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November 14, 2017

The Gift of Conversation

By Katie Byrne, 1:58 pm

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, the season of giving is officially upon us. Many people unfamiliar with the public relations industry might be convinced that companies set up charitable publicity stunts only to make themselves look better. In reality, PR professionals and companies know that disingenuous publicity stunts don’t do them any favors and take the attention off those they’re trying to help.

While many companies are charitable in tangible ways through volunteering, employee matching, sponsorships and more, there are other, non-traditional ways to give back. When using the less traditional route, the spotlight is shifted to the communities, non-profits, or charities that are in need rather than the company itself. There is so much hate, division, and confusion in the world today, it’s easy to spread a little joy by helping others in need. A specific, non-traditional example that I feel is one of the more meaningful ways a company can give back is by creating a Public Service Announcement, or PSA.

PSAs are a powerful way to get people talking about real-life issues. Starting a conversation is a form of giving back because it inspires people both inside and outside of a company’s normal target audience to act. A fire starts with a spark, and PSAs are the match needed to ignite discourse about issues facing our local communities and the nation. Our strength comes from our shared ideals and anything that increases the focus on them is a gift. Check out three examples below:

1. See Something, Say Something: Burger King recently released a PSA that focuses on Americans’ reluctance to speak out against injustices they see. There is a phenomenon in psychology known as the diffusion of responsibility. Its premise is that if a crime is committed in front of a large group, people are less likely to report it because they believe someone else will do it. This concept is highlighted in Burger King’s PSA, which has more than 3 million views, and shines a light on the issue of bullying. People are quick to express outrage at their “bullied” sandwich, but the teenager in the store being verbally harassed is by and large left to fend for himself. Nearly one in three U.S. students report they have been bullied. Hatred is taught and can grow and spiral from a young age. With this PSA, Burger King sends a clear message: We all need to stand up for those who are bullied and speak out against the wrongs we see.

2. “Love Over Bias”: Proctor and Gamble’s latest installment in their “Thank You, Mom” PSA series takes on a new theme. Previous “Thank You, Mom” PSAs were wildly popular and meaningful; they were centered around celebrating hard-working mothers and the sacrifices they make to allow their children to rise to the top. The most recent installment highlights the shared struggle between parent and child, and adds elements of racial, sexual, and social bias. It’s a poignant piece with nearly 300,000 views, highlighting the subliminal biases in our everyday lives. Working toward eliminating these biases – and teaching our children to grow up in a world where they don’t even see them – is a huge way to give back to our nation, our communities and the people we love.

3. It Can Wait: AT&T released a series of popular PSAs in 2016 centered around distracted driving, primarily as the result of cell phone use. As technology continues to alter our lives, it also creates new issues. One of the more successful PSAs in the past centered on drunk driving with the notable slogan, “Friends don’t let friends drink and drive.” AT&T’s PSA takes that idea and runs with it. The PSA, viewed more than 2 million times, features a young girl who suffers a traumatic brain injury and the loss of both her parents when they were all hit by a driver who is texting. The girl shares her emotional story with teens who have just revealed on camera how much they use their phones while driving. The piece forces Americans to look into the face of heartbreak and understand exactly what consequences their actions could have. Most people would probably admit to being guilty of using the phone while driving. In 2015 more than 3,000 people were killed in cell phone-related accidents. This is why the PSA hit home with kids and parents alike, and started a real dialogue about driving safety. Many states now have laws that ticket drivers who are caught on the phone while driving.

All of these examples represent successful campaigns that have created a national dialogue among citizens, lawmakers, and companies. However, it’s important to note that PSAs don’t have to change the world. Even those that start a conversation about a need in a local community, whether it be poverty or domestic violence, allow us to face issues head-on and take steps toward change. PSAs are meaningful, incite action, and inspire conversation. Give back, speak up, and mean it.

November 8, 2017

Employee Feature: November 2017

By Staff, 11:13 am

Name: Megan Keohane

Title: Account Supervisor

Date Started at Buchanan PR: May 2014

Favorite Part of Working in Public Relations: Strategy is my favorite component – I love figuring out how we can tell a story to the right audience. But overall, I love the variety that the industry offers. I work with clients in all different industries, from financial services to healthcare to baked goods. Every day is unique, and I’m always learning something new.

Tip for Other Public Relations Professionals: Take professional growth into your own hands. Attend networking events, watch free webinars and find every opportunity to connect with industry colleagues. Exchanging ideas is invaluable; it can significantly expand what you have to offer your agency or company, and your clients.

