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In a world of fake news – actual fake news, not fact-based reports a particular individual doesn’t like – the need for reliable sources of accurate and insightful information has never been greater. Journalists and public relations professionals alike must be increasingly vigilant in how they collect, attribute and disseminate information in order to maintain their credibility amid considerable public skepticism about the work they undertake each day.

Add to this dynamic the rise of influencer marketing – where select individuals with wildly different backgrounds, missions and agendas – can project a digital voice as far and wide as some traditional news outlets, and it’s clear every new communications opportunity the digital/social age affords comes with its own potential pitfalls.

No brand is immune to this reality. The question is how do we, in the PR profession, navigate this. “The best way to keep pace with the various opportunities and risks that today’s market presents is to directly engage with journalists, influencers and peers,” says Dave Curley, SVP and Corporate Communications and Reputation Management Team lead at Sandy Hillman Communications.

One place to do this is at the PRSA Maryland Conference – the Rise of Influencer Communications on June 12, which includes a media panel discussing the implications of Fake News as well as a panel of Influencers and PR strategists decoding influencer marketing strategy.

Ultimately, PR teams that succeed in this environment recognize that “credibility is the ultimate currency,” says Curley, who encourages clients to embrace four communications tenets:

  • Speak with authenticity and authority
  • Don’t speculate – share vetted, fact-based information
  • Act quickly and aggressively to correct inaccurate information in public forums
  • Own your mistakes and apologize when you’re wrong (and vigorously defend yourself when you aren’t)

Is your PR team living these tenets? Are you positioned to leverage the burgeoning communications opportunities in the age of influencer communications?

 

PRSA Maryland 2018 June Conference Related Sessions

The Fake News Phenomenon with Tom Baden, Jr., editor, The Daily Record; Colin Campbell, reporter, Baltimore Sun; Kelly Swoope, news anchor, WMAR-2; Dr. Richard Vatz, professor of rhetoric and communication, Towson University; Moderator:  Debra Schindler, regional director of PR and media, MedStar Health

Explore the state of news media and the fake news phenomenon sweeping the world. Members of the media reveal how fake news impacts their work, how they report news now, and the future of journalism. Learn how communication professionals can work with members of the news media to ensure the highest caliber of information is delivered. Get a sneak peek into newsroom discussions and the editorial decision-making process in the modern age.

Rise of Influencer Communications:  Changing the Face of PR and Marketing with Christine Carter, influencer and global consumer marketing strategy analyst, McCormick & Company; Jill Smokler, founder, Scary Mommy; Margaret Nam, influencer and social media manager, Planit; and Jessica Fast, Abel Communications

Connecting with target audiences and increasing earned reach in social media is becoming difficult due to restrictive content algorithms. Enter influencer communications. Get a 360° view of social media influencer communications and learn how it’s changing the face of PR and marketing. You’ll interact with agencies and influencers to discover how and why influencers are changing how brands reach today’s audiences. Get tips on where to find influencers who are best for your brand and key how-to’s from pay v. trade, contracts, and measuring.

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