Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tips from the Experts: How To Get Your Story Heard!

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be asked to address PPRA members at a Strategic Alliances program. It was a great chance to introduce them to Region’s Business and meet some savvy people.

For those who were unable to attend, I hope we’ll have the chance to connect and work together. In the meantime, here are a few points we discussed.

Region’s Business is a weekly print news magazine focused on business and politics in Philadelphia and the city’s Pennsylvania suburbs, aimed at C-level executives, politicians and, in general, the people that shape our region. We started publishing in August (Wednesday is deadline day as we distribute on Thursdays) and we’ll be relaunching our website later this month.
If you haven’t gotten your hands on a copy, first check out the PDF version online, then drop me an e-mail so we can get some hard copies to you.  After you’ve seen it, I hope you’ll agree that it’s a publication your clients should be part of since each of them likely has something to offer our readers.

How do we make that happen? Here are some thoughts from our side.

These move all story pitches to the top of the list: Economic impact, jobs/job creation, innovation, startup, entrepreneur, development. Also, anything that highlghts the intersection of business and politics. We are distinctly pro-business and pro-Philadelphia, political but not partisan.

By all means, please send along your press releases. But don’t stop there. We’re always on the look out for great story ideas – both big and small – as well as contributors for standing features like op-ed columns and Ideas columns (that’s where experts offer guidance, advice and tips to business leaders).

Some at the PPRA event seemed surprised when I said we welcomed story ideas from agencies. I guess I was surprised that they were surprised. After all, we certainly don’t have the market cornered for great story ideas and you certainly know what your clients have to offer better than we do.

We’re just getting started at Region’s Business, but the momentum we’ve built out of the gate is both exciting and encouraging. We have some exciting projects in the works for 2013 and I hope that more people will be a part of it.

I’m looking forward to those conversations, so drop that e-mail or give me a call.

Karl Smith is the Editorial Director for Independence Media, publisher of Region's Business. Previously, he worked for AOL's Patch.com, where he was the third employee hired in Southeastern Pennsylvania and played a pivotal role in helping to build the network of hyperlocal news websites across the Philadelphia region. He worked for more than a decade at Calkins Media'sphillyBurbs.com, directing the interactive operation after several years as managing editor of that company's flagship newspaper, The Bucks County Courier Times. His newspaper background includes stints at The Asbury Park Press, The Pottstown Mercury, The Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader and The York Daily Record. A regular presenter at Pennsylvania Newspaper Association workshops, he's taught as an adjunct instructor at Monmouth University and Rutgers University and has held consultancies at the New Jersey Press Association, the U.S. Air Force, the Society of Newspaper Design, the American Jewish Press Association and The Times News (Lehighton, Pa.).

Friday, October 12, 2012

Using Social Media to Increase Engagement with Philadelphia’s Public Art

Philadelphia has one of the largest collections of public art in America; but how do we take this existing resource and make it seem new again? The Association for Public Art (aPA, formerly the Fairmount Park Art Association), the nation's first private, nonprofit organization dedicated to integrating public art and urban planning, has been making a concerted effort to find news ways to engage audiences in an online conversation with the city’s preeminent collection of artwork.

In the past year, we have increased our use of social media to help raise public art awareness. Audiences who follow us on Twitter or Instagram, read tips from us on Foursquare, or like us on Facebook have the opportunity to ask questions and tell us what they would like to know about public art. The aPA’s extensive public art archive of historic photos and facts, as well as our award-winning Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO program, provide a rich stockpile of content from which to draw.

Through social media, we are re-introducing artworks to the public as well as encouraging the viewer to participate in a dialogue that enhances their experience of the city’s historical and cultural assets. Through this growth of online engagement we have been able to encourage participation on a new level with our most recent public art installation, Open Air.

