By Michaela Shaffer
John Maroon, founder of Maroon PR, which will celebrate its tenth anniversary in 2016, spoke to an audience of about 50 public relations professionals and students on Feb. 10 at York College. Maroon talked about the evolution of PR and how technology has changed the public relations game. Maroon was the director of public relations for the Baltimore Orioles on Sept. 6, 1995 when Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig’s Major League Baseball record of 2,130 consecutive games played.
The York College Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) cohosted the event with their parent chapter (PRSA).
Because of people’s hunger for digital media, good public relations are more crucial than ever. “There is no time to react to things anymore,” Maroon said, concerning whether Cal Ripken breaking the consecutive games played record today would be as special as it was in 1995. Maroon stressed the importance of being smart when it comes to posting on social media. “It is more about quality. Quality over quantity,” he said.
Maroon also suggested that in order to successfully use social media, it is vital to monitor and be reactive to customers’ comments, both the positive and the negative.
Despite the changes to public relations and related industries over the past few decades, the core values are the same according to Maroon. Writing and pitching skills are still important, as is a positive reputation, which is arguably one of the most important values across occupations. A person’s ethics are an integral part of retaining a positive reputation. “You should always stand up for what you believe in,” Maroon said.
Guests found Maroon’s speech and advice to be extremely relevant regardless of their level of experience.
“John really knows his audience. He gave advice for the students in the room as well as the professionals. It’s easy to see why he was so successful after baseball,” said YCP alumni and PRSA member Justin Walker.
Public relations major Megan Cirocco thought that Maroon told amazing stories and gave great advice. “Hearing what he had to say was exactly what I needed as reassurance about my career choice,” said Cirocco.
Sophomore Haley Keller said, “It was a really great way for me to learn more about my major from someone with so much experience in the field.”
Josh Newman, one of the event’s co-chairs, said, “Mr. Maroon did a great job engaging the audience and keeping everyone’s attention. It’s always exciting to get the opportunity to hear from a professional in the PR world, especially one as successful as John Maroon.”
Even though Newman is scheduled to graduate this semester, he already is planning to attend next year’s event along with many of his fellow students. “It’s not every day you get the chance to pick the brain of such as successful PR professional,” said Newman.
Featured photograph: by PRSA Central PA Chapter.