- Competitive Intelligence
- Empowering Women
- FEEL Model
- Guest Post
- Integrated Communications
- Media Relations
- Media Relations
- Media Training
- Organizational Behavior
- PR 2.0
- PR 2.0 Technology
- PR Job Search
- PR Practice
- Public Relations
- Resume Writing
- Social Good
- Social media
- Social Media Planning
- Social Media Policy
- Strategic Communications
It’s time to unveil our 2nd PR Expanded video contest winner. A big congratulations goes to Nicole Morin, a UMASS at Amherst student, for creating her video on “Why PR Professionals Should Practice Strategic Communications.”
By way of contest background, After reading my latest book, “Answers for Modern Communicators,” Professor Jennie Donohue tasked her Introduction to Public Relations class with creating a short educational video sharing tips and insights based on one of three communication practices. The areas of practice included media relations, strategic communication/integrated marketing communication, and employee communication – that all related to the class content.
Nicole, our 2nd winner, is a junior who is pursuing a communication and journalism double major at UMass Amherst. Last semester, Nicole took the introductory public relations course where she learned about the industry, important practices, and skills, as well as the importance of maintaining mutually beneficial relationships. As she continues her undergraduate degree, Nicole is focusing on potential careers in public relations, sports or entertainment broadcasting, as well as media relations and content creation.
Take a look at Nicole’s winning video and also give her a congratulatory shout out on social media!
Happy 2020, friends! Here’s to a year that’s filled with happiness, good health, and prosperity.
When I look back at 2019, I realize it was an intense year for so many reasons. Every week was one of reflection and new insights with a 52+ week millennial research project.
Today, as a result of this reflection and realizing my research had uncovered a new Mode of Operation or communication model, I’m focusing on a FEEL roadmap in 2020; adding FEEL to all of my communications. At the same time, I’ll be helping other professionals understand why strategic communications can only get you so far in your connections and relationship building. FEEL is the stepping stone to real relationships personally and professionally. How much do you use FEEL in your communication through all of your channels? Now you can find out with the FEEL First Test.
I decided to evaluate myself and my ability to FEEL, by taking the online FEEL First test, which came together as a result of the deep conversations with millennials in 2019.
I was surprised, not so surprised, to learn that I still have some FEEL work to do in the areas of facing Fears, engaging with Empathy, etc. In 2020, I’m on my way to FEEL Mastery, which is the highest range of scores you can achieve. The FEEL First Test not only evaluates your ability to FEEL, in every area of the model, and in different settings, but it also recommends exercises to increase your level of FEEL.
And, so my roadmap begins and yours can too.
A huge thank you to all of those millennials who took the time to interview with me, and who wanted to share the value of communication, what it means to have trust in a real relationship and what they expect from the important people in their lives. You have helped me to get through a difficult time and to turn loss and sadness into purpose and focus.
Here’s my video discussing where my roadmap begins and how professionals and companies would solve a lot of their issues and communication challenges with the FEEL model.
Featured Image Photo Credit: Amit Jain at Unsplash
A Guest Post by Christy Maguire, Graduate Student at American University, PR Expanded Blog Contest Winner
Podcasting is the quickest growing communications medium, and it seems like everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. Research shows that there are more than 750 million podcasts and that 22% of Americans over age 12 have listened to a podcast in the past week. It’s a crowded field to be sure, but it also offers an excellent, and even underused, opportunity for businesses to increase engagement with its community. It’s an intimate medium that builds trust and authority, offers inclusiveness and provides both information and inspiration.
Universities, nonprofits, museums, law firms, associations, and small businesses have branched out into podcasting – expanding their online presence in ways that serve their business and community. Now is the perfect time to begin. Earlier this year, Google began including direct podcast links in its search results, providing an immediate opportunity for potential listeners to discover and sample podcasts.
