I joined PRSA Georgia late last year after I graduated from KSU and love browsing their site for some great tips and tricks. But it was in late April 2016, that I had the wonderful opportunity of attending the annual conference of PRSA Georgia and it was a wonderful experience!
I’d love to share some of my key takeaways with you, maybe it’ll encourage you to attend next year 🙂
The conference was held at a hotel in the Perimeter area right outside of Atlanta, GA, which made it very convenient. Guests were asked to arrive for check-in between 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. The check-in process was quick and easy! Guests were then invited to a great selection of breakfast options before taking their seats in the main ballroom.
I loved that the conference adhered well to their set schedule and started promptly at 8:00 a.m., with the first speaker being Bob Pearson. Guests were highly encouraged to use the PRSA hashtag #PRSAGAC16, which made it SO much fun! Bob was a fantastic speaker and the crowd really loved him. I especially loved how he stressed the importance of social media and influencers, who he considers a mini media outlets. He also shared how “what your mom told you about the company you keep is relevant to social–who you follow matters. Quality matters”. He also stressed the importance of organizing photos and making sure that you pick the right image to match your content and your audience, which I couldn’t agree more with! “Marketers scare away customers ever day when they choose the wrong photos”. Bob also stated that “content planning will become as important as media planning”. Bob really spoke to me because I LOVE social media and I believe that it is so important. Hearing Bobs keynote was very refreshing and informative 🙂
Next up I was able to hear Mike Wien speak, who is the author of The Specific Edge and has also participated in the Ironman World Championship. Mike was an amazing speaker because he wasn’t afraid of talking about his failures! Mike said something that has really stuck with me ever since, “change your words, change your world”, and that “it’s not how great you are, it’s how great you want to be”. Mike’s keynote was SO motivational and inspiring and he tied it all back to PR! Mike also said that companies or individuals should anticipate its customers’ needs. “They don’t know what they don’t know”! And he’s right about that! Mike used Steve Jobs as an example, Jobs created the iPod and iPhone when no one thought they needed it, nor did they think there was a market for it…and now look at the remarkable success of Apple.
After Mikes keynote, guests had the option of several different speakers and split up into smaller rooms for the keynote they selected. I selected to attend Stacey Tanks keynote, and I’m SO glad I did :-)! Stacey is the VP of corporate communications and external affairs for The Home Depot. Stacey shared her story and how she at times didn’t know what exactly she wanted to do with her professional life–which was very refreshing to know that others struggle with that as well! Stacey stressed the importance of making personal development a priority, which I absolutely agree with. By investing in yourself and furthering your skills, you are indirectly also investing of improving your job performance and employees tend to be happier when an employer invents in their development. Stacey said something that I absolutely loved, she encouraged everyone to be a life learner!
I also had the opportunity to listen to Betsy Reid and Sara Dever , who talked about campaigning for the greater good and how a nonprofit and agency communications partnerships built a giving movement for our state. It was inspiring to hear how much their partnership helped grew the Georgia Gives Day and how much money they helped to raise due to it! After Betsy’s and Sara’s keynote, we took a small break to have lunch, during which Coke handed out the cutest bottles–I thought this was such a fantastic idea! We also had the wonderful chance of listening to Bruce Schroder, president of Moe’s Southwest Grill! Bruce was very entertaining and really made his keynote a lot of fun and shared great tips and tricks. He shared how Moe’s took advantage when a competitor of theirs had to close for a day and how they advertised that on social media. I also finally learned what Moe’s actually stood for, Musicians ,Outlaws and Entertainers–I can honestly say that I did not know this!
There were 2 more keynotes following lunch. I chose to attend Todd Smith’s keynote. Todd is the executive director of media relations at Cox Communications. I truly enjoyed Todd’s keynote because he stressed on the importance of using influencers and doing so in the right way. I have always been fascinated with the influencer phenomena and loved hearing his input on the subject. It was also great to hear how successful his team has been by using influencers and how they went about making it happen!
Last, but certainly not least, I was able to listen to Mike Neumeier, Julie Bryan Fisher, Tim Henschel and Jason Maderer. Their keynote was all about Pitch Perfect: How to take an idea to coverage. I have never had to pitch something to the media, which is why I chose this keynote so I could learn from the experts. And I am so glad I went to this particular keynote. Each speaker shared wonderful pitches that they have used themselves in the past and made me feel more comfortable about being able to do this myself :-). They ended their keynote with a great role play with a few members of the audience, which I loved and they also had a great handout for each guest to take home!
All in all, I am SO glad I was able to attend the PRSA Georgia annual conference, I met so many interesting people and was able to really network. On top of that, I learned a ton of wonderful information, which I will be able to take advantage of in my professional life.
I’d love to know, have you ever been to one of PRSA conferences? If so, what were some of your key takeaways? I’d love to know 🙂