Visit our “Open Air” pop-up living room at our Project Information Center at Eakins Oval (24th and the Parkway), open nightly from 7:30pm-11pm until October 14

On September 20, aPA launched Open Air by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer running nightly, now through October 14, from 8pm-11pm, on the Parkway. Open Air is a spectacular interactive light experience directed by participants’ voices and GPS locations, illuminating the night sky from the Parkway. Using a free mobile app developed by Lozano-Hemmer’s studio, participants are invited to submit messages of up to 30 seconds in length. In response, 24 powerful robotic searchlights, stationed along the Parkway, create a unique, dynamic light formation in the sky. The lights react in brightness and position to the GPS location of the participants and the frequency and amplitude of their voice recording.

 #OpenAirPhilly trended according to @TrendsPhilly during our “Open Air” Opening Night Celebration on the Parkway

Because Open Air is activated through audience participation (the artist calls the project a “platform for participation”), utilizing social media to promote the project seemed fitting. We included #OpenAirPhilly in printed and online materials and are engaging in conversation with people who use the hashtag on Twitter or Instagram. For the public Opening Night Celebration held on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, we held a Tweet Up through Visible Tweets. Using a large screen, we displayed all tweets that included our hashtag. This not only highlighted the language we were encouraging the audience to use, but also rewarded them for using it by displaying their tweet for others to see. We are also running a photo contest through Offerpop. To enter the contest, the participant either loads the photo through a tab on our Facebook Page or uses #OpenAirPhilly on Instagram or Twitter; they are automatically entered into the contest. After the photos are entered, users must vote for the best ones. The three photos with the most votes will win a signed print of an Open Air simulation.

The result of these initiatives is a citywide conversation about Open Air. Not only do participants’ voices transform the night sky, but their online dialogue is enhancing their experience of public art in Philadelphia. 

ABOUT THE ASSOCIATION FOR PUBLIC ART (aPA, formerly Fairmount Park Art Association) commissions, preserves, promotes and interprets public art in Philadelphia. Since its founding in 1872, aPA has worked with artists, communities and civic leaders to make encounters with art a part of everyday life, creating a Museum Without Walls that is free and accessible to residents and visitors. As the nation’s first private nonprofit organization dedicated to integrating public art and urban planning, aPA has an unparalleled and pioneering history, characterized by artistic excellence, creative initiative, collaboration and civic engagement. Working closely with city agencies, aPA remains today a central resource and contributor to Philadelphia’s enduring reputation as an important place to view and experience the evolution of public art. Through aPA’s free, interactive public programs, website and publications, Philadelphians and visitors are invited to experience civic spaces enlivened by artists and art; to discover the city’s vast collection of public art; and to connect to a shared cultural legacy. associationforpublicart.org

This blog post was written by Caitlin Martin. Caitlin Martin graduated with a degree in Architecture from Louisiana State University. She currently works as the New Media Manager for the Association for Public Art. In her free time, she is a long distance cyclist. Read her blog headwind2011.blogspot.com about her cross-country bike trip. She is currently writing a food guide for cyclists based on her journey. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

#StateofPhillyPR - PPRA Kicks Off the 2012 Year!

