3 Must Read Books for Every Professional

Credi

Credit: Flickr, Pimthida


You’re busy – I get it – we all are, but that shouldn’t be an excuse for you not to pick up a new book every so often. Reading can be time consuming, but consider this, reading is essential for brain strength. By simply reading a book 15 – 30 minutes a day your vocabulary will increase, your communication skills will sharpen, your memory will be stronger, you’ll be more analytical and your ability to focus will grow. So you want to be more successful? Pick up these three books and start reading, your professional future is depending on it.

1. How To Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie

This book is a self developmental classic. Written in 1936, the book has sold over 15 million copies worldwide. It has been translated in several different languages. What makes this book such a hit, even after nearly 70 years? It’s the timelessness and applicability of the tips that make this book a must read. Professionally and personally the tools in this book, when acted upon, will make you a better person all around.

2. Made to Stick, Chip & Dan Heath

Have you ever wondered what makes some information memorable and some go in one ear and out the other? Well this book examines this phenomenon and ellaborates on Malcolm Gladwell’s principles and theories in The Tipping Point. This book will help you to create presentations, pitch ideas or even write better stories that will make an impact on your target audience and won’t be easily forgotten.

3. Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill

Although the title refers to making more money, the author claims that the book will help the reader gain more success in any aspect of life that these principles are applied to. In fact, it is said that Ken Norton’s upset of Muhammed Ali was credited to the philosophies that lie within this book. It’s a timeless book written in 1937, that is ranked up with others like How to Win Friends and Influence People. This book shouldn’t be missed, do your self a favor and pick it up today.

There you have it, three fantastic books that will increase your success and make you a stronger version of yourself. But don’t take my word for it, pick up your own copy and start applying your new knowledge to your new life.

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Crisis Communication Strategies

Credit: Flickr, Eugene Zemlyanskiy

Let’s go back in time a few years, remember the days of that big Domino’s Pizza crisis? Yeah, the one where those two weirdo employees at a Domino’s joint tampered with the food and were caught because they thought posting their shenanigans on YouTube was a great idea? Well that was terrible for Domino’s, but it’s an awesome learning experience for us!

In today’s world, a crisis can happen overnight, and often times even quicker due to social media and online communication. When something goes wrong, it isn’t kept a secret for long. According to Marc Schiller, the worst thing about the speed at which crises can travel is that in “times of crisis, while corporate communication executives are preparing manicured statements, customers are [simultaneously] blogging, e-mailing and posting photos out of rage and desperation because the very people who should be listening to them aren’t”.

So what do we do as PR professionals? Just give up? Fortunately, there are ways to take crisis situations into our own hands and lead ourselves and our organizations out of them.

  1. Timeliness: With social media and the internet at our disposal, there is no reason that we shouldn’t communicate to our key publics quickly. How quickly? ASAP, acknowledge the crisis – assuming it’s grown into a big issue already – and inform your key publics of what you are doing now in order to solve the problem and how and when things should be taken care of.
  2. Honesty: Assuming that you’re working with a large organization or someone of high importance, than the best thing to do in order to steer yourself out of a crisis is to be honest. Don’t try to hide anything from your publics, if questions are being asked answer them to your best ability, meaning don’t give away information that will condemn you or make your situation worse. Never lie, never BS because people can read through it easily. Stay transparent, be available, communicate consistently and things will go much smoother.
  3. Be prepared: The funny thing with many organizations in particular is that often times they think that nothing will ever go wrong. Well that’s just plain dumb. As PR professionals we understand that whatever can happen, will happen, so it’s important to plan ahead.
  • Identify your target audience. Whether it be college students or stay at home moms, know who your key public is and more importantly, know what the most efficient way to communicate to them. Utilize these means of communication in oder to timely and honestly talk things out with your main audience.
  • Have a crisis team. If you’re able, delegate a team of seasoned individuals who can get together quickly during a crisis and smooth things over.
  • Develop holding statements and prepare key messages. Before a crisis happens, it’s a wise decision to have pre-planned holding statements that can be used instantly, without a second thought, the moment a crisis comes your way. Generate a few holding statements that fit various situations: one for a crisis in which individuals are hurt, statements that speak on behalf of health or safety issues, etc. Having these prepared before a major crisis can be the difference between a major headache and a stress-free experience.

The most important thing about crisis communication is reminding yourself that it isn’t if something will happen, it’s when. Being prepared ahead of time will make crisis communication much more effective.

