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The 2020 PRSA Independent Practitioners Alliance’s State of the Indie Profession survey is well underway which makes now a great time to review the 2019 results.  Registration is now open for the 2020 IPA Virtual Conference on Oct. 21 from 1 to 4 p.m. [Eastern].) This is the first of a two-part blog series highlighting JW’s 2019 findings in advance of his new survey results. The survey is anonymous and confidential and participation in 2019 jumped to 238, a 68% increase over 2018. Respondents included PRSA IPA, general membership, and SoloPR Pro. The 2019 survey came back with some results that survey my co-organizer and analyzer J.W. Arnold, APR, PRSA Fellow, ...
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 I have spent the better part of the week reviewing changes that I want to make to our website. It’s time for a new site. It’s been over five years since our last redesign, and while we’ve kept the site fresh with news and blogs, technology has evolved, and so has consumer preference. I want our new design to be professional, easy to navigate, and engaging. And those, by the way, are the same goals we pitch to our clients. Being in the business doesn’t make the process easier. If anything, it makes it more difficult. Through the years, we have literally designed hundreds of websites and reviewed hundreds more in the process.  Each one has something ...
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Fasting has become a widespread practice since it possesses some health benefits. Fasting is whereby people abstain from consuming certain foods and drinks for a specific period. There are different ways of fasting. Some of the fasts can be performed for over 24 hours. As for intermittent fasting, it entails alternating the period of fasting and eating, ranging from one day to a few hours. Fasting harbors different health benefits , including: Fasting Promotes Blood Sugar Control Some studies have been carried out, and they showcase that fasting can help improve blood sugar control. If you are at risk of diabetes, you can consider ...
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 Public relations is a high-stress occupation, and maintaining health and wellness as an independent practitioner can be especially challenging. On top of keeping up with emails, talking to collaborators and clients, and working long days to meet client deadlines, independent practitioners must also be concerned with marketing and growing their business. And on top of that, they need to fit in ways to maintain their health and wellbeing. I recently spoke with a few Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Independent Practitioners Alliance (IPA) members— Jennifer Heinly, Jamie Meredith, and Mark Mohammadpour, APR— about how they tackle health and wellbeing ...
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Discussions about improving communication in organizations often begin with a focus on top-down formal communication – memos, employee publications, videos, the intranet, etc. Communication is all of this – and more. It also encompasses technology, phone and email messages, conference room presentations, training, performance reviews, policy/procedure manuals, safety meetings, the casual banter around water coolers, in breakrooms, and around tables in the employee cafeteria, displays on bulletin boards and digital TV displays, financial forecasts, cash-flow and income statements. The focus should be on disseminating information  among  people, not ...
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Elderly people remain one of the most vulnerable population groups when it comes to COVID-19. While they must be protected from unnecessary exposure, expecting them to stay cooped up at home alone is also not advisable. Loneliness and feeling cut off from everything will lead to depression and have a harmful impact on their overall well-being. Technology is making this pandemic easier to get through while remaining in touch with loved ones. While seniors might need a bit of coaching to get going, there are many options for them to explore. Here are some examples: Schedule regular video calls One of the best ways to keep your elderly relatives connected ...
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Without a successful launch strategy, even the most innovative of products won’t succeed. You cannot release your ‘baby’, a product you have spent hundreds of hours developing and investing in without making sure that it’s going to reach the people who need it.  To make sure you get your product launch right, here are some steps to follow: Strategize When you designed your product, you already had an idea about who your target market is. This is your core base of potential customers, and they should be the object of your launch strategy. After all, by getting them on board, you can expand your intended audience over time.  Some research will ...
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Marketing for a business may well begin with word-of-mouth advertising. Your happy clients are only too happy to promote your business. Certainly, you want to consider sending out a regular email newsletter to keep these valuable clients up to date with new products, services or specials.  As a business, you have to look carefully at all the marketing options available to you and what they cost.  Content marketing  Content marketing has many benefits and is one of the best methods of promoting a business online . It is cheaper to produce than other forms of marketing and it offers long-lasting results. Good quality content doesn’t date ...
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The coronavirus has got people frightened and panicking. They realize how fragile life is and they want cures. They don’t care much about what goes into a cure, they just want to see improvements in the handling of deadly diseases.   Certainly, medicine is changing with Artificial Intelligence (AI). Machines and robots are already doing a good job accurately and efficiently diagnosing and treating different diseases.    We look at ways AI is playing a role in medicine and healthcare.   AI in nursing homes   Many nursing homes are already making use of AI-powered innovations to respond to the needs of seniors. The United Nations ...
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The offseason is a natural lull in sports action. However, this doesn't mean that sports has to die out completely. Let us take a very close look at how to keep sports fans interested during the offseason. Roster changes To start things off, roster changes are some of the most exciting pieces of news of the offseason. Where are certain players going? Are there any trades going on? Fans love to hear the latest rumors about their favorite players, so deliver this news as soon as it develops. Even if this news isn't always accurate, people love speculating about how rosters might develop. As long as you make a disclaimer that the news isn't verified, ...