While podcasting is a great tool for optimizing SEO and visibility, these shouldn’t always be the main focus. Businesses can get too caught up in using podcasting solely for promotion, without looking closely at building engagement and loyalty. Don’t forget that engagement can also be measured. Have you increased website traffic, comments, reviews, membership, feedback, and event participation through your podcast? Have customers mentioned your podcast on social media, in blog posts, or through referrals?
Whether your business already has a podcast, or you are considering starting one, there are several factors to take into consideration to increase engagement:
1. Invite Feedback
- Issue a Call to Action
At the end of every podcast episode, issue a call to action. The best calls to action invite your listeners back to your website to further interact with your content, obtain their email address or offer a freebie.
- Invite Listener Questions
Get listeners involved by inviting them to ask questions of future guests. This is not only an excellent way to promote a future guest or episode but encourages loyalty by making listeners feel like part of the process. A growing trend is to ask listeners to call in to leave a question, which can be directly embedded into an episode. Google Voice is easy to set up and convert into usable audio.
- Welcome Comments
Basecamp, a project management software company, encourages feedback by making each show a separate blog page with a comments section. They recently aired an episode around their new logo, which generated a mix of reactions. The company even did a blog post about how important feedback was to them by detailing their inspiration for past episodes, indicating that much of it came from listeners, coworkers, businesses and PR firms.
- Make it Easy to Connect
Some constituencies may not be familiar with podcasting, so teach them how to use the technology. For populations who may not be acquainted with podcasts, the most straightforward way to tune in is to embed a podcast player directly in a blog post.
Establish a social media account on a platform that has the best reach for your audience, and tell your listeners where they can find you. The Smithsonian has its own social media accounts, but they established a separate Twitter account for their main podcast, Sidedoor Podcast, allowing listeners to share, comment on and engage with the content.
2. Be Creative
Podcasting is personal. The medium offers a chance for your business to tell your customers how to engage with content, build your brand and tell stories. We can’t always predict what will resonate, so it’s important to not stick to a formula or rigid guidelines. Harvard Business Review offers a discussion guide for each podcast episode of Women at Work signaling that this content is intended to be discussed widely, similar to a book or article.
Trader Joe’s podcast, Inside Trader Joe’s, is fun and is filled with puns, which is perfectly aligned with its reputation. The company planned for just five episodesbut continued after gaining a quick following by customers who wanted more.
Nonprofit Save the Children did a six-episode drama series called Anywhere But Home based on true stories of children’s harrowing, yet inspiring journeys. Stories offer hope and connection on a level that direct appeals do not.
3. Leverage Relationships and Build Partnerships
- Invite Guest Hosts and Feature Client Stories
A simple way to build relationships with top executives, clients, and members is to invite them to guest host an episode on a relevant issue or to share their business story.
Membership organizations have an excellent opportunity to spotlight their members. By doing so, organizations create opportunities for its members to network and connect, immediately drawing them in and illustrating the organization’s usefulness. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s podcast, The Bloodline With LLS, covers a range of topics, including information and resources, but also has diagnosis stories offering hope and connection to those living with blood cancers.
Clothing retailer Rebecca Minkoff hosts a popular podcast called Superwomen. Every week she interviews female CEOs, business leaders, and artists, not only promoting the brand’s values of supporting women-led businesses but sharing their platform with potential partners.
- Collaborate with Targeted Partners
The lifestyle brand goop has a successful podcast and recently partnered with the clothing brand Banana Republic on a limited series called “Women on Top.” These conversations featuring boundary-breaking women promote their joint efforts to discuss issues around women empowerment. Loyalists of both companies are introduced around shared values.
- Host Live Events
Listeners like, and are beginning to expect, live podcast events. This affords businesses the opportunity to interact with its community in real-time. There are two ways to do this. The first option is to tape a live podcast event, which could be held at a summit or conference. Be sure to advertise this before the event. The second option is to use audio from conferences, meetings, and panels to engage those who are unable to attend, widening your reach.
