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January 5, 2015

5 Resolutions Every PR Pro Can Use in 2015

By Kathleen McFadden, 8:26 am

As clichéd as it may sound, making resolutions is a great way to reflect on the past 12 months and pinpoint areas where you can make a positive change in the year ahead. From one public relations practitioner to another, here are some of my 2015 resolutions.

Be (even) more organized. Whether it’s color-coding your inbox or getting to work early in order to map out your daily tasks, organization is one of the most important traits of a public relations professional. Being on top of your work means you’ll be more available to help out a colleague in need or jump on a new project when asked.

Volunteer with local organizations. In addition to being good for the soul, giving back is also good for your health and your career. Whether it’s your local PRSA chapter or a nonprofit whose cause is close to your heart, bump up your involvement in at least one organization this year. An added bonus is that you’ll likely make new friends in the process – something that studies show is tough to do in adulthood.

Give back to PR newbies. Say “yes” to that informational interview with a PR student. Speak at a local university’s PRSSA chapter. Share your tips with new or soon-to-be public relations pros by regularly joining Twitter chats (#PRStudChat is a great one, by the way). Who knows – you may just find your next intern or entry-level employee.

Stop saying you’re “crazy busy.” Everyone says they’re too busy, surveys show. Nowadays, being busy is how we show we’re successful; it has become a badge of honor. But many of us seem to forget that busyness is often a choice. If you always feel “swamped,” figure out ways to free up your schedule. Make 2015 the year you focus on being present rather than being busy.

Put your health first. A blog post on resolutions isn’t complete without this one. No matter how hectic your schedule may be, it’s important for those of us in PR – consistently ranked one of the most stressful jobs – to make time for regular exercise. Hitting the pavement, the gym or a yoga class before or after the workday will do wonders for both your body and mind.

What are some of your resolutions for 2015?

December 24, 2014

4 Christmas Tunes, PR-ified

By Megan Keohane, 1:34 pm

I don’t know about you, but my office has been filled with the seasonal sounds of the *NSYNC Holiday station on Pandora for a solid six weeks now (I’m a bit Christmas-obsessed). Although, have you ever heard a song so often that you start making up your own lyrics? Me, too (maybe I’m slightly influenced by Jimmy Fallon).

So, here you go. Four of my very favorite holiday songs, modified to fit into our PR

Jingle Bell Rock
Original lyrics:
Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock
Jingle bells chime in jingle bell time
Dancing and prancing in Jingle Bell Square
In the frosty air.

My lyrics:
Email bell, email bell, email bell rock
Email bells chime from morning through night
Notifications popping up everywhere
On my desktop there.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays
Original lyrics:
It’s a wonderful feeling
Feel the love in the room from the floor to the ceiling
It’s that time of year
Christmas time is here.

My lyrics:
It’s a wonderful feeling
When a top-tier reporter responds immediately
Clients, have no fear
Interview time is here.

All I Want for Christmas is You
Original lyrics:
I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is you.

My lyrics:
I just want hits for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want is my client in the news.

Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town
Original lyrics:
You better watch out, you better not cry
You better not pout, I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is comin’ to town.

My lyrics:
You better smile big, you better not cry
You better not pout, I’m telling you why
Media tour is comin’ to town.

Have any of your own clever lyrics? Share with us in the comments.

Merry Christmas from all of us at Buchanan Public Relations!

December 3, 2014

10 Struggles PR Professionals Know Too Well, As Depicted By Dogs

By Maddie Klein, 9:30 am

Although I’m still a newbie in the world of public relations, there are several things I’ve already realized I will face throughout my career that will cause stress, panic, and probably even make me question my sanity. These are situations that PR professionals deal with on the regular. Allow these dogs to further explain.

1. When there’s a typo – or worse, multiple typos – in an article about a client:


I can’t bear to read on.

2. Not getting a single response to the amazing pitch you just spent the entire day perfecting:



3. Hearing people use “PR” as a verb:


No, I cannot “PR” this for you.

4. When your friends and family ask what you do for a living for the umpteenth time:


To be honest, sometimes I’m not entirely sure.

5. When tasks are added to your “To-Do” list faster than you can check them off:


It’s like I’m getting nowhere!

6. When something goes wrong with Mail Merge:


You’ve foiled me again, technology.

7. Always being at least a little sleep-deprived:


“PR is not a 9 to 5 job” is our mantra.

8. Getting to go to all kinds of events and parties, but not being able to enjoy them because you’re just there to make sure things run smoothly for your client:


9. When a social media site goes down just when you need to post something important:


What did I do to deserve this?

10. Thinking of the PERFECT campaign idea when you wake up in the middle of the night… and then completely forgetting it in the morning:


Despite these difficulties, we PR practitioners love what we do. It’s the unexpected challenges we face on a daily basis that keep our jobs exciting and make our successes that much sweeter. So, go ahead and call us crazy for enduring more stress than any one person should, but we’re perfectly happy with our career choice!

