PR Pitfalls: How to Keep Your Foot Out of Your Mouth

5 08 2010

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Last week I hosted my first Webinar titled PR Pitfalls: How to Keep Your Foot Out of Your Mouth. This was for my company’s members, small business owners who probably don’t have a PR person working for them and do everything themselves. 167 people registered to attend and 75 attended live.

Vodpod videos no longer available.




Faithful Apple

4 08 2010

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I am an AVID Apple lover. As we all know, you either love or you hate Apple, there isn’t much of an in-between. OK, maybe those who are too afraid to leave their virus infected PCs. I got my first Apple computer my senior year of college and I have been in love ever since. Let’s start at the beginning.

Apple Love

My dell PC had melted its own video card. After their tech support told me I should put my laptop in my freezer while i saved any files off the hard drive to keep it from catching on fire, I decided I had enough. My mother’s reaction was “well, aren’t you a little rebel” when I chose to get an Apple. Really? Is that what a government computer programmer in her 50’s thinks? She’s afraid of the change. So, of course, I ‘rebelled’.  I have had the iPhone since it first came out and I have never regretted it. I even took it on a business trip to France in 2008 and without it, I wouldn’t have been able to continue communication with my now fiance that led to him meeting me in Paris for the most romantic weekend of my life. Thank you iPhone.

There is also nothing left to be desired at the Genius bar. To have a person and a place to take my computer or phone when I’m having problems is a god-send.  When I got my iPhone4 and got home to set it up on my MacBook Pro I was told that since I didn’t have Leopard OS, I couldn’t use my phone with my computer. I was still running Tiger. To upgrade would cost $100’s. Great. So I took my computer to my local Apple store and asked if I could just buy the upgrade for $35. The Genius told me that technically I need to buy Leopard (which they don’t sell anymore) and THEN upgrade to Snow Leopard for $35. BUT, the upgrade alone might work, but he couldn’t tell me that. I asked if he minded if I sat in the store and ran the upgrade if he would come and check on me every so often. Amazingly, he did the whole upgrade for me — and when it came time to upload the new software, he brought me one of the Genius Bar fancy orange hard drives. You know what I’m talking about, the good stuff. He winked and told me this would be faster than the upgrade CD I had just purchased. What he did was give me the Leopard OS and then upgrade me to Snow Leopard. He saved me a couple $100!!

Thank you Apple. Thank you Genius Bar and un-named Genius.





YouTube Fame

2 08 2010

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Last week I did my third YouTube video for my company. This is a great new experience and definitely a challenge, which I love. I’m excited that I’m getting this chance to improve my public speaking and represent my company.

Check out our YouTube channel to see all of my videos and more as they get added! I’m going to be doing live interviews at our upcoming trade show in Orlando and I’m pumped about that. Got to love the iphone4 with direct upload to YouTube!

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The Social Media Juggler

19 05 2010

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I haven’t been keeping up with this blog for the past few weeks and my reason is going to sound odd — I’ve been SWAMPED with social media! So wait, that means I’ve been doing so much social media that I couldn’t keep up with it all? I guess that’s it. My company has five separate Twitter accounts. Yes, five. We have a general company news and activities one that my boss, the VP of communications runs. The VP of government affairs has his own account and he gives updates as to what he is doing on Capitol Hill for our industry. Two of our membership programs have their own accounts to build the brand, get out messaging about specials and generate membership. Finally, our trade show has its own account to generate excitement and attendees for the show. Each has a distinct purpose and they show our members who are generally over the age of 50 that our company is moving with the times, we are invested in learning what we can about how the industry is growing and what new ways our members can expand their outreach to increase their business.

Back to the point, my neglect of this blog came from a meeting I went to a few weeks ago where I volunteered to run one of the membership programs Twitter accounts. It was easy, fun and a new aspect of my job that I was excited to grow in. Tweeting for a company is very different from tweeting for yourself and I was eager to try my hand at it. Suddenly, a week later, my boss was taking a few weeks off so I’ve also taken over the general company account while she’s been out. Then, the girl who was handling the trade show account wasn’t really attending to it because she was too busy, and some how I ended up taking that over as well. At the moment, I am running three of our company’s five Twitter accounts. Needless to say, I’ve been a little distracted.

