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The accreditation in public relations (APR) designation had been one of my goals since I first began my undergraduate public relations studies back in the fall of 1998. At the time it seemed like the pinnacle of a public relations career. Something that would prove when I had finally made it. I remember being told that I should practice my craft for at least five years before I tried the daunting process. I also remember thinking that five years seemed like a lifetime. Those five years came and went and while the APR was still a goal, I kept telling myself I hadn't gained enough professional experience or knowledge. Then in 2009, in an effort to help enhance ...
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No matter what business you’re in, things can and do sometimes go wrong. And even if your organization is tightly-run, any business is vulnerable to events that could involve the company in a massive crisis. Regardless of how comfortably your organization runs, there is always a possibility that a scandal will erupt or an employee will do something that lands the company in hot water. There are plenty of companies who have found themselves in a whole lot of trouble without a plan in place to deal with problems that may occur. We take you through 5 steps to crisis-proof your company. Have a plan in place As with many things in life, a ...
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About the above-- the ultimate measure of AI, the Turing Test, is a challenge of natural language processing (NLP). The test was developed in 1950 by Alan Turing and set a benchmark: a technology passed if a person could not tell the difference between talking to a human or computer. In May 2018, Google Duplex introduced a tool that may be a winner. Click on the link and decide for yourself.   What is natural language processing? Toward Data Science defines NLP as “a sub-field of Artificial Intelligence that is focused on enabling computers to understand and process human languages, to get computers closer to a human-level understanding of language.” ...
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SHOPPING FOR YOUR BUSINESS INSURANCE Many solos may be unaware of professional business liability insurance – until it’s too late. There are many types of protection you can purchase, but what’s right for your business? Unfortunately, claims against PR firms are more and more common. Clients are more than ready to take legal action over billing , attorney-client privilege and copyright claims , and for work completed for high-profile public nuisance lawsuits where the financial stakes are high. For most solos, you can find general policies for small businesses for under $1,500 a year providing up to $1 million in coverage. We found policies all over ...
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There is nothing worse than being crushed by debt from bad business decisions. It can happen to anyone and there is no time to despair once you fall in that trap and thoughts of going bankrupt start troubling you. No matter how decimating it must be to earn money and have to give it to someone else, you have to take measures to erase and mitigate the situation. Knowing these five simple steps is all you need to gain control of your financial situation and resurrect your business. Reassess your budget Most business-related debts are due to bad budget management. Reassessing your budget is the first step towards a clean credit score. You have to ...
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You may have seen recent social media posts by journalists, bemoaning the increasing number of “PR people” who contact them daily. What’s behind it? The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Statistics just released data showing that there are six “public relations specialists” for every one reporter. That’s a lot, and reporters are apparently feeling the pain. While I’m happy to see the communication industry grow, I would like to see that growth because of an increase in the perceived value of our industry and respect for the talent it requires. The online response indicates that may not be the case, and so it’s time we change the way we approach and talk ...
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Businesses seem to be obsessed with millennials and their preferences. This makes sense because they’re the generation that’s currently shaping many aspects of the world we live in. Businesses want to understand more about them and how to appeal to them whether it’s as employees, consumers or investors. What do millennials really want? You have probably heard plenty of negative information about millennials. You hear that they’re overconfident and tend to overestimate their talents. They’re always skipping from one job for another because they want to try new things. You hear that they’re spoiled and entitled and that technology is more important to ...
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Millennials currently represent the most valuable demographic. People born from 1981 through 1996 are considered part of the millennial generation. Not all marketing campaigns are successfully tailored to this generation. Experts find that millennials simply don’t respond to traditional advertising as much as previous generations did. This is mostly because they don’t trust ads. In order to promote a company to millennials you will have to get creative. Here are some great examples of marketing to this generation. Personalizing Content The reason why Netflix managed to find a good way to market their service to millennials is because they understood ...
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                                       Some actions are clearly wrong. No reasonable person could fail to identify that lying and cheating are unethical. Why then do these actions make headlines nearly every day? Isn’t it interesting that some individuals, including high-ranking politicians and economic leaders, disregard what should be their moral conscious? Wouldn’t it be great if we were armed with alarm bells that went off in ethically-charged situations, or if we had an inner voice that screamed, “this is wrong, illegal and could irreparably damage my business or career!” Better yet, wouldn’t it be great if there was an app for that—a moral barometer ...
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Andrew Healy is a partner and co-founder of Water & Wall Group, a marketing and communications firm focused on financial and professional services. In his role, he supports clients across the entire financial spectrum (retail/institutional asset management, alternative investments, fintech, wealth management, etc.) and helps guide the agency’s vision and direction. He also is a member of the PRSA Financial Communications’ Executive Committee and serves on its Social Media TaskForce. We chatted with Healy to learn more about his background, how he got into the public relations industry, why he loves agency life so much, and tips for young professionals.  ...
