Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Express-News Editorial in Error about PR

Yesterday, the San Antonio Express-News published an editorial, “BexarMet needs more than PR,” that frankly gives a pretty dim view of our profession. I have no issue with the headline. BexarMet does need more than public relations. We’ve long known that public relations campaigns cannot fix operational or leadership problems.

The editors are also right to question any expense taken on by the board. I wouldn’t argue that the BexarMet’s days are likely “numbered.” I don’t claim to know anything about the (non-San Antonio) PR firm or the contract it’s been hired to fulfill. And clearly, BexarMet’s history in the PR department has been – shall we say – questionable.

I grant the Express-News editors all of that.

In fact, let’s set aside that this is BexarMet at all.

My concern is the implication that public relations is singularly interested in making someone “look good,” or burnishing a “bruised public image” or casting someone in a “positive light.” I can honestly say, none of these goals are in my job description.

It is paramount that organizations be effective at communicating – especially those that serve the public interest directly. And communication is more complicated than it may seem. There's a whole body of knowledge are research in this area. Communication requires not just speaking, but listening as well. Organizations that are in trouble typically need counsel in this area. There is no shame in getting help where it is critically needed.

Naturally, as in all professions, a few bad PR apples have gotten the spotlight. But these don’t represent our profession by any stretch. If we’re doing our job well, our successes are our organizations’ successes.

Take a look at the code of ethics and professional standards that guides our work. All PRSA members pledge to abide by this code. Any PR practitioner worth his or her salt would of course counsel an organization to do things like, as the Express-News editors call for, end scandals, improve service where it’s been weak, and work with lawmakers constructively, among other things like being in dialog with constituents and customers. And I'm pretty sure that, deep down, the editors know this too.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

PR News Round Up ~ December 14, 2010

From Social Media Examiner
How to Develop a Social Media Content Strategy
Do you have a social media strategy? Does it involve content? Should it? The other day I drove past a local convenience store that makes most of its profit from beer, Slush Puppies and beef jerky (not that there’s anything wrong with that). A big sign out front asked passers-by to Like them on Facebook. “It’s official,” [...] Read the rest of this article...

From Convince and Convert via PR Daily Newsfeed
6 new-fangled social media tools worth discovering
Social media strategist Jay Baer has a quick roundup of new social-media tools that haven’t hit the mainstream yet. All of these tools must meet the same criteria to become household names: Utility is always first — and these meet that requirement. “The torrent of new digital tools and gadgets makes Sharper Image, SkyMall, and Hammacher Schlemmer look like an Amish electronics store,” Baer writes. Of course, we'll see how many of them are around next year at this time. — Claire Celsi Related Harvard Business Review Edelman’s David Armano breaks down six social media trends for 2011. Read story.

From Mr. Public Relations via PR Daily Newsfeed
35 Twitter hashtags for PR pros
As a PR professional looking to extend the reach of your message, it isn’t enough to just talk the talk anymore. You’d better be able to tweet it, too. And perhaps one of the easiest ways to take advantage of the Twitterverse is through hashtags. But are you using the right ones? If you’re not sure, here’s a list from the blog Mr. Public Relations of 35 every PR pro should know. So now lets all say #Thankyou, Mr. Public Relations. Read story.

From Social Media Examiner
26 tips to spice up your Facebook page
Have you made Facebook an integral part of your communications strategy? If so, you married to a beast that needs constant tending and feeding. Can be a bit of a pain, can’t it? Social Media Examiner offers 26 ways to help you take care of the beast. Read story.

From All Facebook via PR Daily Newsfeed
11 Facebook pages PR pros should follow
This list from All Facebook blog features 10 pages; Ragan Communications’ Facebook page is not among them. That’s No. 11. Here’s the link. Take a look at the rest.

From PR Fuel via PR Daily Newsfeed
10 directories to list your blog
We all want to grow the visibility of our blog. A directory is a great way to help. Mickie Kennedy at PR Fuel has come up with his 10 best blog directories to help you increase your blog’s exposure. — Matthew Royse Read story.

From Higher & Higher via PR Daily Newsfeed
13 Twitter chats every PR pro should follow
“PR chats on Twitter are a helpful way to connect and communicate with PR specialists from all around the world, to build relationships and personal network, to meet new [and] interesting people, and to learn the current tendencies in the field,” Bulgarian PR pro Petya Georgieva writes on her blog. She summarized 13 PR chats every pro should consider following. — Jody Koehler Read story.

From Social Media Examiner
21 Ways Non-Profits Can Leverage Social Media
Like their for-profit brethren, many non-profits understand that using social media can help them reach and engage their audience, create momentum and build community. However, there’s uncertainty around how to create a sustainable social media campaign, although the tools are plentiful and often free. Here are 21 ways non-profits can leverage social media: #1: Use a blog to [...] Read article

From Tripwire Magazine via PR Daily Newsfeed
30 e-mail newsletter designs to inspire you
Thinking about redesigning your e-newsletter — or maybe launching one? Might be a good idea. “Many Internet marketers consider e-mail list building one of the most important elements of making business online,” Dustin Betonio wrote for Tripwire Magazine. “Reason is that once you have a large list of targeted subscribers you can generate traffic yourself and this means your business is less vulnerable to changes in Google rating algorithms.” Take your inspiration from these 30 e-newsletter designs, Betonio advised. Read article

From PR Daily
57 lessons and tips about PR agency life
What was life like when you couldn’t share lessons and tips as easily as you can today? I’m glad those days are behind us because we wouldn’t be able to collectively learn as much as we can today. Here are two great examples. The blog renaissance chambara has 27 lessons from agency life; Earlin’ PR Abuse has 30 ways to survive and thrive in PR. Together, they add up to 57 lessons and tips. Enjoy! — Adam Vincenzini Read story.

From The Comms Corner via PR Daily Newsfeed
11 (mostly) FREE social media tools to try in 2011
Adam Vincenzini, PR Daily Europe’s contributing editor, has spent the last few months testing social media tools. He created this list of the tools he plans to use next year. Best part is all of them are either free or offer a free version. Read story.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Media Relations and HIPAA

One of the major functions of my work in the communications department of a large health system is media relations. Although I’ve always worked in non-profit public relations, I had never worked in healthcare before my current job. I’ve been in this position for three years, and I love it, but it was a big adjustment for me.

We have fantastic stories to tell: new procedures that let patients stay close to home for care, physicians with specialties that are desperately needed in our area moving to town, new treatments that are literally lifesaving. And don’t forget the always fun First-Baby-Born-in-the-New-Year story! There are, however, a lot of stories that can be difficult to tell.

