PRSA International Conference Headed to DC

2010 PRSA International Conference Washington, DC October 16-19Next week the District of Columbia will be crawling (more than usual) with communications professionals, publicists, crisis comm experts and the like as that New York-based Public Relations Society of America brings its International Conference to Washington, DC.

Clearly I am excited to attend the PRSA International conference this year. For one, it’s in my city, so no traveling. AND I still get to make it home post-sessions to tuck my kids into bed. For two, it’s chock full of friends, mentors, and others whom I admire. I am excited about sessions by fellow DC PR pros Andy Gilman of CommCore (celebrating 25 years in business this year), James Walker of PR Prescriptions, Heathere Evans Keenan, Robert Udowitz and Ms. Measurement herself, Shonali Burke. And for three, I will be attending the conference on behalf of Mopwater PR + Media Notes, covering the confernece as an official blogger.

In addition to my DC locals, I will be able to hear presentations by my friend and mentor Deirdre Breakenridge, and the always informative Lee Odden of Top Rank. The last time I heard both of these two phenoms speak was at the Vocus Conference in June, which was also (lucky for me) right here in DC.

I’m not saying I won’t travel for a conference, but when the conference comes to your doorstep, what could be better?

Here are  my must attend panels and sessions. Clearly I won’t be able to attend them all, since several are occurring during the same time slot.

Beyond Solo Consulting: How to Effectively Build an Work with Project Teams, Subcontractors and Staff

Location: Monroe

Jamie F. Meredith, chief executive officer, The Meredith Group, Inc.
Katie Coates Ageson, APR, president, PR Projects
Heathere Keenan-Evans, APR, founder, Keenan PR, Inc.

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How do you seek, secure and develop successful business partnerships with other local or regional independent practitioners? How do you take your practice beyond your four walls? A panel of successful independent practitioners examines best practices for an effective business model using project partners, subcontractors and support staff. Walk away with tips on business expectations, mistakes to avoid, how to find good partners and how to work together.

Framing Messages to Drive PR and Client Communications Goals

Location: Columbia Hall 3 & 4

Andrew Gilman, chief executive officer, CommCore Consulting Group

Crafting clear, direct messages is more important than ever in today’s increasingly complex world. This messaging workshop defines how to frame a message, a common tactic in the Washington political world. Learn the “Haiku” messaging approach to media communications, crisis response and important public presentations. By combining facts, data, and visual, memorable information, you will craft clear messages that resonate immediately and appropriately with each medium and audience in real time.

Socially Diverse: Engaging with Diverse Communities Online

Location: Columbia Hall 10

James Walker, editor, PR Prescriptions

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Embark on a journey through social media — both the blogosphere and social networks. Explore the findings of the presenter’s six-month journey through social media, during which he engaged with active members from several online communities. Gain understanding of how to identify, analyze and engage with active participants of diverse communities and social interactions, and also learn how to create a social media home base from which all online activities can operate. Find out how to create a sustained online presence, and continue to develop relationships. The knowledge and insight gained from this session will prove invaluable as you move through the process of brainstorming, pitching and execution.

Advance Your SEO Skills With Social Media Optimization

Location: Columbia Hall 3 & 4

Lee Odden, chief executive officer, TopRank Marketing

Social media and search engine optimization (SEO) present the most significant opportunity for public relations and communications professionals to master the search and social Web. In this information-packed workshop, learn essential skills for planning social SEO in order to increase reach and engagement. Practical tactics for optimizing blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will be discussed. Also, learn about free and low-cost social SEO tools that will help you implement and measure success.

Everyone’s a Journalist: Beyond the Beat

Location: Georgetown East

Johna Burke, senior vice president, marketing, BurrellesLuce

The fast-changing media landscape is simultaneously creating challenges and opportunities for public relations professionals. One of the most profound changes is a reconfiguration of the journalistic ranks — while the number of journalists at traditional outlets shrinks, the journalism “community” grows. Thus, PR practitioners must identify the most relevant influencers in both traditional and social media. Gain useful tips and tools, understand the importance of nano-technology and learn best practices for managing evolving media relations.

Strategic PR for the Travel/Hospitality Industry

Location: Monroe

Craig Rexroad, president, BLAZE PR
Karen Gee McAuley, executive vice president, BLAZE PR

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As the hospitality industry continues to face a recession and consumer expectations are still demanding, success is no easy feat. By identifying a client’s business objectives and barriers, public relations professionals can lay the strategic groundwork for excellent representation in the hospitality industry. Discover strategies that get consumers to continue to spend. Also, learn how to develop opportunities and tactics that make a client’s business objectives attainable, even when their dollar is down.

Hosted by the Travel and Tourism Section.

