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An Imaginative, Creative and Inspiring 2011 PRSA International Conference

October 19, 2011

Having just returned from the PRSA International Conference (thanks for the scholarship, PRSA Tampa Bay!), I’m energized, inspired and ready to go – to take all the wisdom and you-can’t-miss-with-this tips and apply them to my job, to make me the best PR practitioner I can be.

And then office life hits me. But that won’t derail me! I’m going to muddle through catching up on email after email (how does that happen, even when checking in throughout the conference?!) and really put my newfound wisdom to work for me and my organization!

luggage lined the hotel lobby

PS – I thought this was a pretty cool visualization at the end of the conference: homeward bound!

Just what did I learn?

  • Soledad O’Brien dropped out of pre-med at Harvard to interning for free in Boston, and look where her career has taken her! If that’s not inspiring, I don’t know what is! She’s certainly living her dream, and inspired the crowd of 3,000 to do the same!
  • As much as we tend to think that we influence the audiences we’re targeting, consumers are the true influencers. And a large number of those influencers are bloggers – I realized that I need to reach out to them a lot more!
  •  I’m not very well-versed in infographics, but I soon will be! In developing infographics, which people love, we need to be sure that the information we’re conveying is true – oftentimes the numbers are off.
  • Chris Brogan, the rock star of the conference Monday morning, says that everyone within an organization should be media trained. I couldn’t agree more! He encouraged the crowd to bring people into the spotlight with them, and to tell passionate, relationship-minded stories. Turn stats into stories.
  • When 3,000 PR professionals come together, good things happen – ideas are exchanged, networks are expanded and real senses of camaraderie are forged.
  •  Latinos are the fastest growing group online – more than 31 million, in fact. 51% of those are English speaking, 49% are bilingual or Spanish only. Something to consider when translating websites into Spanish.
  • An ambassador program can reach far and wide, and be more effective than a talking head. Using real people passionate about a product, cause or idea to tell your story results in amazing story telling.
  • Branding yourself is as important as your product or organization. Setting goals for yourself – personal and professional – is just as important as setting goals and objectives for the project you’re working on. I found my [you]topia – what’s yours?
  • Reaching out to potential partners and solidifying partnerships should be a two-way street; non-profits shouldn’t be shy in stating what they’re expecting from partnerships. Oh, and being a tree hugger is cool! (Thanks, Woodrow Nelson from !)
  • As PR professionals, we know that reporters are overworked, covering various beats and receiving 300+ PR pitches a day. Michael Smart had fun and proven tips on how to cut through the clutter and get yourself heard. I’m looking forward to acting on these tips and reporting back my first success!
  • PRSA Tampa Bay had a strong showing at the conference, and that’s something to be proud of. I have to say, too, that our chapter is very cool and lots of fun to be around – #twinning, anyone?

Alas, I didn’t win an iPad, a Kindle, a gift certificate to Neiman Marcus (or was it Nordstrom’s), a trip to San Francisco for next year’s conference, or any of the other giveaways the exhibitors were giving away. What I did win, however, was a newfound appreciation for how hard all of us in the PR field work, and a revitalization of my own passion to be the best PR practitioner I can be!

Contributed by Susan B. Barnes, APR, director of communications for Girl Scouts of West Central Florida

One Comment leave one →
  1. jennmedeiros permalink*
    November 13, 2011 9:38 pm

    Great takeaways from the conference. Thanks for sharing!

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