November 17, 2014

Lessons I Learned From Bartending That I Now Apply to PR

By Christina Dudley, 10:59 am

I was the stereotypical college student who was quick with a joke or to light up your smoke, (not so much anymore in PA), and yes, you guessed correctly, I bartended my way through college. It was fun, it paid the bills and I learned a few things other than just how to make a dirty martini.

While my experiences bartending made for good life lessons in general, they are also – funnily enough – applicable to the world of PR. 

Drum roll, please!

1. Look Out for Your Clients Whether They Like it or Not.

While part of a bartender’s job description is to make sure everyone is having a good time, it is equally important to make sure they are safe. If that means taking away their keys and calling a cab, then so be it. The same holds true when working with PR clients. It’s our job to advise and steer them in the direction that makes the most sense for their business or organization. While they may sometimes be reluctant to implement our recommendations, they almost always thank us for them later. Buchanan Public Relations, Philadelphia Public Relations agency, Christina Dudley, bartending

2. Communication is Key!

I can’t tell you how many times I have repeated a drink order back to someone, then made and delivered the drink only to be told that it’s wrong. Granted, sometimes there is loud music playing, but being able to properly articulate what you want and how you want it is necessary in being able to deliver. In PR, clear communication is what it’s all about – and it’s vital to your success in this profession. You must be able to communicate effectively with both clients and the media to ensure you are delivering the appropriate messages.

3. Must be Able to Multitask.

While bartending, you have a number of things to remember. The guy at the end needs change for his drinks, this group of young women in the middle wants three shots of lemon drops with one kamikaze shot and you have to put in a food order for the couple sitting by the service bar – a burger, hold the top part of the bun, medium well, sub blue cheese with the lettuce, tomato and onion on a separate plate, and they want their fries extra crispy. It can get hectic, but if you are able to prioritize these tasks and aim for maximum efficiency, you can make everyone happy. It’s the same in PR; you have to get into a rhythm and make sure you prioritize a day of social media posting, press release writing, pitching and strategic planning so you don’t find yourself “in the weeds” at 2:00 p.m. and not delivering for your clients.

4. Unwinding After the Work Day

Although not surprising coming from a bartender, my favorite tip is this: have a glass of wine at the end of the day, or go to a yoga class, binge-watch your favorite show on Netflix – whatever helps you to unwind at the end of your day. It’s important to leave work at work and come in the next day refreshed and ready to take on the day with a cleared mind So pick your poison, kick off your shoes and enjoy (in moderation, of course!). You deserve it!

October 30, 2014

Throwback Thursday: How My Time as a College Newspaper Editor Prepared Me for My PR Career

By Jen Tedeschi, 11:03 am

As a recent graduate of Saint Joseph’s University and a newbie to the public relations industry, I often think about my time spent in college and how it prepared me for working in this field. While my classes and extracurricular activities provided a solid foundation, nothing helped prepare me more to work in the “real world” than my time as the features editor of The Hawk, my alma mater’s campus newspaper. (more…)

October 21, 2014

It’s Not What You’re Not

By Nancy Page, 11:17 am

It’s what you are.

According to Wikipedia, a not-for-profit agency is an organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals rather than distributing them as profit or dividends. That doesn’t sound like a description of what something is not to me. It sounds like what it is!

“Not-for-profit” is a bad way to describe what these organizations are. Nonprofits exist for a purpose. They’re pro-mission. They do all kinds of good things for society and in the world. Not for nothing, but there’s a need for some re-branding here. (more…)

October 13, 2014

The Oft-Overlooked Boilerplate

By admin, 4:48 pm

This week’s blog post comes to us from our friends at GroundFloorMedia, PRGN’s Denver affiliate. Amanda Brannum reminds us of the importance of the boilerplate.Buchanan Public Relations

I came across this wonderful reminder about the often overlooked and under-appreciated boilerplate today via – “The Secret Formula for Writing Boilerplate.” So often, people want to include everything and the kitchen sink in their company’s boilerplate – or, as Russell Working points out, they want to fill it with flowery-sounding jargon. However, as PR pros, we need to remind clients that boilerplates are meant to be simple, straightforward company descriptions that tell what your company is and what it does. (more…)

October 2, 2014

The Importance of Building Your Personal Brand

By Megan Keohane, 2:23 pm

Recently, a few of us at Buchanan PR had the opportunity to travel to one of our client’s offices in Pittsburgh to perform a LinkedIn training session. We spent countless hours analyzing employees’ existing profiles and preparing customized guides for each profile to become fully optimized. But why is taking the time to enhance a social media profile so important? Because it’s part of your personal brand.Buchanan Public Relations, Philadelphia Public Relations Agency, Megan Keohane, LinkedIn, personal branding

Using social media is just one example of an easy (and often free) way to build a brand around your expertise. As professionals, we so often get caught up in bettering the company or the client that it’s easy to forget the importance of the people who make up those organizations. (more…)

September 24, 2014

5 Things That Public Relations and Ice Cream Have in Common

By Nicole Lasorda, 4:29 pm

In mid-2013, Buchanan PR received a super-secret phone call asking us to meet in Pottsville, PA to discuss public relations for a soon-to-be-launched product. That chance call is what brings us to this blog post. Exactly one year ago – to the day – we helped to re-launch one of the most fun products (and companies) I’ve ever had the pleasure to represent – Yuengling’s Ice Cream!

