All posts by Sherri Haymond

Dear Oprah (Part 6)…

Oprah Winfrey, Duke  Universitys 157th Commencement CeremonyDear Oprah,

I remember watching you after school every day beginning in 5th grade. i remember that day in 1986 (when i was in 7th grade) when you came out in that black turtleneck and tight jeans wheeling a huge wagon of fat (67 lbs) behind you. I remember being so grossed out by the fat (and so impressed with your accomplishment and how much emphasis you’ve put on dieting – yo-yo in your case – from then on) that I developed a very strange relationship with food. One that i don’t think I’ll ever be able to change. Because every time I look at a Snickers bar, a bacon cheeseburger or anything with white flour, I think of that wagon of fat and how you gained back all the weight – several times over – whenever you were “off” your diet. So, Oprah, thanks for inspiring me to be on a diet forever. every. single. day. of. my. life.


Bringing Back CB Slang: A short history of “What’s Your Twenty?” (and why you should care)

What’s your 20? I’m sure you’ve heard it a thousand times before – if you’re in the entertainment biz, you likely say it all the time – and if not, well, I bet you’re jealous of those of us who do. (In that “I want to feel like I’m on the Dukes of Hazzard!” sort of way….). It’s a cool phrase that’s part of American English and the name of my walkie-talkie rental company.   When I was researching its cultural history, I discovered a really interesting parallel between the language and traditions that grew out of CB radio culture and those that we are creating now as we navigate social media’s explosion.  While platforms change, our culture’s tendency to [r]evolve following the introduction of each new technology remains the same and is limited only by technology itself. Continue reading

Be Your Own Flack (“B.Y.O.F.”): So what is PR, anyway?

Before I started my business, I thought PR was about getting press.  Period.  A bunch of my friends are entrepreneurs, and they hire PR agencies to convince journalists and bloggers to write about them, TV shows to feature them, and twitterers to tweet about them.  Some of these friends have entirely separate crews to handle their publicity (but isn’t that part of the whole PR thing?).  So I sat down and asked some of my most successful small-biz owner friends what they pay for these services.  And I about died.  Since I’m running a start-up, my PR budget is exactly zero.  As I mentioned in my first post, it was about then I decided I’d do this PR thing myself.

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What’s a Girl Like Me Doing Writing for a Blog Like This?

I’m sure all many of you are asking just that question—a former lawyer, banker, and hedge fund analyst who’s now running her own walkie-talkie rental company—what in the world is she doing writing for a PR blog?
Just a short while ago, when I decided to work on What’s Your Twenty, Inc. <> full-time, I realized I was taking on a massive task—our walkie rental biz was primarily servicing the production industry, where my husband and our other partner have been producing for 10+ years. They already had their network. I decided I wanted to expand our clientele beyond production, into special events, meetings, fashion shows, trade shows, conventions, catering (colloquially, “events”), and anything else I could think of. I wanted to be huge. And quick. But I had a law and finance background. How in the world would I break into the events space? Let alone quickly? I first took stock of my local competitors—some are fairly large, but none are “branded.” They’re not involved in social media, they don’t have interactive websites, they don’t blog. I recognized a huge opportunity.
Enter my friend Stephanie Smirnov <>.
She’s the president at a really well-respected, top-tier PR firm in NYC. I think we got to know each other through common Twitter mom
friends (since we’re both moms to boys and we both work, we had a lot in common from the get-go). I started reading Stephanie’s blog
<>—a perfect entree into the PR world since she writes not only about PR, but also about mom stuff, popular
culture, etc.—I’d ease my way in. I liked what I saw. And so I started to follow some of the PR folks that Stephanie was following. One of those people was our own @PRCog.
But let’s back up for a moment. Around this time I began to realize that I’ve always been interested in public relations. I’ve been doing
my own personal PR since elementary school! (Get good grades and everyone thinks you’re a goodie two-shoes . . . you get where I’m going
with this). My job as my own personal PR manager became much more difficult (and ridiculously more important) in the highly political
worlds of law firm and i-banker life—you spend a large part of your day at jobs like that managing your reputation. You check and double
check the tone, substance, and syntax of your emails; you make sure not to make the “cc” instead of “bcc” mistake; you “pitch” to get on the
best deals for the best clients with the best colleagues; you manage your online reputation to make sure no incriminating pictures or stories or mentions ever pop up when someone Googles you; you network with the right people so that eventually you can get out of the job you’re trying so hard to keep but that you never really loved in the first place. Geez—I’d been doing this all along! And perhaps not everyone does . . . but I strongly believe that everyone should.
What’s Your Twenty is a start-up—I had exactly zero marketing dollars to spend, let alone money to hire a PR firm to help me launch my “brand.” So I decided I’d take on the task myself. I started chatting with @PRCog, continuing my conversations with Stephanie and many of the great flacks she’s introduced me to, and heard about this event called Masquertweet. For those of you who don’t already know, @PRCog is a real person who’s completely anonymous on Twitter. So he and a few other flacks put together a tweet-up for [mainly] PR folks where everyone was invited to wear a mask—sort of showing support for Cog’s [literally] masked identity. This was an incredible networking opportunity (and to boot, there was a charity tie-in with 12for12k <>, which I always love), and so I went. All. By. Myself. [Note—Stephanie was awesome and introduced me to a bunch of amazing people before via Twitter, all of whom I’m now friends with IRL!]
It was at Masquertweet that I met many of the authors who write on this very blog. After the event, I started to read many of their blogs, and to read blogs written by other PR superstars who were recommended to me. I started to learn the lingo. I started to read articles. And I started to tweet about my PR studies with the original members of the PRBreakfastclub. I’m learning as I go—but already, I’m finding success (more about that coming soon—but suffice it to say, I’ve already gotten myself press!). And in my articles each week, I’ll try the best I can to teach you how to do PR for your own small business, too. You’re gonna love it.

I’m sure all many of you are asking just that question—a former lawyer, banker, and hedge fund analyst who’s now running her own walkie-talkie rental company—what in the world is she doing writing for a PR blog?

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