You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘public relations southwest florida’ category.
By: Tiffany Whitaker
Communication Ally, Pushing the Envelope
As the new Communications Ally and team member of Pushing the Envelope, I thought it fitting to write about Communications and its many languages. However, I’m not talking about speaking French, English or sign language; I’m referring to the levels or stages upon which we interact. I’ve recently found myself reading communications blogs of successful women from different walks of life, all of whom shared an interesting, yet entirely different perspective on communicating. Here are a few of my favorites:
Whether intentional movements and expressions or natural reactions and projections, we are constantly communicating with our bodies and physical movements. These behaviors are picked up by the person we are interacting with, and likewise. Take notice of what you are projecting and interpret what the other person is telling you, communicating to you through their body language and gestures.
Language of Listen
You may recall Samantha’s interpretation of communication on this blog recently, The Passive Act of Communication: Listening. She expresses the importance of two-way communication, showing the other person that “their input matters.” Communication involves engaging the person you are interacting with, talking with them instead of at them. Try asking questions, listen to what the other person has to say and truly hear their message.
Beth Comstock, CMO at General Electric, shared a lesson she learned from former GE chairman and CEO Jack Welch after he hung up on her. After spending years in media and network news, she was too abrupt and she had to slow down. He was asking her to take more time to relate to people she was “communicating” with; get to them, where they are coming from, what is important to them. Sometimes we get caught up or distracted, are running through a never-ending list of tasks to complete that we miss out on the “why” we got into communications; the experiences and relationships.
Empathic listening is a mixture of communication skills and awareness to use when you genuinely want to connect. You can use it to applaud someone’s victory or to help uncover what’s really troubling them. If you allow yourself to empathize you can communicate on a whole new level. In her book “It’s All A Gift,” Miriam Adahan describes a friend who’s 8 month old baby was hospitalized with cancer. People kept telling her that everything was going to be okay when what she really needed was so express her feeling and have someone lend an ear and hear what she needed to say. Their forceful and “optimistic” message was actually hurting her more. Allow yourself empathize with a person, their situation, their angle or belief will make you communicate better in a situation.
Whether you’re new to a team (wink, wink), meeting someone new, making a sale, networking or even interacting with a loved one, remember there is more to communication than speaking. Taking note of the many levels or languages of communication can positively effect your life on both professionally and personally. Thanks for reading and if you need assistance with your communications, give us a call at (239) 221-2858 or visit our website.
We’d like to welcome Tiffany Whitaker as our newest team member! Tiffany joins the PTE team as a Communications Ally. She’ll work with clients on public relations projects, reputation management and media relations and her background is predominately in communications in the Southwest Florida.
Tiffany has administrative skills as well as marketing, social media and public relations experience including front-line customer service, public speaking, training and presentations, responding to press inquiries, networking and building strong relationships with partners and vendors.
You can welcome her to the team by emailing her at Tiffany(at)getpushing.com or by calling 239.221.2858.
By: Samantha Scott, APR
Grand Poobah AKA Owner
Today is the day of love, Valentine’s Day, so I thought I’d write in genre. As we grow up we strive to find something that we love that can provide income and sustainability for ourselves as adults – a job or career. It’s my hope that you (reading this) have found that one thing, industry, topic or passion that you love. It’s more likely if you’re an entrepreneur. Take me for example.
My husband and I started this company 7 years ago because we found that we were both good at marketing. I love the process of communications and relationship creation. On the Myers-Briggs scale I’m an ESTJ. Words are my friends and I’m comfortable with new people. What I don’t like is math and numbers, especially balancing a checkbook and calculus. This is important because I do what I love and good at, and leave the other stuff to those who are good at it. I practice public relations and run Pushing the Envelope, but I leave the bookkeeping up to my accountant.
It’s easy to get caught up in running your business. You’re busy and work hard to meet the demands of your clients or customers and your staff. Maybe you could use a little help and as a result, have stopped or stalled your marketing efforts. Don’t let being busy in “season” (for those of you in Southwest Florida) lead to a lack of business or new clients come summertime.
You are good at what you do. You run a successful business, but if we’re being honest, it could always be better, right? It can be hard to ask for help or even realize there is a need. Chance are, you didn’t go to college for marketing or web development. You know you need both for your business to be successful and grow, but aren’t sure where to start or perhaps, what to do next. Why not let us help?
