October Letter from the President

Dear IABC/SC Members, The other day, I was joking with a veteran communicator about how it seems that many public relations professionals are hopped up on something. We came to the conclusion because we read something like this from businesses and organizations nearly every week: “Company is excited to announce….” You might ask, what’s wrong with that? Or, why is it bad for our profession? First, it’s poor form. Professional writing should tell your audience about your news or information. It’s not about how it makes anyone feel. Secondly, professional communicators should not write things that are false. I’m sure some of you are reading this and thinking, that a new hire or new event is exciting and that I’m being pedantic. To those of you, pause for a moment and consider two videos showing actual excitement. This baby girl heard a Katy Perry song. These folks found out that Oprah Winfrey had just given them a new car. That is what excitement looks like.  If, upon hearing what you are about to share, you or your boss reacted like any of these people , then by all means, write excited. If not, avoid the subjective language. Successful public relations strategy is rooted in fact and figures, not rhetorical half-truths. Instead of the flowery words, dig deeper and explain to your audience why that new hire stood out and how he/she is going to make your business better. Or, tell us how that fundraising event going to count in your community. Certainly, that takes more time and effort — but, it’s worth it. PS. October is Membership month. Learn about gift cards you can...

Oct 11: Your Brand or Bust!

Join IABC/SC on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at Colonial Life, for our monthly professional development luncheon, as we share insights about personal branding. Cathy Love, VP of marketing and communications at SCANA, will encourage our evaluation of the relationship among our personal, team and our organization brand. Does what you say, post, tweet, present or publicly announce align your career and your company’s brand? We look forward to seeing you Tuesday, Oct. 11, 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m., Colonial Life Blvd., Columbia, SC 29210. About the speaker: Love is a native of Columbia, S.C., and a 1985 graduate of the University of South Carolina with a BA in journalism. She joined SCANA in 1993 and brings with her some 30 years of communications and marketing management dedicated to protecting and promoting the reputation of SCANA and its energy-related subsidiaries. In her current role, Love is responsible for media relations, corporate communications, marketing and philanthropy. A supporter of community engagement, Love has previously served as SCANA’s United Way chair, is a member of SCANA’s Women’s Leadership Group, a board member for the Columbia Museum of Art and is the chair of the Crescent Society, an organization that supports leadership excellence in South Carolina Women. She was also recognized as a 2012 Distinguished Alumna by the USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications. When Tuesday, October 11, 2016 11:45 AM  – 1:15 PM Where Colonial Life Colonial Life Blvd, Columbia, South Carolina 29210, USA Dress Code Business attire View Details, Fees & Location View Event Agenda Registration Deadline Monday, October 10, 2016 Please respond by clicking one of the buttons...

August Letter from the President

Dear IABC/SC Members, About a week ago, I had one of my standard nightmares.  It’s test time and I haven’t studied. Another variation: one hour from a newscast and not a word is written.  In this most recent one, I was standing inside a graduate classroom at UNC-Charlotte. Dr. Jack Piel was about to test my skill using math manipulatives. But, I woke up just in time. Before falling back asleep, Dr. Piel’s class motto popped into my head. “You never learn anything completely new in the abstract, you only make adjustments to what you’ve learned in the past.” Our subconscious minds are very cool. In his class, Dr. Piel stressed that teachers should introduce mathematical concepts with things students can hold in their hands. Think legos and scales for introducing fractions and decimals. I don’t teach math anymore, but that motto is certainly applicable to the kind of work we do. Whether you are announcing a new product or service, changing a price structure, or running a messaging campaign, business communicators must begin by identifying the audience and, more importantly, what it already knows. Once you’ve done that, the stories start telling themselves. A case in point — a fake book burning party that saved the library in Troy, MI. The folks responsible for that campaign understood their community. The people of Troy believed in the power of knowledge, information and the exchange of ideas. The library supporters tapped into that base belief brilliantly. Burning books provided for a perfect metaphor that spark widespread engagement. Before starting that next project, give pause. Deeply consider not only who you are trying to reach, but...

Aug 9: Let’s “Glow” to the Columbia Fireflies

Aug 9: Let’s “Glow” to the Columbia Fireflies Enjoy a behind the scenes look at the Columbia Fireflies at Spirit Communications Park on Tuesday, Aug. 9. Learn about communication and marketing strategies behind Columbia’s newest minor league team along with community partnerships and fundraising opportunities. A ballpark-style lunch will be served, trivia prizes will be given and the park will be open for shopping and ticket sales for IABC/SC members and guests. When Tuesday, August 9, 2016 11:45 AM  –  1:15 PM Where Spirit Communications Park 1640 Freed St. Columbia, South Carolina Dress Code Business attire View Details, Fees, and Location Registration Deadline By Noon, Monday, August 8,...

July Letter from the President

July 4, 2016 Dear IABC/SC Members, United States Constitution – Amendment I Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. On the 4th of July, take a few minutes to think about the 1st Amendment. It is my firm belief that the founders created this one first, because it is the most important. Without it, all of our other freedoms would surely crumble — the only question is how quickly. As you consider the privileges that come with the freedom of the 1st Amendment, I ask that you remember with great power comes great responsibility. In the age of social media, many people are out there actively giving free speech a bad name.  You know the trolls I’m writing about. The petty. The petulant. The pissants.  The ones who use news and events to justify their vitriol. Over the holidays, before you get sucked into the negative thinking about the commentary and conversations — take time to consume some of the free speech that may help restore your faith in humanity. There’s the college student who cuts grass for elderly neighbors or soup kitchens that are giving homeless people dignity by throwing out the cafeteria line and serving restaurant style. And, my personal favorite, the man who forgave the crooked cop who sent him to prison. There is injustice in our society every day. There is cruelty in every community. But, there...

Slippery when wet by Jeanne Reynolds

Slippery when wet by Jeanne Reynolds I love proofreading. I know that’s weird. I mean, it’s like admitting you love folding laundry or cleaning the cat’s litter box. Boring, tedious and mostly unappreciated. But for me, the challenge is exhilarating. In any given document, there’s a really good chance there’s a typo, misplaced punctuation mark or missing word in there somewhere, and I’m going to find it. Game on! Like this one I saw painted on the side of a furniture store van: 40% off major bands (Maybe it’s not a typo. Maybe the store has a side business rivaling Ticketmaster or Papa Jazz.) Then there’s the twisted fun of spotting misplaced modifiers that provide entertaining new meanings. Check out this collection of thought-provoking signs someone collected: Caution heavy pedestrian traffic. Caution pedestrians slippery when wet. Huge kids sale. Kids with gas eat free. Kids 20% off. Don’t let worries kill you. Let the church help. Bathroom only for disabled elderly pregnant children. This door is alarmed. Tables are for eating customers only. Ha ha, we’d never make those mistakes, right? Not so fast. I won’t tell you where these came from (mostly because I don’t know) but I’m willing to bet we’ve all seen similar gems cross our desks: After eating all their food, we put the dogs outside. I found a huge boulder taking a walk in the woods. We saw cotton growing from our car window. Jack wore a gold man’s watch. Dipped in chocolate, my kids love pretzels. Tired of cleaning yourself? Let Merry Maids do it. The mayor discussed the high cost of living...