Events

  • Fast Five with Deirdre Breakenridge, 2018 Social Media Summit Keynote Speaker

    Deirdre K. Breakenridge is Chief Executive Officer at Pure Performance Communications. A veteran in PR, marketing and branding, Breakenridge is the author of six books, including “Answers for Modern Communicators”, “Social Media and Public Relations: Eight New Practices for the PR Professional”, “Putting the Public Back in Public Relations” and “PR 2.0: New Media, New Tools, New Audiences.

    Deidre teaches online PR and social media courses for the UMASS at Amherst  and for Rutgers University’s PR Certificate course. She is also the host of a podcast program, Women Worldwide, interviewing women around the globe who are encouraged to share their incredible stories, educating, imparting advice and offering insights to show listeners. Women Worldwide has recently joined the C- Suite Radio Network, where Deirdre is recognized as a C-Suite Advisor.

    Deirdre will be the opening keynote speaker at the 2018 Social Media Summit on May 11 at Bentley University.  Join Deirdre and a host of other speakers for an amazing day as we explore how social media is being integrated in communications strategies at some of the region’s most visible brands.  Learn more and get your tickets here

    What prompted you to start PR Expanded?

    I launched PR Expanded (formerly PR 2.0) when I was researching and writing my book PR 2.0: New Media, New Tools and New Audiences. The blog was a way to document my social media journey, share topics covered in the book and gauge community member reactions and thoughts that I would include in my manuscript. Since the launch of PR 2.0, I’ve rebranded my blog as PR Expanded, which represents the many opportunities for PR professionals today. PR Expanded continues to showcase new roles and practices in PR as a result of the changing media landscape, advancing technologies and shifting consumer behaviors.

    What is a recent winning move your social media team has made for a client?

    We work with a digital marketing agency that is taking a stand on Artificial Intelligence and marketing ethics. A recent study of 6,000 consumers in the US, UK and Germany reveals consumer attitudes and concerns about AI. Our team was able to immerse ourselves in the survey data to come up with creative pitch angles. Our pitches have led to more media exposure in the form of byline articles, Q&A guest posts, radio interviews and expert commentary in business, technology and industry trade publications.

    What top deliverables do you look for in your social media team?

    Your social media team must deliver outcomes for your business. Yes, there are communication goals as a result of your campaigns, but you’re also tying what you do to higher-level business goals. A social media team that has a purpose and goals and sets up a measurement program that shows how social media directly relates to sales and lead generation, marketing optimization, customer satisfaction or brand health, is a team that gets the attention of the company leaders.

    What big goals or programs do you want your social media team to accomplish this year?

    Companies need to share stories and share meaningful information with the public, but they also need to create a sharing culture on the inside of the organization. Our social media teams are focused on igniting employee champions within the organization to create more strategic participation and greater momentum and engagement through employee networks. As a rule, good communication (including social media communication) starts on the inside of the company.

    What do you look for in a social media professional when you are hiring?

    A social media professional needs a balance of IQ and Emotional Quotient (EQ). It’s great when a candidate knows the areas of social media management, data and analytics and good writing and communication skills. However, the EQ is important when you’re dealing with a community and any issues or concerns that may arise. Showing EQ means stepping back to evaluate a situation in a social media community and having more empathy for your customer. When you blend the strategic with the empathy, you can solve problems and prevent the escalation of issues for your brand.

    When your clients just don’t get social media, how do you explain it?

    When clients don’t understand social media you have to show them why it matters in their world. Showing them could mean sharing the results of a competitor audit and how the competition uses social media. You might also reveal that the top companies in their industry are using social media to attract the best talent. You can also share how their customers, employees, media, and other important stakeholders are on social media giving them a reason to monitor or to engage directly. For these clients, it could be a crawl, walk run approach to get them comfortable with social media and understanding the meaning and value for their business.

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is about as easy as … winning Powerball at $1.5 billion! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

  • Fast Five with Melissa Mann, EF Education First

    Melissa Mann is the social media and content manager for EF Education First, the world’s largest international education company and #1 Top Place to Work in the Boston Globe’s 2017 list. Melissa got her start as a fashion copywriter and remembers the day Instagram launched—she’s worked in social media ever since. She’ll be sharing her knowledge at the 2018 Social Media Summit on May 11 at Bentley University.  Learn more and register here.