As fall officially gets underway, there is much to be excited about at PPRA!
For those who do not know, PPRA is the Philadelphia Public Relations Association, a trade group of nearly 300 of the top PR practitioners from Southeastern Pennsylvania, South and Central New Jersey and Northern Delaware.  Founded in 1945, PPRA is the largest independent public relations association in the country, and our purpose is to elevate our industry and bring awareness to what is happening in our region.  Our members represent every level of experience, including college students, freelancers, agency representatives, corporate and non-profit communicators, and much more, plus representation in a diverse cross section of public and private sectors, including arts and culture, film and television, education, government, healthcare, law, sports, science and technology, philanthropy, tourism, hospitality and the worlds of corporations, non-profits and agencies. 
PPRA exists to help fellow professionals further their craft, develop relationships, network and mentor one another.  Our panel discussions, skills-based workshops and signature programs are relevant to PR professionals at all career levels and offer best practices, access and insight into what matters for our industry TODAY. 
Already this year, our association has hosted its first social program of the season, "Mix, Mingle and Snap" at one of our city's newest spots, Urban Enoteca at the recently renovated Latham Hotel. Our members enjoyed great networking, but also some interesting insight from those in our area who are making the most of visual social media. They shared tips and case studies on how to make instagram, pinterest, foodspotting and tumblr work for our clients, companies and agencies alike.
And just yesterday, PPRA was a part of the second annual "State of the Industry" event at the PA Convention Center. This partnership with PRSA and BPPRS offered excellent breakout discussion on non-profit PR, corporate philanthropy, brand management and public affairs. We also played host to Judy Smith, author of Good Self, Bad Self: Transforming Your Worst Qualities into Your Biggest Assets and the inspiration for the hit ABC series, Scandal. Smith was fantastic as she dialogued with PA Convention Center CEO Ahmeenah Young. See a recap of the event here.
As we look ahead to October, I hope you are ready to be terrified and inspired with two great events. Stay tuned for more info on a special behind-the-scenes tour and cell block cocktail reception PPRA is planning at Eastern State Penitentiary on October 16th. You also should have received an invitation to one of PPRA's most prestigious events of the year, the Gold Medal celebration on October 22. We will honor the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) with a special presentation, and guests include Monica Malpass of WPVI ABC 6, Philadelphia Eagles President Don Smolenski and City of Philadelphia Health Commissioner Donald Schwartz.
But before all that, please remember to renew your PPRA membership! Renewals are due soon, and if you get yours in before September 30th, you can take advantage of our discounted 2012 rates. That means you'll continue to receive awesome value on all the great member benefits PPRA provides: member ONLY events; discounted fees to attend educational, social and signature programs; monthly newsletters; access to our career corner; the member directory; mentorship programs and discounts on offers that help us do our jobs as PR professionals better.
So what are you waiting for? Renew now, save the dates and get ready for a great year ahead.
Kera Armstrong
President, PPRA 2012-2013

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Mark of Excellence – PPRA’s 2012 Hall of Fame Induction

On May 7 in the Ballroom of Philadelphia’s Four Seasons Hotel, PPRA inducted its newest member of the esteemed Hall of Fame, Mark Tarasiewicz. Mark, the Associate Executive Director of the Philadelphia Bar Association was honored with PPRA’s highest award for his many contributions over the last 20 years to not only PPRA, but the greater Philadelphia region. 

A Philadelphian through and through, Mark has spent his life in this city and has become an integral part of its fabric. He shares his knowledge and experience as an adjunct professor of public relations in the Temple University graduate program in Strategic Communication, and has also lectured for a variety of organizations from the Public Relations Society of America to the American Society of Association Executives.  An active member of the National Association of Bar Executives (NABE), he serves as treasurer of the organization’s Communication Section and a member of its Program Committee, not to mention is a three-time recipient of the NABE Luminary Award.   In the community, Mark has volunteered his time to the boards of several nonprofit organizations, including the Young Advocates for Mural Arts and the Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Philadelphia.

Friends and former colleagues showered Mark with warm wishes and congratulations at the Hall of Fame luncheon, telling stories of their experiences with Mark over the years.  PPRA member and Penn State Abington Lecturer Dan Cirucci began by recalling how impressed he was with Mark’s work at The Legal Intelligencer – so much so that he hired him to work at the Bar Association 17 years ago. First Judicial District Judge Annette Rizzo and Chancellor Savoth, on the other hand, credited Mark with successfully connecting the legal community with the community at large and commended his effort to humanize the legal profession in Philadelphia.  But Bobbi Booker perhaps expressed it best, simply saying, “Mark made my life easy.” 

Emceed by NBC10’s Aditi Roy, the event was also attended by a who’s who of Philadelphia personalities, including Mayor Michael Nutter; Bobbi Booker, Lifestyle Leisure Reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune; Dan Martin, musical computer;  Valerie Knight, co-host of the Breakfast Club on Philadelphia’s 98.1 WOGL; Dr. Betsy Leebron Tutelman, Temple University’s Senior Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives and Communications; and John E. Savoth, the 2012 Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association. 