We are a faith-based health system, and we are very protective of our patients. Even if we weren’t protective, we are also bound by HIPAA to protect our patients. HIPAA is the “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.” This rule offers protection of individually identifiable health information. The rule is written so that it permits the disclosure of personal health information needed for patient care and other important purposes.

Much to the frustration of many journalists, and to those of us in the healthcare field, “other important purposes” doesn’t cover giving out information on patients. Every patient has an expectation of privacy and, if they choose the option, we are often unable to even confirm that a person is a patient in our hospital.

Because HIPAA can be so restricting in the information I can provide a reporter (even on fun stories), I find it even more important to have a good relationship with my media colleagues. They have to understand – to really know – that I will tell them everything that is within my power to share. They have to know that when I don’t have information on a person that they *know* is in one of our hospitals it’s because that person has asked for privacy and not because I’m not being forthcoming.

The flip side of working with HIPAA is that if a health system is accused of misconduct by a patient or former patient, and permission is not given by the patient to discuss the case, the health system is unable to answer the accusations. The patient has all the freedom to discuss the situation while the health system can only talk in very general terms.

As a potential patient, I am very appreciative of HIPAA and the policies many hospitals have in place to protect the privacy of their patients. I don’t want anyone in my medical business! As a media relations person, it can be a frustrating policy; but, it has forced me to work on my relationship-building skills with journalists. Luckily, most of the moms of the New Year babies are happy to sign the consent form to have their photos taken and to do interviews on their happy day.

What challenges have you faced when working with the media & a delicate situation? Thoughts?

This is a cross-post from The Root Report.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Intel Sponsors Social Media Scavenger Hunt at Moms Event in San Antonio

I finally got to participate and the annual Manic Mommies Escape when it was held in San Antonio this last weekend. In case you haven’t heard, the Manic Mommies are a couple working moms who have been hosting a podcast pretty much ever since podcasting was invented. I’ve written about their amazing online community building before. The Escape is a kind-of moms’ retreat.

Because of their large listenership and community building (one is a full-time PR person), they’ve gotten some big sponsorships. Let me tell you about a couple.

Intel used social media tools like Twitter and Foursquare with Escape participants. First, an Intel rep led a presentation with tips on how to choose the right computer for your needs or your family's needs, in this case. They have a handy tool for this online.

Then they had participants form teams of four for a social media scavenger hunt in downtown San Antonio. They had a list of 10 locations where teams would go, check-in using Foursquare, follow the instructions that Intel had set up in the Foursquare Tips section, and post a photo on Twitter via Twitpic. Teams that went to at least five spots were entered into a drawing for free laptops that were awarded the next day.

Key to this promotion was that it was integrated into the goals of the event for moms to network with each other and meet other moms as well as to experience San Antonio. And they learned a bit about Intel in the process.

Another big sponsor is Chevy. Moms were able to test drive different models, including the new Cruze and a Corvette Grand Sport (there was a big line for that one). The test drive route took the moms to see a San Antonio mission and they were entered into a drawing for free tickets to a suite at the Spurs game that evening.

Finally, there was a hospitality suite where moms could test out the new XBOX with Kinect that lets you get on your feet to play without a remote control.

So if you’re wondering how to integrate social media into a promotion strategy. Intel provides a great example.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Open Leaders Give Up Control

This was the loud and clear message from Charlene Li, founder of the Altimeter Group and bestselling coauthor of Groundswell, the keynote speaker at the PRSA International Conference.

Her latest book “Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead” was at the heart of her keynote comments.

Giving up control is uncomfortable for organizational leaders because the outcome seems uncertain and organizational leaders have been sensitized to more controlled outcomes. Li’s first example was a now well-known news story about Dell laptops catching on fire. The company bravely chose to acknowledge the story and include a popular photo of an exploding laptop in its response strategy. Li asked the audience if, (four years later) “Would your organization have the leadership and fortitude to acknowledge something as serious as a product default in such a public way?”

Li believes that strategy, leadership and preparedness are the keys for leaders to give up control but still be in command. She offered four ways leaders can do this:

1. Discipline is the key to success. Programs to develop open leadership cannot happen on an ad hoc basis. It must become part of the business process.

2. Create a culture of sharing. It’s not just about particular social media tools or using a specific technology or service, it’s about learning to share – inside and outside – your organization.

3. Ask the right questions about value. Using a quote from John Hayes at American Express, she highlighted that we often undervalue what we cannot measure but overvalue what we can.

4. Prepare for Failure. No relationships are perfect, so Li suggests using the Google mantra “Fail fast, fail smart.”

“Open Leadership” was given to early registrants of the PRSA International Conference. The book is filled with case studies of organizations of all sizes and their journeys to embrace a more open culture. Beyond the case studies, Li’s book features models, assessment tools and metrics that add meat to the message and allow organizations to have action plans for openness. Even better, Li offers a robust companion website with assessment tools and downloads which organizations can utilize to benchmark their starting points against other organizations.

In an environment where businesses are struggling to understand openness and the concept of sharing, Li offers a blueprint that even the most resistant of organizations could find useful.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Grunigs' Update on Excellence in Public Relations

Drs. Jim and Lauri Grunig have been teaching and researching public relations for decades. Their research on the characteristics of excellent public relations has been widely published. At the PRSA International Conference last month, the two presented an update on their findings to an audience mixed with educators, practitioners and researchers.

Jim presented thoughts on the value of relationships in public relations. The relationship has always been central to the practice of public relations but now we are able to measure them, using indexes of trust, commitment, loyalty, satisfaction and mutual influence.

Refreshing their findings on excellence in public relations, the Grunigs offered these eight qualities of the practice:

1. Public Relations should be a managerial function;
2. Public Relations should be strategic;
3. Public relations should be integrated, but not Into Marketing;
4. Public Relations should be symmetrical–bridging the relationship between a corporation’s interest and stakeholder interests
5. Public Relations needs to promote social responsibility
6. Public Relations should advocate for diversity
7. Public Relations advocate ethical practice in organizations
8. Public Relations should be global.

In one of the best quips of the conference, Grunig stated that “not all public relations adds value. Some of it is quite worthless.” Not an unexpected observation, given that the Grunigs have been advocating for standards in the practice their whole careers.

They also shared two observations about changes in public relations practice today. The first change is a social responsibility crisis resulting from crises of confidence and trust in our society. Citing the collapse of the financial industry, the mortgage crisis and the BP oil spill from earlier this year, Grunig believes that the sustainability of organizations has come into question.