    What prompted you to join EF Education First?

    I was working in the fashion industry, managing social media for an ecommerce brand and had the wakeup call that I didn’t actually care about fashion. Since studying abroad in college, I’d realized the benefit of travel and felt very strongly about the doors and perspectives it opened. So when I started asking myself what my values were and looking to align my work with something I believed in, travel was the theme. I found EF Education First through a former colleague and once I learned more about what EF stands for—opening the world through education and breaking down barriers through travel, cultural exchange, and language learning—I knew it was the perfect fit for me. Walking in, you can really feel the culture and the passion of the people who work at EF. I haven’t looked back.

    Do you have a favorite social media campaign? 

    I love seeing what other brands are doing in the social space and there are always a ton of good ideas out there. I really like what Southwest is doing with their “every seat has a story” campaign—it feels a bit like what we’re trying to do at EF with our storytelling and focus on our people. I am also a huge fan girl of Wendy’s on Twitter. They really own their voice and have such a strong personality that actually encourages other brands to pitch in. They’re super fun to watch.

    What are the most common mistakes – and winning moves – social media managers make?

    I think one common mistake is trying to retro-fit a channel to a solution. We’re always looking out for “the next big thing” and it’s easy to get wrapped into the craze of “let’s do this on Facebook live!” or “let’s add 5 polls to our Instagram stories!” I think it’s important to be able to take a step back and really identify what the goals are and decide what the best platform is to accomplish those goals. Winning moves are when you can adapt quickly to those changes, however, and leverage them in a way that supports your business. The sooner you can take advantage of updates like customizing your ad creative for Facebook, the sooner you’ll see that ROI.

    What are the top three skills in demand by your management?

    For anyone going into social media, I think it’s important to know a little bit about a lot of different areas of marketing. Of course you need to be specialized in social media, but there are a lot of us out there whose roles touch so many different pieces, from acquisition to customer care to email marketing.  Having some knowledge in each of those areas will make your role as a social media manager that much easier (while making you more marketable). So that being said, knowing how to run and manage some paid media (in particular, Facebook and Instagram ads) is a huge benefit. Knowledge of analytics and experience with tools like Google Analytics or Moz are also incredibly useful skills to have in your toolbox—bonus points if you can build your own reporting dashboards and make it easier to present that to your stakeholders. Finally, I think it’s super important to be detail-oriented. Social media is big and it’s fast, and it’s easy to make a mistake, like push an Instagram post to the wrong account (been there). Being organized and giving your attention to the small details will help keep you on top of it all.

    When management just doesn’t get social media, how do you explain it?

    This is a tough one; I think all social media managers and content producers go through this. I try to focus on the engagement and nurturing piece. Social media ROI can be really difficult to prove, but what you’re really building through social is a loyal, engaged community. Social gives you the opportunity to keep your brand top-of-mind for people (potential customers, e.g.) who are interested in what you have to say. By producing relevant, interesting content that ties back to your brand, your followers will remember (and choose) you when it’s time for them to make a purchase.

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is about as easy as … winning Powerball at $1.5 billion! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

     

  • Back to School: A Wrap-Up of PRSSA Regional Conference 2018

    In Career, Events on

    By Nikki Vergakes, PR Specialist at Trevi Communications

    Every February, Boston University PRSSA hosts all the regional PRSSA chapters at their school for an enriching day of learning and networking. It’s not surprising that only the most engaged students attend this conference, since it’s on a Saturday. This is just one of the many reasons why I attended the conference along with my Co-College Liaison, Ermolande Jean-Simon, seeking out talented seniors and grad students to join our chapter.

    By the end of the day, we gained much more knowledge than just students to keep an eye on. Since we were allowed to hop around the sessions (thanks for the opportunity, BU PRSSA), we picked up almost as much information as the students.

    During my days in PRSSA, my two favorite times of the year were regional and national conference. It was like Christmas came more than once a year! I also just graduated in May, so I can’t say that my mindset is very different from that of the students. Either way, you never stop learning. This conference would’ve been beneficial for professionals and students of any age.

