Public Relations: When Two Worlds Collide

Communications students came to the nation’s capital on March 23-24 to learn the importance of traditional and new media in public relations.

At the PRSSA Regional Conference, “When Two Worlds Collide: Bridging Online and Offline Communication,” speakers and panelists with backgrounds in politics, crisis communication, social media, nonprofits and more shared their stories and offered tips to help students face the ever-changing world of public relations.

Members of the PRSSA Regional Conference host Chapter at American University compiled a list of the most important tips they learned from each session. These tips included:

American University Regional Conference

• John Bell from Social@Ogilvy advised students to think as business leaders, not just communications majors, which is very important when creating a social media strategy.
• Drew Hammill, press secretary for Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, told attendees not to be afraid to be creative, especially if they are trying to get the word out about an important but dry piece of information.
• During a crisis, communicate early, often and clearly. Plan, prepare and practice before the crisis.
• For political communication, be as well informed as possible. Speaker Dave Tamasi makes it a habit to read the main articles of every major newspaper before 7:30 a.m. each morning.
• Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities with personal branding. Take on opportunities that you believe will highlight your skills and help further your career.
• When communicating with groups of people online, keep words and ideas as clear as possible.
• In sports or entertainment public relations in particular, be prepared to work hard, be competitive and move around from city to city.
• Social media effectiveness can be measured for nonprofits by who is showing up to volunteer based on social media strategies. Use social media to inspire people to action instead of just encouraging them to comment or “like” statuses.

What advice would you give students breaking into the industry during the convergence of traditional and new media strategies?

This is a guest post compiled by members of American University PRSSA. The contributors were Kate Froehlich, Nicole Charpentier, Quentin Hoffman, Megan Clark, Kim Short, Steven Murphy, Chichi Motanya, Jenna Mosley and Olivia Wolfertz. 

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