Tag Archives: planning

PR & the Weather: When Mother Nature Throws A Snowball

image-84

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.
 Anthony J. D’Angelo

Admit it. The winter weather has power, and a lot of it. After just being hit with winter storm Maximus, the city is being slammed with more flakes and freezing rain. So what impact does the adverse weather conditions have on business? More specifically, how does the weather impact public relations?

For starters, businesses function and depend on transportation. Whether it’s commuting in to work, or making deliveries for clients, there is an undeniable reliance upon the world of planes, trains, and automobiles. It all goes back to the old adage “if you bought it, a truck brought it.” The interesting thing about this topic is the wide range of industries impacted by transportation. It doesn’t matter if you work for a tech company, a restaurant, or a luxury fashion label – in some way or another your industry relies on some form of transportation.

When the colder weather arrives, it is important to consider ways in which your client’s business or industry will be impacted by delays or cancellations. This includes understanding how
transportation (or the lack thereof) may cause some public relations issues, or a crisis situation. Below I’ve compiled a list of impacts that you may face with your client, or your client’s business. As well, I’ve included potential ways to alleviate the issue, and prepare for a scenario before it takes place.

  • Internal Relations – When the weather gets bad, you need to consider the safety of all your employees. While you have a duty to your clients to be punctual for meetings,
    or conference calls, one thing you can’t control is the weather. The last thing you want to do is jeopardize people’s safety. In this situation, being prepared is key.
    If you are aware of potential weather conditions, have communication material ready to be distributed to your employees. This should include what will take place if it is unsafe to travel to work. If there are scheduled meetings to take place that day, be sure to have a strategy in place to reschedule or make the meeting virtual.
  • The Client – If you own your own firm, or work for an agency, you need to be prepared to communicate to your client about the inclement weather. Make sure you bring home client numbers and contact information if you are not able to travel to the office. Keep in mind that not all clients will be located in your city. Business is as usual on their end.
  • The Audience – If you manage in-house communications, have proper material in place for letting your audience know the effects of the weather on your business schedule.
    This includes operating hours or intended early closures. The best way to alleviate
    frustration due to a surprised closure is to inform the public as soon as possible
    about any changes.
  • Understand the Industry – As I mentioned above, each industry of public relations will be impacted by weather conditions differently. Road closures can impact the delivery of
    sample garments required for a magazine shoot happening downtown. On the other hand, scheduled flights for a celebrity’s interview with press might be canceled.

Make sure you’ve considered these scenarios and potential solutions, especially ones that
impact your industry directly. It all comes down to being prepared for these situations before they occur.

What other ways does the weather impact public relations? Tweet me @Sam__Dickson

Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 8.48.27 PM

Think Before You Schedule: when tweeting ahead sets you behind.

image-49

   “Twitter is not a technology. It’s a conversation. And it’s
happening with or without you.” – @charleneli Co-author, Groundswell

Remember in school when all your teachers use to say, “Always make sure you plan ahead!” or my personal favorite, “Don’t forget to write this in your agenda!” Well, I want you take that advice and put it on the shelf for a second. Forget all the times when you were told that scheduling or planning things in advance is always a good idea.

Enter the scheduled tweet. There are numerous debates surrounding the issue of scheduled tweets. For anyone who isn’t familiar with the Twitter world, corporations, bloggers, and other social media addicts have the ability to use a third-party platform to schedule specific times for releasing a tweet. Why would they, you ask? Excellent question.

For the communications person on the other end of that twitter page, daily life in the office might be a bit chaotic. When it comes time for releasing a blog post, or sending out a reminder regarding the launch of a new product, sometimes a company will try to save time by scheduling a tweet. Supporters of the scheduled tweet believe that it’s time effective, and they can hit peak hours to drive traffic to their website.

Of course, this is quite a debated topic. In an effort to not remain on the fence for this issue, here is why I think scheduling tweets is never a good idea:

  • You lose personal contact. Twitter was created as a method for communicating in real-time. The inherent structure of the platform is set up as a “live-feed” through which individuals can interact with other users. Scheduling tweets removes the personal from the platform.
  • It’s not a secret, and you will be caught. More often than not, an avid twitter user can spot a scheduled tweet in an instant. If you’re looking to drive conversation between your target audience and your products/services, scheduling tweets will only make your company seem robotic.
  • The awkwardly placed tweet amidst a crisis. On multiple occasions, corporations have been caught in the middle of a crisis with an oddly placed tweet. Note: if you’ve schedule tweets, be aware of what’s going on in the news and remember when you have a tweet set for release.
  • It can, and will tarnish your reputation. Many companies have been caught amidst a crisis with poor timing and language. The insensitivity towards current events due to a scheduled tweet will not be a legitimate excuse for your public audience.

I decided to cover this topic mainly because it was prevalent in the news this past week. Also, it will remain a hotly debated topic for as long as Twitter exists. In order to avoid insensitive remarks due to untimely tweets, I urge you to use Twitter like an ongoing conversation.

What are your thoughts on scheduling tweets? Join in on the debate by sounding off below, or join in on the conversation via Twitter @Sam__Dickson

- S.

Cutting the Clutter: 8 ways to stay organized

image-36

“It’s all about finding the calm in the chaos.” ― Donna Karan

Do you ever look at your desk sometimes and think: “How did all of this get here?” Confession: I know I do! I love to stay organized, but sometimes you can’t help a bit of a pile up. Whether it is schoolwork, or job-related work, we can all admit that sometimes a busy month means a busier desk. Besides the obvious desk overload, you might also have a head full of checklists. So, how do we stay organized? Here are a few tips and tricks to clean up your workspace:

  • From brain to paper – organize your mental notes by writing them down on paper. The last thing you want to do is forget something because you forgot to make a note of it.
  • Keep a planner – make sure you have your dates organized and visible. I love monthly calendars for this reason; it’s a great way to have the whole month visible so you can plan ahead.
  • Use a File Cabinet – organize your loose sheets by clients, months, or other miscellaneous categories to keep things together.
  • Separate Work/School/Play – this may sound a bit too much, but it always helps to keep things categorized by importance. A weekend trip with the girls when you have a presentation on Monday might not be fitting. Try to figure out what takes precedence. In the end, this will make it easier to plan your social life.
  • Avoid Clutter – I use to be a self-proclaimed pack rat. I had the unfortunate habit of wanting to keep everything. I recall my justification being, “Well, what if I need it one day?” Not an excuse. Keep the must-haves, and anything else that you are unsure about put in a pending box. After one month, if you have not touched any item in the pending box, get rid of it. The less clutter, the more organized you will be.
  • Color Code – If you find that you struggle at keeping things in order, be that girl! Different strategies work for different people. If color-coding helps you differentiate things, use it to your advantage.
  • Keep a notebook – Always have a pen and paper handy. Yes, your smartphone can be a supplementary tool for the notebook. However, keep in mind that technology can fail. It’s always important to have a backup of your calendar, contacts and ideas. (Hint: If you are pro-tech 24/7, email yourself a copy!)
  • Pinboard – I love using a corkboard above my workspace. I find that I am a visual learner, and I like to see things in front of me. If you find you are forgetting important reminders, keep these front and center on your pinboard.

How do you stay organized? Tweet me @Sam__Dickson or sound off below!

- S.