Four PR lessons I learned from my middle school cross country team

This fall, I took on a new challenge of coaching the Elizabethtown Middle School cross country team. As I’ve become an avid runner, and my family has taken to the sport, too, I wanted to instill my love of the sport in the next generation. It has been a rewarding experience on every level: My girls’ team was 17-4 for the season, and a 7th grade girl shattered an 8-year-old course record at one of the away meets. Meanwhile, my boys had a terrific winning season. Perhaps more important, one of the seventh grade girls, who had never done any running before, asked repeatedly during early practices about the more experienced kids, “How can they run so fast?” or “How can they run so far?” And now, she’s running without stopping and hitting times she never thought possible.

I’ve learned about myself as a person and an athlete being a coach of a school team. Little did I expect that it would be a great reminder about practicing basics in public relations.Read more

Anticipation is a PR skill worth acquiring

Image used by permission from the blog The Science of Coaching Squash.

When you work in public relations, part of your duties are responding to situations and questions that sometimes crop up without warning. At best, it’s a simple question from a reporter who is simply asking to clarify some information or to make sure she has her information correct. At its worst, the unplanned is a crisis, a la the Malaysian airliner that crashed earlier this year. As a PR professional, it’s also your job to anticipate and be aware of pitfalls for your employer or your clients. By actively anticipating, you can avoid or minimize negative news coverage and public perceptions about you, your organization and its programs or business.Read more

The public impact of public relations

More than 20 years ago, I was working as a newspaper reporter for a small daily newspaper called The Record Herald in my hometown of Waynesboro, PA. I covered all kinds of local news, from the municipal government, the county fair, vehicle accidents, fires and people who had grown enormous tomatoes in their backyard gardens.

I remember commenting to a coworker, who like me was a cub reporter just out of college, that I didn’t consider what I was doing as selling newspapers.Read more