Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Summer Service

To end the summer, the CPC team spent its Q3 volunteer day at Vogel Alcove, an early childhood education center for homeless children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old, in Dallas. Vogel Alcove is the only comprehensive early childhood education program in the city of Dallas whose primary focus is to provide free childcare and case management for children and their families referred by 21 local emergency shelters, domestic violence shelters, housing programs and organizations that serve homeless families.

We spent the first half of the day sorting clothes in the resource center, which teachers utilize when a child has an accident during the day. Most children are sent to school with an extra pair of clothes, but unfortunately, the kids attending Vogel Alcove don’t have that small luxury. The resource center organizes clothing by gender and age, making it easy for teachers to pick out a clean outfit.

The second half of our day, and my favorite part, was spent in the classrooms interacting with the children. My particular classroom had a birthday that day. Companies or individuals sign up as “Birthday Buddies” and donate cupcakes and a few toys for a child to open on their birthday. Most of the kids have never had a birthday celebration before, so this is a special treat that Vogel Alcove provides.


Watching the kids eat cupcakes, sing “Happy Birthday” and dance to music, you would never know that they are different from other children their age. Even though they don’t have homes or may be recovering from a traumatic life experience, they still deserve every opportunity that children growing up in traditional homes receive. Vogel Alcove works to give them those opportunities by ensuring they are up-to-speed with children their age when entering kindergarten and giving them a safe haven away from the homeless shelters, while their parents obtain resources or look for jobs.

Volunteering with Vogel Alcove was a wonderful experience for our team and we hope to go back soon!

Showing off our hair accessories found in the Vogel Alcove Resource Center. 
This post was contributed by Kathrine Brody. @kabrody


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Professor for a Day

I recently had the opportunity to speak with students in a social media class at the University of Texas at Arlington about finding and engaging your audience using social media. The class was attentive (they live-tweeted! Check out #PREL3320) and asked some great questions about responding to negative posts, what to post, when to post, and they even had some good questions about internships/resumes.

Whether you’re still a student or a seasoned PR pro, we could all use a little social media advice. Here are a few points I made to the class.      

Know your audience. Before you dive-in and adopt every social media tool out there, know who it is you’re trying to reach and adopt one or two platforms that your audience uses most. For example, B2B clients are likely to find their audience and influencers on LinkedIn and Google+, whereas B2C clients might find their audience on Facebook and Instagram.

Set a goal. When launching a client’s social media page, set clear goals and objectives before you make the page “live.” By having clear and measurable goals, you’ll know if you’re on the right track with your messaging and if you are effectively reaching your audience.

Use social media to tell your story. Whether you want to spotlight your corporate culture, recruit new employees, share product news and/or engage in thought leadership, social media can be a great channel to share your message. Just remember the social media “rule of thirds.” One-third of your content should focus on self-promotion, one-third should be spent commenting on trends/news/thought leadership and one-third should be personal interactions online and building your company’s brand. 

Focus on what works best. Visual content is typically the most engaging, so if your audience isn’t resonating with text-heavy messaging or links to events/articles, consider reducing your frequency of those types of posts.

For more on what we discussed, check out the #PREL3320 hashtag on Twitter.

This post was contributed by Krystal Morris. @KrystalNMorris.