Podcast: Tom Fuller & Dave Thompson: the APR

Podcast: Tom Fuller & Dave Thompson: the APR

Would You Like Fries With That Press Release?

 

An APR jumpstart transforms service-providers into C-suite advisers

 

A total geek by nature, I have always been intrigued with the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR), or the “good housekeeping seal of approval” as Dave Thompson, APR, likes to call it. I sat down with Dave and his former boss Tom Fuller, APR, Communications Manager of Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to learn all about the APR. Not only did we talk about the process of getting an APR, which entails more than just filling out the bubbles on a sheet of test paper, but we explored how the addition of an APR has changed both of their lives inside and outside of work.

Dave, who listeners might remember from a previous episode where he outlined the job functions of a public information officer (PIO), recently left his post as ODOT’s public affairs program manager to serve as an independent contractor providing media training and lecturing. Yet he drew on past ODOT examples, such as the communication management of storms, to provide a clear before-and-after picture of what the APR learning meant to his job. While Tom, who spent 20 years in TV before coming over to the dark side, offers concrete examples of how the APR helped his team plan, execute and measure an effective campaign to address the new flight travel identification regulations.

Listen to the episode for insight into the working lives of both leaders and glean some insider knowledge on what it’s like to actually get an APR. To remain the ever helpful PR person, below is a quick guide to the APR facts.

 

What is the APR?

Both Tom and Dave said that PR people love to jump right into tactics. But this can be futile without really knowing your audiences nor setting out measurable objectives at the front end of a campaign to help you understand if what you’re doing is actually working. The detailed process of getting an APR through the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) brings professionals up to this level of strategic thinking, helping them gain confidence for future leadership.

 

The APR Process

The first readiness class (Feb. 15) should cover all of this but it’s my understanding that after signing up, candidates need to study the coursebook, “Cutlip and Center’s Effective Public Relations” (11th Edition), to prepare for the presentation candidates give in front of a small panel of judges to show their knowledge of the material.

During the presentation, candidates draw on a past campaign to present a “would’a, should’a, could’a”, as Dave likes to call it, before and if-only-in-a-perfect-world after scenario to the campaign that takes into account this new knowledge and what could have been done differently if the stars had aligned perfectly (budget, approvals, etc.).

After demonstrating their readiness, candidates dig deeper into the book to pass the proctored computer test. Studying with new friends from the readiness class or with a mentor, candidates walk away with not just the skills needed to pass a test but a richer understanding of our field, ultimately altering how the job is approached. 

 

Fees & Stipulations 

The cost for the APR is $385, excluding the textbook cost which could run you $40+ to rent through Amazon to $145 new. HOWEVER, there may be some extensive rebates offered through PRSA upon completion of the computer examination. 

Any PRSA member can apply for accreditation but it’s recommended that candidates hold previous PR experience (a couple of years according to Dave and Tom but the PRSA Oregon website suggests five years) in order to properly address the presentation portion of the process. 

 

Next Steps

Still unsure? At least attend the first accreditation class on Saturday, February 15, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at The Gathering Place (12950 SW Pacific Highway, Suite 125) in Tigard. The classes will be held each Saturday through roughly April 11. The first few classes will be held at the Gathering Place but the location could change thereafter. Due to the time commitment required, candidates are not expected to attend every class but get so much out of it when they do. 

This year’s core instructors will be: Patti Atkins, APR, Dave Thompson, APR, Chuck Williams, APR, Mara Woloshin, APR, Fellow PRSA, Jean Kempe-Ware, APR, and Stacy Moe-Keen, APR — joined by guest experts Kathy Hubbelll, APR, Fellow PRSA and Doug Levin, APR and more.

 

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About the guest: Tom Fuller

Tom is the Communications Manager at the Oregon Department of Transportaion (ODOT) and has nearly four decades of experience in media, communications and public relations management both in public and private as well as non-profit organizations. Tom is an award winning journalist, writer, producer, voice talent, and nationally known speaker.

 

Connect and follow Tom on social media:

About the guest: Dave Thompson

Dave Thompson is an accredited public relations professional with nearly 40 years’ experience as team leader/coach, spokesperson, public information officer, corporate communications director and awarding-winning broadcast reporter/anchor.

