Podcast: Rhoda Weiss: PRSA International

Podcast: Rhoda Weiss: PRSA International

Rhoda Weiss Leads the 2019 PRSA International Conference to New Heights

In this episode of the PR Talk Podcast, Amy Rosenberg chats with Dr. Rhoda Weiss, CEO of Rhoda Weiss & Associates, Inc. and this year’s chair of the PRSA International Conference in San Diego.

During their conversation, Rhoda shares some fascinating tidbits about her long history in PR and gives podcast listeners the full download on what attendees can expect from the upcoming conference. 

Three Decades of PR Experience

Rhoda began her career working as a journalist, which is an origin story many PR pros will recognize. Before long, she transitioned into public relations, working primarily in the healthcare field. After 15 years in the industry, Rhoda hung out her shingle and started an L.A.-based consulting firm of her own. In the years since, Rhoda has traveled about 250,000 miles every year, speaking and consulting with mostly healthcare companies about PR, branding, communication, and marketing. Rhoda is truly a pro’s pro and the perfect person to chart a new course as industry members from around the world converge in San Diego.

 

What is New, Next, and Best? 

With experience organizing conferences for healthcare executives, Rhoda set out to shake up this year’s PRSA International Conference. As she developed programming, Rhoda wanted to help industry members achieve excellence, navigate change, assert their influence and position the importance of PR more broadly. To do this, she focused on professional development by doubling the number of learning opportunities over previous years.

Attendees can choose from 140 sessions, ten keynote presentations, and 250 different speakers. This year’s lineup includes luminaries like journalist Bob Woodward, Laura Ling, a reporter imprisoned in North Korea for more than 100 days, former President of Mexico Vicente Fox and First Lady Marta Sahagún de Fox, who was Mexico’s first female press secretary, and Academy Award-Winning actor Richard Dreyfuss.

In a nod to Rhoda’s work with U.S. Air Force, this year’s conference also includes a session featuring public relations officers from every service branch discussing strategies for effectively working with filmmakers. Other sessions focus on crisis communication with the pros who coordinated responses to the Christchurch Massacre, Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the devastating wildfire that destroyed Paradise, California.

With so many different options, it would be easy for the average conference attendee to become overwhelmed. Fortunately, PRSA has you covered. Attendees can choose to follow pre-developed conference tracks, or plan a customized path using PRSA’s interactive program.

 

PR Trends to Watch

When asked about what trends she expects to see discussed at the conference, Rhoda immediately pointed to artificial intelligence. With the rise of big data, PR pros will have incredible opportunities to leverage AI tools to create new analytics roadmaps that were previously unimaginable. However, along with these opportunities come new ethical questions centered around using your brand data for good. Listen to episode 61 to hear more about PR and AI.

Fortunately, this year’s conference will help attendees wrap their heads around these huge new questions with sessions on Big Data, analytics and how PR pros can lead the fight for truth in an age of disinformation.

 

Rhoda Has More to Say

Rhoda has much more to share about the upcoming PRSA conference, so be sure to listen to the entire episode. You’ll also hear an interesting discussion about the role Rhoda believes PR and comms pros should play in corporate leadership.

As always, if you’d like to stay up-to-date with all the latest in PR, subscribe to the PR Talk Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play and Spotify. In the meantime, there are still tickets available for the PRSA International Conference, October 20th – 22nd, in San Diego. So register now and join an expected crowd of 3,000 industry professionals and students for a weekend of learning, networking and fun.

If you are heading to San Diego, make plans to join your colleagues as they recognize Rhoda’s extraordinary career with the Gold Anvil — PRSA’s lifetime achievement award and top international honor. What better way to say “thank you” for everything Rhoda has done to promote our industry and take the PRSA International Conference to new heights.

About the guest: Rhoda Weiss

Rhoda Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally recognized and versatile executive, speaker, consultant, author, educator and award-winning professional specializing in strategy, business development, branding, marketing, public relations and crisis management. During her career,  she’s traveled 6 million miles speaking and consulting to more than 700 organizations in the U.S. and abroad. 

