PR at Sunset – Time to say goodbye

 

I started this blog on New Year’s Day in 2010, so I figured it’s only appropriate that nearly three years later I let you all know that the sun will no longer rise with new articles from this site.

When I decided to create PR at Sunrise, I did so for three reasons: 1) To learn more about blogging firsthand; 2) To help educate others in the industry, especially new graduates, and to learn from other PR and social leaders who are a lot smarter than I am; 3) To practice what I preach. I always believed that you can’t tell your boss (or your client) what to do if it’s something you know little about personally or professionally.

And slowly but surely, the blog began to attract more readers, more comments flowed in, PR at Sunrise gained notoriety, I was approached to speak at conferences, and was even quoted by AdAge. Even you, the readers, wanted to contribute, and I opened the blog up to guest posts (many of which were more helpful and insightful to you all vs. the articles I wrote!).

This attention and recognition the blog was receiving was amazing. But something else amazing happened to me during this time, too. The day after I started this blog, on the chilliest of New York City nights, I went on an eight hour date with the beautiful woman who I ended up marrying just five weeks ago. And two years later, I accepted a social media position for a Fortune 500 company. (Between work, a wife, and rescuing a dog last year, now you all know why I haven’t published nearly as many articles this year as in years past!)

So when I look back on this blog, I have a lot of special memories,  especially of you, the readers. This blog would’ve been nothing had it not been for all of your social shares, comments, and overall interest in participating in this community. For that, I offer a sincere THANK YOU.

While this is the end of the road for me with PR at Sunrise, there’s too much going on in this fast-paced world for me to just sit around and watch it pass by. That next adventure for me is out there, but for now, my focus is on my family and my career.

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By Worob Posted in News

The End of Social Media … If SOPA Passes

We all remember the days when we bought CD’s, burned them, and then subsequently made copies for all of our friends. It was not until later that we realized these acts were illegal; and the government found ways to stop this so called ‘piracy’. After that, all of your favorite songs, videos, and even movies went digital. But we found a way to steal that too, or at least watch and listen online for free. Nevertheless, the government got involved and made a good example out of a few easy people to scare us … well, it was supposed to.

The fact is, whenever there is too much sharing, the government has always found a way to intervene. After all, isn’t sharing one of the first things we learn when we enter this world? We are taught to share or otherwise be considered stingy and selfish, turning away all possible chances at having friends. To me, the Internet and social media are built around this same principle, ‘Sharing’.

Now fast-forward a couple of years to the present, and you will find the same predicament. The government wants to pass SOPA (Stop Internet Piracy Act). If passed, the bill can bring a society of iPhone users, YouTube fanatics, and tweeters to their knees. It is a lot more than big websites such as Wikipedia and Google reshaping the way they publish online information. There will be no more sharing that one YouTube video you found, on accident, to everyone in your contact list. You will be forced to think twice before re-tweeting a message, and you can forget about posting a song to your personal page as ‘background music’. If passed, information may not be as accessible as it once was, leaving many of us to resort to traditional ways, i.e. encyclopedia. SOPA means complete censorship.

Despite personal feelings, I completely understand what the government says about the Internet and social media hurting commerce. Why buy a song when you can just go to YouTube and listen? Why buy a book when you can simply get the necessary information online? Why buy cable when you can connect your laptop to your TV and stream your favorite shows?

I get it, we are sharing a little bit too much and it is hurting someone’s pockets. However, from a consumer’s standpoint, if we like something enough, we will buy it – mainly because we hate dealing with the hassle of pop-ups, advertisements, and online commercials – It is as if those crying piracy are acting as though they are not making a profit. Nonetheless, these are the same companies that have created accounts on social media networks to gain exposure to connect with their fan base. Go figure. Not once have government officials asked us, the people who voted for them, how we feel.

Let’s be honest, since the birth of social media life has been easier. Still, the government somehow finds social media and ‘sharing’ a bigger issue than unemployment. It is now time to take a stand. Do not let ‘Blackout Wednesday’ be the only day that you pay attention to SOPA, or else it may turn into goodbye Google, YouTube, and Wikipedia.

