Give Peas a Chance

July 6, 2015

by Dan Ward

The New York Times earned tons of online ridicule with its suggestion Wednesday that readers should add peas to their guacamole.  The President himself weighed in to say he was “not buying” it, and a #NYTrecipes hashtag quickly saw such gems as “Put Thousand Island dressing in your milk” and “Try antifreeze in your sweet tea.”

Picking on the Times for its odd suggestion was all in good fun, but imagine what a boring world this would be if we didn’t put peas in our guacamole from time to time.

We don’t grow as people or professionals, and don’t offer anything new of substance to our bosses and clients, if we don’t sometimes try crazy ideas.

Next time you’re brainstorming a new project, or experiencing writer’s block, throw some peas in your guacamole.  Try something outlandish and new.

#GivePeasAChance


Is Editing Dead?

June 30, 2015

by Ashley Tinstman

This morning, I was reading a news article online, when I noticed that the writer had missed a very big error:  the exact same sentence was written in the story twice.  As I continued reading, I came across a few other sentences that had typos as well—missing words, grammatical errors, misspellings, you name it.  By the time I got halfway through the article, I had grown so annoyed that I quit reading it and thought, “How did nobody catch this?”

Then, as I thought about it for another minute, I realized just how often I had been seeing these major typos lately.  And it’s not just one newspaper or website—I’ve noticed it happening more frequently in a number of publications.

Personally, I am a big stickler when it comes to grammar and attention to detail in my writing, so I initially dismissed my frustration as me being too nitpicky.  But once I started seeing this trend on an almost-daily basis, I had to wonder, “Is editing dead?”

As I’m sure many of you all remember, there was once a time when journalists were very serious about putting out a polished product.  But since the emergence of the 24-hour news cycle, it seems that the rush to be the first and the fastest to get the story has trumped the importance of editing and proofreading that story.

Of course, this isn’t true for every publication, but it has unfortunately become a somewhat common trend among media.  However, for public relations professionals, this should serve as a reminder that editing is equally as important in our line of work—and it should never be a practice that falls by the wayside.

Similar to the media, our industry is very much a deadline-driven world.  It’s fast-paced, and in that kind of environment, it’s easy to let the quality of our work slip.

So, if you’re one who’s prone to typos and grammatical errors in the name of rushing, take the 10 extra minutes next time to read through your work—or have someone else give it a second look.  It could be the difference between sending the client a polished product and something that’s less than your best.

And if you’re ever unsure about how to write something, try consulting your AP Stylebook or Grammar Girl, who I am convinced knows everything there is to know about grammar.


Disconnected Customer Service

June 24, 2015

by Kim Stangle

Social Media has changed so many landscapes.  One major change is how consumers communicate with brands.  And it’s proven to be a difficult landscape to navigate for many.  How quickly, if at all, do you respond to complaints and praise?  When do you take a conversation offline?  Do you respond to everything?  If not, how do you determine what to respond to?

Many advanced brands have seen the value and invested in teams to manage the process.  Laurie Meacham shared Jet Blue’s remarkable customer service strategy at last year’s Social Fresh conference.  One of their key points is collaboration between all team members, not just those in one department or another.

I was reminded of the importance of this connection when our cable modem was zapped by lightning last weekend.  Instinctually, I called the 800 number for our local provider, Brighthouse.  The call was fine, a service call was scheduled and I was on my way to a working modem the next day.  Or so I thought.

When the tech didn’t show up in the service window we agreed to, I again called customer service.  This time, I was met with a less than helpful customer service agent who couldn’t offer much assistance.  In fact, there was an overall sense that it didn’t matter much at all that we’d shelved plans to be available for the service window that they’d scheduled and missed.

Naturally, I took to Twitter.  Within minutes of my tweet, I received a response from @BrighthouseCare.  Not only were they helpful, but they were empathetic and apologetic for the misstep.  Beyond that, they rescheduled the service call for me and asked that I follow up if there were any issues.

