The benefits of social media and an online presence.

Posts tagged ‘public relations’

How To Politely Decline An Invitation

Event planning isn’t merely planning; it’s scheduling and properly managing your time.

So in the midst of your big event, you have four other events that you are expected to attend and they aren’t even yours! Coming from someone who never says no, I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to say no.

Knowing how to say politely say no. Here are some tips:

Make Time: Don’t say you are too busy for any of the events you’ve been invited to. Are you really too busy for your cousin’s wedding? Because being the amazing scheduler that you are, you probably aren’t. Prioritize which parties or events are most important to you. Consider the networking that will take place at that conference, or remembering that baby shower ten years from now.

RSVP Is Not Included Just For Fun: Once you’ve decided which invited you are declining, let that person know! When someone asks you to RSVP it’s because they’re trying to determine a count of how many will attend the event. This helps them determine the amount of food, drinks, or even chairs they will need. Be kind. 

Practice Good Public Relations: Don’t be too professional or informal with your friends, but practice good PR. Even if you feel bad about not being able to make it, don’t imply that you are still on the fence about attending. Your friend will appreciate a clear no and move on.

  • Always thank them for thinking of you.
  • Always apologize for not being able to attend.
  • Always follow your decline with “But I really appreciate the invite.” or some variation.

Finally, Call: Do not decline an invite via text or social media. It’s impersonal and the tone and quality of your voice when declining in person or on the phone will soften the blow.

Remember you can’t say yes to everyone. And one day I’ll learn to take my own advice.

Hope this helps!

Are You On Foursquare?

The mayor is in the house! You’ve earned a new badge! Here’s a popular tip!

Image credit: www.aim.org

Image credit: http://www.aim.org

If you are unfamiliar with Foursquare, the location-based social networking site, then you may not know what any of the above means. But you will! Because you should!

Foursquare Basics

1.) It’s an app! Foursquare is an application on smart phones that is free to download. It taps into your phone’s GPS and shows you a list of businesses, places, or general locations in your area.

2.) Checking in. Choose the location you are visiting and the app will check you in to that place, allowing you to include a status about what you are doing as well as pictures you would like to attach.

3.) Mayors. The person who has checked into a certain place the most number of times is automatically the mayor of that location. Anyone can be the mayor!

4.) Points/ Badges. Points and badges can be achieved for several reasons and are used to encourage you to frequently use Foursquare. Certain first time check-ins at movie theaters or radio stations will earn you more points which can eventually lead to business perks!

5.) Tips. After each check-in a tip or comment from a Foursquare user who previously checked in to that location will appear. It’s common to see food recommendations if you are checking in to a restaurant.

Benefits of Foursquare for Your Event or Business

1.) Free Promotion. By claiming your location or business on Foursquare you can post on its behalf. You will also receive window clings and decals to let your attendees or customers know that you are on Foursquare and that they should check-in! The check-in will show to all of their Foursquare friends and spread awareness of you.

2.) Customer Loyalty. Creating coupons and rewards based on recurring check-ins rewards loyal customers and encourages new customers to continue to check-in spreading the word of your business. Examples listed include a free drink for a first time check-in or 10% off on the third. This can also include the creation of badges and moral boosters.

3.) Demographics. If you claim your business on Foursquare, the website will send you emails detailing who is typically checking in at your location. This should help you narrow down your target demographic or audience and better tailor your marketing or advertising.

Google “Foursquare business benefits” and you’ll find tons of great articles like this will helpful tips.

Now, get on Foursquare and claim your listing. Your business or event will thank you for it!

Live Tweeting Your Event

It’s here!

Delmarva Public Radio’s fall membership drive is in full swing and we aren’t holding back in the social media world.

We are live tweeting the drive to spread our name online and you can do the same for your event!

1.) Create a Hashtag.
This will allow you to see what Twitter and Facebook users are saying about you and your event. If your hashtag is specific enough, it also creates a linkable thread grouping everything you and others have said about the event so far. Our drive hashtag is #SupportDPR. Short yet specific.

