Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Loyalist PR to host networking breakfast

On Wednesday, March 19, 2008, the Post-Graduate Public Relations students of Loyalist College in Belleville, Ontario will host a networking breakfast for professional communicators at the Bay of Quinte Country Club from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

The Marketwire Morning Mingle will be the first networking breakfast of its kind for the Belleville-Kingston region, and will offer marketing and public relations specialists from both the business and non-profit sectors a chance to interact with each other and with graduating Loyalist College public relations students.

The keynote speaker for the morning event will be Mark Hunter LaVigne, President of Hunter LaVigne Communications Inc. in Aurora, Ontario. Mr. LaVigne is an accredited member and past president of CPRS Toronto (Canadian Public Relations Society). In 2007 he was named the CPRS Toronto Mentor of the Year. His latest book, Making Ink and Airtime, was published in the fall of 2007.

“The Marketwire Morning Mingle is a great opportunity for professional communicators to get to know one another and our graduating class of future PR professionals,” says Professor Kerry Ramsay, Co-ordinator of the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College. “We’re looking forward to having this breakfast become an annual event.”

Marketwire is the official sponsor of the Marketwire Morning Mingle. Mentorship sponsors for the event include: News Canada, Thornley Fallis, Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada, PR Communications Inc., Royal Roads University and Dr. Geoff Cudmore of Loyalist College. Friend sponsors include Quadra Research.

The Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College is a one-year program based in Belleville, Ontario. All students of the program are members of both the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) and the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).

To RSVP for the event, or for more information please contact:
Professor Kerry Ramsay, Co-ordinator
Post-Graduate Public Relations Program
Loyalist College
Phone: (613) 969-1913, ext. 2127
E-mail: kramsay@loyalistc.on.ca

Friday, January 25, 2008

Measuring PR success

How do you measure PR success? On Thursday afternoon, Alan Chumley, Director of Measurement for Hill & Knowlton in Toronto shared his insights and experiences on the issue with Loyalist PR students.

While everyone wants to know what their PR spend is buying them, there are dozens of different measuring tools available to do the job, says Alan.

“Eighty-nine per cent of practitioners are measuring volume,” he points out. “Only 32% are measuring behaviour.”

Alan’s five main pillars for understanding PR measurement include:

1. Measurement is research, research is measurement.

2. The industry must link communications and business objectives.

3. The industry must move beyond measuring simple outputs.

4. There is no singular industry standard.

5. Approaches to measurement must be evolutionary.

“We aren’t in the business of securing media coverage,” says Alan. “We’re in the business of projecting and protecting the reputations of organizations.”

For this reason, it’s important for PR practitioners to evaluate the success of their efforts based on more than media monitoring alone.

From web metrics and focus groups to reputation quotients, Alan shared some of the current techniques being used by his own company, one of the biggest PR firms in the business.

Thanks for beaming down to our classroom for the afternoon, Alan. We look forward to hearing more updates from the field as new developments take place in the area of PR measurement.

To learn more about PR measurement from Alan Chumley, visit his blog at http://alanchumley.wordpress.com/

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Focusing on focus groups

Loyalist PR students had the chance to sit in on an interactive presentation this morning by Ellen Cooper of Belleville-based Quadra Research to learn more about focus group research.

With more than 25 years of marketing experience, Ellen is a Certified Advertising Agency Practitioner (CAPP), a Certified Marketing Research Professional (CMRP) and a professionally trained focus group moderator.

For the past 19 years, she has focused on consumer research. Her experience includes dealing with financial products and services, beverages, real estate, nutrition education and packaged goods.

Today’s class provided Loyalist PR students with essential tips and tools for holding effective focus groups, screening participants and forming meaningful research and focus group questions.

Ellen’s visit provided a great springboard for the students’ own upcoming focus group assignments.

Thanks for stopping by, Ellen!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The dialogue continues on PR metrics

Loyalist PR students enjoyed a visit today from Laura Auquilla Pesantez of News Canada who made a presentation on Media Relations Ratings Points (MRPs).

