Qualities of a great publicist

I’ve decided to step back and build. I want to become a better publicist so I am researching the habits of highly effective publicists. I started here. Enjoy!

Qualities of a great PR firm [publicist]
*Organized – A good agency will set and stick to deadlines.  A great agency won’t make you ask about the status of a deliverable – they’ll communicate along the way.

*Stellar media chops – Do they have your key journalists on speed dial?  Are they BFF’s with the influencers in your space?  Often, good agencies do bad work because they are supporting clients where they have no domain expertise.  Ask for relevant account portfolios to ensure that they aren’t learning everything on your dime.  You can save time and money by doing your homework and hiring an agency with prior industry experience.

*Genuine partners – When the going gets tough, are they working late hours alongside you?  Or are they nowhere to be found the night before the tour when a blizzard hits Boston and you need to rebook a full week of meetings?  A
great agency will feel like an extension of your team.  They will have a clear understanding of your topline objectives and they will go the extra mile to get you there because success is shared.  A big win for you is a big win for them.

*Detail oriented – Page numbers on every doc without exceptions.  Reporter phone numbers. Directions to the next meeting.  PR lives and dies by the details.  The difference between a good meeting and a bad meeting is often a well constructed or poorly constructed briefing sheet.  These are typically drafted by interns.  Is someone senior reviewing their work before it gets to your inbox?

*Whip smart – As the client, you’re wearing branded blinders and drinking the Kool-Aid every day. A good agency will flag relevant trends and articles and pull you out of the weeds.

*Proactive – Relevant ed-cals from reach publications?  That new, hot industry
conference?  Beat reporters moving publications? Your agency should be
all over this and you shouldn’t have to ask for it, it should just show up in your inbox.

*Trust – Ultimately, great agency relationships are based on trust.  These are the people who will call the press on your company’s behalf.  They are the front line storytellers for your company’s narrative.  Do you trust them to tell your story? Get key facts and figures right? Accurately represent your position in the market? Save your CEO if a briefing is going completely off the rails? Help you navigate a crisis?  Cover day to day operations if you need to be offline for a day?


The hired stalker

Sometimes, I feel like I am stalking people.

In order to get a story run or even to get a little bit of attention from the media, it really is like you have to stalk them: phone, email, Twitter, email again, LinkedIn, Facebook, phone again. It’s almost a little scary and at times, I’m a little annoyed with myself.

Being new at this, I guess I am standing in my own way by feeling that this is an awkward position to be in because, frankly, this is what PR practitioners do when their client needs (or wants) the attention (side note. It seems that even if the reporter that you want to connect with is a personal contact, you still have to be on their heels to make sure that they are on the story. I guess that’s ok. People have been doing it for a long time and it’s proven effective, a few journalists may be annoyed but it seems that they appreciate the stories as well, especially when they are in a lull. I mean, that’s why advertisers and sponsors pay them, so they can write the stories that will attract the readership of potential clients for the sponsors and advertisers.

With that, I am about to go stalk someone who did not give me his contact information while battling this insane caffeine headache. So many reasons not to drink coffee.

What can I say? Gotta PUSH!


Once again awake: Content Strategy

PR is transforming. Day by day, clients are expecting more from the publicist. One thing that is being requested, is social media management. That’s fine and dandy but you can’t just use words to convey a message to any given audience.

People don’t read, so you can’t expect people to read.

In steps content strategy.

According to Forbes….according to Wikipedia (can’t really use wikipedia as a source so I guess it’s valid through the filter of Forbes? Meh) content strategy is “…the practice of planning the content creation, delivery, and governance. A repeatable system that defines the entire editorial content development process…”

Anyway, I’m not going to dwell on it too much because I am tired….it is late. So here’s a list of books that I will be buying soon to introduce myself to and immerse myself in the world of CS.

Good night, PR mavens!

Code-switching: How to date a publicist

While sitting in front of the bank last week, I received my daily email from Ragan.com alerting me of the top stories when one title caught my eye: How to date a PR professional. Interesting subject matter on a site all about communications. I mean relationships are based on communication but not really this kind. It was an interesting breakdown of four things to consider, in short: our relationships are our top priority, we’re very positive, we know what’s hot and what’s not and we’re incredibly efficient. Obviously more detail was put into it so if you want to read it feel free! The original list actually includes 5 thing and is featured here.

When a friend and I were talking about dating and the reasons we are not in a relationship, she said that I needed someone that would be able to handle my code-switching, as she called it. By this, she was referring to the ability to remain the same person but apply the appropriate personality to the crowd that I am with. So, this makes me sound like I have multiple personality disorder but I assure you that is not what she was getting at.

Considering that PR people have to maintain a million different relationships with a million different kinds of people, they need to be adaptable to different groups, switching interests, conversational styles, vernacular and anything else that can be related to a culture, often times within the same room.