2.) Post
Common sense, guys. You can’t create a buzz around your event with no content. Don’t spam your followers’ news feeds but be consistent! DPR has shared behind the scenes photos of volunteers answering phones, the cutting of a decorated DPR cake by our GM, and funny moments like when those on the radio asked our news director for a list of his awards and he carried in a stack of his plaques instead. Have interesting and relevant posts that will get people talking and use your hashtag to link them.

3.) Get Others Involved
Have volunteers and participants tweet or Facebook about the event using your hashtag too. This way the number of people you are reaching is much greater.

4.) Promote your Hashtag
Pass out small cards with the event hashtag on them and make sure to include it on all flyers or advertising for the event. Delmarva Public Radio has the added advantage of being able to pitch the membership drive on air so our classical host Kara and I spoke to our listeners about what hashtag is and how to #SupportDPR. Be sure to announce your event and hashtag on Facebook and Twitter and invite everyone involved to participate and spread the word!

Good luck!

Government Shutdown: An Event Planning Problem?

Since when does the government affect an event planner? Surprisingly, since now!

As hopefully most of us are aware, the United States’ government has shutdown. Political views and funding aside, everyone is curious how they are going to be affected. Opinions tend to be either of the extremes. There are the people who believe the world is ending; you know them. The guy who thinks his food will stop being tested and he’ll get E-Coli and die? That’s him. But then there are also those who are dismissive of the issue, believing no one to be affected. The girl who thinks everyone is being dramatic until she goes to do some research for homework on a .gov site. That’s her.

The truth is everyone is going to see the effects of the shutdown and event planners are no exception.

In the tweet above you’ll find a Storify I’ve put together compiling the Twitter reactions to the closing of most National Parks as well as the National Mall. If you are a wedding planner or event coordinator with events scheduled at these locations, begin thinking ahead. Here are some common sense tips from yours truly.

1.) Check your budget: If the bride is upset and considering canceling, remind her of the non-refundable deposits already placed with the caterers, the venue, the photographer, and florist. Then consider the travel costs for relatives, the already mailed invitations, and the cost of therapy after having to cancel and re-plan an entire wedding. If you can’t afford to cancel, move on to solutions.

2.) Find a back-up location: Immediately. Coordinators all over will be doing the same. If you planned to have your event at a national park, is there a charming landscape nearby perhaps owned by a family? Make sure the new venue is somewhat close so attendees can be redirected easily. Be willing to cover costs or get with your purse string operator and find a way to cover them.

3.) Will the purpose and goal still be accomplished?: If at the end of the day the bride and groom were successfully married and his and her friends and family were there to see it, pat yourself on the back for a job well done. No one will say you did a bad job if the ultimate goal is accomplished and the clients are happy. If you have to relocate a promotional event for a client but are still able to spread awareness for their cause, congratulations!

Best of luck!

Event Planning Stress: You’re Doin’ It Right

Stressed out? You should be. At least according to CareerCast’s list of most stressful jobs in 2012. I doubt one year changes very much for Event Coordinators, whose job came in at number six.

It makes sense, though! To be a great public relations expert and plan a spectacular event, a coordinator must strive for the best and settle for nothing less. A type A personality lends itself to a perfectionist nature and it’s that exact nature that creates a successful event. However, the stress that comes with it may be too much to handle.

So, here I am again, probably one of the most stressed people in Salisbury, MD, ready to offer you helpful tips to relieve stress.

1.) Build A Team: Surround yourself with positive and motivated people. If you assign someone a task, you should never still be worried about it getting done. This implies that you don’t fully trust the person who is responsible for seeing it through. The more you can delegate tasks to others, the less stress you will feel.

2.) Make Lists: Have a to-do list that you can refer back to throughout the planning process and time tables to keep you on track. Use resources such as Dipity to mark the dates of major tasks and the final event. Have a list of what to do for each item of your original to-do list. For example, if acquiring food for the event is on the major list, create a smaller list with items such as, research caterers, gather food estimates, and call to make reservation. As an event planner, you must leave nothing unplanned.

3.) Remember You: An often overlooked tip is to not forget to take care of yourself. Don’t skip meals or rely solely on coffee. Considering I tend to do just that, it may be hypocritical of me to lecture on staying healthy during the event planning process but it’s important.

