New Pros Chapter Spotlight: PRSA Colorado

PRSA Chapter: Colorado
Location: Greater Denver Area
Chair(s): Dani Row and Bailey Gannett

Tell us about your New Pros group:
We’re a dedicated group of new professionals (a mix of young pros, professionals in the midst of career change, and those looking to stay sharp on PR trends). Our group gets together about once a month for happy hours, panels, professional development workshops, and more to help cultivate our PR skills and provide a network where we can all come together to collaborate.

How many members do you have?
We have around 100 in our email list, but around 30 active members.

What kind of programming have you put together for New Pros?
Monthly (or bimonthly) happy hours; events vary from casual networking happy hours after work to more refined events with local industry experts/professionals; twice a year we host larger events to help professionals (both PR and non-PR are encouraged to attend) where we offer an added incentive like a new headshot for LinkedIn, resume critiques, or mock interviews.

How does your group fit into the bigger picture of the chapter?
We work closely with our chapter’s communications committee to promote our events and to encourage our membership team to attend events to talk about the benefits of becoming a PRSA member.  Our group also acts a pipeline to funnel in those who have expressed interest in PRSA but have not yet committed fully to joining the organization. The New pros events are a friendly, top of funnel type of event that encourage participation from all who have even a remote interest in learning more. We often help with converting PRSSA students over to PRSA members. We also work with the Finance team on budgets (when applicable) and work with a liaison, someone who serves on the Board and can serve as the NP representative at monthly Board meetings. Oftentimes, we rely on PRSA Board members or seasoned members to help with larger events to serve as resume critics or mock interviewers.

What resources do you provide for New Pros?
Expert advice from respected members of the PR community and tips on all things PR (social media, media relations, community relations, crisis communications). Members of the NP group who are regulars get the added benefit of becoming friends with other members and using the time to network with other members for job opportunities or relationship-building

What do some of your members see as the benefit of being a part of the bigger New Pros group?
Our members utilize the New Pros group to gain industry insight on trends and knowledge, collaborate with both young and seasoned professionals, and develop professional skills necessary to propel forward in their careers.

How do you engage and recruit New Pros?
We often engage and recruit new professionals through our PRSA Colorado social media channels, through our personal social media channels, during regular PRSA chapter events and through active recruitment with local universities and their respective PRSSA chapters.

What advice do you have for New Pros for using PRSA to their best advantage?
Get involved! Joining a committee or even serving on the Board or as a chair allows you to build your network of industry professionals—you never know when this will come in handy.

Find what interests you. Not every group is the right fit for every member. Go to a few different group events and see what feels right. Once you’ve found one (or more) you like you can dedicate your time to getting more involved.

Many times, members get discounts for events outside of the NP like luncheons. Being a member certainly has its perks—and a financial gain is certainly a big one.

Contact Us!

Dani Row and Bailey Gannett are co-chairs of PRSA Colorado’s New Professional Section.

Dani Row
Dani graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Kansas State University in 2012. She is currently a public relations manager with Velocity Global, LLC, based in Denver, Colorado.
Email: danirow@velocityglobal.com

https://www.linkedin.com/in/danirow/

Bailey Gannett
Bailey graduated with a bachelor’s degree in strategic communication from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2018. She is currently a communications specialist with Cherwell Software, based in Denver, Colorado.

Email: bailey.gannett@cherwell.com

https://www.linkedin.com/in/baileygannett/

Cut Out the Noise: Curate and prioritize your digital world

Cut Out the Noise

You have 10 minutes to read the many email newsletters you generously subscribe to and 10 minutes to spend on Instagram or Twitter hoping for a burst of creative inspiration to materialize before your next meeting or before you arrive at work. If 20 minutes were all the time you might spend consuming media in a day, how would your mindless scrolling change to actively engaging?

We accept that the media influences what importance the public places on events. In the same vein, what we see on social media has the power to tell our minds what is important. Why not curate a digital feed that piques and provokes your interest? Leave behind mindless scrolling. Take control of your digital feed and give yourself content that is motivating, inspiring and intriguing. 

Whether we call it a digital meditation to manifest the reality you want or a self-fulfilling prophecy, there’s power in actively selecting what you consume through social media, email or even news notifications. 

How to cut out the noise and curate your digital world? 

  1. Know the difference between content that is noise and content that is worth consuming. This definition is different for everyone. 
  2. Seek out the best of the best content. Follow the leading brands, thought leaders and newsmakers in your industry and similar industries. 
  3. Rather than scroll and ignore, unfollow and unsubscribe. 
  4. Create a routine, so that at the end of 20 minutes you are more knowledgeable or more inspired. 
  5. Revisit what interests and inspires you. If you find content put out by a brand or influencer, or even a friend, is not serving you or bringing you down, mute or unfollow that account. 

In the span of writing this blog, my email rang with six notifications, my phone binged with four text alerts, and news alerts came through for CNN, the local NBC station, and Twitter. Our world is indisputably cluttered with content. As creative professionals and communicators, we must be experts at cutting through the noise. 

