The Write Stuff: Hoosier PRSA Writing Workshop

Today I had the pleasure of attending The Write Stuff: Hoosier PRSA Writing Workshop, organized by the Continuing Education committee of Hoosier PRSA. The workshop featured presentations from area professionals, with a focus on writing for media relations, internal communications, social media, and speeches and scripts.

Photo Credit: Chigmaroff, Flickr

Two sessions were being held simultaneously, thus participants were forced to select only two of the four presentations to attend. I selected the social media and media relations presentation, hoping to obtain a firmer understanding of social media (I may be a little late to this party, but I’m getting there!), and given my interest in pursuing media relations job opportunities.

Writing for Social Media

Robby Slaughter of Slaughter Development, LLC lead this workshop, which focused heavily on key social media concepts. He discussed several challenges associated with social media. He asserted that social media and internet users read only 20 percent of content in front of them.

Slaughter discussed several social media concepts, all of which were entirely new to me. The first, the Dunbar number, he described as the maximum number of stable relationships one can maintain with other individuals. The Dunbar number for online relationships (i.e. blogs, message boards, etc.) is far smaller than the Dunbar number for “real life” relationships. Next, he highlighted the “90-9-1 rule”, pertaining to social media participation. Under this premise, 90 percent of users are lurkers, 9 percent of users contribute from time to time, and only 1 percent of users frequently and actively use social media, accounting for the highest portion of contribution.

Writing for Media Relations

Chad Mertz and Angela Tuell of Borshoff lead this workshop, which focused heavily on the art of the media pitch. In a very clear and concise presentation they outlined the basics of all things media relations, including what reporters look for, what motivates reporters, and how to improve relationships with key media.

Workshop participants were able to practice pitching to media, who attended the event to offer their words of encouragement, best advice, and worst pet peeves. Elizabeth J. Musgrave, freelance blogger of Gotta Go and arts/entertainment editor, Tony Rehagen, Senior Editor of Indianapolis Monthly, Dave Brinkers, Assignments Manager of Indy WRTV-6, and Cory Schouten, Indianapolis Business Journal Real Estate Reporter participated in a round-robin exercise, allowing groups of five to pitch their individual ideas or stories to each professional, and receive honest and constructive critique of techniques and topics.

The entire afternoon was extremely educational and informative. It was nice to interact with other professionals and expand my knowledge of topics of increasing interest to me. I’ve already reached out to many of the speakers and attendants on LinkedIn, and will continue to do so over the next few days.

I’d like to thank Hoosier PRSA for organizing the event, and commend the the Continuing Education committee (especially my friend and fellow graduate student, Steven Cooke) for doing a stellar job at accommodating all of the participants so comfortably and professionally.

One Comment to “The Write Stuff: Hoosier PRSA Writing Workshop”

  1. Thanks for summarizing this event! It was great to have you there.

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