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Public Relations

During the Fall of 2012, Andrew and I decided to pursue our Accreditation in Public Relations (“APR”). The APR has stood as a signature accreditation within the public relations industry since 1964. More importantly, it requires rigorous testing and continuing education requirements which keep those who carry the letters up-to-date on all the most important trends in communications, media relations, social media, government affairs, crisis management, etc. The APR also stands for ethics. Every individual who applies for the APR must abide by PRSA’s Code of Ethics which includes Honesty, Independence, Loyalty, and Fairness, among others.

The architecture, engineering, and construction sectors are increasingly competitive in markets at every level. Relationships are certainly helpful for business development efforts, but having the experience to show you can handle a new project is crucial to securing work. Firms that can successfully differentiate themselves are far more likely to be on the winning side. But, how exactly does an A/E/C firm stand out from others? One proven technique is weaving together a strong narrative that showcases previous work and positions you as a leader in the field. Identifying those successful project is a great step, although it’s just the beginning of a longer process.

Earlier this month, we joined more than 500 attendees at the annual Local Forecast Seminar in Richmond. The event, hosted by the Home Building Association of Richmond, takes a look at what lies ahead for the new home industry in Central Virginia. Always full of fascinating insights, this year’s event provided an overview of the economic conditions for home building, top design trends, and advice for home builders in the digital marketing space. Good news is that the economy’s fundamentals are strong and experts anticipate that the Richmond region should see about a three percent sales growth for new homes in 2018. That’s a solid prediction, albeit not as high as some had hoped. 

The communications industry is evolving rapidly here in the United States and across the globe. As the ways that we interact with one another change, communications professionals must adapt to reach audiences. The pace at which these shifts are occurring has picked up speed in the past decade as well. Recognizing the need to identify these challenges and the top trends, Cision and PR Week released their 2017 Global Communications Report. The study highlights a few obstacles for communicators and shows that certain communications channels, notably social media, continue to become more entrenched. Here’s our take on four of the top issues addressed in the report:

A couple weeks ago, I attended an informative PRSA Richmond workshop at VCU about how to capture a reporter’s attention and how thinking outside-of-the-box can be beneficial for securing media interest. With tips provided by Mary Ann Owens and Jeff South, two professors at VCU, this session covered new ways that PR pros are reaching out to reporters and how pitches have changed. The workshop offered a number of great insights to share. Check out some of the key takeaways: 

Investing in professional development and continuing education is critical for professionals who want to enhance their skills. It’s also a necessity for better client service. This belief reminds me of a favorite and well-known quotation from poet William Butler Yeats: “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” To me, this quotation captures that education isn’t static. It’s not something that stops when school ends. Education is a life-long effort and one that requires ongoing work. As professionals, we have a variety of professional development and educational opportunities available to us, especially in the form of professional certifications. Whether working at an agency and serving clients externally or in-house and collaborating with internal stakeholders, professional certifications showcase your commitment to your profession and demonstrate that you continue to hone and refine your craft, which in turn benefits internal and external clients.

Interview opportunities can come in varying forms and subject matter experts, especially those at professional service firms, should be familiar with the most common types of media interviews. As with any situation, how you communicate with someone may change depending on the channel that you’re using (i.e., email versus phone or in-person versus a letter). The same is true for interviews. The tips covered in last month’s blog post provide a solid foundation to prepare for a media interview, but in this post we’ll take a deeper dive and review the two most common interview scenarios: phone interview and on-camera interview.