Second, the growth of digital media is another change in public relations practice. Digital media are more participatory in nature, which has led many organizations to mourn the loss of control of the message, but the Grunigs believe we never had control. Calling this the “illusion of control,” the Grunigs assert that the public is no longer constrained by what the media report, as the power to publish is shared by all.

This was a fascinating combination of theory and practice. I wonder how many practitioners in San Antonio feel that what they do is "excellent." What's excellent about your practice?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Magic of Article Marketing

Robert Deigh of RDC Communication presented a session at the PRSA’s 2010 International Conference where he showcased a new tool for our communication arsenals. “Article marketing” is the placement of short articles on topic-specific websites that are looking for good content and then promoting them using Internet-based and traditional media.

This strategy, he says, can be beneficial for putting your expertise in front of millions of people, for getting you a higher ranking in Internet browser searches, and providing another value-added service you can offer to your organization or your clients. And best of all, it requires minimal time at almost no cost.

The process involves writing a short article (500 to 800 words) on any topic, posting it on the most appropriate web sites that accept articles and promote your work in all of your communication. The article can be new or repurposed from a speech, newsletter article, white paper or existing content on your website.

Robert explains: “The best article marketing web sites -- the ones that people read and take articles from – actually have people who review and edit the articles if necessary! They have a reputation for quality. The lesser sites will publish almost anything as long as it is not offensive.”

Another tip he shared is that these same article sites are a great source of free articles (written by other people) on any topic for your website or your clients’ websites.

Robert is the author of How Come No One Knows About Us?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tyson Foods & Hunger Relief Programs

Cause marketing is a hot topic these days. Consumer companies seek alliances with causes for a variety of reasons. Tyson Foods’ Director of Community Relations, Ed Nicholson, APR, presented a synchronous partnership between Tyson Foods and a multitude of hunger relief programs around the one of the presentations at the 2010 PRSA International Conference in Washington D.C.

Tyson’s early efforts to embrace hunger causes were campaign-centric, according to Nicholson. The company looked for publicity opportunities when assisting community causes. Like many companies, Tyson’s executives had many favorite causes which dominated early community efforts.

When Tyson started formally working in hunger causes in 2000, they found a very enthusiastic community working in the area and they found that this community was not recognized for their work. As Nicholson recounted, “acceptance into the community takes time; you can’t buy your way in.” Over time, the organization found that the more they gave in a genuine way to the hunger relief community, the more they became engaged and the more Tyson got back.

In 2005, Tyson reviewed and revised their strategy. They began to engage their 104,000 employees, their customers and the one hundred communities in which they have a presence. They followed a model from Jane Austin’s book “Collaboration Challenge” and used a traditional four step process: research, planning, execution and evaluation.

Here’s what they did:
• Sponsored a research project with Feeding America to discover who is hungry in America
• Surveyed the 100 communities where they do business for sources of hunger information
• They went beyond the publicity of annual food donations –they give 8-10 million pounds of food annually – and began telling the stories of people who help defeat hunger
• Launched the Tyson Hunger Relief blog in 2007 to highlight these stories and invited guest bloggers from the hunger relief community
• Used Twitter and Facebook to connect with others on the issue of hunger
• Created the “Hunger All-Stars program” which allows public to nominate someone from their community for their work in hunger; Tyson foods donates a truckload of food to their community every time a winner is named
• Supported local & regional events with organizations like Share Our Strength, RAGBRAI, LULAC and others, often matching food donations.

Now, as the program gets more ambitious and increases in sophistication, Nicholson is hoping to reward Tyson employees who participate in relief events, create a measurement strategy and is pursuing tie-ins with other food companies who are committed to the cause of hunger relief.

The bottom line, says Nicholson, “most people are invariably surprised about hunger in their own community.” How does he stay motivated? On his Outlook calendar, he has a daily reminder which says: “Do one thing for the community.”

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mining Search Trends

Keynoter Bill Tancer told participants in PRSA’s 2010 International that PR practitioners need to “become aware of the possibility of search.” Bill is general manager of global research at Hitwise and author of the book Click: What Millions of People Are Doing Online and Why It Matters.

He shared stories of how he analyzes and monitors search data. By looking at the volume of searches in the United States on specific search terms, you can uncover seasonality spikes, such as an unsurpising increase in searches for “diets” in January.

A surprising find he described was a spike in “prom dress” searches in January, suprising because proms are typically held in May. He investigated further by talking to companies that make and sell prom dresses who told him their big sales are March through May. So why the spike in January? The mystery continued until he relayed the story in a conversation with some fashion magazine publishers. They weren’t surprised. In order to increase circulation in their slower months, they publish stories and fashion shots of prom dresses at the beginning of each year. Those in the prom dress business were missing a huge opportunity by waiting until March to start their season.

Tancer said, “Public relations is one of the best uses for this data, and that’s listening to the conversation and making the business case for what we do in public relations.”

Read more and see a video interview on the PR Tactics blog.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Creating Measurable PR Objectives

If a PR program is designed to “generate buzz,” how would they know if it was successful?

Objectives, by definition, must be more clearly defined than that. By developing objectives early, you’ve given yourself a way to measure your success, and you set expectations for your client or employer.

I attended a session today at the PRSA International Conference entitled, “Setting Quantifiable Objectives – The Key to Proving PR Value and Building the Business Case for PR,” presented by Mark Weiner, CEO of PRIME Research North America.

He explained that PR objectives should be “meaningful, reasonable and quantifiable.”

He suggests conducting an “executive audit,” with questions like: “What is management trying to achieve and what will help or hinder our success?” and “What barriers have hindered our meeting objectives in the past?” (Details are in his book, Unleashing the Power of PR: A Contrarian's Guide to Marketing and Communication.)

Three areas to cluster objectives are: outputs (e.g., total mentions, reach, media mix), outcomes (i.e., awareness, comprehension, attitudes, behavior), and business results (e.g., market share, employee retention).

I really liked his summary points:
  • “Objectives are not fate; they are direction.
  • “Objectives are not commands; they are commitments.
  • “Objectives do not determine the future; they are means to mobilize the resources and energies of the business for the making of the future.”

As the Q&A portion of the session was coming to a close, one participant commented that this session alone, made her trip and registration worth it, which was followed with applause.

A Good Communication Plan Can Feed the World

The Opening Keynote at the PRSA International Conference 2010 was Bettina Luescher, the chief spokesperson for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). As the largest aid organization in the world, the WFP reached out to 100 million people last year alone. They are charged with going into the world’s most impoverished places like Darfur and Somalia, as well as places hit hard by disasters, like Haiti and Afghanistan.

