December 14, 2011

Call for Presentations - Midwest District Conference

The Midwest District Conference Planning committee has opened the call for presentations for the 2012 PRSA Midwest District Conference, which will be held July 19-20, in Chicago, Ill.

The theme for the this year’s conference will be Reestablishing the Value Proposition: Trust and Transparency in PR.

Click the link to visit the district’s conference web page where there is a link to begin the process of suggesting a presenter:

November 29, 2011

Invitation from Women in Communications

Invitation from Women in Communications:
Unravel the secrets of extracting creative thought from the right side of the brain. Dr. Jo Van Arkel, author and professor at Drury University, will guide us through time-proven exercises and techniques that will put more punch and color into everyday writing. Bring an open mind and a blank piece of paper!

Join the Association for Women in Communications on Tuesday, December 6 for this fun program. Networking at 11:30 am; program at noon. $15 for first time guests, $18 for returning guests, $14 for AWC student members and full-time degree-seeking students. Lunch catered by Olive Garden. Meeting location is Associated Electric Cooperative, 2814 S. Golden Ave., Springfield. RSVP to Ashley at by December 2 at 12 pm.

November 28, 2011

How to produce a social media news release

PR Daily Webinar
How to produce a social media news release
A webinar featuring Shel Holtz and Cassie Péan

Thursday, Dec. 8 2-3:45 p.m.
At the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce

Melinda Arnold, Friends of the Zoo, and Claire Faucett, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, are hosting this webinar for southwest Missouri public relations professionals and students. Cost* is $10/person for professionals and $5/person for university students. (The actual cost of the webinar is $139 – so $10 is a BARGAIN!)

Are you producing social media news releases?
Did you know they get picked up more frequently than traditional releases?
Want a practical, introductory course on how to produce a social media news release?

Join us for this NEW PR Daily webinar airing on Thursday, December 8 at 2:00 p.m. Central with online communications expert Shel Holtz and PR Manager for Vocus, Cassie Péan.

This session is filled with step-by-step instructions to write an SMNR, tag content, add important files, distribute releases to social media outlets and more.

PR pros should use social media news releases far more than they do. Research from Realwire shows that reporters and editors like them and that they get picked up more frequently than traditional releases do.

Veteran communications consultant Shel Holtz and PR practitioner Cassie Péan explain the components of the SMNR and offer tips on how to get online reporters and bloggers to read and watch these releases.

For more details on the sessions with Shel and Cassie, please visit the webinar description online.

To attend the webinar, please email your RSPV to Melinda Arnold by noon, Wednesday, Dec. 7.

Attendance is not limited to SWMO PRSA members. Please forward this to coworkers, colleagues and friends who might be interested in attending.

* The per-person cost will reimburse Friends of the Zoo for the webinar registration. Any amount exceeding the registration price will be given to SWMO PRSA.

November 18, 2011

Congrats to last night's award recipients

I really enjoyed the inaugural Evening of Stars event last night and appreciate all the positive feedback from members.

I especially want to congratulate the award recipients, all of whom were very deserving.

Dr. Regina Waters, associate professor and chair of the department of communication at Drury University, received the Outstanding Faculty Award. This award recognizes a public relations faculty member from a college or university within the Southwest Missouri PRSA service area for efforts supporting the education of future public relations professionals.

Andrea Harp, social media and marketing coordinator at Ozarks Community Hospital, received the Rising Star Award, which recognizes a professional with less than three years experience who shows dedication to the ethical and professional practice of public relations and engagement in the Southwest Missouri PRSA Chapter.

Lisa Cox, media relations specialist at St. John’s Health System, received the Legacy Award. This award recognizes a Southwest Missouri PRSA Chapter member’s contributions to the chapter through service on the Board of Directors or a committee.

The Booster Award was given to the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce for its support of the public relations profession and chapter. The Chamber has promoted events to its membership, hosted conferences and offered other support.

The Intrepid Award was given to Melinda Arnold, public relations and marketing manager for Dickerson Park Zoo/Friends of the Zoo. The Intrepid Award recognizes a senior practitioner with at least 10 years of experience who shows dedication to the ethical and professional practice of public relations and engagement in the Southwest Missouri PRSA Chapter.

October 25, 2011

How to engage employees

David Grossman, who recently spoke at our Professional Development Seminar, shared this piece via Twitter in the Harvard Business Review about employee engagement. Nice fit with the webinar offered this afternoon.

Interestingly, Gallup research indicates that more than 70 percent of employees in the typical company are "not engaged" or "actively disengaged."

October 18, 2011

Maximizing Online News Releases

We all know that news releases are increasingly irrelevant, so why is this room packed?

We all know about SEO. And I know that Monday and Friday are not the best days to put a release out. But according to the presenters and their case study, Thursday is far and away the best day. Next best? Wednesday.

We also know about Google analytics. What I did not know is there is a free URL builder that allows you to track and measure clicks on links. And of course, those links should be call to action links that result in a purchase, registration or other activity that can be measured as a dollar value to your organization. Impressions, of course, doesn't mean much to anyone.

