Archive | February, 2011

Protests by Italian women worldwide say BASTA to Berlusconi

14 Feb

Location: Washington, DC

Date: February 13, 2011

Yesterday was a day for women to stand up for their rights. Italian women are offended by the image Berlusconi is giving to the world.

Here in the nation’s capitol a good showing of Italian men and women gathered at Dupont Circle to protest Berlusconi’s lack of respect for women and civility.

As my good friend Haysam Fahmy writes in his blog post “Why Social Media Helped My People Change the World” social media, unlike any other medium, is ideally structured for revolutions/causes. It is now the first and last place for activists, because its capabilities are designed to allow activism to flourish. Both Italian men and women gathered at Dupont Circle thanks to Facebook. Two Italians, Valeria Farinaro and Gianluca Mele, living in Washington, DC created the event on Facebook and blasted it out to their friends and then their friends did all the word of mouth. Social media has made it easier for activists to gather large groups of people together.

And as many Italians told me yesterday Italy is not copying Egypt’s revolution, Italy has been protesting against Berlusconi for ten years, but since Berlusconi was democratically voted in and people keep voting for him there isn’t much they can do but speak out their mind to those who will listen and hopefully somebody will do something about it.

Would anybody like to help??

How Media Relations Has Changed!!!

12 Feb

PR is definitely changing so as PR professionals that means changing certain methods and strategies.

I remember that when I first started out in PR it was all about writing press releases on what my clients wanted to publicize. It didn’t matter whether it was newsworthy or not, the point was to get it out to as many media outlets as possible hoping someone would pick up the press release and do a story on it.

Things have changed all thanks to social media and the Internet. Now some newspapers are barely surviving or have been shut down. As journalist are now learning how to adapt to new technology we PR professionals have to as well.  Below are some tips on pitching to the media.

1. Realize that today many media outlets are short staffed meaning that a reporter doesn’t have time to listen to your pitch. And if they do have time it’s very limited so you better make your pitch a good one.

2. Many reporters are looking to the web for their stories so that means you need to do the following—create SEO press releases and post them on targeted Web sites, create an interactive Web site, video or blog, utilize Twitter and Facebook to publicize your campaign, and comment on forums and news web sites—LET THE REPORTER FIND YOU.

3. I know most clients say I want to come out on CNN, NY Times, Washington Post or LA Times, but  first research if your audience is even reading those newspapers. If you’re working on a campaign to raise awareness on teen pregnancy figure out who is it that you would like to reach out to—parents, teachers, doctors, NGOS, etc…Maybe some of your target audiences are not reading the top newspapers maybe it’s blogs or pod casts. RESEARCH…RESEARCH…RESEARCH. Remember that we now live in a niche society, which means that there are a variety of different news sources that could possibly publicize your story.

4. If you would like reporters to cover an event start creating the buzz a couple weeks in advance. You could write a blog entry for a popular blog, ask a radio personality to announce it, tweet everyday about it, and connect to the key players on Twitter.  Buzz online creates word of mouth offline which helps your message get to the right people. Once you’ve built up enough buzz the news will eventually pick up on it or when you do call them it will be an easy pitch.

5. Put yourself in the reporter’s shoes. Reporters are curious people always trying to report something that affects someone in a profound way or looking to hold elected officials accountable for their actions. Knowing that a reporter is looking for a story that has an impact on others or communities make sure that what you’re pitching is affecting someone or a community in a good or bad way.

6. Get to know your reporters. You need to know how they write and what they tend to write about. Remember media is also your target audience so you must also research them.

So next time your boss says write a press release, send it out, and pitch it…..think twice about doing that, because while you’re spending time on that press release your targeted reporters are already well on their way to researching the web for interesting stories.

Tips on Hiring for a PR Marketing Campaign

6 Feb

More Lessons Learned:

Working as a consultant you deal with an array of clients, each with its list of demands, quirks, and methods. As a consultant you have to get used to their way of doing things because at times it’s hard to change the CEO’s mind on anything, you’ve been hired to do a specific task and that’s it.

One day I’ll be boss and then I can do things differently, for example hiring.