Luescher spoke about the amazingly difficult conditions of her job nonchalantly. Recalling the conditions after the Asian tsunami of 2004, she shared the grueling schedule of 20-40 television interviews daily, sharing a leaky tent in the rain with 20 others and a shower with 200 plus the logistics of delivering food by helicopter as casually as we might discuss our morning commute.

As well, Luescher told several funny stories about working with actor George Clooney in recent fundraising efforts – a light-hearted note to an otherwise thought-provoking presentation about hunger in the world today.

The biggest takeaway I got from her keynote was how the simplest act, if communicated well, can effect great change. Here are two examples from her presentation:

Darfur: Women who leave supervised camps to gather wood are often raped. The men cannot leave the camps at all, because they will be killed. The WFP made a case for providing women in these camps with a more environmentally efficient stove so they wouldn’t have to gather wood as often and they could better take care of their families.

Afghanistan: Traditionally, Afghan girls did not attend school. The WFP can feed a child for 25 cents a day or about $5.00 per month. If the WFP can keep the children in school and fed, this takes the burden off the parents. But, they went one step further: to make sure that girls got to keep attending school, the WFP gave girls a ration of cooking oil, elevating the value of the girls who brought the oil home and encouraging parents to keep them in school.

Luescher’s presentation was a reminder of how hunger can affect so many and how easy it can be to communicate in the name of change.

The World Food Programme has numerous partnership and donation plans on their web site.

Reporting from the PRSA International Conference

Representing the San Antonio Chapter at this year's PRSA International Conference and Assembly are Fran Stephenson and Christie Goodman, APR. Yesterday the team served as the chapter delegates to the Society's Assembly and beginning today, will bring you news of the speakers, keynotes and workshops.

Special thanks to esd & associates for sponsoring the PRSA San Antonio Chapter's delegates to the conference. Watch for more news throughout the week.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

PRSA National Assembly Maintains Status Quo on Board Service Requirements

This year, the PRSA Assembly had a smaller agenda than last year’s conference in San Diego. Two amendments to the Bylaws were somewhat housekeeping in nature. Defining terms of Board service and softening the language on the Code of Ethics. Both passed without debate.

Another amendment, dropping the proposed requirement of the APR credential for service on the national board, was far more contentious. The debate was civil, with many speakers citing the pros and cons of the amendment. A similar amendment was proferred at last year’s assembly and on other occasions. All those amendments have failed.

Those in favor of the amendment cited opening up board leadership to those who serve but who have not taken advantage of the accreditation credential. A number of APRs and Fellows spoke in favor of the amendment, urging the group to separate governance and certification. Others who spoke in favor of the amendment sought the change to eliminate the divisiveness among membership about what the meaning of an APR credential really reflects. They also cited the rigorous process by which a member who is seeking national office must undergo to make that happen.

Assembly delegates speaking against the amendment spoke about the need to maintain standards and expectations among our national board. One speaker against the amendment said “anyone can take that test,” for the APR credential.

It is interesting to note that among the PRSA membership nationwide, only 25% of the membership are accredited. In the San Antonio chapter, the percentage is 20%. The PRSA San Antonio Board is challenged with filling board positions each year that require APR. Most of our board leadership positions do not require the APR credential, and in fact, our board could not function if it was a requirement.

As chapter delegates to this Assembly, Fran Stephenson and Christie Goodman, APR, we voted for this amendment because the board wanted more opportunities for chapter leadership to serve at the national level. Because the motion failed, the San Antonio chapter will have a more difficult road to having a voice at the national level. While we strongly believe in the power of the credential for many public relations practitioners, we see this as a governance issue, not an accreditation issue.

Watch for more as the International Conference gets underway in Washington D.C.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Learning Opportunities for Non-Profits

San Antonio-area nonprofit organizations have three new opportunities to develop expertise in public relations, planning, social media policy and social media practices at three upcoming events.

Gift of Guidance
This is the annual counseling program sponsored by the PRSA San Antonio Chapter. Nonprofits without the benefit of public relations counsel – either staff or agency – can apply to be the recipients of a tabletop planning sessions sponsored by the San Antonio chapter. The counseling session happens during the chapter’s December professional development luncheon, but chapters must apply by Nov. 5. Fill out the application online.

ActionCamp SA
On October 29, ActionCamp SA kicks off at the UTSA Downtown campus. Designed in the “unconference” tradition, “campers” will get the benefit of the expertise of the organizers on the day of the conference, as well as breakfast, lunch and a lunchtime keynote speaker. The registration is being held at $25 because of recent sponsor additions. Event will be held from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Register here.


SmoochSA (or Social Media Opportunities for Charities) is a quarterly workshop series designed to help nonprofits break through the barriers of accepting new technologies into their organization. The next workshop will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 8 at the Ecumenical Center for Religion and Health. The topic will be adopting social media policy. This event is free and runs from 9 – 11 a.m., with a Continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Watch for registration to open in early November here.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

PR News Round-Up ~ Octobe 13, 2010

Forbes via PR Daily Newsfeed
Study: Twitter followers more valuable than Facebook fans
Not sure which social media channel to pour your marketing dollars and time? A recent Forrester study found that — while it’s difficult to quantify Facebooks fans and Twitter followers with an absolute value — Twitter followers are “more likely to buy from brands they follow (37 percent vs. 21 percent) and recommend brands to friends (33 percent vs. 21 percent),” reported Forbes. “These two factors are the yardsticks by which many social media branding campaigns are measured,” Patrick Vogt noted for Forbes. Facebook’s big perk: The opportunity for advertising on the social network is “unparalled,” said Vogt. Read Story.

The Guardian via PR Daily Newsfeed
Survey: 27 percent of Web users share 87 percent of the content online
Some interesting and useful results from a CNN survey on how stories are shared online. Turns out most articles are shared by only about a quarter of the users, according to the survey. As you probably imagined, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube trumped e-mail for how people share links. Perhaps most fascinating is the research identifying the reasons people in different regions share news and what kinds of stories they share. In North America and Europe, users had more altruistic reasons for sharing content, the survey said (as reported by The Guardian). “The majority of shared content, around 65 percent, was major current news stories, 19 percent was breaking news and 16 percent was made up of watercooler funnies or quirky news,” according to The Guardian. Read Story.

