Intern Insider, 07.19.2013

Summer has flown by since I joined 20K Group as an intern, and my experience here has been nothing short of astounding. Everyday I look forward to working, and there are always new challenges and different tasks to accomplish. One thing that has always stuck with me during my time here is what Courtenay, 20K’s vice president, said on my first day: "We like to think of ourselves as a strategic communications agency with a conscience. There isn't any fluff." There's truth in saying that there's never a typical day in public relations. One day, I'm doing research on “Small Town, Texas,” and the next, I'm filming and editing a video for our blog or creating a media list from scratch. There's variety working in PR, and that's something I will always appreciate about my chosen field. The secrets to getting that awesome internship aren't really secrets. Let's just say it's knowledge often overlooked. First and foremost, dress to impress. The dress code could be business casual, but you should dress as if you were presenting to a client. looking good read more »

Do you know what we love more than this Alot? Correct grammar. (A lot.), 03.07.2013

20K Group has acquired a new addition to our office space – the friendly Alot. He lives in our Lightbulb Lounge and serves as a gentle reminder to the team to be on the lookout for easy-to-miss grammar errors. (For those of you not familiar with the story of the Alot, read about his origins at Hyperbole and Half.)


In addition to not combining words that should remain separate, the Alot also reminds us to drop the Oxford comma in a series, use commas when they are required, avoid ending sentences in prepositions (unless it would sound silly not to) and generally be the grammar cops we were destined to be. We’ve all seen Facebook statuses like this one: read more »

Speak up! On social media, silence is rarely golden., 02.28.2013

In the constant struggle for influence, many brands dream of having their time in the social media spotlight. Two weeks ago, Poland Spring missed a golden opportunity to capitalize on a fortuitous situation with their decision to ignore a place where millions of conversations happen every day. Following President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union address, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio’s sip from a tiny bottle of Poland Spring water turned his Republican rebuttal into an immediate viral storm. The sip seen around the world quickly sparked a #watergate hashtag, a Lil’ John remix and innumerable GIFs. It got our PR brains churning: How was Poland Spring going to respond to one of the greatest spontaneous self-promotion opportunities of all time? read more »

Tips for Keeping Your Reporter Happy, 02.14.2013

Pitch Me Like any long-term relationship, keeping the flame alive between reporters and PR pros takes work, but you’ve probably already read a thousand articles about all of the things that land our industry colleagues in the doghouse. So, this Valentine’s Day we’re doing something different. We’re bringing back that loving feeling between hack and flack. In lieu of flowers and chocolates, and from the bottom of our hearts, we gift you with tips from local journalists Courtney Zavala, Joel Luks and Sabrina Miskelly on pitching your way into their hearts. read more »

Don’t Ignore the Elephant in the Room, 10.21.2011

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons User MG

  During a recent trip, I picked up the book “Switch” by authors Chip and Dan Heath. The book explains that each person has a strong emotional and analytical component. The authors refer to these facets as the elephant and the rider, respectively. According to the book, the elephant and rider must be in tandem to make a change on any level--individual, social, or corporate. I think this method of reflection is pertinent to the work of communications, marketing, and public relations professionals. The take home message for us isn’t necessarily how to make a change, but rather how we can develop compelling examples and materials to demonstrate why our clients are special, and why the public should view their work as such. The best way to represent a client is in a manner that evokes both analytical and emotional rationale when people see, experience, and read about their work. It's true that a strong elephant is quite weak without its rider, and vice versa. However, we should also recognize that an emotional connection (elephant) can be an extremely motivating factor for employees, colleagues, and audiences alike, and we should infuse this bond into our work and support it with research and numbers (rider). *Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Switch, Broadway Books: New York, 2010.  

Managing Your PR Agency (from a pet owner’s perspective), 07.20.2011

1. Feed them. House-train them What that means:  You pay your PR agency to do what you don’t have the time and/or resources to do. They are an extension of your department, so install an open door. Brief them regularly on company results, messages, strategy. Trust them. But also educate them about your corporate culture so that you’re not setting them (and you) up for a misstep should they fail to understand how your company works, what you focus is on. 2. Keep them on a leash. Well, figuratively speaking. That means, communicate. Regular communications will enhance your agency’s ability to spend their hours working on exactly what you want them to. Calendar regular conference calls and meetings and stick to the scheduled times. Be respectful of the fact that your agency has other clients (even though a classy agency won’t remind you of that), so they struggle to manage the hours in the day. 3. Buy the best breed you can afford. read more »

Strength in Others, 09.29.2010

Our Community - Houston’s art scene has long been under-appreciated at the national level, despite the extraordinary breadth of local creative talent and world-class museums.  Aurora Picture Show is one of the local arts groups storming through barriers and helping to put Houston on the art map. Social Media - Still doubt the power of social media? Blogging is, in effect, changing Chinese culture—from politics to communication styles.  As Chinese society becomes more open, it will be fascinating to watch the role social media plays in the transition. read more »

Strength in Others, 09.17.2010

Our Community - The City of Houston issued a challenge to building owners to green their offices and office buildings.  Participants in the challenge will learn about green building practices from some of Houston’s leading sustainability experts, with the goal of increasing the number of LEED certified buildings in the city.  Register online at Social Media - Advertisting Age wonders if the press release’s heyday has come and gone and if corporations will now rely on social media platforms, like Twitter, to communicate.  Simon Dumenco writes, “…BP dutifully issued press releases detailing its well-plugging and clean-up efforts, but it dropped the ball on Twitter, leaving an opening for the parodists of @BPGlobalPR to wreak havoc.” read more »

Strength in Others, 08.26.2010

Our Community - Courtenay recently had the pleasure of speaking on a panel at WordCamp Houston with Marc Cohen of AIDS Foundation Houston and Chris Valdez of Primer Grey. The team discussed the development of the Positive Outlook Blog for youth living with HIV and AIDS. WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg even sat in on the session (hello, nerves!) and posted a photo to his blog! Social Media - From El Profe’s Blog, the five rules of marrying journalism and social media. Our favorite: Journalism first, technology second. read more »