Connect and follow Dave on social media:

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

Podcast: Habit Change

Podcast: Habit Change

Tricking Ourselves Into Doing Our New Year’s Resolutions 

We Uncover Our Personal Tendencies from Gretchen Rubin’s Habit Change Quiz 

Already broke your New Year’s resolution? If so you might fall into one of these tendencies discussed in Gretchen Rubin’s habit books: the Questioner (who’s questioning the point of the resolution), the Rebel (who’s always rebelled against resolutions), or the Obliger (who’s Rebel friend didn’t show up for the New Years commitment they made together). If you’re still going strong with your New Year’s resolution, damn you, you annoying Upholder.

With it being the start of a New Year, Mike and I thought it was apropos to dig into this topic, taking advantage of the deliciously blank slate a new decade brings. New commitments, new habits, new ideas. I know you all have them! But rather than throwing around huge resolutions that were made to be broken, we’re learning about our personality types in order to turn our resolutions into actual habits. 

Rubin’s research outlined in the books “The Four Tendencies” or “Better Than Before,” suggests there are four tendencies everyone in the planet falls into when trying to create a habit.

A quick eight-question quiz will tell you what your main tendency is.

In this PR Talk episode, Mike and I uncover our own tendencies, discussing how they relate to each other, while also touching on the other tendencies and how each might approach PR. 

Here’s a cheat-sheet, or my own humorous interpretation, of each tendency.

Upholder

They will do what they say they’re going to do no matter what, even if they only made a promise to themself. This is what I thought Mike was, listen to hear how wrong I was! 

 

Obliger

They need external motivation in the form of people expecting something from them. So they need to meet a friend to workout because they won’t leave that friend hanging. They imagine the client waiting for the document to get it done.

 

Rebel

They just can’t do anything! Can’t keep external or internal expectations. Many of them can be successful creatives or entrepreneurs if they have an Upholder or Obliger staff/partner.

 

Questioner

They have to ask why and if they like the answer, they will do it. If not, they will move on. They are independent, don’t care what others are expecting or thinking, but they probably spend a lot of time ruminating. 

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

Podcast: Steve Strauss: USA Today

Podcast: Steve Strauss: USA Today

Are you ready for Small Business Saturday? 

With Small Business Saturday on the horizon, we think it is a perfect time to rerun our interview with small business expert Steve Strauss.

Pardon the poor audio, it was only episode 30 and be sure to stay tuned (which means subscribe) as we are planning to interview Steve again soon (which will sound much better of course). This episode and blog post orginally ran on April 19, 2018 and has be republished on November 20, 2019.

Two of My Favorite Things with Steve Strauss, USA TODAY & Inc.

 

Mr.AllBiz Delves into the Intersection of Small Business and PR

Luckily Steve Strauss had just gotten fired from his cushy job as a lawyer twenty years ago when USA TODAY came calling looking for a small business columnist. Apparently, the budding entrepreneur wasn’t the best employee and lacked writing ability. He’s gone on to write an impressive 17 books, including the best-selling Small Business Bible. But it’s the brand he’s built through penning a weekly small business Ask an Expert column for USA TODAY that he credits for his success.

After getting the corporate boot, Steve started his own law practice, eventually carving out an interesting niche between three disciplines: law, small business and writing. He has since left the law behind to focus on regular columns for USA TODAY, Huff Po. and Inc. — check out this recent piece for Inc.: “Why Most PR Pitches Stand Out (and How to Make Yours Stand Out).”

You’re wrong if you think Steve couldn’t get any busier. More can be found about how he serves as the small business spokesperson for companies like Bank of America and Verizon on Mr.AllBiz. His team creates written and visual content focusing on the small business community underneath The Strauss Group. And to top it off, Steve’s Web portal, The SelfEmployed, pays special attention not just to entrepreneurs seeking world domination, but also to freelancers and the gig economy, aka the “side hustle.”

Steve’s work could serve as a resource for employed marketers looking to dip their toes into the small business pool through freelancing or side hustling. Most interestingly, we both shared personal stories of how we journeyed into the abyss of the self-employed. Steve’s firing could have been viewed as a failure but instead it led to a much broader, but different, type of success than he ever expected. And although I didn’t know it at the time, saying yes to volunteer work was the beginning of Veracity.