At the conclusion of the afternoon, PPRA President Chris Lukach presented Mark with the Hall of Fame award and surprised him with tickets to Disney World. Mark sincerely thanked his friends and family, mentors, Temple University, and the Bar Association for helping him earn this great honor. He ended his remarks with a quote from Maya Angelou, “When you learn, teach; and when you get, give.” 

Mark embodies this quote and serves as an example of someone who has received a great deal from others but has given back what he has received tenfold.  Congratulations from all of your fellow PPRA members, Mark! 

Many thanks to Dan Cirucci and Lisette Bralow, co-chairs of the 2012 Hall of Fame committee, and all of the hard working committee members whose efforts to arrange and publicize this event made it the great success that it was.  If you missed the event and would like to view pictures, you can visit the PPRA website

Thomas is working towards his Master of Arts degree in Strategic Communication at Villanova University. An active member of PPRA, Thomas served on the 2011 Gold Medal banquet committee, the 2012 Hall of Fame banquet committee and he serves on Philly PRoactive. His work can be viewed and he can be contacted at his blog The Good Word(smith).

Monday, May 21, 2012

Cochineal, Communication and Smoldering PR Crises

This post originally appeared on PR News Online on May 17, 2012. See the original article here.

Starbucks recently came under fire after a woman in South Carolina collected 6,000 signatures on a Change.org online petition asking the company to stop using cochineal dye in its strawberry beverages. Although the customer was motivated by a desire to communicate broadly that the menu offerings weren’t vegan-friendly, her actions set off a chain reaction from Starbucks (including non-vegans) and public relations professionals. And though the issue of cochineal (pronounced “coach-in-EEL”) insects as a natural dye in food, cosmetics and paints only recently bubbled to the surface among the general public, it’s been a smoldering crisis for a number of years.

While not highly publicized within the mainstream media, the issue of cochineal in food and cosmetic products dates back to August 1998, when the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to mandate proper labeling, or prohibit the ingredient’s use altogether. In January 2006, the FDA announced plans to revise its requirements for the use of the insect-based colorant. As conversations about cochineal heated up, several companies were called out as having particularly high stakes in the issue, with a wide variety of products – from yogurt to juice – containing the ingredient. However, in 2006 the key players in the controversy adopted defensive attitudes almost immediately, and provided little to no access to information for concerned consumers.

Clearly, this crisis was building for some time. Though Starbucks has been hailed for its speedy response and taking decisive action in the face of a potential PR crisis, could the coffee giant have been better prepared to handle the media firestorm – or avoid it altogether? I believe so – and you simply have to look to several best practices for PR and crisis communication to learn how Starbucks could have better prepared, protected itself and prevented (or greatly reduced) any negative media attention:

                1. Anticipation is Key
It would have been in Starbucks’ best interest to monitor the issue when it initially appeared in the news, and select an alternative colorant to avoid playing any role in the controversy. That said, it’s possible the company, having used cochineal as a colorant for many years, feared risking consumer backlash if it admitted to including the insects in its products. In this digital age, however, with simple tools like Google Alerts at anyone’s fingertips, it’s hardly burdensome to monitor keywords, stories and other relevant news impacting your company and industry. 

2. Assess the Crisis
Though the company didn’t properly anticipate the crisis, Starbucks was somewhat nimble in analyzing it, coming to a company-wide consensus and sharing this decision broadly. On March 14, a blog post on the site This Dish is Veg discussed Starbucks’ Strawberry and Crème Frappucinos, highlighting the insect-based dye they include. The blog post called for signatures to the aforementioned Change.org petition, and stories began breaking at the end of March highlighting vegans’ displeasure at the offending menu items. Given the size of the coffee behemoth, it’s safe to assume executives were prepared with several of the other key principles of crisis management, such as having an established crisis communications team and measuring the impact of communication once the company offered an explanation.