From Communication Overtones
A Commonsense Approach to Measuring Social Media
The problem with communication and relationships, which are both the hallmarks of social media, is that their effects are often a challenge to quantify. Most people don’t know how to connect online efforts to bottom-line sales, amount of funds raised or other business results, or even to softer measures like improved relationships and competitive advantage. Read Story.

From The Business Insider
9 ways companies blow press ops
“Getting the media to pay attention to a company announcement is one part common sense, one part timing, and one part luck,” writes Beth Monaghan of IngLinks. “Luck aside, there are some things you can do to increase the chances that the media will take notice and prioritize your news over the hundreds of press releases they see each day.” How do you make sure that you don’t sabotage your press announcement? Learn from these common mistakes that companies typically make. Great advice. — Matthew Royse Read Story.

From Open Forum
5 trends that will shape small business in 2011
Every “trend prediction post” I have read has included the emergence of mobile as a trend. Now that it's come true, it's safe to predict it again! Next year should also hold some much-needed cooperation between traditional and social media, online and offline strategies, and the automation of “social circle” recommendations. Take a look at what’s new for 2011. — Claire Celsi Read Story.

Lies, damned lies and statistics
The largest and most comprehensive study of the global digital consumer — ever . What if I were to tell you that you could have access to the most complete study of the global digital consumer for free — is that something you might be interested in? Show of hands? Thought so; this stuff is gold dust. Now, go soak it up! — Adam Vincenzini Read Story.

NPR via PR Daily Newsfeed
NPR releases survey results on its users’ Twitter and Facebook habits
It’s not every day you gain access to the online insights of a media outlet’s followers. That’s why I love this summary and presentation by NPR. From a purely selfish and public relations perspective, I would love to see more outlets publish this type of information on their users. If you’ve seen other outlets provide this type of information share the links with us.—Allan Schoenberg Read Story.

From Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media via PR Daily Newsfeed
Mayo Clinic announces new social media network for healthcare communicators
If you work in PR, marketing, or internal communications, sit up and take notice. The Social Media Health Network is “a group dedicated to using social media to promote health, improve health care, and fight disease,” says Lee Aase, the head of social media at Mayo and a huge pioneer in the online healthcare revolution. Members of the network will learn best practices through conferences and webinars, and by sharing training materials and resources on a new member-only website. Mayo announced the network at the sold-out Second Annual Social Media Summit, which was produced by Mayo and Ragan Communications. The website for the network,, will launch Oct. 25. (Mayo and Ragan will partner on three major healthcare conferences in 2011, concluding with the biggest event of them all in Rochester, Minn., in September. Members of the network will receive big discounts.) Read Story.

Friday, October 01, 2010

PR News Round-Up ~ October 1, 2010

by Brian Clark
The Three Key Elements of Irresistible Email Subject Lines
Email is back. Despite repeated proclamations of its extinction, rumors of the death of email marketing have been greatly exaggerated — especially since email and social media are a powerful combination. You might not reach the average college freshman, but for slightly older types (you know, the ones with the money), email is still the way to go in many lucrative mainstream niches. Read story.

From Newsworthy via PR Daily Newsfeed
New (and free) website compiles contact info of reporters and editors
Looking for a journalist’s e-mail address or phone number? Have your tried PressWiki yet? It’s a free database packed with contact information from countless media outlets. For instance, want to pitch a healthcare story at the Billings Gazette? On PressWiki you can find the e-mail and phone number for the paper’s medical reporter. Read story.

From Justin case you were wondering via PR Daily Newsfeed
Don’t hire millennials to run your social media
Remember when Pizza Hut let the interns run the company Twitter account? It made the Stupid Business Moves Hall of Fame. One year after the “Twintern” incident, as it was called, Fleishman-Hillard’s Jay Goldsborough has extracted a few lessons for other companies. He wants organizations to ask a few questions before they make big choices about social media, among them: “Why are you looking at social media as a position you have to fill?” and “What does the millennial you want to hire know about strategic communications?” Read on, and you won't end up with egg — err — pizza on your face. — Jackson Wightman. Read story.

From Adweek via PR Daily Newsfeed
The 25 most important brands to women
On Monday, Women at NBCU — which is NBC Universal’s female-targeted marketing initiative — unveiled a monthly brand index to measure the 25 brands that are most important to women. The index is based on online search data, social media buzz, and person-to-person conversations, according to an NBC Universal press release. The top five brands for the month of August are Walmart, Target, Verizon, eBay, and AT&T. Check out the remaining 20 brands. (Image via) Related The Daily Beast In terms of women and political brands, a Gallup poll shows white females are deserting the Democratic Party “in droves,” reports The Daily Beast. Read story.

From Mashable via PR Daily Newsfeed
Study: Fewer people creating content on the Web
New data from a Forrester study that tracks consumer trends and behavior broke down Web users into seven types, one of them being “creators.” In the U.S., the creator type has shrunk 1 percent since last year, according to the data. Meanwhile, the “joiner” category saw an increase of 8 percent, indicating social media is still on the rise. Read story.

From Brooke Nolan's Blog via PR Daily Newsfeed
5 reasons hyperlocal news sites should be part of your next campaign
Newspaper sales are declining, but one sector is benefiting — the hyperlocal news site. For example, there is AOL’s Patch in the U.S. and Northcliffe’s Local People in the U.K. PR Daily Europe contributor Brooke Nolan explained five reasons why you should include these platforms in your next PR campaign. Good advice. Read story.

From The Toronto Sun via PR Daily Newsfeed
Study: Quarter of all social media users are older than 65
Grandpa loves social media. Grandma, too. Citing a Pew study, The Toronto Sun reports, “A full 26 percent of Internet users over the age of 65 are now visiting social networking sites such as Facebook.” This means that you must not only focus your campaign on young whippersnappers, but also for those 65 and older. Related How AARP built a social media hub for the 50-plus set. Related MyRaganTV AARP's chief communication officer spoke with Ragan CEO Mark Ragan about the myth that people 50 and older don't use social media. Read story.

By David Kirkpatrick, Washington Post
Five myths about Facebook
Movies often have Web sites, but it's not so often that Web sites have movies. Facebook, of course, is not just any Web site; in the 6 1/2 years since founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg started the social networking service in his Harvard dorm room, it has acquired 500 million active users worldwide. It may be the fastest-growing company in history. And now, yes, it is the inspiration for a movie, "The Social Network," opening Oct. 1. Even before Hollywood got involved, however, Facebook was the subject of quite a bit of lore -- not all of it true. Read story.

