Communications Professional – Your message. Clearly. 

Social Media Spotlight: Running Room Gets It Right

Published on February 18, 2013, by

If there’s one thing that sticks out from the Digital Media in Practice class I took last year at Ryerson, presented by Dr. Wendy Cukier, with Jaigris Hodson, it’s the notion that what is challenging to many organizations is not how to create social media profiles and accounts, but rather how to develop social media strategies that are complementary to their overall goals. The key, it seems, is to view social media participation not as a goal in and of itself, but as a vehicle to carry out larger organizational ends. Below is a case study of an organization that does just that: Running Room. Bio: With over 1300 employees and 115 stores throughout Canada and the US, and recognized as one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies in 2007, Running Room is widely considered to be the greatest success story in Canada’s running industry. Founder John Stanton believed that if Running Room not only sold running apparel, but also championed the sport of running, passionate runners would respond by participating in running groups and patronizing Running Room stores: “We didn’t have to worry about the big sporting retailers of the world. We have been able to recruit new runners, show them the knowledge, and with that they became very loyal

Read on…

Lessons from a cross-Canada bicycle ride (that have nothing to do with cycling)

Published on February 10, 2013, by

Five years ago I embarked on a cross-Canada bicycle ride with one of my best buddies, Greg Mailloux. We started in Victoria, BC and ended in St. John’s, NL., for a total of 8000 km. We carried what we needed on our bikes and camped most of the way. It took us three months. We raised over $85,000 for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada thanks to countless fundraisers and online donations. We also filmed the whole damn thing and made a full-length documentary (with just a little help from our editor extraordinaire broseph, Andy Peterson, and Producer/CCFC guru John C. Scott). It’s chock-full of inside jokes and obscure Tommy Boy references. We’re planning to re-release her this spring with a bunch of hilarious new outtakes and other goodies, so stay tuned.   I’ve often thought about the life lessons that came from that ride and decided this was a good time to share a few. So here, in no particular order, are some lessons from a cross-Canada bicycle ride (that have nothing to do with cycling):     Public speaking is all about preparedness.   Age is no excuse for not doing something.   Think big, but set

Read on…

8 Networking Tips for PR Jobseekers

Published on February 8, 2013, by

Finding work in the communications industry can be tough. The good news is that as the influence of PR grows, so too does the job market. The not-necessarily-bad-but-potentially-worrisome news is that there are more and more grads competing for these influential jobs. In Toronto alone, there are four post-graduate programs focused exclusively on public relations and professional communications: Master of Professional Communication at Ryerson; Public Relations at Humber; Corporate Communications at Seneca, and Corporate Communications and Public Relations at Centennial. This says nothing of the city’s closely related Marketing Management, Copywriting, Advertising, or continuing education communications programs. So what does the expanding PR industry mean for you, an aspiring communications professional? It means that you need to stand out from the crowd, and that you have an increasing number of ways to do so. One way to stand out – along with building relevant experience, crafting a stand-out resume, and developing your own personal brand – is to network. Everybody wants to work with people they know, like, and trust. Because of this, more and more jobs are being found through networking. The only problem is that, to many, the thought of “networking” is cringe-inducing – conjuring up images of awkward handshakes and obligatory business card exchanges. Puke, right? Fortunately networking doesn’t have to be nauseating. It’s simply about

Read on…

9 Tips For E-mail Excellence In The Social Web

Published on December 31, 2012, by

Well into the era of the social web, e-mail remains the most popular form of digital communication. According to some, we’re still ‘Inbox Workers.’ In a 2011 study, the Radicati Group estimated that the number of worldwide e-mail accounts would reach 3.3 billion in 2012. Certainly not all of those accounts are intended for professional use, but for those who rely on e-mail to connect with clients and colleagues in the era of the social web, here are a few tips to help ensure that your e-mails are excellent: 1. Don’t respond immediately. Although the acceptable e-mail response time may be shrinking due to our immersion in more immediate communication platforms such as Twitter and SMS, remember that e-mail is a distinct platform. It is perfectly acceptable – and in fact advisable – to sit on a response for a short period of time before sending. Try not to wait days, but hours is OK. Draft a response (in Word, if you want to avoid any chance of an unintended send), save it, and revisit in 15 mins. Odds are you will tweak at least a few things. 2. Never e-mail when angry. In professional contexts, overly emotional e-mails are

Read on…

‘The Era of Earned’: An Introduction to Earned Media

Published on December 13, 2012, by

Earned media (positive earned media, that is) is on the minds of many. How can I get it? What influence does the social web have on earned media? Is earned media ever a guarantee? Before we touch up some of these questions, let’s first look at the three main types of media: 1. Paid – media exposure that is purchased by the organization (ex. the purchase of a TV spot or an ad in a magazine); 2. Owned – media exposure that is completely controlled and shared by an organization (ex. promotional video on a company website, organizational brochure); 3. Earned – media exposure that is not paid for nor owned by the organization (ex. the voluntary sharing of a promotional video across social media platforms). Paid and owned media are fairly easy to understand: You either purchase favorable publicity (paid) or you project it (owned). The control is yours – as are the costs – and the risks are relatively low. These are the traditional forms of media as they have been known for decades. But, as is the case with just about everything, the social web is re-writing the media rules. Where it starts to get fun (murky?)

Read on…