In short, to date me, you have to deal with my mild personality disorder that’s not really a disorder but more of an occupational hazard. Hey, it could be fun! We could jump from crowd to crowd pretending to be different people.

I mean, if you can keep up with the quick changes anyway.


Goals here, there and everywhere!

Though I swore to myself that I would be having a “Goal Setting Party” this weekend, it didn’t happen…..sad story.

As my Saturday night becomes my Sunday morning, let’s talk a little bit about goals then shall we?

1. A Better Relationship With God: If you do not know, I am a Believer in and follower of Christ…..well, as of late, not so much the follower part. Let’s be honest, I have fallen of in a way that I am not proud of. I want to go back. Step one: Open the doors of Communication via Bible reading and prayer. Can’t have a relationship without conversation now can we? Step two: Fellowship and accountability. I’ve always been a member of a church but I don’t think I’ve ever committed to a body of believers. A friend of mine sat in Ben & Jerry’s and spoke a little about this, “We’re made to be with other people….God gave us each other to help out.” These have been things that I’ve always known and even lived by at least in college (trust me, at a Christian college, you understand community. Graduating is a weird thing because you are ripped out of the Christ-loving bubble you were so safe in). It’s time to make some grown-up relationships that are not based on our love for certain subjects or people but Christ’s love.

2. Perpetually clean room: …they say geniuses are messy, I must be a genius. I’ve been finding my messy space to actually be more of a distraction than anything right now. When I was commuting back and forth to school or work, I didn’t spend much time in more room, not as much as I thought I did anyway. Now that I am working from home and taking online courses, it is not only where I sleep, eyes closed for like 5-12 hours with no way of seeing the debris, but it is where I get work done. Step one: CLEAN THE ROOM!!!! This is actually quite hard. It gets a little frustrating when I am doing it. My head begins to feel congested and I simply don’t want to do it!!! But gotta get’er done Step two: always putting things back where they belong when I am through with them. I hear it takes 30 days to create a habit, maybe if I do it long enough, it’ll become my nature to be clean.

3. Read 12 books: This amounts to a book a month. Totally doable! This one isn’t too hard, I guess. Find the book and get to reading. I may have to tweak this one later.

4. Have 3 paying clients at all times: So this one may be a little harder. This one may take a little more planning but I do know that it is a goal. I currently have one and have a meeting on Monday with a potential. I need to start networking again and seeing where the prospects are. The steps to this have yet to be developed as I’ve been moving on dumb luck and not so much skill, I really am looking to the book I am reading for some ideas on better ways to conduct business as a freelancer.

5. Losing weight: My ultimate goal is to be 150 with a current starting weight of….uh, I’ll let the other blog speak to this issue a little more. Step one: change eating habits. I’m currently living on a pescetarian diet for this month to see how I like it and whether I can sustain it. Step two: start with exercising 3 days a week. Gotta love those wee hour workouts; they really do start the day off on an interesting foot!

There are many more goals that I have and I do wish that I’d been able to take the time and map them out over the weekend. I think I’ll make the attempt on Sunday. The way to achieve your goals is to know them and work toward them constantly.

…I don’t really have a kicker for this post. I’m a little tired so it will have to end on a bland note.

Ok bye!


The Big Four: What Wealth Looks Like

I’m back! It’s been a while and I’ve missed you dearly but I’ve been pretty busy between homeschooling the little one, starting the business and grad school. But here I stand……uh, sit on the floor writing to you about this new book that I am reading called The Wealthy Freelancer. It’s actually pretty late and if I plan on getting to the gym in the AM I should probably make this quick.

The part of the book I am at, which is not to far from the front cover, is talking about what it means to be successful and defines it as these four criteria:

1. The projects you want

2. The clients you want

3. The income you want

4. The lifestyle you want

Maybe criteria was not the appropriate word to use. These are more goals that you have in mind, the way that you envision yourself doing business and how these would be defined in your model. I’ve decided that I really need to hash these out. Though I could do it in my handy dandy notebook, I have decided to share my brainstorming of what my wealthy freelancing venture would look like with you. Here we go!

Projects: Well, I’m in PR. I want to be creative. What I would really like to work on are marketing events and press releases to announce new products, people and ventures. I love events and feel that there is nothing better than a well executed event but I also love to write. Though it sometimes feels a little bit tedious gathering the information, the story-telling process is amazing. Obviously for the sake of pitching I should keep my head from going too far into the clouds but this perspective keeps me entertained with what I am trying to do.

Clients: I like to be inspired by people and honestly work off of their zeal for their company. If you love what you do, more likely than not, I will too. I want to work with those that are excited about their ventures and have something awesome to offer. Maybe this is full idealism, but I would like to work with people that understand the time and care it takes to create and conduct a full campaign and that there is a reason I should be paid for what I do. I’ve heard horror stories.

