The Signs of Our Time: Recognizing Stroke Symptoms

Marketing, Social Media

I helped create the following video during my internship at Denton Regional Medical Center.

Being able to quickly recognize and respond to the signs of stroke are essential when it comes to minimizing the damage caused by stroke. Although new treatments are available that can greatly reduce the effects of stroke, being able to recognize the signs of stroke plays an important role in preventing permanent brain damage, disability, or death.

So pass this on. It could save a life.

To learn more, visit or




What is Public Relations? PRSA Defines the Practice and Profession

All things PR, Personal Writing, Social Media

When I told my parents I wanted to pursue a degree from the Mayborn School of Journalism, they worried I was choosing a career as a poor or unemployed writer. But when I told my parents that my future career would be in public relations, they blankly stared back at me because they had no idea what work PR practitioners do.

The “What People Think I Do – PR Consultant” meme demonstrates the confusion people have about the public relations profession.

As I discussed in a previous post, the PR industry has struggled with removing the stigma against the profession. Part of the problem was the definition for the industry. Assigned in 1982, the official definition according to the Public Relations Society of America read:

“Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.”

In the past 10 years, PRSA tried twice unsuccessfully to change the definition. After a PR Defined campaign that PRSA started in November and concluded with a public vote in early 2012, the official definition of public relations reads:

“Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

With the rise of corporate media in today’s highly technological world, brand journalism is an increasingly popular term used to describe a major part of what PR practitioners do today: “corporate storytelling through compelling and relevant content.” The term isn’t popular with everyone and widely accepted though. Tom Foremski, creator and full-time journalist blogger of Silicon Valley Watcher, poses this potential introduction as an example of why he thinks the term is ridiculous:

“Hi, I’m a journalist from the Wall Street Journal.” vs. “Hi, I’m a journalist from Hugo Boss.”

Whether or not brand journalism is an inflated term describing public relations, PR Daily contributor Dorothy Crenshaw points out that the term’s practice is not contentious. She offers some guidelines for all communicators to be better storytellers:

  • Storytelling for the long haul – build the brand with high-quality content instead of things that result in only a “quick hit.”
  • Quality content from credibility from expertise – using legitimate and relevant experts results in credibility, which is an indispensible quality of quality content.
  • Show and tell, heavy on the show – to quote Nike, “Just Do It.”
  • Highly polished doesn’t equal high quality – jargon and a lack of sincerity are hallmarks of bad storytelling.
  • We Want YOU, inspired into action – this is what truly compelling and well targeted content does.

PR Newswire joined the conversation during the 2012 PRSA International Conference in October 2012 and posed this question to its Twitter and Facebook followers: “How do YOU define modern PR?” Using the hash tag #PRis, the newswire service company received a lot of insight from the responses it received and compiled 100 of those responses in a fun infographic.

Tips for Maximizing Your Social Media Tools

Marketing, Social Media

Social media and networking are not only becoming a more integral part people’s lives but also as part of the job search and application process, especially with the rise of the professional networking sites like LinkedIn. So wouldn’t it be practical to maximize the potential of your social media platforms like you would with your résumé?

Whether you’re using social media for work or for leisure, these are tools that have been proven to increase your digital presence through expanded reach, enhanced engagement and increased referral traffic. From a business point of view, Hubspot cites that “social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing.”


With more than 157 million users in the U.S. alone (Inbound Marketing Agents), it is not surprising that a 2011 study conducted by Edison Research and Arbitron found that 80 percent of U.S. social media users prefer Facebook when connecting with brands and nearly a quarter of users said that Facebook had the greatest influence on their buying decisions.

Shelly Kramer’s article on Ragan’s PR Daily outlines helpful tips for maximizing your Facebook’s potential (especially if you’re a brand or organization):

  • Use data to monitor your organic and viral visibility and fine-tune your content.
  • Reposition your photos so they are featured correctly!
  • Plan your content and schedule posts (editorial calendars help organize your topics).
  • Assign roles and responsibilities to your social media team.
  • Adjust the title and description of your links (and choose the best thumb if that’s an option).
  • Highlight your fans’ posts; fans can be one of your best brand ambassadors.
  • Monitor your page and/or content interaction (I.e. likes, shares, comments).

A word of advice: both friends and consumers DISLIKE auto-posting on Facebook. Digital Buzz Blog reported in 2012 that doing so decreases likes and comments by 70 percent.


Twitter has risen as a great way to capture users’ voices and thoughts, all in a compact 140 characters. Here are some quick and easy tips (mostly via Search Engine Watch) on optimizing your Twitter account:

  • Keep the tone conversational; Twitter is a tool for humanizing your brand (or yourself).
  • Apply SEO in your bio; this is where many search engines pull their information from.
  • Follow this formula: Headline/phrase + link + hash tags.
  • Limit yourself to three #hashtags per post. Keep it concise; nothing drives people away like hash tag abuse. Also, they’re meant to categorize your tweet.
  • Call upon others to retweet your content.

Follow me on Twitter (@) for more information about social media, PR, marketing, all things related to strategic communications and more.


The content curation social networking platform has exploded in popularity since its introduction in 2010, with daily users counts increasing by more than 145 percent since the start of 2012 (Mashable). According to Karen Leland, “Pinterest drives more referral traffic than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn — combined.” When pins on Pinterest go “viral” and are repinned upwards of several thousand times, they can result in many things including:

  • Building your brand
  • Advertising services/products
  • Referral traffic to your website
  • New followers for your blog
  • Better positioning in Google searches
  • Increased consumer insight

Lifestyle blogger and PR Daily contributor Jessica Turner outlines several tips that have helped her increase the traffic and reach generated from her pins.

  1. Create lists; people love things they can scan quickly.
  2. Use title graphics, photo quotes, infographics and data charts; people like visual content so you’re more likely to get engagement with these.
  3. Include a “Pin It” button with your content; people won’t be as likely to share or “pin” yoir content if the option isn’t there (same goes for all other social media platforms).
  4. Create relevant content.
  5. Use your friends to drive up traffic for your pins.
  6. Use other social media platforms to strategically target and push out your pins.
  7. Remind people after the initial “peak” period.

Need inspiration for how to organize your Pinterest boards or examples of popular pins? Check out my account Follow Me on Pinterest or some of the top corporate boards:





Real Simple








West Elm


Whole Foods



In my Public Relations Writing class last spring, Nancy Voith, Managing Director at CRA, Inc., spoke to my class about resume building and using LinkedIn. In her speech, she emphasized the importance of your modern-day digital business card/ résumé.

Some of Voith’s advice for using LinkedIn:

  • Create and maintain a complete profile.
  • Profiles should showcase your leadership, initiative, responsibilities, etc.
  • Use the “SAR formula” to concisely showcase your experience.
    • SAR: situation, action and results
    • Focus on what makes you different from other professionals.
    • Connect through LinkedIn with other professionals you meet.
    • Have others review your profile and endorse your skills and expertise.

Sources Cited