderator of #pr20hat, and all around good guy, I was able to connect with Lisa Weser and can’t wait to hear her discuss Instagram itself and the trends that make it such a great niche social network.

Here are a few of the highlights of Lisa’s career:
–    Helped launch the first iPhone (and three subsequent models)
–    Established twitter.com/att and att.com/socialmedia
–    Sent AT&T’s first tweet and attracted its first 27,000 followers
–    Managed AT&T’s online newsroom and content strategy
–    Provided intranet counsel to AT&T, GM and Visa
–    Conceptualized and built AT&T’s “Twitter Tribe” ambassador program
–    Managed an award-winning AT&T Social Business Adoption employee campaign
–    Partnered with Panera Bread to execute a Mashable-recognized Pinterest strategy

Space is limited (there is a cap of 35 and 27 have already RSVPed!) so if you’re in the Cincinnati area RSVP by clicking here to RSVP on the Facebook event. Once you have RSVP’ed don’t forget to share the event with your Facebook community and tweet about the event using #CincyPRSA.

Quick Bonus: Click here to check out an awesome blog post from Lisa – Your Brand CAN Instagram

Be on the lookout for tweets and a recap of the event next Tuesday or Wednesday.

PRSA Is More Than 4 Little Letters

On Wednesday night the new pros group had the opportunity to learn more about how new members can get the most out of their PRSA experience. Three veteran members of Cincinnati PRSA were on hand to share their stories about their PRSA experience. Jonathan Kissell, Jill Dunne and Darcy Little, 3 Cincinnati PRSA board members, were our speakers for the night.

Here are my three biggest takeaways from last night’s discussion:

There are lots of ways to get involved

Whatever time you have to offer, the chapter can use. To get involved right away there are multiple volunteer opportunities with local non-profit organizations. Peter Osborne our community service chair does a great job finding opportunities for PRSA members to use their skills to help these organizations.

In addition to volunteer opportunities members can join a leadership team committee. There isn’t a formal process to join a committee, all it takes is an email to an individual committee chair to get the ball rolling. Leadership team committees include: Social Media, Sponsorship, Blacksmith Awards, New Pros, APR, Newsletter and Media Day.

You get out, what you put in

I know, I know, this seems like a, “well, no duh” statement, but it is especially true with PRSA. As I mentioned in my previous points there are plenty of ways to get involved. Each of these opportunities is a way to strengthen your overall skill set and make you a more well-rounded pro. Additionally, by joining these committees you get the chance to meet a more of our chapter members, which is current more than 200 professionals strong. Our members are the undisputed PRSA leaders in the Cincinnati who are really, really good at what they do and are almost always willing to help, which leads right into my last takeaway…

PRSA Members are Friendly

All three speakers alluded to this multiple times during the discussion. If you have a question, all you have to do it ask. Whether it’s about about a job opportunity, career advice, or how to track down someone at one publication or another, chances are good someone else has been in your situation at one point or another and can offer some help.

Those were my biggest takeaways from the benefits and importance of being a PRSA member, what else do you have to add?

One last thing… As the Cincinnati PRSA New Pros Committee Chair I will be sharing recaps of our monthly events throughout the year. If you have any suggestions about speakers, topics or venues for future events I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Social Media Tools, Tactics and Trends

I have been fortunate enough to serve on the New Pros Committee this year with a few other incredible young pros. I was tasked to set up the June speaker to discuss Social Media. I am REALLY REALLY EXCITED to announce Stephanie Wonderlin (@swonderlin) as our guest speaker.

Mrs. Tweetheart TV Herself

Stephanie, based out of Austin, Texas will be joining in via Skype. At her day job as The Director of Account Services at 44 Doors (@44Doors), a Mobile Experience Solutions Agency, Stephanie empowers clients such as Kendall-Jackson, Coca Cola and AT&T with more impactful and measurable ways to engage mobile consumers.

When Stephanie isn’t on the cutting edge of mobile innovation at 44 Doors she is a @NikeWomen Make Yourself Blogger and hosts her own Youtube webisode series called Tweetheart TV, the first interactive social media show. Stephanie reviews the latest social media tools  in power packed 2 minutes videos. Check out her latest video here:

Stephanie will lead the group in a 30-40 minute presentation on the latest tools, tactics and trends in social media. We will have 20 minutes of Q and A after so have your questions ready!

Here are all the event details:

When: Tuesday June 14 @ 6:00 PM

Where: Northlich (720 Pete Rose Way Cincinnati, OH 45202) Parking is free to attendees in the Northlich lot.

