District Conference Recap: PR Advanced Powered by Purpose (Boston University 2021)

The much-awaited Boston University PRSSA District Conference dubbed “PR Advanced Powered By Purpose”, was held virtually on Saturday February 20, 2021. With about 50 students in attendance, the conference aimed to bridge the gap between industry professionals and public relations students who wish to pursue successful careers after school.

There were 14 conference speakers drawn from various industries to address a plethora of PR related topics at the day-long event which comprised of breakout and keynote sessions. Participants expressed a lot of enthusiasm and appreciation for the rich knowledge and experience shared by industry communication experts.

Speaking on “The Many Ways to Share Your Mission: Reaching the Right Audiences through PESO”, Denterlein Vice President, Jayda Leder admonished upcoming professionals to critically answer these questions when planning a communication campaign: “Who are you trying to reach?”, “What do you want them to think or do?”, “How can you convince them?”, and “What channels or resources do you have to reach them?”.  

When it comes to identifying your audience, Leder advises that you intentionally tailor your message to each audience. For instance, your message to donors must be different from your message to employees. This is a very significant step to take because ideally you want different audiences to take different actions.

Subsequently, your audience will need to take some form of action. And that’s when Patrick Jackson’s “5 Steps Towards Behavioral Change” comes in handy to guide you on how you can get your audience to think and do what you desire. But ultimately, effective storytelling will enable you to convince them to act. It starts with the first step of storymapping which entails connecting all the different pieces that make up the story.

Finally, choosing the right channels and resources to enable you reach your audience is often fueled by a great understanding of the PESO Marketing model, an acronym for Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned Media. Getting conversant with this model will enhance how you use different vehicles to get different messages to the different audiences you are targeting.

Overall, this virtual conference marked a fantastic start to the PRSSA 2021 District Conference season. To see more on District Conferences, check out some of our preview series here and more information on our website.


Nana Ama Obenewaa Akoto-Boateng

Ama Akoto-Boateng is a graduate student pursuing master’s degree in communication at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. She serves as a PRSSA National Publications Subcommittee member. In her free time, Ama enjoys singing, trying out new recipes, and going on a road trip. She is passionate about visual storytelling, sustainability and public relations, and has been at the forefront of a number of award-winning sustainability initiatives. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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