On Thursday, October 18, WMPRSA members gathered to discuss current and growing trends within the public relations industry: what they are, why they’re important, and how to manage them. WMPRSA invited Andrea Clark, Associate Director of Communications at Kellogg Company, Clare Wade, Manager of Corporate Communications at Spectrum Health, and Jeff Gaunt, Director at Lambert, to share their knowledge and expertise on the topic.Read More
While WMPRSA has a strong focus on the West Michigan area and community, it’s important to become acquainted with other areas of the state especially when it comes to media. On Thursday, April 19th, WMPRSA hosted four journalists and editors from the Detroit area:
- Mike Lee, Managing Editor for Crain’s Detroit
- Lindsey Smith, Investigative Reporter for Michigan Radio
- Kelley Root, Assistant Manage Editor for Detroit News
- Hannah Saunders, General Assignment Report, FOX 2 Detroit
The group shared their viewpoints, worst and best experiences with pitches, and general PR do’s and don’ts. A few stand out points were:
- Remember the medium you’re pitching to. If you’re going to pitch a story to a TV station in Detroit, you must have someone willing to go there and do an interview.
- Don’t call them. Email and Twitter were both agreed upon by everyone as great outlets for pitching and following up.
- When you send out a press release make sure you have someone available to do interviews.
- The media is very open to updating a story if something was published incorrectly or inaccurately. However, the corrections need to be sent in immediately to stay timely.
Following the panel discussion, a great question came from the audience:
"We are businesses and organizations based in Grand Rapids and West Michigan, not everything we pitch will have a Detroit connection but can still be newsworthy for the Detroit area. What should we do in this situation?"
The media agreed that this is tough to navigate. They do appreciate when the story connects with Detroit because that’s their audience base. They did say that if you can connect the story to somewhere else in the state, that’s a start. Knowing their beats is also important, so even if the article doesn’t necessary impact Detroit, it still follows what they're looking to cover.
On Thursday, March 15, members of the WMPRSA joined one another for a discussion about “Politics, Protests and PR”. We welcomed two representatives from the Gerald R. Ford International Airport, Lisa Carr, Public Safety & Operations Director, and Tara Hernandez, Marketing & Communications Director for the airport. This past January, the two women dealt with two separate protests against President Trump’s travel ban (#NoBanNoWall). From their experiences, they shared valuable insight on how they stayed on top of the situation to prevent drastic issues from occurring from both safety and PR standpoints.
With an average of 7,000 people coming in and out of the airport each day, and an estimated 1,000 protesters planning to attend, Lisa and Tara knew they needed to act fast. Tara immediately joined the protest event page on Facebook and was able to sit down with the organizer of the protest to gain insight to better plan for the protest and control the situation.
Looking back at the protests, and learning what they know now, Lisa and Tara suggest the following tips:
- Make sure your organization knows whether or not it’s a public or private property
- Sit down with entire staff/leadership team to put a plan in place and make sure everyone is on the same page
- Plan for protesters protesting the protest
- Set march locations and designated protest areas
- Ensure least impact on travelers accessability
- Hire additional staff (security and police)
- Lock entrance doors
- With any messaging, make sure to alert and inform for safety and security reasons, but not promote or identify any political statement
- Connect with your local attorney and the emergency manager of Kent County Jack Stewart, email@example.com, Office (616) 632-6255
Each year, the West Michigan Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (WMPRSA) recognizes the year’s best public relations programs, projects and people in West Michigan. More than 125 awards were entered this year and judged by the Greater Salt Lake/Utah Valley PR Chapter.
The event was held Thursday, May 5, at D2D Studios new City View Venue. Kim Carson, host of 106.5's Morning Drive in Kalamazoo, played emcee for the night.
Here are the list of winners from the evening:
Fred Keller, Founder of Cascade Engineering and TALENT 2025, was honored as Communicator of the Year for his effective communications and development of relationships.
Amy LeFebre, Senior Account Executive at Truscott Rossman, was honored as PR Professional of the Year for displaying professionalism every day in her steadfast work with her clients, her compassion to local nonprofit organizations and her service in the community.
Mark Sanchez, Senior Writer at MiBiz, was recognized as Media Person of the Year for his honest, straightforward reporting style whose stories are of top quality. He is the embodiment of a quality professional journalist.
Heather Halligan, Marketing Specialist at Hungerford Nichols, was honored at West Michigan PRSA Newcomer of the Year. A marketer for the last 10 years, Heather came on the PR scene in 2014 and has taken the industry by storm. A consummate professional, Heather’s new ideas have helped invigorate the West Michigan chapter.