Discussions on reporting methods, circulation vs. reach and a live demonstration of the system provided students with an opportunity to experience the new PR metrics “software solution” for themselves.

Created by Canadian PR professionals to introduce a standard of PR evaluation and reporting for editorial media coverage, MRP is endorsed by the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS), the International Association of Business Communicators of Canada (IABC), the Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms and News Canada.

Thanks for an informative and enthusiastic visit, Laura!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Loyalist PR helps reach United Way goal

Loyalist College has surpassed its goal of $11,000 for this year's campus United Way campaign -- thanks in part to Loyalist PR students.

"It's amazing -- we are so proud to have reached our goal," says Ashley MacCormack, the Loyalist PR student who helped organize the campus campaign this year.

Ashley says the experience of working alongside United Way officials throughout the year has left a significant impression on her.

"It's amazing to be able to use everything I've learned in my class in a real world environment," she comments.

In the fall of 2007, Loyalist PR students also worked together to raise more than $1,000 with their one-day class project, "Way or No Way."

For more information on the United Way of Quinte, visit them at http://www.belleville.unitedway.ca/

-- Credit for above photo: Jeremy Ashley, The Intelligencer

Monday, January 21, 2008

Kiss paper-based monitoring good-bye...

Special thanks to Lora Turner of Canada News Wire (CNW) who visited Loyalist PR students today to demonstrate the company’s online media monitoring product known as Mediavantage.

Launched on April 1, 2005, Mediavantage offers online broadcast, print and Internet monitoring capabilities that are accessible from any desktop anywhere in the world.

The service is the first of its kind in Canada.

To date, Lora says the product’s top users have included health care organizations, PR firms, municipalities and governments.

Besides recognizing the many impressive features of the online media monitoring service, Loyalist PR students noted that podcasts might also be included in the product’s monitoring net. Lora says podcasts will soon be added to the Mediavantage service.

"Ultimately, we are looking to move people from a paper-based environment to an online environment,” Lora explains.

And not a moment too soon, so say we all.

Can you hear us now?

The Post-Grad Public Relations students at Loyalist College are pleased to announce their 2008 Loyalist Community Media Workshop Series to be held this March.

If your non-profit agency is in need of a communications boost, we invite you to join us for one or more of our free, hour-long community workshops the week of March 10-13th.

The workshop schedule is as follows:

Monday, March 10th at 10 a.m. - “Mission: Possible” Review (or create) your organization’s mission statement to ensure it communicates the core purpose of your brand. Room 2L11, Kente Building

Monday, March 10th at 11 a.m. - “What’s Your Position?” Explore your organization’s positioning statement and/or create a targeted tagline that sets your agency apart. Room 2L11, Kente Building

Tuesday, March 11th at 10 a.m. - “Inside the PR Tool Kit” Take stock of the free publicity tools available to your non-profit organization and get tips on using them. Room 2L11, Kente Building

Tuesday, March 11th at 11 a.m. – “Blogging Basics” Create a free web log (blog) to enhance the web presence of your non-profit organization. Room 2H11, Kente Building

Wednesday, March 12th at 1 p.m. – “Podcasting 101” Discover how podcasting can enhance your existing non-profit communications program. Room 2L11, Kente Building

Thursday, March 13th at 10 a.m. - “Speaking Out” Gather essential media interview tips for your organization’s key spokespeople. Room 2L11, Kente Building

Thursday, March 13th at 11 a.m. - “Building Donor Relations” Engage your donors with simple yet sincere relationship-building communication tools. Room 2L11, Kente Building

Thursday, March 13th at noon - “Volunteers for Life” Gain valuable tips for recruiting new volunteers and inspiring loyalty among the ones you already have. Room 2L11, Kente Building

To RSVP please call (613) 969-1913, ext. 2127 or e-mail kramsay@loyalistc.on.ca.