From By Brian Solis - PR 2.0 via PRSA Issues and Trends
Exploring and Defining Influence: A New Study
Influence is bliss…The socialization of media is as transformative as it is empowering. As individuals, we’re tweeting, updating, blogging, commenting, curating, liking and friending our way toward varying levels of stature within our social graphs. With every response and action that results from our engagement, we are slowly introduced to the laws of social physics: for every action there is a reaction – even if that reaction is silence. And, the extent of this resulting activity is measured by levels of influence and other factors such as the size and shape of nicheworks as well as attention aperture and time. Read story.

From TopRank Blog via PR Daily Newsfeed
22 tools for social media management
For roughly the last nine months, Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Marketing, has researched and reviewed a variety of social media management tools. The result is this list of 22 management tools, platforms, and services to “help manage and scales your online marketing efforts on the social Web,” Odden writes. Read story.

From Liberate Media via PR Daily Newsfeed
3 great tools to help your social media research efforts
This is SO useful! Andy Merchant from Liberate Media describes three tools that you can use as part of your social media preparation routine. I particularly like URLAI, which can tell you the gender and age of the author of any blog. How nifty is that?!? — Adam Vincenzini. Read story.

From All Facebook via PR Daily Newsfeed
Facebook pitches its services to PR professionals with live meeting, Facebook page
PR pros from companies and agencies visited Facebook’s Palo Alto, Calif., headquarters last week. “A report on the Reuters Mediafile blog says Facebook officials … explained how tools such as live-streaming special events or finely targeting marketing pitches could help PR campaigns, with the formal presentation followed by canapés and drinks on the roof. The social networking site has also set up a page for PR professionals with information such as how to ‘like’ any article online, using a Firefox plug-in, or tips on live-streaming. The page, set up at the end of last week, has 258 fans so far.” Read story.

From Socialbrite, via PR Daily Newsfeed
10 tips for planning a successful webinar
Webinars are a great marketing tool for your organization. They can help your brand or client share valuable information with your stakeholders. But what are the major steps in organizing one? Here are 10 ways to help you host an engaging online seminar. — Matthew Royse. Read story.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Does your crisis communications plan include social media?

Last month, research came out indicating that web users increasingly rely on social media to seek help in a disaster. A survey by the Red Cross shows that 74 percent expect response agencies to answer social media calls for help within an hour.
According to the news release, if web users knew of someone else who needed help, 44 percent would ask other people in their social network to contact authorities, 35 percent would post a request for help directly on a response agency’s Facebook page and 28 percent would send a direct Twitter message to responders (couldn’t reach 9-1-1).

Also, 69 percent said that emergency responders should be monitoring social media sites in order to quickly send help. And nearly half believe a response agency is probably already responding to any urgent request they might see.

Does your crisis communications plan include social media for dissemination and response?

One thing that can guide you is our chapter’s upcoming crisis communications professional development seminar next week on October 7. Our speaker will be the leading industry expert, James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA.

Here are the topics we’ll cover…
  • Crisis-proofing Your Organization – How to Avoid the Crucial Mistakes that Cause Most Responses to Fail (Morning session)
  • Getting Your Boss to Listen to You – The Seven Disciplines of the Trusted Strategic Advisor (Luncheon presentation, during our regular chapter monthly luncheon)
  • When You Are the Target – Coping With Activists, Antagonists and New Media Attacks (Afternoon session)
Hurry! Registration closes this Friday!
Get details online.
Download the flier
Register for the full day 
Register for the luncheon only

Thursday, September 09, 2010

PR News Round Up ~ September 9, 2010

From PR Tactics
In Memoriam: John R. Beardsley, APR, Past PRSA President
John R. Beardsley, APR, retired CEO of Minneapolis-based communications firm Padilla Speer Beardsley, died Thursday night from complications following heart surgery. He was 73. Read story.

From The Lead Blog by Matt Kucharski
Everything's Dead But The Future -- Fitting Epitaph for John Beardsley
My mentor, inspiration and friend John Beardsley, Padilla Speer Beardsley's former CEO, died Thursday evening after complications from heart surgery. He was 73, and he wasn't ready to go. Too many truths left to discover, too many ideas left to share. It was an honor to be one he shared them with, and like the others, I'm a better professional and person for it. Read story.

From The Next Web via PR Daily Newsfeed
AP begins crediting bloggers as news sources
It’s a huge step with huge implications, although Lauren Fisher writes on The Next Web that it’s too soon to tell how bloggers will affect the news agenda. “We’ve already seen some developments in this area, such as publishers employing bloggers on the ground, but I think this goes one further than that,” she writes. “The announcement has served to recognize the work that bloggers put into breaking and reporting stories.” It’s also not clear what the blogger attribution will look like. We’ll be keeping an eye on this one. — Susan Young Read story.

From PR Fuel via PR Daily Newsfeed
Tips for including video in your press releases
A PRWeb study last year found that 94 percent of PR pros see value in including videos in press releases; however, only a handful of respondents had actually tried it. Want to join this exclusive crew? PR Fuel offered tips for including video in your next press release. Read story.

From MarketingProfs via PR Daily Newsfeed
4 reasons content can help build relationships
We all know that content is king. When you come across great content, do you share it? I do through my contributions to PR Daily, Twitter, and my blog, and I bet you do, too. Maria Pegolino, director of marketing at Marketo, shares four reasons why content is one of the most important factors in building relationships. — Matthew Royse Read story.

From MediaPost Communications/Online Media Daily via SmartBrief on Social Media
Study: Social networks change the way people behave
Researchers at MIT have found evidence that social networks can have a profound effect on the way people live their lives. The study showed that the structure of networks influenced the way people signed up for a health forum, offering insights that could also hold hints for marketers. "It's easy to see how a cluster of connected networks or communities could facilitate the spread of a new product adoption," notes Laurie Sullivan. (9/7) Read story.

From via SmartBrief on Social Media
60 ways to become more influential online
At a recent event, 60 social-media experts tried to condense all they knew about boosting digital influence into a one-minute-long talk. Their top tips included the importance of picking the right partners, listening before speaking, and mapping your social-media strategy onto your business' existing goals. (9/8) Read story.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

And the Winner Is….Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City School District

Last in the series on Award Winning Programs from the 2010 PRSA Del Oro Awards
Award Recipient of a La Plata Award of Merit in the Category: Crisis Communications

When swine flu hit the Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City Independent School District in April 2009, they had no idea how large the public health matter would become over the course of two weeks. When the Health Department ordered a school to be closed indefinitely, followed by the entire school district, the communications team had to move into crisis mode. The crisis communication plan for these events was fluid and challenged repeatedly due to the changing circumstances. With the help of social and traditional media, the school district was able to relay timely and accurate information to its target audiences.
“I actually had no idea a crisis like the Swine Flu would explode into such a large scale,” said Rebecca Villareal, Communications Officer. “I truly became my superintendent’s press agent for those two weeks. When NPR called to interview her, she was so excited. I think for both of us it was one of those experiences we never imagined we would experience in our careers.”