Hiring:

1. Once you have a clear idea of how a certain project or campaign is suppose to run-start making a list of skills you would need to get the job done. If you think you could do it on your own go for it, but I recommend having an extra helping hand.

2. Write a very specific job description–duties, skills, pay, hours, and time frame. And email it out to specific groups on LinkedIn or other listservs.

3. Once you know what you want the interviewing process begins! Narrow down the list to the ones that interest you most-choose 10.

4. Once you’ve narrowed down the list email the lucky ones to let them know that you’re interested. When emailing them be sure to also send them the campaign’s proposal or communications plan so that they have an idea of what the project entails. Give them about two weeks to read the plan, and if they’re still interested have them email you for the interview.

Make sure that the proposal you send them has a detailed list of tasks, a timeline, and duties that they must perform. The interviewee needs to know what he or she is getting into.

5. The interview should be about the proposal and the workload. You need to make sure that the interviewee doesn’t have any other prior commitments that might interfere with the project. You want to make sure that they’ll be committed to you for however long the project might last–6 months or a year.

6. Once you’ve hired the right one please make sure to spend at least the first week training them on where things are, providing them with a list of priorities and deadlines, and clearly defining their role. I know we’re all busy but try to make the time to train the employee/intern/consultant; they need to know that they can count on you for anything. Make yourself available—it’s so important!!!!

If you want a project to go smooth you need to be VERY VERY clear on what’s needed. Employees are not psychics they need to be informed.

It takes more time to do the things bad and fast than to take the time to do them right and well!!!

Tips on Planning and Implementing an Event

4 Feb

This past week I was in charge of putting together a summit with 200 guests and government officials. I sure learned a lot in putting this summit together. The biggest lesson I learned was that when you include “organizing an event” in a proposal or action plan for a client make sure you’re prepared by having gone through the four steps below. If the client approves the proposal or plan you better be ready to deliver.

1. Define Roles

Before you even think of organizing an event for a client you must create an inventory list. The list should include such items like supplies, budget, staff, location, vendors, materials,  and time. Really take the time to research each item on the list to make sure you’re fully capable of handling each aspect of the event. Also be realistic on how many people are truly needed to put the event together; remember quality is more important than quantity. Once you know how many people are needed to put on a good event define their roles immediately. Make sure you’ll have someone who oversees all the different tasks to make sure nothing is missed.

2. Timing

If you know you have to organize a big event in February you should start planning about two to three months in advance. You don’t want to be rushed at the last minute. Create a checklist and timeline of how the workload should flow. Give people deadlines to keep them on track.

3. Establish the Goal and Objectives Early On:

To make sure the event is a success clearly define the goal and the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic,and Timely) objectives that will help you achieve the overall goal and strategy. For example, if your goal is to get the message out about the importance of brushing your teeth make sure all the speakers are communicating that message. Also make sure all materials, visuals, presentations convey that message. Keep the message unified and strong. Also if the goal is to get a celebrity start researching ways on how to contact them.

4. Budget

First know how many people plan to attend the event in order to decide what venue to use. The venue is sometimes the most expensive part of an event.  Once that’s done make a list of all the vendors you’ll use along with their prices. In the overall budget include the prices of the venue and vendors, printing, and the hours of each employee. Make sure not to miss anything or else it will come out of your pocket.

5. Client Approves

Once you have all the pieces in place–roles have been defined, timeline and deadlines have been established, goal and objectives have been established, and budget has been drafted it’s time for the client to say “yes” or “no”. The better laid out your plan is the better the chances are of the client saying “YES”.

6. Execute

Since you’ve already done a good job thoroughly planning, the implementation part will be a piece of cake. Have weekly meetings to make sure everyone is following through with their tasks, and if you see that someone is not doing anything for a couple weeks just get rid of them. No need to keep bad apples in the group. Preparing an event is a group effort in which everyone needs to work in a team and be supportive.

Don’t promise the world to the client unless you are truly able to successfully execute the plan. Plan, Plan, Plan…be prepared…be prepared…be prepared…..before giving anything to the client. Remember your reputation follows you so do a good job!!!