Monday, May 9, 2011

4 PR Tips from Andrea Harp

Through PRSSA, I recently job shadowed Andrea Harp, Social Media and Marketing Coordinator at Ozarks Community Hospital. It was a fun experience. I was so thankful that Andrea took time out of her busy schedule to let me get to know her better and learn more about PR in the real world.

I thought I would share with you 4 of my favorite tips she gave me:

1. Never Underestimate the Power of Tagging:
Andrea manages the blog, and she said that since OCH started using social media, they now come up before Cox Hospital (a super large hospital in Springfield) in the Google search engine. She said to tag every blog post well because it truly increases your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and therefore your online presence and traffic.

2. Introduce Yourself to Your Co-workers as a New Employee:
As a PR professional, it is important to get to know your co-workers in all departments right away. Don't be afraid to go around and introduce yourself. To quote Andrea, "everybody poops", so don't let titles intimidate you. Knowing your co-workers on a personal level helps you professionally especially if you need their cooperation to generate social media content like for a blog.


3. Be Aware of Rules in Your Industry:
Andrea works in a for-profit hospital and health care provider. Because of this, there is a lot of red tape and procedures she must take to follow the law. For example, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) restricts release of patient permission. Everything is confidential. They must not even email about a patient's condition because the lack of security. In order for Andrea to gather patient testimonials, she has to ask for permission in advance, so it is not harassing the patient. Also, they have to be careful that no patients are accidentally photographed when taking pictures. These are some of the rules for the health industry, but every industry has their own set of rules, and it important to know them.


4. Ask People How They Want to Contribute:
When Andrea came on, she introduced herself to her co-workers asked them if there was a specific way they would like to contribute to social media content. For example, some of the doctors like to write blogs for Andrea, while others are comfortable talking with reporters, and other go on camera for YouTube videos. By getting others in the organizations involved, it gives the community an expert and takes pressure off you.

I had a fabulous time chatting with Andrea and her boss Carrie. Everyone at OCH was so friendly. I highly recommending shadowing someone with a job your would like to have one day. For me, it only solidified my passion for PR and social media!

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  1. I'm loving your blog! It's great you got to shadow Andrea, she's a good person to learn from - we went to college together.
    Good luck in your future PR career!

  2. @Katyal: Thanks so much! I really enjoyed getting to know Andrea through job shadowing, and I hope to get to know her better around Springfield as well. :)