 

This episode of PR Talk covers:

  • How to get in Steve’s USA TODAY column, or the other three notable columns he writes on a monthly basis, and other general PR tips and pet peeves.
  • How and why small businesses should embrace PR.
  • How marketers can start their own companies through freelancing and picking up “side hustles” first.
  • The differences between small marketing shops and large firms.

About the guest: Steve Strauss

Steve Strauss is often called “the country’s leading small business expert.” A best-selling author, and USA TODAY small business columnist, Steve is a global speaker, corporate spokesperson, entrepreneur, and author of 17 books including the best-selling Small Business Bible.

Connect and follow Steve on social media:

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

PR Talk is sponsored by monday

In such a fast-paced, multi-faceted work environment, it can be tough to stay on top of everything. monday is the collaboration tool trusted by businesses of all kinds to help cut down the clutter and streamline productivity. Learn more at monday.com and signup for a free trial. You’ll see in no time why so many teams around the world are choosing monday for their project management needs.

PR Talk listeners can use the coupon code BetterExecute for a 15% discount.

Podcast: Mark Knowles: So Much More Than Swivel

Podcast: Mark Knowles: So Much More Than Swivel

Mark Knowles On So Much More Than Swivel

Two secrets to Mark Knowles’ success, both personally and professionally, are to always be curious, and to fail fast and learn from those failures.

I interviewed Mark for Episode 70 of the PR Talk podcast. We had a candid conversation about a range of topics that went beyond the upcoming marketing conference he’s organizing in Bend called Swivel and delved into float planes, intention setting, serial entrepreneurialism and more.

Besides organizing Swivel, Mark is a principal at Smartz (digital marketing) and The Growler Guys (craft beer), and is the CEO of Pixelsilk (an SEO-friendly CMS). At the end of the interview we learned about how his entrepreneurship began with the proverbial lemonade stand.

Swivel is September 16-17 in BendSwivel Conference

Entering its 12th year, Swivel will be held September 16-17 in Bend, Ore. This year’s event includes well-known speakers, including: Wil Reynolds, Cari Twitchell, Blake Denman and even yours truly will have a stint onstage discussing digital PR.

Swivel also includes an Unconference on the second day, as well as two workshops on customer feedback and content marketing.

Mark’s goal for the conference is bringing together all of marketing’s parts—from creative to technical SEO—and learning how they each work independently and cooperatively.

 

Traveling Brings Greater Perspective

One of Mark’s passions is travelling. He recently returned from a trip to a remote river near Bristol Bay in Alaska where the only way to access it was via a float plane. Sharing about 1.5 million acres with only a dozen other people gave him perspective, he said, especially when compared to the times his day is dictated by his inbox.

All of that just goes away when you’re out in the wild and looking at all that nature, he said. A little bit hungover from the trip, he said he’ll eventually respond to those emails that are piling up in his inbox. Or maybe he won’t.

 

The Secrets to Mark’s Success

Listen to the podcast to learn how Mark embraces failure rather than running from it. He also is always curious and learning new things. He said both failing fast (and learning from that failure) and continuing on a learning journey have shaped his professional life.

He also shared his “1-2-3 practice” with us. Each morning he identifies the top three things he can do to make that day a success and sets out to accomplish them as soon as possible.

About the guest: Mark Knowles

Mark Knowles is a serial entrepreneur, including being a principal at Smartz, The Growler Guys and CEO at Pixelsilk. He is an advisory board member for the Search Engine Marketers of Portland (SEMpdx) and organizer of the Swivel conference in Bend. 

Connect and follow Mark on social media:

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

Podcast: Forget Your Story

Podcast: Forget Your Story

We Challenge You to “Forget Your Story”

Wait, what?!? If you’ve come up in the PR world like me, the idea of “the story” has been ingrained into you from before the time you picked up your first AP Style Guide. In fact, it is so pervasive that Mike pointed out our website has “What’s Your Story” written all over it. I must have written that unoriginal website copy in a stint of boredom before launching into a book in which the second chapter is titled “Forget Your Story.”

In this episode of PR Talk, Mike and I talk about what it means to “Forget Your Story.” Mike was a bit flabbergasted by this concept at first, wondering how marketers can do anything without story-telling, which is the foundation of the human language.

