The Take Note campaign, launched in September 2014 by NCRA to support the future of court reporting through national advertising and public relations outreach, closed out its first year with high success marks. According to an annual review provided by BowStern, the Florida-based public relations firms retained by NCRA to develop and run the campaign, more than 260,000 visitors checked out the crTakeNote website in its first year. In addition, nearly 6,500 leads were garnered through the site and shared with court reporting schools for follow up.
The campaign was developed based on an independently commissioned study of the court reporting profession by research firm Ducker Worldwide. The study found that while the current supply and demand for court reporters is balanced, between now and 2019, the need for working court reporters will translate to some 5,500 jobs available in the United States due in large part to today’s working professionals reaching retirement age.
Though the campaign was run on a nationwide scale, California, New York, Texas, and Illinois, those states determined by the Ducker report as having the greatest need for court reporters in the near future, were heavily targeted by BowStern throughout the campaign’s first year. According to the public relations firm, those specific efforts included media outreach and advertising. Leads were also generated from New Jersey, Florida, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Georgia, and Arizona.
During the campaign’s first year, BowStern also communicated with more than 3,500 of the generated leads via email and text campaigns to further promote the court reporting profession. Other efforts included paid media spots, Facebook ads, and Google adwords. Online banner ads promoting the profession were also placed on the employment website Monster.com.
“The Take Note campaign has proven to be a success. We are in a position to go into the marketplace with a strategy in play that is positive and offers an area of growth and innovation,” said NCRA Immediate Past President Sarah E Nageotte, RDR, CRR, CRC, an official court reporter from Jefferson, Ohio. Nageotte was serving as NCRA’s president when the Take Note campaign was first launched.
“In just a few short months following its launch, the campaign took off with positive media hits and countless interview opportunities for the NCRA Board of Directors and members alike,” Nageotte said.
“NCRA’s Take Note campaign has put our timeless profession into the spotlight that it deserves, through exposure in the Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, and the Nightly Business Report, as well as many other media sources in print, radio and online,” said NCRA President Steve Zinone, RPR, an official court reporter from Canadaigua, N.Y. “Also, a big thanks to Nigel Hayes, from the University of Wisconsin too, for putting our timeless profession in a positive light before millions of viewers during last year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament.”
Through the use of edgy designs combined with strategic and targeted marketing efforts, BowStern created and employed messages that playfully suggested the roles and responsibilities of court reporters, as well as the numerous opportunities the career offers. Specifically, the campaign showcased several key career characteristics including job security, earning potential, flexibility of schedule, and the ability to help others.
The campaign also provided NCRA membership, state associations, and court reporting schools with a vast source of resources for use in promoting the profession to the public and to potential students. The resource center, found at crTakeNote.com, continues to provide sample social media posts and icons, template flyers and advertising graphics, how-to promotion guides, and much more. For schools and members alike, crTakeNote.com remains the campaign’s one-stop shop for support materials and more information.
The Take Note resources were also tapped to further promote the profession during NCRA’s 2015 Court Reporting & Captioning Week event. Many of the available resources were downloaded and used by members, state associations, and court reporting schools in efforts to mark the week-long event. Activities supported by these resources included open houses at schools and court reporting firms and participation in local and state career fairs and school counselor events.
“The 2016 National Court Reporting & Captioning Week will also be boosted as the Take Note campaign continues,” Nageotte said. “The hard work has been done for us: presentations prepared, materials created, avenues opened. It is now our turn to take the fruits of the hard work and get out there to our local high schools, community groups, through promotion in news and print media the true value and benefit to being a part of our honored, timeless, and awesome profession.”
Moving into 2016, BowStern will continue to work with NCRA staff to develop toolkits designed to aid schools in identifying and attracting students that have aptitudes ripe for the court reporting and captioning professions. Among the targeted populations segments will include high school students, college students who have determined to follow a different career path, career changers, and armed services veterans.
“I believe the Take Note campaign has given our profession the inspiration to share our stories. We work hard. We provide vital services to so many. We have sat quietly as the guardians of the record. We proudly have been the ears and communication bridge to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. We love our careers. And the Take Note campaign has allowed us to let everyone know who the stenographic court reporter and captioner is,” said Nageotte.
“Best of all, we have been able to let the world know we have jobs. A lot of them. We’re not a dying profession,” she continued. “Stenographic court reporting and captioning isn’t going away. NCRA and individual members are promoting the profession, targeting school counselors, parents, and, most importantly, potential students. The messages are working. They are interested. And the perception of our profession is shifting.”
NCSA launches state Take Note competition for big prizes
The National Committee of State Associations has issued a friendly challenge among state associations and individuals to spread the word about the benefits of a career in court reporting or captioning for the chance to win complimentary registrations to NCRA events or vouchers for continuing education.
The challenge calls on all state associations to join forces with their members to participate in career fairs, provide realtime demonstrations at high schools and guidance counselor meetings, participate in the Veterans History Project, and help celebrate 2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week being held Feb. 14-20.
