PR Case Study – moving towards better health

For those out there who think public relations professionals only spin the “real” news, or think that all are a bunch of flacks, I wish they could have attended yesterday’s SC PRSA meeting.

The luncheon focused on how a healthcare public relations campaign is invaluable when communicating to appropriate audiences upcoming changes in the hospital that directly affects them.

A panel of four healthcare communications professionals from Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center, discussed GHS’s use of integrated marketing communications for its Greer Memorial Hospital grand opening in August.

From existing hospital employees to the Greer community and from physicians to community leaders, there were a lot of key audiences to address. While each needed to receive a different message, the overlying factor – whether you are a patient, a family member visiting a patient, a receptionist or a physician – was that customer service is paramount to Greer Memorial.

GHS really focused on the importance of communicating the fact that the new hospital would be open and available to the public – and ready to be part of the community. This was achieved by advertising, billboards, community events, as well as media relations tactics for both feature stories and relevant health columns.

I was really proud to listen to the painstaking efforts GHS took this past summer when opening Greer Memorial, and I wish these kinds of stories would make headlines in industry publications, rather than focusing on those out there who simply churn out news releases and pitch irrelevant outlets non-newsworthy stories. There really are public relations professionals out there who work hard to implement strategic activities to serve their publics well while meeting the goals of the organizations they represent.

What is your “proud” moment in PR?

A Love Song to Live On – front page news!!

In my 10 years of working in Charlotte as a public relations professional, I have helped clients announce news, events, and relevant happenings between the pages of the Charlotte Observer (when appropriate, of course). But I have never pitched a story to a reporter at the paper, only to see the story land on the front page of the Sunday edition!!

Last week I blogged about Matthew Chase Music and working with Sarah Tallman to help keep her late husband’s music alive. I only can hope that this cover story will assist in some small way and propel Matthew Chase’s music to bigger and better things.

Thanks to Elizabeth Leland at the Charlotte Observer who listened to my pitch on a busy Monday morning in the newsroom and taking the time to tell Sarah’s story in a wonderful way.

Help me keep Matthew Chase’s music alive – link to award-winning song

Hi guys,

I just wanted to tell you about an amazing project I’m working on with Sarah Tallman.

Please check out the multi-media news release which contains a link to Matthew Chase’s award-winning song “Believe.”

Chase wrote this love song last spring for his then bride-to-be, Sarah. In April 2008, just five months after the couple’s Nov. 15, 2007 beachfront wedding, he was killed off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa, when a rogue wave capsized the shark diving vessel he was aboard.

Despite her husband’s death, Tallman continued to support his music, submitting him into the Independent Singer Songwriting Association contest. He posthumously won the Lyric of the Year award .

I met Sarah only last week and we worked quickly to create a PR plan to announce this award in time for their first anniversary on Saturday, Nov. 15. The Charlotte Observer is planning to run a piece on Saturday and we have gotten a lot of other great leads.

Please help me keep his music alive!!

Welcome Baby Carson to the Diva Family!!

I’m so excited to announce that Liza Jones has a new addition to her family tonight.

Baby Carson Stewart Jones was born at 10:15 a.m. and he weighs in at a wonderful 7 pounds, 9 ounces.

I’m going to take a trip to see him tomorrow. What a wonderful way to start the holiday season!! :)

Weigh in on “Do Blogs Matter” survey

If I haven’t mentioned it lately, Clemson University is darn luck to have Dr. Mihaela Vorvoreanu available to teach communications studies classes.  I had the honor of speaking at one of her PRinciples classes last month and she is smart, savvy, funny, personable and more than eager to share her knowledge of social media strategies, online PR tactics and traditional media relations practicies to up-and-coming professionals.

Kudos, Dr. V!!!

Please help her research studies by taking the time to complete this quick survey on “Do Blogs Matter” and have your opinion count.  She’ll share this in presentations, on her blog and in classes.  It took me four minutes.  Thanks in advance!

Seeing through the media bias

I just came from a really great conversation with journalist/friend John Boyanoski, a writer for the Upstate’s Community Journals (covering Greenville, Anderson and Spartanburg, S.C.).  With it being Election Day and all, the conversation took on a political tone.

But what I found so invigorating about my talk with John, was how we were able to talk to each other with respect and tolerance towards each other’s views (something I can’t do even in my own family – it turns into a shouting match every time).  It was so nice to be able to listen to John’s opinions and be able to talk about mine without feeling persecuted or like I was in the wrong for my ideas.

But what really got me thinking was our conversation about the media bias that has (or hasn’t, depending on your opinion) taken place during this presidential election year. I watched a story on Inside Edition last night (I know, not hard core news, but I still enjoy it) about how ‘entertainment news shows’ like The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The View, CBS Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, were all skewed to support Barack Obama versus John McCain.

Inside Edition aired clips of the two Ellen shows where both presidential candidates appeared.  In the Obama episode, he danced and was able to show his more personal side.  When McCain appeared, Ellen grilled him about his opposing views on gay marriage (even though both candidates have openly opposed the idea). 