Connect and follow Rhoda 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: Mark Mohammadpour: Chasing the Sun

Podcast: Mark Mohammadpour: Chasing the Sun

“Living Our Best PR Life” is Mark Mohammadpour’s Motto as He Helps Communications Pros Thrive

In this episode of the PR Talk podcast, Amy Rosenberg sits down for an extended talk with Mark Mohammadpour of Chasing the Sun — a health coaching company for communications professionals. 

During their conversation, Mark shares the story of his weight-loss journey and how that personal transformation inspired him to help his colleagues live happier and healthier lives.

A Personal Transformation

In 2007, Mark Mohammadpour faced a turning point. After years spent climbing the ranks at major firms like Weber Shandwick and Edelman, and working with colleagues as a board member and president of PRSA Oregon, he knew something had to give.

For years, Mark had neglected his health by eating a poor diet as he focused on advancing his career. We all know there are no 8-hour days in the PR world. Mark embodied this reality as he constantly traveled, taking care of his clients’ needs at the expense of his own. All that time spent in airports and hotel rooms in cities across the country added up, leaving him overweight and unhappy.

At his peak, Mark weighed 350 pounds. Flying coach had become almost unbearable. He suffered from sleep apnea and felt physically uncomfortable in nearly any environment. To make matters worse, his weight was negatively affecting his mental outlook, which began bubbling up at work. Instead of thinking about solving problems, Mark dwelled on them — a transformation his colleagues couldn’t help but notice.

On top of his career concerns, Mark also had a personal motivation to change. In December 2007, Mark proposed to his girlfriend, Christine. Deep down, Mark knew he couldn’t continue advancing in his current mental and physical state. To return to health and be the best version of himself for his new bride, Mark had to make some changes.

 

Focus on What You Can Control  

To get the ball rolling, Mark knew he needed to start small. He began by focusing on his diet and incorporating exercise where he could. These small, steady efforts made a difference. By the time he got married nine months later, Mark had lost 110 pounds, and his work life had transformed. Ten years later, Mark has kept the weight off and now focuses on helping other communications professionals live healthier and more balanced lives.

 

It’s a Stressful Career

Every year, CareerCast.com releases a survey of the most stressful jobs. Without fail, PR executives rank with enlisted military personnel, firefighters, air traffic controllers, and journalists as people who work under the highest amount of stress. 

Unfortunately, because PR is a service-oriented industry, many executives check their egos at the door and accept stress as an unavoidable part of the job. As a result, they don’t always take care of themselves as well as they should. This attitude is what Mark wants to change.

Mark’s new company, Chasing the Sun, is designed to help communications workers grow and thrive by incorporating health and wellness into their careers. On top of fitness and diet advice, Mark also coaches his clients on maintaining a healthy mind and body, while fostering effective working relationships.

In Mark’s view, helping executives reprioritize their health is vital for the industry. As role models, mid and upper-level managers will set the tone for more junior level workers. If executives impose their unhealthy habits on their subordinates, that cycle will perpetuate itself as those junior workers continue advancing in the industry. Mark’s working to interrupt that cycle now, so the industry will be healthier for years to come.

 

Hear More from Mark

Listen to the full podcast to hear more of Mark and Amy’s conversation — including the most common health mistakes Mark sees executives make. If you’d like to see Mark speak in person, he’ll be giving a talk at the PRSA International Conference in San Diego on Sunday, October 20th from 12:50 – 1:40 p.m. 

As always, if you’d like to stay up-to-date with all the latest in PR, subscribe to the PR Talk Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play and Spotify

About the guest: Mark Mohammadpour

After a career spent rising through the ranks of some of the country’s most respected PR firms, Mark Mohammadpour needed a change. Overweight and unhappy, Mark chose to prioritize his health and bring new meaning to his career. After losing over 100 pounds, and keeping the weight off for more than a decade, Mark now provides health and wellness coaching to communication professionals nationwide through his company Chasing the Sun. You can also subscribe to the Chasing the Sun podcast on iTunes or Spotify.