Space is limited, so reserve your spot today!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Loyalist PR: learning without borders

The following article appeared in today’s Intelligencer newspaper. The subject of the article is Loyalist PR grad (2006/07) and international student Sundeep Shahani.

"I met Sundeep Shahani about a year and a half ago, when he and his uncle knocked softly on my office door, asking if I could direct them to an off-campus housing address.

I was about to leave for the day, so I told them they could follow me, and I would lead them there.

Sundeep was enrolled in the one-year, Post-Graduate Public Relations (PR) program at Loyalist College.

During that year, I would see him from time to time, and he always had a ready smile and friendly greeting.

He graduated from the PR program in June 2007.

This December, I emerged from my car in downtown Belleville only to be greeted by that same warm smile and a hand extended in greeting.

It was wonderful to hear what he has been doing and to see how much he is enjoying his career.

Sundeep’s story is not quite as simple as you may think. He came to Loyalist as an international student from India, where he describes his home province of Rajasthan as the land of desert, gorgeous palaces and yes, even snake charmers.

Sundeep embraced Belleville and Canada – determined to learn about, and enjoy, every aspect of Canadian culture.

Following graduation, Sundeep moved to Ottawa where he worked as a pride and recognition coordinator with Service Canada.

Through this experience, he was offered a position with Agriculture and AgriFood Canada, Western Hemisphere Trade Policy Division, as a trade advocacy officer. In this role, he produces advocacy material to promote agri-based bilateral trade between Canada and the United States.

Sundeep came to Canada with a diverse academic background. He has his BA in commerce, his MA in English literature and a certificate in Spanish language.

He described how PR enhances these skills: “I believe it blends with almost everything. My present job requires a lot of math. Therefore, it’s interesting to incorporate PR with my degree in commerce to present numbers to our target audience in order to gain a meaningful outcome in favour of Canada’s agri-based trade with the United States.”

“The Canadian accent and culture were my greatest challenges when I arrived,” he added.

“The different services offered through the college’s International Student Centre were of utmost assistance, and helped me to become immersed in the local community. Through them, I was introduced to the local chapter of the UN in Belleville, with whom I maintain a good relationship even today. I have been treated so well here. I hope to return this favour to the Canadian people in the best way that I possibly can.”

This year, there are 25 international students studying at Loyalist College from the countries of Japan, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea, the United States, India, Cayman Islands, Barbados, Tanzania, Nigeria, South Africa and Afghanistan.
" – Written by Marilyn Warren

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

High Road wins recognition as great employer

Congratulations to leading edge public relations firm High Road Communications on being named one of Canada’s “25 Best Small Companies to Work For” in today’s Globe and Mail.

High Road
is just one of many PR firms in Toronto (and elsewhere) that have laid out the red carpet for our Loyalist PR students – a clear indication they are after the best minds in the business.

In some circles, students (even at the post-grad level) are considered a nuisance. Companies balk at the idea at taking on interns, fearful of the time and energy they’ll need to invest. As for helping out a student with a PR-related project, some organizations fail to see what’s in it for them.

What most don’t realize is that the recruiting process takes place with the first point of contact a student ever has with an agency or organization. Turning down students’ requests for assistance with case study work or informational interviews, for instance, doesn’t send a reinforcing message that this is the kind of place that treats people well.

On the other hand, there are hundreds of examples of non-profit and for-profit organizations that embrace mentorship, and we have seen it first-hand here at Loyalist PR over the years.

To all of you who have taken the time to extend professional courtesies to PR students right across the country, we thank you.

As for High Road – our hats are off to you all! You’ve proven what we’ve known all along. That small really is beautiful.

Monday, January 14, 2008

UK scouts earning badges in public relations

Check this out: it seems that scouts in the UK are now able to earn badges for… public relations.

Yes, that’s right. The organization that brought us campfires and knot-tying tricks is branching out.

The “PR badge” is one of 40 new badges introduced recently by Britain’s Scout Association.

A spokesperson for The Scout Association notes that young people need to hone their communication skills, and that encouraging them to deal with the media helps them achieve this goal.