    The first breakout I attended was hosted by Michal Desalvo, VP of Healthcare at OIlgivy. He took us through his seemingly treacherous job search path. I think that everyone could relate to what he went through, however, even if you had a job secured after graduation.  His presentation was supposed to be a super-secret, life-changing tip to land a PR job. Not surprisingly, the secret was that there is none! His advice is the be true to yourself and what you want, work hard and to treat the whole process of networking like making friends. Look at how ridiculous it would be if we treated relationships like we do networking.

    I also really enjoyed the keynote session by DJ Capobianco, Manager of Research at Twitter. I was happy to catch this after networking with students at the career fair. The left and right side of my brain were buzzing after his presentation. I missed the part where he explains what he did, but from what I gathered, brands approach Twitter for market research, and he gathers the research for them. If that doesn’t sound like a cool job, I don’t know what does. My two big takeaways were that there is actual revenue increase due to a pleasant customer service via Twitter (talk about an ROI), and the best quote of the day, “All research is wrong no matter who does it, it just depends how wrong it is.”

    Thanks to BU PRSSA for having us – we already can’t wait for next year!

    Bio

    Nikki Vergakes is a PR Specialist at Trevi Communications, working in professional services and clean energy PR. Having just graduated in May, she’s learning so much about what you can do with PR in her role, and is also putting the skills she learned in (and out of) school to the test with some side projects. She just launched a podcast with her friend, writes in the free time, and just joined She Zine as a news & culture contributor in March.

  • Fast Five: with Richard Chacón, Executive Director of News Content, WBUR, Boston

    As executive director of news content for WBUR, Richard Chacón oversees all aspects of local radio and digital news content for WBUR, Boston’s leading public radio station.

    Richard’s career includes more than 20 years of experience in print and broadcast journalism, public affairs, politics and government. As a journalist, Richard has worked at The Boston Globe, where he covered Boston City Hall and higher education and was the Latin America bureau chief, based in Mexico City. He also served as deputy foreign affairs editor and as ombudsman. In addition, he has worked at New York Newsday, WCVB-TV in Boston and KTSM in his native El Paso, Texas.

    Beyond journalism, Richard also served as director of communications for Deval Patrick’s gubernatorial campaign in Massachusetts, and later served in the governor’s office as director of policy and then as executive director of the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants. He also served as a speechwriter in the New York City mayor’s office under David Dinkins and later as deputy media director for the 1992 Democratic National Convention in New York City.

    We caught up with Richard prior to the 2017 PRSA Boston Annual Meeting where he is scheduled to give the keynote address.  We asked him about the future of news and how media platforms like WBUR are evolving.

    What led you to become a journalist and why did you decide to join WBUR?

    Endless curiosity – about how things happen, why and about the people involved. I’ve had this curiosity ever since I was a young boy growing up in the desert in El Paso, TX. My very first job was as a newspaper delivery boy. I’ve been blessed to have had some wonderful experiences in print, broadcast and multimedia newsrooms and working with some talented colleagues along the way. I’m especially pleased and proud to help lead one of the biggest and best newsrooms in public radio. As WBUR grows and becomes more of a primary source of news and information – especially during this transformational time in Boston’s history – we have an opportunity and obligation to help lead the public dialogue on many important issues in our community.

    Will presenting news to audiences continue to evolve or change in 2018? If so, how?

    Newsrooms across Boston and the country are in the midst of rethinking and redefining how they collect and deliver the news – that includes WBUR. We know that over half of our audience experiences our multimedia content through mobile devices, so our content must be mobile friendly. Visual presentations of content – videos, photos, data visualization – are growing in importance for stories, especially those that are shared through social media channels. Although terrestrial radio continues to reach our largest audience, on-demand listening – whether through podcasts or streaming – is growing in popularity for our audience, especially younger listeners and readers. But even amid all of these changes, it is important that we always remain committed to the traditional values of fair, aggressive and transparent journalism.

    PR people continue to see the lines are blurring between advertising and editorial. Is this impacting how you and your team at WBUR report news? If so, how?

    News organizations are also constantly looking for new business and financial models to help sustain the journalism. Increasingly, we’re seeing the development of “sponsored content” which can sometimes look, walk and quack like newsroom editorial content. As a former ombudsman for the Boston Globe, I think it’s very important that news organizations are both very careful and very clear with audiences about what is advertising and what is news coverage. So far, I believe most organizations – including WBUR – has maintained that line between advertising and editorial but it’s an evolving and ongoing discussions (and debates) that we have on these issues.