Curate your feed and subscriptions to ideas, people, brands and news that intrigue and inspire you. You might find yourself ready to take on a new challenge, to dig deeper, or more energized to stay curious. 

New Pros Recommend: Podcasts

Not quite an audio book and not quite talk radio, podcasts are the next great commuter companion. There are currently over 750,000 podcasts with more than 30 million episodes according to an article from Podcast Insights updated in June 2019. The same article reported that more than half the U.S. population has listened to a podcast.

The variety of podcasts has grown so much over the last few years, there is something out there for everyone and every interest. Podcasts can be informational, entertaining, suspenseful, investigative and so much more. Below are a few podcast recommendations from PRSA New Pros members.

Podcast: The Daily

Summary: This is how the news should sound. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, hosted by Michael Barbaro and powered by New York Times journalism.

Recommended by: Arielle Schrader, Senior Account Executive, Small Girls PR

Why you should listen: “I listen to The Daily because politics are overwhelming to me and they do a great job of recapping recent political news in layman’s terms!”

Podcast: Hello Monday

Summary: A show where senior editor at large Jessi Hempel investigates the changing nature of work, and how that work is changing us. What does work mean to us? Should we love what we do? Join Jessi as she talks with guests such as Seth Meyers, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Melinda Gates to unearth lessons that apply to our own careers. These conversations are enriched by original reporting by LinkedIn’s managing editor, Caroline Fairchild.

Recommended by: Robyn Rudish-Laning, Senior Marketing & Communications Manager, Airports Council International – North America

Why Robyn recommends Hello Monday: “I love Hello Monday from LinkedIn because it features guests across a variety of industries to discuss ‘how we’re changing the nature of work, and how that work is changing us.’ It’s great to hear from people about their own career journeys and discussions and topics have sparked new ideas for me on a lot of things, from how to handle obstacles in the office to making my own new opportunities and a whole lot more.”

Podcast: How I Built This

Summary: Guy Raz dives into the stories behind some of the world’s best known companies. How I Built This weaves a narrative journey about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists—and the movements they built.

Recommended by: Emma Finkbeiner, Digital Media Coordinator, Chicago Cubs

Why you should listen:

“How I Built This is both inspiring and fascinating. Inspiring because it makes you realize that some of the most well-known brands, companies and founders had a journey full of challenges before they achieved success. Fascinating because the stories behind Warby Parker, Lyft, Whole Foods, Stitch Fix and more will surprise you.”

Podcast: WorkLife

Summary: Organizational psychologist Adam Grant takes you inside the minds of some of the world’s most unusual professionals to explore the science of making work not suck. From learning how to love criticism to harnessing the power of frustration, one thing’s for sure: You’ll never see your job the same way again.

Recommended by: Sarah G. Dougherty, Associate, Financial Services

Why Sarah recommends WorkLife: “WorkLife makes you think outside the box. I love it because it addresses common workplace challenges and career themes, but incorporates unique perspectives that come together to make strong points and tangible takeaways for everyday life, no matter what your career path may be. I listen on my walk to work and find myself excited and already thinking about ways to apply what Adam Grant and the guests have discussed that day. A recent episode called ‘Become friends with your rivals’ incorporates the role of competition in success that was really captivating, but you really can’t go wrong with any of the episodes!”

Should You Do a Woke Campaign or Not?

Social media has an undeniable power to communicate, connect and inspire. For brands, social media is also a way to engage with, listen to and understand your audience for more effective campaigns.

Take Nike. One of the most recognizable brands in the world and no stranger to controversial campaigns, now called woke campaigns, that provoke social debates. In 2018, the brand decided to align a major campaign with Colin Kaepernick’s protest on social justice.

While most would find socially- or politically-charged campaigns to be a risky move, Nike had the upper hand – audience insight. Knowing that its target audience tends to be more liberal and socially conscientious, Nike found this campaign to be a risk worth taking.

Even within this very polarized social environment, if you know your target audience, and if you know your message is going to jibe well with your target audience, there is a greater chance that your PR campaign can really help your business.

I have researched Nike’s recent campaign, specifically focusing on how Nike’s target audience behaved on Twitter compared to the general U.S. public based on the six days of big Twitter data when most social conversations took place. While the campaign was not without negative pushback, the overall sentiment from the target audience was more positive than that of their target publics, and successfully positioned their brand at the center of social discussion. In sum, my study suggests that Nike had successfully energized its target audience, and later Nike reported on their increased sales in the initially troubled North America market.

Public relations practitioners should, however, weigh the risks and benefits before launching campaigns, especially those built around social issues.

As long as your target audience is getting the message and they are excited about your campaign, then it could eventually help your business and help your reputation and image.

Source: What does Corporate Social Advocacy (CSA) do for a brand? Twitter Analysis of Nike’s Kaepernick Campaign Case. Lee & Rim (2018).
5555555[1]YoungAh Lee is the director of the public relations graduate program with a diverse educational and professional background. Her research focuses on investigating the impact of strategic communication with an emphasis on reputation management and social media. Her approach to public relations emphasizes the role of reputation, believing that businesses best succeed when they align their communication and business goals. Recently, she has turned her focus to social network analysis to have a more theory-driven understanding of rich social media data while developing media analytics curriculum.

