Progressions | A BluePRint to Planning the Perfect Event

If you think about it, event planning is an important aspect of public relations and almost every other industry. We may not always be planning elaborate events with music, lighting and hors d’oeuvres, but there will always be meetings and small scale events to plan. Since the topic is so prevalent, we created a 5 Step BluePRint to planning the perfect event (with some helpful tips included) for PRSSA’s blog, Progressions.

We would like to thank PRSSA and Mallory Richardson, publications Editor in Chief, for reaching out and giving us the opportunity to write for Progressions.

“There is often so much to take in to consideration when planning an event that it can rapidly overwhelm you. Below is a blueprint to help you plan the perfect event, whether it is a Chapter meeting, fundraiser or networking social.”

Click here to read more….

#PRparty: Advice for the Graduates

Parties and Press Releases recently asked our readers to send in their best advice for recent graduates using our new hash tag, #PRparty. All of the advice sent in was fabulous, making it extremely hard to choose a winner  for the Audrey Hepburn giveaway. Congratulations to Shannon Reed for winning our first giveaway and thank you to all who participated! We’ve featured a few of our favorite entries below. We hope students and recent graduates find the advice helpful.

E’s Advice: ” Comparison is the thief of all joy.” – Unknown

B’s Advice: Keep on Keepin’ on. Things may not always go as you expect because there’s something better ahead.

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#PRparty Graduate Giveaway

“NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE, THE WORLD ITSELF SAYS ‘I’M POSSIBLE’!”

– Audrey Hepburn

Tis graduation  season and Parties and Press Releases would like to congratulate all of you who’ve walked across the stage to receive your diploma. What a bittersweet feeling this is. There may have been times where you thought life felt impossible and you may even feel that now while job searching. But fret not! Audrey reminds us that NOTHING is impossible. I mean, you did it! You graduated college! Now it’s time to take on the PR world.

Whether you’ve just graduated or you’re working towards it, we’re all here to elevate each other. We want you to tweet us your best advice to recent graduates or soon to be graduates using our hash tag, #PRparty.  We will choose a handful of our favorite tweets to feature on our blog. Our absolute favorite tweet will also win an Audrey Hepburn prize pack including a notebook, post-its, and an Iphone 4/4s phone cover (pictured below). The winner will be chosen on Thursday, June 6.

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#PRparty is the official hash tag for Parties and Press Releases. It will be used for giveaways and for our future Twitter chats. Feel free to use #PRparty anytime you tweet us or tweet something you feel is related to P&PR! We can’t wait to hear your advice, so start tweeting!

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15 Quotes That Will Get You Everything You Want

You have big dreams. You are equipped with the things you need to get there, but sometimes you need a little shove and motivation. These quotes will remind you why you love public relations and help you get everything you want. Keep calm, push on.

“I advise you to stop sharing your dreams with people who try to hold you back, even if they’re your parents. Because if you’re the kind of person who senses there’s something out there for you beyond whatever it is you’re expected to do – if you want to be EXTRA-ordinary- you will not get there by hanging around a bunch of people who tell you you’re not extraordinary. Instead, you will probably become as ordinary as they expect you to be.” – Kelly Cutrone

“PR means telling the truth and working ethically – even when all the media want is headlines and all the public wants is scapegoats. Public relations fails when there is no integrity.” – Viv Segal

“Whether you think you can or can’t, you are right.” – Henry Ford

“Public-relations specialists make flower arrangements of the facts, placing them so the wilted and less attractive petals are hidden by sturdy blooms.” – Alan Harrington

“Be so good they can’t ignore you.” – Steve Martin

“There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.” – Brendan Behanv

“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” – Estee Lauder

“Regardless of how you feel inside, always try to look like a winner. Even if you are behind, a sustained look of control and confidence can give you a mental edge that results in victory.” – Arthur Ashe​​​​​​

“Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad.” – Richard Branson

“If you have to cry, go outside.” – Kelly Cutrone

“Nobody counts the number of ads you run; they just remember the impression you make.” – Bill Bernbach

“Dreams don’t work unless you do.” – Unknown

“If the public thinks you have a problem, you have a problem.” – Samra Bufkinss

4 Tips for Managing a Crisis

By: Hunter Frederick— Contributor 

In light of the Boston Marathon tragedy and the explosion at the fertilizer plant in Texas this week, it is becoming more apparent and crucial that there is a need for PR professionals to be able to react in a time of crisis. In May, I will be graduating with my bachelor’s degree in PR and I have to admit I am rather disappointed in my educational institution’s lack of teaching, what I believe is an essential tool in PR. In doing research, I have discovered that most undergraduate PR programs across the county lack the ability to teach the art of crisis communication. In this day and age, the need to keep calm under pressure is becoming a requirement for most PR jobs.

