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.


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.


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!

What To Do When Sh*t Hits the Fan

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a Cincinnati PRSA Young Pros panel discussion on Crisis Communication.

The Young Pros committee lined up two great speakers: Jill Isaacs-Dunne of Metro/SORTA and Maureen Richmond of First Group. Each speaker shared multiple stories, and provided valuable insights.

In my young career I have not handled any “crisis” situations, which is a big reason I wanted to attend. Jill and Maureen did a great job of explaining how and why they handled different crisis, in addition to discussing what they would have done differently.

I pulled away several insights I’d like to share with you today.

  • Plan and Practice: Make sure your organization has a plan in place for crisis communication. This will be invaluable as crisis hits. Having a plan is great, but what happens if it is flawed? That is why it’s important to stress the importance of practicing crisis situations to upper management.
  • Gather Information: Information is your friend! Soak up and embrace the massive amounts of knowledge your internal assets already have.
  • Honesty and Transparency: It’s o.k. to say “I don’t know” ~ Do not give an answer, if you are not positively sure about it. It is essential to deliver the right information during a crisis. Speculation will become rampant all by itself, don’t add any fuel to the fire.
  • Interesting Tip: Send out an “FAQ Sheet” to brand advocates (Followers/Fans) ~ This engages and empowers them to share the correct information with their networks. It is important to think about creating brand advocates whenever interacting in the social space, not only during a crisis. The beauty of social media is the ability to directly interact with individuals. Constantly building and developing strong relationships with consumers will ensure your brand has built in story-tellers to share your message.

Jill and Maureen were great about answering questions and giving us words of wisdom. They both reminded us that everyone has been there, don’t be afraid to consult someone when crisis hits. Jill added, “Don’t hesitate to call one of us, we’ll talk about it over a beer, or better yet, we’ll have a beer after it’s all over!”

This obviously got everyone laughing, but comments like that from veteran pros reinforce my passion for public relations. Collaboration and a willingness to help one another is unparalleled in our field.

I would love to hear what other crisis communication tips you have to add!

Until next time, whether it’s B2B or B2C, it’s all Business to Person

Brand U

I was recently given the opportunity to give my first presentation as a communications professional. I spoke to an Electronic PR class at Northern Kentucky University (my alma mater) on the importance of self-branding.

As social media plays an ever-increasing role in the importance of PR, students HAVE to learn to use these tools effectively. I wanted to share a few easy to remember points about Twitter and LinkedIn. These are 2 social networking sites where every PR professional should have an active presence.

Twitter (I’m @Andrew_ShipPR)

  • Make sure your profile explains exactly why you’re on Twitter ~ “A PR student in _________ looking to develop relationships with PR pros that will help me learn and develop as a communicator”
  • Put your LinkedIn web address or personal blog into the “web” section of the profile
  • DO NOT protect your tweets ~ That doesn’t exactly scream transparency…
  • Interact with industry leader’s ~ Check out one of my previous posts that goes more in-depth: “Building Relationships with PR Pros through Twitter


  • Pick a vanity URL ~ Ex. http://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewshipPR
  • Have a professional picture
  • When inviting people to connect, personalize the message ~ It takes less than a minute, it will set you apart, and it will open up communication
  • Make sure you fill your profile out to 100% completion ~ Remember the more robust your profile the higher likelihood your profile will come up in search results.

The most important thing to remember, above all else, is to be yourself. Nothing can replace The Human Factor.

Do you have any additional suggestions? I would love to hear them ~

Until next time, whether its B2B or B2C, it’s all Business to Person

You’ll Always Remember Your First (#MediaDay)

I attended the Cincinnati PRSA’s annual Media Day today, and in a word ~ AWESOME! Great speakers and thoughtful planning, combined with passionate professionals made for an amazing day of learning.

Instead of writing an entire recap of the event I’d like to use this post to share a few of my favorite quotes from the breakout sessions and panel discussions. The two breakout sessions I attended were “YouTwitFace” and “Build.Promote.Measure.”

“Transparency is essential when participating in social media”
~ Chris Bergman

It really frustrates me when people don’t get the importance of transparency. It’s essential to develop and strengthen quality relationships.