Buchanan PR and David Yuengling Celebrate a Sweet PR Future over Yuengling's Ice Cream

As the Yuengling’s Ice Cream account lead, it seems quite fitting that my blog post falls on the one-year anniversary of the re-launch. But rather than get into all of the technical details of re-launching a brand, I thought I’d have a little fun and share the five ways that public relations is like ice cream. (more…)

September 22, 2014

5 Crisis Communication Tips from the Real-Life Olivia Pope

By Kathleen McFadden, 3:49 pm

I recently attended and live-tweeted a crisis management seminar hosted by Buchanan PR client Pepper Hamilton. The day-long event covered how an in-house attorney should handle a crisis if and when one happens. Speaking on the panel about external relations was Judy Smith – the inspiration behind Olivia Pope, the character Kerry Washington plays on ABC’s hit TV show, “Scandal.”Buchanan Public Relations

Judging by the office chatter on Friday mornings when “Scandal” is in season, I think it’s fair to assume that many public relations professionals are among the show’s loyal fan base (myself included).

So, for all the “Scandal” fans who happen to work in the PR world, here are Judy’s five tips on handling a crisis:

1) Work with the lawyers. Although you, the communications consultant, have been brought on to advise your client on the crisis at hand, your client’s legal team should be the one to hire you. This will protect you under attorney-client privilege, and it’s something you should always require before getting involved in the project.

Once you are protected under attorney-client privilege and begin working on the crisis, Judy advises that you work “hand-in-glove” with the legal team. Talk to the attorneys, and strategize as one team rather than two separate entities. All message development should involve both legal and PR.

2) Never say “No comment.” As Judy put it, “A lot of times, statements don’t say that much. There are a million ways you can say ‘No comment’ without saying ‘No comment.’” An alternative to “No comment” at the start of a crisis, for example, could be “This matter has just been brought to our attention and we’re examining the facts.”

While the legal team may be inclined to keep quiet during a crisis, it’s important that they understand the implications of saying “No comment”: “If you’re not feeding the beast or you’re not saying something, that means you’re allowing somebody else to create the narrative. You’re allowing someone else to create the message about what happened,” says Judy.

When issuing a statement, Judy suggests including “At this time…” at the beginning of the message. It allows you to say what you know at the moment without locking yourself into a certain position as the crisis continues to develop. Don’t commit or overcommit to something, as crises are very fluid and often change quickly.

3) Don’t always put the CEO out there. Once you’ve decided to issue a statement, who should speak on behalf of the company? It depends, but Judy is not a fan of rolling out the CEO the first time a crisis hits. Is the crisis even large enough for the CEO to be the spokesperson? Is there someone better suited or closer to the situation who could comment? How media-trained are your potential spokespeople? Have they done this before? All of these questions should be considered.

4) Help reporters do their jobs. One aspect that makes a crisis all the more demanding is the media. While you’re trying to get all the facts, deal with the situation and finalize all the messaging, reporters are calling and emailing with requests for comment or an interview. Especially on the corporate side, where there are so many approval levels to go through, response to the media can be slow.

Despite these challenges, it’s important that you meet reporters’ deadlines as best you can. The sooner you get back to them, the more likely it is that your information and messaging make it into the story. “Quite often, when you’re sharing facts, you have the ability to make some in-roads with the reporter and get some things that were going to be in the story out of the story because of factual inaccuracy,” says Judy.

Remember, when reporters call about a story they’re working on, it is very likely that they already have an idea in their minds about the kind of story they’re going to tell; they’ve already had to pitch the idea to their editor, along with the potential sources they’ll include. “The story is already set up when you get that phone call,” says Judy. “The longer it takes you to put some type of response together, that just gives the reporter more time to get a whole lot of other information that fits into the narrative that they’ve sold [to their editor].”

5.) Use social media to assess the crisis. “It’s no longer the nightly news,” says Judy. “Social media is a game-changer. The news is always 24/7 now.”

During a crisis, it’s important to have a good assessment of what’s happening on social media. Regularly checking Twitter, Facebook and blogs to take a read on what’s being said can help you determine the best method of communication. Is the crisis small enough that a Facebook post or tweet could address the issue for now, or is it serious enough that a more formal statement is required? “Regardless of the platform, it comes down to your messaging. What the message is, how you’re going to deliver that, and is it going to resonate with various stakeholders,” says Judy.

When a crisis hits, talk to your client’s legal team, develop messaging together, and figure out the best way to deliver those messages to the public. “Part of developing a communications strategy that dovetails on the legal strategy is not only figuring out the messages, but figuring out what’s the best medium to deliver those messages,” says Judy. “They’re equally as important.”

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