My reading list is many miles long, but given how many great books are out there, it’s always getting longer as I continue to stumble across new prospects. This Social Media Reading List is one of the culprits adding to that list (but in an absolutely great way).
It’s a good one. Check it out.
My friend Larry Chiang from duck9 mentioned me today in a post he wrote for Found|READ, linking to this blog. I read it, realized that people might actually be visiting my blog as a result, and scurried to put together this post. 🙂
Sometimes it gets so hard to blog regularly, especially if you’re blogging professionally. Many of us are still trying to focus on honing our 9to5 career skills so that we actually HAVE the insight to speak from a position of experience about our professions. One thing I definitely don’t want to be is a lotta talk without anything to back it up.
How does the young professional balance blogging with career growth and maintaining that critical work/life balance? It’s no easy feat, as evidenced by the many young PR bloggers who started out strong and then leveled off in activity when the cubicle came a-callin’.
So I’m giving myself a pep talk, because I do think blogging’s important and I need to get on the ball. Here goes:
Remember that you started blogging because it’s fun! For most of us, blogging is a labor of love. Don’t forget it. If you let blogging become a chore, you’re that less likely to expend your energy doing it.
Don’t overthink. I admit it, I’m a perfectionist. I’ve got so many half-baked posts in my pipeline but finalizing them? A whole ‘nother story. I’m working on it because I know it holds me back. Penelope has some great tips on this.
Get inspired. Read blogs by the people that you admire, and use them as a fount of inspiration. Some of my favorite blog “mentors”? Shel Holtz, Penelope Trunk, Jeremy Pepper, Chris Lynn, Kami Huyse, Todd Defren, and of course, you too Larry.
Now wasn’t that cathartic? I think so. Now time to learn it, love it, live it.
This morning, John Biggs of CrunchGear posted on what PR people can do this Christmas to make him happy. A lot of these tips are just plain common sense that can never be over-repeated, such as:
- Don’t lie
- Don’t waste time
- Know who you’re pitching
The other tips that John includes are just great fodder for how to approach CrunchGear intelligently. This is a must read for all PRs. Let’s give John what he’s wishing for, and hope that his perception of the profession can change from viewing us as largely underhanded Grinches to gracious Santas bearing gifts of interesting products and gadgets he can actually write about. 🙂 Hat tip to Peter Himler at The Flack.
Yesterday while on my nightly run, I tried giving up my usual jogging tunes and replacing them with the Forward podcast, managed by my longtime friend and fellow PR blogger Paull Young. I have to say, tunes were not missed and I thoroughly enjoyed the mental stimulation of the podcast coupled with the energy of the run.
For this edition Paull interviewed Penelope Trunk, author of Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success and a career columnist at Boston Globe and Yahoo Finance. The interview was an incredibly inspirational listen, and provided a great deal of encouragement to us 20-somethings trying to make a living and change the world while we’re at it.
I suggest you listen to the interview for yourself, but Penelope made two particularly important points that I want to highlight:
1. Today’s workplace allows you to prove your worth through your performance and industry insight, not just how many years you’ve been in your business
2. The above is a gift not afforded to our parents or any other past generation
I thought this was important because too few of us realize the power we have in our hands to really showcase our talents in a new and exciting way. We should cherish this privelege. We no longer have to drudge through a career for X number of years trying to catch a break. Now more than ever, we have the ability to become thought leaders by contributing to the knowledge base for our respective professions. How can we do this? It’s as easy as expressing our opinions intelligently and respectfully, whether it be through blogging, internal discussions with our managers and team members, or conversations with others in our profession.
I’m also very interested in updates on Penelope’s upcoming business venture with young career bloggers Ryan Paugh and Ryan Healy, BrazenCareerist.com, which will be a network of bloggers writing about the intersection of work and life. This will be a great resource for those just entering the workforce, and I can’t wait to check it out (the Web site says it is “coming soon”).
Once again, my blogging challenge with adorkable grrl sets the wheels in motion so that Flackette continues to blog, even despite her busy schedule (I know, I know, no excuses!).
This week, the topic is relaxation. I know from reading books on time management and performance that relaxation is extremely important, both to mental health and work performance. In fact, in one my favorite books of that sort, The Now Habit by Neil Fiore, it was said that in contrast to procrastinators, good performers work less hours, take more vacations, and are less stressed than those who work ungodly hours and skip vacation time to keep working. How’s that for incentive to take regular doses of relaxation!
In another sense of the word relaxation, I think that it is important that every PR person have a relaxed outlook when it comes to their job. By relaxed I don’t mean lax, shoddy, or unstructured, but rather I am referring to one’s general attitude about life and PR. The best PR people I’ve ever met are cool-headed, always kind, slow to anger, and hard to fluster. If you are a high strung person, PR is probably not be for you. The best of the best have a way of rolling with the punches and being flexible in almost any situation, in other words: relaxed.