I’m not suggesting people completely forget who they are and stop honing their stories. This bold statement is meant to light a fire under people who can get too hung up on the stories before getting any real work done. For me, the classic media relations style of PR is about getting results. I can create the prettiest press kit, have the best connections and manufacture the slickest “story” but if I’m not getting any press coverage (results), then what is the point to all that hustle?

Instead of doing all that busy-work first, I’m offering a new way that literally approaches things  backwards — providing the instant gratification of immediate results. Just forget your story right now while you get your first nuggets of press coverage. Trying to uncover your story’s nuances before getting started can waste a lot of time. While I do love me some time-wasting, I cannot handle missed opportunities.

In this episode, I come to realize that this book is about doing. I am trying to get heads out of clouds and into action. The book — and accompanying PR Talk episodes — will walk you through how to get media coverage first and foremost. Along the way we might stumble upon your story if you can’t wait until the end when we do close with “Figuring Out Your Story.”

In order to get started, we challenge listeners to write down what is new in their organization. This is the beginning of your list of press release ideas. This is very different than a list of random ideas. I will say it again. Just list out what is new/happening in your organization. This will be converted into your press release list and possibly it’s the beginning of a PR timeline.

Just because I mention a press release list, you must not skip ahead to the section where I list the press release topics (this is a list I am working on of topics the press will actually cover because there’s no point to a press release if the press doesn’t pick it up).

If you are trying to be an A student (I see you. I know you. I am you.) and only want to include good things that the press might cover in your list, the best way to know what types of things the news might cover is to actually consume the news. My challenge for the A students is to set a time to consume news every day and……do it!!!…..For the rest of this working week….and then on Monday you can create the list of new things that are happening in your organization.

Until next time.

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

Podcast: Dan Lee: Agency vs. In-House

Podcast: Dan Lee: Agency vs. In-House

The PR Agency Grind versus the In-House Comms Department Cake-Walk?


Not so fast, says Dan Lee with PR Talent.

This week’s PR Talk episode features my best friend Dan Lee with PR Talent. We’ve only met once so I don’t know if he knows that we are best friends yet. Basically, I was wondering if he could just sit in my office with me all day, every day and just be my PR cheerleader and hold my hand as I trudge down the road of painful PR.

This week we’re airing the 2nd half of the conversation that I had with Dan a while back. He works on placing PR unicorns in either agency or in-house settings. Since his company only focuses on recruiting for PR roles, his knowledge about the field is extremely dense, plus Dan worked at agencies and as sports-broadcaster in a past life.

Also, to remind you, if you are in PR or looking to get into PR, you do not pay Dan to work with you. The company where you are placed pays PR Talent, which you might view as a positive if you are evaluating companies because you probably want to work for the type of company that has the resources to invest in finding perfect you. It shows how much they value what you will bring to the table and how your role fill will affect the organization.

After delving into some of the pitfalls and stresses of working at an agency, we, of course, talked about the many upsides like the variety in work and the comradery. Dan mentioned that many new PR pros with three-four years of experience end up wanting to go in-house, with in-house communications departments aggressively trying to hire agency talent.

What makes the in-house gig so attractive? Dan thinks the work-life balance may be appealing but he warns us that nothing is perfect and you’ll have to get really savvy maneuvering your way through the murky waters of in-house politics, bringing stress at all hours. And while you historically make a little bit more money in-house, the competition is fierce for the small amount of in-house jobs available.

We then moved on to talk about the random but fun topics of:

  • The newly popular phenomenon of ghosting in the job-seeking market.
  • How stress in PR is based upon a game we play against ourselves in the way of constantly needing to improve.
  • The importance of celebrating small successes. Dan’s example of firing an agency client may sound counter-intuitive but it was meaningful for his team at the time.

Tune-in in two weeks if you’re a media member looking to make the leap into PR. Dan has some tips and surprising news for you on this front. And if you liked what Dan had to stay, check out his past PR Talk episode here.

About the guest: Dan Lee

Dan Lee is a Managing Director at PR Talent and leads the firm’s recruiting efforts in the Northwest region. His career experience includes sports broadcasting, sports marketing, and 16 years with Weber Shandwick, where he was a vice president.

Connect and follow Dan on social media:

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.