    Why was it important to develop online niche sites, such as the ARTery and Edify, or podcasts such as Modern Love?

    As WBUR continues to grow as a multimedia destination for news and spoken-word content, we are constantly experimenting with new forms of presentations and platforms. We have national programs that reach millions of listeners across the United States; and we have sound-rich podcasts that share peoples’ personal stories and perspectives. In our local newsroom, we’ve developed a number of multimedia content “verticals” as a way to chronicle many of the dynamic sectors that are part of our knowledge-based economy around Boston. We’re building teams of journalists to bring WBUR’s high-quality storytelling to these sectors: “BostonomiX is how we cover tech and innovation; “CommonHealth” covers health and science; The ARTery is how we capture our increasingly diverse arts and culture scene; “Edify” is how we cover the many facets of teaching, learning and education. The great news is we are developing new ones for 2018!

     Why is hosting events important to WBUR? How will this continue to evolve in 2018?

    WBUR believes it has both an opportunity and responsibility to lead the public conversations on important topics with newsmakers, thought leaders, idea makers and diverse members of our communities. That’s already what we do every day on air and online. We do it through our selection of news stories and topics, our regular use of polling to key issues like the opioid crisis or climate change, and through our growing use of social media and crowd-sourcing. Convening more public events is a natural extension of our role as a public institution. We regularly host public events at WBUR that include many of our journalists. We also sponsor and produce dozens of other events all over the region because we believe strongly in our role of gathering communities together for thoughtful discussion. Sometimes these events can be a source of revenue for us, but more importantly, it’s an opportunity to constantly cultivate and grow our public media audience. There will be some more exciting news on this front also in 2018!

     

    Do you have a candidate for a FAST FIVE interview? Email Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and pitch your expert! 

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

     

     

  • Darlene Hollywood

    PRSA BOSTON TO PRESENT DIANE DAVIS BEACON AWARD TO DARLENE HOLLYWOOD

    In Events, Membership, News on

    Annual Meeting Event Will Also Feature Keynote Address from Richard Chacón, WBUR Executive Editor of News Content

     

    BOSTON, MA (November 13, 2017) – The Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) Boston Chapter will honor Darlene Hollywood, founder and principal of Hollywood Agency, with its most prestigious honor, the Diane Davis Beacon Award. The award recognizes the extraordinary achievements of a Boston area PR professional. Hollywood is being recognized for her numerous professional achievements, service to the communications community, and contributions as a mentor and industry leader. Hollywood will accept the award at PRSA Boston’s Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony, held on November 16, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. at the NonProfit Center of Boston.

     

    “On behalf of all PRSA members, I’m honored to recognize Darlene’s great impact on the communications profession. She is an inspiration to all those who have worked with her,” said Dan Dent, president, PRSA Boston. “Darlene’s creativity and enthusiasm have enabled her to accomplish great things throughout her career, and we are grateful to have her as part of our community.”

     

    Hollywood is founder and principal of Hollywood Agency, an integrated communications firm headquartered in Hingham with an office in San Francisco. At Hollywood Agency, she sets the strategic direction for how the firm’s client stories are positioned, pitched, placed and measured. Hollywood has more than 25 years of experience, and her background includes consumer goods, footwear and apparel, business services, not-for-profits and enterprise software. This year, Boston Business Journal named her firm one of Massachusetts’ fastest growing private companies for the second year in a row, and PR Week named her a Champion of PR for challenging the status quo, pushing for the big idea and striving to make a difference.

     

    Hollywood has been a member of the PRSA Boston leadership team for more than a decade, serving in roles including board member, treasurer, president and delegate. In addition, Darlene serves on the executive committee of the South Shore Chamber of Commerce and is on the board of the British American Business Council of New England. She also dedicates time to mentor students at Bridgewater State College’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Chapter.

     

    More about PRSA Boston’s 2017 Annual Meeting

    In addition to Hollywood’s recognition ceremony, PRSA Boston Annual Meeting will feature keynote speaker Richard Chacón, WBUR’s Executive Editor of News content, who will give us his perspective on the news business and its future in Boston. The event will take place on November 16, 2017, at The NonProfit Center of Boston, 89 South Street, Boston, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  For more information or to purchase tickets, visit https://prsaboston.org/events-registration/.

