PRSA Maryland is grateful to Early Light Media (ELM) directors Darren Durlach and David Larson for their stunningly beautiful as well as compelling and informative session on “The Power of Storytelling Using Video” on February 2, 2017. PRSA Maryland’s first professional development event of 2017, which was hosted in the amazing studios and creative workspace of ETC on N. Haven Street, attracted 25 attendees.
Attendees had a real insider’s view of how video works and why our deep-rooted fascination with stories will always carry the day when we want to share the real meaning of our organization or company’s work.
While they’re “not giving away all their secrets,” the great team at ELM welcomes your questions at any time. You can check out some of the tips they shared last week by clicking here.
Click here for a copy of the presentation.
Submitted by Jeff Davis, APR
Originally appeared in Capitol Communicator – October 15, 2016
CIA’s Preston Golson & Carolyn Reams with PRSA MD board member Claudia Ciolfi
Communicators balancing the complexities and demands of social media accounts learned how the Central Intelligence Agency manages its social media presence despite the restrictions and with a mix of humor and pop culture references.
During a workshop hosted by the PRSA Maryland chapter, CIA Social Media Lead Carolyn Reams and Chief of Public Communications Branch Preston Golson covered topics such as obtaining the @CIA Twitter handle, the 11-month approval process, how to overcome organizational reluctance and how their small staff manages accounts including Twitter that in just two years has attracted 1.5 million followers.
The first tweet from CIA’s verified Twitter account (“We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.”) remains one of the most retweeted and favorited first tweets and is on BuzzFeed’s list of “The Most Epic Tweets Ever Tweeted.”
“We have an obligation in a democracy to explain what we do,” said Reams. Other reasons the agency decided to embrace social media: conversations are happening online whether the CIA participates or not, and the CIA wants to explain its mission to protect the national security of the United States.
Also, people typically don’t “surf the web” and randomly visit websites; instead, they expect the information to show up on their Facebook and Twitter feeds. Content from deep within the CIA website, such as the popular “World Factbook” section, can be brought to light via social posts.
The CIA also uses social media to humanize the agency: “We can’t tell you what officers are currently doing, but we can tell their stories later…how they lived, their background and their service,” said Reams, who also serves as CIA.gov content manager.
Among the tips and best practices shared:
- Answering the “when is the best time to post?” question, they advised: noon is good to simultaneously reach the East Coast lunch crowd and 9 a.m. West Coast users; then 2 p.m. for West Coast lunchtime browsers; 5 p.m. will hit East Coast transit commuters; while 8:30 – 9 p.m. will reach West Coast commuters and East Coast multi-screen TV watchers.
- Make sure “two sets of eyes” review each post to prevent missteps; their preferred collaboration and scheduling tool is TweetDeck.
- Don’t aim for a pre-determined number of posts per day or week; it’s OK to skip a few days and have multiple posts on others. The focus should be on relevance and quality of the content.
- Connect your posts to your organization’s core messages whenever possible.
- Add personality to posts through humor and cultural references. (If the CIA can do this, most organizations can). The CIA has commented and shared relevant links on topics such as World Elephant Day, the Olympics opening ceremony and Shark Week.
- Use ICYMI (In Case You Missed It) posts to get additional views of select content.
- What to tweet? Interesting history factoids; connections to pop culture moments; recurring weekly content (CIA posts “Artifact of the Week” from the CIA Museum); recruitment/internship opportunities; anniversaries/milestones; unusual/fun content, such as dog training tips from the CIA K-9 unit and “How to Investigate a Flying Saucer” (from the CIA website).
Photo: CIA’s Golson, left, and Reams with PRSA Maryland Board Member Claudia Ciolfi, right.
We had another busy year. Below are just a few of the highlights …
APR Happenings … directed by our awesome and very capable APR Chair Jen Kellar, the APR Study Group begun in Fall 2014 continued the process with 12 candidates. To date, 3 of the candidates have received their APR! A new round of sessions began on 1/12/15. Click here for more information.
Mentoring Program … we launched our mentoring program and while still in its infancy, we’re looking forward to watching it grow. If you are interested in getting a mentor or being a mentor, let us know at email@example.com.
