Friday, July 27, 2012

PR News You Can Use

Our latest newsletter just out! Find out how to make social media work for you, hear more about our own website revamp - and why, our commitment to helping others get the word out about domestic abuse and visit our Client Corner for a look at recent projects and samples of our work. If you like, be sure to sign up and share with others. It comes out quarterly so you won't be inundated but you will get periodic helpful tips.

What's your greatest PR challenge?

Just send a quick email to gwen@milestonespr. It just might be the topic of a future blog post or newsletter article!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Weekly Round Up - Short & Sweet

Weekly Round Up – Things We Thought Were Interesting
Time is precious and a hot commodity. So, some of our blogs will be very short and sweet – quick links to things we found interesting that we thought you might, too. We got this nifty idea from one of our favorite bloggers. So feel free to read, browse and share. Good stuff!

PR/Professional News
Getting Visual
65 Great Resources
Great Content – 10 Types We All Love
The A to Z Guide to PR Entrepreneurship – Yes, 26 Tips

Just Interesting
Never Give Up, Never Give In - Making Optimism Work For You
Why Thinking Small is the Secret to Big Success
13 Entrepreneurs Talk About Overcoming Insecurity

Caught Looking Good
Penn State’s Daily Collegian
Funnyman Scott Burton
Paralyzed Teen Goes for the Gold

Children’s Lyme Disease Network
With stories that resonate, that we can relate to and that make it real

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

PR & the Beach?

Hi All. I'm Gwen Fariss Newman, founder of Milestones Communications and I've just returned from a refreshing week at the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where I found myself sitting in the sand, listening to the surf and reflecting on the similarities between PR and my beloved beach vacation getaway. For those who love their jobs - and, yes, I know how fortunate we are - it’s what we call the overlap between work and play. So take a moment wherever you are, dig your toes into the imaginary sand, lift your face to the sun and take a little journey with me.  

What does PR have in common with the beach?

A sense of anticipation.

Most of us count down the days to beach time. We eat better, move more, buy snazzy new clothes and get giddy with excitement. Even if it’s a spur-of-the-moment day trip, there’s still a special oomph that comes with getting up and heading out. The drive itself is an adventure and sitting in bumper to bumper traffic even is just a minor roadblock or momentary detour to a sometimes long-awaited day of recreation and release. Sure, we had to make reservations, pack and print out a map.  In PR, we identify great stories, craft press releases, make media outreach and go through a variety of interviews but even after all that, there’s a special aura that comes with hosting an event, being interviewed live, waiting for the nightly news or picking up the morning paper. There’s the countdown leading up to the big event and then the indescribable excitement that comes in the moment, when doors open, lights shine and cameras capture the magic.

Public access, visibility and exposure.

Even small private beaches draw attention and have their own unique allure and appeal. The more popular tourist hot spots draw millions each season. And in this era of instant access, around-the-clock social media and print and electronic coverage that garners traditional headline news as well as YouTube videos that can be played, replayed and shared in a millisecond, public visibility has never been as coveted or as immediate. PR practitioners look for areas of opportunity, gauge the best fit/the best time and have to constantly be on guard for who finds what and where. It’s a mix of monitoring a new mix of mediums as well as surveying a lush landscape that includes not just TV, radio and newsprint but Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more. Sometimes we’re looking for mass saturation; sometimes we want a specialty niche.

A captive audience. 

Photo by Milestones Communications
Whether you’re on the crowed board walk of a tourist happy beach like Ocean City or sitting on the sands of the more secluded Outer Banks, each has a distinct audience. Large or small, interspersed or intimate, fun-loving or happy just to hunker down, each beach has its own unique personality and appeal that captures and reflects who goes where, what they’re hoping to find and how they spend their time. Those who promote destinations must know their tourists and why they’re drawn to an area. Those in PR have to always know their target audience. We’re paid to know the demographics - how to identify them and how to reach them, connect with them and motivate and inspire them.

Changing conditions.

The signs say Swim with Caution. The daily forecast starts with whether it’s sunny or cloudy, hot or mild, windy or still. But the skies can be clear and the waters choppy. Beachgoers – and parents especially – are always on the watch for rip tides, the threat of sharks or a surprise shift in the elements. PR practitioners, too, are always watching and waiting. There are moments to go and moments to hold, moments to hang steady and moments to take a risk, try something new and explore new ground. We know that what worked yesterday might not today and that what looks good today might not tomorrow. We are always weighing what looks like a viable risk with what might pose a threat. This caution doesn’t mean we don’t try new things or that we cling to past successes, it just means we assess and reassess, waiting until conditions look ripe for best results and sometimes changing tide.

Looking Good.

Young or old, trim or not, we all care about how we look on the beach and are aware that, yes, others are always watching - even if we’re not in a bikini contest. Like it or not, there are times when we are all on display. Sometimes we seek the attention and love it; other times it’s a rare and unexpected moment to shine. Question: Are we ready? In PR, the aim is to connect with constituents and in a positive way. You want to look good, be real, and influence  action.


A preferred destination.

Vacationers have a plethora of options at their beck and call, but beaches are a perennial favorite and have an allure unlike any other. Companies looking for attention can get it through a wide array of mediums – advertising, trade shows, direct mail. But PR is like the sunshine at the beach - positive, enduring and refreshing. A form of photosynthesis that allows an organization to grow, shine and prosper in the right conditions. 

Exhausting but exhilarating.

The best getaways are usually a combo of the two - drained of energy but energized, too. It’s an experience we wouldn’t trade for the world. We might be ready to head back home but we’re already thinking of the next trip out. Good PR is like that too. Constant deadlines and endless plotting, planning and prepping. But, in the end, worth all the effort and a job I wouldn’t trade for any in the world. Even when we don’t get the results we want today, there’s always tomorrow. And on the best of days, we usually share in the thrill of excitement not just with peers and colleagues but with our clients and partners who make it all worthwhile.

Worth the journey.

Whether returning from a day trip, a week’s vacation or a summer stay, those who love the beach would do it all over again – in a heartbeat. Despite the grueling drive, fierce heat, scorching sun, hot sand, unexpected burns, salt in the eyes, etc. Because, in the end, and before and after each trip, the thrill of anticipation and the sense of excitement that come from beach days just aren’t the same as everyday life. They’re special sought-after moments that linger long after the sun sets, the bags are packed and the car unloaded. The memories find a way into our very being and we long for yet another escape. The art and craft of public relations can be a lot of work, take a lot of time and consume a lot of energy. It can be the source of worries and jitters, endless hours of planning, finessing and responding. But to see our name in print, to hear our interviews on air, or to see positive words passed through the social media chain – well, it’s worth every second.
Think about it. Is there something about vacation that reminds you of your work in PR?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Weekly Roundup - Short & Sweet

Weekly Round Up – Things We Thought Were Interesting

Time is precious and a hot commodity. So, some of our blogs will be very short and sweet – quick links to things we found interesting that we thought you might, too. We got this nifty idea from one of our favorite bloggers. So feel free to read, browse and share. Good stuff!

PR/Professional News
Ways to Humanize Your Social Media
It's an Experience - Make Them Feel Special
Don't Forget the Social in Social Media
Easy Content X5
One New Facebook User - Every Second

Just Interesting
Feels So Good - What is It?
A New Kind of Club - Are You a Member?
Coyote Lyme Connection?
Recycling Cigarette Butts
Caught Looking Good - Inspiring
A Great Dane, the Rose Brooks Center & Paws Place
Ruby Taylor - Social Worker, New Author and Advocate for Teen Girls