Picture It: Visualization of Data

Flickr

Storytelling, it’s what all public relations professionals should utilize in their work. Stories are a natural part of human nature, we are drawn to them, they entertain, inform and teach us information that actually sticks. According to Kieth Quesenberry, a lecturer at the Center for Leadership Education at John Hopkins, “as human beings, we know that stories work, but when we get in a business relationship, we forget this,”. The lack of storytelling in our work is devastating to our success. An even bigger challenge that faces many PR professionals is how to tell a story with numbers?

Data visualization is the key that unlocks the story inside numbers. Images make complex digits come to life. By simply associating visuals to numbers, these numbers become seemingly less intimidating and become much easier to understand.

Visualizing data isn’t difficult. Most of us have used the basics before: pie charts, line graphs, bar graphs, etc. Nowadays there has been a large growth of various types of modern data visualizations such as: bubble charts, wedge stack graphs and subway tube maps. However, the most successful data visualization doesn’t necessarily depend on the type of chart being used. What’s most important is that the visuals tell a story with the numbers.

A great example is this video of Hans Rosling’s graph showing data of 200 countries, in 200 years, in four minutes:

Hans paints a picture with the numbers he uses that doesn’t just make the information visually appealing, but it tells a story, which makes the information being learned easier to comprehend.

When visualizing data, remember to keep things simple, the less text being used the better. Remember that you’re telling a story, so use every image, every number and every word intentionally because you want to direct the reader’s attention and guide the reader through the story of the data. Utilize complimentary colors or stick with the basics – such as black and white.

Don’t take my word on the matter, put these tips to use the next time you’re faced with presenting data, I’m sure you’ll be much more effective and successful in your approach.

Why Strategic Planning Is Key to Success


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Credit: Englishme Community, Flickr


To plan or not to plan? That is the question. Often times we – as all humans do – tend to put things off until the last minute. Procrastination has plagued everyone at least once. However, doing what needs to get done is just as easy as not doing it, once you get started. Thankfully, planning is the same way. Planning makes accomplishing goals a lot easier, it’s as much a tool as a map is to an explorer. Without it, getting to an objective can be long and tedious. But not all plans are alike. The best kind are strategic.

Strategic plans are focused, they are well thought out and actionable. When a strategic plan is made and acted upon, it breeds success.  Without a strategy, plans can be as detrimental to achieving goals as not having one.

Understand the mission. Ask yourself this question, what is the overall mission of your organization? Once you find the point of reference that you are aiming for, it makes strategic planning a lot easier. Always identify your mission before strategizing on the plan.

Identify the problem or opportunity. It is essential to understand what the focus of your plan will be, whether it is centered around solving a problem or capitalizing on an opportunity. There are usually many directions that you can take in order to accomplish your goal, so it is vital to identify your problem or opportunity and minimize it to a single statement that clarifies the central point of the issue and describes the consequences if it isn’t accomplished.

Defining goals. All goals need to be specific and measurable. Make sure that every goal is related to your overall mission and the problem or opportunity that you have declared. That being said, goals are general, they are the landscape of your plan, in order to achieve these goals you need a set of objectives.

Create objectives. Objectives act as benchmarks to achieving your goal. This means that each objective must be a specific, measurable and time-bound statement that – when accomplished – will succeed in fulfilling the correlated goal. The difference between the objectives and goals are that goals are more generic actions while objectives are very specific actions that supports the ability to accomplish the goal.

That’s it, practice your strategic planning skills. Utilize these tips to strengthen your plan and the hard work you put in now will reap long term benefits.

Five Things to Know About SEO: How to Become More Findable


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Credit: Tall Chris, Flickr


Search Engine Optimization it’s basically a fancy way to explain how to become more findable. These days anyone looking to increase their online identity should be utilizing SEO strategies. They will make a world of difference in your online success.

Here are five things you can use to increase your SEO:

  1. Use keywords. This is important to think about in all of the content you provide. Whatever industry you’re in, it is smart to create what my strategic communications professor calls a “word bucket”. Look online for popular words and phrases that are used often in content that is relevant to the sector you’re in. Put these words in a list and begin to implement them in your own material, this will not only make your readers happier with the great information you’re delivering, but it will make it easier to find you via search engines too.
  2. Link yourself. Whether it’s with your social media accounts, your blog or website keep everything linked together. What better way to stay connected online than to use links? But don’t limit yourself to linking to other things you’ve done, sprinkle links throughout your content to other webpages that would interest your publics. This will also increase your SEO and make for more engaging material.
  3. Utilize tools. There are plenty of SEO tools out there that will help you to become more findable. Google ad words is a great tool, as well as Microsoft’s Bing Ads Intelligence. There are also useful tools available for you to track your progress, Google and Microsoft have their webmaster tools that allow the user to see how their pages and content is viewed from different areas geographically and they help to improve the way that search engines can find your material.
  4. Engaging content. This is extremely important. Always, always, always generate great content that is specific to your industry, will give your reader valuable information and will be sticky. You want to great material that will leave a lasting imprint on your reader, and this will only grow the popularity of your work so that your SEO will increase organically.
  5. Smart headlines. Remember that word bucket we went over earlier? Well utilize that tool to create headlines that will be industry specific and utilize keywords that will improve their relevancy and ultimately aid the ability for search engines to find them. Good headlines not only grab a readers eyes, but they also garner attention from search engines which will make your work more findable and more successful.

That’s it! Give these tips a try, stay consistent and be patient. Over time your work will be more findable and you will find yourself more success in the future. Good luck.

3 Tips For Positive Media Relations


Flickr: Rusty Sheriff


Think for a moment about a journalist, maybe she’s a bit nerdy, wears big glasses and sips green tea from a large mug with a curly mustache on the side. Or maybe she is a he and he’s a very dapper man, who considers himself the Don Draper of the media world. Whatever image you have conjured isn’t actually important, what’s important is that the people who are the “media” are still people and deserve to be treated as such. That being said, the biggest and best tip you can take away from this blog post is to treat all media professionals like people: build a strong relationship with them, show them respect and they will likely do the same for you. Now, for those of you who are looking for even more tips on how to maintain positive media relations, here are 3:

  1. Be humble

The last thing anyone wants to listen to is someone bragging about themself. Obviously as a professional you aren’t going to do this, but remember just like with any relationship, you must focus the attention more on the other person before you can expect anything in return. What do I mean? Well with media professionals, be engaged with their work, do your research. If they’ve written often about a certain topic, bring this into your discussion, or even better send them information on this topic when it crosses your line of vision. Don’t just converse about things that are important to your tastes, keep the attention on them. Show them that you recognize their personal characteristics and are willing to engage.

  1. Be personable

“Be yourself” it’s the nation’s elementary school motto. You’ve probably seen this posted in some shape or form throughout your grade school days, or even in your children’s’ schools. But what does it actually mean and how is it relevant to media relations? Well, it’s quite simple. Just show that you care. If you follow this person on Twitter, a favorite would be nice, but why not go further? Comment on their tweets and give good feedback. Retweet things that you really find interesting. When you are speaking with a reporter, for example, note personal details. Knowing when their birthday is coming up or perhaps a wedding anniversary, or even when they go to kickboxing class every Wednesday at 4. Remembering these details and asking questions or showing that you are aware can really make a difference in the relationship. Remember to only contact them when they are likely to be available to talk. Therefore, in this example, don’t call on Wednesdays at 4.

  1. Be beneficial

Relationships are a two-way street. With media professionals, always show how you can benefit them, even when they’re helping you. You are considering the possibilities of helping them with their work, right? Then prove it! Whether you have found a lead on a story that might interest them and you simply share the information via email, or you are as clear as possible when being interviewed for a piece they are writing for you. Stay informed, give them valuable content and you will make their job a lot easier, which they will appreciate. It’s little gestures that will go a long way in proving that you are looking out for their needs just as much as your own.

PR professionals are relationship professionals, so it is wise to practice good relationship management techniques. As an example of what good media relations can do, check out this article by PR week on Red Bull’s Stratos campaign. Employ these three tips into your media relations strategy and not only will you create good relations, you’ll be able to make them last.

Three Things to Learn From Alaska Airline’s Social Media Presence


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Credit: Chris Rogerson via Flickr


In a suburb within the crisp Pacific Northwest exists an airline that flies North of average. Alaska Airlines – based out of SeaTac, Wash. – has set the tone for the way organizations utilize social media strategies. Alaska Air uses social media to create a brand identity that its customers embody,  they not only respond to tweets but they lead discussions and they prove that social media can convey corporate social responsibility campaigns effectively.