3. Identify and Train Your Spokesperson
As mentioned above, soon after the crisis emerged, Starbucks was prepared to respond. Cliff Burrows, Starbucks U.S. president, first posted on the My Starbucks Idea blog about the cochineal extract – explaining what menu items include it and sharing that the company was looking into alternative natural ingredients to replace the base – on March 29. Then last week, he shared an update in an April 19 blog post with news that the company will be switching by the end of June from cochineal to a natural, tomato-based extract in its strawberry beverages, and also eliminate the insect colorant in various food items that had previously included cochineal. Given the fact that this crisis started online, was elevated through an online petition and became a hot topic on social media sites, it makes sense that the company would issue its statement in this same forum – and Burrows did so clearly, concisely and in a (relatively) timely manner.

4. Know Your Stakeholders
While the controversy was initially championed by vegans, it quickly spread widely to include Starbucks customers who don’t follow vegan diets, but found the idea of crushed bugs in their beverages and pastries unappetizing. If Starbucks had been monitoring the issue when it emerged, there’s the possibility the company would have been able to directly address Daelyn Fortney, the co-founder and managing director of This Dish is Veg and the author of the March 14 post that kicked off the crisis. And even if the media latched on to the story at that time, Starbucks would have likely been able to act even more quickly than it did – at the same time speaking primarily to the incensed vegans who spawned the crisis.

Having thrust the issue of cochineal in consumables and cosmetics into the mainstream media, Starbucks set an example for other cochineal-reliant companies to embrace transparency with their customers, and seek alternate methods of coloring their products. From a broader crisis communication perspective, while insects in consumer products may not be a concern for all companies, any industry with a complex supply chain could be at risk for a similar situation, and should look to and learn from this example as a cautionary tale. Ensuring the communication department has a seat at the management table, with access to the company’s ingredients and purchasing decisions, will allow this team to adequately plan, prepare and make recommendations to anticipate and avoid potential crises, or navigate them as nimbly as possible.

Margot MacKay is a PPRA member and public relations and social media account executive with Brownstein Group in Philadelphia. She tweets regularly about the PR industry, and can be reached at @msbruschetta or @margotdmackay.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Likes, Retweets, and Links: Measuring PR Value in Social Media

As public relations professionals, we constantly need to prove our worth to clients through both quantitative and qualitative means.  For many years, this meant providing ad equivalencies to give the appearance of a dollar value for media coverage, even though the numbers are not truly comparable.  We’ve rid ourselves of this antiquated system, but social media now poses an even greater question of how to measure PR value.  Can you assign a price to Facebook “likes”?  Is every retweet worth the same amount, or do some carry more weight than others? 

On April 18, PPRA held a lively discussion on social media ROI in today’s media-laden communications landscape.  Including non-profit and in-house pros as well as PR agency experts, our panel shared diverse perspectives about measuring value in the digital sphere.   Check out some of their key takeaways:

Rebecca Morley, Vice President, Devine + Partners
  • There is no one size fits all ROI for social media.  It could be qualitative, quantitative or a mix of both.  It depends on your goals. 
  • Utilize social media monitoring tools, like Radian6 and Hootsuite, to collect data and create visual materials to explain value to clients.   
  • Recognize the limitations of social media and the need to invest time in it.  You may post a tweet but half of your users won’t see it if they aren’t online. 
Kwan Morrow, Social Networking Manager, GregoryFCA
  • Social media is happening with or without you, so it’s better to build a plan to engage and guide the conversation than play catch up later.
  • Consider breaking down social media measurement by macro (overall client business objectives) and micro (use of platform, how many comments or likes generated).
  • Take advantage of social media conversations and sentiment research to inform the development of additional PR tactics for clients.

Yvette Nunez, VP of Fundraising & External Affairs, Congreso de Latinos Unidos
  • For nonprofits, social media is a great way to get feedback on programs and services without sending out formal surveys.
  • Identify the key audience for each social media outlet to get the results you want.  Congreso uses Facebook to gain ‘street cred’ with people using their services, but uses Twitter to engage donors. 
  • Measuring the number of followers or likes is important, but who those followers or fans are is even more important.  Getting a retweet from someone like the Mayor is an endorsement worth far more than analytics can measure for a nonprofit. 