In the personal sense of the word, there are many things I find to be extremely relaxing:
- Spending time with my dearest friends
- Lazing around, watching TV, and napping
- Pedicures, manicures, and any other form of pampering
- A hot cup of herbal tea
- Watching a beautiful sunset
Since this is a holiday weekend for some of us (myself included) I plan on doing at least a few of the above to recoup and relax from what has been a crazy week.
Happy Friday to all!
P.S. Can I just say I am having way too much fun with Blogger’s new tagging widget?
As a result of my blogging challenge with adorkable grrl, I have been given the ultimate motivation to keep up the blogging momentum: competition. I can’t promise that this will be a great post, as I cranked it out last night while somewhat sleep-deprived, but it’s nice to have that fire under the arse to make sure I keep it up (thanks, adorkable grrl!).
Multitasking has become a requisite function of the business world. In job interview prep, it’s a must-have. Unless you can demonstrate your ability to multitask effectively, you may as well be chopped liver to the average employer.
It is humorous to note that despite the high demand for multitasking as a barometer of success, debate abounds on whether or not multitasking is more or less effective than focusing in full force on a single task. Whatever the case, multitasking is a necessary evil for successful business practice, and essential to every PR professional.
There are a number of variables (particularly in agency life) that demand sophisticated multitasking skills in the PR world:
- The number of clients you represent (which can range from one if you are in-house to two to five in an agency)
- Depending on the diversity of your client base, the number of industries you must monitor and keep abreast of on a consistent basis
- The innumerable amount of journalists, bloggers, events, speaking and awards contacts you must maintain consistent relationships with on behalf of your clients
- The necessary reporting tasks that justify your existence to clients, which can range from basic bread and butter coverage reports to metrics such as share of voice to AVE reports
- The need to craft written materials at the drop of a hat that pack a punch, hit all of your clients’ key messages satisfactorily, and are entirely devoid of any grammatical, typographical, and spelling errors
With all that, is it any wonder that PR has been termed one of the most stressful jobs in the US? Here’s some helpful tips that I know have helped me multitask to work smarter, not harder:
- Instant message or use the phone rather than e-mail. The less superfluous junk you can keep out of your inbox, the better! Plus, it is so much easier to quickly explain something in realtime than it is to reply to an e-mail. This definitely helps.
- Try not to touch anything more than once before filing it away. Whether it’s a new client document or notes from your last meeting, it helps to just find a place to file it away immediately so you can a) easily find it again and b) avoid the paper trap. This works great for e-mail too, since an overcrowded inbox makes it very time consuming to locate information quickly.
- Don’t be afraid to use technology to help you keep track of everything that you brain can’t. While all of us would love to believe that our brains have perfect little mental boxes that help us intuitively remember everything we have on our plate, this is delusional thinking at best. Outlook is a wonderful tool for multitasking and time management. I use the task function religiously, which is a great way to keep tabs on both urgent and long-term tasks I need to direct my attention to.
- Spend 15 minutes at the start of your day planning out your tasks and arranging your priorities so you can easily move from one item to the next. This helps gives me direction for the day and once you have a task order set up, it is easy to move from one task to the next fairly seamlessly.
- Most importantly: Be flexible! Don’t get flustered when you are interrupted by other small items that are bound to get wedged into the course of your already perfectly planned out work day. Just take a deep breath, try to stay focused, and above all, don’t panic!
One of the most difficult parts of the PR industry is that a person’s task list is divided up into so many small parts. Switching from pitching various clients to different journalists, focusing on short-term and long-term goals for PR campaigns, and fielding any of the other small requests that filter in through the day is difficult to do seamlessly. The ability to do so is one of the many qualities that mark a truly great PR professional.
If anyone else has some great tips on multitasking, please speak up! I’d love to hear them. I haven’t looked at adorkable grrl’s post yet, but I’m sure she has some great advice to share as well.
First and foremost, it’s Mike Driehorst’s birthday today. If you haven’t read his blog already, do check it out. You’ll enjoy his frank perspective on the PR field.
Second, there is a PR blog I recently came across that I have been enjoying.
PR Rag: All the news that’s fit to spin, is written by John Guilfoil, a fellow PR pro from the Boston area. What I really enjoy about the site is that John focuses on of-the-moment issues and relates them back to the PR field. This gives a great deal of diversity to his postings which can cover anything from the E. coli virus/spinach debacle to the new iPod offerings. You never quite know what to expect, and I like that.
I think the most fun part of the site, however, is the PR store, which features a plethora of souvenirs, including throw pillows, mugs, and a baseball cap that proclaims “PR is for lovers.”
I can definitely imagine the late Strumpette wearing the “Kiss me. I’m PR” Jr. spaghetti tank in two sizes too small while dirty dancing on top of a seedy bar somewhere…
Despite that, the T’s are awfully dang cute and I’m tempted to buy one.
You know what would really be fun? If John had a special segment featuring pics of those wearing the gear. That is something I would definitely enjoy seeing.
I was surprised but intrigued to see this post from PR Squared. Basically, Todd says that while he respects those with APR accreditation, 1) it could stifle PR pros in their practice, and 2) mandatory accreditation could discourage young hopefuls from trying to enter the field of PR.