 

 

Ball State University was founded in 1918 and is located in Muncie, Indiana, 55 miles northeast of Indianapolis. At more than 22,500 students, enrollment for the 2017–18 academic year is Ball State’s largest ever. Students come from all Indiana counties, all 50 states and 68 countries. Ball State’s seven academic colleges offer 190 undergraduate majors, 130 undergraduate minors 140 graduate programs and 200 study abroad programs. Ball State students, faculty and staff are empowered in a culture that believes in them and demands they believe in themselves. Three of every four Ball State graduates choose to live, work and play in Indiana. Alumni hold leadership positions in businesses and communities across the state and the nation. Ball State has been named one of the best universities in the Midwest by The Princeton Review for more than a decade.

3 International Communications Lessons from a New Pro

Somehow, I was blessed to secure a global marketing communications role right out of college (okay, I worked at Panera for a few months beforehand, but, hey, it worked out). After being immersed in the literal world of communications for a few years, here are three things I learned as an international communicator.

  1. Non-traditional hours: the good and the bad

Whether it’s a call with China at 9pm (your time) or a 4am webinar with the Netherlands, some days and weeks will bring the strangest hours you’ve ever worked. There are plenty of pros to this weirdness, namely the excitement and flexibility that come with a non-traditional schedule. Working the nine to five grind can get repetitive; it’s nice to shake things up a little. Plus there’s a satisfying sense of intrigue when you can say you started the day by meeting with Europe. But be warned: while you may feel like 007 when you’re first starting out, you may also learn just how unrealistic Mr. Bond’s lifestyle is.

The obvious downers to odd hours include irregular sleep schedules, meetings at odd times, and a general lack of routine. The less obvious involve the quality and quantity of your work – tiredness and an unstable schedule can easily affect your productivity.

In addition to how you handle a non-traditional work schedule, be wary of your employers’ approach. Make sure any odd hours you log taking calls or traveling are accounted for as what they are – work time. If you’re putting in 40 hours at the office AND taking early morning calls or flying 20 hours in the same week, you might want to reevaluate your company’s culture around work-life balance. Having an international work schedule is fun and fine as long as it doesn’t quietly take over your personal time.

  1. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is here (and kind of a good idea)

Personal time is important, and so is personal information. That’s why the GDPR exists and came to be fully enforced last year. In case you aren’t familiar, the basic premise of GDPR requires a new level of transparency and consent for marketers using consumer data. For example, if a customer registers for a newsletter by submitting their email, GDPR mandates the email address can only be used to send the newsletter. Unless the consumer explicitly opts into other communications, their information can’t be used for other tactics. Many companies in the US have already adopted this trend of opting-in, but this has been an optional courtesy rather than a legal requirement.

You’re probably wondering: how could a policy that cuts communications be good for marketers? In my opinion, these regulations lead to a better understanding of our audiences. By requiring consent, the ball is placed in the audience’s court. A GDPR set-up could make consumers more transparent because an audience’s decision to opt in or out of certain communications could say more than vague email open rates or website impressions. Plus, marketers operating under these types of policies might be forced to think more outside the box to reach their targets, and innovation is never a bad thing.

Even if you don’t agree about these possible positives, I learned there’s a real potential for more consumer-focused restrictions like GDPR to come into play, worldwide. It’s an important topic for new pros to be aware of as we enter the workforce and adapt our educations to the real world.

  1. Listening + asking questions = the secret sauce for international comm’s success

In my experience, American marketers move fast and feel they must be on the “cutting edge” 24/7. The success and adaptability our country’s communicators may lead you to believe Americans are fairly middle-of-the-road on a global scale, meaning we can work with foreign teams without much difficulty. This is only partially true at best.

I know from experience. My limited international experience and the company’s English-only policy resulted in my underestimation the effect cultural barriers can have on your communication skills. For example, I learned:

  • Just because some countries seem similar, doesn’t mean they are. Our colleagues in Italy and Spain stressed extremely different pain points after we introduced a global campaign to each office. Only after meeting with them one-on-one and taking the time to listen did we understand we couldn’t put Europe into a single bucket when developing a strategy.
  • “Cutting edge” is a fluid, global adjective. When our Thai colleagues shared a “cutting edge” social media strategy involving anime cartoon characters and egg-related recipes, my boss and I ended the call worried about the effect these tactics would have on our global campaign. After another call to question them, the Thai office graciously shared some amazing social engagement stats. We were floored and immediately learned to put more trust into foreign, “cutting edge” ideas.

I highly recommend The Culture Map by Erin Meyer to anyone interested in a global role – this book contains great data and personal insights as the author paints an experienced picture of how the world communicates.

If you’d like to share any lessons not included in this post, please comment or reach out to me. I always love discussing this topic.

Craig TierneyCraig Tierney is the Content Specialist for Kenzie Academy, an Indianapolis-based coding school + tech apprenticeship startup. He’s also a freelance Content Marketer through his business With It Communications. Craig’s international experience comes from a past role as Global Marketing Communications Specialist in the agricultural industry. Website: https://craigtierney.com/