How could the service have been so vastly different?  One left me wanting to cut the cable cord immediately, while the other deserves a pat on the back for above and beyond customer service.

Brighthouse, if you’re listening, it’s time to insist that customer service is handled the same across the board.  And, if you need some training tips, look no further than your own social media team.


Grammar is Everything

June 23, 2015

by Connie Gonzalez

We’ve all been to school and learned grammar.  From this learning experience, some of us take pride in the way we write.  Some … could use a little extra help.

When I began working for Curley & Pynn, I realized just how important grammar is.  And 13 years later I still feel the same way.  People do not take pride in their writing anymore and social media is no exception.  I cringe when I see misspelled words or misuse of a common word that was taught in elementary school.  Grammerly has a great page on Facebook that posts funny, but helpful, ways to teach/remind people how to properly write, post or express what they are trying to say.

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Even punctuation and phrases are a problem.  I often wonder why people don’t take the time to learn the correct usage.

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I’ve learned a lot from working at C&P.  My job consists of a variety of things, but proofreading is a main requirement.  On a daily basis, I can be tasked to proofread news releases, letters and magazines to name a few.  But it doesn’t stop there.  I take that proofreading skill into my personal life.  I wish more people could have that same learning experience.

I have definitely made my mistakes, but the good thing about mistakes is we learn from them.  I’m thankful for my learning experience as it continues to grow.


Unleash a Legacy

June 23, 2015

by Sydney Cameron

All professions should adopt the medical industry’s three steps of learning, “See one, do one, teach one.” Once you can understand the art of your profession, you can teach others what you have learned and pass on your knowledge.

Mentorship is the perfect way to give back to your community or company and gain perspective on your career path.  Building relationships, learning by teaching and appreciating the professional success you have had are not the only benefits of mentoring.  When you invest time in a young professional at your company, they use the knowledge they learned to strengthen the legacy and brand of your establishment.  You will truly appreciate your success once this experience encourages you to reflect on your career.  Mentoring can give you the opportunity to share your mistakes with the next generation so they learn from the past and prepare for a brighter future.  Mentees can also support mentors’ professional development with resources and connections to new contacts.

Mentorship is not only valuable in business, but also in the community, schools, faith-based communities and online.  Prepare to be a committed mentor and help enhance a young professional’s life and maximize their potential.  Here are a few organizations that help connect mentors to students and professionals who are ready to learn:

UCF Alumni Mentoring

Mentoring USA

Million Women Mentors

I appreciate everything that my mentors have done for me and the high standards that they have set for themselves as role models.  I have enjoyed watching my mentees mature into driven professionals and passing on the knowledge I have taught them.  Both of these experiences were rewarding and helped me mature as a leader, and learn more about myself.


The Power of the Right Advocate

June 22, 2015

by Vianka McConville

For years, music artists have cried out against piracy without much change in music streaming services.  Sure, lawsuits with a hefty price tag may have yielded results, but they lacked in sweeping reform.

Then came Taylor Swift.

Swift has singlehandedly pressured music streaming services to change policies that leave the artist out of luck when payday rolls around.  Most recently, Apple bends the knee and will pay royalties to artists during a free trial of Apple Music.  The company took one day to reverse its policy.  No lawsuits needed.

Taylor Swift Twitter

With such power to enact change, Swift has become an effective advocate for artists.  So much so, Mashable’s Seth Fiegerman sends a playful tweet to recruit her for another cause.

Seth Fiegerman

This is a lesson for all of us.  When a passionate person is armed with a well-crafted and heartfelt message, people listen.


Second Chances

June 18, 2015

by Roger Pynn

We talked last week about NBC Nightly News Anchor Brian Williams’ fate and today we learn that the network has seen what most observers said … he is damaged goods.  But the network has done what I had hoped.  They found a way to give him a second chance.

There’s a great deal of difference between a malicious act and a mistake.  Let’s wish him well.  MSNBC certainly needs help and if he can avoid mixing dreams and news, he could be just what the doctor ordered.


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