About the Author
Shana Nugent is currently a junior at West Virginia University and majoring in management and marketing. Her career goals are to become a major contributor to the marketing and advertising field, and develop new and innovative ways to reach consumers. Contact Shana on twitter @shanadafuture or via email at snugent1@gmail.com.

 

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3 Ways to Get the Brand Awareness Your Company Deserves

You want people to know you and your company. But that’s not enough.

You have to keep people excited, informed and hungry for more of what you offer. And that starts with omnipresent – or as close to it as you can get!

So how do you get your brand the attention it deserves?

Find out what your audience cares about by leveraging social media platforms
There are powerful tools that can help you understand what your audience wants. So what can you do with them?

-Ask followers what they’d like to see more of
-Conduct polls about your products or services
-Take note of which posts people respond to most
-Try giveaways: This can range from providing useful how-to content for free to offering a free product or webinar. Money is often a barrier to entry—give people the opportunity to try your product or service, love it, and come back for more.

Show people you’re human
Imagine you’re a PR pro for a celebrity. Would you pitch a piece on how many tweets Kim Kardashian gets per month? No. You would cater to what people want to know, like her workout plan, what she eats for breakfast and who she hangs out with. Surprisingly, people do actually want to know these things about Kim K.

The same rule applies to your brand. Yes, you want to provide useful information, but there’s a great benefit to creating and showcasing the culture around your brand. Share YouTube videos of co-workers joking around, encourage your team to mingle at events, create a blog with personality that highlights fund tidbits about employees. People are far more likely to remember you if you let them get to know you.

Find opportunities to share your work
Find speaking opportunities, reach out to bloggers, and submit your publications to magazines. Be creative!

Have you tried submitting your work to awards programs? Ragan Communications’ PR Daily Awards program, for example, (Disclaimer: I work for Ragan) is a great way to get your work in front of prestigious judges (from CNN to The Los Angeles Times) and boost brand awareness.

Winners are awarded a free registration to a Ragan conference of their choice. And, as our conferences feature companies like Southwest Airlines, Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence, and Mashable, it’s an opportunity to learn from and connect with the best and brightest in PR and social media.

Learn more about the PR Daily Awards and submit your entry.

What creative strategies do you use to build awareness of your brand? Please share this with your network and leave a comment on this post!

About the Author
Sam Hosenkamp is Ragan’s social media director. She grew up in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and San Diego, and graduated from the University of Michigan with degrees in English and Psychology. Connect with her on Twitter via @SamHosenkamp.


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In Pictures: Top PR Stories of 2011

Disclaimer: When compiling these images, I tried to exclude news stories that weren’t necessarily “PR” stories or ones that were a little too local in nature (see former U.S. rep from New York, Anthony Weiner). For example, Congresswoman Giffords/Arab Spring/Japan Earthquake, etc. were not reflected in this collage because they were tragic, national (or global) stories that shouldn’t have been discussed from a PR perspective. However, I included an image such as Osama Bin Laden because his death was also seen as a PR boost for President Obama. I also included 9/11 because many were discussing this (whether they should or shouldn’t have) from a PR and non-PR perspective. 

All-in-all, many of these stories fall in a grey area between whether they were national news stories, national PR stories, or both. And there are certainly other images I considered adding to this collage. That being said, I would LOVE to for you to leave comments and let me know which other images could have been included that represent the top PR stories of the year.

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5 Tips for Being a Rock Star Public Speaker

Editor’s note: As I prepare to speak at the Social Media Integration Conference (#SMIATL) this week, I reached out to Jason Falls (who will be one of the conference’s headliners) for some tips on how to kick some ass at these types of engagements…

Speaking at conferences and events is exhilarating and fun, but it can also be frightening and miserable if you don’t know what you’re doing. While it might seem über easy to stand up in front of a room of people and talk about what you know and love, not preparing for some of the ups and downs, challenges and opportunities that public speaking holds can severely hinder your performance and curtail the chances you’ll be asked to speak in public again.