Income: I’m going to be a little vague about this one and not use actual figures for the simply sake of privacy, but I would like to be able to support myself with what I make and be able to save enough for retirement and college for my little one. (I mean, we have 11 years until college…..gotta get a move on)

Lifestyle: I want to be able to homeschool my son and take the time with him that he needs, while being able to go on vacation to Disney World once a year. I want to be able to get my work done in a comfortable place, meet clients at nice locations where I can offer to buy them coffee or croissants (preferably chocolate chip ones) and have good laughs and relationships with them. I want to be able to get things for my family and friends, donate time and other things to charities and enjoy the life that I’ve been given. Maybe have an employee or two to help with certain projects. Another thing that I would really like to do is tuck my son into bed every night. I don’t want to be so overtaken by work, projects and deadlines that I can’t do that. I value the time I have with him. He won’t be 6 forever.

Though these are truly the things that I would look for in a wealthy freelancing career, I am not quite sure if I am finished hashing out what it is I want. I was planning on having a goal setting party all by myself on Saturday where I would name the goals and the steps it would take to achieve them so I guess I’ll add this to my festivities. Woo hop weekend fun!

Good night and happy goal setting!

PR Trends for 2013: Evolving Media & Social Business

Tis the season for changes! Check out the new PR trends for 2013. I’m on board!

Beyond PR

What’s on tap for PR in 2013?  The answers we received when we asked PR pros to complete the sentence “PR is _____”  provided a harbinger of what the industry can expect in the coming year.

The answers were myriad and varied:  Mind share. Cross-channel conversation.  Content that adds value for readers.  Creating understanding in a complex world.  Engaging dialogue.  A connection between a company and its publics.

And all the answers were correct and point to an emerging reality – PR is getting a lot “bigger.”    The scope of the job is greater, the audiences more vast, the information marketplace is more fluid and the integration with other departments more crucial.

To gain a better angle on the trends for 2013, it’s also important to consider the underlying drivers of trends.

Social Business :   There’s no question that changes in the media environment has had an effect not…

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Time is of the essence

My professor assigned this reading. It all makes sense. It’s not really a new lesson but it’s always something to consider with planning. 

Perhaps the greatest single problem that people have today is “time poverty.” Working people have too much to do and too little time for their personal lives. Most people feel overwhelmed with responsibilities and activities, and the harder they work, the further behind they feel. This sense of being on a never-ending treadmill can cause you to fall into the reactive/responsive mode of living. Instead of clearly deciding what you want to do, you continually react to what is happening around you. Pretty soon you lose all sense of control. You feel that your life is running you, rather than you running your life.

On a regular basis, you have to stand back and take stock of yourself and what you’re doing. You have to stop the clock and do some serious thinking about who you are and where you are going. You have to evaluate your activities in the light of what is really important to you. You must master your time rather than becoming a slave to the constant flow of events and demands on your time. And you must organize your life to achieve balance, harmony, and inner peace. Taking action without thinking is the cause of every failure. Your ability to think is the most valuable trait that you possess. If you improve the quality of your thinking, you improve the quality of your life, sometimes immediately.

Time is your most precious resource. It is the most valuable thing you have. It is perishable, it is irreplaceable, and it cannot be saved. It can only be reallocated from activities of lower value to activities of higher value. All work requires time. And time is absolutely essential for the important relationships in your life. The very act of taking a moment to think about your time before you spend it will begin to improve your personal time management immediately.

I used to think that time management was only a business tool, like a calculator or a cellular telephone. It was something that you used so that you could get more done in a shorter period of time and eventually be paid more money. Then I learned that time management is not a peripheral activity or skill. It is the core skill upon which everything else in life depends.

In your work or business life, there are so many demands on your time from other people that very little of your time is yours to use as you choose. However, at home and in your personal life you can exert a tremendous amount of control over how you use your time. And it is in this area that I want to focus.

Personal time management begins with you. It begins with your thinking through what is really important to you in life. And it only makes sense if you organize it around specific things that you want to accomplish. You need to set goals in three major areas of your life. First, you need family and personal goals. These are the reasons why you get up in the morning, why you work hard and upgrade your skills, why you worry about money and sometimes feel frustrated by the demands on your time.

What are your personal and family goals, both tangible and intangible? A tangible family goal could be a bigger house, a better car, a larger television set, a vacation, or anything else that costs money. An intangible goal would be to build a higher quality relationship with your spouse and children, to spend more time with your family going for walks or reading books. Achieving these family and personal goals are the real essence of time management, and its major purpose.

The second area of goals are your business and career goals. These are the “how” goals, the means by which you achieve your personal, “why” goals. How can you achieve the level of income that will enable you to fulfill your family goals? How can you develop the skills and abilities to stay ahead of the curve in your career? Business and career goals are absolutely essential, especially when balanced with family and personal goals.

