I spent this past Sunday celebrating Mother’s Day with my mom in Tallassee, Ala. That prompted me to think of a few things mom has told me over the years that I now apply to my career in PR. I’m sure your mom told you some of the same things, but if not, please comment below and let me know what you’d add!
- I have three sisters, and I’m one of the middle ones. My mother probably told me to share my toys, clothes and everything else a billion times. Now, I use this concept in my career. Share content. This applies not only to clients and press releases – that’s obvious, but also sharing relevant, interesting and helpful information about everything else. In a recent Rutgers webinar about writing for social media, I learned that 80 percent of social media posts are “me now” posts. That means starting a tweet with “I” or making about something you dislike/like – and that’s fine. Next time, though, try Angela Maiers 70/20/10 test.
- 70 percent of your posts should be sharing relevant, interesting or funny information
- Such as tips, speeches, this blog entry …
- 20 percent should be connecting
- If you look at your 10 most recent tweets and not one of them mention someone else, you’re not engaging your audience enough
- 10 percent can be chirps
- Tell me about your day, but only once every 10 tweets, please.
- No, not “He who makes the gold, makes the rules,” but “treat others as you would like to be treated.” I utilize this rule when dealing with the media, clients, colleagues and audiences. When a reporter or client wants something, I get it done – that’s what I’d want to happen. I also try to be mindful of the reporter’s deadline and that they have lots of other stories to juggle. I also think about my audience when sharing information. If I were the one being marketed to, how would I feel? This simple elementary school rule can really change how you are perceived in the world, in my opinion.
When I was in kindergarten, I won a grade-wide reading competition and got to help shave Principal Roberts’ beard. (In retrospect, what were they thinking? I was 5 years old!) I am so thankful mom instilled a love of reading in me at an early age, and I still completely agree with this mantra. I’ve said it in earlier PR 101 posts, PR practitioners have to read/watch/listen to the reporters/producers/bloggers to whom we pitch. Also, it’s a good idea to stay up-to-date with current events anyway. Understanding what’s happening in the world, in your target industries and in your community will make you better at your job; it might even inspire fresh content.
- The other day I told someone I worked for a PR firm. His response (I couldn’t make this up) was, “Oh, so you like work for cigarette and other morally corrupt companies and try to make them seem OK to the public?” I thought public relations being perceived as “spin” was outdated, but I guess that perception lingers. Encouraging transparency in your clients and in your own life is the best practice. Being proactive is also a good technique to avoid bad situations. There are so many case studies that show us that trying to keep a problem hidden from the public almost never works, so just give it up.
- We’ve all heard this one. Fell off your bike? Can’t get the French braid just right? Well, brush it off and try again. