Tag Archives: clients

Guest Post: PR Mama’s Words of Wisdom


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I’m frequently asked to advise young people trying to break into the PR agency world. Given the extremely collaborative, service-oriented nature of our business, a high degree of emotional and social intelligence is a true asset for any aspiring agency pro.
Wondering if you’ve got the chops to function in a fast-paced environment where clients call the shots, colleagues test your patience, and elusive media stonewall your pitching attempts? I’ve devised this quick quiz to help assess your agency potential. You can thank me later.
Question #1:  A colleague routinely sends rambling e-mails after 11 PM. S/he is:
Frazzled and in need of a vacation
An insomniac trying the clear out the in-box
A drunken tool
Question #2:  You are presenting as if your life depends on it in a new business meeting. The senior member of the client team has not looked up from his Blackberry once. He is:
Dealing with an urgent media request
Monitoring a brewing customer service issue
An arrogant tool
Question #3: A senior colleague is concerned about the performance of one of your direct reports, frequently peppering your secretary for details on the employee’s comings-and-goings. The colleague is:
Concerned with bothering you with such trivial questions
Fact-finding before coming to you formally
A trouble-making tool
Question #4: You spend four months, much money, and countless man-hours advancing to the final round of a new business pitch. The client calls off the agency search abruptly for budget reasons but promises to be back in touch in the new fiscal year. After several months without word from the client, you read in a trade publication that the business has been awarded to an agency not in the original search. The potential client was:
Directed to appoint the new agency by the recently hired CMO
Forced to make a quick decision without reactivating the RFP process because of urgent communications needs
An inconsiderate tool
Question #5: A member of your client’s advertising team recommends setting up a Twitter account for the brand you both work on to push out marketing messages only, not to interact with Twitter users in a meaningful way. The advertising colleague is:
Attempting to help the client get their feet wet on Twitter without a major time commitment
Cautious about engaging consumers on Twitter before a more formal social media strategy has been approved
A clueless tool
Question #6:  A client calls unexpectedly at 7 PM asking for major rework on a presentation you thought was formally approved in preparation for a meeting with the VP of Marketing the next morning. S/he is:
Responding to last-minute input from the VP of Marketing’s second-in-command
Incorporating trend information s/he thinks will convince the VP to invest incremental dollars in the campaign
A micro-managing tool
Question #7: A subordinate shows up to meetings with you on a regular basis without bringing a pad and pen for note-taking. S/he is:
A prodigy with an unusual ability to retain freakish amounts of information in his/her head
Trying to save trees
A lazy tool
Question #8: The same client who never commits additional funds for big ideas dings your team for not bringing enough “out of the box” thinking to the table. S/he is:
A big thinker who believes the constructive criticism will inspire a fresh burst of creativity from the agency
Challenging the agency to “do more with less”
An unrealistic tool
If you answered “C” to all the questions, you clearly have the kind of emotional intelligence, collaborative spirit, and service orientation that makes a great PR agency professional. As a matter of fact, I might even want to hire you. Good luck on your career path, and don’t let the tools get you down.[Editor’s

[Editor’s Note: After my recent visit over to the PR MAMA blog we’re honored to be graced by the presence of the lovely & talented Stephanie Smirnov.]

I’m frequently asked to advise young people trying to break into the PR agency world. Given the extremely collaborative, service-oriented nature of our business, a high degree of emotional and social intelligence is a true asset for any aspiring agency pro.

Wondering if you’ve got the chops to function in a fast-paced environment where clients call the shots, colleagues test your patience, and elusive media stonewall your pitching attempts? I’ve devised this quick quiz to help assess your agency potential. You can thank me later.

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Am I too emotional for PR


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Ugh, remind me again why I check my blackberry at 10:00 o’clock at night? I know that I am running the risk of encountering a work e-mail, which likely will result in another restless night and a step closer to my bottle of sleeping pills.

But, I did it; I read the e-mail, a very nasty e-mail at that. A segment I pitched for a client went terribly wrong because, as you know, the media has creative license to produce whatever type of story it wants. Sometimes this works in our favor, sometimes it doesn’t.

The client was very unhappy, and boy, did I hear about it! I cried. That’s right, I cried a lot. I know as a publicist, you aren’t supposed to take things personally, but I do.

In fact, I guess you could say I’m an overly sensitive person.

Whether it’s screaming reporters, rude clients, shouting bosses or the general frustration of pitching, as a publicist you are expected to put on your brave face and just grin and bare it.

But at the end of the day, when I’m at home, behind closed doors, that tough façade breaks down. I am left confused, upset and wondering to myself: is a job in public relations right for me?

Granted, on the scale between one and ten (ten being a total emotional wuss), I place myself at a nine. I envy those publicists that aren’t bothered by the stress, the yelling, the segments gone awry.

Here today, I admit that I am affected by those things, and I think that there are others out there like me.

Crying isn’t a popular topic amongst the PR discussion circles. Why? Perhaps it’s because we are embarrassed, or it is the fact that we don’t want our employer (or future employer) to think any less of us. Maybe we are just afraid that others will assume we can’t handle our jobs.

I know it’s easy to tell someone “Hey, just shrug it off,” but that is just another case of easier said than done. I always thought that my emotions would be the downfall of my career, and it has definitely not been an easy battle to fight.

However, I think the fact that I care so much, maybe too much, means that I am a good publicist. If my client isn’t happy, I want to find out why and work towards a resolution.

I want to do the best job I can possibly do. If I accidentally send an e-mail to the wrong person, I get mad at myself and then vow to never make that mistake again. What I’m trying to do is be a better publicist than I was the day before.

This wasn’t meant as a “woe is me” post. My intent was to spark the conversation, to say, “Hey, it’s okay to cry and not be ashamed.” While you may feel humiliated and others see crying as a weakness; just know that you aren’t alone.

No matter how many tissue boxes I go through, I march on. At the end of the day, when I’m sitting behind my closed doors, my eyes filled with tears, I can’t think of another job that is as challenging, as exciting and ultimately as enlightening as public relations.

So, I want to hear your story. Are you an emotional publicist? Do you think that it helps or hinder your ability to do your job?