RSVP to cincynewpros@yahoo.com or on our Facebook Event Page – Please submit any questions on the Event page’s wall

Tweeting is Encouraged! Please use the #cincyprsa hashtag and chat it up with Stephanie –@swonderlin

See everyone there!

Building Relationships with Charlene Li

I recently had the opportunity to take part in a Skype presentation (courtesy of Cincinnati PRSA) featuring renowned author, Charlene Li. She is the founder of the Altimeter Group, co-author of Groundswell, and author of Open Leadership. She also really knows her stuff!

Charlene shared her insights on building relationships with social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, etc. She emphasized that while these tools help facilitate relationships, they aren’t the foundation.

That foundation comes from a mutual understanding of the informality of the platform.  Think about your personal relationships. They are safe, trusting and friendly, right? Now, envision social media relationships exactly the same way.  Here are two important things to remember:

Relationships take time to grow.

A strong social media community will not be built overnight. Yeah, Charlie Sheen may have been the fastest to 1 million followers, but is that really a community or simply a popularity contest?  Healthy social media growth is built on a strong strategy of consistent and valuable content that helps everyone succeed.

Relationships are not immune to problems.

In all relationships, mistakes are made and apologies are needed. Inappropriate tweets and status updates will inevitably happen. When they do, take ownership, apologize, and begin the process of rebuilding the relationship. That old adage about what you put into a relationship is what you get out of it.

Yeah, it applies to social media…

PR + Mobile Marketing = Great Friends

I had the pleasure of hearing Bob McCarthy, of Service Web Systems, speak today at the Cincinnati PRSA monthly luncheon. Bob is a specialist in all things mobile. From app development, to mobile-site modification, to QR Codes ~ Bob knows his stuff.

Thanks to Our Sponsor ~ Verizon Wireless

The title of Bob’s presentation was, “Mobile Marketing: Why Smartphones are Upending Traditional Print and Web Based Marketing”.

I wanted to share my key takeaways ~

Get a Free QR Code

– Did you know you can get a QR code for free. I did a simple Google search and found http://qrcode.kaywa.com/. I put in my blog’s URL and was given this QR Code in seconds! Try it out and see if it works.

qrcode

Adding a QR code to a traditional campaign is an incredibly effective way to share additional information. Specific QR codes can be tailored to land on specific landing pages ~ and we all know important specialized landing pages are thanks for our search engine marketing friends!

Mobile Proximity:

Savvy companies who take advantage of opt-in information can use mobile phones to pin-point consumers locations. Text messages can be sent as consumers walk to different departments within the same store. It is definitely a little “Big Brother-esque”, but is pretty interesting!

Mobile + PR = Best Friends

Bob brought up multiple points that really struck a chord in my PR brain.

  • Customers WANT engagement
  • Customers will only engage if you deliver value… RIGHT NOW

Thanks to new mobile trends like QR Codes and Proximity Targeting, public relations professionals have the ability to engage consumers and deliver value in real time. It’s up to us to get it done!

A Few More Great Points

One of my favorite things about Cincinnati PRSA luncheons is the engagement the leadership team encourages. All attendees are encouraged to tweet and use the hashtag #CincyPRSA. Here are a few awesome tweets from today’s luncheon!

Click to Follow @ElliotCampbell

Click to Follow @ShaClark

Click the Picture to Follow @PRTammy

Have you incorporated any mobile strategies into any campaigns?

Until next time, whether it’s B2B or B2C, it’s Business to (a mobile phone carrying) Person!

You Get Out What You Put In

As a young pro I do everything I can to meet, learn, and build relationships with veteran professionals. I was recently given the opportunity to join the Cincinnati PRSA leadership team as the sponsorship chair. This is obviously a great honor and I can’t wait to get started.

Today the leadership team met to plan for 2011. Going into the meeting I knew I would be surrounded by incredibly influential communicators who have experience in nearly every industry and specialty. I couldn’t wait to soak up tons of awesome information.

As we discussed ideas and thoughts for 2011, Chris Kemper shared something that really struck me:

You get out of PRSA (or anything for that matter), whatever you put into it.

In the age of instant satisfaction, remembering to take the time to invest in something is more important than ever. Moving into 2011, I’m looking forward to embracing “you get out of ___________, whatever you put into it.”

The new year is going to be here before we know it ~ What are your plans for making the most of 2011?