Most Memorable Moment at Buchanan PR: There have been plenty! But I’ll never forget September 16, 2015, when we announced that Rosemont College was cutting tuition by 43 percent. Several of us worked tirelessly for months strategizing and preparing for the announcement. Anne and I even split a bottle of red (or “inspiration juice,” as we called it) at her house the night before and cranked out some last-minute materials until 10pm. And all of our hard work paid off – it was a massive success, by all means.

Pet Peeve: Being physically poked. Ew.

Guilty Pleasure: I’m obsessed with the Design Home app on my phone.

Favorite After Work Activity: Similar to Johnny, I also go to CrossFit most days after work to coach and work out. But once a week or so, my fiancé and I like to take a rest day and whip up a really yummy dinner to enjoy together.

November 7, 2017

TURNING JAPANESE: PRGN CELEBRATES ITS 25TH ANNIVERSARY – IN KYOTO

By Anne Buchanan, 11:08 am

I recently returned from Japan, where I traveled to attend the fall meeting of the Public Relations Global Network. PRGN marked its 25th anniversary at this conference. This was an especially meaningful milestone to me, as we – along with HMA Public Relations, The Fearey Group and Stevens Strategic Communications – are a founding member of this independent, invitation-only network of PR firms all around the world.

This trip reminded me of how informative and educational global travel can be. As communications professionals, we are increasingly called upon to reach audiences outside of our own markets.

Two of PRGN’s founding members, Scott Hanson of HMA PR in Phoenix and Anne Buchanan of Buchanan Public Relations in Philadelphia, celebrate the network’s 25th anniversary.

We began our trip in Tokyo, the largest city in the world, for two days of sight-seeing before heading to Kyoto for the meeting. With a population of 38 million, Japan’s capital is nearly double the size of New York City.

But it was not its size that distinguished Tokyo for me. Rather, it was its unique culture.

Japan is a far more reserved and quiet country than the U.S. Most Japanese I encountered struck me as more contained and “internal” than a typical American. Despite seeing many Japanese using cell phones, I only once witnessed one actually talking on her phone. Subway trips are nearly silent, save for the clacking of the tracks and the announcements of upcoming stops.

Japanese are very polite and helpful if you ask for assistance, but by and large, do not proactively engage. The one exception was the older gentleman who spotted us pondering a train and subway map and walked us nearly a quarter-mile to the train station. He had traveled extensively in the U.S. and chatted amiably as we walked alongside him.

Much has been written about the Japanese work ethic, including this front-page article in the Wall Street Journal. During the morning rush hour, I was struck by the wave of nearly identically dressed workers (black suit, black tie, white shirt) who swarmed past us on their way to the office.

The city itself was pristine. No evidence of garbage or a homeless population anywhere that I could see. Though, surprisingly, we had to relocate or leave two restaurants, because of cigarette smoke; non-smoking does not seem to have arrived in Japan yet.

A typical gadget box beside a Japanese toilet.

And the technology! The Japanese excel at trains and toilets. We took the fabled shinkansen – the bullet train – from Tokyo to Kyoto. Traveling at 200 mph makes it hard to take in much more than a blur of the countryside, which became more and more lush the closer we got to Kyoto.

A Japanese toilet can forever change how one looks at a bathroom. In Japan, it is customary – even in public bathrooms – for the seats to be heated. There are frequently buttons to turn on a sound-masking white noise, emit a fragrance, and access a jet stream of cleansing options. In fact, the panel of options was sometimes so sophisticated that I struggled to figure out how to flush the toilet.

The number of beautiful sites – shrines, temples, gardens and kimonos – was staggering. The emphasis on calm and beauty seems paradoxical to the sometimes-lethal emphasis on hard work.

When our contingent of PR professionals gathered in Kyoto for our formal meeting, the talk turned to the state of our industry around the world. Although we work in different countries with different cultures and customs, there are some common challenges to running a PR firm that are shared around the world:

Anne with two Maikos who are training to become Geikos – professional entertainers.

  • How to demonstrate our relevance in an increasingly deconstructed marketing communications world
  • How to provide excellent service and still make a reasonable profit
  • How to grow our businesses

One of our more energetic discussions was around the terminology we use to describe what we do. Does the term public relations still apply? Should we consider adopting the broader communications to explain ourselves? How does digital figure into the way we serve our clients and market ourselves?

We decided to remain the Public Relations Global Network for now. But it’s an issue we’ll be watching closely.

