12 Signs PR Agency Life Isn’t for You

By Julie Wright

1. Month end is just another day to you.



2. You’re happiest doing one thing at a time.



3. You don’t read the by-lines as closely as the articles.


4. You don’t measure your life in 5 minute increments.



5. You come up with song hooks instead of news hooks in the shower.



6. Your only sense of urgency is when the barista takes too long with your latte.



7. You had to Google KPI.



8. You think the work day is 9 to 5.



9. You wouldn’t describe yourself as a people person.



10. You follow the Kardashians more closely than Facebook’s algorithm changes.



11. You fall asleep Sunday nights with no thought to the client projects waiting for you Monday morning.



12. You fall asleep Sunday night.


12 Tips to Network Like a Boss

RB Meme

When I was a bright-eyed 22-year-old college graduate, I emailed my resume to hundreds of companies hoping to break into public relations. I landed a job at the only PR firm that called to interview me because I knew someone who worked there.

Years later when I was freelancing, my network helped me pay the rent. When I moved to San Diego, networking helped me meet new friends. Today, networking and relationship building is more important for me than ever, whether I’m trying to find new client leads or place stories in the media for my clients. As Deirdre Breakenridge has said, “relationship building is my career.”

It’s been one of my goals to get out there and meet new people all while maintaining my existing network. Many of you can relate to the fact that isn’t easy. Despite my bubbly, quirky exterior, I’m an introvert. That statement might surprise many who know me, but I have disciplined myself over the years to get over it. Networking takes time, energy and focus, but it pays off. Here are the tips and tricks I’ve learned to make the process easier and more effective.

1.       Be genuine: Sometimes you can be so overwhelmed or focused on an end goal (i.e, meet two qualified client leads) that you come across as awkward. I find that simply being myself helps mitigate potential awkwardness. Plus, when you’re meeting new people, they want to get a sense of who you really are. Let your light shine!

2.       Focus on image: I like to put on a power suit or dress that makes me feel my most confident. When you look good, you’ll feel and appear more confident. Plus, image really does matter. If your pants are wrinkled and your shirt is stained, people will focus on that instead of your killer business idea or great conversational skills.

3.       Ask questions: People LOVE to talk about themselves. I’ve found that the easiest way to make someone like you is to ask great questions and be genuinely interested in them. Plus, by asking questions, you’ll be guiding the conversation as opposed to talking at your new contact.

4.       Make eye contact and SMILE: This might seem like common sense, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met people who don’t do these two simple things. If your eyes are darting around the room, it tells me that you’re looking for someone more important. If you forget to smile, it says you’d rather be anywhere else. Focus on being present.

5.       Don’t be afraid to go alone: Networking events are intimidating, so people often bring someone else to lean on as a crutch. But having a crutch might prevent you from opening up to new people. I like to go to networking events alone because I never know who I’ll talk to. It makes the possibilities endless.

6.       Always carry business cards: Your kid’s softball game or a friend’s BBQ could unexpectedly turn into a networking opportunity. You never know who you’ll meet.

7.       Be a connector: Do a favor before you ask for one. Connect people who you think will benefit from knowing each other. Share knowledge without expecting anything in return. If you can bring something to the table for a new or existing connection, they’ll likely return the favor.

8.       Know when to gracefully exit the conversation: We’ve all been there before – you’re stuck in a long conversation with someone who isn’t likely to provide value in your network (and vice versa). I like to find a natural pause in the conversation, and then say, “It has been such a pleasure chatting with you. I am going to mingle with more folks around the room, but here’s my card and do keep in touch.” It’s an honest, straightforward approach that doesn’t make you seem rude.

9.       Ask for new contacts: From time to time, I’ll ask people in my network if they know of other people with similar interests who I should meet. Meeting new contacts through mutual connections is much easier than finding them on your own.

10.   Follow up: Don’t let those business cards just sit on your desk. I connect with each new person I meet on LinkedIn and send a personalized, thoughtful email within 24 hours. I like to find a relevant article to share, include some anecdote from our conversation and comment on an aspect of their business. I’ve found most people to be responsive with this approach. Once the new connection responds, I ask them to meet one-on-one for coffee, lunch or drinks. And every once in awhile, I’ll comb through my network to follow up with people. Sometimes that means we schedule an in-person get together, sometimes it’s a phone call to catch up, but most of the time it’s an email or Facebook post. And that’s OK. Just stay in touch however you can.

11.   Network online AND offline: Use LinkedIn and Twitter to meet new people. Is there someone on Twitter in your industry that you admire? Let them know and ask them to coffee. I’ve met many friends and valuable business connections through social media.

12.   Create your own events: If you don’t like going to networking events or want something new to augment the events you’re already going to, create your own! In 2012, I realized that I knew a lot of powerful women in my industry. I decided to start a monthly dinner club and encouraged these women to invite others into the circle. While it lasted, it was a great success. I usually hosted between 20 – 30 women each month. It was a great way to connect people and meet new contacts myself.

What are your favorite tips for networking? Share them in the comments.

Hat tip to Julie Wright for her constant guidance and tips on my networking journey!

When Bros Pin: How Men Use One of the Web’s Favorite Social Networks


At first glance, it’s obvious why Pinterest is a beloved pastime of the women of the world. You can’t scroll through more than a few pins without seeing tasty baked goods, cute animals, fashion, hair, nails, art projects… you get the idea. I admit that my friends and I have begun multiple conversations with, “guess what I saw on Pinterest?” and that I have a full board dedicated to all arrays of fluffy critters and creatures. I know I’m not alone.

