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2019 PRSA Maryland Conference – Call for Presenters: Now Accepting through Friday, April 26

Posted updated 4/19/2019

Thursday, July 18 (NEW DATE)
Notre Dame of Maryland University

 

CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT RFP

 

“What’s Truth Got To Do With It? The Future of PR!”

Truth. Transparency. Authenticity. The push to do business and communicate in a more open and transparent way.

Today’s consumers want more in their purchasing choices than a great product or service. Whether it’s shoes or eye glasses, luggage or even ice cream, the soul and character of an organization carry just as much weight.

What’s all this got to do with public relations? Turns out, pretty much everything.

When facts aren’t always facts and anyone can share information and call it news, public relations professionals – and their clients – are having to work harder than ever to tell their stories in an authentic voice that feels genuine and relatable. The expectation toward greater transparency influences every aspect of our profession – corporate messaging, internal communications, media relations, social media and digital strategy, storytelling, special events, how a CEO or organization responds to a crisis, and more.

While the need to sharpen and advance our skills is hardly new for the public relations professional, achieving the level of transparency required isn’t exactly easy. Bring your experiences to light and help raise the bar for Public Relations education by being a presenter at the 2019 PRSA Maryland Annual Conference on Thursday, July 18. This year’s conference will be held at Notre Dame of Maryland University.

For “What’s Truth Got To Do With It?,” we’re looking for great examples of how you are addressing and applying the demand for transparency in your work as a public relations professional. As a presenter, you will have the opportunity to impact individuals driven to improve themselves, the organizations they serve, PRSA and our profession. At the same time, you’ll have the added benefit of elevating your own skills and stature among peers who share in your passion and commitment to the profession.

Your experiences and insights toward innovative concepts and solutions are in high demand. By serving as a presenter, you’ll have the chance to demonstrate your evolution as a professional and further position yourself as an expert and role model in the industry.

 Suggested topics from our members include, but are not limited to:

  • Executive communications
  • How advancements in technology are changing the way we tell stories and share information
  • Shifts in the media landscape affecting how PR pros do their work moving forward
  • Social media strategy – finding the right voice and personality, engagement with audiences, use of influencers, etc.
  • Social media video applications – how you’re building engagement and/or solving a problem through applications like Instagram stories, IGTV, Facebook Live, etc.
  • Crisis communications and issues/reputation management
  • Telling powerful stories
  • How to build brand awareness
  • Measurement, tracking and metrics
  • Integration of traditional and social media
  • Tools for PR people on the cloud and via apps
  • Building your own brand as a PR professional (use of LinkedIn, etc.)
  • Marketing to multiple generations
  • Tools for creativity
  • Content development and strategy for multiple mediums
  • Effective writing in an authentic voice
  • Word-of-Mouth marketing – grassroots public relations using new tools
  • Making your message go viral 
  • Building your personal brand—do’s and don’ts of social media

Most sessions will run 60 minutes including question & answer periods. We are also considering 30-minute flash sessions intended to give attendees quick tips on a targeted topic.

Proposals must be submitted on or before FRIDAY, APRIL 26 (NEW DEADLINE). For more information, contact PRSA Maryland office at info@prsamd.org or 443-283-8060.

CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT RFP

*Graphic by Quandra Gray

Influencers Share their Stories

From left to right: Tracy Imm, APR; Jessica Fast; Jill Smokler, Christine Carter, Margaret Nam. Photo courtesy of conference lunch sponsor Planit

Submitted by Tracy Imm, APR

One of the most talked about sessions at 2018 PRSA Maryland Conference held on June 12 featured four top thought leaders on influencer communications. On stage we had three influencers, two of whom are also in the PR/Communications profession, and an influencer strategist.

The panel discussion highlighted that PR professionals are well positioned to leverage social media influencer relationships and connect brands to targeted buyers. We are skilled at delivering business results for our organizations through earned media and the more we understand the perspectives of the influencer the better job we can do as PR professionals.

“It’s hard from marketers and communicators to accept: you can’t control everything. Allow the relationship to be imperfect and authentic.”

Here is a quick recap of what our panelists shared.

