The question is often asked, “How has social media impacted your business?” Many business owners are debating whether using social media as a marketing strategy is useful to their bottom line. In my opinion, social media is great for a variety of industries but you have to combine your virtual networking with some face time. The focus is no longer on the quantity of people in your network but the quality. Combining online connections with an actual relationships is the key to quality.
One day while browsing Facebook, I saw a contest for a free ticket to the Power Plug PR conference scheduled for Saturday, March 23 in Atlanta GA on the Georgia State University campus. To enter the contest, you needed to post a picture of yourself along with the Power Plug PR logo on your Instagram and tag the company. Sounded easy and fun. I entered and I WON! Yes, the lady who never wins anything, won a free admission to the Power Plug PR conference… I was #PluggedIn!
What did I learn while there?
- How to pitch journalist... Keep it short and sweet… Don’t assume you have a relationship with them just because they run one of your stories… Read their editorial calendars and ensure your pitch is relevant… Be able to deliver, honestly
- The new essentials in press packs… Yeah, they’re not really press kits anymore because more journalist are looking for packs of information with live links to video and audio (don’t send the actual files or high resolution pictures unless requested), especially if you are in the entertainment industry. Take the guess-work and research out of them having to discover who your client is by including enough information for them to have a glimpse into their personality
- Internships in a variety of industries will be most beneficial to students seeking to break into the public relations industry. PR is about more than promoting parties and representing celebrities. Aspiring PR pros should also attempt to get some corporate experience to assist in building your negotiation skills and the depth of your contacts.
- Don’t put so much focus on climbing the ladder. Walk up the mountain with your peers. Rather than focusing on making friends with those at the top, build relationships with those on your level because you will grow in the industry together. There will b plenty of time to meet and greet in the big leagues, make sure you have skill set to stay there once you get there.
- Do you know what a meme is? I didn’t either… apparently, it is those graphics with the words on them that often have nothing to do with what the picture is actually about. Not sure how that will help you but it was an interesting tidbit of information.
- Sponsorship dollars are out there but the standards for getting the money and keeping the relationship is changing. Sponsors are no longer throwing money at brands (apparently, this was happening at one point) but they now want to see a return on their investment in the form of sales. In my world, I thought this was always the expectation. Before pitching a sponsor for your event or client, think about what you can realistically deliver, how you will measure your success and whether the partnership is a good fit for both parties.
- Your creativity is your biggest asset in this industry. Don’t be so quick to give away all of your ideas without a nondisclosure agreement or until the client has hired you.
- Publicists are still valuable assets. I am sure that most people with Twitter, Facebook and/or a blog can consider themselves a Public Relations Professional but publicists bring a few tools to the woodshed that your social media network may be missing like strategy, relationships with other publicists and corporations but most importantly, the ability to help you tell a story about your brand rather than throwing random information at the public.
If you see #PowerPlugPR coming to a city near you, check it out and get #PluggedIn. Not only is it a great networking opportunity but you will be amazed at how much you can learn about the industry. PR is more than planning events and sending out press releases.
Take a look at some of the speakers from the Atlanta event…
Amy Keith – Ebony Magazine, CocoaFab.com
Angela Watts – AW Media Group
Ashia Sims – Women Interactive
@ashia / @womeninteractiv
Carmen Davenporte-McNeal – TNT & TBS
Chris Watkins – Thrillist.com
Christal Jordan – Enchanted PR
Daniel Dickey – The Garner Circle PR
Davida Selby – Edelman
Dre Barnes – Social Media Expert
Gyant – BET.com
I’na Saulsberry – The Starfire Group
@inasaulsberry / @thestarfiregroup
Jana Hicks – Rolling Out
Janee Bolden – Bossip.com
Keshia Walker – Insights Marketing
Margaret Kargbo – iWonder Media Group
Maurice Garland – XXL, Vibe
Meredith Mobley- Thought Bubble Communications
Monica Coleman – M320 Consulting
Myleik Teele – curlBOX
Nicole Garner – The Garner Circle PR
@thegarnercircle / @tgcpragency
Sabrina Harvey – Women Interactive
@fridaygirlTV / @womeninteractiv
Satchel Jester – Upscale Magazine
Tahira Wright – Branded PR
@BPRTahira / @brandedPR
Tifini Gatlin – Tastemaker Magazine
Zing Shaw – Edelman