This has given me a few ideas about formatting the structure of our releases, or at least verified some of the thoughts I had prior to attending.


This is Orlando, so it's all about Disney. And they are a major conference sponsor. So not surprising that one of the keynotes works there. But Joe Rohde is not what you would normally expect. The long, dangling earring made up of trinkets given to him from his travels is one thing. His experience developing the Animal Kingdom theme park and the Hawaiian resort, Aulani, is another.

Theme park takes on new meaning when you think about it like you did in lit class. In fact, according to Joe, much of the planning, or imagineering, that is done is very much framed around those literary notions of theme, character, setting and so forth. Again, if there is a thread to this conference, it is storytelling and the primal effect it has on people.

We use narrative to see, imagine, experience emotion and reactions. Developing themes expands opportunities, some of which can't be envisioned until the creative process unfolds. The melding of creativity and practical goals is an ongoing challenge at Disney. For example, how do you incorporate a thrill ride into Animal Kingdom, which theme is the intrinsic value of nature? Though usually a disconnect at first glance, they managed to do this in a way that did not detract from the original concept. His presentation was well recived.

October 17, 2011

Tried and True

I attended another session today worth discussing: Rethinking Social Media by Gerald Braud. The premise is that social media is not a substitute for traditional PR tactics, but in crisis communications in particular, can compound some of the communications challenges. "Tried and true beats shiny and new" is his motto.

He did a couple of exercises with interesting results. One was to ask people to tweet "Free prize for first 2 people to shout out "PR Rocks" in our meeting room. No one did. The time-delay aspect of social media has consequences in all aspects of communications, but is particularly relevant in crisis communications messaging. Thea other I won't mention because I might want to use it myself someday.

In discussing the Domino's Pizza You Tube fiasco, he made the point that issues like that should be addressed using the medium in which they are raised and using the same In responding, you should not wait until the issue becomes a media story, or hope the silly video plays out.

Visit his website for more background. He is a New Orleans guy and mentioned Joe Trahan, who presented at our seminar last fall.

Volunteers, Planners Needed

PRSA’s Midwest District is planning to hold a district-wide conference in 2012.  The district board of directors is forming subcommittees to plan the conference and chapter members are encouraged to volunteer. Those interested should contact Jim Streed with the Northeast Wisconsin Chapter at or (920) 433-5786.

PRSA International conference so far

One of the great things our chapter does is to send its president or his/her designee to the annual international conference. For me, this is the first such conference and I have found it to be almost overwhelming in information. I do want to share some what I learn and would encourage you to follow the twitter feeds at #prsaicom. There are some pretty serious tweeters here and the tweets cover the gamut of topics.

One of the more notable presentations this morning was from Chris Brogan. I would characterize his style as irreverent, but insightful as well. His key message was to cultivate, leverage and develop a sense of belonging. To cultivate visibility for clients/organizations and to make your customer the hero of the stories you tell are key aspects of his approach. He
defined PRSA as "passionate relationship-minded storytelling association." Interesting.

Storytelling is the common theme of many of the keynotes and presenters so far, and I even overheard another attendee make the same observation. I did not follow Chris before; but I made that correction after hearing him speak.

Another point he made was that your web page is your home -- social media is the outpost and you should not live there. Not everyone you interact with on the outpost are stakeholders in your town, so to speak.

He also recommended two books: "The Referral Engine" and "Trust Agents." Like just about everyone here, he has written a book. I better get started.

October 14, 2011

Proposed 2012 Officers

The year is coming to an end, and the board is wrapping up its duties as we look forward to next year. The following members have been nominated for the 2012 board of the Southwest Missouri Chapter of PRSA.

  • President: Tom Ellis
  • President-Elect: Lori Marble
  • Immediate Past President: Don Hendricks
  • Secretary: Becky Lucas
  • Treasurer: Tamera Heitz-Peek
  • Chapter Liaison Director-at-Large: Regina Waters
  • Membership Director-at-Large: Paula Ringer
  • Communications Director-at-Large: Jill Finney
  • Assembly Delegate: Andrea Mostyn

We plan to vote on this slate of officers at the
October meeting.

October 13, 2011

Thanks for a Wonderful PDC

Big thanks to everyone who attended the Professional Development Conference on Sept. 20 at the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce. We had more than 55 business men and women professionals in attendance, including several of you. In particular, I’d like to recognize the Professional Development Committee:  Lisa Cox, Tom Ellis, Ann Elwell, Andrea Harp, Don Hendricks, Paula Ringer and Sharina Smith. Their creative energy, dependability and attention to detail made this conference truly exceptional!

Comments on the conference evaluation forms demonstrate that the event fills a professional development gap for professionals seeking up-to-date ways to communicate. There were several great suggestions that next year’s committee will review and, most likely, implement. Thanks again and I can’t wait to see what the chapter puts together for next year’s conference!