The third type of goals are your personal development goals. Remember, you can’t achieve much more on the outside than what you have achieved on the inside. Your outer life will be a reflection of your inner life. If you wish to achieve worthwhile things in your personal and your career life, you must become a worthwhile person in your own self-development. You must build yourself if you want to build your life. Perhaps the greatest secret of success is that you can become anything you really want to become to achieve any goal that you really want to achieve. But in order to do it, you must go to work on yourself and never stop.

Once you have a list of your personal and family goals, your business and career goals, and your self-development goals, you can then organize the list by priority. This brings us to the difference between priorities and posteriorities. In order to get your personal time under control, you must decide very clearly upon your priorities. You must decide on the most important things that you could possible be doing to give yourself the same amount of happiness, satisfaction, and joy in life. But at the same time, you must establish posteriorities as well. Just as priorities are things that you do more of and sooner, posteriorities are things that you do less of and later.

The fact is, your calendar is full. You have no spare time. Your time is extremely valuable. Therefore, for you to do anything new, you will have to stop doing something old. In order to get into something, you will have to get out of something else. In order to pick something up, you will have to put something down. Before you make any new commitment of your time, you must firmly decide what activities you are going to discontinue in your personal life. If you want to spend more time with your family, for example, you must decide what activities you currently engage in that are preventing you from doing so.

A principle of time management says that hard time pushes out soft time. This means that hard time, such as working, will push out soft time, such as the time you spend with your family. If you don’t get your work done at the office because you don’t use your time well, you almost invariably have to rob that time from your family. As a result, because your family is important to you, you find yourself in a values conflict. You feel stressed and irritable. You feel a tremendous amount of pressure. You know in your heart that you should be spending more time with the important people in your life, but because you didn’t get your work done, you have to fulfill those responsibilities before you can spend time with your spouse and children.

Think of it this way. Every minute you waste during the waking day is time that your family will ultimately be deprived of. So concentrate on working when you are at work so that you can concentrate on your family when you are at home.

There are three key questions that you can ask yourself continually to keep your personal life in balance. The first question is, “What is really important to me?” Whenever you find yourself with too much to do and too little time, stop and ask yourself, “What is it that is really important for me to do in this situation?” Then, make sure that what you are doing is the answer to that question.

The second question is, “What are my highest value activities?” In your personal life, this means, “What are the things that I do that give me the greatest pleasure and satisfaction? Of all the things that I could be doing at any one time, what are the things that I could do to add the greatest value to my life?”

And the final question for you to ask over and over again is, “What is the most valuable use of my time right now?” Since you can only do one thing at a time, you must constantly organize you life so that you are doing one thing, the most important thing, at every moment. Personal time management enables you to choose what to do first, what to do second, and what not to do at all. It enables you to organize every aspect of your life so that you can get the greatest joy, happiness, and satisfaction out of everything you do.


I’m here for the App, not the ads!

Sitting with my Elle magazine, I come across a word that I am not familiar with while reading an article. As is my custom, I pull out my handy-dandy iPhone and go to my Dictionary.com app (sincerely, my favourite app in the world. I love words!). I begin typing in my query and hit search. As the definition is about to finish loading, a video pops up on my screen. Usually when this happens, there is a little ‘X’ in the corner that I can hit before some advertiser invades my personal space, but this video did not have that option.

Ok, this is a little annoying. I then realize the sound on my phone is switched on so I can, at least, switch it off to avoid the barrage of sound that I know is coming my way. I hit the switch. The sound still comes. The sound still comes?

Confused and annoyed, I sit through an HP commercial for a laptop that I still don’t know the name of because I was trying to avoid the commercial with great earnest. I just wanted the definition of this word.

I truly understand that the developers of free apps need to be paid somehow, so, like many others, I bear the ads that are placed at the top and bottom of my screen. There are times when I will even click on one of these ads to at least see what they are about. Even the video ads that pop up, I will occasionally endure them knowing that I have the option to end it when I realize that the product that they are demonstrating is simply not for me. But to show me and ad that I cannot escape makes me feel invaded, and like the person who felt it was a good idea to molest my screen in such a way does not have respect for my time.

What I pull from this is that these advertisers feel that they have been ignored for too long and would like for their hard work to be seen, even if it is impeding on the viewer’s personal pursuits. If the advertising makes the viewer uncomfortable is it really doing a good job? The point of advertising is to show consumers what they may need and how this company can better improve their lives. well, my life did not feel like it was being made better by this video pop-up intentionally keeping me away from the word that I was trying to define.

Is this a good enough reason not to buy the product that they are selling? Probably not. But if I were in need of a new laptop that I could enjoy in my school library while sliding across tables and handing it to other people (if you saw the ad, you’ll know what I’m talking about) then I would think twice about this model, as their advertisiment annoyed me.