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A Letter from the Editor

It’s a very interesting time to be in public relations and marketing right now. The core of our business is to make connections — usually relying on some sort of communication channel to help transport the message from “sender” to “receiver.” Today, the channel might be direct email, social media, broadcast news, word-of-mouth or any other number of channels we use to share stories and messages.

But what happens when those communication channels become corrupted?

Like a game of telephone, messages can get jumbled along the way, interspersed with half-truths and hearsay. So much of our “trusted” news content is questionable now that media have even begun running articles on “how to spot fake news.”

Even our presidential election may have been influenced by inaccurate information. A BuzzFeed News analysis has now found that the top-performing fake election stories on Facebook generated more engagement than the top stories from major (and we assume credible) news outlets in the final three months of the campaign. While social media is an easy target, all media is now suspicious. Maybe the corruption is malicious, maybe accidental. Either way, once a channel is corrupt, can it ever be trusted again?

Our issue this quarter tries to address some of these issues. We delve into the latest Gallup poll on American trust in mass media, and recap our Section panel on the use and ethics of branded content. Again, it’s an interesting time right now. To connect with others on this topic, join us on our MyPRSA page to continue the discussion.

Amy Fisher, APR
amy.fisher@padillacrt.com / @AmyLFisher 

Passionate about Fundraising? Help Serve Your Section

The PRSA Technology Section is seeking members interested in a volunteer position on the Executive Committee supporting the Fundraising and Sponsorship subcommittee.

This position supports the chair of the subcommittee in actively securing sponsorships and fundraising for Technology Section activities and awards. As a member of the Technology Section Executive Committee, you will serve with a team of volunteer professionals representing PR agencies, corporations, nonprofits and educational organizations.

Being involved is a great way to make connections and can lead to a number of opportunities including meeting new friends, discovering new career and business possibilities and staying on top of the ever-changing public relations industry. If you are interested or have any questions about joining the Fundraising and Sponsorship subcommittee, please email Alyssa Eggum, PRSA Technology Section chair: alyssa.eggum@platformcg.com.

Member News
Meet our new members and learn what is going on
in our Section!
New Members
Welcome New Members

The PRSA Technology Section is pleased to welcome the 56 new members who joined the Section from Sept. 9-Dec. 3, 2016. We are glad to have you on board!

View the full list and post a welcome message of your own! 

Click here to view our newest members and welcome them to the Section →

Featured Member: Greg Mondshein, Hotwire

By Chris Davis, NTT Communications

Greg Mondshein is the senior vice president of business development and marketing at Hotwire. He helps the team shape brand perception in the U.S. and internationally, while creating business opportunities for companies seeking a global alternative to large multinational agencies. An industry pro with nine years’ experience, he’s still relatively new to Hotwire — but that hasn’t stopped him from jumping in feet first to support Hotwire during this time of growth.

Click here to read more

Public Relations Tools
Content Marketing in Five Effective Steps

By Stephen Loudermilk,  @LoudyOutLoud

I’ve been working on a lot of content marketing projects lately and wanted to share some insights on effective ways to make an impact. While content marketing is the holy grail of most traditional and digital marketing programs, you need a comprehensive plan of action to start with because too much or too little content can harm your brand messaging with customers, partners, investors, customers, media and analysts.

So how do you create a comprehensive content marketing game plan that when delivered effectively has the power to influence and engage all of your internal and external stakeholders?

1) Conduct a comprehensive content assessment every year. Yes, just like going to see the doctor or dentist, you need to look at your entire marketing library/assets yearly to make sure they fit your branding strategy, mission statement and customer focus. This is a very cumbersome and time-consuming process, but just like doing an inventory in a store every asset needs to be categorized, reviewed and listed. Marketing assets that should be inventoried include brochures, presentations, news releases, infographics, marketing insights, blogs, executive bios and head shots, social media, customer testimonials, white papers, videos and so much more.

2) Conduct a thorough content audit. There are a myriad of tools to conduct content audits thoroughly, including your standard Excel spreadsheet. The benefit of a content audit is you get to review and analyze every single piece of content, rank it, prioritize it and make sure it aligns with your company’s or client’s persona and branding strategy. Content audits are also beneficial because some materials may be old and need to be refreshed because the content itself or its quality doesn’t conform to brand standards/guidelines.

Click here to continue reading for steps 3-5. 

Public Relations Tools
Advertising, Journalism and Ethics in a Branded Content World

By Shawn Gaines, @shawnrgaines

“You need to think of branded content as a gift to readers,” explained Zach Abramowitz, CEO of content marketing platform ReplyAll and writer for Above the Law and TechCrunch.

Abramowitz was making a great point — to ensure that branded content is effective, communications professionals can’t approach it from a perspective of pure advertising or endless pontification. We need to think about educating and entertaining readers on a topic where we (or our company or clients) are seen as the expert. Give readers a gift, and make their lives or jobs better or easier.

Click here to read more about the Technology Section’s Fall Webinar, “The Advent of Branded Content.”

Professional Development
Trust In the Media Sinks to All-Time Low: What This Means for Public Relations
By Pattie Stechschulte

Today, an explosion of online news sites, blogs, vlogs and social media have created millions of potential news sources with varying degrees of authenticity. Opinion-driven writing has become the norm, and even once trusted sources have been duped into publishing false news. Today, anyone can be a purveyor of news, so we’re less likely to trust institutions with less rigorous reporting and fact-checking criteria.

Click here to continue reading about what this means for PR…

Professional Development
How Rapid Does “Rapid Response Pitching” Have to Be? 

By Meredith L. Eaton, @MeredithLEaton

A news story breaks — perhaps a data breach, outage or a new regulation. With the nature of today’s news cycle, public relations teams may have 12–24 hours to jump on a story before press are on to the next big news items … maybe 36–48 hours, if you’re lucky, or if new developments arise. To get spokespeople and thought leaders in front of press before sources are filled and articles filed, many public relations managers and agencies undertake a rapid response pitching strategy (also known as news hijacking) to get their companies or clients in the news.

Click here to continue reading about how to do this effectively.

PRSA 2016 International Conference Wrap-Up

By Stephen Loudermilk, @LoudyOutLoud

The PRSA 2016 International Conference in Indianapolis, Oct. 23–25, was filled with fantastic keynote speeches, professional development tracks and sessions, and of course tons of networking opportunities for thousands of PR professionals from all over the country. Focused on the theme “Accelerating the Speed of Innovation and Connectivity,” PR professionals learned more about best practices and insights for advancing the state of the PR profession from more than 150 experts at all career levels, sectors, work environments and industries. Many of the keynote speakers and industry experts emphasized the intersection of technology and media, improved diversity, change communications, branding, storytelling and developing better relationships.

Click here to continue reading more about the Technology Section at ICON…

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