I typically agree with Todd’s points and think that he has some great insight into the direction of our field. However, this time I tend to side with the pro-APR team.
A while ago I read the original post by Kami Huyse that Todd referenced and found it inspiring. You should give it a read if you haven’t already. I had always assumed that someday I would work towards my APR, and despite the points Todd makes I think it will remain a personal goal of mine. Even if the PRSA’s methodology is somewhat outdated, getting your APR establishes the core principles of PR and also forms good planning habits for campaigns. As Kami has said, it changes your thinking when approaching PR problems, which I can only see as a good thing.
I agree with Todd that mandatory APR would make some balk at entering the profession, but perhaps we want them to. I’d prefer that our profession be viewed as more difficult to enter than too easy. At this point you don’t even need a degree to do PR in some areas of the profession.
That said, I know that those without APR can still do a killer job at PR. As Todd pointed out, his own agency is a testimony to this. But not everyone can work at an agency that commits itself to nurturing an employee’s skill in the field. In fact, I would say many PR people work at companies that don’t care how they execute public relations plans, as long as they get plenty of coverage and make the Big Boss happy. APR certification could help practitioners obtain guidance that they may not have at work.
Plus, if APR can make a great professional even better, I’m definitely interested.
I doubt that when I get my APR someday that my freedom as a practitioner will be stifled in any way. I’m a little too free spirited to define myself by three small letters. I think of PRSA accreditation much in the same way Captain Barbossa views the Pirate’s Code: “the Code is more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules.” 🙂
If you’re still unconvinced, Stuart Bruce got in on the discussion with some great points on the APR dilemma and why it is still important to consider getting accredited.
Don’t jump the APR ship yet, mateys!
A few days ago I stumbled across an interesting post at the bitemarks blog written by Kristin Maverick. Apparently Michael Noer, executive editor at Forbes thinks that career women do not make good marriage candidates, and that men everywhere should beware!
Why? Because, dear reader, “recent studies have found professional women are more likely to get divorced, more likely to cheat, less likely to have children, and, if they do have kids, they are more likely to be unhappy about it.”
Noer implies that women who care about their jobs put career at a higher priority than family, reaping devestating consequences for the husband and children.
It made me think of my own life and how I choose to prioritize my relationships. I remember when I was first starting out as an intern at my current employer. Since I was working for experience and not cash, I went back to my token high school and college job at Peet’s Coffee & Tea and added another job as a hostess for a fancy French restaurant to make ends meet.
My boyfriend absolutely hated it.
I worked nearly every weekend, and when I did have days off I was too tired to be much fun. It was miserable, and when I was bumped up from intern to paid full-timer he happily informed me that I could now quit my other jobs. Which I promptly did. After that, my life went back to the appropriate balance of work and relationship time.
I am very invested in my job and my future career path. I do, however, like most women, make sure that the important relationships in my life take priority over other, more temporal things. The job I have today may not be around in five years, but if all goes according to plan, my relationships will. In fact, I happen to be quite close with a fellow PR practitioner that manages to juggle a high level job with taking care of her young daughter. Aside from being a trusted friend and mentor to me, she is one of the best mothers I know: living proof that it is possible to have a successful professional AND family career.
I agree with Kristin in that Michael’s contentions could apply to either man or woman. A man is just as able as a woman to become a workaholic, if not more prone, and an absent husband is no better than an absent wife.
Forbes apparently realized this as well, since they responded to the article’s highly negative reaction by posting a new article from Senior Editor Elizabeth Corcoran as a counterpoint to Noer’s: “Don’t Marry A Lazy Man.” Corcoran adeptly mends the open sore by discussing the problems that men bring to a marriage, speaking up for career women everywhere, and ending with the following advice:
“So guys, if you’re game for an exciting life, go ahead and marry a professional gal.”
Besides the counter response, Forbes also posted a link on their site for discussion of the two articles. Despite Noer’s distasteful article, I must give kudos to the Forbes team for trying to remove the foot from their mouth and recognizing readers’ concerns.
I know that it’s been an incredibly long time since my last post, but I’ve been busy lately with work, and going on one of my yearly camping trips last week (yearly camping trip #2 is set for September and I can’t wait!).
It seems all too appropriate that on the day I decide to get back on the blogging horse, Mike Driehorst of Mike’s Points writes about juggling the responsibilities of a blog with your professional and personal life. It made me reiterate again to myself exactly why I decided to start blogging in the first place.
I may not post with regularity, and I may not have any profound insight to contribute to the conversation yet. In fact, after such a long absence from the blogosphere my handful of readers may have disappeared into the vapor. (If you haven’t, let me know!)
However, I ultimately started this blog as a learning experience, for practicing my writing skills as well as to learn from those practitioners who dispense PR wisdom through blogging. I have learned so much so quickly since that start that it boggles my mind.
For those of you that still read, thank you, and I hope to be more consistent in posting from now on. If no one reads, well, I’m still learning. And that is what’s important.