Blog Archives

Join me at JRM Comm for a new blog!

Good day, friends! It’s a new year… heck, it’s February already. Last year, though, I re-launched my brand and, with the help of Ashley of Little Leaf Design, have a brand new website. This means I’m going to be posting on the blog at the new site.

So, join me at JRMComms.com/blog, scroll to the bottom of a post and sign up for updates by clicking the “Notify me of new posts by email” box. You’ll be able to get fresh content and more.

My latest post on “Why Understanding the Media Matters Today” is live, NOW. Thanks for your readership and passionate comments here for the last five years. I look forward to the same at the new blog site.

New Blog Series!

I enjoy giving back when I can. So, as we start a new year, it’s time to help those in our great fields of PR, social media and marketing. Starting on Thursday, Jan. 3, I’ll have a five-part blog series on things you can do to improve your career, day-to-day life in the office and at home and much more.

Here’s some background on the series:

New Blog Series

I can’t wait for you to join me weekly here and get your feedback and insights.

The Post-Internship Rules

Summer vacation is over, but it never really started if you had a PR/marketing/social media internship. Even before you packed up your dorm/apartment, you were already working at that internship.

Well, now it’s time to head back to campus and say goodbye your supervisor and co-workers from that agency, firm, or business where you (hopefully) had great learning experience. Wait, did I tell you to say goodbye? Don’t!

Now is THE MOST IMPORTANT TIME of your internship. Why? Because you need to effectively use these last days in helping you move forward for your career. Here are five things that should be part of a Post-Internship Checklist:

  • Check with your internship supervisor regarding work you can use in your portfolio. You may have felt you did a bulk of the work, but review the projects you worked on with your superior(s). See if it is okay to use clients’ names, projects in a portfolio to show potential future employers or internships.
  • Provide tangible results. You may have nailed a number of media placements or garnered new Facebook followers. Use statistics to show the before and after as well as the planning behind it. Potential employers love to see your planning and implementation skills.

    Miranda certainly remembered Andy, right?

  • Ask for a letter of recommendation and to use as a reference NOW. Don’t wait until later when a supervisor MAY not remember who you are. You are on their minds now. Ask if you can call down the road and use them as a reference. Also important: Make sure that you let that reference know you are going to use them. Nothing is more embarrassing than a potential employer calling a reference and they are caught off guard.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile (if you haven’t already). Much like adjusting your resume is number one, taking the time to update LinkedIn should be 1A. It also would be a good idea to take my third point and ask for a LinkedIn recommendation.
  • Make ‘em Smile- I know… students don’t always have a ton of money. Dropping off muffins and coffee is something that isn’t going to break the bank. It also shows you appreciated the time you spent there. Yes, a simple “Thank You” note is also fine. Handwritten, of course.

Think your boss may remember you in a few months? Maybe. But, take the time to make sure they WILL NOT forget. Make certain your most-recent (or first) internship helps lead you to success after you get your degree.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Working with Doubt

“What’s the long face, what’s all the crying for… Didn’t you expect it when you opened your door.” – Bruce Hornsby

I’ve been a solo PR/social media marketing pro for nearly a year now. I chronicled my feelings as a new solo pro in May for Kellye Crane at SoloPRPro.com. It’s been such great ride to help clients shape their vision and put it into action. But I need to admit something and I think it can help you, too.

I doubt myself every single day.

courtesy: Wondering Fair

So, how can a solo- or any PR/SM/Marketing pro, for that matter -actually effectively work for a client to help them solve problems, create plans, and implement a campaign, if they doubt? This answer is simple. It’s the doubt that helps my creative and analytical mind.

If you, or I, thought everything was the best damn idea or plan out there, one of two things would happen: We’d be short of clients or unemployed.

I never want to be the person that just nods his head to every idea. That’s being a “yes man” and you can forget about that ever happening. I would rather jump in with, “I think we need to re-think this because I have a little doubt about it working.” Having some doubt about a specific plan or campaign is welcomed by clients and colleagues. They want your opinions. If you doubt that some figures aren’t right or that a social campaign doesn’t have enough engagement, this is great.

I’ve doubted my own plans and asked for advice from trusted colleagues. Remember, despite this social world of ninjas, Jedis, and gurus, we don’t know everything. Even in running my relatively new business, I’ve had doubts. Will it work? Will people work with me?

Self-doubt is something you can use to fuel your success and help you become the best you can be. Take a moment and focus on what has worked for you in the past. I’m sure you’ll see that you had some doubt surrounding it.

And that isn’t a bad thing.

Monday Minute: Social Strategy

Today’s Minute focuses on strategy and how important it is in our social age. Don’t leave your strategies to chance, focus and plan precisely.

What are some other social strategies you follow? Let me know in the comments.

Monday Minute: Personal Branding

Two words that are certain to generate a reaction are PERSONAL BRANDING. Folks either hate the use of it in talking about YOU or they are very passionate in saying that we DO have a personal brand.

In today’s Minute, I discuss the pros of personal branding.

What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments.

Monday Minute: Redefining PR

Thanks to PRSA for the inspiration for today’s Monday Minute… how we as an industry are changing because of social media.

Here is the story in the New York Times that I referenced. What do you as public relations pros think about PRSA’s efforts here? Let me know in the comments.

Don’t be afraid of PR, embrace it.

The title of this post may seem odd to you. Why, as a public relations pro, would we be afraid of the career we are in? Do we fear the news release? Developing a social media plan?