Jaclyn Ermoyan, Student of the Year (GVSU graduate)
- Gold – Bissell Pet Foundation, Empty The Shelters
- Silver – Truscott Rossman, West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission Port Day
- Gold - Truscott Rossman, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Farmers Markets
- Gold – COM 616, Comcast Michigan
- Silver – Diocese of Grand Rapids, Bishop’s Catholic Schools Initiative
Event and Celebration
- Gold – Bissell Pet Foundation, Empty The Shelters
- Gold – Zondervan Publishing, NYC Launch for “The Broken Way
- Silver – Davenport University, Celebrating 150 Years
- Silver – Hungerford Nichols, 75 th Anniversary & Celebration
- Silver – Truscott Rossma, Beacon St. Ignace Shores Opening
- Gold – Heart of West Michigan United Way, Food from the Heart
- Gold – Kalamazoo Community Foundation, Regional Collaboration with Help Now! Fund
- Silver – Heart of West Michigan United Way, Fill the Car
- Gold – Sabo PR, KCDA Millage Campaign
- Gold – SeyferthPR, West Michigan Policy Forum
Marketing Consumer Products and Services
- Gold - Lambert Edwards and Associates, Denali Flavors 10,000 Scoop Challenge
- Silver - Priority Health, Diabetes Awareness Month 2016
- Silver - Grand Valley State University, Sexual Assault/Campus Lighting
- Silver – Sabo PR, Wyoming Tornado
- Silver – Truscott Rossman, TBAISD
- Silver – Spectrum Health, InSite Intranet
- Gold – SeyferthPR, Pure Michigan Micro Lending Initiative
- Gold - Experience Grand Rapids, Cocktail Week GR
- Silver - Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Planned Giving Campaign
Social Media/Blog/Viral Marketing
- Silver – 834 Integrated Communications, SheFit Shark Tank
- Silver – Lambert Edwards, NAIAS Digital Strategy
Development or Fundraising
- Gold – West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology, Leave Your Mark Campaign
- Gold – SeyferthPR, Grand Rapids Public Schools Turkey Trot 2016
- Gold – Mel Trotter Ministries, Fund the Truck Campaign
- Silver – Meijer Gardens, “Why I Give” Video Series
- Silver – Grand Rapids Community Foundation, New Philanthropists
- Silver – Aquinas College, Our Lade Seat of Wisdom Chapel
- Gold – Zondervan Publishing, Go Big or Go Home Book Launch
- Gold – Spectrum Health, Vein Center
- Gold – Priority Health, Diabetes Awareness Month 2016
- Gold - Grand Valley State University, Antibiotic Resistance Research
- Silver – Spectrum Health, Toxic Shock Syndrome Awareness
- Silver – Spectrum Health, Music Therapy Program
- Silver – SeyferthPR, Give a Hand Michigan
- Silver – Blue Blaze PR, World’s Longest Ice Cream Dessert
- Silver – Bissell Pet Foundation, Empty the Shelters
- Silver – Aquinas College, Translation & Interpretation Program
- Silver - 834 Integrated Communications, WMCAT White House Award
- Gold – Blue Blaze PR, Flint in 48 Hours
- Gold – Diocese Grand Rapids, Momentum Magazine Article
- Gold – SeyferthPR, “McFamily: The Curtis Quintuplets”
- Gold – Grand Valley State University, “Inside-Out Program”
- Gold – Grand Valley State University, “Hot Ideas and Inventions”
- Gold – Grand Valley State University, Louie the Laker
- Gold – Grand Valley State University, “A Team of Their Own”
- Gold – Grand Valley State University, Puppeteering Professor
- Gold – Spectrum Health, “A Blessing I Didn’t Expect”
- Gold – Spectrum Health, “A Dying Child’s Spirit Shines”
- Gold – Spectrum Health, “An Awesome Life”
- Gold – Spectrum Health, “I Didn’t Fight Alone”
- Gold – Spectrum Health, “Life for Lily”
- Gold – Spectrum Health, “Mighty Boy Defies the Odds”
- Gold – Spectrum Health, “Peter Lombardo’s Miracle”
- Gold – Spectrum Health, “We Are Not Walking Out of Here Without Her”
- Gold – Truscott Rossman, Sky’s the Limit Op-Ed
- Gold – Grand Valley State University, Latino Student Success
- Silver – SeyferthPR, Donald Rumsfeld Op-Ed
- Gold - 834 Integrated Communications, WMCAT’s Leave You Mark
- Gold – Miller Johnson, Arena Place Media Day
- Gold – SeyferthPR, Polar Army
- Gold – SeyferthPR, Michigan Cherry Institute Salutes Michigan McDonald’s
- Silver - 834 Integrated Communications, The Pulse ER for North Ottawa Community Health System
- Gold – 834 Integrated Communications, Gray Skies Distillery
- Silver – Zondervan Publishing, “The Pug List”
- Gold – Aquinas College, Website Re-Design
- Gold – Grand Valley State University, GVNow Re-Design
- Gold – The Right Place, Main Website
- Gold – Bissell Pet Foundation, Empty the Shelters
- Gold – Sabo PR, “Elves and More”
- Gold – SeyferthPR, Mayor’s Greening Initiative
- Gold – Spectrum Health, Health Beat
- Gold – ArtPrize, Award Video Series
- Silver - Spectrum Health, Health Beat Blog
Video – Internal
- Gold – Davenport University, 150th Anniversary Video
- Silver - Grand Valley State University, December 2016 Commencement Video
Video – External
- Gold – Lambert Edwards, “Plackers Dental Flossers”
- Gold – Sabo PR, Children’s Health Center
- Gold – Sabo PR, Make-A- Wish Michigan
- Gold - Grand Valley State University, 2016 Holiday Greeting
- Gold - Grand Valley State University, Gratitude Project
- Gold - Grand Valley State University, Health North Groundbreaking
- Silver – The Right Place, Success Stories
- Silver – Spectrum Health, Pill-Sized Pacemaker
- Silver – Spectrum Health, Titanium Jaw Implant
- Silver – Grand Valley State University, Mascot Cleaning Campus
- Gold – Grand Valley State University, “Snap GV Project”
- Silver – SeyferthPR, Bird in Hand Serves Up Scholarships
- Gold – The Right Place, RPI Insider Newsletter
- Gold – Priority Health, Employee Insider Newsletter
- Gold – Priority Health, Member Health Journal
- Silver - Mary Free Bed, Momentum Newsletter.