Farra D’Orazio, Director of PR, Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia
  • Social media content is not just the responsibility of PR professionals.  Other departments must provide relevant information to increase the benefit to fans and followers. 
  • Posting content just for the sake of posting doesn’t add value.  Make every piece of content serve a purpose.
  • Social media is one of the greatest forms of “word of mouth” endorsements.  If someone posts a picture of our restaurant’s food with a great review, it means more than a pretty picture in a magazine. 

This blog post was written by Christine Guerrini. Christine Guerrini is a member of the public relations team at Tierney agency in Center City Philadelphia. A Villanova grad, Christine specializes in media relations, social media, events, and research. She has worked with clients in a variety of fields, including consumer, non-profit, and B2B. In her free time, Christine arranges music and sings with the a cappella group "The Graduates." Connect with Christine on Twitter (@CMGuerrini) or at http://www.linkedin.com/in/christineguerrini

PPRA Joins The American Debate with Dick Polman

A PPRA Senior Level Event*

Friday, May 18, 2012
8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Registration, Networking & Breakfast
9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Program

Register Now Online for this event. 

Hailed by ABC News as "one of the finest political journalists of his generation," Dick Polman, Philadelphia Inquirer national political columnist, will engage in a candid conversation on today's provocative issues.

Dick Polman, described by the Columbia Journalism Review as one of the United States top political reporters, is "writer in residence" at the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing at the University of Pennsylvania.

*Senior level is defined as PPRA members who have been in PR for at least 10 years.

Philadelphia Bar Association
10th Floor Board Room
1101 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
ID required for admission to the building.

Registration Fees: 
Recession Special: $14.99
Reserve Promptly - Space is limited!

Deadline: Thursday, May 17, 2012
Cancellations will be accepted in writing by may 16, 2012. No Refunds after May 16, 2012. No-shows will be billed.

Friday, April 13, 2012

PPRA’s May Media Mixer

A “pitch-free” networking event for Philly's top media and PR pros

Thursday, May 24, 2012
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Register Now Online for this event.

“Clients come and go, but the relationship you have with a reporter is enduring. Treat them as you would treat any co-worker – with respect.” - Ancient proverb

Join the members of @PPRA for a #pitchfree networking event designed exclusively for public relations practitioners and members of the Philadelphia media at Time restaurant in Center City. Save your story ideas for the office, and instead enjoy a drink, something to eat and jazzy music in the company of your journalism counterparts. There is one rule however – no pitching allowed.

Reporters from the top publications, broadcast stations and online media will be there, will you?

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to strengthen your relationship with the press of Philadelphia or introduce yourself to those you’ve yet to meet.

1315 Sansom Street, 2nd Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Registration Fees:
$35 for PPRA Members
$45 for Non-Members
Additional $5 for walk-in registrations
*Registration fee includes a cocktail reception with light hors d’ouevres, one drink ticket (cash bar available for additional drinks).

Deadline: Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Cancellations will be accepted in writing by May 22, 2012. No Refunds after May 22, 2012. No-shows will be billed.

The Economy of PR: A 'how to' discussion about measuring ROI in today's PR landscape

PPRA Evening Program

Wednesday, April 18, 2012
5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Registration and Cocktail Reception 
6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Program

Register Now Online for this event.

How much does a single “like” cost? What is the ad equivalency of a retweet? In today’s social media-laden communications landscape PR professionals are being forced to learn and re-learn how to quantify success in their PR campaigns. Join our panel of experts in a discussion about the persistent challenge of demonstrating ROI in public relations. Young professionals will gain strategic insight about how to manage a social media campaign; seasoned practitioners will learn best practices in making measurement more effective and efficient.

Please use the hashtag #MeasuringPR to join the conversation on Twitter before, during and after the event!

Panelists include:
* Rebecca Morley, Vice President, Devine + Partners
* Kwan Morrow, Social Networking Manager, GREGORY|FCA
* Yvette Nunez, Vice President, Fundraising & External Affairs, Congreso de Latinos Unidos
* Farra D'Orazio, Director of Public Relations, Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia

The Racquet Club
215 South 16th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Registration Fees:
$45 for PPRA members
$60 for non-members
$25 for students
Additional $5 for Walk-ins 
* Hors d’ouevres and one drink included in registration fee. Cash bar available for additional drinks.