 

  • New York Times best-selling author Jill Smokler (aka Scary Mommy) shared with us her journey from mommy blogger to macro-influencer with a platform that partnered with major brands like Target. Before her platform was purchased she had more control over the content strategy decisions (which she liked) and she saw how having an investor changed the game. She recently left her role at Scary Mommy to pursue new opportunities where she can control the content strategy and tactics and discuss topics she finds interesting.
  • Christine Michel Carter reviewed her strategies as a micro-influencer sharing her views with other black millennial moms. She has consistently created content over the past ten years and she now has brands such as Brick Bodies sponsoring her content. She shares with her audience in an authentic fashion in order to engender the “know, like and trust” factor. One eye-opening point she made was in sharing how she measures the unicorns (impact of influencers). Her formula: Average engagement per post divided by the number of followers times 100. Her influencer score is 1.95% compared to Beyonce at 2.73%.
  • Jessica Fast from Abel Communications talked about how brands are looking for social media influencers to promote their products and services. She shared several case studies with the audience. She underscored that we need to understand influencers are not media outlets, they are people, not reporters telling your story. The power of the influencer is in their authenticity. “It’s hard from marketers and communicators to accept: you can’t control everything. Allow the relationship to be imperfect and authentic.” She also noted that we shouldn’t limit our thinking. “Don’t think about influencers as just individuals, explore relationships with influential groups.”
  • Margaret Nam from Planit, another micro-influencer who works with influencers for her clients, discussed the tactics she has used to grow her audience in the Baltimore marketplace and the new opportunities that have come her way as a result. She noted that micro-influencers provide more opportunities for added value content, a niche, targeted audience and lower cost.

 

PRSA Maryland Chapter thanks all the event sponsors who helped make this conference possible. Click here to see who was there! 

If you attended the conference, check out the pictures below and by clicking here. If you didn’t, see what you missed.

2018 PRSA Maryland Conference Recap

130 communications professionals gather in Towson for 2018 PRSA Maryland annual conference.

Each year, the PRSA Maryland Chapter gathers together a diverse network of communication professionals at its annual conference and provides attendees with a day-long professional development and networking opportunity. Speakers share their insights, industry knowledge and, most importantly, vision for the future of public relations. The 2018 conference, held June 12 at the Baltimore Sheraton in Towson, was no exception, attracting 130 attendees and speakers.

Attendees engaged with prominent social media influencers as well as heard experts present on topics about fake news, analytics, what CMOs expect, and the latest changes in social media.

The conference keynote speaker featured a presentation by Ed Bodensiek highlighting the convergence of communications, marketing, and customer experience (CX). Click here to see the full agenda and learn more about our speakers. 

PRSA Maryland Chapter thanks all the event sponsors who helped make this conference possible. Click here to see who was there! 

If you attended the conference, check out the pictures below and by clicking here. If you didn’t, see what you missed.

Photos courtesy of Coyle Studios

Why should we, as PR professionals, care what the Chief Marketing Officer within our organization is doing?

Once upon a time, PR and Marketing were very separate disciplines. Heck, back when many of us were in college, the PR department was housed with English, journalism or communications and marketing was across campus in the business department. We were studying a separate curriculum and performed separate functions within the business unit.

Enter social media and the upheaval begins. Social media is clearly an extension of PR. It’s us telling our story to our community. Oh, but wait. Now we can boost posts and target ads to be seen by specific demographics. Sounds a little more like advertising or marketing now, right? Or does it?  

We know our days in the PR world have changed drastically over the last ten years or so. We are more concerned than ever with measurement, showing ROI and monitoring the health of our brand. Some of our marketing counterparts have been completing these tasks a little longer than we have, but in different ways. It’s time for us all to come together for ultimate success.

At our June 12 PRSA Maryland Conference, Rise of Influencer Communications, we will focus on this topic in an afternoon session with Jeb Brown, chairman, Yes& Agency; Robert Sprague, president & CEO, Yes& Agency; A.J. Guenther, director, Public Relations, ConnellyWorks (a Yes& Agency); and, Jeffrey Davis, APRmanaging partner, Van Eperen, discussing the New Role of PR: Meeting the Needs of Today’s CMO.

If you want to be at the forefront of major changes coming our way, make plans to join us at the Sheraton Baltimore North June 12. Click here for the full program and registration details.

*Read more about Jeb, Robert, A.J. and Jeff as well as all our #PRSAMD18 presenters by clicking here

PR is no longer the red-headed stepchild of sales and marketing departments. Here’s why.

by Jessie Newburn, Atigro Digital Marketing

A decade ago, I accepted a job managing the PR function for an international software development company. I was pretty excited about the opportunity and knew the company had need for the PR function to play a bigger part in its overall game plan for greater brand awareness, increased engagement and, of course, the much-desired press coverage.

