Friday, October 30, 2009

WWPR PR Woman of the Year Award

Today -- FRIDAY -- is the last day to pre-register for WWPR's 20th anniversary of the PR Woman of the Year Award on Wednesday, November 4.

You can buy tickets via the WWPR web site.

November CCG Lunch: Speechwriting

It's Not Just What You Say, but Also How You Say It
Some would say that the hardest task within the world of PR and communications is speechwriting. And with that in mind, this month we're welcoming some veteran speechwriters to share some of the unique challenges of speechwriting as well tips of the trade.

WHEN: Thursday, November 12, noon - 1:30 p.m.
WHERE: Darlington House, 1610 20th Street, NW, Washington, DC
Metro Stop: Dupont Circle on the Red Line

Cost: $20

You must RSVP to attend.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

NON-CCG EVENT: Meet the Press Event with Walt Mossberg

WHO: Tech Council of Maryland

WHAT: Meet the Press: Leading Journalists Speak on What's News, What's Not and Changes in the Media... with keynote speaker Walt Mossberg, personal technology columnist for The Wall Street Journal

WHEN: November 2 from 8-10:30 a.m.

WHERE: Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center

ADDITIONAL DETAILS: Walt Mossberg will share his thoughts on the Cell Phone and the Future of the Internet. Mossberg is the author and creator of the weekly Personal Technology column and is one of the most widely-read columns on technology products and services in the world. He is also the co-creator and co-producer of the technology industry's most prestigious annual conference, D: All Things Digital, and is the co-executive editor of the technology web site,, which extends the experience of the D Conference to the Web.

You will also hear from a panel of distinguished journalists that cover technology, biotech, telecommunications and general business issues to help explain what they cover, how they do it and educate us on the changing world of journalism.

More info or to register.

Monday, October 19, 2009

SPACES REMAIN for Oct. lunch this Wednesday

Designing Websites for Action or Advocacy
Learn the art -- and science -- of designing websites for action and advocacy.

SPEAKER 1: Len Johnson, President & CEO of JDG Communications, will talk about creating a site that is a research-based solution, using as an example his experience creating the FTC kids web site YouAreHere, where kids learn to be smarter consumers through games, activities and online conversations. Learn how Len's team conducted interviews with kids, parents and educators; how they tested the site; and how they evaluated the outcomes.

SPEAKER 2: Stephanie Dailey, Senior Public Affairs Specialist,, National Institute on Aging, will talk about the unique aspects of making a site for an older demographic.

WHEN: Wednesday, October 21, 2009 from noon - 1:30 p.m.

WHERE: Topaz (in the Enlightenment Room), 1733 N Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036
Metro Stop: Dupont Circle on the Red Line

Cost: $26

Please RSVP.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Old School Marketing?

About a year ago, I blogged about my "old school" marketing technique of promoting events through signs in bathroom stalls. In light of a recent conversation, I thought it was time to revisit this idea of old school marketing techniques that work with another post. This time, it's about an old school technique that, truth be told, I did not first undertake with marketing in mind.

Last year, the Johns Hopkins Montgomery County Campus marked its 20th anniversary with a big event that traversed two buildings. Our theme for the event was "Connect the Dots," so in keeping with that theme, I created a series of large dots with facts about the campus that I stuck to the sidewalks leading between the two buildings. Our own version of the yellow brick road. The intention was to remove the dots after the event. But a funny thing happened...

People loved them! I know because they took the time to tell me and my colleagues just that. Plus, I could look out my window and watch people walking from dot to dot reading the facts. So we left that batch down for 6-7 months.

Once they were gone, people started asking when we were going to put new ones down.Why not, right? So I created a second batch with new facts about the campus, the companies located on our campus, the JHU schools located here, etc. And once again watched people stop to read them and comment on how great they were.

But perhaps the best testament to their popularity? One of the dots is now on Flickr! (And no, it wasn't me who posted the picture. It was a visitor to the campus.)

Just another reason we need to make sure that, as marketing and PR professionals, we're using all of the tools in our toolbox and not just focusing on social media.

-- Robin

Friday, October 2, 2009

Pimp This Job: NIH Short Term (6-8 month) Communications Gig

Just got an email from a colleague at NIH. There's an interesting opportunity there for a communications detail for 6-8 months. They're hoping to fill the position sometime this month, so if you're interested, respond quickly!

The National Children’s Study (located in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health) is searching for a qualified individual for a communications detail in the Program Office (main office of the NCS) for 6-8 months.

This person would fill the position held by the Outreach and Communications Coordinator who will be out of the office for an extended period, and would also overlap with the Coordinator for a few months on either side.

We’re hoping for a start date of October or November, but the timeframe is flexible. Aside from the regular communication and outreach activities this position entails, there are a few large and challenging upcoming communications/outreach projects (i.e., work on revising the NCS communications plan, launching a marketing campaign) which could be of special interest to a potential detailee. A detailed position description is available upon request.

Please direct questions to Kate Winseck, Outreach and Communications Coordinator, NCS, 301-594-8625,

An aside... The National Children's Study is a really neat project. I know about it because Johns Hopkins -- where I have my "day job" -- is involved in it. The Study is going to examine the effects of environmental influences on the health and development of 100,000 children across the United States, following them from before birth until age 21. The goal of the Study is to improve the health and well-being of children. What better cause to get involved with? Seriously, for anyone looking for a short-term project, this is a great opportunity.

-- Robin

October lunch: Restaurant Search

So I'm breaking our "no presentations" rule for the second month in a row with our October lunch... with good reason. Our October lunch is focusing on a website development topic, and it only makes sense for our presenter to be able to reference the actual web site. This, of course, has put a wrench in our plans... because "Internet access" is not one of our usual lunch location requests. So here's where you come in. We need your help finding a location. I'm including our qualifications below. Please send me your location suggestions.
  • private room that seats 40-60 but doesn't charge to use the private room
  • in D.C. and metro accessible
  • as I mentioned above, must have Internet access
  • food cost: approx. $20 for sandwich + drink
Thoughts? Please, please, please send some suggestions my way!

-- Robin

Thursday, October 1, 2009

GrowSmartBiz Conference: Take 2 -- The Expert Answer Booth

So the brains behind the GrowSmartBiz conference did something very interesting during the conference. They created an Expert Answer Booth and recruited people from all walks of life -- PR, social media, finance, legal, etc. -- to staff the booth. Yours truly was one of the experts they recruited. (Looking back on it, I feel a little like Lucy from the Peanuts...)

The concept was that any of the attendees could get free advice from a pool of talented professionals. What a cool concept! And what a value add for attendees.

Truth be told, the booth didn't work as well as it could have -- great staffing, but poor use of the talent by attendees -- and there are a number of reasons way. Maybe it was lack of advertising to the attendees... Were there signs at check-in promoting our services? (Truthfully, I didn't see any. And I asked one of the people where the booth was when I checked in, but she didn't know.) Did the emcee mention us during his various moments at the podium? (Not while I was in the room, but I was also staffing the booth for some of the time, so perhaps he mentioned us when I wasn't there.) Maybe we should have been part of the program -- before each session, we could have come up on stage and answered a question in front of the whole group. But that doesn't change the fact that the concept is great.

I suspect there are things conference organizers will do differently next time to promote our services. OK, I'm sure there are things they'll do differently. That's the kind of team we're dealing with.

But the point of this post isn't to talk about what was done wrong... but rather, what was done RIGHT. And the idea of this booth had "RIGHT" written all over it. What a great value add to attendees... if they take advantage of it.

My point here? Next time you're planning a conference, think about implementing your own Expert Answer Booth. And thank the brains at NetSol for coming up with that great idea.