There are no hard and fast rules for engagement, though consistency is key. Podcasts can be as short as 5 minutes but would be better suited to daily or biweekly episodes. Longer and more complex shows might only air once a month. They can be limited to a short series or be tailored around a special event. Be sure that it’s on a schedule that allows your business to take full advantage of engaging your community in a meaningful way. Experiment, enjoy and tweak as necessary.
Christy Maguire produces and hosts the podcast Forties Stories, which amplifies the voices of 40-something women and promotes connection and compassion – one story at a time. She is currently a graduate student in American University’s Strategic Communications program. Connect with her on Twitter @_christymaguire.
Every relationship is different and precious in its own way. You work so hard to build relationships and when you make that special connection you don’t want to lose it!
Knowing this, how much do you nurture your relationships and how present are you in those interactions? When you want to build an unbreakable bond you have to show up and be vulnerable, transparent, honest, and compassionate, and with all of your passion in tow. That’s why it’s important to FEEL (face Fears, engage with Empathy, use Ethics and unleash the Love) with every encounter.
There are so many reasons why you should FEEL First when it comes to building and maintaining the health of your relationships. When you FEEL, you’ll be more present and open, your understanding and patience will increase, and you’ll be true to yourself and your values (which does not go unnoticed). You’ll also let your passion loose for others to get excited and for them to find synergies with you.
My FEEL First research and the accompanying model [Note: this is the 2nd iteration of the Infographic] came to life after the tragic loss of a loved one, my stepdaughter. I had to say goodbye to a cherished relationship. For me, relationships will always take center stage. I’m focused on the FEEL First approach to hold dear every relationship I have moving forward.
How much do you FEEL in the relationships you are forging? And, once you’re in a relationship are you still in FEEL mode? Here’s my video with more on FEEL First and how to take this approach to a new level.
Modern Communicators need to FEEL and THINK before they communicate. Although PR professionals are taught to THINK, which is Timing, Heart, Independence, New Navigation and Knowledge about an audience, the FEEL model is the first step. When you FEEL you’re digging deeper to discover Fears, Empathy, Ethics and Love for the mission.
In this video I break down the FEEL model and why it’s important to FEEL first, then THINK, before you share your story, especially with younger generations. Millennials, for example, face the pressure to be “perfect” and we’re also seeing a spike in depression, anxiety and suicide rates amongst this group. When you FEEL you truly serve people, can offer more help, create deeper impact, and build long lasting relationships.
Make 2019 the year that you step back and really challenge yourself to FEEL as the first step toward better communication.
A Guest Post By Shayla Costa, UMASS at Amherst Student, Winner of the PR Expanded Infographic Contest
An assignment in my Principles of Public Relations class with Professor Jennie Donohue was to read Deirdre Breakenridge’s new book Answers for Modern Communicators and create an infographic based on one of four concepts. These concepts included media relations, employee and internal communication, building internal and external relationships, and reputation and trust. For a while I was actually stuck and had no idea what I was going to base my infographic on, until Deirdre answered my questions about her book when she stopped by my class. It was when she said that “Relationships are the heart of every business” that I was hit with inspiration and began to organize my thoughts. In the end I went from not knowing how to begin, to creating the winning infographic amidst a fairly large class.
When Deirdre talked about the importance of relationships in the industry, I immediately knew that I wanted to focus my assignment on the concept of building internal and external relationships. After reading the book, I chose four main points to organize my infographic. These topics included listening, doing research, communicating, and being truthful. Using information from the book, such as the importance of speaking less and listening more and to move your relationships from online to in-person, I elaborated on each section.
In the end, I had an organized infographic that taught a basic understanding of building and maintaining relationships in the industry. I had no idea that I was a finalist to win the competition, so when I got the news that I actually won I was ecstatic. This assignment was an amazing opportunity and learning experience, and I am so grateful that I won. I am focusing on a career in public relations, so being able to get published on PR Expanded is a great gateway to starting my career.
