TRACK 2: PR for the Modern Communicator

Wednesday, April 4

8:45–9 a.m.

Welcome remarks with Mark Ragan, CEO, Ragan Communications

Ragan Communications
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9–10 a.m.

A fireside chat with Meredith Corporation: How to win readers and engage people

The media landscape is changing. How can communicators adjust to ensure that their messages get heard? As vice president of corporate communications for the Meredith Corporation (formerly Time Inc.), Jill Davison is responsible for leading communications, positioning strategies and more for a media organization that reaches 175 million American consumers every month, including 80 percent of U.S. millennial women. With media brands that include People, Better Homes & Gardens, InStyle, Real Simple, Shape and Travel + Leisure, Meredith is a leader in creating content across media platforms, such as digital, video and print. What’s the secret to the media giant’s success—and how can you tailor those secrets to your own PR efforts? In this keynote fireside chat, Davison will share the lessons she’s learned, along with takeaways on growing PR and media relations trends—including managing crisis communications, finding and crafting engaging content, uncovering organizations’ stories, and more.

Vice president of corporate communications
Meredith Corporation (formerly Time Inc.)
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10:15–11:05 a.m.

Craft content that boosts your media relations and PR efforts

Instead of pitches that fall by the wayside of a busy reporter’s cluttered inbox, PR pros can stand out by creating and sharing thumb-stopping content that starts conversations. That’s the aim for Hugo Rojo, NPR’s social media communications manager, who works with NPR’s media relations team to spearhead buzz-generating initiatives around the organization’s journalism and content efforts, including popular podcasts such as “How I Built This” and Hidden Brain. By focusing on storytelling and the outstanding content NPR already creates, Hugo is able to increase engagement and grow fan evangelism—and he’ll show you how you can do the same with your campaigns.

You’ll learn:

  • How to uncover and craft compelling stories that your audiences want to hear
  • Tips on listening to your audience—and using that feedback to inform your PR efforts
  • How social media and content efforts can boost your PR and media relations aims
  • Alternative ways to generate interest and conversations with journalists and consumers
  • How to approach media relations and content creation as a media organization does
Social media manager
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11:20 a.m.–12:10 p.m.

Turn your organization’s purpose and offerings into engaging stories

What can you do to boost ROI and PR effectiveness—especially when your boss or client asks to be featured in headlines within Forbes or Fortune? Communicators must answer media coverage requests and other queries to “go viral” by producing content and campaigns that reach and resonate with both consumers and stakeholders to move the needle and drive results. Sabrina Browne and Chris Hamilton of Burson-Marsteller will demonstrate how you can forge a path to PR victory for your clients and organizations in today’s ever-changing media landscape.

You’ll learn:

  • Best practices to integrate PR efforts with marketing and social media campaigns
  • Tips to best tell your organization’s and clients’ stories
  • How to master the evolving media landscape and strategies to rack up PR wins
  • How to produce content that cuts through timeline clutter and reaches your target audiences
  • Insights to engage influencers and experts across industries
Burson Cohn & Wolfe
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Media director
Burson Cohn & Wolfe
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12:10–1:20 p.m.

Networking lunch

(provided onsite)

During lunch, KPMG will offer two 20-minute tours of its state-of-the-art TV studio, limited to 15 people each. You can register for the tour via a pre-event survey link or at our registration desk during the event.

1:20–2:10 p.m.

Get to the point: How to identify and champion your most important messages

No matter your expertise, your communications efforts will fail without a clear, concrete point. A true point is a value proposition for which you can make a strong case. Identifying and conveying your point is a crucial factor for successful press releases, media alerts, speeches, blog posts, letters to the editor and more—and having one can help you on every platform you use. In this session, author and executive communication specialist Joel Schwartzberg will show you how to formulate and strengthen the points on which your pitches and other PR efforts rely.

You’ll learn:

  • How to develop meaningful points using one simple exercise
  • Tips to identify and enhance your value propositions in press releases, emails and more
  • How to avoid typical pitfalls, including “badjectives” and “split ends”
  • Ways to communicate more effectively with partners, colleagues and supervisors—and tips to train your clients to do the same
Senior director of strategic and executive communications
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2:25–3:15 p.m.

Inside the influencer mind: What makes captivating and viral content

Influencer marketing is a huge trend that’s only going to grow, and for good reason: A Tapfluence and Nielsen Catalina Solutions study revealed that influencer marketing generates 11 times more ROI than other digital marketing strategies. Other studies reveal that word-of-mouth efforts are the prime factor in 20-50 percent of consumers’ purchasing decisions. What makes these influencers so trustworthy—and how do they make engaging content that consumers want to share? In this interactive panel moderated by Jake Jacobson of Children’s Mercy, you can ask questions and hear from influencers across social platforms and content types to gain insights that can help you jump on the bandwagon.

