Monday, March 25, 2013

Creating Content Worth Sharing

By: Delisi Araceli Duarte
This month, Nathan Cone, Texas Public Radio’s director of marketing and digital content, was the guest speaker at the PRSA luncheon at The Bright Shawl. His presentation discussed three ways to tell a story, nine types of ways to engage an audience, and seven steps to Twitter dominance.
As a social media lover with 827 Twitter followers, I found the seven steps to Twitter dominance most interesting. I had been wondering what to do in order to join the ranks of highly-successful Twitter accounts with several thousand followers, and often asked: Is there a method to this? Should I try to be more entertaining? Am I tweeting too much? Should I use more hashtags?
Cone’s presentation quickly helped me realize my problem might be that I do not address or focus on anything specific. My tweets vary from humor, to pictures of my Maltipoo using Instagram, to breaking entertainment news, to the problems that occur when planning a wedding, and everything in between. Rarely do I engage in a conversation on Twitter (one of Cone’s seven steps), unless it is with someone that I know. I had my “ah-hah” moment when Cone listed the final step in Twitter dominance. Share your work with important people.
When I became President of the PRSSA Chapter at UTSA, I made it a point to follow other PRSSA presidents and Twitter accounts that focused on leadership. Every leadership account I followed had an audience of several thousand, and I quickly found out why. I found almost every tweet valuable. Here’s how it went: I learned something, tried to apply it to myself and shared it with others. “Ah-hah!” I started to interact with the Twitter accounts with several thousand followers by sharing their information, and I saw an almost immediate response. The tweets with substance, from accounts that had value and importance, helped the performance of my own Twitter account in ways I never realized.
Sometimes the answer is right in front of you and you never even realize it. In my case, Cone’s presentation helped me realize I have the tools to dominate Twitter—it is just a matter of using them wisely.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Planning Events—PR Style

By Laura Salkowski

As a communications student at UTSA and someone aspiring to have a career in Public Relations, I'm always looking for valuable information I can have in the future. At the February PRSA luncheon, I learned tips of the trade from a panel of three PR professionals who plan events on a daily basis.
Speakers JoAnn Andera, director of the Texas Folklife Festival; Monica Faulkenbery, APR, assistant director of communications at Northside ISD; and Mari Gonzales, communications associate at H-E-B, shared their personal experiences, planning guidelines, and tips for a successful event. 

From their presentations I learned that you can’t always prevent the unexpected, but you can always prepare for it. When it comes to small snags in an event program, it is best just to keep things moving along. 

Faulkenbery pointed out, “No one [in the audience] knows what is supposed to happen… So just go with the flow!” Making staff assignments based on their capabilities can help keep everyone calm when dealing with tricky event crises, said Andera. Gonzales added that it is important to utilize all your resources, including personnel staffing the event.

I left the luncheon with pages of notes packed with great event-planning information, but the top three things I learned about planning PR events are:

  1. Know your objectives and your audience.
  2. If it is a repeated event, keep it fresh and keep it new each time. 
  3. Your written plan is your best insurance plan.
Laura Salkowski is a student contributor to the Byline Blog and is a student at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Unintentional Internship

By Ariana Michelle Bocanegra

I walked into my first PRSA luncheon at The Bright Shawl on January 3. My appropriate business professional attire did little to appease my nerves. I was nervous, but also excited at the opportunity to interact with experienced public relations practitioners.
I didn’t know anyone at this luncheon but the friendly atmosphere quickly became evident as everyone introduced themselves to me when they checked in at the reception area. As people began filtering in, I walked around the room selling raffle tickets to benefit the Marilyn Potts Endowment Fund, which provides a scholarship to PR students at UTSA. I spoke with PR professionals from H-E-B, San Antonio Area Foundation, Trinity and many other places. I also met Terry and Angel from Alamo Area Council Boy Scouts of America. Angel, communications and marketing director at the Boy Scouts, wanted to buy a raffle ticket, but he didn’t have cash, so his co-worker Terry bought one for him. While I was tearing the tickets and putting away money, Angel and Terry told me about an internship position they were looking to fill for the spring semester. I told them about my participation in PRSSA, and that I was connected to a network of PR students who might be able to fill the position. Angel gave me his card so that I could announce it to the other PRSSA members.

After I finished selling raffle tickets, I went to find the seat I had saved before, and it turned out it was at the same table as Angel and Terry! We continued our discussion about their internship opportunity for the spring, and ended up scheduling a formal interview for the position. A week later, I was sitting in my office at the Alamo Area Council Boy Scouts of America, drinking coffee! I didn’t intend to land an internship at the PRSA luncheon, much less look for a position, but it was a great opportunity that I happened to stumble upon.

Both professionals and students benefit from the PRSA luncheons. It's a great way to learn from those around you and create lasting, meaningful professional relationships. I am going to continue to attend PRSA luncheons. I am committed to the Public Relations profession and the San Antonio community because of the networking opportunities provided by the local PRSA chapter!

Ariana Michelle Bocanegra is a student contributor to the Byline Blog and is a student at the University of Texas at San Antonio.