Become a PR Influencer to Drive Business Value

Location: Jefferson

Deirdre Breakenridge, president, executive director of communications, Mango! Creative Juice
Mark Drapeau, Ph.D., director of innovative social engagement, U.S. Public Sector Division in Washington, D.C. Microsoft
Sarah Evans, founder, SevanStrategy
Geoff Livingston, co-founder and CMO, Zoetica

With changing media landscapes, shifting consumer behavior and rapidly advancing technology, the role of public relations influencer, who drives business value, is critical. To facilitate strategic communications and engage with the public to drive brand value, today’s PR influencers go beyond the role of communications facilitators, and into the realm of listeners, conversationalists, market experts, sociologists, Web marketers and customer service representatives. This panel of PR influencers discusses this new role and its responsibilities, and how PR professionals are taking the lead in their organizations and social communities. Learn how to become a part of the conversations that lead to best practices in managing reputations and increasing brand awareness. Also, gain insight into how to build strong relationships, and convert friends and followers into loyal customers.

Measurement in the “Age of Now”: A Common Sense Guide to the Business of PR

Location: Monroe

Shonali Burke, ABC, principal, Shonali Burke Consulting

The explosion of social media has shined a new light on the measurability of our profession. However, many practitioners still put far too much emphasis on the tracking and measuring of outputs, not outcomes. In this session, you will receive an overview of how measurement has and has not changed, and the most practical way to tackle it. Learn how to identify what key performance indicators (KPIs) are, and how to connect your efforts to your organization’s KPIs. Also, learn how to measure successfully on a budget.

Building C-Suite Trust Through News and Social Media Monitoring ROI

Location: Cabinet

Jeff Trexel, chief executive officer, Infoition News Services
Linda Odorisio, vice president, U.S. Communications, CGI Group

Savvy public relations executives earn C-suite trust by spending dollars on actions that boast a clear return on investment (ROI) and align with business objectives. Join session presenters for an interactive dialogue on news and social media monitoring ROI. Launch points are data collected from five Fortune 500 corporations and a best practices case study showing what is working inside a multi-billion dollar corporation. Learn how to earn C-suite trust, or risk being ignored.

How to Do a “Really Goode Job” of Creating Brand Awareness

Location: Monroe

Caroline Shaw, senior vice president, communications, Jackson Family Wines
Adam Beaugh, director of social media, Jackson Family Wines

When Murphy-Goode Winery suffered from low brand awareness and sluggish distribution, it reached out to the burgeoning millennial generation — wine consumers between ages 21 and 31. The “Really Goode Job” campaign was initiated, inviting the public to apply online for a job as a highly paid winery expert, charged with reporting on “the wine country lifestyle” via social media. Gain an inside look at the makings of this unprecedented brand-awareness campaign.

Using Social Media for New Business: How One Agency Increases Revenues and Profits, Despite a Down Economy

Location: Monroe

Indra Gardiner, chief operations officer, Bailey Gardiner

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How do you get consistent referrals and an active new business pipeline, even in a down economy? Hear how one agency treated itself like a client with aggressive branding, community outreach, public relations and a social media program. View examples of how to layer online and offline efforts for maximum exposure. Walk away with actionable programs and recommendations to increase visibility, grow a new business program and use social media for new business development.

The New Global Order: Gain Insight Into Key Drivers on the Global Business Front

Location: Lincoln East

Paul Taaffe, chairman and chief executive officer, Hill & Knowlton

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The rise of Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRICs) and sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) has implications for brands, community brands and country-of-origin brands. Explore changes the global business landscape has undergone in the past several years. Learn about the rising influence of the Eastern and Southern regions of the world, and connect the changes to the world of communications. You will outline the top five 2011 predictions for this new global order and gain insight into key drivers on the global business front that can be applied to clients or companies.

The New Rules of Media Relations: Pitch Overworked Journalists and PR-Averse Bloggers, and Come Out Unscathed

Location: Georgetown East

Michael Smart, national news director, Brigham Young University

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As bloggers are developing a reputation for impatience, with an aversion to public relations pitches, how do you earn credibility-boosting coverage in key outlets? Come ready to work and learn techniques that build relationships with journalists, rather than annoy them. Receive four specific templates for e-mail subject lines that work, and learn the correct way to pitch by phone. Uncover six ways to frame your otherwise routine information into newsworthy stories, as well as the key differences between pitching traditional journalists and bloggers. Also, explore new ways to measure pitching success.

The Word-of-Mouth Confessional: Lessons Learned in Creating Brand Movements

Location: Jefferson East

Geno Church, word-of-mouth inspiration officer, Brains on Fire

“Generate buzz.” “Go viral.” “Tweets and fans.” While these phrases are commonplace within the marketing stratosphere, many organizations still struggle with how to incorporate these tactics into a results-driven strategy that truly connects a community of brand ambassadors. Get a revealing look at results and methodology behind case studies from successful word-of-mouth movements, including the new Best Buy Musical Instruments (MI), the Colonial Williamsburg programs and the award-winning Fiskars Brands “Fiskateers.” Learn how to identify your own brand story and connect with a community of true brand ambassadors. Discover the difference between passion conversations and product conversations.

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