Learning a lot at Uncharted Territory-our Professional Development Conference
By Stephanie Skordas, President-elect, Tar Hill Chapter
We had a nice crowd at the Elliott University Center at UNCG on October 22nd for our chapter’s professional development conference. If your schedule didn’t permit you to attend, here’s a quick recap.
Keynoter Jim Lukaszewski started us off nicely, talking about the “new normal” in public relations, with good reminders about how tried and true basics work in every communications channel. He charmingly warned us about “The Seven PR Pitfalls”: changing the truth, complacency, fronting, shallowness, shortcuts, cowardice and whininess and reminded us that we have to determine our own personal protected beliefs and virtues to navigate troubled waters.
I attended Katie Neal of Mullen’s marketing to women breakout session, and we had a dynamic group chatting about how “making it pink” isn’t the answer when it comes to marketing to women. You know where to start? By listening. If you ask your customers what they want, they’ll usually tell you.
We had two other great breakout sessions-if only I could have been in all three at once!
Ann Subervi, the ethical optimist, said something during her midday keynote that just resonated with me: Good PR is not easy, but bad PR is! She says it’s time to hit the reset button on PR and remember that we should be counselors, not mouthpieces. When our clients want us to pitch a story that doesn’t have news value, we should nicely and honestly tell them so. And then help them find a story that the public wants to follow.
I was so jazzed about ethics, that I followed Ann to her breakout session, where we talked more in depth about the recent FTC guidelines about disclosure, that a news release is considered commerical speech and has limited protections under the First Amendment. Great stuff.
Our day ended with Nicole Ducouer, morning anchor at WXII-TV who gave our interested PR professionals great advice about how to get stories covered, when to call the assignment desk and how pitching a story for the station’s web site could help spread your client’s news.