Our skilled team can be your virtual in-house marketing department, help you get social media going (you know that plan you talked about 6 months ago?) and work on updating your website for increased traffic generation – and ultimately leads.
Do what you are good at. Let us help with the rest. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.221.2858 or email info(at)getpushing.com. We’ll be glad to help you do what you love.
By: Samantha Scott, APR
Grand Poobah / Owner
Life doesn’t come with a manual, nor do many of our jobs, so here’s my gift to you this holiday season – 3 quick and easy tips to help avoid some unnecessary, potentially embarrassing, definitely unprofessional moments. Consider it an early Christmas present.
I know, that doesn’t sound so hard. If that’s the case, however, why is it that so few businesses have a public relations or marketing plan? Planning involves focus and time, which scares most people away, but it is one of the most important steps in any public relations or marketing effort. Take the time to develop a strategy with SMART goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) or milestones. Then, incorporate steps to measure the plan’s outcomes – successes or failures. They’re both learning experiences.
Yes, it’s a bit of pet peeve of mine, but really, if you’re writing for business proofreading should be an integral part of the process! Check your work before it goes out to the media, clients, co-workers, etc. We’ve all seen embarrassing mistakes in copy that could have been avoided. Don’t be “that” person.
Most us have to develop some kind of report at the end of a project. From year end reports to quarterly board meetings, there’s usually some kind of round up done that reports how effective our efforts were, but why wait? Measure your efforts as you go (start with a baseline at the beginning, measure incrementally throughout, then do an end measurement) so there aren’t any surprises at the end! This affords you the opportunity to make adjustments and potentially succeed ultimately even if the campaign starts out a little rocky.
None of these concepts are nouveau or highly technical, but I can virtually guarantee that if you employ them, they can help you avoid errors and potential problems. However, if you still need help, give us a shout. We’re just an email or a phone call away.
By: Samantha Scott, APR
Grand Poobah / Owner
Yes, we’re in the holiday time of year and it seems like everyone is talking about donations, end of year giving and helping the needy. We are too. Beyond doing something good for someone else or “paying it forward,” there is value in getting involved in the community from a business perspective.
Doing community service projects, donating to fundraisers or sponsoring events can boost business (via awareness, traffic, etc.) and take your public relations efforts up a notch. Let’s also be clear that community relations or service doesn’t necessarily mean hours. If you or your staff doesn’t have time, there are other opportunities. Likewise, if you have time, but not money there are opportunities to get involved through in-kind services too.
“Do not underestimate the positive marketing and public relations that can come from community involvement. Many people want to patronize and support those companies and businesses that they see as invested in the community. Letting the public know that you care about and are supportive of community challenges is a very good way of building a solid reputation.” - Kori Rodley Irons
So often as business owners or leaders, we’re approached for donations – of time and/or money. Instead of saying “no” instinctively, charge yourself and your public relations counsel with really looking into the opportunities that might lie in getting involved. Are there exposure opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be available? Could this foster new connections with other area leaders, decision makers, or potential consumers? Does this align with the goals of your brand or your public relations plan?
Often times there are a lot more pros than cons associated with giving back. Plus, it will make you feel good and inevitably make someone else feel good too! Take a look at the needs of your community or industry and try to align them with what you’re good at or passionate about. There’s bound to be a chance for you to give back and boost your PR at the same time!
If you’re in the giving mood we’re nearing the end of our 2nd Annual CAN IT! Campaign – Putting Hunger in its Place and invite you support CCMI (our local soup kitchen) by donating non-perishable items through 11/21. For more information, give us a a call at 239-221-2858!
By: Annette Venditti
Are you responsible for drafting news releases?
Do you find yourself wondering if you are including all the correct elements, formatting it properly and making it truly newsworthy?
Is the headline grabbing the reader’s attention?
My focus this week is on tips for drafting news releases. Yes, even those of us who have been writing releases for years, might be surprised and find some things you did not know or were not including in the past.
Have you read a great news release recently? If not, take the time and do the research; read some news articles and news releases and find those that stand out based on their headlines, writing styles, etc. Keep them for future reference in your work file. Especially look at ones that are in the same industry as your company and benchmark them.