My public speaking career actually began in high school when I competed in speech and drama. Later in life I began sharing some experiences at small conferences and business networking events. When the social media industry exploded in 2006-08, I was right in the thick of things and evolved my conference panels and talks to a professional speaking career. Along the way, I’ve spoken in front of crowd numbers in the tens (literally) to convention halls bursting at the seams with hundreds of people in the room. The venues I’ve graced the stage of include everything from Emirates Stadium in London, England, to a small room in the Community Center in Inez, Ky.

I’ve walked off the stage to standing ovations … and to blank stares. Needless to say, I’ve learned a few things along the way.

As you gear up for your first … or next speaking event, consider these tips to help you leave the room wowed and begging you to come back.

Know Your Audience

Talking to a room full of accountants is very different from one full of bloggers. Everything from the subject you’re speaking about to the vernacular and terminology you use is important to keep the audience’s attention and help the feel like they’ve gotten value out of your talk. Understand what the average audience members knows about your subject matter so you can push them to know more and leave the room satisfied they’re smarter for the experience.

Have An Outline

The tried-and-true formula for speaking is tried-and-true for a reason. Tell them what you’ll tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them. But you can’t do any of the three if you don’t know what you’re going to say. Prepare an outline with your basic points. Make sure they’re big-picture points that deliver on the promise of the speech’s title or description. Even if you walk up to the microphone with 3-5 words written down or in your mind to speak to, have a plan. Nothing is worse for an audience member than a speaker that just rambles on about whatever with no real purpose.

Watch The Clock

Speaking as both someone who speaks for a living and who organizes events using other speakers, the one pet peeve everyone from the audience to the event organizer has is a speaker that goes too long. If you’re supposed to speak for an hour, schedule 40 minutes of talk time and leave time for questions … then talk for 40 minutes, not 55. Edit your outline or notes down so that you can get in the major points and then leave some time for the audience to chew on it, digest it and follow up with questions. By not respecting the time you’ve been given, you disrespect the audience (not to mention the speakers who follow you) which leads to a less than successful effort.

Loosen Up

While every speaker has their own style and no piece of advice will work for everyone the same here, I can’t think of an audience anywhere that likes a stiff on the mic. Some of the worst speakers I’ve seen either read a speech verbatim from notes, recite the bullet points on their presentation slides (as if the audience isn’t smart enough to read them) or who drone on and on without at least gesturing, moving around a bit or asking the audience questions to get some response and engagement going. You’re a real human being that has a personality, can laugh, smile and move around. Use those abilities. No, not everyone can use humor or dance around the stage to be visibly engaging, but everyone can smile, as the audience questions, nod and be personable. If you don’t think you can, you may want to reconsider speaking.

Don’t Rely On Slides

I’m not saying don’t use them. I use them often. But I’ve found that audiences pay closer attention to what you’re saying when you’re talking with them, not showing them images or bullet points. Some of the best public speakers out there don’t use slides at all. If you know what you’re going to say, are passionate about the topic and know the outline you want to follow well enough, slides are just a crutch — get rid of them. If you’re speaking about something that needs some visual context, or you want to use visuals for impact or entertainment value, that’s fine, but always be prepared to go without them. Projectors, power, WiFi … all of it is susceptible to failure.

These five tips will help you tackle audiences, not topics, and do a great job in doing so. You’ll have more engaged listeners, get better speaking reviews and probably have more fun in front of the room than you ever have. Not only that, but following these tips will also deliver the one outcome that tells you whether or not you’ve done a good job: You be asked back!

Enjoy your time on stage. And make the most of it, for you and your audience.

About the Author
Jason Falls is a professional speaker, author and consultant based in Louisville, Ky. He has spoken on three continents, in four countries and nearly all major U.S. markets on digital marketing, social media marketing and communications. He can be found online at JasonFalls.com or at his industry blog, SocialMediaExplorer.com.