If Taylor Swift Can Prevent a PR Crisis, So Can You.

Crisis communication can be handled by a PR team, but like anything it's better to avoid a crisis if possibleAs a communication major at the University of Delaware, I have endured endless lectures and read countless chapters about the importance of crisis communication. Any public figure, organization, or institution is vulnerable to a “crisis,” whether a serious threat to people or property or a blow to their reputation. Public relations professionals know that the best way to handle crises is to have a plan. Read full post...

We’re all just sittin’ around the campfire, really

PR training helps our clients communicate clearly and  effectively.

PR training helps our clients communicate clearly and effectively.

I’m a PR professional. But my real job is storyteller. I use press releases, feature articles, social media and grassroots outreach to get our clients’ messages across. But sometimes, the client needs to be the storyteller.

The ab+c PR team offers a variety of training modules to help our clients communicate clearly and effectively. Maybe you need some help with a stressful situation, such as giving a speech in public or having to be interviewed by the media. Don’t sweat it. Yours truly, a PR pro, is here to help.Read full post...

July 21, 2014

Public relations shines bright light on Delaware skin cancer

We needed to face the problem.Protect Your Skin Delaware

Whether enjoying our famous beaches, working outside or just relaxing in the summer sun, Delawareans spend a lot of time outside. So what’s the big deal? Well, ultraviolet radiation from the sun — and indoor tanning — have done some serious damage in the First State. The most recent report from the Delaware Division of Public Health (DDPH) found the state’s melanoma incidence rate is now the fourth-highest in the country. Additionally, many people don’t put melanoma and skin cancer into the same deadly category as prostate, breast, colorectal and other cancers.Read full post...

NASCAR knows more about Twitter than you do

Dale Junior Joins Twitter

Dale Jr. joins Twitter.

Yesterday’s six-hour rain delay of the Daytona 500 could have been a huge letdown for NASCAR fans. Instead, they spent the afternoon joking with their favorite drivers, getting updates on track conditions from race officials, and having a “fireside chat” with at least one driver (Clint Bowyer), who told track reporters that he was having “a lot of fun” with his Twitter followers until his PR team “shut him down” (Hey, sometimes we have to be the party poopers!). After the race, fans celebrated the long-awaited launch of race winner Dale Earnhardt  Jr.’s Twitter account, which he promised he would do if he won. Nine hours later, he already had 355,000 followers (and growing).

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Ramp up your trade show marketing: PR opportunities abound!

Make sure your trade booth staffers are on the lookout for media representatives and familiar with the schedule of media appointments.

Make sure your trade booth staffers are on the lookout for media representatives and familiar with the schedule of media appointments.

Trade shows are an important component of most companies’ marketing initiatives. While participating in the show expo can be a valuable way to connect with customers and prospects at local and national levels, the promotional opportunities afforded by the event extend way beyond the exhibit booth. Boost your company’s return on investment and marketing success with a well-planned public relations effort to gain significant editorial coverage before, during and after the event.

Before the event

Start with pre-event publicity to maximize interest in and coverage of your activities through press releases, media alerts, invitations, and your company’s web site, newsletters and social media programs. Also take advantage of all the opportunities offered by trade show management, such as access to media lists and coverage in the event’s newsletter, show guide, website and social media.

Find out whether the show needs keynote speakers, panel discussion participants, presenters or authors of conference papers. Secure one of these opportunities for your business leaders and you’ll strengthen your industry reputation. Plus, you’ll form relationships with the trade editors, who will come to think of you as thought leaders and industry experts. Each speaking engagement offers the opportunity to send editorial advisories ahead of the event.Read full post...

Give and get: how to negotiate better

Never make a concession without explaining it. If you change your position, you must be able to explain why or lose credibility.

We like to think of ourselves as excellent communicators; we’re in the business, right? But, according to a recent article in Ragan’s Health Care Communication News, we as communicators are really in sales. To be successful, we have to “focus on what [we] can give to others, and not what [we] can get.” Author Susan Young claims that an essential business skill is the art of silent listening – mentally slowing down and giving our undivided attention so that we are fully present and in the moment. In other words, don’t talk so much and really listen to what people are saying.Read full post...

Only 4 percent of U.S. hospitals have blogs—yikes!

