I Resolve…

How is your professional health? It’s a question I posed Oct. 25 (https://cynthiapricecommunique.wordpress.com/2009/10/25/) and suggested that we could each benefit from developing a professional health dashboard.

And so at this time of year when resolutions run rampant, I’m publicly committing to my dashboard. Research shows that those who talk about their intentions are much more likely to succeed because they get support. Other tips that help you keep resolutions include outlining your plan and tracking your results. Both of which you are doing if you develop a dashboard.

I’m going to track my progress monthly and quarterly. I’m not going to focus on December 2010. I want to get through January first. My dashboard measurements include tracking the number of professional books I read (goal is 6 for the year) and meeting a colleague or peer for a networking lunch monthly (1/month).

So now that I’ve put it out there, I hope you will help support me in these efforts. If you’ve got book recommendations forward them to me. If you’re in the area, let’s meet for lunch (no, I’m not treating, sorry!). I’d like to know what accomplishments you’ve reached and what challenges you have. It’s all about learning and growing.

Wishing you a happy and successful 2010!

Leaping into Social Media

PR is undergoing dramatic changes in large part because of the social media landscape. So what does the future look like? Vocus, which offers on-demand software for public relations management, recently released its “PR Planning 2010 Survey Results.”

When asked what is the single most important thing you, as a PR professional, will do differently in 2010 than you did in 2009, Vocus reported that social media was referenced nearly 600 times of the 1,571 responses.

So what can you do if you are one of the few who hasn’t leapt into social media?

Start by experiencing the applications.

LinkedIn allows you to connect professionally. You develop your network. You post your resume. You comment on professional questions. You write recommendations for others. All of these activities place your skills and experience where it can be viewed by others.

Facebook can be social or professional. For many it’s simply a way to stay in touch with far-flung friends. But even when you’re doing that, you are learning how to monitor the conversation.

Start a blog. It’s free and easy and no experience is necessary. I did some research before I started mine. I thought about who my audience would be. For me it was primarily the NFPW membership, but also potential members. Once I knew that, I knew I wanted to focus on communications and the changing field. And really, my focus is more on integrating traditional and new media. I set a schedule. Then I started. I’m learning as I go.

Twitter is a microblog. In 140 characters you can share a message. It’s not easy to keep up with everything. It can be quite distracting. The younger generation seems fine with it. One thing I’ve learned from microblogging is how to write tight and how to convey my message succinctly – something we could all benefit from.

So as you start 2010 and think about your professional goals, think about where you might leap into social media.

All I Want for the Holidays

I’m making my wish list and checking it twice. It’s a simple list.

1) More Members. I’d like to see our current members recruit more members to NFPW. I’m not interested in reaching some arbitrary goal for membership. I am interested in helping others navigate the communications field. NFPW offers a great annual conference, plenty of networking and a professional communications contest (deadline is rapidly approaching). At the affiliate level there  is more of the same — all designed to enhance your communications skills and experience. So why not recruit a colleague? Membership in NFPW is the gift that gives back year round. To learn more about membership, please visit http://nfpw.org/joinus.htm.

2) A trip to Chicago. Illinois Woman’s Press Association is hosting the NFPW conference in Chicago, Aug. 26-28. I’m looking forward to the learning, the networking and the sightseeing. Information about the conference and the pre- and post-tours is available online at http://nfpw.org/conference.htm. You can book your hotel room now, too. I look forward to seeing everyone there!

3) NFPW gear. What better way to let people know what a great organization NFPW is then through logowear. We’ve got a great collection, including polo shirts and vests. Wear it with pride. Go to the NFPW Web site at www.nfpw.org, click on members only and scroll to the bottom you can shop until you drop.

Happy Holidays!

Reading to Learn about New Media

Who says books are going the way of the dinosaur? Sure, there are Kindles and Readers, but when you’re working at your computer trying to figure out Facebook, SEO or just what the next big communications trend will be, a book is a helpful and welcome tool.

Since I’ve been writing about social media frequently since starting this blog, I wanted to share five books that you might find of interest.

1) “Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us” by Seth Godin makes clear that the Web has eliminated the boundaries that often prevent tribes from forming.  Now that any group can become a tribe, who is going to lead them?

2) Twitterville: How Business Can thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods by Shel Israel shares revealing stories of Twitterville residents. On Twitter, which is dominated by professionals, word spreads quickly.

3) “Now Is Gone: A Primer on New Media for Executives & Entrepreneurs” by Geoff Livingston with Brian Solis started as a way for Geoff to share the epiphanies he had with regards to the changing communications landscape. I met Geoff about six months ago and then worked with him on a Twitter campaign.

4) “The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web” by Tamar Weinberg will help you understand how social web technologies work, and learn the most practical and effective ways to reach people who frequent these sites.

5) “The Truth about Search Engine Optimization” by Rebecca Lieb is the book for you if you don’t know what SEO stands for. This book isn’t going to give you the technical know-how you’ll need but it is easily digestible and gives you and idea of what you need to do with respect to SEO.

How to Make Headlines

Like all PR practitioners, I’m working hard to get press for my organization. Unfortunately, what worked only a few years ago, doesn’t work as well today.

Recently one of my staff attended a meeting in D.C. about what editors/producers and reporters want from non-governmental organizations. Many of their answers probably will ring true for your organization as well.

As an international organization, we’re more likely to get our story out when a disaster strikes. It’s sad, but true. It’s when the media and the public are paying attention.

Taking this a step further, it means finding the trends in news. Afghanistan is hot right now. Does your company have any connection? Do you make a product that is used by the military? Now is the time to push that story.

We all know that there are fewer and fewer reporters. Those that remain are overworked and underpaid. So when you e-mail them, be succinct. For many, the only thing they read is the subject line of the e-mail. To get the e-mail read, you’re going to have to write a short sales pitch in that subject line to catch the reporter’s attention. Then add a few details in the body of the e-mail and your contact information.

A successful media hit may not be the printed newspaper. It may be the mainstream media’s digital side, whether it’s the Web site or their blog. My organization had a hit with the LA Times art blog, and we were delighted. Of course, we’d all still like to see the story in print, but it’s time to shift our focus.

How have you been successful in getting press coverage?