As savvy students begin the process of building relationships with the professionals they met on August 19th, we have the opportunity to develop a true community of PR professionals, students and educators. The next live group chat will take place on September 15th, the result feedback from the group. 59 participants responded to a poll, the results split fairly evenly between a weekly and a monthly Twitter chat. With the hectic nature of the start of the school year, we have opted for a monthly chat, but will certainly change this if there is a demand for a more frequent discussion.
Years ago, before I started my own agency, I worked for a pharmaceutical consultant conducting business research and then later developing marketing and PR programs for his customers. At the time, one of my main responsibilities was a report that provided monitoring and surveillance for pharmaceutical brands. It was, and still is, a tough competitive landscape. We kept our clients abreast with a monthly snapshot of their industry, with respect to the drug product pipeline, stock market expectations, industry trends, market issues/concerns, and insight into latest information delivered at pharmaceutical industry conferences.
Valerie Simon (@valeriesimon) and I just announced that #PRStudChat will be a monthly event. I was thrilled by the enthusiasm and incredible response we received by students and PR professionals on August 19th when we held our first discussion. Our Twitter chat was a success and we’re preparing for the next one.
Our #prstudchat is this week! The session will be a discussion between PR students and industry professionals on August 18, 2009 at 12:00 p.m. Valerie Simon (@valeriesimon) wrote an awesome article discussing the value of students and pros coming together to discuss the PR industry and how the chat session will allow students to determine if “PR is Right for Me.” We also set up a LinkedIn group to get the conversations started. I thought it would be fitting in this blog post to discuss some of the PR questions that so many students want to know, but may not have had the opportunity to ask.
I recently spoke at the Florida Public Relations Association’s (FPRA) National Conference in Boca Raton, Florida. It was an excellent conference with a variety of top notch speakers who covered topics ranging from Disney’s community relations program to the basics of SEO. I participated on a panel session, “PR under Fire” and discussed a few of the challenges in the PR industry today. One reason PR is under fire stems from PR professionals being seen as nothing more than handlers and facilitators of information. For years, unfortunately, our work has been reduced and described by the media and bloggers as broadcast messages in news releases with spin and hype that carry little value or meaning for the market. On a positive note, I also said that PR 2.0 would enable PR professionals to use social media to become influencers and to rebuild our reputation to the rightful status that we deserve.
As you may know, I love spending time on Twitter. I’m meeting new people every day who share similar interests. Most of the people I follow contribute to the community with information on PR, PR 2.0, Social Media, technology, marketing, branding and business. When someone requests to be my friend, I still take the time to review his/her profile and I check out any links to websites, if they are provided. I also review their tweet stream to see if they share a passion and enthusiasm for the subjects that I like and see if they discuss articles or topics that have retweet potential. It’s really important that when you make a connection with someone on Twitter, from that point forward the communication is meaningful and you’re finding value from your new friendship. After all, social networking takes time and energy. From experience, I can say that it’s worth the commitment it, if you can grow your network, learn from others and create some mutually beneficial relationships.
The blog post “Is PR Right for Me?” generated a lot of interest this past week. I thought it would be great to do a reverse interview with a PR student. I wanted to get a future professional’s perspective on the public relations industry, focusing on the excitement and challenges that a student experiences today. Angela Hernandez, who is the president of PRSSA at CMU, participated in the interview. She is pursuing her degree in integrative public relations and will be graduating from CMU in May 2010. You can also check out Angela’s blog, In The Lede, where she discusses her journey as a PR student.
I just finished an interview with Angela Hernandez, the President of PRSSA at Central Michigan University (CMU). I was very happy to interview with Angela because the topic, “Is PR Right for me?” is important for the growth of the public relations industry. We need to attract future PR leaders who are the best and the brightest. Garnering the experience of industry professionals and having them share perspective is a great way to motivate PR’s next generation of experts.