As all hospital content creators know, there is no shortage of stories to tell.

Everyone blogs—kidscatsStarbucks, even an accused criminal. But in the world of hospital communications, blogging is not nearly as prevalent. In fact, fewer than four percent of hospitals have them—185 to be exact, according to the Mayo Clinic’s Health Care Social Media List.

It’s a little surprising that more hospitals haven’t embraced the blog as a way to share their stories. A blog offers a controlled communications channel that engages and drives measurable web traffic. It showcases the organization’s personality and mission. I would challenge any PR or marketing pro to come up with a tactic that does all that—in 300 words or less!

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The (social) media is the message

Being proactive and using a different approach for each platform are key to social media crisis communication.

A powerful new weapon has been added to your crisis communications arsenal: social media.

Like all weapons, it can be used for good or evil. It can assure you of a swift victory over those who would defame your reputation. Or it can blow up in your face. Because social media can change public opinion — for better or worse.

In the old days, companies relied on traditional media to handle a crisis. In 1982, for example, Johnson & Johnson executed its revered Tylenol crisis communications plan, calling for a comprehensive recall of potentially poisonous product. J&J (and its PR agency) used traditional media outlets to spread the word. With the 24-hour news cycle was still in its infancy, the company reclaimed 70% of its market share within a few short months. Crisis averted.

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What journalists dread: “Dear blank, please blank”

Personalize your pitches, and give journalists what they need.

At the 2011 PRSSA National Conference in October, 1,200 students came together in Orlando, Florida, for a weekend full of learning about public relations, professionalism, social media, creative design and much more. In the midst of all of our sessions and events, one topic stood out above the rest — and no, it wasn’t about how to tweet or develop a Facebook strategy. It was about good ol’ fashioned media relations.Read full post...



Differentiate, brand, and build trust were some key takeaways from the PRSSA National Conference.

Picture this. You’re standing in a room with a thousand aspiring young public relations professionals. On your left, there are students eagerly tweeting away. On your right, there are students impatiently waiting to hear from the keynote speaker of the day. You move from room to room to hear more amazing speakers educate you on any type of PR — nonprofit, agency, healthcare, global, etc. Top that off with some sessions on media training, social media and crisis communications, and you are officially in PR heaven.Read full post...


That “aha” moment

"Perception is Reality" was this year's theme for the PRSSA National Conference.

You know that “aha!” moment? You’re brushing your teeth when a great new pitch idea suddenly pops into your brain, or luxuriating in a bubble bath when the perfect event is fully realized in your mind. Imagine how it would feel if these sparks of genius lasted two hours: complete euphoria. Mind-blowing. Life-changing. Welcome to the PRSSA National Conference 2011.Read full post...

The Transformation

The UD chapter of the PRSSA has come a long way in the past two years.

If you had told me a year ago that I would have been presenting at the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) National Conference, I wouldn’t have believed you. Two years ago PRSSA was not what it is today. Frankly, it was a pretty ineffective organization, filled with inactive, uncommitted members. People knew so little about it that most students probably could not have guessed what “PRSSA” even stood for.Read full post...


Gyms’ PR strategy doesn’t work out

In a world of 24-hour information, quality PR work is crucial.

When the Baltimore Colts moved out of town under the cover of darkness in 1984, the team pretty much cemented its place in the Bad PR Moves Hall of Fame. But last week, Bally Total Fitness took a page out of the Colts’ playbook anyway, completing a sale of 171 of its clubs to competitor LA Fitness — without telling its members. Other than a vague, one-paragraph statement on both companies’ websites, and two days’ notice of an early closing on November 30, gym members were given no information about the sale, or what it would mean for them.Read full post...

Communication in a Crisis


Many crisis situations entail change, surprise or the unexpected.

“In many ways, individuals and institutions get measured by their capacity to deal with change, surprise and the unexpected.” — Bob Woodward

Many crisis situations entail change, surprise or the unexpected. How do we as public relations professionals respond effectively? How do we blend the proper doses of textbook theory, gut instinct and level-headed judgment?

Over the course of my career I have dealt with a variety of “urgent” situations: product liability, white-collar crime, race and sex discrimination, life-threatening negligence by healthcare providers, environmental issues, and corporate downsizing, to name a few.Read full post...