Public relations in school districts is by no means uneventful, but Villareal reported that this crisis was the extreme. “We had swarms of media - day and night. I mean 24/7. I had the early morning guys calling me at 1:30 a.m. and wanting interviews between 3 and 5 a.m. I did not even know the media was out on the street at that time,” she said. “I am just glad they were okay with call-in interviews for those.”

Villareal reports that the organizations had some key learnings after the crisis, which resulted in strategic changes. The district purchased a Content Management System (CMS) for the website for quicker updates. The Tumblr blogging platform is now used to post cancellations and schedule changes and is linked to the Twitter account for instant updates. As well, electronic marquees that can be managed from one remote site were installed at all district facilities.

Randy Escamilla, APR, is a member of the PRSA San Antonio board and Director of Communications for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Friday, September 03, 2010

PR News Round Up ~ September 3, 2010

AP announces editorial guidelines for credit and attribution

From The Power of Presence via PR Daily Newsfeed
13-point checklist for social media releases
Social media press releases are becoming more commonplace. To make sure that you have all the elements needed to create one, Dna13’s Amanda Laird put together this 13-point checklist. — Matthew Royse Related PR Daily Want more? Check out the audio recording of a best-selling PR Daily webinar, How to produce a social media news release. Read story.

From Brooke Nolan's Blog via PR Daily Newsfeed
8 tips for using photography in your PR campaigns
PR pro Brook Nolan shares her thoughts on how you could double your coverage via photography, including this nugget: Do you even need a press release? “Perhaps you don’t even need to bother writing a story to go along with images,” she says. “Great exposure can be [won] through an image alone. Without sounding too corny ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’ and all that. Send pictures with a simple photo caption and short paragraph outlining the story — this works especially well for the ‘social’ pages in magazines. Read more.

Don't confuse traffic with engagement
Viral content can generate huge traffic boosts -- but that's not necessarily the same as generating real engagement, writes Matt Owen. Many visitors are simply surfing aimlessly without any real interest in your offerings, Owen argues, and it's only by actively participating in conversations that you'll be able to sort the wheat from the chaff. "Rather than monitoring how many customers you have, watch what they are saying," he adds. (8/26) Read more.

From Webbiquity via PR Daily Newsfeed
The best social media and PR resources of the year
Get your bookmark button ready. Online marketing exec Tom Pick selected a batch of useful posts that PR pros will cherish. Included in his 2010 “best of” compilation is some great advice from Chris Brogan about blogger outreach. These are resources you'll come back to again and again. Read more.

From If Only Blog via PR Daily Newsfeed
9 tools to help understand your audience's social media behavior
We're all trying to find ways to prove to clients that we really do know what we're talking about. Richard Pentin at If Only Blog pulled together the latest stats to provide an overview of the essential tools for understanding customers’ social media behavior. At the very least you can wow your co-workers with your statistical knowledge. — Beth Carroll, contributor to PR Daily Europe Read more.

From Social Media Monitoring Wiki via PR Daily Newsfeed
Check out this collection of social media monitoring solutions
Are you looking to find the one-stop shop for monitoring social media conversations? Unfortunately, it doesn’t exist yet. However, there is a one-stop shop for the overwhelming high number of social media monitoring solutions. Based on your organization’s budget or specific goals, hopefully this wiki will help you find one that works for you. — Matthew Royse Read more.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

And the Winner is….PayDay Plus! Paycheck Stuffers Done Right

Next in a Series on Award Winning Programs from the 2010 PRSA Del Oro Awards
Award Recipient of an El Bronce Award of Excellence

Can the humble paycheck stuffer be an award-winning communications tool? Absolutely. Case in point is CPS Energy’s Payday Plus. The one-sheet publication received an El Bronce award of excellence at PRSA’s Del Oro competition in May.

The local utility company produces the internal newsletter twice a month and mails it to employees’ homes along with their pay statements. Home delivery is one of the keys to success, says Scott Wudel, the publication’s editor. He explains that while the company maintains many electronic communication outlets, the printed newsletter is the most convenient way for employees who work in the field and their families to receive information.

Along the same lines, Wudell stresses that the newsletter’s content must be valuable and relevant to its approximately 3,600 readers. As the website and intranet editor at CPS, Wudel receives news tips from across the organization. He filters them from the vantage point of the employee and crafts short digestible articles that are useful and interesting to readers. Typical Payday Plus stories focus on health benefits, rebates, personnel changes, volunteer and family events and hot topics in the company.

It’s easy to underestimate the importance of good graphic design for a routine, internal publication. Payday Plus avoids this pitfall and entices its readers with fresh, full-color layouts that mix the right amounts of white space, images and text. The company’s in-house graphic artist Barbara Burris is responsible for the look of the newsletters.

Employees appreciate CPS’ efforts to keep them informed, and the newsletter has proven a valuable tactic for aligning a diverse workforce.

By Abbey Forney, PRSA board member and Communications Director at Urology San Antonio

Monday, August 23, 2010

And the winner is…Bromley Communications for “¡Sí! Western Union Helps Make Dreams Come True”

Next in a Series on Award Winning Programs from the 2010 PRSA Del Oro Awards
Award Recipient of La Plata Award of Excellence – Marketing Consumer Services
Award Recipient of La Plata Award of Excellence – Multicultural Communications Campaign

Public relations professional Deborah Charnes of Bromley Communications is a well known name in the Del Oro circle. Every year, she’s the first to submit her entries, which arrive long before the competition’s deadlines. And, her entries always win the coveted Award of Excellence.

This year, her “¡Sí! Western Union Helps Make Dreams Come True” campaign was the competition’s highest scoring entry with 98.5 out of 100 possible points.

How does she do it?

“You can have stellar execution, but if there are no quantifiable results to meet or surpass the communications objectives, then you’ve missed the mark,” says Charnes.

For more than 12 years, Bromley communicators have worked with Western Union to produce a number of extremely successful campaigns.

As the 2009 banking and real estate collapse was top of mind among consumers in the U.S. and abroad, Western Union set out to depict the tremendous power and impact money transfers have in the lives of people around the world. In collaboration with Bromley, the global money transfer giant partnered with a popular Hispanic TV personality, Ana Maria Canseco, to tour the country and capture human interest Western Union testimonials, reality-style.