4.) Let Go: Recognize that you can’t control everything. Don’t stress over problems just move on to solutions. Do all that you can and let go of everything else.

Stay happy.

Oh, You’re A Communications Major?

“If a young man tells his date how handsome, smart and successful he is – that’s advertising. If the young man tells his date she’s intelligent, looks lovely, and is a great conversationalist, he’s saying the right things to the right person and that’s marketing. If someone else tells the young woman how handsome, smart and successful her date is – that’s PR.” – S. H. Simmons

As a Communications Arts major at Salisbury University, I often hear outsiders or business students commenting on the pointlessness of a degree in Communications. “You already know how to communicate.” “What are you going to do with a degree in that?” “You’re not going to be able to get a job.”

Again, as a studious P.R. student, I thank them for their input and refrain from letting them know that they are clearly wrong. If you like science, you get a science degree to learn the process behind it and hone your skill so you can work in the field that you love. What people don’t get sometimes is that is exactly what I am doing. I enjoy people; I enjoy speaking; I enjoy mediating and conflict resolution; I enjoy planning; all of these are aspects of public relations.

So, what am I going to do with a degree in Communication Arts? Or Public Relations?
Anything.

I’m going to do anything I want because the options are endless. Specifically for me, I could be a wedding planner, a fund-raiser, an account executive, a speech writer, a social media coordinator, or a corporate conference planner. My friends could be journalists, counselors, sales managers, or lobbyists. I guess that counters the statement of me not being able to find a job.

I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t be discouraged. You’re not a Communications major because Mom and Dad need you to have a college degree or because you’re lazy. You’re doing what you love. I get it. The business student or the law student will probably if not certainly make more money than I do in the future, but I’ll make more money than my best friend teaching English to Arabic-speaking students in Jordan. Do you think she loves her life any less than I love mine? Do you think she regrets her choice of major? The answer will always be no.

So when you get asked questions like the ones I’m asked, just keep learning, keep planning, and if only for once, stop listening.

Successful Event Planning: Do’s & Don’ts

EVTPLAN

When planning an event that’s a few months or even a year away, it can always be tempting to keep putting things off. Or to have a to-do list and revisit each item in your mind as opposed to actually checking them off.

Right now, I am in the process of planning A Silent Night Out auction with Delmarva Public Radio. So I’ve come up with some basic do’s and don’ts of event planning that directly relate to my experience.

DO’S
1.) What: Do decide what the event will be. What do you hope to accomplish? Don’t just say, “We’re going to have a bake sale!” Is your goal to fundraise or is it to encourage volunteers to help out with your organization? Because a bake sale is a fundraising event. Tailor your event to the needs of your organization and during each step of the event planning process, refer back to your original purpose to guide you.

2.) When: Do establish an exact date for the event as soon as possible. All other elements of the event will revolve around this basic detail. For example, the title of The Silent Night Out auction was chosen because the date, December 8, was chosen first. The winter and holiday theme first the “when” of the event. Find out if other community events or significant holidays are occurring around the same time and schedule around them.

3.) Where: Do secure a location as soon as possible. Venues often book months in advance and, as in the auction’s case, sometimes require a written proposal of what the event will be and how many people are expected to attend.

DONT’S
1.) Don’t confirm until you have confirmed! Twice! Before scheduling or booking something outside of your organization such as a band or catering, confirm the date and time with the venue as well as your own organization. The worst PR is to waste someone’s time.

2.) Don’t wait to promote your event. Once you have the basics confirmed, begin making flyers or posting on social media. Movies send out teaser trailers to peak an audience’s interest. Then later they release the actual movie trailer closer to the release date. You should do the same! Get the public interested and involved. Make sure they have it on their calendars.

3.) Don’t procrastinate. Event planning does not have to be as stressful as we make it. The last week before the event should not be when you are rushing around doing things that you’ve had on your to-do list since the very beginning. If you have small tasks, do them first. If you have to wait for another task to be done before you can get to it, then use that as your motivation to begin on that task instead.

Let’s see if I can take my own advice and make The Silent Night Out auction the least stressful event of my year. I’ll keep you guys updated!