“NCRA’s Take Note campaign offers an exceptional array of resources designed to help raise awareness about the court reporting and captioning profession,” said NCSA Chair Mary Burzynski, RPR, an official court reporter from Medford, Wis. “All states and members are encouraged to participate in this fun event and help showcase this wonderful profession.”
The competition, which officially launched Oct. 1, runs through Feb. 20, 2016. Anyone participating in a qualifying event during that time period can receive credit for it by documenting their efforts at the NCSA contest site. All entries will automatically be entered into the contest. There is no limit to the number of contest entries states can have.
“We encourage those participating in this effort to share with other states their ideas and activities that have worked well in helping to promote the profession,” Burzynski said. “In addition, those wanting to participate who might have additional questions can contact their regional representative directly or reach to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.”
Participants are also encouraged to post pictures of presentations on their state association’s website and social media pages, as well as tweet using the hashtag #crTakeNote. In addition, please contact NCRA’s Assistant Director of Communications Annemarie Roketenetz at email@example.com with information about activities for possible inclusion in the JCR Weekly.
The prizes for the competition are tiered. Each entry into the raffle-type competition qualifies for the first, second, and third prizes. Each prize awarded is to be used at the state’s discretion, i.e. registrations for the president/delegate, raffle items/fundraising for future conventions, student gifts, etc. In addition, there is a grand prize for an individual reporter or captioner.
First prize includes two complimentary registrations to the 2016 NCRA Convention & Expo, being held Aug. 4-7, in Chicago, Ill. Second prize includes two complimentary registrations to the 2016 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp being held March 20-23, in Washington, D.C. Participation prizes will also be awarded and will include two NCRA $50 vouchers/credits.
In addition, the individual reporter or captioner who participates in the greatest number of school, career day, guidance counselor convention presentations, VHP Days, and/or 2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week events will win a grand prize of a complimentary registration to the 2016 NCRA Convention & Expo.
“This is a win/win effort for both the profession and those who participate. The public is afforded a firsthand look at the importance of what we do while the winners of this competition will enjoy some really great prizes,” Burzynski said.
Text for Tuition contest success
In April 2015, NCRA along with BowStern hosted a Text for Tuition contest as part of its Take Note campaign. The friendly competition pitted high school students against a court reporter at Orleans Technical College in Philadelphia, Pa., and drew the attention of the local CBS affiliate. Contest winner Ryan Hettle, a 16-year-old student, won the event and earned a $1,000 scholarship to court reporting school.
“This was a perfect fit for our program and perfect fit for the high school students to come in and witness what it’s like to write for a living,” said Bruce Wartman, the technology education director for Orleans Technical College. “They now have a greater appreciation for the necessity of proper punctuation, proper capitalization, and sentence structure, and basically the editing process when they’re creating a transcript.”
In addition, Wartman saw value in the competition for the court reporting students at Orleans Technical College as well. “For our students, it highlighted what they’re learning as a court reporter even more because they see how important it is in the real world; they see the importance of accuracy … Mistakes change the meaning,” Wartman said.
This scholarship contest was the first of its kind, but Wartman said the event could be replicated with the same success at other schools. “I think this could be repeated at other schools just to create greater awareness of the importance and the need for this field,” he said. “Young people text just as a natural form of communication. They’re not really thinking about, There could be a career option with this type of writing. Engaging the younger demographic is important because it opens up their minds to a career they may not even know exists.”
As a result of the contest’s success, BowStern has created a Text for Tuition webinar available to NCRA members, state associations, and court reporting schools that provides a step-by-step guide to hosting a similar event.
Take Note campaign earns awards
NCRA’s Take Note campaign has proven successful in winning awards as well, including the following recognitions:
- The Florida Public Relations Association recognized the Take Note campaign with the Award of Distinction and the Judge’s Award in recognition of its raising the public’s awareness of the court reporting profession on a national level.
- The Capital Chapter of the FPRA awarded NCRA’s Take Note campaign first in the public relations division of its annual Image Awards. The public relations award considers how a program has improved an organization’s image in the community, informed and educated the public about an issue, created a public image for an organization, and successfully worked to inform or influence target markets audiences through the use of the news.
- The Take Note campaign placed first in all four areas of the division, also being recognized for helping to ensure that future court proceedings have the most accurate transcripts available, and for improving individual lives by reducing the amount of personal student debt, and national debt, by offering affordable education opportunities.
- The campaign earned a 2015 Power of A Silver Award by the American Society of Association Executives for providing high school students and their parents and guidance counselors with education about the role of court reporters, as well as career benefits.
Video sponsored by NCRF launched to support Take Note campaign
Just in time for 2015 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, NCRA announced a new 30-second video to the cache of resources already available to support the Take Note campaign. The trendy and edgy animated video was funded by NCRF and is available for download at the NCRA.org and crTakeNote.com websites.
In addition to a generic version, a second version of the video allows schools to customize the last frame by inserting their name and location. The video was shared with hundreds of potential new court reporting students throughout the nation during Court Reporting & Captioning Week.
The video is still available for downloading at the Take Note website for use by NCRA members, state associations and others.