At the Public Relations Organization International (PROI) conference held in Denver last month, I had the opportunity to hear from a panel of in-house, senior-level communications professionals who spoke about what they hope to get out of agency partnerships. Each of the panelists previously worked for creative agencies themselves, providing for unique insight and surprisingly simple answers. Below are the top three things this expert panel asks of agency partners.
As communicators, it’s hard not to have an admiration for one of the toughest PR jobs on earth: The White House Press Secretary. Watching the current White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, bob and weave on a daily basis, got me thinking about this challenging role and one of the most famous press secretaries, C.J. Cregg of the West Wing (I know it was a TV show, but who didn’t love watching her in action?).
It has to be one of the toughest, most stressful communications jobs as every day is a crisis of some sort. According to the International Business Times, the average White House spokesperson stays in the job for two and a half years. President Trump’s first press secretary, Sean Spicer, made infamous on Saturday Night Live, lasted just 182 days.
Whether you’re a recent grad or preparing for a milestone high school reunion – there’s something about the “Back to School” season and quick change of seasons from summer to fall that drums up nostalgia for many people. And while my own children have been back to school for a little bit now, the very recent prospect of new backpacks, fresh notebooks and un-sharpened pencils really brought me back to that annual feeling of the chance for a fresh start.
Early New Year’s Resolutions
I recently read an article in Real Simple that offered “5 Excellent Habits to Start When School Does.” As adults, we often look to New Year’s Resolutions to start something new, but this article got me thinking that Back to School is a good time, too!
Start Assignments Immediately
My favorite tip from this article is to adopt a “read and discuss” policy. How often have you put off a project to the last minute, only to find that it actually would take only a few minutes to finish? I know I’ve done it before, and I love this tip for diving in to understand the components immediately. If it’s easy, just get it done! If it’s going to take a little more time, the “read and discuss” approach allows for some time to ponder the best plan of attack. Read more after the jump…
What are your boundaries when it comes to client culture and the type of clients you would represent? And would you have the courage to maintain those boundaries if the client represented hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual fees? How about millions of dollars?
How much do you care about client culture?
Would you be willing to represent Harvey Weinstein following his rape and harassment allegations? Sitrick and Company does. How about Bill O’Reilly following his sexual harassment claims? N.S. Bienstock Agency did. Would you be willing to create campaigns for the NRA or the anti-gun group Americans for Responsible Solutions? WPP did both… at the same time.
This week one of our account teams held an “Intense Period Debrief” – an opportunity to assess what went well, what could have gone better and what we can do moving forward to learn from experiences once a project is complete. The irony of this particular meeting was that, in taking the time to take a step back, much of what we learned from this particular account was the importance of taking calculated steps back more often.
The marketing world moves fast – new platforms, new products, content trends (this week it’s sarcastic polls on Twitter, FYI), changes in user behavior… the list of things that change actually changes itself quite frequently.
Add aggressive deadlines and high expectations to the list, and we’re frequently working in a world that pushes forward so fast that it’s easy to forget to step back and think strategically once a plan is in place. Ultimately, the best-laid plans don’t mean much if expectations aren’t set, processes aren’t communicated, and those plans don’t evolve based on trends and ongoing data.
Every time I reach for my AP Style Book, I am reminded of a college journalism professor who left her mark on me for a couple of reasons: First, we had weekly quizzes on the AP Style Book, which was a great way to learn and practice the rules. And if you weren’t sure there was a rule, at least we all learned to use the book to see if a rule existed.
Second, she was a stickler for writing in the simplest terms, using concise, action words and cutting out fat from our writing. Following is a list of words or phrases that should be eliminated from our writing, along with a suitable replacement word. Just like Bitly and Tiny URL help us shorten URLs for social media, this list can help tighten all of our writing. What are some of your favorite words or phrases that can be omitted and replaced with a single word?
|In order to||To|
|Very ugly, very fat, very angry||Hideous, obese, furious|
|In the event that||If|
|On account of the fact that
Because of the fact that
Due to the fact that
|In spite of the fact that||Although, though, despite|
|In the absence of||Without|
|In the event that||If|
|A large proportion of||Many|
|In a situation in which||When|
|There is a need for||Must|
|Along the lines of||Like|
|At the present time||Now, currently|
What do you discuss with your TSA agent?
Believe it or not, that’s a question I often ask myself as I approach the gatekeepers of airport security. Is it the weather? Do I venture a joke about the tumultuous sea of humanity I just traversed? Should I preemptively acknowledge the fact that my ID looks like it’s been acid washed (it does)?
Thankfully, that question was answered for me on my latest trip.
“Thank you Officer Mady,” I said to the agent. “Thanks for making sure that doubled-edged knife didn’t make it on my flight.”
You see, someone who works for the Transportation Security Administration within the Charleston International Airport has posted “Great Catch” signs throughout airport security lines — an arena where eyes are prone to wander and likely land on graphic images of weapons.
But instead of simply declaring these items aren’t allowed in your carry-on (duh), beneath the images are stories about how Charleston TSA agents have detected these very items during the course of security screenings.
All of a sudden, Officer Smith and I had something to talk about.
Read more after the jump…
I couldn’t help but feel a little wistful after reading Joanne Ostrow’s article on Arakawa as it seemed clear to me from the article that she is not just ready to retire, but she may be disillusioned with the state of journalism today. If you haven’t read the article, it’s worth a read and you can draw your own conclusions.
It seemed only fitting that Ostrow wrote the piece on Arakawa, as Ostrow had bid farewell in a column less than a year ago to her job at The Denver Post. Ostrow shared her thoughts on a long and productive career reporting about the media for newspapers and magazines, and all the changes she too had seen in the news and entertainment industry.
Newsrooms are much smaller; TV reporters shoot their own stories and regularly report using Facebook Live. Newspapers are a fraction of the size and print reporters are covering more beats and are expected to produce many more stories each day for their online and social media channels.
It took some time, but now the cable sports world is feeling the same pain. According to Sports Illustrated, ESPN, which had roughly 100 million U.S. households paying for cable in 2012, recently laid off more than 100 journalists, including some well-known, on-air talent. A hundred journalists may not sound like a lot, but that’s on top 300 in 2015, and ESPN is now in 12 million fewer U.S. homes.
Facebook Livestream has brought communicators a fabulous storytelling tool for clients. Whether you are looking to cover an event, launch a new product, host a seminar or share news, it is a simple way to engage specific target audiences.
In fact, I recently worked with a local television station partner to amplify messaging for a public education campaign via Facebook Livestream on location and wanted to share a few tips:
• Once you determine a date/time, share that information across your social platforms to help gain an audience; repost it during and after with links to the livestream, as appropriate.
• Scout out a location beforehand and determine connections, best lighting, areas with the least noise/interruptions, etc.
• If you are outside, check on the placement of the sun and shading. Read more after the jump…