PIC Newsletter - July/August 2013
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 Hope you enjoy the latest edition of The Buzz!

A message from the PIC chair, Sharon Aschaiek

Back to school isn't just about kids. The season is a good reminder about the value of ongoing learning - especially for independent communicators who want to stay competitive (and who doesn't?!). 


If you're looking to build the knowledge and skills you need to boost your communications business, a good place to start is Professional Independent Communicators. We're kicking off our 2013-2014 professional development season next month with a not-to-be-missed seminar on how LinkedIn can help you get more work - grab more details further on in this newsletter.

As the LinkedIn event will demonstrate, having an effective public profile is key to getting ahead, and we would like to help you make the most of yours in the PIC newsletter. In each edition, we'll include a profile of a PIC member, and we'd love to tell your story. It's a great way to share news about an exciting project, recent accomplishment, upcoming book, industry award, or any other career highlight you'd like to share. If you'd
like to be featured, send a note to newsletter editor
Sue Horner at sue@getitwrite.ca.

Another way to improve your professional profile is to volunteer, and IABC/Toronto is currently looking for a few good communicators. The chapter needs writers, editors, proofreaders and also story ideas for the
Communicator magazine. Check out the notice in this newsletter. And of course your contributions to PIC are always welcome, too.

Finally, I'd like to introduce you to the new PIC executive for 2013-14:
Sharon Aschaiek, Chair
Sue Horner, Director Communications
Roger Morier, Director Professional Development
Amy Sept, Director Social Media
Elizabeth Trew, Director Membership & Events
Donna Papacosta, Past Chair

Have any feedback about this newsletter? Or any great ideas for PIC initiatives? Feel free to drop a line to Sue at sue@getitwrite.ca or to me at sharon@cocoamedia.ca.

Continued success,
In This Issue
A message from the PIC chair
Next meeting Sept. 11
Join the conversation on LinkedIn
Social media week coming up
Communicator needs volunteers
Your name in virtual lights in L.A.?
Meet Andrew Wright
Explore the PIC blog
Quick Links
Writers needed
Interested in writing occasionally for  PIC or IABC/Toronto's Communicator? We'd love your help. Let us know!
Tidbits of knowledge
Visit the Professional Independent Communicators - Toronto blog for tips on such topics as pricing and running your business, as well as event podcasts.
PIC's Mission and the buzz
PIC's mission is to support independent IABC/Toronto communicators through professional development, networking and marketing.
The buzz is PIC's e-newsletter, intended to inform independent communicators about our activities, share professional development tips from past meetings and keep us aware of what's going on.
PIC 2013-2014 Executive
Contact any of us with questions, comments and ideas for speakers or topics!

Past Chair:
Communications: Membership & Events: Professional Development: Social Media:
Join Our Mailing List!
Next meeting Sept. 11: Get more business with a killer LinkedIn profile

When prospective clients Google you, your LinkedIn site is one of the top hits. LinkedIn members use the site to research people and companies (75.8%), reconnect with past colleagues (70.6%) and build new relationships (45%). This according to a 2013 Powerformula.net LinkedIn user survey.


So how does your LinkedIn profile stack up? On Wednesday, Sept. 11, speaker Leslie Hughes will share with PIC members:

  • How to make the most of your profile in three easy steps
  • The two most important areas you can change immediately to make a killer first impression
  • The 10 biggest mistakes you should never make on LinkedIn.

Speaker: Leslie Hughes is founder and principal of PUNCH!media. Her company specializes in helping marketing and sales managers use LinkedIn and other social media to build relationships, win assignments and increase profits.


For a sneak preview of the talk, listen to past PIC chair Donna Papacosta's interview with Leslie. 


Date & Time: Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013
                     6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Place:           Room 310, Metro Hall, 55 John Street, Toronto
Cost:             $22.00 for members ($24.86 with HST)
                     $32.00 for non-members ($34.16 with HST)
                     (includes wraps, juice, coffee, tea and cookies) 


Please register and pay in advance. Sorry, we can't accept payment at the door.  


Register now


Join the conversation on LinkedIn

While you're updating your LinkedIn profile, don't forget to drop by our IABC independents group (login required).

Recent discussions include whether we should restrict the group to PIC members only or open it up to anyone, and suggestions for health/medical insurance for independents. And check out the photos from the July summer social! 
What's the point of social media? A free session for writers and communicators Sept. 26

If you're unconvinced about the value of social media for your business or unsure how you can use social networks to support your work, this event is for you.


Hosted by PIC in partnership with the Toronto chapter of Professional Writers Association of Canada, Social Media for Freelance Writers and Communicators will offer practical advice for professionals who haven't quite sorted out how social media fits with day-to-day responsibilities.