- Organize Your Story: Draft all the details in an outline form and review them to be sure they are in the correct order for the reader. This is key when talking about an event, as you need to describe all the event activities in chronological order, how to get tickets who to contact for information, and who the event benefits, etc.
- Headline Matters: The headline must communicate your subject matter instantly (should be one sentence and brief as possible) and convey why the content is news and interesting. Write several headline options and mix and match them until you are satisfied with the result. Finding the “call-to-action” in your story is key to a killer headline, so take the time needed to write the best headline for your news release.
- Speak Their Language: Avoid marketing jargon and overused words; just write naturally so your audience can really understand what you are telling them. Search engines DO understand synonyms so to avoid repetitive words, use them with confidence. Using a variety of words will give your content a more natural feel, and have it more relate to your readers.
NOTE: Use the AP Stylebook as your guide for proper formatting and grammar in a news release format.
- Facts & Contact Info: Remember to include all the story and/or event facts simply stated for the reader and don’t forget to include detailed contact name, phone, email, and a website link.
NOTE: Be sure to include working links to websites and emails where the reader can click and connect to get more information easily.
Use this set of tips to get you started towards being the one in your office that writes better news releases. For more resources and tips visit the following links:
- To read and reference news releases posted online visit: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/
- For information on formatting a news release visit: http://service.prweb.com/learning/article/format-press-release/
Still have questions or need help? Contact us!
By: Samantha Scott, APR
Grand Poobah / Owner
In honor and celebration of the 4th of July I thought we’d cover 4 Tips for Working with Journalists this week!
- The first thing to keep in mind is that journalists, whether print, TV or even bloggers, are just people – like you and me. For many people unfamiliar with working with media, making a pitch call or coordinating an interview can be nerve wracking. Before you make a call, take a deep breath and try to relax. Think of the call as if you were simply calling a colleague. I promise, they won’t bite.
- Do your homework. One of the biggest pet peeves I’ve heard from journalist colleagues is getting pitches that so off topic from what they cover. Newspapers have a contact list that offers what beat or topic each reporter covers. Most news stations have something similar available or they can send it to you if you ask. Bloggers offer a clear description of what they cover (generally in the blog title) in their about section. Just remember how irritating it is when you get spam mail that has nothing to do with you (i.e. food discount for a restaurant located in another state). That’s how they feel when you send them a news release on something they don’t cover.
- Be respectful – of the person and their time. Journalists, believe it or not, aren’t there to make our lives easier. Their job is to cover news and share important things with their readers and/or viewers. Keep this in mind when you get frustrated when a story you pitched isn’t picked up. Also, consider their time as equally valuable as yours. If you need to call a journalist, the first thing out of your mouth after “hello” should be “do you have a moment to talk?” They could be on deadline or headed into a meeting. If you’re respectful they’ll appreciate it and you can determine a better time to call – when you might actually be able to seal the deal and get your story on their radar.
- Foster relationships! One of the most important parts of working with media is fostering relationships. Going back to point number one, journalists are people. They don’t want to be or feel used – just like you don’t. When a new editor joins your local newspaper, shoot them an email or call them just to welcome them. Be sure it’s clear you don’t want anything. Connect with reporters based on their interests. Say hello when you see them in public or at networking events. The more they see your face and/or your name, the more of a connection you have – which also translates into a higher likelihood that they will review your releases/stories when the come into their inbox.
A little bonus tip: Research journalists who are active in social media – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. Some prefer to be pitched or communicate that way. Conversely, they sometimes share interview requests/their needs on those platforms.
Working with journalists doesn’t have to be scary or hard. Keep these 4 tips in mind the next time you send a news release or work with media and it should be a bit easier. Best of luck!
If you have questions or need a little help getting your message out, you can always contact us for help.
By: Samantha Scott, APR
Having been on a number of non-profit boards and helped many others with public relations, I understand there is a need for information in this industry about 1) what public relations is and 2) how non-profits can use it.
As part of the Southwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association, I prepared a presentation outlining these two points. It includes some tips on what YOU can do if you work for a non-profit and some tips for using the resources available to you.
I’m including this presentation for your review. Just click the link to download it. Check it out and see what might apply to your situation. If you have questions, please feel free to leave your comments below!