  1. Via Twitter and Instagram, Alaska Airlines has created an online identity for its customers to latch onto. This identity has become sort of a social media club that builds a connection between the company and its customers. To make things even more effective, Alaska Air made it simple for anybody to join: #iflyAlaska This simple hashtag has accompanied over 15,000 posts on Instagram and the hashtag has nearly 1.5 thousand potential views per hour. As far as online branding strategies goes, this is one of the best. All organizations, big or small, should utilize their social media presence to build an online identity.
  2. Alaska Airlines is consistently available to respond to feedback on their Twitter page. Actually, if you visit the page now you’ll be able to view their “listening hours” throughout the week. What separates Alaska Air from other companies is that they don’t just say that they will respond, but they actually do it, a lot. Statistically, in 2013 the company enplaned 28.3 million passengers and they consistently respond to 31 percent of tweets. I know that not all 28.3 million passengers are consistently posting on Twitter at Alaska Air, however, the percentage is what’s important. Alaska Air’s Twitter feed is full of discussions and replies to customers whether the posts be negative or positive. For a company of this size and with the amount of mentions and comments and questions that are directed at them via Twitter it would be impossible for them to reach 100 percent responses. What can we learn from this? Well, you don’t have to be perfect to make an impact on social media. What’s more important is timeliness, effective communication and authenticity.
  3. What better way to generate discussions and build a transparent online identity than with a blog? Alaska Airlines has created a blog that is effective at promoting their other social media handles, but what’s more important is that they utilize this blog to raise awareness of their CSR campaigns. Most recently, Alaska Air posted about their new campaign involving the Strong Against Cancer team, a research team working on bettering immunotherapy treatments for children with cancer. This campaign breaks the mold with the use of a very special celebrity sponsor, quarterback Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks. The idea is that for every touchdown that Russell makes in Super Bowl XLIX, Alaska Air will donate $3,000 to Strong Against Cancer. However, Alaska Air recognizes that the campaign doesn’t really positively effect their key public: customers. Therefore, on the blog they explain that for Seattle fans that are looking to support their favorite football team in Arizona, Alaska Air has added additional round-trip flights to and from Phoenix for the Super Bowl. What can we learn from this example? Social media tends to be boxed into the big three, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. It’s important to recognize your key publics and their content consumption habits and to intertwine various platforms in order to generate the biggest ripple in the metaphorical online ocean. It’s also great to promote any campaign via social media platforms. But most importantly, the best way to be successful is to support Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks – okay, maybe that one is a little biased.

So, there you have it, my top three online social media strategies to take away from one of the best in the business, Alaska Airlines.

Please comment below with anything you liked, disliked or anything else you would like to discuss about this post and I will be sure to get back to you!

Ready, Set, Blog

Credit: inflexwetrust.com

Credit: inflexwetrust.com

Welcome to PR Movement, my name is Christopher Torres and I will be your host, AKA the writer of this blog. I’ve spent a year working for Ethos magazine – the University of Oregon’s award winning, student run  publication – as a member of the PR team. This was a good intro to PR that sparked my interest in the field. However, my true passion is traveling. I’ve spent ten days working on an elephant sanctuary in Chang Mai, Thailand being filmed for a nickelodeon special called Nick News AdventureI also lived in Athens, Greece and Siena, Italy studying Italian and culture for a term last Fall. I wanted a way to merge my skills and my passion so here it is, PR with a travel focus.

Currently, I am working on building my online identity, increasing my SEO and cultivating professional online connections. My goal for this blog is to provide you, my readers, with insightful PR strategies and information related to the travel & hospitality industry, as well as online branding strategies. My aim is to eventually start my career in this field. The strategies I learn in school, the experiences I gather and the prior knowledge I already own will be shared with you here at PR Movement. 

My promise to you is that I will remain honest, engaging, and thought provoking throughout each post in this blog. I want to share ideas, and communicate with my readers. Therefore, I challenge you to scrutinize my posts. Give me feedback, comment on the good and bad, spark conversations and help me make this blog as proactive as possible.

So please, put on your thinking caps and get ready for the movement.

Ethics

Integrity is central to credibility. Here at PR Movement generating powerful content is important, but what’s strong content without credibility? Although most blogs are meant to be casual by nature, ethical writing practices are my top priority. This is why I have created my own code of ethics.

From my blog, I promise you this:

Honesty

  • I will never plagiarize and I will always support copyright laws
  • I will maintain fairness and honesty throughout my posts
  • I will supply links to any websites or posts I quote or reference
  • I will hold myself responsible for any mistakes made

Accountability

  • I will acknowledge and respond to questions and feedback respectfully
  • I will admit mistakes and address them promptly
  • I will deny favored treatment by advertisers and resist their pressure to influence content
  • I will disclose conflicts of interest, affiliations, activities and personal agendas

Quality

  • I will write using my own creative mind
  • I will generate thought provoking content
  • I will stay true to my personality, passions and opinions