Last week, the PR team had the opportunity to attend PRSA Central Iowa’s annual OctoPRfest professional development conference. The conference prides itself on bringing together communications professionals from across Central Iowa to hear from other industry professionals to learn more about trends and new tactics. We were lucky enough to hear from the following communications leaders:

  • Angela Sinickas, President, Sinickas Communications, Inc., on calculating the return on investment on your communications efforts and how to link those efforts to your overall business goals.
  • Panel on how to local brands and organizations are leveraging PR and social media to help put their local events on the national map.
    • Tiffany Tauscheck, Chief Communications Officer, Greater Des Moines Partnership
    • Mindy Toyne, Owner, In Any Event
    • Steve Linn, Managing Partner, Iowa Craft Beer Tent
    • Greg Conrad, Tournament Director, Principal Charity Classic
  • Greg Swan, VP of Public Relations and Emerging Media, Space150, talked about how to drive engagement and push the envelope for almost any brand using the digital and emerging media trends that are hot right now.
  • Adam Carroll, discussed how to become better “connectors” with the pile of business cards we collect each month and how to forge better relationships.
  • Aaron Putze, APR, Director of Communications and External Relations, Iowa Soybean Association, on how to gracefully lead a brand in an industry that isn’t seen as popular, to one that is nationally trending and consistently being talked about.

Here are three things our team learned from each of their engaging, insightful sessions:

  • Lead your audience where you want them to go – In any type of communication, you want to make sure your message is clear and concise. There should be no question to your audience what you are trying to tell them and to do this, sometimes you need to, literally, lead them to your key message or takeaway.
  • Don’t be afraid to test the waters – There are so many trends out there, it can be hard to decide what’s going to stick and what’s going to phase out quickly. Stay on the cutting edge regardless of the current trends by simply experimenting with the different platforms, photography, video and strategies that are current and ones that are timeless.
  • Utilize data – As communicators, we know the value of research and data, but that doesn’t mean we necessarily enjoy it. Data can be a great element to help tell a story, and help to reinforce the points you are trying to make.

During the lunch portion of the conference, the chapter celebrated the 2016 PRIME Awards, an awards series by the chapter that honors and acknowledges outstanding public relations campaigns and projects. Strategic America was honored for our work with clients in the following categories:

  • Integrated Communications Campaign – A Brand New Beginning: Aureon
  • Media Relations – Iowa STEM Media Relations Campaign
  • Multimedia – Greatness STEMs from Iowans: Dreaming of Tomorrow PSA
  • Community Champion – 2016 YESS Duck Derby

We all know that applying for awards can be time consuming, but the experience is very rewarding at the end. Here are two things we learned while putting together our award entries:

  • Research matters – It’s important to have the figures and statistics that reinforce the outcomes of your campaign, and ultimately guide the strategies and tactics. Don’t catch yourself standing in a mess of tactics in search of a strategy.
  • Effective and efficient communication is harder than you think – The award entries for the PRIME Awards have very specific entry requirements, such as a two-page brief and a 100-word overview description. Sticking to these requirements means sorting through everything and deciding what is the best

The PR team had a great time learning more from these communications leaders, and SA was honored to support this event as a sponsor as well.

Below: Ben, Taylor, Courtney, and Dawn with the team’s 2016 PRIME Awards