Events … Always looking to advance our members professional development, we hosted/participated in a number of events:
∗ Visit to WBAL-TV 11, 2/1/15. Partnering with BPRC, we met with editors and reporters of WBAL-TV 11 and WBAL News Radio 1090. The event was a sell-out! Read recap by Jeff Davis here.
∗ Digital Media Panel, 3/17/2015. We were invited to join BPRC for their March meeting to hear a panel discussion on how you can work with local blogs that cover a myriad of topics from business to communities to entertainment.
Sporting some bling!
∗ Crisis Communications with Kevin Byrne of The Baltimore Ravens, 5/20/15. With the Ray Rice controversy still fresh in our minds, we welcomed Kevin Byrne, senior vice president of public and community relations for the Baltimore Ravens for a frank discussion on crisis communications. Plus we got to hold – and some of us got to put on – the Ravens’ Super Bowl Ring. A special thanks to our event host Emerging Media/Loyola University Maryland.
Root Down to Rise Up
∗ 2015 Chesapeake Conference, 6/4/15. Hosted by Erickson Living for the second year, #Chessie15 was touted as one of our best in terms of speakers and sessions. We began with a keynote from Sherry Llewellyn, Director of Public Affairs for Howard County Police Department and ended with a presentation by Michelle Andres, Vice President of Digital Media/Broadcasting and Chad Steele, Vice President of Public Relations for the Baltimore Ravens. Click here for a full recap and presentation handouts.
Meeting New Friends
∗ PRSA MD Summer Networking Event, 8/26/15.
We met on a beautiful summer evening at the BoatHouse in Caton for a casual get-together. The event coincided with PRSA’s New Professionals Week, yet it was an event for everyone to enjoy. And enjoy they did by swapping stories, advice and a few business cards in the process! We had over 25 PR pros and new pros attend.
Courtesy of Coyle Studios
∗ 2015 Best In Maryland Program & Gala. We exceeded our entry counts from last year with many of our entries receiving high scores. This year, we also did away with the binders/folders by accepting entries electronically. Winners gathered at the Best In Maryland Gala and Holiday party on Tuesday, December 1 for an evening of networking and celebration where we also presented 4 professional awards. Click here for recap.
∗ Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit, 9/30/15. We were a proud sponsor of this one-day event that brought together more than 300 marketing and communications executives to discuss high-level issues through a series of panels, keynotes, presentations and networking.
∗ Volunteer Appreciation Pizza Night, 12/8. We invited current and prospective volunteers to join us for pizza. It was a chance for us to show our current volunteers how much we appreciate their hard work, and a great chance for prospective volunteers to get a taste of what it means to be part of the chapter.
Other events that we participated in included …
∗ PRSA Webinar: How to Activate an Influencer Network with Converged Media – Free to members, this webinar featured Michael Brito, head, social strategy, WCG who talked about incorporating new earned, owned and paid media tactics to better engage influencers with content.
∗ PRSA Central Chesapeake Chapter, 04/16/2015. Learn ways to get elected officials to your event
∗ INTEGRATE DC presented by West Virginia University IMC program, 10/27/2015. PRSA Members received discounted registration.
p.s. Did you know that you can find recaps to many of these events in our Resource Library?
Coming soon … What’s in store for 2016? Well, we’re working on this year’s programming calendar including our annual Chesapeake Conference. Also be sure to keep a watch out in late spring for the 2016 Best In Maryland Call for Entries.
Looking forward to an even better year!
Want to get involved? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Calling All PRSA Members in the Mid-Atlantic District! The PRSA International Conference in Atlanta will commence with the Sunday Gala in the Marriott’s Atrium Ballroom at 7 p.m.
PRSA Mid-Atlantic District Chair Liz Smith, APR, and District Chair-elect Kevin Gaydosh, APR, invite District members to meet at 5 p.m. at Marriott’s Pulse Bar. This is your opportunity to meet your District Chair and Co-chair as well as fellow members from Chapters throughout the Mid-Atlantic District.
Even if you are not attending the gala, please join District members from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the cash bar. Click here for more details.
Hope to see you there!
Liz Smith, APR, PRSA Mid-Atlantic District Chair
Kevin Gaydosh, APR, PRSA Mid-Atlantic District Chair-Elect