Likewise on The View, Barbara Walters openly flirted with Obama asking if she could call him, “sexy,” while McCain’s appearance turned into a full-on grill-fest from Whoopie Goldberg.  And statistics show the late night entertainment shows zinged McCain and party 475 times this year, while Obama only received 69 negative jokes. 

Obviously there’s a very real bias there.  But since those shows don’t claim to be, and have never been, hard news programs, are they held accountable to the same fair and objective coverage of the other news organizations?  Should they be held responsible for using the airtime to subliminally support one presidential candidate over another, knowing the weight it might hold with the viewer?

I’ll admit when I’m watching Ellen, I’m not really watching it to catch up on my news.  I watch it for the entertainment value.  Are we, as the general U.S. voting population, astute enough to see through the subliminal messages and still make an educated vote based on our own moral convictions? It’s easy to go along with people like Ellen because you feel like you know them.

Regardless of who you voted for today (and you DID vote, didn’t you?  Hey, I’m nine months pregnant and stood in line for two hours to do it - so no excuses for you!), it’s important that we, as Americans, take the time to do our homework, research the candidates and make a decision that best fits our lifestyle and opinions. 

But how far should these types of shows be allowed to carry their opinion to the viewing public?  And how can people see through that to make sure they’re making an educated opinion?

I look forward to camping out in my living room tonight watching election returns and enjoying our American democratic process. And don’t forget to vote today!

Palmetto PR Diva Dish – Amy Bomar, president of Bomar Marketing Solutions

After reviewing Amy’s profile, I think there is one general traits professionals in the public relations and marketing industry seem to have in common. And that is the fact that we love to be busy, meet deadlines and have action-packed days. Read on to learn more about Amy Bomar, president of Bomar Marketing Solutions.

Also, we are looking for a few good professionals to profile each Friday for our Palmetto PR Diva Dish section. If you are interested in participating or would like to nominate someone, please let me know!

o Please provide title and a brief description of what you do:

I’m an independent public relations and marketing practitioner located in Greenville, South Carolina. Services include strategic public relations planning, copywriting, media relations, media training, issues management, collateral development and branding.

o How did you become interested in the public relations/advertising industry?

A love of writing first led me to this career. I studied communications and journalism in college. When I entered the business word, I discovered that my communication, writing and strategic skills made public relations a great fit for me.

o What changes have you seen in the industry that is the most interesting to you?

Constant access to new information is so exciting these days. It helps us all become better educated consumers and learners. The Internet is such a great learning tool, I use it constantly for research and professional development purposes. Of course the rapid access to information can also be a challenge if your organization or one of your client’s organizations is portrayed poorly online!

o Are you involved in any professional associations? If so, what are they and what do you learn by being involved?

I’ve been a member of various groups through the years. Currently, I’m a member of the South Carolina Chapter of PRSA (SCPRSA), a member of PRSA’s Independent Practitioner Alliance and I’m planning to join the Carolinas Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing Society (I worked at a healthcare organization for 14 years and have several healthcare clients today). While being a member of a professional association is great, I believe you really get your value out of your membership through involvement – serving on a committee, regularly attending meetings etc. This year, I’m serving as chair of SCPRSA’s Communications Committee, which has given me the opportunity to work and make friends with PR professionals throughout the state.

o What is the one piece of advice you would give students that are interested in pursuing a career in the public relations/investor relations/marketing industry?

Keep reading! In order to be an outstanding advisor to your clients or employer, you need to be knowledgeable about all kinds of topics – from PR to politics to local business news. Read a variety of publications (online or print), blogs, books etc. Learn about the latest trends, interesting facts and keep up with what everyone is talking about. Become a life-long learner!

o What is the best thing about your job?

Okay – this probably says something about my personality, but I love to be busy. In one of my former positions, I loved crazy media days when we had some kind of crisis occurring – the media were camped out, the phones wouldn’t stop ringing, our pagers were going off and we had to be five places at the same time. I love making decisions in times of crisis. I actually enjoy deadlines (crazy, I know). Writing assignments are also one of the favorite parts of my job.

o What is the thing you like least about your job?

Downtime in between projects. Of course that never happens, because there is always something I should or could be doing (or learning)!

o Are there any exciting announcements you’d like to tell us about (either with your company or one of your clients)?

My business is doing very well and I’ve had several new client developments recently.
My family and I moved to Greenville a little more than 1 ½ years ago and I would like to say thank you to everyone who has been so welcoming to me. I’ve made many great friends in the local PR and marketing community. I’m also very grateful to the amazing group of independent public relations practitioners in the Upstate who are so supportive of one another, sharing resources, advice and opinions.

o How do you balance your professional career with your personal life?

I have three school age children, which is one of the reasons I decided to become an independent practitioner when we moved to South Carolina. I love my schedule these days! I get the kids ready for school, put them on the bus at 7:20, exercise, and am ready for my work day! I work a full day but still have the flexibility of being around when the kids are home from school, which is great. I often put in work hours in the evening too.

o Anything else you would like to add?

Kudos to Kim and Liza for this blog, and their efforts in bringing together PR practitioners throughout the state! I especially admire how Liza and Kim are interested in reaching out/mentoring the younger generation of PR professionals in the region. There are a lot of professionals with great experience in this area, so we need to do all we can to share our knowledge with those entering the field!

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