     

    About the Public Relations Society of America, Boston Chapter

    The Boston Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is among the largest and most influential of the 112 U.S. chapters that make up the PR industry’s foremost professional association. With over 300 members, PRSA Boston is comprised of recent graduates to PR professionals with decades of experience who work in corporate, agency, nonprofit, and public settings. Members strive to share their diverse knowledge and experience to create a continuous learning community and networking opportunities.

     

    About the Public Relations Society of America

    Based in New York, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is the largest professional organization serving the U.S. public relations community of more than 22,000 members. With a mission to “advance the profession and the professional,” PRSA provides news and information, thought leadership, continuing education and networking opportunities; sets standards of professional excellence and ethical conduct; and advocates for the business value of public relations and greater diversity among public relations professionals.

     

     

     

    ###

     

     

    Contact: Joshua Milne, josh@joshuamilnepr.com, 617-501-1620

  • Fast 5: Making Social Media a Judgement Free Zone

    Jenna Reynolds, Planet Fitness

    @JennaAReynolds  @PlanetFitness


     

    Jenna Reynolds is a proud tiny-house owner and dog mom who spends her days as a Digital Communities Manager professional at Planet Fitness World Headquarters, the home of the Judgement Free Zone. She spearheaded the creation of Planet of Triumphs, the company’s very own social community, where elevating positivity and inspiring members is the goal.

    We caught up with Jenna to talk about how social media can help people achieve their fitness goals, what she is looking forward to at the Social Media Summit, and what life is like in a tiny house.

    Q. Just when the news feed couldn’t seem to be any more crowded, the flow of information seems to have picked up to a dizzying pace. How can brands break through that noise?

    A. Every brand’s focus should be on what works for them and their brand personality. Planet Fitness members’ feeds are filled with the latest fitness and diet trends. We aim to break through that noise by empowering our members with positive messaging about our Judgement Free Zone and by celebrating their fitness triumphs, big and small.

    Q. What was the drive behind creating Planet of Triumphs? Why was it important to create a social community for Planet Fitness?

    A. We have seen first-hand the amazing things that are possible when our members encourage and support one another in our gyms. We wanted to forge a special community where they could do so digitally as well. The platform has truly taken on a life of its own and our members have used it to detail their fitness journeys, cheer each other on and ask for support when they need it.

    We surveyed a focus group of our members, and more than 70% said that they don’t post their fitness experiences on traditional social channels as they are afraid of being judged; Planet of Triumphs provides them a place where they can feel comfortable doing so.

    The platform has become an important part of our brand, and our CEO visits the site every day to learn about our members’ stories and offer words of encouragement. As a company, we are diligent about keeping the site from becoming overly promotional and instead have let our members build their own community and celebrate their everyday wins.

    Q. What advice would you give brands that are nervous about engaging on social media?

    A. It is all about trust. Using social media helps immediately open up direct feedback and establish trust between your brand and consumers. It isn’t just about pushing out content. It should also be about how your fans respond and the learnings that you can distill from that, not just in terms of social media, but in all areas of your business.

    Additionally, my biggest piece of advice would be to closely monitor your response volume and ensure that your social media strategy is equipped to handle it.

    Overall, don’t overthink it. You’ve got this!

    Q. What are you most looking forward to about the Social Media Summit?

    Lanyards. Besides that, connecting with other social media advocates. No matter the industry, it is always a positive learning experience to hear about other brands’ successes and challenges, along with the trends that they are witnessing, when it comes to social media.

    Q. You say you are a tiny-house owner. Doesn’t it get a little cramped?

    The winter months can test my two dogs’ patience but otherwise, we utilize our yard which has a mini outdoor theater, fire pit, dining area, etc.  I am social by profession and personality, so not being able to entertain a lot of people has been the biggest challenge; however, I am also addicted to re-decorating, so living in a smaller space has helped me to successfully limit my HomeGoods visits.

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics (https://prsaboston.org/hot-topics/) blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is on the fly! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, authors’ books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com (mailto:josh@joshuamilnepr.com) and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization.