Looking to 2017

looking-ahead-2017

Welcome to 2017, New Pros!

While some of us may continue to write “2016” when we write dates on press releases and meeting agendas, it is very much 2017. None of us can tell the future, but we, as your 2017 PRSA New Pros Blog co-chairs, know that 2017 will be a year full of change.

How do we react to change, and adapt to whatever is thrown our way–both in our professional and personal lives? This is something that new pros need to consider as they start their careers and grow into seasoned professionals.

We learn from change, whether we view that change as positive or negative.

This year, the blog will explore many topics from month to month. However, what will remain throughout the year is that we, as new pros, will connect and leverage the events of 2017–whatever they may be–to change ourselves for the better.

In the words of Henry David Thoreau,

Things do not change; we change.

We look forward to experiencing 2017 with you.

Cheers!
Lindsay Moeller + Greg Rokisky

About your blog co-chairs

lindsay-moeller

LINDSAY MOELLER

Lindsay is a Public Relations Executive for Two Rivers Marketing in Des Moines, Iowa, where she writes content and connects with the media. In addition to her role as co-chair for the PRSA New Pros blog, Lindsay serves on the Central Iowa PRSA board as the professional development/networking co-chair and volunteers as part of the Event Management Team for the Des Moines Arts Festival. In her downtime, Lindsay likes to read, pretend to be good at running and yoga, search the internet for caticorns, binge watch TV shows and hang out with her cats while drinking coffee (or perhaps some really strong tea).  

greg-rokisky

GREG ROKISKY

Greg works remotely as a social media and community manager for Streamline Publishing, a national corporation, as well as a freelance creative services consultant. He resides in Lansing, MI where he serves as the Central Michigan PRSA New Professionals vice-chair, PACE Awards chair, Director-At-Large, 2016-17 East Central District Diamond Awards chair. Outside of PRSA, he serves as the Membership Chair for Lansing’s Grand River Connection, a young professional networking group, as well as the 2017-18 President of the Social Media Association of Michigan. In his down time, he’s either reading a book, snapping some photos or catching the latest Indie films…all while sipping on a cup (or five) of coffee. Connect with Greg on Twitter or Linkedin.

Meet the rest of the 2017 PRSA New Pros Executive Committee HERE.

Write for The Edge

Have an interest in being published on The Edge? Check out our monthly themes below. Not seeing where your topic would fit in? No worries! Shoot Lindsay and Greg an email and they’ll work to get you scheduled into their posting schedule.

  • January: Jump-start to 2017, Welcome from PRSA New Pros National
  • February: Digital/social media + The evolving PR landscape
  • March: What does PR look like for you? (Do you work remotely? Do you work in non-profit? At an agency? Tell us your PR story.)
  • April: Continuing education (accreditation, graduate studies, alternative education + beyond)
  • May: Graduation tips and leadership
  • June: Measurement, math + PR: Embracing the data
  • July: PR book reviews
  • August: Diversity in PR and New Pros Week
  • September: PR ethics
  • October: ICON month and networking
  • November: New technology and tools
  • December: 2017 recap + looking ahead to 2018 (planning, work resolutions, etc.)

When submitting an idea, please note the topic, and which month’s theme it fits into.

Click HERE to contact the co-chairs via email.

As a reminder, contributors must be a PRSA New Professionals/PRSA paid member to be published on The Edge.

General Post Tips/Guidelines

  • Posts should be between 300-600 words in most cases.
  • Send a photo with your post and attribute the source of the photo.
  • Attribute the source, speaker or author if you include statistics, facts, quotes or surveys.
  • Start a conversation by ending the post with a question for readers.
  • Write a short biography for the end of the post. Things to include: name, job position, PRSA Chapter and social media links. Please submit a headshot if possible.

Why a Blog Can Change A Business: Three Arguments to Back You Up in the C-suite

Why a blog canIf your client or organization is looking to implement an integrated marketing strategy, a blog may be one vital tool for success. However, proposing the idea of a blog many times comes with resistance from the C-suite. If you’re trying to sway this crowd, make sure you’re prepared with these three arguments to get them on board:

1. Blogs are shareable. There is no limit to the amount of times a blog can be shared online. Start by creating great content on your site, and then use social media to promote links back to that content. You’ve heard that adage, “If you want to catch more fish, cast a wider net.” The same principle applies here. Shareable content helps you reach the maximum amount of potential customers. And an added bonus – blogging can help your SEO rankings if you include clickable links and keywords in your posts.

2. Blogs give you an opportunity to engage your audience. Audiences won’t believe your brand is better just because you say it is. Your potential customers need to trust you and your products or services, and the best way to build trust is through engagement. Blogging gives you the prime opportunity to interact with your audience – if you do it the right way. You have to make an effort to build a rapport with your audience by responding to comments on your blog, answering questions or interacting on social media.

There are several reasons why marketing and public relations are shifting away from the traditional TV and radio approach, and one reason is because they don’t give audiences the opportunity to talk back. Blogging does, but it won’t be effective if the audience doesn’t feel like you’re listening. The interaction in blogging creates the two-way communication that is the basis for trusted relationships. (Tweet this!) 

