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PRSSA Summit Notes and Take-Aways

The PRSSA Summit took place on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 in the Alabama Power building in downtown Birmingham. The summit was attended by students from universities across the Southeast. The summit focused on social media. While it was a good experience to hear some tips from current PR professionals, the summit made me feel that Samford has a superior program to many of those offered at the state schools represented. I found that, as a student of Samford’s JMC department, I had a much better grasp on current PR trends, practices and skills. Below are some of the major take-aways that I took from the experience. 

@ikepigott

The introductory speaker gave some general pointers on how to use social media effectively. He suggests that you “cultivate the network that makes you smarter.” That is follow, and repost sources that contribute to your knowledge and interests. Pigott also believes that “social media is successful when it is driving customers to other platforms.” This means that social media should primarily serve as a connecting point to drive traffic further into your company. 

Pigott’s final statement is that “social media is the disruptive technology of today” and it should be used accordingly. 

@scottwesley

 Scott Weasley suggested some PR blogs to follow and repost in order to improve your online rapport. His suggestions are listed below.

Industry blogs for PR:

@BrandonDWilson

Brandon Wilson lead a break out session on how to write a resume. His advice is listed below.

Writing a resume:

Do….

1. Use your resume real estate wisely

2. Be active on paper

3. Focus on impact, not just experience (employers are hiring accomplishments and achievements NOT your prior company)

Don’t….

1. Use overly clever email addresses

2. Include references

3. Lie or overstate accomplishments

@julia_hood

The Keynote speaker, Julie Hood, was very insightful and presented several thoughts that were inspirational to me. 

She spoke on the characteristics of an effective and successful communications professional. Some of the main characteristics are listed below. 

A top communicator is:

  • An integrator
  • A systems designer
  • A master of analytics
  • A publisher and developer
  • A student of behavioral studies

Many of these characteristics highlight the importance of analytics, data and numbers. Hood said “the demands for data and metrics have never been higher.”

Another interesting topic that Hood discussed is the importance of internal communications. As a company, PR is usually focused on external communication, but Hood stressed the importance of internal communication to present a unified front to the public. She said that “the importance of internal communication of company values is clear communication of Values. This helps to manage global workforces making interaction with customers and service uniform.”

 

PR Student Summit

The most helpful session at the PR Student Summit on February 12 was given by Scott Thornburg, Ike Pigott and Julie Senter on the topic of social media. Though the session didn’t cover much material I didn’t already know, it did reinforce principles that I have learned through my PR and social media classes at Samford.

The 5 basic tips about social media they gave were:

  • The basics of PR still apply. Research, planning, implementation and evaluation.
  • It’s not about you. Be open to new social media outlets even if they don’t interest you, they could interest your audience.
  • Understand the why.
  • Test and track.
  • Always be learning. Platforms will change so stay on top of the best practices and pay attention to industry trends.

Another helpful session, led by Brandon Wilson, was about resumé do’s and don’ts:

  • DO use all your resumé real estate wisely.
  • DO be active on paper.
  • DO focus on impact, not just experience.
  • DON’T use overly clever email addresses.
  • DON’T include references.
  • DON’T lie or overstate accomplishments.

Overall the Summit was a great review of the basics of PR I have learned while at Samford.

PRSA Student Summit

At the PRSA Student Summit on February 7, 2013, PR professionals spoke to college students about currents topics affecting the PR world. Content marketing, social media, SEO, writing a resume, and communication in today’s world were some of the topics that were covered.

One of the most interesting speakers of the ay was Ike Pigott, who is the Corporation Communications Director at Alabama Power. He brought up interesting points about the ways to gain the most knowledge from social media networks. He said, “Cultivate the network that makes you smarter,” which means use the social networks that you are involved in to make you more educated and informed about the world around you. One of the main reasons I have my social networking pages is to communicate with friends and see what is happening in their lives, not necessarily to find out new information. He made me realize how important it is to use my resources to the best of my ability in order to gain knowledge.

During the summit, there was a session about what is important to have in a resume and some things that can be left out. Everyone agreed that qualifications were a big part of a resume because it lets the employer know your skills. Also, job experience is something that is important to have on an application because it let’s the employer know that you have had some real world experience. This was an informative and helpful day, especially for Spring graduates.

PRSA Student Summit Takeaways

As a class, we got to attend the PRSA Student Summit on Tuesday, February 12th. The speakers were very knowledgeable in their fields, and it really helped to hear some different perspectives from the PR field.

When we had the resume review, I felt that our class was very prepared and that our resumes stood out from a lot of the other students there. The professionals who looked over the resumes were very helpful and gave some great suggestions for what changes could be made to improve the resumes. It was also enlightening to get to talk to other PR students from different schools who had different experiences and classes than we do at Samford.