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Re-working Remote Working

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Everyone I have spoken to in the last week has Zoom fatigue, and it’s a real thing. When you can physically move from meeting to meeting you get a burst of energy, change in scenery and perspective. We have limited changes in scenery these days, and very low energy. The pandemic is mentally draining in itself. So, for those of you who have been adjusting to working from home for the first time, congratulations. You have learned a new discipline. It may have been clunky, but you’ve done it. Cheer Partners   has long been advocating for the remote workspace. And there are so many benefits. By eliminating a commute, you are saving green-house emissions, ...
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Remote sales deals are some of the most convenient ones out there. However, it can be a little tricky to close these deals out when you're not face to face with the client. For 2020, let us take a very close look at how to close sales deals when working remotely. Signature software To start things off, signature software is your best friend when it comes to remote deals. Naturally, people might be hesitant to make a deal because they aren't working face to face. They might not want to a promise that could be broken in the future. However, signatures solve all of the above problems. E-signatures function just like regular signatures except ...
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I have struggled to find the right words over the past several weeks. Nothing I say can make this better. Nothing I say can right the wrongs. But I have seen the calls for all of us to speak up against racism. And so I am compelled to do so. As a communicator by trade, I understand the value and importance of words. They do matter. But today they are not enough. Tweeting out a statement is not enough. Below are just a few actions that businesses of all sizes can use - starting today - to put real power behind the words. Take time to learn.   Take advantage of the many (mostly free) diversity panels, workshops and other discussions happening these days. ...
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It was only last week at the Tech Section leadership call that I first learned about Juneteenth. Chair-elect Brandi Boatner explained the importance of June 19 th in the American calendar to our Executive Board during our monthly call for June. Our Technology Section board and extended team has three Black women, and earlier in the call Brandi proposed we take the time to ask them how they were feeling after the weeks of protests following George Floyd’s murder. “Exhausted,” they replied. Mentally and emotionally drained, after consoling their families, friends, and colleagues while processing the events themselves while also continuing to deal with the pandemic. ...
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The Culture Shift Team  has successfully engaged numerous diverse minority groups across the nation for major companies and organizations.  They were hired to help with auto dealers facing the national "air bag" problem to reach these populations to take their cars into dealers to correct the problem.  This is just one example of their efforts to solve help resolve issues in multicultural areas.     I recently had two of the three partners on the Public Relations Review podcast to provide some guidance on how they successfully engaged such a wide range of minority groups.  Perhaps there is something to be learned from them. You can listen to the interview ...
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As the coronavirus pandemic hit, many organizations reached out to professional communicators for help in navigating the delivery of COVID-19 messages. Quite often, due to the economic downturn and layoffs, these organizations have turned to independent practitioners. Each practitioner is unique and how they are helping clients during this crisis is also unique. PRSA Independent Practitioners Alliance (IPA) members offered crisis counseling that included direct counseling with CEOs, providing training and resources for the nonprofit industry, and counseling for association executives, communication staff, and boards on how to serve their members during this ...
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                                                                                                             DIVERSITY: Delivering Promise and Profits.                                       By Peter C. Woolfolk                                                                                                                                                                Published: July 2009, Nashville Business Journal   As the composition of the American population continues to evolve, leading businesses in Tennessee and the nation are reaping the benefits of an established aggressive, sincere and operational diversity strategy. Diversity in the workplace ...
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Corporate Values and Public Relations                Peter C. Woolfolk           Published: Nashville Business Journal March 2007   In the wake of recent corporate scandals and continuing revelations the American public has a growing mistrust for business and their senior leaders. This past summer, a Roper poll cited 72 percent of respondents believing wrongdoing among businesses was widespread; up from 66 percent last year.    Obviously, Adelphi, Enron and WorldCom added ample fuel to that fire of continuing doubt.  They were not alone. The public believes the oil companies inflated prices during the damaging summer hurricanes. The Halliburton ...
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Last February 20 th the PRSA Tech Section opened its monthly webinar to the entire association’s membership. We got a strong response for our February topic: “Risky business: Managing Reputation & Digital Trust in the Age of Cybercrime,” with Wangui McKelvey. McKelvey is Vice President of Marketing for IBM Open Cloud Technology & Applications, and before that was with IBM’s Security Team for over ten years. The conversation was started by Tech Section’s Brandi Boatner, Social and Influencer Communications Lead at IBM’s Corporate Headquarters, followed by open Q&A with participants. February was Black History Month, and IBM proudly celebrated its ...
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Did you hear? Last January, Goldman Sachs said they will no longer help companies go public unless they have at least one “diverse” board member.  CEO David Solomon explained it: They run the numbers on companies going public over the last four years. Companies with at least one female director have better numbers. At the PRSA Technology Section we agree! On our first monthly webinar of 2020 last January, Bevin Maguire of IBM shared the numbers behind a recent IBM study on women in leadership that aligns with their #BeEqual, their gender diversity pledge (Bevin is VP of Clients, Industry and Global Markets at IBM Corporate Communications). ...
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