Thursday, March 27, 2008

Top 5 reasons to join PRSA as an Associate Member

I hope members are looking forward to the ultra-exclusive seniors-only night on Wednesday, April 2.

One of the many guests will be a representative from PRSA with information about joining as an Associate Member. To prepare, take a look at this list of great reasons to join:

1. Expand your network

With a network of more than 22,000 members and 100 Chapters nationwide, you have the opportunity to be an essential part of your local public relations community. Increase the effectiveness of your membership by joining one or more of 19 practice-specific Professional Interest Sections or the Young Professionals Affinity Group.

2. Low cost of membership

Being a PRSSA member has paid off! By joining PRSA as an Associate Member, you are saving over $150. This membership is offered exclusively to PRSSA graduates as a way to join a professional network before starting their careers. Students can join as early as five months before graduation!

3. Advance your career

PRSA Professional Development gives you the highest value at reasonable prices with on-site seminars and conferences, teleseminars and e-learning as well as the most dynamic yearly gathering of the industry, the International Conference, all available to help you become a valued professional.

4. Stay current on industry trends

Members will receive e-mail updates from PRSA Issues and Trends, a daily review of the most relevant stories and issues in public relations. In the mail, members receive Public Relations Tactics, a monthly tabloid newspaper written by seasoned public relations professionals, and The Strategist, PRSA’s quarterly magazine.

5. Leadership opportunities

Just as there were many leadership opportunities within PRSSA, there are countless leadership possibilities in PRSA. Take advantage of the effective, challenging and rewarding avenues for leadership, ranging from local to national involvement.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Crisis communication, a guest post

We are pleased to have the first "guest post" to the PRSSA blog from this week's speaker, Valerie Elston of Levick Strategic Communications. You're encouraged to attend Wedensday's meeting at 6:30 p.m. in room 150 in the SLC.


The spirit of the Bulldog Nation permeated the Beltway this past week as the Hoop Dawgs arrived to face-off against Xavier in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Leaving work that week, I spotted two men on the street dressed in UGA gear and yelled out "Go Dawgs" as our paths crossed. As I was walking down Baxter Street to the Stadium on game day, I heard an enthusiastic "Go Dawgs" ring out from amongst the heavy pedestrian traffic in response.

The spontaneous exchange reminded me how strong the UGA community is, even outside of Georgia. Our Grady community is especially strong so I look forward to sharing with y'all some of the experiences I have had working in crisis communication at Levick Strategic Communications during Wednesday's PRSSA meeting.

Every day the media draws our attention to another crisis: housing woes, product recalls, financial troubles, or the misdeeds of our leaders. For the modern student of PR, learning the skills to craft and implement a crisis communications plan should not be an elective, but a part of the core curriculum. Regardless of whether you see yourself specializing in crisis communication, the ability to know when and how to respond, should the inevitable happen, is invaluable.

Levick has directed global strategic crisis communications engagements in the highest-profile matters including the Catholic Church scandals, the national spinach E-coli scare, the pet food and toy recalls of 2007, and a number of the most significant matters rising out of the Middle East.

I can honestly say that as an undergraduate I never saw myself working at a PR agency. However, when the time came to leave my first job at the State Department I saw Levick as an opportunity and challenge. Both sentiments proved to be correct. I have spent the past five months learning to think strategically about the tactics necessary to help our clients win in the high-stakes communications arena.

Have you considered the following when thinking about the strategies and tactics for your next crisis plan:

  • How would you create positive relations and impressions for your client or company among key stakeholders?

  • How would you leverage those results to position clients favorably in their region, state, country, or marketplace?

  • What tactics would you use to drive the right type and volume of communication and recognition that tells your story effectively to the most important audiences?

While there is no one, sure-fire strategy for success, working at Levick has taught me some of the best practices for developing successful campaigns. I hope you will be able to join me for a discussion about the importance of crisis communication, as well as some of the best practices and lessons I have learned while working at Levick.