I’m grateful to have 50 close friends around the world who share the same passion for advancing our profession and helping our clients grow. And I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn about PR and life in other countries.

October 31, 2017

Eight Tips for Staying Healthy with a Crazy Travel Schedule

By Nicole Lasorda, 11:01 am

If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve not been home much since June (I’m currently writing this post on a flight home from Atlanta). We have a fabulous client that’s been sending me all over the U.S. for a variety of very cool initiatives. I genuinely love traveling for business. In addition to seeing new sights and cities around the country, I’ve gotten to cross off a few bucket-list items (I drove from Seattle to Long Beach, CA, hiked in Sequoia National Park, saw orca in the wild, and went to the absolutely stunning Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque).

But one of the most difficult parts of being on the road can be staying healthy. After five months of almost-non-stop travel, I’ve got a few tips for remaining physically, mentally and emotionally healthy:

1. Make time for a workout. I work out regularly at home, so when I’m away, it’s important to keep up with my schedule. My goal is always to find a great hiking spot in a new area. Account Supervisor Meg and Account Executive Johnny always try to visit a CrossFit gym. Whatever you do at home, try to find a way to integrate it into your trip. Of course, sometimes my schedule doesn’t permit a full workout, but at least I make sure to rack up the steps on the Fitbit.

2. Hand sanitizer is your BFF. I’m not even close to being germophobic and I normally have strong feelings on the overuse of sanitizers, but when you’re on a plane with recycled air and hundreds of people touching everything, they can be useful to help you avoid colds. I like EO handwipes because I don’t need to fit them in my already-too-full liquid carry-on bag (and, bonus, they smell amazing).

3. Jet lag is a drag. Jet lag can bring down even the most-seasoned traveler. But, there’s a pretty simple way to avoid it: Immediately upon getting on the plane, force yourself into the schedule of your new time zone. For example, if you’re traveling from the East Coast to the West Coast on an evening flight (my flight of choice), force yourself to stay awake until you arrive. When you get there, it’ll be bed time and you’ll be so exhausted, you’ll fall asleep as soon as you get to your hotel. This tactic has never failed me (and I used to travel to the West Coast once a month for six years); I’m always ready to start the next day refreshed.

4. Take a few minutes to breathe each day. I know this may sound silly, but when you’re in and out of meetings, it’s easy to forget that you should take time to refocus your mental energy. I like to take a break in the middle of the day for five minutes (everyone gets bathroom breaks, right?), walk outside and breathe in the fresh air … or go inside to warm up, as the case may be.

5. See the sights. At my former agency, I realized after 10 trips to Los Angeles that I’d never seen anything there – not even the ocean. How does that happen? I was going from the hotel to my client’s office and back again. I realized this kind of traveling was unacceptable – how can I travel all over the U.S. and not take in the local flavor? So now, I build in time to see the city I’m visiting. Sometimes it’s an extra day, sometimes it’s a few hours before a late flight, but I always find something to do there. My favorite was in Eastern Oregon – no one could even tell me what there was to see. It turns out, the Oregon Trail is right there. (Also, I may be the only person to go on the Oregon Trail and not get dysentery and die).

6. Have a really long, really good playlist. I have a travel playlist with 47 hours of songs. This keeps me in a good mood on the plane, in the rental cars and sometimes in the hotel if there’s nothing good on TV.

7. Eat healthy (most of the time). I’m a pretty healthy eater regularly, so I try to do the same on the road. Obviously, I’ll go out to eat and indulge a bit ( La Salita in Albuquerque – best chili relleno I’ve ever eaten), but for the most part, I stick to healthy foods. I bring protein bars and, if necessary, I’ll stop at a grocery store to pick up some food so I’m not constantly searching for a healthy restaurant. Airports have started to offer better choices. Every airport website will have a food map. I like to scout it out beforehand, so I know where to go for the best food.

8. Stay connected. If you’re traveling a lot, it can be hard to get time in with your family and friends for the brief time you’re home. This is where technology is the best. I try to talk to someone at least once a day – whether it’s calling my mom or sister to tell them something funny I saw, or chatting with a friend about the craziness of the day. It makes me feel like I’m not too far away, even if I haven’t seen them for a while.

We’re so conditioned to think about our clients’ needs when we travel for work, that it’s easy to forget our own. If we can take time to remember that we’re the most important person to ourselves, business travel can be fun and interesting. Off to the next city – healthy and ready!

