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Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

I was recently asked to conduct a workshop for student writers on how to conduct a journalistic-type interview. Below is a list of tips I offered.

  1. Identify your story and goals for the interview. Decide on an angle and identify what you need to complete your story prior to setting up any interviews. Think through the keys to information gathering — the five Ws and one H (Who, What, When, Where, Why and How) — and what you need to get those questions answered.
  2. Know the platform you are writing for, its writing style, and what assets you need for your story. For a listicle, you will want to gather “snackable” content and quotes. For longer-form articles, you may need to include data points, a list of resources, a sidebar of information, or additional research. …
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Photo by Crazy nana on Unsplash

This time last year, I wrote a blog for The Startup that offered some key learnings from my transition as an in-house public relations professional to a communications consultant. As I begin the start of 2019, I thought it would be a good time to reflect again on what I’ve learned in the last 12 months, and share with you a few more of my observations from the past year as it relates to public relations and client service.

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

1. Traditional media reports won’t cut it.

Long ago are the days when media monitoring included the cumbersome task of cutting out newspaper articles and mailing them to clients (thank goodness for that!). But e-mailing a couple of story links to your clients to show the effectiveness of a PR campaign won’t suffice in today’s environment either. Clients are looking for more comprehensive reporting and metrics, which not only includes traditional media placements and social and digital reach, but also measurement of the campaign and company and competitors’ influence; the effectiveness of their messaging; and third-party engagement. Automating aspects of your reporting is fine, but it can’t be cookie cutter. …

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Credit: Paradise Retirees

It’s been one week since the Camp Fire ripped through the small mountain town of Paradise in Northern California.

It’s also been a year since the Tubbs Fire devastated Santa Rosa, the flagship city in Sonoma’s Wine Country.

Not only do these events share the unfortunate distinction of being the two most destructive wildfires in California history, they have a connection to me personally. Santa Rosa is my hometown, where my mom, stepdad and brother still live, and Paradise is right outside of the city where I went to college, and one of which I am very familiar. Both of these places, now forever marked with tragedy, also helped me to grow as a young person. …

If you are anything like me, you’ve become obsessed with the police #LipSyncChallenge videos over the last few weeks. Not only is it a boon for the image of a much maligned profession (as the New York Times points out), but the videos have been an absolute joy to watch! Here is a list of my top 5 must-watch videos from the challenge, including a few of honorable mentions.

5. Savannah (GA) Police Department: “Hold On,” Wilson Phillips

Courtesy: CBS News (YouTube)

I stumbled upon this one by accident, and it had me in stitches thanks to the ’90s girl anthem! They also enlisted the help of a local radio personality from Hot 98.3 …

I’m not a baker. I loathe DIY projects. But I’ve discovered recently what an amazing resource Pinterest is for business.

For the past few months I’ve been “pinning” and filing away infographics on a number of topics, including public relations, blogging, social media, marketing and productivity. Here are four of my recent favorites, that offer advice on:

Media Relations

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Source: Kantar Media

This infographic was created back in 2014, but the information is still very relevant. Media relations isn’t just about pitching stories and building relationships- this image reminds me how important it is to have a well thought out strategy and to measure your success.

Social Media

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Source: Sprout Social

We are more than halfway into 2018, but in our business it’s important to try to predict — or at least be on top of — current trends. For example, this infographic notes the rise of popularity on Instagram due to the success of Instagram Stories. They noted that Instagram “isn’t done adding features” to the platform and they were right — the June launch of IGTV is giving brands another way to experiment and engage with their followers. …

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Photo by Hack Capital on Unsplash

When I switched to consulting almost a year ago, I made the decision to work mostly from home. The problem? My husband was already working remote, so our new arrangement required us to share an office (gasp!).

Even though friends and family expressed concern (“Won’t you get sick of each other?!”) working side-by-side wasn’t completely new to us, as we had shared telecommute days in the past. But doing so on an almost daily basis — in a shared space no less— would indeed be a new experience. To keep harmony during the work day (and our marriage in tact!), we had to establish a few ground rules. …

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Courtesy of Shutterstock

We’ve all heard the story by now — two black men were arrested last week in a Philadelphia Starbucks while waiting for a friend. The manager called 911 for trespassing after they used the bathroom but hadn’t purchased anything (something I have done more times than I can count!). Like most of us, I believe the men were treated unfairly, but as a crisis counselor, I think Starbucks is handling the situation very well. Here’s a few of my observations:

1. The CEO immediately owned the issue and apologized personally.

Three days after the incident, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson sent a letter to his employees about what transpired, and a day later he issued a public video apology. I’ve learned that during a crisis you don’t want your top executive to own the issue unless you think it warrants it, and this case, it certainly did. Johnson comes off as compassionate and sincere in his apology. He doesn’t make excuses. He says he is sorry and calls the incident “reprehensible.” He says, “this is not who we [Starbucks] are, and it’s not who we are going to be.” …

How Emergency Alerts Should Work

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Photo by Madison Grooms on Unsplash

This article originally appeared on Inside Higher Ed’s Call to Action Blog:

It was a wild weekend for our friends in Hawaii. On Saturday morning, more than a million people were sent a false alarm alert that a ballistic missile was headed their way. To say it caused extreme panic is an understatement. However, given my past experience as a public information officer with a designated seat on the university emergency operations team, I can empathize with the challenges the agency faced. …

The Media Mogul Had a Speaking Platform at Sunday’s Golden Globes and Smartly Took Advantage

Credit: NBC Universal.

The watercooler was bubbling today with talk of Oprah’s #MeToo speech at Sunday’s 75th annual Golden Globes Awards. If you haven’t had the opportunity to watch her full address you can do so above — it’s well worth the 9+ minutes of your time.

Perhaps what was most impressive to me as a PR professional, is how Oprah, in typical Oprah fashion, took what could have been a bland awards speech and used it to her advantage to gain support of the Time’s Up campaign against sexual harassment and assault.

Here’s a few things that I noted that Oprah did well from a messaging…

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Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

Here’s How (and Why) I Switched from Traditional Employee to Independent Contractor

I can’t believe I missed his Christmas performance. Dammit!

It was December 9, 2016. My husband and I were running into my son’s preschool from our respective offices, just 5 minutes shy of when my 2-year-old’s performance was supposed to start. Thinking that all of the parents were in the room, the teacher started early. But not us — we ran in as the last notes of “Jingle Bells” were sung.

My son was beaming in his handmade green Christmas tree hat, as he ran through the crowd of parents to greet us. I immediately was a bucket of tears. My husband tried to console me and say, “at least he won’t remember that we missed it.” And while that’s true, it was no excuse. …

About

Elisa Smith

First shift: PR professional | Second shift: Wife and boy mom | Find me at: elisabongiovannismith.com

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