However, despite the fact that roughly 70% of Pinterest users are women, there is a small but mighty faction of guys who are finding their way and making their mark on this visually-driven platform. In a recent Ragan article, Russell Working tells readers of a conference session led by communications consultant Shel Holtz, during which a male attendee told Holtz, “there is nothing for men on Pinterest.” Determined to show the value of the network, Holtz led the man to interesting, guy-friendly content in seconds… and another devotee was born.

Men often shy away from Pinterest, but once they take a moment to tailor content to what appeals to them, they’re not just prolific users, they also tend to be more productive – driving results and traffic – from a commercial and communication POV.

How Guys Use Pinterest

While women tend to use Pinterest to get inspired and fuel creativity, guys are more likely to pin with intention, explains social media expert Jay Baer. In summarizing The Social Habit’s “Pinterest Users in America” report, Baer says, “men… use Pinterest like a visual bookmarking tool,” focusing on items they want (to track and catalog) or own (to showcase).

However, inspiration isn’t out the window in any sense. From DIY projects and snack recipes to fitness tips and travel articles and photography, there is a veritable world of manly content to enjoy on Pinterest. It’s also great for planning – men can create a communal board and plan a trip with friends or convene with siblings over the perfect holiday presents. A friend of mine and her fiancé used Pinterest to plan their honeymoon.

… And What That Means for Communication Pros

Whether you run a brand with a male-centric focus or are a professional trying to distribute your business ethos to men in a creative way, Pinterest may make a much greater impact than you’d think, Pinterest drives more referral traffic to websites than Reddit, LinkedIn and Twitter combined. It accounts for a quarter of all retail traffic and about 7% of all web traffic – as in all web traffic, ever. Tack on the added bonus that one click on a pin goes straight to the original website, and that’s a goldmine of potential sales for businesses in the retail space. People like fitness trainers, photographers and consultants can easily get eyeballs on their websites (and subsequently, feet in their doors) with a well-placed infographic pulled from their blog or a cool picture cataloging their adventures to exotic lands. For example, travel blogger Gary Arndt, who rules Pinterest with over 45,000 followers, pulls in sponsorships for more trips and more content. Eddie Rosetti, a PR pro by day and hopeful fashion journalist by night, connects with more than 85,000 followers (and catches the eyes of powerhouses like GQ and Banana Republic) by pinning his own styled photos.

Want to meet up with the men of Pinterest? Here’s how:

  • Keep it simple – Make your boards well-organized and intuitive. This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to get carried away with all of the types of content on Pinterest. Dudes will appreciate the inherent browse-ability and make your content a go-to.
  • Keep it fresh – Beyond history enthusiasts, people aren’t going to Pinterest to look at old photos or check out outdated blogs. They want new content, and it’s so easy to put up. You don’t have to spend hours each day on your account, but at least a few new pins a week will hold your fans’ interest – and keep traffic flowing to your external sites.
  • Keep it real – Don’t try too hard to make your content “Pinteresting” – if mason jars and cupcakes shaped like elephants don’t make sense for your brand, don’t do it. Pinners will enjoy a well-executed project or outfit that stays true to who you are far better than something that fits the general Pinterest aesthetic but looks as though it belongs on Pinterest Fail… or worse, makes them say, “huh?”
  • Keep it smart – If you’re showcasing your product, be it a blog or a clothing line, cover all of your bases: 1) Make sure your pins link back to your website 2) Put all of the necessary info in the pin description – great for repins and for SEO 3) Make sure your profile is complete and optimized. Pinterest rolled out new business features and benefits fairly recently, so brush up and take advantage of how they can help you stand out. If you started out as a human user and want to switch over, that’s simple, too.

Men may not dominate Pinterest, but there’s still a great deal of value to be had for brands. Have you had success connecting your brand with pin-loving bros? Tell us about it!

Ideas Worth Spreading: 5 TED Talks to Inspire Your Work & Stir Curiosity


It’s no secret that I love TED Talks. When I’m facing a tough challenge at work or need inspiration, they’re a fantastic resource. I even listen to them in the car on the way to work or on long runs. Here are a few favorites:

Simon Sinek: Start With Why

This TED talk not only changed the way I approach PR and marketing campaigns, but it changed the way I approach life. In this talk, Sinek unveils a simple but powerful model for how leaders inspire action, starting with the question “Why?”

Arianna Huffington: How to Succeed? Get More Sleep

In a world where most people are overworked, overstressed and under-rested – and wear it as badge of honor – Arianna Huffington’s mantra is refreshing. Huffington shares a small idea that can awaken much bigger ones: the power of a good night’s sleep. She believes we can sleep our way to increased productivity and happiness — and smarter decision-making. This is a short talk – only four minutes long and well worth your time.

Seth Godin: How to Get Your Ideas to Spread

This talk is 11 years old but is every bit as relevant today as it was back then. Marketing guru Seth Godin spells out why, when it comes to getting our attention, bad or bizarre ideas are more successful than boring ones.

Madeline Albright: On Being a Woman and a Diplomat

There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help women”

Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright talks bluntly about politics and diplomacy, making the case that women’s issues deserve a place at the center of foreign policy. Far from being a “soft” issue, she says, women’s issues are often the very hardest ones, dealing directly with life and death.

Olivia Fox Cabane: Build Your Personal Charisma

OK, OK – this one isn’t a TED talk. But it’s close! This talk helped me learn a lot about active listening, eye contact, warmth, body language and presence. Olivia Fox Cabine teaches us that charisma isn’t purely innate or magical. Instead, it can be something that one cultivates.