Learn how your peers use social networking and content creation to get clients, maintain business relationships, find ideas and information sources for projects, and make work easier. Discussion will touch on the uses of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs. You'll also hear about where peers have found good online conversations for freelancers.


The event takes place on Thursday, Sept. 26 from 3 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the Windsor Arms Hotel, 18 St. Thomas St., Toronto. For more information or to pre-register, please visit http://socialmediaweek.org/toronto/events/?id=84723. This event is quickly filling up, so register soon!


This session is sponsored by The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson.

IABC/Toronto Communicator needs you

By Stephanie Engel, VP, Member Communications 

As we kick off a new board year, planning is already underway for Communicator, the magazine IABC/Toronto publishes six times a year for its members. And we need you to help ensure we provide our readers with interesting, well-written, topical articles on public relations and communications.  

We are currently looking for a variety of volunteers to support Communicator, such as writers, editors, great proofreaders or even just idea generators. And we will take as much, or as little, time as you can offer.

If you have a story recommendation, would like to write an article (or two!), or are great at proofing other people's work, then Communicator is looking for you! Please contact Stephanie Engel, VP, Member Communications, at toronto-memcomm@iabc.com to find out how you can get involved with Communicator this year, and help to deliver a great and much-read end product to our members. 
Your name in virtual lights in L.A.?

Our friends at the IABC Pacific Plains regional chapter in Los Angeles have asked if there is someone in our PIC group willing to speak about Twitter at a webinar in mid-October. The webinar will last one hour including Q&A. No travel is required; you would be connected via conference technology that allows images in PDF form. The event date is flexible. They are unable to provide a stipend; however, they offer "visibility of the speaker's brand."

If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Donna Papacosta, who will pass your name along to the Pacific Plains chapter volunteer. Contact Donna at 905-844-7645 or donna@trafcom.com as soon as possible.

Introducing: PIC personalities

Meet Andrew Wright   
We now count more than 160 members in PIC, offering a range of talent from coaching and media relations to video production and writing. Do you know everyone? This new feature will introduce new members and randomly profile existing members.

Andrew WrightWe're starting with a chat with recent new member Andrew Wright of cawcreative. Andrew provides writing and editing services, social media and community management and corporate communications. Reach Andrew at andrew@cawcreative.ca or 647-873-9933.

When did you launch your business?
After operating part-time for the past few years, I made the leap to full-time just over a year ago. It's been a rewarding adventure ever since.


How did it come about?
Going independent was a long-term goal. However, circumstances arose where I had a few ongoing clients and I decided I had to seize the opportunity. It has definitely been a push, but it made me realize very quickly what was possible and what I needed to do.


What's your background?
I have a fairly diverse media background. I devoted most of my career to advertising and commercial television production. I sidelined this with marketing and communications contracts and freelance writing, which have since become my focus. I have training in professional writing and editing, and recently embarked upon a MA program in Professional Communication.


What do you enjoy most about being an indie?
I love the challenge, the constant learning, and directly realizing the rewards of your efforts. Independence attaches new meaning to everything you do and I find myself much more engaged in my work.


What advice would you give someone new to independent life?
Research and planning go a long way, but the best thing for me has been getting out there and getting social. Professional events, workshops and associations are important spaces for learning, networking and developing your business. Despite being independent, you really can't do it alone.


How long have you been a PIC member?
I joined IABC about a year ago and discovered PIC a few months later. It was a pleasant surprise to connect with a welcoming community of professionals following similar paths.


Has PIC helped you so far? How?  
PIC has been fantastic on a number of levels. Meeting and associating with a group of talented experts has been a tremendous resource, especially for a newcomer. PIC's monthly events are always topical and exceptionally informative. I'm always picking up good ideas that feed directly into my business and client work.
Explore the PIC blog

Did you know that PIC maintains an IABC eXchange site, listed upper right as "PIC Toronto blog"? On this site, you'll find resources and information to help you start, run and grow your business.

For example, the section on starting out includes advice on what type of business to launch, naming it, registering it and building a business plan.

While much of the information still applies, some things have changed since PIC members put this resource together. If you find a dead link or inaccurate information, please let us know . If you'd like to volunteer to update specific sections of the blog, let us know that, too!  
PIC is a special interest group of IABC Toronto. As the largest chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators, IABC Toronto provides access to products, services, activities and networking opportunities in Toronto and around the world. IABC helps people and organizations achieve excellence in corporate communications, public relations, employee communication, marketing communication, public affairs and other forms of communication. For more information, visit the IABC website.

Don't forget to connect with us on the web: pictoronto.com


Sue Horner                                                           Heather West   
Director, Communications                                      Copy editor