Promoting the profession

Tami SmithAs court reporters and captioners, we can do one important thing to ensure the future growth and success of our profession, and it is relatively simple: Talk about it. You’ve probably heard me say before that NCRA members’ grassroots efforts to talk about what they do for a living is, in my opinion, one of the most effective ways for us to attract fresh talent to the profession.

In this vein of promoting stenographic court reporting to both the public at large and the communities that use our services, I’d like to share with you two of the many initiatives happening at NCRA to spread the word about the profession. Both of these strategies, combined with members’ own grassroots promotional efforts, are already having a significant impact and are showing promise to be even more effective long into the future.

First, I’d like to talk to you about NCRA’s Strategic Alliances Task Force. As I’m sure you can imagine, there are countless associations and organizations that represent the consumers of our services — everything from legal associations representing lawyers, paralegals, court administrators, and others to organizations representing the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities. These captive audiences offer us a targeted way to promote stenographic court reporting, which is why the Strategic Alliances Task Force was formed. This group of NCRA volunteers evaluates these types of organizations and looks for ways to partner with them. Sometimes we attend relevant conventions, and sometimes we offer to contribute articles or presentations if they’re in need of content. The goal of all of this interaction is to let these associations and organizations know that court reporters and captioners bring value to the table.

I’d also like to share with you a relatively new initiative at NCRA regarding our public outreach strategy. Public relations can be effective beyond measure for supplementing paid marketing efforts. Since NCRA doesn’t have a limitless budget for paid advertising, it’s essential for us to spread the word about our association and our profession through more cost-effective channels. Successful public relations efforts result in articles, radio spots, blogs, and television mentions in the editorial — and thus, free of charge — realm.

Thanks to a new public relations initiative at NCRA, we will be more active than ever before when it comes to communicating to the media our activities and contributions to society. Not only will we engage with media across the country for big campaigns such as the upcoming National Court Reporting and Captioning Week (for more information, see NCRA.org/awareness), but we’re also making noise about individual members’ accomplishments as well. Thanks to a new partnership with a Washington, D.C.-area public relations firm to help us distribute releases across the country, we are now able to issue a press release every time a member participates in the Veterans History Project and every time a member receives a RPR certification. That’s right — if you earn your RPR, NCRA will issue a press release on your behalf to the media in your geographical area. There’s no better way to spread the word about court reporters and captioners than to celebrate their successes.

As the strategy evolves, NCRA’s dedicated communications team will expand the press release program to include all of NCRA’s certifications and significant milestones and anniversaries of NCRA members. One small TV announcement or newspaper blurb at a time, members of the public will stop and think, “Hmmm… court reporters. I wonder if that would be a good option for my daughter/sister/cousin/me?” And that, my friends, can be more powerful than any amount of paid advertising.

If you receive an email from the public relations and communications team at NCRA, I encourage you to respond with the simple information they will need to issue a press release on your behalf. In celebrating your accomplishments, we celebrate the profession as a whole. That’s truly believing, dreaming, and inspiring.

About Tami Smith

Tami Smith, RPR, CPE, is NCRA’s current president.

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