I am very lucky that I was thrown into an internship that required me to learn these skills rather quickly and I was able to apply them to my educational career. Because of this, I have been able to create my own crisis management firm. Originally, I was worried that my ability to retain clients might be difficult, but what I soon discovered is that everyone goes through crisis. Some big, some small. Some all over the news, others all over town or just in a circle of friends. Regardless, the knowledge of how to persuade your publics to “take your side” in any given scenario can come in handy.

Over the past couple years of doing this, I have developed some essential tips in handling a PR in a time of crisis. Below are four tips that I believe many PR professionals forget about during a time of crisis and I think are vital for being able to come out of a crisis on top.

1) You mess up, you fess up

In the day of the 24-hour news cycle and social media, the ability to “sweep things under the rug” is becoming difficult. Judy Smith is known as “America’s Number 1 Crisis Manager”. In her book Good Self Bad Self she says, “it may come as a surprise but the American people are very forgiving. Look at Tiger Woods. We have accepted him back into society and back into the world of golf even after his cheating scandal”.

People often mistake an apology as an end-all-be-all way to solve a problem. When the problem does not go away after an apology people often become very frustrated and just give up. An apology, if sincere, communicates that you truly have a feeling of regret for what has happened. This does not “solve” the problem. This merely expresses that you are aware there is a problem, sorry it happened and are hopefully making strides to fix it.

2) Assign ONE spokesperson for your organization 

This is tricky because depending on the size of your crisis you may not have much of a choice as to who is communicating on behalf of your organization. Take the Boston Marathon for example. In such an event, there is probably a PR person who is in charge of the overall brand of the marathon. After the bombing, several government agencies are now involved. Boston Police, FBI, ATF, Homeland Security, the Mayor’s Office, the Governor’s Office, etc. All with their own PR people and brand to protect. At this point, you have lost the ability to communicate about the problem because it has become bigger than you have. Now, this is an extreme case but you can see where five different organizations communicating about the same event can become a mess.

Let us get a little bit more realistic. Let’s say you are the PR person for a relatively large university in a metropolitan area. You find out that your dean of students has been having “inappropriate relationships” with a handful of students. The decision has come to fire the dean but you are left with communicating this to your publics (news media, faculty, staff, students, investors, community leaders, etc.). How do you say it? How much do you say? Do you say something different based on who you are speaking to? Chances are everyone involved in the firing of the dean has their own answers to these questions but at the end of the day, the responsibility comes down to you. What is scary is someone may think it is his or her responsibility to speak on behalf of the university. So you decide to write an initial letter that will be sent out to all your publics giving as little detail as possible with the promise that you will release more information once a formal investigation is complete. You do this to not only protect the university and the students involved from PR and legal matters, but also the Dean who is involved. Innocent until proven guilty, right?

But let’s say your director of human resources disagrees with all this and decides to call a local reporter and tell them “what really happened”. The next morning it is all over every paper, radio and TV station. ONE PERSON!

3) DO NOT speculate  

When your crisis first breaks, you are going to have pressure from the media asking fifty different questions at a very rapid pace to try to throw you off. Your background in PR is going to want to answer them all quickly because you have been taught that is the best way to handle things. Normally yes, in this case NO! It is okay not to know every answer right away. Tell them you do not have that answer right now but you are working on it and promise to get back to them shortly AND FOLLOW THROUGH!

4) Have a plan 

One of the best things you can do in a crisis is to have a plan in place for scenarios that would cause your organization to be in a state of crisis. Depending on what your organization does will require a different list of scenarios. I had the privilege of rewriting my college university’s crisis communication plan when I was a senior. The plan was old and had not been updated since the 90s. There was no mention of active shooter scenarios or terrorism threats. Now granted in a time of crisis will you have time to look at the notebook and go “okay, it says on page 30 that if there is an explosion that causes fire we should evacuate,” no. But, having a plan in place for who talks to the media, where your staff meets after the crisis etc. can save you and your company time in a pinch.

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Hunter Frederick is currently starting up his own firm, Frederick & Associates ,which has already worked with a handful of clients. Be sure to follow Frederick & Associates on Twitter at @FredandAsso and on Facebook.

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We send our thoughts and prayers to all those affected by the Boston Bombing. Stay Strong.