Learning the ropes at CCPRF’s PR Boot Camp
On March 1, I had the opportunity to attend the Canadian Council of PR Firms (CCPRF) Third Annual PR Agency Boot Camp. The day-long event featured interesting sessions on a variety of topics geared towards up-and-coming public relations professionals.
Below are my top takeaways from the sessions that I attended:
- Strategic value of PR: The key point was to invest in internal communications. Employees have to know what they’re selling and believe in it – whether they are accountants, drivers, or if they work in PR. Selling internally depends on simplicity; therefore your mom should be able to understand your message.
- The importance of building positive client relationships: Be upfront. Always talk about money beforehand and clear any confusion at the time of the brief. If you make a mistake, don’t make excuses. Be honest and be open to learning from past mistakes. Focus on how you can resolve the issues in the future and act immediately.
- Building your personal brand through social media: Here, the panel members discussed just how much personal information they like to reveal on their social accounts. This made me reflect on how I use my Twitter account, wondering if I too should share more personal tweets as I tend to focus on corporate topics.
- Jeremy Gutsche’s luncheon keynote stressed the importance of selling an experience (not just a product) and connecting with your audience. The example that stuck with me is the “Keep America Beautiful” campaign to stop people from littering. At first, the campaign used Iron Eyes Cody, an Italian actor who was crying as he pleaded with the audience to stop littering. This wasn’t a success as those who litter most are young teen boys. When the much more aggressive “Don’t Mess with Texas” campaign came out, it was so successful that it reduced litter by 72%. This just goes to show how important it is to target a campaign that is relevant to your audience.
- The social media blogger panel included four of Canada’s top bloggers and was extremely valuable. Blogger relations are essential in PR and this panel gave tips on how we can improve and sustain our relationships. As Lena Almeida (@Listen2Lena) put it, bloggers aren’t looking for a one-night stand. They want you to actually try to develop a relationship with them and ideally work on long-term projects with them. It is also essential to read their blogs and understand what interests them and their readers so you can tailor your pitches.
- Relationship expert Dr. Karyn’s afternoon keynote focused on how to thrive in today’s multi-generational workplace. It was really interesting since I’ve never thought about how different generations might assume different norms in the workplace. My takeaway from this was to make sure I seek to understand differences in the workplace before getting frustrated. Remember that the “right” way to get things done will depend on our upbringing and generational values. (For more on this, see Carolyn Ray’s post: Being at your best in a multi-generational workforce: how do recognition, work-life balance and flexibility co-exist?).
Overall it was a great day and I’m really proud that CASACOM was part of the organizing committee for the event. Looking forward to next year’s event already!