October 27, 2017

Proceed with Caution: Media Relations and Moving News Stories

By Blair Kahora Cardinal, 10:43 am

Missteps in advertising, marketing and on social media are highly visible. The Dove ad from earlier this month? How about Adidas’ “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon” email? Or when Cheerios sent out a nice-enough tweet that many perceived to exploit Prince’s death?  As my colleague Nicole Lasorda wrote in a blog post back in January, Does This Tweet Make Me Look Insensitive?, it can be difficult for brands to recover.

As media relations professionals, however, we must be vigilant with our activities behind the scenes as well. When we have clients whose expertise is relevant to delicate or serious moving news stories, it can be rather challenging to insert them into the conversation without sounding opportunistic.

Perhaps you have an expert on mass shootings, or sexual assault, or wildfires or hurricanes. While ill-timed or ill-conceived pitches are generally not visible to the public (although sometimes reporters do share bad pitches with the world), they can reveal a PR practitioner’s inexperience, or worse yet, ignorance. Burning a bridge with an important journalist can create long-term problems for you and your client.

This type of dilemma comes up regularly at Buchanan Public Relations, and while there is no all-purpose answer, here are a few guidelines to follow before hitting “send.”

1. Victims and destruction come first.When a major story first breaks, for example Hurricane Harvey, the media inform the public of how many people have died or sustained injuries, as well as the extent of damage to homes, businesses and the like. Do not pitch your expert at this time.

2. Prepare your pitch. While you wait, reach out to your client to see which expert can talk about what angle. Can they explain a scientific report to a reporter? Were they involved in cleanup and recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina or Superstorm Sandy? Having a pitch written and approved—and knowing your expert’s availability for interviews—ahead of time will allow you to move swiftly when the time is right. You’re still not pitching at this point.

3. Monitor the news cycle. Media coverage of the victims and destruction doesn’t always have a clear end-point. As the crisis unfolds, PR professionals need to monitor the news cycle. You’ll be able to sense a shift in the coverage as reporters start moving on to new angles. Perhaps the story has transitioned to water quality issues post-hurricane or how small businesses can secure loans to rebuild. Once you see the shift, this is when you pitch.

4. Pitch with sensitivity and patience. Your pitch should offer specific expertise and clearly articulate what your client can offer the reporter in relation to his or her beat. But, do your research, especially if a reporter is on-the-ground in Houston covering people living in Red Cross shelters versus a reporter behind a desk in New York writing about ways other at-risk cities can prevent flooding issues. Pitch, but be smart about it.

5. Sometimes background is best. Yes, we all want to see our clients get some ink on important stories in top news outlets. However, sometimes we pitch an expert on background alone so that the reporter doesn’t feel like we’re reaching out just to get publicity for our client. We’ve seen reporters be receptive to this, and we position it to clients as all-important relationship-building. Now you can pitch with gusto.

 

October 18, 2017

Uncovering the Truth

By John Reynolds, 11:00 am

There are three sides to every story: Side A, side B, and the truth.

But it seems we’ve lost a couple of those sides recently, as every story is a battle between side A and “fake news.” Originally, “fake news” sort of made sense. With more media outlets than ever, from small blogs to national papers, it’s not uncommon to find yourself stumbling upon a made-up news story. However, this term rapidly evolved into a response given if you don’t agree with what is being reported or someone else’s views.

Debate used to be one of the things that made this country great. Two sides are allowed to have differing opinions and discuss them openly. Despite this, in the age of “fake news,” we don’t get to have civil discourse anymore. Often, you see people so entrenched in their views, they throw the term “fake news” out to dismiss the other side’s viewpoint, ending any form of back-and-forth.

How can we resolve this issue?

While everyone can have his or her own preferred news source, we all must understand media bias and how to form our own opinions. It is crucial that people not limit news consumption to one outlet. Instead, we must read a variety of sources with differing biases and form our own opinion on a subject, not just accept what is presented to us as fact.

Let’s use a recent news story as an example. Mike Ditka, former NFL player and head coach, was interviewed during a Monday Night Football pregame show about the national anthem protests by some NFL players. Ditka is known for being a very opinioned person, and he didn’t hold back on his thoughts during this interview, making headlines immediately. Here’s a sampling of the headlines reporting on that interview:

Fox NewsMike Ditka: ‘If You Don’t Respect Our Country, Then You Shouldn’t Be in This Country Playing Football’

NBC NewsMike Ditka on NFL Protests: There’s Been No Oppression in U.S. in Last 100 Years

No matter what your viewpoint, these differing headlines show that depending on what outlet you’re reading, you’re most likely not getting the full story. Fox News, which is known for its right-leaning views, chose to focus on Ditka’s opinion that people kneeling shouldn’t be playing football in the U.S. On the other hand, NBC News, which President Trump is currently attacking as a “fake news” outlet on Twitter, focused on Ditka’s claim that there has been no oppression in the U.S. in the past century. There was no right or wrong way to report on Ditka’s views, but if you only read one source, you clearly would not have gotten the full story.