Across six cities, in six weekends, brand ambassadors completed 800 consumer intercepts and Canseco conducted 33 media interviews, which generated 59.41 million impressions via 707 placements.

In NYC alone, Bromley and Canseco conducted 10 interviews in one half-day period, generating 30 placements. The agency obtained 22 video testimonials, 11 Mother’s Day testimonials and 165 contest entries in the Bronx and Queens.

In Los Angeles, Bromley and Canseco completed nine interviews in one half-day session, resulting in more than 40 placements. In addition, it recorded 14 consumer stories at retail venues, part of the campaign’s objectives.

“Western Union has very unique needs which make for more challenging campaign development. At the same time, the company understands that PR is not just about publicity,” says Charnes. “We have to connect with the consumer, in and around where the consumer interacts, and in a manner that is relevant and appropriate to the consumer.”

The next time you evaluate your Del Oro entry, ask yourself if your write-up includes results that show you met your goals. If so, you probably have a winner. After all, the proof is in the pudding.

By Christi Fish, a PRSA San Antonio Board Member and a Public Affairs Specialist at The University of Texas at San Antonio

PR News RoundUp ~ August 23, 2010

From The Business Insider, via Ragan’s PR Daily Newsfeed
Promotion with the Gap creates a $4 million day for Groupon
Do you subscribe to Groupon? It’s a Web-based coupon service that’s creating huge revenue for itself and the companies it partners with. On Thursday, it offered a coupon that cost $25 that could be redeemed for $50 worth of merchandise at the Gap. By dinner time, Groupon had already sold more than 300,000 coupons. That equates to a banner day for the Gap — and $4 million in revenue for Groupon. — Claire Celsi Read story.

By Arik Hanson, via Ragan’s Daily Headlines
5 recent Facebook changes you really should know about
Updated features, tools and functions might alter the way you employ the site. Read story.

From The Telegraph, via Ragan’s PR Daily Newsfeed
New entries to Oxford dictionary include ‘tweetup’
More than 2,000 new words have been added to the Oxford dictionary. Tweetup is one of them. So are cheeseball, turducken, bromance, wardrobe malfunction, frenemy, and vuvuzela. Read story.

ExactTarget (press release) , via Ragan’s Daily Headlines
Study: Twitter users three times more likely to impact your brand
A new survey by ExactTarget and CoTweet insists that “consumers active on Twitter are clearly the most influential online.” That’s a bold statement. What do you think? Here are some results from the study: 72 percent publish blog posts at least monthly; 70 percent comment on blogs; 61 percent write at least one product review monthly; and 61 percent comment on news sites. Read story.

From Convince and Convert, via Ragan’s PR Daily Newsfeed
PR firms are asking 8 questions about social media — and they’re all wrong!
Here’s one, from social media consultant Jay Baer: “How can we find a social media guru to add to our team?” Baer says a better question is, “How can we distribute social media knowledge across the entire firm, including ongoing training and knowledge sharing?” Check out the other seven questions.

From, via Ragan’s PR Daily Newsfeed
25 brilliant examples of Facebook brand pages
Standing out from the crowd on Facebook is one of the big challenges facing communicators. Everyone recognizes how important the platform is, but is that reflected in the creative output of the brand pages we want consumers to connect with? This great selection of best practice design examples from the eConsultancy blog is one way of getting those creative juices flowing. — Adam Vincenzini Read story.

From Inc. Technology, via Ragan’s PR Daily Newsfeed
5 secrets of highly effective Twitter users
What’s the best day of the week to spend time on Twitter? Why are retweets so important? These are just two of the questions that journalist Minda Zetlin answers to help us maximize our Twitter activities. Here’s how to get the biggest marketing bang for your tweet. — Susan Young Read story.

From SAS, via Ragan’s PR Daily Newsfeed
8 practical tips for social media measurement
How are you measuring your social media efforts? Whether you're just getting started or have spent years fine tuning your goals and measurments for social media, you'll learn something below from industry pros Katie Paine, CEO KDPaine & Partners, and Mark Chaves, Director of Media Intelligence, Customer Intelligence Product Marketing at SAS… Read story.

From Mashable, via PRSA Issues & Trends
A Field Guide to Using Facebook Places
Facebook has just announced Places, the long-awaited feature that brings location-based functionality to the most popular social network in the world. (Includes section on privacy). Read story.

From PC World Business Center, via PRSA Issues & Trends
Three Ways Business Can Take Advantage of Facebook Places
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the new Facebook Places location-based check-in service at a press event yesterday. Following in the footsteps of services like Foursquare and Gowalla, the Facebook Places service provides businesses with a platform for marketing and promotion, and provides an opportunity to build customer loyalty. Read story.

Friday, August 06, 2010

San Antonio Corporate and Community Leaders Elevate Public Relations

Jaime Castillo, Office of the Mayor talks as(pictured left to right), Mike Bennett of the American Red Cross, and Dan Decker, SeaWorld San Antonio look on during in a social media discussion at the PRSA-San Antonio August luncheon at the Bright Shawl.

· SeaWorld San Antonio saved $2.6 in advertising costs when it opened

its 100-foot tall Journey To Atlantis rollercoaster several years ago.

· The American Red Cross raised $38 million dollars in donations by using a text

message campaign to help the Haitian earthquake victims.

· The Mayor of San Antonio invites a video blogger from the San Antonio Express-News

and documents his first day in office.

These three examples are indicative of the major shift social media is leveraging among San Antonio’s corporations, non-profits and government.

At the August PRSA luncheon titled, “Empowering Communicators,” Jaime Castillo, Senior Policy Analyst for Mayor Julian Castro, Dan Decker, SeaWorld of San Antonio President, and Mike Bennett, American Red Cross, San Antonio Chapter, CEO, discussed how social media tactics are crucial to their organizational success.

SeaWorld’s Decker said his bottom line is to sell more tickets. SeaWorld’s communications team is using Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare and bringing in more people. Castillo says the Mayor’s Facebook page , with 4400 friends, is an integral part of their public relations tactics. “We know reporters are monitoring it,” he said.

“Exposure is good but what we want is a move to action. We get that when people send in checks to help or call in to volunteer,” said Bennett of the American Red Cross.

Randy Escamilla serves as Vice President of Public Relations for the San Antonio PRSA Chapter. He is the new Director of Communications for the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. You can reach randy by email at