As many of you know, I earned by APR (Accreditation in Public Relations) last year. Quite the process, I learned far more than I thought via studying assigned literature. One such piece, Cutlip & Center’s Effective Public Relations 10th edition (EPR 10) was invaluable.
Having practiced public relations for large and boutique firms, I felt secure in my abilities. My APR study course reassured me, but I learned a great deal about structures and systems that can me, as a public relations communications professional, do a better job. One of those is what the book calls “Public Relations Strategic Planning Outline”. It basically outlines the four step process most of us are familiar with – Research, Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation (RPIE) – and adds in steps for each.
This blog post will outline the RPIE process and EPR 10′s suggested 10 steps. I’ve added in notes on how we apply these within our company with hopes that helps get your wheels turning too!
Step 1 – Research & Define the Problem
I find this surprisingly simple, but it’s so important. How many times a PR professional are we so busy trying to address an issue that we don’t even take the time to really look at it and define it. in EPR 10, they go so far as to really detail the situation in two suggested steps:
- Define the problem and/or opportunity (What’s really the root of it?)
- Develop a situation analysis (We do this in all of our project plan outlines at the very beginning. It’s habit now and often ensures that what we think is the issue is actually the issue in the client’s mind.)
Step 2 – Planning
No strategic campaigns can be done overnight. It takes time and careful consideration of many factors. From who the target audience (or audiences) is to the best way to reach them, each component must be planned. According to EPR 10, it starts with goal setting and laying out the structure of how you’ll get from point A (the problem) to point C (the desired result).
- Determine the program goal (What’s the desired end result and when do you want it happen by?)
- What’s the strategy? (Learn the difference between a strategy, objective and tactic! A strategy is the “overall action and communication plan for achieving the program goal.” EPR 10)
- Determine the target audiences and objectives (Consider internal AND external audience members – employees, media, government officials, etc. Make sure your objectives are S.M.A.R.T.)
Step 3 – Implementation
Here comes all the fun – and the hard work. You’ve done your research. You’ve defined the problem. You’ve designed your plan. Now it’s time to put it into action! Now is when you can start determining what tactics will be used to achieve the stated objectives and start doing the campaign.
- Action Tactics – What do we need to do to ensure this certain objective is met, or exceeded? (This could be sending out a news release or contacting media to attend the event.)
- Communication Tactics – What is the message we need to communicate? (Remember which audience you are communicating with. What you tell employees may not be the same as what you tell media. Jargon could play a role, etc. Also consider which tool will be the best delivery method – email, social media, a news release, etc.)
- Program Implementation Plans – Who’s going to do what and when? (Have a schedule and define responsible parties from the beginning! This is SO important. You don’t want all your hard work in planning to be delayed or messed up because something was overlooked.)
Step 3 – Evaluation
The project or campaign is over, but your work isn’t done yet! Did it work? Was the goal met? Were the objectives and strategies met or were there issues? Measuring the outcome(s) of communications is just as important and measuring sales after an ad campaign. While much of communications work is consider qualitative, there are many components that can be quantitative as well. You’ll make your evaluation job easier if you use S.M.A.R.T. goals and objectives from the beginning.
- Evaluation Plans – First you had to determine how the outcomes would be measured, then after the project you have to them apply those measurements and determine the results. (Did we get the behavior change we were looking for?)
- Feedback & Program Adjustment – It’s not good enough to just evaluate the program and determine if it worked. You have to then apply that knowledge, plan, etc. to future programs. (If your feedback indicated employee dissatisfaction, what will you do as a result?)
If you follow the RPIE plan and EPR 10′s steps, you will have a successful communications program. You may not get the results you want, but you will have done it strategically, intelligently and in a measurable way that can be learned from. I highly encourage you to read the book, even if you aren’t interested in getting your APR. I guarantee you will learn something. If you do get a copy, this outline is on page 306.
We take no ownership to this content or claim any rights to it. All RPIE, 10 steps and EPR 10 references are direct indicators that they are ideas and content from the book, Cutlip & Center’s Effective Public Relations 10th Edition by Glen M. Broom. This post is meant to merely share knowledge – and the book – with others looking to better their professional skills. We give Cutlip, Center and Broom kudos and HUGE thanks for writing this important book!