In September 2011, I embarked on my solo public relations pro journey. Although, it wasn’t necessarily on my terms, I always dreamed of being my own boss. When the opportunity did arise, I was excited and eager to take on the solo PR world. It’s been nearly two years now, so how do I feel? It’s hard to put into one or two words. Continue reading
We have all seen a campaign launched for a competitor that is just brilliant and out of the box creative. You beat yourself up about why you didn’t think of that first or what you will say to your client or boss when the campaign is mentioned. You start racking your brain trying to think of what you can come up with to top it…and you can’t come up with anything.
With multiple clients all wanting the next greatest PR strategy, it is hard to keep the creative juices flowing. Creativity doesn’t happen on demand and it usually happens in strange places, such as the shower or at the dry cleaners, when your mind is elsewhere. Continue reading
Veronica Wei Sopher brought up a great ethical and business question on Facebook the other day. Simply: Do you accept Facebook requests from clients?
Interesting question, right?
As I contemplated that question, I started thinking about my personal stance on that issue. By nature of being a solo consultant, I tend to view this issue a bit differently than I would if I were working for a large agency. After all, the client is really buying “me”–not ACH Communications (or any other brand name). So, when a client buys you–it usually means 1) They feel you know your stuff, and 2) They believe you’re easy to work with and like you (and not always in that order). So, for me, the “friend” issue is pretty darn important. And, I actually put a lot of time and effort into breaking down the barriers with my clients. Continue reading
We’ve had it on our calendars for months. March 10-15, Austin, TX. South by Southwest.
Maybe you have a client making an announcement there. Maybe a new, young startup out to change the world. Maybe you represent a global brand rolling into town with a caravan. As a communications pro, you have a game plan. You’ve got your metrics and deliverables all set. It’s time to put those away for a minute.
It’s time to figure out how you’re going to be a part of the amoeba-like mass that manages to keep in a constant state of motion. How do you, as a PR/communications counselor extract personal and professional value from an event such as SXSW?
Meeting in meat space
I can’t stress enough just how important relationships are. Even in today’s world of perpetual connectivity, it can be difficult to foster and grow a relationship without being present. Without being part of the conversations that happen in the real world. Without interaction. That’s why in order for you to extract value from SXSW, you need to embrace the subtitle of the conference: Interactive.
Set up coffees/happy hours/brunches with the folks that will be there that are outside your core list of media. Recognize other influencers such as the corporate bloggers of your company’s customers or analysts that tend to create more real-time content.
It’s really hard to be a part of the mix from our offices. It’s difficult to maintain the currency of the PR industry — relationships — when the majority of people that we interact with are based at least two states away. There is inherent value to meeting with somebody in person.
Disconnect and connect
As you look at the events that your clients want to be a part of beyond SXSW, keep a part of your planning dedicated to “how can I serve my clients aside from hosting meetings?”
You’re going to recap the event. Why not add a little color to it? If you’re at a tradeshow, fire up the video recorder of choice and take a tour of the show floor. Set up a Tumblr, Posterous account or posts for your company or agency’s blog to document the event in real time. I also like to take pictures at the events I go to.
Conversations go both ways
Do you follow folks on Twitter? Do you subscribe to their RSS? Maybe it’s as easy as having a two-sentence “nice to meet you” email in your drafts you can send 30 seconds after you connect with somebody. The point is, you just met somebody, foster that relationship. You never know who you’re going to meet.
A community or relationship does not occur spontaneously. They must be curated, maintained and developed. By having a strategy in place of how you as an individual communications counselor can continue to build your own little community after each event, you will see a significant increase in your event ROI.
As we look forward to South by Southwest, community building should be one of the guiding factors of our presence down there. In order to influence the conversation, we must be part of the conversation. We must become influencers ourselves in order to influence the influencers. This is why we go to SXSW.
Why are you going to SXSW?
I have worked for people that have stood on both sides of the issue as to whether or not you should be on the phone while a client does the interview. If the decision has been made that you will be listening in, do you tell the reporter you are on the other line? Do you chime in? Or, do you just pretend you aren’t there and take a back seat? And, what do the reporters think?
There are so many opinions that surround this topic; I thought I would poll the PRBC crew and a couple of reporters to get their thoughts. Continue reading
I had a conversation last week with some really bright folks who run a social media agency in New York that works with several Fortune 500 brands. We got to discussing crisis communications within a real-time setting, and how they could effectively use social media to almost instantly respond to a crisis and mitigate its effects.
Throughout the conversation, we kept coming back to the point that in order to properly handle any type of crisis in real time, no matter what the brand or situation, you need a proper plan in place well before the crisis even hits. Because no matter what type of media you are using to monitor and respond, you always need a plan in place that details exactly how, who and why you will respond and the type of response you will give to different audiences to ensure their concerns are addressed appropriately. Continue reading
It’s been about a month now since I joined Sternberg Strategic Communications and began, in earnest, working toward the career-long goal I have set for myself to “build something great. And in that month’s time, the biggest concept that has stuck out to me is one maybe I should have learned early in my public relations career: this really isn’t about me anymore; it’s about our company and it’s about building our clients’ business.
Throughout every contact I have with clients—whether that be a new business meeting, contract negotiations, day-to-day discussions about project work, etc.—it’s my thoughts, insight and expertise that has a lot to do with the success of a campaign, but ultimately, the only goal I have for myself is to build our client’s business. To “build something great,” and that’s really not about me, or my wants, desires, day-to-day stresses or anxieties. It’s about servicing wants, desires, day-to-day stresses and anxieties of our clients, and providing a value to them far greater than what I hope to receive out of the partnership. Continue reading
Bizarro World can occur at any moment in real life too, and it’s an affliction that especially affects flacks and their clients. Here’s what happens when a flack enters Bizarro World: every single news story, every possible current event starts to look like an angle for you and your pitch. It doesn’t matter how illogical or tenuous; you see your assigned product everywhere, important to everything, and necessary for everybody.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s great to love your client. But pitching in Bizarro World isn’t about being passionate or creative. More often than not, it’s a sign of desperation. And it inevitably leads to failure because a flack who’s been Bizarroed isn’t capable of making informed decisions about angles, pitches, and appropriate targets. Continue reading
I first wrote this post in August, just before we started PRBC, thinking it would be a nice way to give others a glimpse into my thoughts, particularly since I consider myself a pragmatic practitioner and evangelist for the benefits of social media PR. Enjoy!
A while back, my good friend Lauren Fernandez wrote a great post where she asked the proverbial question: “What does PR mean to you?” Lauren and BethHarte began discussing the true role of PR as we enter the second decade of the 21st Century, and where we all actually stand with clients, or if you’re on the corporate side, with your organization. But it was this question from Lauren that really grabbed my attention: “Do you think clients are ready for PR 2.0?” Continue reading
Please tell me I’m not the only one. You sit at your desk, trying to hold in the giggles from something brilliantly funny that just popped into your head. “I have to tweet that! I’m a genius!” you say. (Ok, that’s a bit far from what I say to myself, but you get the point.)
But wait! My client Scooby Doo Scuba Gear follows me on Twitter . . . Shoot! I can’t tweet that. They will see it. They will think I’m nuts. Continue reading