Shayla Costa is a senior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst studying Journalism and Portuguese. She is focusing on a career in Public Relations and has already gained experience working with a client and creating press materials through her public relations courses. Shayla is published on the Amherst Wire and has produced articles on various topics like local news on her WordPress blog. In her free time Shayla enjoys listening to true-crime podcasts and keeping up with current events. After she graduates in May 2019, she hopes to utilize her knowledge and experience to excel in the industry.
A Guest Post by Corina Manea, Founder of NutsPR
It’s well known that public relations professionals are very good at building relationships. But is it enough?
We all know someone in our circle of friends who is the most connected person, always knows someone in whatever industry and is always happy to help.
Do you know someone like that? Have you ever wondered how they do it? When do they find the time? Aren’t they tired?
What’s their secret?
Modern Communications is about building lasting relationships
Building lasting relationships is not easy. It requires time, dedication, focus, and above all caring about those people you’d like to connect with.
This isn’t about going to networking events and starting a marathon of sharing your business cards.
The modern communicator knows that to build a lasting relationship with anyone, you need to learn as much as possible about the people you’re trying to connect with.
It’s not about knowing their resume, or the latest public accomplishment. It’s about finding those subtle details that are very important for them outside of the business life. When you connect at a personal level, you set the ground for a life-lasting relationship.
Of course, you can’t build a deep, long-lasting relationship with someone you have nothing in common with. No matter how much you try, at some point, it will break.
Because it’s not only about you and the effort you put into that relationship. That’s how you start. But the other person has to meet you halfway.
In today’s busy world, with so many demands on your attention, you may think it’s sort of impossible to build long-lasting relationships. Because they take effort, attention, and frankly, a lot of work, right?
Here is how the modern communicator builds relationships that last.
The power of saying “no”
Deirdre Breakenridge beautifully sums it up in her latest book, “Answers for Modern Communicators.”
“When you start saying ‘No’ to every opportunity, you begin to carefully select the best opportunities, becoming a much more present participant in your interactions with family, friends, and at work too. Saying ‘No’ helps you pursue the best connections, and to also focus on growing the right relationships.”
Learn to carefully select what you say “yes” to. It’s very easy to try to help everyone around you and get sucked up into their problems and little drama, whether at work or at home.
Say “no” to everything that is not aligned with your personal and professional development. Say “no” to things that others can do better and faster than you. Say “no” to things that are not aligned with your values and with who you are.
When you do that, you will be more mindful with the people you interact with. You will be more present and genuine in your interactions.
As Deirdre says, you will focus on growing the right relationships.
Real relationships can start online
Just because you connect with people online, it doesn’t mean you can’t build real relationships with them. After all, social media is about connecting.
If you think about it, we live in a small, interconnected world. You never know what opportunity life throws at you and you get to meet that faraway person you connected online with.
Treat your online relationships as you would the offline ones. Behind every screen, there is a human being.
Some of my most wonderful business and personal relationships started online with a tweet or a comment.
Be mindful when you connect online. Just like you would in real life. Treasure every interaction you have online or offline and don’t lose sight of your goal to grow the right relationships for you.
Become a connector
Building meaningful relationships as strangely as it sounds, it’s not about you. It’s about the people you connect with. How can you help them? How can you make things easier for them?
Is there anyone in your existing network who can help them and vice-versa?
“Just because you have many great relationships doesn’t mean you have to stop pursuing valuable connections.” – Deirdre Breakenridge in Answers for Modern Communicators
The more you grow your network, the more people you can help. Make it your mission to nurture and continue to develop your own relationships.
Building great relationships is about trust. When someone trusts you with their friendship, online or offline, be mindful and treasure that trust. Share them with care and respect.
Building great relationships is also about the time and effort you put in. It’s wonderful that social media allows us to connect with anyone no matter where they are in the world. However, just like in real life, you have to put in time, effort, and intention to move from a connection to a wonderful relationship.
The modern communicator is always looking to build long-lasting relationships, both in personal and professional life. It’s not a “job description,” it’s who they are. And that’s the key to their success.