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: Rebecca Dersh: Cision

Podcast: Rebecca Dersh: Cision

Bringing PR into the Digital Age with Cision’s Rebecca Dersh

If you’re a PR pro, you’ve probably already used Cision to pull media lists. However, as Amy found out in this interview with Rebecca Dersh — Public Relations Manager for Cision — the platform can do so much more. 

As Rebecca describes it, Cision is a software solution helping PR and communication pros reach, target, and engage their audience. During the course of Amy and Rebecca’s chat, we discover how tools like Cision can help us justify our activities to our clients and open the door for more strategic work.

PR Reporting is Changing

Everyone in PR should be doing a better job of measuring ROI. In the analog days, that wasn’t always easy, and some industry members remain stuck in that old mindset. Rebecca explained how Cision makes it possible to connect PR activities with direct business results — the same way marketing and advertising can. This ability allows PR pros to showcase how consumers viewed a piece of media coverage and how it generated website visits and purchases.

 

PR Analytics are Now a Reality

Through their recent acquisition of TrendKite — a PR analytics company — Cision has brought PR reporting in line with ad and marketing tech. Now, PR pros can sync Cision up with their client’s Google Analytics and use the resulting information to place their efforts in context and tell better stories.

Rebecca believes these new capabilities also open the door for greater integration between earned media teams and their advertising and marketing colleagues. For example, how can paid media pros use earned media analytics to repurpose and retarget their paid media opportunities?

 

Will Automation Steal Our Jobs?

As their conversation progressed, Amy broached the subject of PR automation. Cision can automate tasks like updating media lists, ed calendar tracking, delivery and reporting. So, is PR ever at risk of becoming fully automated?

While Amy and Rebecca both agreed that the creativity and strategic thinking necessary for successful PR could never truly be automated, using tools like Cision to their fullest can make the average PR pro more successful. Ideally, most of our time should be spent thinking strategically to craft the best pitch possible. Instead, we often get bogged down in other time-consuming tasks that could otherwise be automated. So we might as well use technology to free up a little extra bit of space in our brains, and in turn, do better work.

 

Wait, There’s More!

Listen to the podcast to hear more of Amy and Rebecca’s conversation about emerging PR technology, and to hear what it’s like for Rebecca to do PR for PR. You can also subscribe to the PR Talk Podcast on Stitcher, iTunes, and Google Play.

About the guest: Rebecca Dersh

After earning her B.A. at American University, Rebecca Dersh began her career with global branding agency Wolff Olins. While there, she worked with a wide variety of clients from nonprofit to tech, before leaving New York for Austin, Texas. Today she works for Cision as its Public Relations Manager.

Connect and follow Rebecca 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: 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: Work/Life Balance

Podcast: Work/Life Balance

Work/Life Balance

Work/life balance is a popular topic for all industries and job-types. Amy and Mike talk about how they strive to strike the right ratio and provide tips for listeners on the PR Talk Podcast.

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: PR Tools

Podcast: PR Tools

PR Tools

If you are like me and you hear the term tools, you start thinking about software or applications that make your job easier. Or, maybe you think about the more classic tools of a carpenter such as a hammer, measuring tape and architectural designs? Others may think of humans most important tool, the mind. 

In this episode of PR Talk, Amy shares her view that the most important PR Tool is not the mind, relationships, a press release or even her favorite, the telephone. She insists that the most important PR tool is instinct.

Other PR tools that help you do your job include:

  • The Press Release

 

  • The Press Pitch
    • Editorial Calendars
    • Contributed Articles & Ghostwriting
    • Media Exclusives

 

  • Additional (maybe even more important) tools
    • Photos & Videos
    • Media Database/Media List/Relationships
    • Press Kits & Virtual Press Rooms
    • Media Drops
    • Email
    • Snail Mail
    • The Telephone

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.