Staying Creative: Input vs. Output

A month ago I was at dinner in New York with Kara, my VP of Marketing. I was relaying how my recent attendance at NATPE to learn more about the state of broadcast, especially as it relates to advertising, had inspired me on many unexpected levels. It provided me with new insights and angles for work, resulted in new industry connections around common interests and it lit a fire to focus back on writing and examining the changing PR industry.

I shared with Kara something I heard my senior year of college while at the University of Oregon. I attended an awards ceremony for Allen Hall Advertising (the J-school’s student-run ad shop) and a former student and AHA member gave a short speech. Something he said was very wise and has stuck with me ever since.

“When you work in any creative industry where you are forced to constantly output it is crucial to have constant input.”

It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day but it’s important we remember to extract ourselves from the bubble once in awhile for fresh insights. I am always more motivated and full of ideas after attending talks, exhibits, conferences, interviews, co-working, etc. I’ve learned it’s optimal if I can keep the input equal with the output. When I don’t is when I start to feel like I’ve run out of steam.

I encouraged Kara to go to more events related to what she’s interested in. Take a day and get some input before the well runs dry (because it does happen and re-filling it is usually sleeping for a weekend and not an adequate replacement.)

Input is crucial. In whatever form it takes for you.

For me, my next major input dose starts later this week with SXSWi. I’ve never been and am beyond excited to go. I’ve already built out my calendar with a lot of attention paid to digital media, advertising, privacy and data.

There are so many people I’m looking forward to connecting with for the first time. I’ll be armed with Twitterberry, Zannel and a Flip so I just might corner you for a convo about PR, advertising, digital media, or the best place to get a drink in Austin.

Look forward to seeing, and meeting, you there. Now go get your input on!

5 Ways to Gain More Value from Your PR Agency

Todd Defren reached out asking if I’d do a guest post for his series on the value of PR Agencies. I was much obliged, especially since SHIFT was my former agency (see note at bottom of post.) You can find the original post here (404′d).


Being a former client of SHIFT’s and a fellow PR blogger, I welcomed the chance to contribute to Todd’s series around the value of PR agencies. The majority of my career was spent in high-tech PR agencies, so having the shoe on the other foot is definitely an enlightening experience. Continue reading

The Slow Build

I’ve had the recent pleasure of hanging with some of my favorite PR pro’s. We’re all cut from the “same PR cloth” and are passionate about re-defining what PR is and how it’s perceived. Also core to these discussions are commiserating over the executives that won’t just let us do our job as it should be done (thankfully not my problem now.) Some are control freaks that can’t extract themselves from marketing details, others think PR is mainly for SEO purposes, there are all kinds. Almost all are guilty for not understanding how you get the most power out of PR. Continue reading

And Now There’s “Social Marketing”

The other night I received an email inviting me to attend a Social Marketing workshop. After reading this email and, no offense to Giovanni as I’m sure attendees will learn a lot, but the first thing I thought was – Social Marketing? Now we’ve got another name in the mix that’s basically a description of what “Public Relations” or “Integrated Communications” is when incorporating social web tactics.

Here’s the email copy:

Continue reading

Things That Make You Go, Hmmmm….

Wow. I guess I’m on a roll. I’m inspired. A lot of thoughts going on in my head right now. I touched down in LA, went home and then…

After the tragic comedy that was the #failedpitch, I had drinks with PR bad ass, Vanessa Camones. As she said over a glass of champagne, “We’re cut from the same PR cloth.” We are in sync that PR as it is known is not PR as it should be done. The name is tainted and, I’m starting to feel, beyond repair.

We commiserated about working with companies and CEO’s that just didn’t get it (thankfully, not my problem now.) How agencies are so thirsty for money during the going-to-get-worse PR recession that they’re under cutting boutiques like the ones she runs. And she knows she can do it better because she “get’s” it and they don’t.

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How Not to Win Business (and Lose Influence with People)

I am currently sitting on a plane flying back from a business trip to NY and was trying to read a magazine but am so bothered by something that occurred last night I had to get out my laptop and write it down so I can move on.

In recent weeks my CEO has forwarded me a couple emails from a guy who runs a PR firm in NY. I would actually really, really love to say exactly who it is but I won’t. He’s been reading about us in the news and is doing what agencies do when companies keep getting larger and larger on their radar, they start trying to work it to win the business. Continue reading

Part II- Tips: Transitioning From Agency to Contract

After I posted the Tips article based on lessons I learned a few more came to mind so I thought I’d share those as well. I appreciate the feedback and encourage anyone with extra insights to please add to the discussion in the comments.

1. Expand your cell plan. When I listed the items you’d need (laptop, internet, database) I left out the most obvious- the cell phone. Get a good plan, negotiate down the rate because you’re going to need those minutes. Continue reading

Tips: Transitioning From Agency to Contract

I figured if I’m encouraging all those new PR Recession-istas to look into consulting, it’s only fair if I share some things I learned during my transition from 7 years at high-tech PR firms to flying solo. A lot of it was fun, some, not so much.

1. Take a serious look at what you excel at and then consider what areas you want to grow. This will help you hone the type of consulting you should focus on. At least at first. I know the breadth of PR I began to do seriously expanded the more experience freelancing. Continue reading

Thoughts on the PR Recession

I just heard of yet another PR agency laying people off and this time it hit very close to home as it impacted a dear friend. Damn economy.

Many of us lived through this before during the bust. It was equally tragic then with some agencies being forced to close up entire offices, not just layoff a percentage of their staff. But, as with the last cycle, we saw that downturns like this always breed innovations and movements that lead to big change. The PR industry is not exempt. Continue reading