A Public Radio Overhaul: Press Release Chaos

First thing’s first. I recognize that I’m going to be spilling my experience with Delmarva Public Radio all over this blog. You may get tired of hearing about it, but I’m not saying “look at me and my fancy radio position.” Every job is cool and exciting in a different way and I’m just ready to share the inside knowledge of what I get to witness and be a part of as the Membership Assistant.

Moving on! Today was a huge day for Delmarva Public Radio!

After the appointment of a new General Manager this summer, Dana E. Whitehair, Delmarva Public Radio is doing a much needed overhaul of the station. Salisbury University has invested a lot of time and money into sustaining public radio and DPR is doing its part to generate and keep listeners by making changes.

Today, I arrived at the office in a purple plaid shirt and jeans believing it to be a normal data-input/money processing type of day. Boy, was I wrong. My director Angela Byrd receives a telephone call while I’m in her office and she looks at me, smiles, tells the person on the phone that I am there as well as what I am wearing, gives a thumbs up and then hangs up. I had just become the student fill-in for a press release photo op.

After the Public Relations director for the college arrived and I borrowed my boss’s shirt for the photo, we rushed to gather information about the new programming that Delmarva Public Radio will begin airing on Monday. This press release is the first time anyone outside of the station will know that DPR is changing its format. DPR listeners are loyal and eternally supportive, but they are also the majority funding behind the station. The press release had to assure the community that the programming changes will catch the attention of a broader spectrum of listeners and ultimately lead to a stronger station. And it did!

In between photo ops and press release emails, we ran to the publications office to submit work orders for a new logo, bumper stickers, and an updated media kit. Publicity and promotion are no joke! And the public relations world moves faster than you realize.

In the end, Delmarva Public Radio officially announced its new programming schedule. And I finally realized that the real world is just as chaotic as the world of homework and college classes.

Sometimes you just have to wing it!

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Why No One Responds to Your E-mails

Let’s face it. No one responds to your e-mails.

If you have any marketing or sales experience, you know this for a fact. But in the public relations field, e-mail is one of the fastest ways to communicate a message, make an impression, or promote an event or organization. So what are we doing wrong?

First: If you haven’t already, you need to create an e-mail signature. Go into the basic settings of your email account and there should be an html box that will allow you to insert a signature. If you can’t find this setting, try searching the word “signature” in the help section. Once you find it, do not just type in your name. You should include all necessary information about your company and position, education if necessary, and contact information. For example:

Michelle Malinger
D
elmarva Public Radio

Membership Assistant

Salisbury University 2013
Communication Arts Major 

410-555-5555
mmalinger1@gulls.salisbury.edu
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/mmalinger

This establishes you as a professional and gives information to those you may want to contact you in the future.

Next: Throw your mind back to primary school. When you wrote your first Valentine, what did it say?

Dear Ryan,
I like those new shoelaces your mom got you. Be my boyfriend.
Love,
Michelle

You had a salutation and a closing. Don’t be afraid to write them again! A “Greetings” or “Good morning” shows your personality and a “Sincerely” or “Regards” politely brings your e-mail to a close. These simple steps make you sound a thousand times more professional and are actually aesthetically pleasing when you look at your finished product.

Also: Don’t neglect your subject line! How often have you trashed an e-mail before even opening it? All the time, right? The key to a successful e-mail is making the recipient want to open it. Make them curious. Show them how they will benefit from your connection. For example, if you’re inviting them to a fundraising event for Salisbury University’s soccer team, tell them “Your classmates need your help.” Or something that will invoke a sense of obligation to their school community.

Finally: Make it short and sweet. In a fast paced world, we scan articles and e-mails when we actually care what they are saying, not to mention something we may disregard as unimportant to us. The recipient will ask “what’s in it for me” (WIIFM?) and you should answer immediately. Even if it’s an emotional benefit or recognition from peers. Be honest and to the point. Tell the necessary dates if it is an event and provide contact information even it is provided in your signature.

If you can successfully master the art of e-mailing, your response rates will improve greatly and fewer e-mails will need to be sent. Work smarter, not harder! Good luck!

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