Q & A: How to send top PR pros to ‘boot camp’

On Thursday, July 22nd, downtown San Francisco will play host to the PR Summit Boot Camp, a one-day conference focused on cutting-edge ideas and practices for industry professionals. Conceived and planned by Shaun Saunders, founding partner and Principal Urban Culturalist at Graffiti PR, the Summit will cover such enticing topics as ‘Cultivating Evangelists’ and ‘Guerilla PR 101.’ We caught up with Shaun and asked him about the concept and planning of this very cool event.

What is the PR Summit Boot Camp?

The PR Summit Boot Camp is a one-day conference focused on providing up-to-date tools for professionals working in media and those starting to use different media to reach their target audience. The conference addresses the changing media and PR landscape. Industry professionals will provide attendees with the latest case studies, insights, tools, fresh ideas and best practices.

How will the event be structured, and what speakers do you have lined up?

My team and I have curated this conference in a way that addresses the key concerns of our industry. I have taken great care to create panel topics that I feel are relevant to people working in and/or with the media. My goal is that there will be great conversation and a vigorous debate on each topic. I’m sort of hoping for a Lady Gaga-meets-Madonna smackdown. Energy, excitement and of course discourse.

Really, I’ve created this conference with small business owners and startups in mind. I hope it will provide a roadmap to working with the media in a creative and more productive way.

Additionally, we have assembled a vast array of panelists who are gods in their respective industries. Each speaker and panelists will bring forth a very interesting perspective and diverse point-of-view. I am most proud of the diversity of this conference. We have so many great people from so many different backgrounds.

The “boot camp” event format seems increasingly popular these days, especially in SF. What made you go with it?

The PR Summit Boot Camp is the first conference that I have ever produced. When doing my research, the term “boot camp” kept popping up in my google searches. This conference was really created from my own desire to learn more about my profession. My goal has always been to learn more and be proactive in my field. I ask myself critical questions like:

  1. Am I generating a valuable ROI to my clients in my practice?
  2. How can I utilize technology and social media more effectively in my practice?
  3. What are tactics are my colleagues using to be successful in their business?
  4. How can I be more of a resource to my clients and the media in general?

I have also been influenced by my involvement with a conference called Failcon and my continued relationship with Cassie Phillips the producer.

If you had to pick one can’t-miss panel at the event, what would it be?

A highlight of the conference will be a keynote address given by Akilah Bolden-Monifa, who is the Director of Communications for CBS 5, the CW 44cable12 and CBS RADIO. She will discuss how to combine generation 1.0 media with 2.0-plus media to get the word out. Additionally, Dan Martell, Co-Founder of Flowtown will give a talk focused on “Social Media Part II: Monetizing Popularity on Facebook and Twitter.”

What was your favorite event-management tool (if you had one) in the Eventbrite arsenal?

Hands down it would have to be the automation tools that Eventbrite provides. I would have to say though that creating discount codes and managing my contacts are the most valuable event-management tools.

You’re reaching out to a tech-savvy and social media–oriented attendee group. What do you see as the value of a live event for this online crowd?

I feel that the PR Summit Boot Camp Conference offers this tech-savvy audience two ways of participating: in person or online. Additionally, I am very excited to be working with Justin.tv who will be working with us to syndicate the conference online here.