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Despite the threat of snow looming in the skies over Baltimore, the State of PR panel went off without a hitch. The panel consisted of veteran PR pros Jeffrey Davis, APR of Sawmill Marketing and Judith Phair, APR, Fellow PRSA of PhairAdvantage, and was moderated by another veteran Harry Bosk, APR of The Write Image. It was a great discussion with plenty of participation from the audience. Two of the biggest takeaways are

PR is not dead! Although the tools of PR have changed, the fundamentals – the core – of PR is the same (e.g., relationship building, strategic planning, crisis communications, media relations).
Ethics is an area where PR pros and PRSA can and should take the lead. This is especially true in this digital age where control and accuracy of information is a challenge.

Other tips included:

State of PR PanelOn client relations…
• Be upfront with clients to manage their expectations on media placement. It’s unethical to make unrealistic commitments.
• Conduct media relations training with clients.
• Develop a crisis communications plan including generic tweets that communicate but don’t give out specific information. Always be sure to only give out what you have, not what you believe, i.e., don’t give out information that you can’t confirm.

On technology…
• Technology is opening new opportunities. You can now be exactly where your audience is.
• It’s not enough to know how to do social media; you need to know what to do to make it most effective.
• Listen before engaging. Find the needs. Also know – and understand – your audience
• Personal contact is still number one.

On media relations…
• Contact media via Twitter – use the DM option. More effective than emails.
• When working with media, PR professionals must be accessible and prepared to respond immediately.

The Panel also talked about the importance of following thought leaders and relevant media as well as reading and consuming news every day. They each shared their go-to reading lists…

Jeff Davis

I mentioned the For Immediate Release network of podcasts as my go-to “secret” source for keeping up with social media. Also, Scott Monty, head of social media for Ford, is a great source. And Christopher Penn has an excellent newsletter to keep you on top of what’s happening in PR and social media (and more):  

Judy Phair

In addition to several daily newspapers, including the Financial Times for a more global news perspective, I get daily feeds from the Public Relations and Communications Professionals group on LinkedIn and subscribe to a variety of specialized daily news and news trends lists from various sources;

Since many of my clients are in the education arena, I find Inside Higher Ed, an online newsletter published daily, a great source. You can subscribe here for the daily feed.

I also subscribe to the daily InVocus Media Articles Blog.  Contact InVocus Media Blog Articles sbenson@vocus.com to get information on subscribing. I should also add that InVocus Media Articles blog is filled with news of media staff changes, new assignments, etc. – critical stuff!

And daily postings from Poynter Institute – great stuff on what’s going on in the media business. You can contact Poynter Institute at newsletters@newsletters.poynter.org.

Harry Bosk

“Reputation: Realizing Value from the Corporate Image” by Charles J. Fombrun, Harvard University Press. It’s an old book but the principles still apply.

–Industry News