"Dolly's overjoyed and overwhelmed and over par."

Grand Ole Opry event recap

On September 21st, the Social Media Alliance (SMAC) in a joint effort with the local Lookout Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) held our monthly luncheon at Niko’s Southside Grill in Chattanooga, with guest speakers from the Grand Ole Opry.  Both Dan Rogers, Sr. Marketing Manager and Katrina Maddox, Interactive Marketing Manager presented.  about 70 were in attendance.

We’ve invited and hosted three influential brands to tell their stories and share strategy with SMAC over this past year.  If you listen carefully, one common topic of discussion is that uncovering social media best practices is a learning experience; even to the most experienced marketing and public relations professionals.  Sometimes positive results totally make sense, and sometimes you fail or your expectations come up short.  This is only to prove that we are all in the same boat.  Regardless of budget or resources, there is no substitute for ingenuity, persistence through trial and error and hard work to make your social media efforts successful.  Remember, always have a goal and work towards it.

One specific thing I learned from the Opry’s visit was to uncover and nurture your best external resources.   In many cases, members of the Opry were a big part in amplifying the Opry’s message. What is your best external resource that helps broaden your circle of influence, and how can you encourage those resources to your best advantage?

Members of SMAC and the PRSA at the Grand Ole Opry Luncheon sharing social strategy, on Spetember 21st, 2011 at Niko’s Southside Grill in Chattanooga, TN.

Topic: The Grand Ole Opry Get’s Social

Dan Rogers has worked with the Grand Ole Opry since 1998. In his current role as senior marketing manager, Dan manages the Opry’s advertising, promotion, and interactive initiatives, also working in tandem on publicity efforts with the Opry’s independent PR firm. Dan works with the Opry’s sponsor and media partners, including GAC, Westwood One, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, and 650 AM WSM. Prior to the Opry, Dan wrote about music and entertainment for the Evansville Courier (Evansville, IN) and was a communication instructor for the University of Kentucky community college system. He’s a baseball, football, and live music fan, and enjoys history and politics, as well as reading and writing about all of the above. He would like to be married one day, and hopes to never have a cat.

Katrina Maddox has been with the Grand Ole Opry since 2003. She started as a customer service agent and worked in the call center and Opry Box Office while earning her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Middle Tennessee State University. After graduating, she went on to work as the Marketing and Sales Assistant for the Grand Ole Opry and Gaylord Attractions. Her education combined with her experience in customer service and marketing helped her to become the voice of the Opry’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. Katrina most recently accepted the position of Interactive Marketing Manager, specializing in social media and email marketing. On a personal note, Katrina most loves spending time on the lake and cheering on her favorite NFL team, the Tennessee Titans.

About the Opry:

The Grand Ole Opry is a weekly country music stage concert in Nashville, Tennessee that has presented the biggest stars of that genre since 1925. It is also among the longest-running broadcasts in history since its beginnings as a one-hour radio “barn dance” on WSM-AM. Dedicated to honoring country music and its history, the Opry showcases a mix of legends and contemporary chart-toppers performing country, bluegrass, folk, gospel, and comedic performances and skits. Considered an American icon, it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world and millions of radio and Internet listeners. The Opry, today part of the American landscape, is “the show that made country music famous” and has been called the “home of American music” and “country’s most famous stage.”

In the 1930s, the show began hiring professionals and expanded to four hours; and WSM-AM, broadcasting by then with 50,000 watts, made the program a Saturday night musical tradition in nearly 30 states. In 1939, it debuted nationally on NBC Radio. The Opry moved to a permanent home, the  Ryman Auditorium, in 1943. As it developed in importance, so did the city of Nashville, which became America’s “country music capital”.

Membership in the Opry remains one of country music’s crowning achievements. Such country music legends as Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Roy Acuff, the Carter family, Bill Monroe, Ernest Tubb, Kitty Wells and Minnie Pearl became regulars on the Opry’s stage (although Williams was banned in 1952). In recent decades, the Opry has hosted such contemporary country stars as Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, and the Dixie Chicks (both with their initial bluegrass/cowgirl lineup and their most recent alternative country trio). Since 1974, the show has been broadcast from the Grand Ole Opry House east of downtown Nashville and performances have been sporadically televised in addition to the radio programs.