"It's a hugely media-driven world these days, whether it be through TV or radio or the Internet,'' says Andrew Thorp. "We're offering [young people] skills to talk about what they enjoy."

In order to earn their new PR badge, scouts must contact a media outlet and pitch a positive news story about scouting or write a paper on PR and get it published.

“We're still teaching communication -- it's just in a modern and relevant way,'' says Thorp.

As one of my Loyalist PR students pointed out to me, it will be interesting to see whether this move has any kind of impact on the gender demographics of the field.

For those of us who have worked in the industry for years, it’s somewhat refreshing to see such a positive project spotlighting an often-misunderstood industry. In my humble opinion, I believe the new PR scout badge is a great way to educate young people about what it really means to work in the field of public relations.

P.S. Kudos to the PR team at The Scout Association… this whole badge thing is racking them up some pretty major global media coverage (this blog included!). Well done!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Loyalist PR student receives athletics award

Congratulations to Loyalist PR student Chris Douma who was recognized this week with an athletic scholarship for his achievements on the Loyalist men’s basketball team.

“Your commitment, leadership and school spirit have a positive effect on the entire college,” noted Jim Buck, Assistant Director of Athletics as he addressed award recipients at this week’s athletics luncheon.

“When you’re told you have to work harder, you do. When your coaches call extra practices, you come. You juggle classes, work placements, practices, games, part-time jobs and family responsibilities. These athletic scholarships are our way of recognizing your accomplishments athletically and academically. Your hard work is noticed and appreciated. Congratulations.”

We’re proud of you, Chris -- go, Lancers!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

PR a "hot career" say job industry experts

A recent online article published on Yahoo! identifies public relations as one of five “promising careers” that don’t require an MBA.

Along with event planning, web design, search engine optimization and advertising, public relations is identified as one of the hottest careers in today’s global marketplace.

The article echoes the findings of a 2005 Fortune magazine article written by Anne Fisher (March 21, 2005). In her list of “Hot Careers for the Next 10 Years”, Fisher considered 20 jobs that are likely to see an increased demand of better than 20% over the next 10 years.

In fact, PR specialists were ranked higher on the list than medical scientists, computer specialists or even pharmacists.

If you’re considering a new career path, perhaps public relations is the right fit for you.

As the demand continues to rise for skilled PR practitioners, the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College in Belleville, Ontario continues to adapt to new trends and technologies to provide its graduates with the highest level of post-secondary training.

To learn more about what the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College has to offer, contact Kerry Ramsay at kramsay@loyalistc.on.ca or call 1-888-LOYALIST, ext. 2127 (drop the “T” if calling by cell phone).

Monday, January 07, 2008

"Definitely the right choice for me..."

The following article recently appeared in Loyalist College’s One Year Later publication, which offers a glimpse of where our 2006 grads now find themselves applying their skills and training.

The article is written by Catherine Holt (Loyalist PR 06/07, see photo above) who is now employed as a Fundraising Assistant with the Campbellford Memorial Hospital Foundation in Campbellford, Ontario.

“The Post-Graduate Public Relations program was definitely the right choice for me. The training in media relations, key messaging, fundraising (i.e. donor relations) and event management has all been very valuable in my job with a hospital foundation.

As a fundraiser, donor relations are a core responsibility and one of the best parts of my job. The instruction in this area, along with the advice we received from career professionals, really helped me to decide what field of work I wanted to pursue. Much of the program is focused on relationship building which has a huge impact on any career in public relations.

I loved Loyalist because its size really promoted a feeling of belonging. The professors are highly educated and experienced in their fields of expertise, and this translates down to the students. Loyalist has a great atmosphere and the PR program is fun from start to finish. This really encourages the learning process.

My advice to anyone considering the PR program is GO FOR IT! If you love people, want to have fun in your job, are looking for more than one avenue of employment and are brave enough to put yourself out there, then the Public Relations program is for you. It opened up a new world for me and my fellow graduates. It will for you too.”