It has been quite interesting juggling all of these different ‘voices’ but that all have the same essential message – to join our company.  I started using HootSuite because it lets me schedule Tweets which is by far the most valuable tool for a corporate Twitter account.

Try these tips for your business Twitter account:

  1. Schedule Tweets. I have found that you usually have multiple messages that you want your followers to get, but it’s best to space them out. You never know when people are reading their Twitter feed, or if they are following a lot of people, your Tweets can quickly get lost in the shuffle.
  2. ALWAYS provide a link. Even if it’s just back to your homepage, you want your followers to have some reference, a way to find out more info. If your Tweet gets re-Tweeted(RT)ed, then the info needs to be available.
  3. Create Hash tags. If you make a hash tag from your company’s name, show names, program names, etc. this will not only reinforce your brand so that others know the acronyms, but allow others to follow news about your topics if they are later followers. It’s an easy way to stay in control of what Twitter searches bring up about you and your company.
  4. Play well with others. You have a few followers and you are following a few people. So RT what they say if its relevant (hopefully that’s why you’re following them, they are relevant to your company). This way they will RT for you (hopefully) and get your message out and you both learn and build a relationship. The relationship is key.

Here are a few things I have learned:

  1. Follow with intent to interact. Don’t follow someone unless you care about what they say. First of all, there is a ratio you have to maintain. in order to follow more than 2,000 people you must have X amount of followers. Plus, it just become clutter to follow people you aren’t going to read from or talk to. The point of social media is to interact and be social. Following someone because you’re hoping they will follow you back JUST to increase your number of followers, doesn’t work and defeats the purpose.
  2. Don’t double dutch. That’s right. I made up a new term. It means don’t schedule the same tweet for multiple accounts at the same time. If you’re Tweeting for one company or client from multiple accounts, chances are both accounts have similar followers. If they see that two accounts Tweeted the exact same message at the exact same time, it takes away from the interaction and both accounts lose their individual voice. Each account has a separate purpose, and while they have the same larger goal at the end of the day, the point is that they should have slightly different target audiences.

A small pet peeve of mine is I’ve noticed some people who RT the same messages often. They have a brilliant blog, but seem to just use their Twitter account to promote the blog posts. That’s great and a good use, BUT it’s not good or helpful to RT about old blog posts that you’ve already Tweeted about using the same messaging. This makes me not want to interact with you because I feel like you’re not reading what other people are Tweeting, you’re just mechanically RTing all of your old Tweets.

The most important thing is to remember voice and target audience. The rest is gravy.

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Tips for Conference Calls

15 04 2010

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Yesterday I hosted a media conference call for my company. I noticed a few things that I thought were common knowledge, but apparently they aren’t. This was done in press conference style where there are a few speakers and then a Q&A session for the reporters. Simple, right? Wrong.

The next time you are listening in to a conference call or a Webinar or any session where you have speaking capabilities think about these few tips…

1. MUTE your line until you want to speak. I know this sounds obvious, but out of 25 lines on the call yesterday, most people did not do this. The rest of us don’t need to hear your twitter feed updating, you typing or any other sounds from your computer.

It shocked me how many people coughed into the line while the speakers were presenting their main points. This made it difficult for everyone to hear.

2. Speak loudly and clearly. Again, this should be a no-brainer. If you’re too loud, we can turn down the volume on our phones, but if you’re too quiet and we turn up our phone volume, then its disruptive when others speak at a normal tone which is then too loud.

3. Always introduce yourself, each time you speak. When many contributors on the line, we can’t see you, so let us know who you are!

Press conferences being held over conference call are a great way to get people together, save money and get your message out.

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Don’t Be a Mind Reader

24 03 2010

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Last week I went to a lunch-time seminar held byWashington Women in PR called You Say More With Your Body Language Than You Think .  Janine Driver spoke to about 40 women about how to use body language to be successful — at work and at home. It was incredibly enlightening.  Check her out at www.lyintamer.com.  She gave us tips and explanations for how our actions can oppose our words and that hinders our message from being received….which is the whole point of PR.