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How to Fire a Client

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In the 18 years I’ve been doing PR (and all related services), I’ve had a parting of ways with a client just twice. By parting, I mean outright firing – or terminating a contract early. In both instances, you do what you can – turn over files, maintain your work ethic to the end and wish everyone well. In my experience, you know in the first two to four weeks whether you can deliver what you’ve been hired to do – and whether it will meet your professional standards. If you’re stubborn, and don’t wish to recognize the root causes as to why it’s not working, you can hang in as long as you can and suffer the consequences. But in today’s mobile economy, you need ...
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Hiring is always a challenging process and if you don’t make the right decisions, your whole company is going to suffer. It’s not easy to determine whether someone would be a good fit for your firm after looking at their resume and having a conversation with them, especially when it comes to hiring public relations professionals. Because of this, you will have to get creative with the hiring process and try different things. Test Your Candidates Although your interviewee may seem like the perfect candidate on paper, it’s always a good idea to test your candidates. Of course, there are countless ways to do this, but when a candidate is applying for a ...
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Marketing has always gone hand in hand with PR. This is completely logical considering that their end goals are the same – to make a company more successful. While marketing is more focused on promoting and selling of services and products, public relations professionals are focused on maintaining the favorable public image of a company. In other words, while marketing is more focused on advertising and promotional materials, PR is devoted to building relationships with key publics as well as media relations. Combining PR and marketing is an excellent way to ensure your business prospers. It’s a good idea to invite at least one expert from your PR department ...
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Maybe it's because I'm stuck in the eighties (musically, anyway), but I often think of David Bowie. He was such a musical force in my teenage years, and I'm just really sad that he's gone. Even though it's almost as old as I am, "Changes" remains one of my favorite Bowie songs. Aside from it just being a phenomenal song, every time I hear it I relate it to some change I'm going through. And vice versa. Often when I'm going through some sort of transition, the "ch-ch-ch-ch-changes" refrain runs through my head. And change today is constant, isn't it? At last month's Hood Hargett Breakfast Club event, I had the pleasure of hearing Robbie Bach ...
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Most PR practitioners are familiar with Rotary International’s Four-Way Test. We hear it recited at weekly Rotary meetings. We nod our heads in agreement and support, but do we model, respect, live, and lead by its ideas? The four, simple principles created by Rotarian, Herbert Taylor, in 1932 and adopted by Rotary in 1943, has become one of the world’s most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics. Translated into more than one hundred languages, it is still as valid today as it was 87 years ago. This 24-word test should be at the heart of all communication. “ Of the things we think, say and do: “Is it the truth?”   Often what we consider ...
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Sometimes when you land a new PR client, it’s easy to make a relationship misstep. Not everyone understands media, for example, or even what they want to accomplish with media. So how do you prepare for client literacy and building a good rapport? Your job, after all, is to be a strategist. Here are a few suggestions: • When you start the review conversation about the potential work, you can ask them to complete a short survey with some direct questions. One example I use in initial conversations is this – In the best of all worlds, where you would you like your brand to be? One answer I received: Endorsed by Oprah in her magazine. Be real with your prospects ...
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As we honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it is worth reflecting on the place he holds in American history. Along with our past Presidents Jefferson, Madison and Lincoln, King is recognized as one of our nation’s most effective advocates of the American ideal. Following graduation from Morehouse College in 1948 with a degree in sociology, King entered Crozer Theological Seminary, a school whose unorthodox reputation and liberal theological teachings suited the young civil rights crusader. At Crozier, King studied the great philosophers in search of answers to his questions: ‘what is justice,’ ‘what deserves to be defended,’ and ...
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The results of a study conducted recently by Forbes Insights for Deloitte, published in “A Crisis of Confidence,” offer a startling but predictable outcome: there is a gap between large companies’ awareness of potential threats and the preparation to actually manage them.Among the key findings: 76% of corporate board members surveyed believe their companies would respond effectively to a crisis.  Yet less than half report that their companies monitor to detect probable crises, and less than one-third conduct crisis management simulations or training. Among those vulnerabilities that rank highest among board members (73%) is corporate reputation, yet ...
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The media continue to be filled with stories about companies that fail to manage crisis situations, costing them millions in damage, fines and reparations, lost revenue and lost jobs.  Many of those failures can be tracked to a few common causes: 1) lack of attention to the identification and assessment of risks, 2) weak leadership commitment to effective risk mitigation and crisis management, 3) no crisis communication plan, and 4) no process to assess, investigate and mitigate a crisis. A risk management plan alone is not enough. As part of an effective enterprise risk management program, leaders need to make the right moves when a crisis occurs to ...
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Do you follow Merriam-Webster on social media? If not, you’re missing out.  Not only do they give us insight into trends, they track popular word searches, authenticate new words that make it into the lexicon, and pick “words of the year.” PR practitioners know better than most that words matter. So it makes sense that how you describe yourself and your work also matters. A solopreneur is a person who sets up and runs a business – solo. Example: ‘being a solopreneur has forced me to learn how to handle all aspects of business.’ So true – you are the payroll administrator, IT director, accountant, client relationship manager, writer, event wrangler – and ...
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