It’s important to be educated about current events, but you’re doing yourself a disservice if you only focus on one side of the story. The only way to combat “fake news” is by not letting the media dictate your opinion. So, please, continue reading the news. But from now on, include outlets you regularly disagree with. The next time you hear the term “fake news” tossed around, you’ll be able to discern for yourself the difference between it and the truth.

October 10, 2017

5 PR Takeaways from Equifax’s Cybersecurity Nightmare

By Lauren Force, 11:02 am

A crisis can strike at any moment. Last month, credit reporting company Equifax experienced a catastrophic one after revealing that a data breach may have compromised up to 143 million U.S. consumers’ data—an attack former CEO Richard Smith had known about since late-July. With the rising number of data breaches surfacing in the media lately, it has become crucial that companies better prepare themselves in the event of a cyberattack.

(Jhaan Elker/The Washington Post)

“Equifax will not be defined by this incident, but rather by how we respond,” Smith said in a statement. Without further ado, let’s take a look at how Equifax responded, and what PR professionals can do to avoid similar mishaps in the future.

Transparency and timing are imperative.

Throughout any crisis, it’s essential that you keep the public up to date on new information in the case, and outline exactly what steps are being taken to resolve the issue. Equifax’s now-former CEO waited more than a month to make the hack known to the public. In some circumstances, it may make sense for companies to wait and gather all the facts before responding, but with 143 million consumers’ data at stake, a five week wait period was a poor tactic on Equifax’s part.

Surround yourself with a few key personnel.

Time and time again, we see large companies surround themselves with multiple agencies, communications staff, and legal teams. But in the times of a crisis, this isn’t always the best approach. Sometimes, too many decision makers can cause major delays in the response timeline, resulting in a barrage of negative media attention.

Set up customer service lines and response pages immediately.

Make sure you have proper response pages installed on your website ahead of a crisis, as well as customer service lines ready to inform every single victim involved. Equifax did not have nearly enough personnel to handle a crisis the size of the one it faced. Instead of notifying affected customers, Equifax directed them to a data breach website where they were asked to enter private information to find out for themselves. To further the confusion, Equifax tweeted out the wrong website URL, further eroding customers’ confidence in the company.

Be clear in your response.

Don’t flip-flop in your response strategy, especially if you wait as long as Smith did to make his initial announcement. Equifax made several deceptive claims throughout the incident. For example, the company offered customers a free year of credit monitoring, on the condition that they agree not to pursue legal action. But, after receiving backlash on social media, the company back-tracked and allowed customers the option to sue—if they sent a notice within 30 days. Confusing your customers and using ambiguous language or hidden clauses will only culminate in disaster.

Show empathy for the victims.

Last, and most important, show that you genuinely care about the victims involved, and keep them at the focus of the crisis. This can make an incredible difference in whether your messaging succeeds or fails. And of course, please don’t tweet “Happy Friday,” as one Equifax employee did, amid a full-blown PR nightmare.

How do you think Equifax and Richard Smith handled the crisis? Let us know in the comments below.

 

October 4, 2017

Employee Feature: October

By Staff, 10:42 am

Name: John Reynolds

Title: Account Executive

Date Started at Buchanan PR: November 2015

Favorite Part of Working in Public Relations: I love everything about media relations. There is a lot of strategy involved. I spend time researching reporters – everything from what they cover to what interests them –  to make sure I’m confident my pitch is relevant for them. And while you get plenty of negative responses, there’s an adrenaline rush when you succeed in securing an opportunity. The final prize is reading a story in which your client is quoted, and knowing you got exposure for your client while helping the reporter do his or her job.

Tip for Other Public Relations Professionals: Remember, reporters are people too. You want to avoid sounding like a robot when you speak with the media. This doesn’t mean you should act like a reporter is your best friend, but if there’s a way to add some personality to your pitching, you should absolutely do it.