You’ll learn:

  • The elements that can make content grab (and keep) viewers’ attention
  • How to remain authentic and transparent with sponsored messages
  • Tactics and campaign opportunities that interest influencers
  • How to form working relationships with influencers that cultivate creativity and trust
  • Content missteps that turn any influencer or consumer off immediately
Vlogger and podcaster
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Creator and freelance writer
The Staycationers
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Chief operating officer
Muck Rack, The Shorty Awards
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Stroller in the City
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Director of public relations
Children's Mercy Kansas City
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3:15–3:45 p.m.

Networking Break

3:45–4:45 p.m.
Special Keynote

The future state of communications: Adapting to a data-driven world

The PR and communications landscape looks quite different than it did 20 (or even five) years ago.

Now, savvy PR pros have earned seats at both marketing and social media tables, and adjusting skill sets and best practices have enabled communicators of all stripes to boost organizations’ bottom line—while also proving their worth. As brand journalism, content marketing and social media take over brands’ strategies, communicators need to take a data driven approach to take advantage of online trends, avoid crises that can hit at a moment’s notice, stand out in a sea of content and adapt to the changing nature of communications.

In this discussion-based keynote, KPMG—one of the world’s Big Four firms—will help provide an assessment of where we stand as an industry and how your efforts are stacking up against current best practices. See where communicators excel—and struggle—and how you can ultimately come out on top.

Chief communications officer
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Chief executive officer
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5–7 p.m.

Networking Cocktail Reception hosted by KPMG

Thursday, April 5

9–9:50 a.m.
Opening Keynote

Media relations in the face of tragedy: How Orlando Health responded to the Pulse nightclub mass shooting

At 2 a.m. on Sunday, June 12, 2016, Orlando, Florida became the site of one of the worst mass shootings by a single gunman in United States history. Forty-four victims were brought to Orlando Health’s Orlando Regional Medical Center, home of the area’s only Level One Trauma Center. The crush of press soon followed. PR pros must be ready to respond to crises like this at any time, especially in today’s 24/7 news cycle where traditional news coverage meets staggering internet engagement statistics. Kena Lewis, Orlando Health’s director of public affairs and media relations, will walk you through the timeline of events on that fateful day and discuss how the hospital’s media relations team responded to the massive news media presence. She’ll share lessons learned—and how you can take a page or two from her organization’s crisis plan.

Director of public affairs and media relations
Orlando Health
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10:05–10:50 a.m.

How to embrace video and visual content—and make sure it captures eyeballs

If your video runs on social media and nobody sees it, did it really play? It’s a new take on an old philosophical question, but it’s the (online) reality we now live in. Video and visual content rules the world and can help communicators of all stripes better attract audiences’ eyeballs and achieve PR goals. However, it takes more than throwing up an image or video. In this interactive panel moderated by Jake Jacobson of Children’s Mercy, PR experts will answer your burning questions and show you the lengths to which video and visuals can take you.

You’ll learn:

  • Why visuals and videos are hot in the PR and marketing world
  • Elements that can make content grab (and keep) viewers’ attention
  • How, when and where to do live video
  • Best video and image practices (including distribution strategies) across platforms
Social media manager
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National spokesperson and PR manager
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Director of marketing
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Senior director of strategic and executive communications
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Director of public relations
Children's Mercy Kansas City
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11:05–11:50 a.m.

Research, measure and communicate PR’s business impact and ROI

As the role of data becomes more important in business decisions, the pressure to measure and communicate the ROI of PR continues to increase. With ever-changing measurement standards and technologies, most PR pros struggle to gain the skills needed to stand out and use the tools or resources necessary to effectively communicate the impact their campaigns have on the bottom line. In this session, WPI’s Orion Stavre will show you how to conduct PR research, identify and measure relevant metrics and KPIs and perform data analysis to uncover actionable insights—so you can ultimately communicate your results in a visual and effective way to clients and employers.

You’ll learn: 

  • How to implement a measurement strategy using Barcelona Principles 2.0 as a guide
  • Campaign measurement integration across PR, marketing and social channels
  • Tips to conduct research and evaluate long-term brand impact and perceptions
  • How to select what to measure and what to ignore
  • Essential tools and resources for successful PR measurement
Associate director of insights and measurement
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
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12:05–12:55 p.m.
Closing keynote

What’s the big idea? Brilliant campaigns have them—and you can, too

Big ideas can cut through the clutter of messages competing for your audience’s attention with something that strikes a chord—even a dissonant one.

Brigham Young University communications professor Joseph Ogden will share the secrets behind some of the best PR campaigns today and discuss the direction outstanding PR is headed. PR pros can take insights from their marketing and advertising counterparts, but only they have the unique skills to implement and amplify big ideas through traditional and social media channels. You’ll learn from the co-author of the top-selling textbook “Strategic Communications Planning” about how to tap into your personal or team’s creativity to affect your organization’s bottom line and become a catalyst for ideas that fly—even in turbulent weather. 

Professor of communications
Brigham Young University
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For event information, contact Customer Service 800.878.5331, or