On Tuesday, the wonderful Sarah Evans spoke to our PRSA chapter (Buffalo-Niagara) on a variety of topics, including best practices on Facebook and blogging, as well as her business. Aside from getting a chance to finally meet Sarah in person, she had so many great insights to offer the group. One of the points she made was this:

Those words in her presentation got me thinking. Are we afraid to try new things for clients and ourselves? If so, why? There is always a small sense doubt when we recommend something, but part of what clients pay us for are our ideas. If we are afraid to bring ideas to the table, our clients will go elsewhere for people that aren’t. That’s a simple fact.

I took that knowledge from Sarah and spoke to a public relations class at Niagara University on Tuesday night. My talk was centered on social media and what it means to our industry and future PR pros.

One of the many things I stressed were understanding your audience and do not limit your boundaries in PR and social media. I told the students that when it comes to your audience, having an idea of what they want and who they are is very important. The more research you do, the better your campaign and your engagement with them will be.

The last point refers back to what Sarah talked about in her talk. If you limit your boundaries, you are boxing yourself in. Think of it like a silo. Do you want your plans to be separated, or do you want them to flow together into one, consistent package? I think you’d want the later.

There is a risk involved in every plan we put together, but the more research we do to limit that risk eliminates the fear of producing a top-notch campaign or event. Remember, don’t fear PR. Embrace what you know and put your campaign on the way to success!

What do you fear in PR? Let me know in the comments section.

My inspiration is YOU!

It’s been over a week since I let go from my job. While it’s not a time where I’ve kicked my heels and celebrated, I have relished the new opportunities that are out there.

While getting ready to work from home yesterday, I saw this Tweet from friend Stephanie Florence (@StephanieFlo):

I didn’t know anything about the post or what it contained. When I clicked to read it, shocked would not even come close to describe my feelings. Sixteen people typed their support, encouragement, and compliments about me. Now, I’ve never been great about receiving praise. I’d rather dole out kudos to others.

The words from Stephanie, Britten Wolf, Jackie LampugnanoJessica MalnikKimberly LucioLauren FernandezLauren GrayLauren NovoMatt CheuvrontMatt LaCassePaula KrigerRachel Esterline, Samantha Ogborn, Valerie Simon, Stephanie Majercik, and Scott Hale were enough to move me to tears. Yup, that’s right… I cried. 

Nowadays, we don’t always meet our friends in person. We meet them through this wonderful social media community. Want to know why I’m so passionate about what social media can do? Because it is inspiring. Those sixteen people listed above inspire me and there are thousands of others that I follow that also drive me to be better and pay it forward much more than I do.

Time and time again, I’ve blogged how the combination of public relations and social media marketing is very powerful. It can change perceptions of brands and help get the word out on blogs, among other great things.

But, we must continue to realize that social media is not to be taken lightly. It’s a tool that can crush people, if not used correctly. In talking to students and current pros, it can’t be stated enough, if you are honest, open and transparent, you will succeed at social media.

And remember this: Don’t focus on networking for just a job… focus on networking for life. Keep in contact with friends, colleagues, former co-workers, people you have met a conferences. They will be your champions when you need them most.

Courtesy: Marvel Studios

I’ll be honest with you… I use to view myself as weak. There was a great line from this summer’s “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Dr. Abraham Erskine is asked by Steve Rogers why he picked someone weak. The doctor replies, “Because a weak man knows the value of strength, the value of power.”

Lately, I feel like I’ve been injected with strength serum. I feel like I can do anything now. It’s not because I’m being cocky. It’s because I respect what many have said and done for me in these last few weeks and even prior to getting let go.

One event doesn’t shape me, but this wonderful social community does. Remember, you will always inspire me.

The Day I Lost My Job

Tuesday, Sept. 5 started off a little different for me. It was my daughter’s first day of kindergarten, so there was a ton of excitement. I hopped in the car after getting her on the bus and headed to work.

I got in the office at 9 a.m., by 9:25, my boss told me I was being let go. So, I grabbed a box, packed up my stuff and around 9:45 a.m., I walked out the door for the last time.

It’s no secret that I have wanted to start my own business for a while now, but I never expected to lose my job before that happened.

The minute I got let go, I thought of Matt Cheuvront, the man behind Life Without Pants and one of the great folks at Proof Branding. Matt wrote a post in early 2010 when he lost his job.

One of the three pieces of wisdom he wrote was:

I’m upset – I’m sitting here, writing this, two hours after being fired. The blogger and writer within said that this is something I need to write about, to vent, for closure, for support, and to look back on later and appreciate that every single thing happens for a reason – that it’s all a part of the journey. But it’s also OK, from time to time, to wear you emotions on your sleeve. You can’t see me right now, which is probably a good thing, but believe me, I’m a little broken down. The battle may have been lost, but not the war, right?

My first hours after losing my job were filled with anger, hope, frustration, and enthusiasm. What am I going to do? How am I going to make ends meet?

Well, first things first. I got home, sat down, and started planning my next steps. I looked at what I had been working on to start my own business eventually. Now, I put those things into serious motion.

If you don’t believe in yourself, you’re destined to fail.

Sure, I had my moments of doubt. Can I do this? Am I good enough? I keep coming back to the belief that I know I can make it on my own. Why shouldn’t hold true to that. Just because I was let go, doesn’t mean I stink. I believe in my skills, my knowledge, and that businesses need a solid communications plan, involving the marriage of social media and public relations.

If you have lost your job, be ticked. It’s fine. But don’t let the anger and frustration consume you. This isn’t the end of your career. It’s the start of a new journey with better results!

How are you moving forward after losing your job. Let me know in the comments!