Most Memorable Moment at Buchanan PR: My most memorable moment at Buchanan is actually a full day – August 3, 2016. Account Supervisor Meg and I had two major events that day. In the morning, we announced the launch of three companies, clients InClinica, SkinJect, and Velocity Fund. Hours later, we rushed to Center City, where we worked an event for our client, the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, as they were awarding then-Vice President Joe Biden the 2016 Atlas Award. It’s hard to forget a day that you spend working with the Secret Service.

Pet Peeve: Slow walkers.

Guilty Pleasure: I’m obsessed with the TV show Survivor. Yes, that show is still on. I’ve tried out numerous times, and will continue auditioning until I get cast. I also re-watch old seasons regularly, even though I know the results and know who gets voted out in every episode.

Favorite After Work Activity: I go to CrossFit every day after work, to both work out and coach.

September 20, 2017

Back to Work

By Angie Baturka, 10:28 am

What does a stay-at-home mom of 23 years do when her youngest children (twins) go to college? She gets a job!

Why? Partly, to help pay for the college expenses, but mostly, to keep busy and apply my skills  to something other than raising kids. How difficult was this transition? With shaking knees, I jumped into job hunting and to my surprise, discovered that the network I had built while raising my children and the volunteer activities I was involved in were relevant and valued. Now, I’m working in a dream job at a great company, Buchanan Public Relations.

I’m happy to report there are a few universal life skills that advances in technology, millennial attitudes and a “business casual” mindset have not rendered obsolete. These include the importance of being committed to the task at hand, the continued relevance of interpersonal skills and the application of common sense.

When you commit to something, give it your all and if you say you will do something, make sure you meet your commitments. Period. Non-negotiable. Being hardworking and reliable are just good goals to live by. You’ll earn the respect of others around you and feel great about yourself in the process.

Interpersonal skills and connectedness are still paramount to success. People like to feel connected to one another, whether in a family or work situation. To foster that sense of community you must have good interpersonal and communication skills. Many of our employees here at Buchanan are young and they bring a vibe of electricity to the office. I love coming to work and hearing about what is going on in their lives—weekend activities, pets, children, concerts, travel, and restaurants are all interesting topics to those of us who are more settled into our daily lives. I also love the creative energy that working in the public relations field provides.

There is no substitute for “common sense.” Say you’re sorry when you hurt someone; learn from your mistakes; laugh; don’t take yourself too seriously; be kind; smile more; talk less; and the one I am still working on—LISTEN. If you know our president, Anne Buchanan, she possesses the most endearing quality in a person—she is the best listener imaginable. When you are engaged in a conversation with Anne, she makes you think you are fascinating. I suspect some of this quality comes from Anne’s natural sense of curiosity and desire to learn;  the other part of her listening skill comes from a deep empathy for people.

For other women considering a transition into the workforce after a long hiatus for whatever reason, I say jump in! You can do it and have many more marketable skills than you realize. Trust me, if I can do it, so can you!

 

 

 

 

 

September 12, 2017

Why You Should Get Involved in your Local PR Community

By Amanda Mueller, 11:48 am

If you’re anything like those of us here at Buchanan PR, your day is already jam-packed writing pitches, coordinating interviews, and producing content for your clients. There is hardly time in the day to fit in anything extra, much less take on an outside position with your local PR organization.

However, if you can carve out a little bit of extra time every week to become involved with public relations organizations in your city, you’ll find the benefits are well-worth the extra obligation. Whether you attend a monthly happy hour or you decide to undertake a committee position in your local PRSA chapter, there are many reasons why community involvement is beneficial on a personal and agency level.

Business Communication Duplicate model

Personal Networking

Through your involvement, you’ll meet fellow PR professionals in the area and learn about other agencies and branches of public relations that you might not encounter otherwise. These connections open the door for mentee/mentor relationships, business collaborations, peer review, and even new business acquisitions.

It provides a platform to promote your agency.

Many PR organizations have community blogs, features and membership spotlights that provide an outlet to promote your agency’s messaging, content, and clients. If your blog post is featured on an organization’s website, you could double or even triple the amount of people who access your content compared to posting independently on your agency blog. Your involvement in committees and organizations lets you serve as a brand ambassador for your agency, as well.

It keeps your agency connected.

Oftentimes, we get so caught up in our clients’ needs and day-to-day deadlines that we lose the opportunity to network with other agencies in our area. PR colleagues are a valuable resource when it comes to refining agency processes, navigating the latest industry trends, and even receiving critique or guidance on that difficult pitch you’ve been handling this month. Often, these organizations will provide personal access to journalists, as well.

What’s your favorite way to stay involved with the public relations community? Let us know in the comments below.

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