- Silver – Grand Rapids Ford International Airport, Airport Connections Newsletter
- Gold – Experience Grand Rapids, 2017 Visitors Guide
- Gold – Grand Valley State University, 2016 Economic Impact Brochure
- Gold – Meijer Gardens, Summer Concert Series Mailer
- Silver – 834 Integrated Communications, OnSite Wellness
- Silver – Experience Grand Rapids, Music Trail Brochure
- Gold – Grand Valley State University, Grand Valley Magazine
- Gold – Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Current Magazine
- Gold – Meijer Gardens, “Seasons” Magazine
- Gold – Davenport University, DU Review Magazine
- Gold – Diocese Grand Rapids, FAITH Grand Rapids
- Silver – SeyferthPR, BenchMark Magazine
- Silver – 834 Integrated Communications, GVSU Expressions Magazine
Special Purpose Publication
- Gold – Diocese Grand Rapids, Annual Report
- Gold – Grand Valley State University, Talking Points Card
- Gold – Meijer Gardens, Mimmo Paladino Exhibition Catalog
- Gold – Spectrum Health, “Spectrum Health InFocus”
- Silver – Sabo PR, Children’s Healing Center Year-End Recap
- Silver – Grand Rapids Community Foundation, 2015-2016 Annual Report
- Silver – 834 Integrated Communications, GVSU Expressions Publication
Best in Show Award
- Meijer Gardens, Summer Concert Series Mailer
An award show of this magnitude could not happen without the help of our sponsors! The 2017 PRoof Award Show sponsors include:
- Program Sponsor - SeyferthPR
- Flower Sponsor - Weber Shandwick
- Bar Sponsor - Gerald Ford International Airport
- 834 Integrated Communications
- Experience GR
- Grand Rapids Community Foundation
- Hungerford Nichols CPAs + Advisors
- Lambert Edwards & Associates
- Priority Health
- Spectrum Health
- Truscott Rossman
Here are our top 10 takeaways from Steve Kelso, featured speaker at WMPRSA's lunch program on March 16:
- Media buyouts and consolidation have a significant impact on local journalism. Since 2008, 6,500 reporters have been eliminated nationwide. At the same time, reporters are expected to do more (longer newscasts, work with fewer photographers, maintain social media presence, etc.). This leaves less time for investigative and beat reporting, but more room for "content." This is where PR practitioners can help—become a quality content provider.
- Cell phones can capture quality photography and even video in some cases. Steve favors the camera pictured below video.
- Try playing around with editing in Adobe Premier Pro, Final Cut Pro or iMovie. Steve says they’re fairly intuitive.
- Resist the urge to brand video content that you send to the news media (sorry, logo). Instead Steve suggests asking for a courtesy credit.
- To maintain journalistic integrity, it is important that media are able to edit your content as they see fit. As the PR practitioner and content provider, you get to shoot in a controlled environment, control the quality, protect clients’ privacy and decide gets released. Media determine news value and how to tell the story. Ultimately, everyone wins!
- Since many TV stations are working with fewer photographers, creating your own content can help ensure you get coverage (or more coverage) than you would without interesting visuals.
- Post your content on your YouTube channel. You can send an exclusive email link or password protect the content that you are creating specifically for the media, so it doesn’t junk up the videos you share with your general audience. Steve also likes Vimeo for its quality. Video should be 1080i or 720p.
- Not confident in your video making skills? Steve suggests taking a class on story-telling techniques or searching YouTube for how-to videos.
- Richard Branson said, “If it can't fit on the back of an envelope, it's rubbish.” Steve agrees. He recommends keeping your content clear, succinct and easy-to-cover. Think of the viewers/media consumers first.
- Here are some examples of Steve’s work: Take the Shot. Mosquito testing.
- BONUS: As any good Health Department employee should do, Steve reminds you to always wash your hands.