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!!

Shout out to Clemson PRSSA

For some reason, I guess since the VP debate, I’ve been wanting to give “shout out” Sarah-Palin style. So, gosh darnit, I’m going to give a shout out to the Clemson PRSSA students!

This post is LONG overdue, but in September Liza and I not only had the pleasure of participating in a panel discussion at Clemson PRSSA’s FIRST meeting, but we also had the joy of dining with most of the panel beforehand and meeting a lot of great future PR professionals after the panel discussion.

The students arrived on time, were prepared to ask a lot of great questions, were all dressed so professionally and clearly excited to be attending the first of many great professional meetings. Some were even using Twitter to share with others who couldn’t make it what was going on in the classroom (that was a little intimidating!). I couldn’t help but to think back to my college days and hope that I looked that interested and engaged (we can only hope).

I’m actually going to speak at Dr. Mihaela Vorvoreanu’s PR-inciples class this month, alongside John Gouch, Assistant Director of News Services, Office of Public Affairs, Clemson University and am very excited to return.

For all those out there who are lucky to be pursuing their passion in PR, what’s the one piece of advice you would give upcoming students these days? Let us know!

Kim passed her APR!!

She was waiting to receive her official notification from PRSA, but now that she has, I want to be one of the first to tell you that Kim Simko Banks has passed her APR exam!! I know many of you have been following her journey through the APR process on our blog.

She studied really hard for the exam, and all of her hard work paid off. Congratulations, Kim!! I’m so proud of you!!!

I’m sure Kim will post something soon to give more insight about her exam experience, in case others are looking to possibly follow in her lead. Stay tuned for more details!

Palmetto PR Diva Dish – Bianca Crawford, Red Carpet Communications

I really want to first and foremost apologize to Bianca.  She completed the PR Diva questionairre seemingly eons ago and I told her a date that I would post her information and send her a link.  But this was right around when Liza and I went on a blogging vacation and it just got lost in the shuffle.

Liza and I completed a great Greenville media tour (right before she went on bedrest!) and we also spoke on a panel at the first Clemson PRSSA meeting (more to come in the future on that) and there are lots of exciting things going on with us that we would like to share.  Sorry for being absent and we hope we can get on track for the fall (well, me at least, since I’m not on bedrest!).

o        Please provide title and a brief description of what you do: Bianca Crawford, President Red Carpet Communications.  I run a full service Public Relations, Marketing, Event Management and Consulting Company.


o        How did you become interested in the public relations/advertising industry?  I have always loved the public relations industry.  When I was a little girl I wanted to be a publicist, then when I entered USC I was a Broadcasting major until I found out how much money they start out making and quickly changed majors to Public Relations.  I love everything thing from writing press releases, pitching stories to writers, media placement and event planning. 


o        What changes have you seen in the industry that is the most interesting to you? The infusion of integrating marketing into every marketing plan. I remember when most companies had static websites, no one used email as a primary means for communications and there was no facebook or myspace.


o        Are you involved in any professional associations?  If so, what are they and what do you learn by being involved? I’m a member of PRSA and I am the IP chair for the Midlands.  PRSA has allowed me to connect with other independent practitioners.  I have gained so much knowledge from the training sessions and round table discussions.


I am also serve on numerous boards around the city: Columbia Development Corporation which oversees the development in the Vista area within the City of Columbia. Benedict Allen CDC which focuses on economic development in the communities surrounding Benedict College and provides training for small and minority businesses and the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce.


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? Network, Network, Network!!  You must let as many people as possible know what you do and its imperative that you know what line of work other people are in so you can use them as resources and send them business. 


o        What is the best thing about your job? The Flexibility! On Monday’s I pay bills, do paperwork and write proposals.  I meet with clients, attend meetings and network. Fridays are for me.  I usually get my hair and nails done and shop for myself and handle my personal business.


o        What is the thing you like least about your job? Nothing, I have focused on building a company that I love and enjoy.


o        Are there any exciting announcements you’d like to tell us about (either with your company or one of your clients)? I have just been named the 2008 Young Professional of the Year by the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce.


o        How do you balance your professional career with your personal life? By taking Friday’s off and never working on Sunday’s.


o        Anything else you would like to add? I love this industry!!  

How to succeed in business..and still have a life – IPA PRSA teleseminar – Nov. 19

Just a heads up on an upcoming IPA (Independent Practitioners Alliance) teleseminar hosted by PRSA

Titled “How to succeed in business and still have a life,” the teleseminar will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 19, from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

If there is any interest among practitioners in the Greenville area to attend in a central location and split the fees (Independent Practitioners Alliance Member $85, Member $190 / Nonmember $290), please let me know and I can coordinate. I’ve included the description below.
Too many professionals work hard and yet spin their wheels. Many are only a few minor adjustments away from real success. Learn proven strategies and step-by-step approaches that can make the difference between just getting by and succeeding.

You’ll learn how to:

Set ambitious goals and achieve them.
Develop a concise, focused plan that literally guides your actions, and provides accountability for you and your team members.
Use values to provide guidance to your staff – even when you’re not at the office.
Get the right people on your team…and keep them there.
Delegate effectively.

You will hear from:

Bill Collier, with St. Louis-based Collier Business Advisors, LLC ( has real life experience starting, growing, buying and selling successful companies, using his own money. He knows what it’s like to have to “make payroll.”

Bill is a business coach, consultant, professional speaker, author and entrepreneur. His book “How to Succeed As a Small Business Owner…and Still Have a Life” reached the #1 Book on in the “Work/Life Balance” category in 2007.