Attending this conference made me feel as though our class is prepared to enter the working world. I felt like I knew almost everything that the speakers talked about and during the forums, I felt like I could answer most of the questions that the other students asked. Overall, it was a fun and inspiring conference for our class and it was motivating for the time after graduation.Image

PRSA Alabama

The Alabama PRSA conference last Tuesday was a great experience.  I was proud to be a member of Samford’s JMC program, feeling more prepared than ever before.  As we walked into the conference, we were separated from our classmates and taken to a table with PR majors all around the Alabama area.

Different sections of the conference took place hitting on the key facts that social media and how the world of public relations is changing. I felt prepared during these sessions, knowing the direction that our field is going and already engaging with those tools.  During the resume information section, I felt like I had heard most of the material and guidelines that were communicated.  With that being said, it was still interesting hearing different perspectives on what makes a great resume.

After the PRSA conference, I felt confident in my major and the skills that I have to offer the world of public relations.  In this time of change, it is more important than ever for our age group to step up and take the place of many uninformed PR professionals.

Your Future, Today

 Screen Shot 2013-02-27 at 9-1.29.37 PM

A class field trip to a an all day conference can sometimes only mean one thing to a student, boredom. However, finding myself at the Alabama Power Corporate Headquarters for the PRSSA Summit event turned out to be pleasant, encouraging and informative surprise. Everything from touring the location’s facilities, to hurdling questions towards a panel of PR pros filled the eventful day. The most valuable things I walked away with however, were the tips and tidbits that I learned from professionals.

Even for students of the technical advanced day and age a lot has changed. Its not just students using Facebook and Twitter to connect and gossip, but successful companies that have realized the usefulness of this technology in the business world.

I was surprised with the knowledgeability of this speakers on their topics, whereas original I thought that their ideas might be too old fashioned.

Ike Pigott took us through the fundamentals of how society has changed. We were once a group of people whose status was based on “what you know”, then it changed to “what you could find”, now with power search engines like Google it has become “what your network finds for you.”

This is actually a transformation that is beneficial to us, Ike advises to “cultivate the network that makes you smarter.”

As a student in the broadcast concentration and PR following second, I’ve been skeptical about the reliability and honesty of getting a job working PR. To my delight, Julie Senter gave a seminar on “why should you get paid to do social media?”

A world full of digital technology can open a lot of doors for young student minds but also can be dangerous grounds. A panel of executives gave tips for making your Facebook, Twitter and other social media connections, clean and professional. This kinda of look comes down not just to the pictures you show or comments you post, but also the people you follow.

The day ended with resume do’s and don’ts and a personal resume review from area professionals. With my purse full of goodies, I left feeling extremely satisfied with the presentations and eager to sharpen up my PR skills. Truly, the conference lead up to its slogan, your future, today.

Leslie Graf

your future, #TODAY #PRSSA

PRSA Student Summit

The PRSA Student Summit was full of good information that included social media and a resume review.

The session on Social Media was done by Ike Pigott, Scott Thornberg, and Julie Senter.

They had five tips for Social Media:

  1. The basics of PR still apply. You should still be working under your PR principles.
  2. It’s not about you. You have move outside yourself.
  3. Understand the Why. You have to be understand why things work the way that they do.
  4. Test and Track. You have to be calculate the data on some things
  5. Always be learning. You have keep moving forward.

Ike Pigott, Scott Thornberg, and Julie Senter suggested sites like Mashable, This Week in Tech, All Things Digital, and Social Media Explorer .

 

The Resume Review presentation was done by Brandon Wilson.

He had 6 Do’s and Don’t of Resumes:

  1. Do use all your resume real estate wisely
  2. Do be active on paper
  3. Do focus on impact, not just experience
  4. Don’t use overly clever email addresses
  5. Don’t include references
  6. Don’t lie or overstate accomplishments

Some of important things that we talked about at my table during the resume review were:

  • Make sure it’s well written-be specific
  • Say what you did and what the results were
  • Avoid the greeting all together, if necessary
  • Use related things first, like projects
  • Be descriptive
  • Be objective, especially when you’re starting out
  • Always, always, always include a cover letter and it should be tailored to whatever company you are sending your resume to
  • Make sure you have correct grammar and spelling
  • Have an elevator speech
  • After you have an interview call within 2-7 days and write personal thank-you notes
  • Have a digital copy of your portfolio
  • Know as much as possible about the company you are applying to work for
  • Once you know what you want, settle in and go for it.
  • Make it your own.

 

The PRSA Summit was a great experience and was good refresher course for things that I need to be keeping in mind as I graduate.