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10.19.2012 - BLEND THE OLD AND THE MODERN
 
TRADITIONAL PR IS NOT DEAD (by Meghan Snyder)

At the onset of our contracts, the majority of my clients have very little interest in traditional PR. In fact, most of them aren’t even quite sure what traditional PR is. When I say, “the media” for example, they usually respond with, “You mean social media.” No, I didn’t mean social media. I meant the good old fashioned press, and no, it’s not obsolete. It’s still very important to a well-rounded communications plan.

Sure, the vehicle may have changed some, with people getting news from electronic devices such as smart phones and tablets, but they’re still reading articles written by someone. Therefore reporters, in the traditional sense still exist, and PR in the traditional sense exists too. Whether in print, online or in someone’s inbox, scoring a mention in an article with a news outlet carries a lot of weight with the target audience. And, please don’t underestimate the power of the blogger. Popular bloggers have taken on the role of talented reporters. Their names often appear on media lists and their influence is undeniable. Many of these self-made journalists are watched by thousands, even millions, and carry a lot of weight with their audience.

PR is an ever-changing vehicle, and therefore, many of the traditional methods have taken on a more modern spin. For example, the way PR practitioners engage their media contacts has changed – making use of social media platforms and email. Despite that, the phone call or in-person meeting is still very effective.

Newsletters have taken on two lives – the print version and the digital replica. The practice of writing a newsletter is about as traditional as it gets.  Many clients still choose to produce a print version, but many more are utilizing email blast technology, websites and blogs to share their stories. Writing this important piece of marketing communication with consistency and authority is necessary to be seen as a resource and an expert.  The good news is it’s a viable source of information across many platforms.

The list of traditional functions goes on: Fact Sheets, Brochures, News Advisories, News Releases, Media Relationships, Public Service Announcements, etc.

While this post is about traditional PR and the importance of it, please don’t misunderstand. The modern world has many new avenues through which to build and maintain relationships with the desired publics. These same tools are there to spread company news and interact directly. No PR plan would be complete without including things such as social media, blogs, and other electronic media.

 

DOOR CLOSED - WINDOW OPENED 
 
4.12.2012 - GETTING THE MESSAGE AND PASSING IT ON (by Meghan Snyder)
I recently received some unexpected news, news that would be, in some ways, life changing. At the time it was delivered I would've considered it to be bad news, and I'm sure the deliverer saw it that way as well. Immediately upon receiving the phone call, I knew I was not going to like what I was about to hear. Still I listened intently for the message. The conversation was rather brief, but informative.
 
Upon hanging up the phone, I felt somewhat shocked about what I had just heard (door closed). It had all come out of left field. However, upon allowing the information to settle, I realized this bad news is possibly a blessing, an opportunity, a kick in the rear to make some changes (window opened). Now, I'm feeling optimistic and energized. Because of the somewhat sensitive nature of the message, a portion of my conversation dealt with what could and could not be discussed and what timelines needed to be considered.
 
Now, I have to be sure to carefully get the message out to others for my own benefit. While respecting the guidelines I was given, I must spread the word. This could be a tricky game in communication, but it's important. With honest words and careful sentiment, I have begun passing the word along and reaching out to those best suited. I will be thoroughly  honest, carefully critical, completely respectful, totally tactful and fully invested. It's the way it has to be. I'm waiting to see where this next chapter will take me, but one thing is for sure... through carefully crafted, thoughtful and considerate communication I'm heading for that open window full-throttle and do not plan on looking back at the closed door. 
 
 
 
IT SOUNDS YUMMY... I THINK.
 
3.22.2012 - THE IMPORTANCE OF A PROOFREADER (by Meghan Snyder)
I knew when I started the blog for this site, that keeping up with it would be a difficult task. That has proven to be true. In any case, I'm striving to do a better job this year and block out some time to keep it current.
 
That fact, is really not important when it comes to the topic at hand - proofreading. So often I'm visiting a favorite establishment or reading some kind of document, whether professional or otherwise, when I'm briefly distracted by a typo, a grammatical error or just a simple mistake - likely resulting from the author's misunderstanding.
 