On explaining how to use social media to clients ~ “Where are your people? Go and find them there ~ research before jumping in”
~ Heather Whaling

Important to remember this and help your clients understand this. “Listening #1, Engaging #2” needs to be THE MANTRA for the “social media professional”

“I love how precise your communication has to be with twitter”
~ Chris Bergman

This is one of my favorite parts about Twitter. Thanks to Twitter, I have become a more effective communicator ~ Most of the time you have to get rid of the garnish, and give people the meat

“We encourage employees to be clear, transparent, and honest”
~ Laura Merritt

Once again, love hearing importance of concise, transparent communication ~ With so much clutter out there, it’s becoming mandatory

When considering social media channels ~ “Don’t think broadcast channels, think engagement channels” ~ “Go deep, not broad”
~ Kevin Dugan

This last quote sums a lot of my feelings on social media ~ Engage (along with Listen) are the two most important words in my vocabulary when it comes to social media

These are some quick hits. Awesome quotes, from industry leaders get me excited about the profession I’m passionate about! I hope they get you fired up as well! If you were at Media Day, and attended the other sessions I’d love to hear some of your favorite quotes!

Thanks again to all the organizers ~ Special shout out to Ashley Walters and Lauren Doyle

This event, and speakers really emphasize, “whether is B2B or B2C, it’s all Business to Consumer”

#Journchat ~ My Cure for the Common Monday

I never “dread” Mondays, but sometimes they can get the best of me. Now that I have graduated, and am “in the real world”, I have gotten into a Monday routine. No matter how bad Monday was, I have found a great way to turn everything around: #JOURNCHAT!

#Journchat is a weekly (Mondays from 8-9 ET) discussion of Public Relations, Journalism, and Communication professionals. The chat usually consists of 10-12 questions about current trends in the field. As a young pro, this is a great way to learn from veteran professionals. Sometimes I comment, but other times it’s nice to sit back, listen and learn. During a recent #journchat on March 8th, the moderator Sarah Evans, posed this question:

“If there was one piece of advice you could offer to new comm/journ/PR grad, what would it be?”

BINGO! I was excited to hear the answers! Here is a compilation of my favorites. Last night’s #journchat really got me excited about PR, if you are a PR pro that didn’t get to participate here is what you missed…

Relationships and your reputation will follow you forever. Protect and nurture both of them.

Take advantage of all opportunities given to you, and create you own

Learn as much as you can from established professionals

1)For journo students: Take an intro PR class. Better yet, take 2 classes
2)For PR students: Yep, you guess it, take a journo class. Better yet, write for the school paper

Know how to communicate no matter which platform you use, FB, Twitter, News Release, SM News Release, phone calls.

Liz Pope
Do what you say you’re going to do. If you volunteer to do a task, follow through with it on deadline and use it as a chance to set yourself apart.

Never stop learning. Grow. Adapt.

JGoldsborough (My Favorite)
Make a point to meet someone new each week. More people you know, more you learn, more you develop

This is just a small sampling of some other great comments and insights from other industry leaders. With that being said — What did I leave out, I’m always in need of some great advice, and I would love to hear yours!

Until next time, whether it’s B2B or B2C, it’s all Business to Person

I’m #HAPPO I Chose PR

Entering my second year of college I was your classic “not sure what I want to do in life” college student. I knew I was ready for something, but I needed to be nudged in the right direction. I was lucky enough to be at Northern Kentucky University at the time a new college was starting: The College of Informatics. I wasn’t sure what “Informatics” had to offer, but I did have the foresight to understand that there would probably be some interesting opportunities with a new college at a growing university.

I sat down with an assistant dean to discuss what this new college had to offer. As we went over majors, and talked about my interests, she brought up PR. She explained that you see PR everyday, but probably don’t even know it. We discussed relationship building, delivering clear messages, crisis communication and other aspects of the field that NKU would emphasize to prepare me to be a public relations practitioner. After that, I was hooked!

My absolute favorite part about PR (what really makes me #HAPPO) is building relationships. This has never been more apparent than during the past 8 days. #HAPPO is a reason for all PR practitioners to give themselves an emphatic pat on the back! You would be hard pressed to find another profession that could start a Facebook group and in 8 days grow that group to 827 people! More than the number, #HAPPO participants interact and engage with one another. I personally posted on the Facebook group’s wall and was given a response within the hour. To everyone out there in the #HAPPO community —Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! I am blown away by how awesome it is to see PR practitioners digging in and helping one another.

I am so #HAPPO I chose PR!