On my first day there, after being greeted by my boss, we walked toward my new office.

And walked. And walked. As we turned the final corner, there was a sign someone had taped up on the corridor: “Welcome to the Caves of (company name)”

And, indeed, it felt like a cave. This hallway was the farthest hallway from the center of the office, and it was the darkest with not a speck of natural light coming in.

My office was at the end of the end of the hallway and it was known for having a mysterious and bizarre intermittent smell that somehow seeped up through a crack in the cement floor.

To me, the placement of my office spoke to the company’s attitude about PR. And I’ve heard from many others over the years that public relations is often considered the red-headed stepchild to the all-important sales function, with marketing coming in after that and PR trailing far behind in importance.

Well, I think those days are over. And here’s why.

Where I sit now, inside an SEO-focused and performance-driven company, there’s a theme I hear told to clients again and again when they embark on improving their organic search engine rankings, and it’s this: You need more content. Not just any content. You need good content. To get page rankings (and leads), you need content that starts with well-researched strategic keyphrases. You need content that is compelling; content that addresses a potential client’s pain points; content that truly provides value.

And, who, my dear comrades in communications, who else is better prepared to serve up good content than PR firms and inhouse PR staff?

We know how to craft messages, how to reach people, how to get them to care because we understand that in order for people to care, the information provided (the content created) has to be valuable.

While SEO work has for many years been done in quiet cubicles, sprinkling magical pixie dust of keywords and meta content with a dash of occasional black-hat practices, those days are gone. G-O-N-E. You simply cannot get good SEO results nowadays without, at a bare minimum, good content. (And, of course, good content that is based on a keyword strategy and content that is then optimized for SEO, but that’s getting more into the weeds.)

So, take heart, my friends. Your role as a PR person, your profession, your position at the digital marketing table is not lessening as things become more complex and sophisticated. If anything, quite the opposite.Your role is becoming more prominent, more integral, more collaborative.

That’s how it looks from our side of the table. PR professionals are more important than ever for achieving performance-driven SEO.

Jessie Newburn manages BizDev and the Partner Program at Atigro Digital Marketing. She can be reached at 202-794-7276, or at jessie@atigro.com.

p.s. Atigro Digital Marketing is a top sponsor of the 2018 PRSA Maryland Conference on June 12. Be sure to stop by and say hi to Jessie while you’re there! 

Photo by KaLisa Veer on Unsplash

 

As Social Media Evolves, So Should Your Approach

Get the inside scoop on the latest changes to social media

by Lindsay Nelson, Senior Program Manager, imre

Remember when social media was judged by how many Fans your Facebook page had? You couldn’t go a week without someone asking, “what’s our count up to now?”

If this isn’t something that feels like a blast from the past, you may be in for a bit of a surprise…

Social media continues to evolve, not just by how many people use the increasing number of platforms, or the cool new content types you can develop, but it is also changing how brands can plan, measure, and report value and impacts the actual business.

So, as the power of social media grows, and more brands are finding themselves turning to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, & LinkedIn to help share their story, it’s important to stay in touch with what really matters. Below is a list of just a few cataclysmic shifts in how we think about social media.

Likes, Comments and Shares are NOT the best way to measure value of your efforts: While not entirely misleading, these metrics can be helpful in understanding if people are interested in the content you’re sharing, but social has moved well beyond these measurements to really focus on driving value through site visits, tracking behaviors, understanding your audience, and even tracking sales lift.

Posting organically WON’T help us reach our fans: Long gone are the days of organic when it comes to brand content. In many instances, the time used to route, develop and publish content is not worth it’s weight in exposure if paid isn’t a part of your plan. This is why it’s critical to think through the value of your program in terms of reporting beyond channel metrics (like Fans, comments, shares, and likes) to really be responsible with your investment.

We should NOT just post it on social: While historically many have viewed social media as the place to share your content, it’s increasingly important to consider planning for social media before you even begin developing the content. With continued platform changes, and an endless list of potential placements for your content (pre-roll, mid-stream, in-feed – desktop and mobile, stories, & audience networks… to name a few) having a plan for the content you’re developing, and where it lives, as well as the audience you are targeting is essential to drive home the value social media can provide.

 

Of course, if you’re interested in hearing about these topics and more, please join me at the PRSA Maryland Conference on June 12! I look forward to seeing you there!

*Read more about Lindsay and all our #PRSAMD18 presenters by clicking here

Thank You to Our Chapter Sponsors

Thank You to Our Chapter Sponsors