Central Ohio Chapter and East Central District Represented at PRSA Leadership Rally

By M.J. Clark, APR, and Beth Watkins, July 27th, 2015

Last month, PRSA’s national office held the annual Leadership Rally for incoming chapter and district leaders in New York City. Central Ohio Chapter members M.J. Clark, APR, representing the East Central District in place of Sarah Bednarski, and Vice President of Membership Beth Watkins, representing the chapter in place of President-Elect John Palmer, were pleased to attend.

The Leadership Rally is an important orientation, leadership and networking event designed to help prepare PRSA chapter, district and section leaders for 2015 and beyond. In addition to sharing resources available through the national office, the conference also provided information on chapter financial management and budgeting, leading and managing a board, member attraction and retention, programming, sponsorships and scholarships as well as opportunities for leaders of similar-sized chapters to share common challenges and solutions in roundtable discussions.

Attendees also got a sneak peak of the 2015 PRSA International Conference from the Georgia Chapter, which is hosting the event in Atlanta this year. In 2016, the International Conference will be in Indianapolis, a mere three-hour drive from Columbus.

In the district meetings, members discussed best practices of district conferences, how to effectively share information about great speakers, how to best support those working toward an APR, and the benefits and process of applying to serve on the national board. There was a good deal of discussion and brainstorming about the most effective ways to benefit our member chapters, and we brought back many ideas to share with our Ohio PRSA district representatives and chapter leaders.

“Given our membership size, Central Ohio is in the ‘Very Large’ category with the New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Georgia (Atlanta), San Francisco, National Capital (D.C.), Houston, Philadelphia, Minnesota, Hoosier and Colorado Chapters. It’s validating to know we all face similar challenges and learn of some innovative methods for member engagement,” said Watkins.

Even though the rally had a packed schedule, there was still an opportunity to step out and enjoy a bit of New York. “Since our hotel was located in lower Manhattan, we enjoyed a great networking dinner near Battery Park with views of Ellis Island the Statue of Liberty. On the way back to our hotel, M.J. and I stopped by the 9/11 Memorial, which was very meaningful and peaceful. I recommend a visit if to anyone who goes to New York,” Watkins said.

“The district meetings provided a great balcony view of how PRSA works at each level, and I gained so much from the discussions,” Clark said. “Representatives from each district were so open and willing to share helpful ideas. I hope others from our chapter seize the opportunity to serve at a district level in the future.”

leadership rallyM.J. Clark, APR, second from left, and Beth Watkins, center, seated with other attendees from East Central District, represented the district and Central Ohio Chapter respectively at the PRSA Leadership Rally.
Photo credit: Sonja Popp-Stahly, APR, PRSA National Board of Directors and member of the Hoosier Chapter.

The PRSA Leadership Rally hotel was just two blocks away from the 9/11 Memorial.

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5 PR Criminals Invading Your Company and How to Avoid Them

By Lisa Arledge Powell, President, MediaSource, July 15th, 2015

With the rise of the public relations trend, brand journalism, PR departments are becoming infiltrated with a new type of offender – people who commit media misdemeanors and content crimes and sabotage your brand journalism efforts.

Meet the criminals you don’t want to ever become.

Here are the 5 most common culprits and how you can avoid them.

Logo Lover

Logo LoverCrime: The Logo Lover plasters her logo everywhere to make sure everyone loves her brand. You may have spotted this person in your advertising department. If so, that’s exactly where the Logo Lover should stay.
Punishment: Brand journalism content should not be overly branded. Shut down the Logo Lover by using your logo in a subtle way that fits seamlessly within your content. As a guideline, think about how an outside journalist would use your logo in the context of the story.

Professor Jargon

Professor JargonCrime: Professor Jargon is the highly intelligent person on your team who uses a lot of industry jargon in content for a consumer-focused audience. While the professor can be a great source for content, his technical talk can sabotage your brand journalism efforts because it will sound like a foreign language to your target audience.
Punishment: You need to school the professor on the rules of brand journalism. Teach him to be a brand journalist by simplifying his message. Don’t be afraid to provide talking points and rewrite and edit his comments.

Narcissistic Nancy

Narcissistic NancyCrime: In the PR world, Narcissistic Nancy is also known as the Brand Bludgeon. Nancy can talk for hours and hours about her brand, its products and experts. While Nancy’s constant promotion may seem helpful, her efforts can actually hurt your brand journalism campaign.
Punishment: When it comes to brand journalism, it’s not about you — it’s about your audience. Put Nancy in rehab while you filter through her branded ideas to see how they apply to your target audience. This idea-filtering skill is important to have as a brand journalist since people like Nancy can be a windfall of ideas for those who understand how to filter them.

Walter Wordy

Walter WordyCrime: Walter uses too many words when pitching your content to the news media. As a brand journalist you might have created a great story, but journalists will never know about it because they tune out Walter Wordy before he finishes telling his story.
Punishment: Put Walter on mute until he understands how to simplify his pitch. Use bullets with top line story information and include links with more details.

Machine Gun Manny

Machine Gun MannyCrime: The scariest criminal. Manny is aggressive in achieving brand exposure but has no strategy. He distributes content by targeting everyone everywhere, hoping that someone will be interested in sharing the story.
Punishment: Brand journalists should strategically choose the target they are trying to reach with every story. To lock up Machine Gun Manny, help him understand your target audience and key markets so that he can be more strategic.

Prevention is key. As a brand journalist you can use these tips to spot and educate these criminals before they commit any crimes.

Lisa Arledge Powell is president of MediaSource , a public relations firm that specializes in brand journalism. MediaSource has been named Best Health Care Agency in both 2013 and 2014 in Ragan’s Health Care PR & Marketing Awards. Connect on Twitter: @LisaArledge.

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