3. Blogging makes you look like a genius. Customers want to believe that they are getting service from the best of the best. Blogging is a great way to show how much you know about your product or field of service. When you share information about what you know, audiences can put trust in your experience (it always circles back to trust). Blogging about tips or inside information about your product or service lets customers know that you care about helping them.

To make an extra impact on your customers, get your organization’s leadership involved in blogging. They can blog about the industry, or they could blog about their hobbies. It really doesn’t matter what they are writing about as long as they are open, honest, and engage with the audience. When customers trust an organization’s leadership, they are more likely to be loyal to the brand. You need to convert potential customers into customers, but then you need to convert customers into repeat customers. Blogging can help you do that by renewing your audience’s faith in the organization with each post.

What results has your company or organization seen from blogging? 

Jennifer MaterkoskiJennifer Materkoski is a graduate of Kent State University with a Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications with a specialization in Public Relations. She has worked as a writer and editor for both newspaper and television and as a member of a non-profit marketing and development team. Materkoski is the owner and principal consultant of a boutique public relations firm, Songbird Public Relations. She is an avid sports fan and a yogi and also owns and operates an online store selling essential oils and natural products. Materkoski resides in Wheeling, West Virginia with her husband and son. Find her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter @MrsMaterkoski. She can be reached via email at jen@songbirdpublicrelations.com.

A New Pro’s Guide to To Starting Your Own Blog

By now, you’ve probably heard all of the reasons why you should start a blog. Maintaining your own website and blog helps you further develop your personal brand, improves your writing skills and can even lead to new career opportunities and freelance gigs.blogging-blog2 But what you might not know is how to start a blog.

Here are six steps to help you launch your own blog:

1. Select a topic (or don’t pick one at all). Before you begin blogging, you should have a general idea of what you want to blog about. Many pro bloggers advise new bloggers to select a niche for the best chance at getting noticed in a sea of other blogs. I personally ignore this advice. When I started my blog almost two years ago, I knew I wanted to blog about many topics: PR, writing, running, yoga, personal branding. Instead of picking a niche, I selected a more general theme (Get Gutsy) and have been blogging successfully under that umbrella topic ever since. Don’t feel pressured to pigeonhole yourself into a niche you may lose interest in a couple years down the line. Think long-term.

2. Choose a platform. WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr…the options for choosing a blogging platform are endless. However, if you ask me, the choice is simple. If you have any interest in using your blog to make money at any point or simply want a more professional presence, go with WordPress. WordPress.com is completely free and even allows you the opportunity to buy your own domain (i.e. JessicaLawlor.com instead of JessicaLawlor.Wordpress.com). When you’re ready, you can upgrade to WordPress.org, which allows you to self-host and gives you access to many more design and plug-in options. Still not sure? This The Next Web piece can help you select a platform.

3. Make it pretty. Of course, your blog’s content should shine, but aesthetic is important, too. When someone stumbles onto your blog, a visually-pleasing and easy on the eye design will help them stick around to consume your content. WordPress.com offers many free themes with limited customization. That’s a great place to start. When you decide to get more serious about blogging, you may consider hiring a web designer for a more advanced and professional presence.

4. Help readers find and get to know you better. Before your blog launches, there are a few very important things you should have in place to allow your readers the opportunity to get to know you and your blog.

  • About page: Develop an “About” page where readers can learn more about who you are and what they can expect from your blog. Down the line, you may also use this page to direct new readers to some of your most popular posts.

  • Portfolio: If you’d like to use your blog to attract potential career or freelance opportunities, be sure to showcase your resume or links to guest blog posts or other writing and work samples.

  • Contact: Be sure to make it easy for readers to contact you! I personally have a tab on my site called “Contact” with a form

  • Social media buttons: Help your readers connect with you on other platforms by including social media buttons on the main page of your site.

5. Pick a frequency. Many people don’t start a blog because they think if they don’t have the time to blog every day, it won’t be worth their while. This is completely false! There are many, many successful blogs out there that don’t post as often as you might think you need to post to make a splash. Pick a frequency you can commit to; maybe that’s once a week, maybe it’s just twice a month. Whatever your frequency, stick with it, so your readers know when to expect you!

6. Get started! What are you waiting for? Many people wait for the *perfect* time to launch their blogs, but in reality, there is no perfect time. It’s challenging (especially for us Type A PR pros) to start something without a solid plan in place, but know that your blog will always be a work in progress. My site has been live for almost two years and every day, I make tiny tweaks to it to continue improving my reader’s experience. If you start now, you will reap the benefits much faster.

Have other tips for starting a blog? Share them in the comments below!

Jessica-44Jessica Lawlor is the marketing and communications coordinator for Visit Bucks County, the official tourism promotion agency for Bucks County, PA. She serves on the PRSA New Pros executive committee as a PRSSA liaison. In her free time, Jessica is a freelance writer and blogs at JessicaLawlor.com about getting gutsy-stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals. You can connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Interested in freelance writing and personal branding? Jessica Lawlor is teaching a session on personal branding for freelance writers in an online course called Launch A Freelance Writing Career. Click here for more details.