The most important thing Janine said was “it doesn’t matter what body language truly means, it matters how it is perceived.” She couldn’t be more right. There are a million books and studies telling you that when someone scratches their nose, that means they are lying, etc. Whether that’s true or not, if the person on the other side thinks that’s what it means, then that is what they will think. The best way to combat this is to know how to make your words match how you are perceived.

A few tips from Janine on making a good impression:

  • Don’t tell us who you aren’t
  • Keep your hands to your side to remain open.
  • When first meeting someone, do not say anything negative in the first 5 minutes.

When in a meeting, making a first impression or simply trying to understand another person try to figure out what the other person’s ‘baseline’ is. Do they always tap their foot? If so, this doesn’t have to mean they are nervous or uninterested in what you’re saying. Do they always have their arms folded across their chest? If so, this doesn’t mean that they are angry or trying to push you away. The problem comes when their behavior changes. When their baseline changes, then you have to wonder why. Did they shift when you mentioned salary? This doesn’t have to mean they were uncomfortable with what you said so don’t be a mind reader. This is your opening to ask a question: “It seems to me that what I just said…”. This opens the conversation, shows you’re paying attention and gets you the information you need to proceed successfully in the conversation and relationship.

How Janine applies body language in the office:

  • Be observant. Know how what you look like affects how you are perceived. Does your audience need a bright, cheery and smiling or do they feel more comfortable with a more serious professional?
  • Move their body, move their minds. If you’re in sales, keep the client moving, keep their mind actively engaged.

Janine’s ideas and principles apply to more than just the office and securing your next client. These ideas fit right into our lives. I found myself in a disagreement with a family member over the weekend and as soon as I got defensive, I put my hand out palm down — a gesture that pushes the other person away. It definitely did not help my argument.  If we can think about these applications every day, they can help us get our message across more effectively — no matter what message it is.

Check out Janine’s book, You Say More than You Think – I can’t wait to finish it! You can also see an interview she did with CBS here.

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Why I love #BeMyGuest Month

11 03 2010

Guest Post by Lauren Novo

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In case you haven’t heard, March has been dubbed a month of mutual blogging. Adam Vincenzini and Emily Cagle recently launched the initiative, calling bloggers to write at least one guest post for someone else and to feature at least one guest blogger on their site.

Already, the #bemyguest hashtag has exploded on Twitter. Bloggers from all industries are uniting, ready and willing to partner up.

It’s pretty awesome and this is why I love it:

It’s an easy way for bloggers to meet and get to know each other. I’ve had no problem connecting with other public relations students and professionals because of hashtags like #PRStudChat; #HAPPO; #PRSA; #EntryPR; etc. But beyond a PR pro-to-be, I’m also a dedicated blogger, and I’m glad to find an opportunity to get to know others, regardless of their industries.

I love featuring guest bloggers. It’s quite ironic that this new initiative started just days after my two month long, “Art of” interactive series ended. But that doesn’t mean I can’t and won’t participate. And even though this is primarily a blog about PR, social media and life as a student/young professional, I’m looking forward to finding someone outside that niche to contribute.

As I just mentioned, I’ve established myself as a PR pro-to-be blogger. However, there’s more to me than that. I’m an avid movie and theatre goer. I love board games, big cities, Disney World and chocolate. I want to publish a book one day and I’ve had a lifelong desire to be a Tap dancer on Broadway. This month, I’d like to write a guest post for a blog unrelated to PR. I want to move outside my niche and just have fun writing. [I already have one opportunity coming up at The Next Great Generation Blog. Stay tuned for my post about what the movie 500 Days of Summer says about Gen-Y!]

So yeah, that pretty much sums up why I love this new initiative. And now I ask: who will do me the honor of guest appearing on my blog? And who can I write for? Remember, I’m not looking for a PR post transaction.

Happy Blogging, All!

Learn more about Lauren and read her blog a laurennovo.wordpress.com.








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