When this happens it typically causes a chuckle or a pause. Unfortunately, it also causes me to question why it happened. Did it happen because the piece was rushed out the door without an extra set of eyes? Did it happen because the author didn't want to pay a proofreader? Did it happen because the author's first language is not English? I mean let's face it, English is not the easiest of languages. and many of the rules and words seem plain silly - think silent "g" for example, and how many forms of "there" and "to" do we really need? It's no wonder people make mistakes.
 
With such an unclear path to navigate, every author can benefit from a proofreader - even if the text is short and sweet. Outsourcing this function can bring truly fresh eyes to a piece. Having a completely impartial person do the proofing may offer insight beyond the written word - perhaps something is unclear to the general population. Catching such things in addition to finding any English language issues make this person an invaluable resource.
 
For those who prefer not to pay someone for this service, find someone inside the organization to look over the piece. it doesn't have to be someone who's particularly advancing in English (although it wouldn't hurt), it just has to be someone who is looking at the document without having read it multiple times previously.
 
There is, of course, no guarantee that every mistake will be found, but running a piece by a proofreader first will only help. Companies work hard on their messaging, and to have a reader distracted from that messaging because of English language missteps is a disappointing reality. Oftentimes,  a reader only has a few seconds to read something, understand and retain it. It's important their progress is not roadblocked by too many or too few commas, incorrect word usage or confusing sentence structure. Go ahead - get a proofreader. Everyone's doing it, or at least they should be.
 
USE YOUIR EYES, NOT JUST YOUR EARS
 
1.12.2011 - CUSTOMER SERVICE: STRONG COMMUNICATION REQUIRES MORE THAN JUST YOUR MOUTH (by Meghan Snyder)
 
I am constantly surprised by people lack of attention to detail when it comes to communication. This especially holds true in situations of customer service - something about which I feel very strongly. The other day I was with my family dining at a local sports bar. There were several football games going on and many fans in the establishment watching the game. The service at this particular location is always friendly and fast. The food is good too. This particular time however, we witnessed something that made us go huh?!
 
Many patrons were arriving at the restaurant dressed in the fan ware of their favorite teams. They would request a table from the server and the server would take them to a table right away. This happened time and time again. Each time, we watched and laughed as the hostess directed the patrons to a table WITHOUT a view of their preferred team's game. The patrons of course reseated themselves each and every time. Not only was this a comical situation analysis for me, but it was also a fantastic example of poor communication as a result of non-verbal communication.
 
The hostesses working at a sportbar on a game day should know instinctively (or because they've been trained) that patrons arriving wearing certain colors need to be seated in front of certain games. These sames hostesses should also know to ask patrons (who are not dressed in favor of a team) if there is a specific game they would like to watch. I mean it isn't rocket science and it truly would improve the initial experience of the restaurant guests.
 
These observation skills play a key roll in successful communication and the power of such skills cannot be underestimated. Next time your communicating with someone about anything, look for the non-verbal signals. It's amazing the amount of information that can be gained this way and the positive effect that information can have on the outcome of the communication at hand.
 
READ BETWEEN THE LINES
 

12.31.2010 – AN INTRODUCTION (by Meghan Snyder)

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Before I begin, I want to thank all of the wonderful clients I had the pleasure of working with in 2010. The year brought many wonderful opportunities, fantastic relationships, and stories of success, welcome challenge and a wealth of valuable experiences. I look forward to continuing each of these relationships and further building business with each unique story and message. Please join me in looking ahead with enthusiasm to a fabulous 2011. Cheers!

The launch of this blog is a new outlet, a new creative source, a new tool of communication, a way to express myself and to hear the expression of others, a way to share, chat and examine. I am encountered every day by experiences of communication – we all are. Some are wildly successful, some – not so much. Occasionally the message is subtle or even hidden. Perhaps, it’s not even intentional. Sometimes it’s blunt, rude or unfounded. Then, there are times, when it’s perfect, beautiful, clean and clear. Through the daily adventures of life, my passion and commitment for not only the art of communication, but things such as food and wine, family, friends and customer service, I look forward to telling these tales while always being careful to read between the lines.

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