Deadline: Monday, April 16, 2012
Cancellations will be accepted in writing by April 16, 2012. No Refunds after April 16, 2012. No-shows will be billed.

Give Back Through Annual PPRA Volunteer Event April 14

Volunteer for Philly Spring Cleanup Day

Join PPRA as we volunteer for Philly Spring Cleanup Day. This year, we will be helping to clean up the Schuylkill River Banks. We will be picking up litter, sweeping the walkways, repainting bridge abutments, and mulching flower beds. 

Location:  Under the Walnut Street Bridge, 2500 Walnut St., Center City
Date:  Saturday, April 14, 2012 (rain date, April 28)
Time:  9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

If you would like to volunteer, please register at www.phillycleanup.com.  Please be sure to select the project, "Schuylkill Banks Cleanup".

If you have any questions, please contact Caryn Williams, Chair of the Community Service Committee at Caryn_Williams@cable.comcast.com or 215-286-3595.  We encourage interested volunteers to sign up for the event as soon as possible to ensure slots are still available.  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Event Recap: Career 101

Last month more than 120 college students and young professionals attended the annual Career 101 program. The program was held at Drexel University and offered those pursuing a career in the field of public relations a chance to get tips for the experts!

The following were part of the dynamic panel led by moderator Lori Doyle, Senior Vice President of Communications at Drexel University.
  • Mary Beth Casey, Corporate Communications, Comcast 
  • Rob Zeiger, Senior Vice President of Communications, Philadelphia Eagles 
  • Megan Smith, President, Brownstone PR 
  • Lauren Tosti, Marketing Manager: Communications/Interactive, Sesame Place

All of the panelists offered useful advice for the attendees. They gave tips for how to score an interview and also provided insight about how they can turn an internship into a full time job.
Top five tips from panelists: 
1.    Proofread your resume and cover letter several times
2.    Always wear a suit to an interview
3.    Send a thank you after every interview
4.    Go above and beyond the job description of an internship
5.    Graduate school is not for everyone; think it through to determine if it’s right for you.
This blog post was written by Nina Scimenes. She has been an active PPRA member since 2005 and is currently Co-chair of PPRA’s Educational Programs. After graduating from Cabrini College with a Communications degree in 2006 Nina went on to do PR at various organizations and she is now Marketing Coordinator at AMResorts. Nina has also been a PR Consultant for Rock to the Future, a local non-profit that is benefiting from pro-bono PR from PPRA members. When she is not immersed in PR work she is blogging on her new blog, Always a Brunette, and training for her next triathlon. Last year she completed her first triathlon in Philadelphia and is brave enough to go back from more including a swim in the Schuylkill River.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Event Recap: Leap Into Social Media

On Wednesday, February 29, Aimee Cirucci, Eric Cortes and Jessica Lawlor presented Leap into Social Media with Gen Y, a program for senior level PPRA members. 

The goal of the panel was to provide social media pointers that the senior level members could implement immediately and at little or no cost as well as share knowledge and answer questions. The discussion touched on many social media issues including how much to share, how to respond to negative comments and the best ways to utilize new tools such as Pinterest. 

The social media tips and tricks shared by the panel included:
    • Make sure your profile and fan page have a short, custom URL (e.g., www.facebook.com/philabar). Customize your URL by visiting www.facebook.com/username.
    • For apps (such as making your YouTube channel a tab on your FB page) check our Involver at involver.com.
    • Check out www.pagemodo.com to customize and design your Facebook page.
    • Design a customizable Twitter background for your page.
    • Draft a social media policy and link to it from all your social media profiles.
    • Include feeds from Facebook/Twitter on your website.
    • Post links to your Facebook albums on Twitter and LinkedIn to further integrate all of your social media pages.
    • Sites like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck allow you to streamline all of your social media accounts.  They make it easy to schedule messages when you will be out of the office, and to track user engagement with your posts.
    • Be sure to seek out hashtags that your target audiences are following and using in their tweets.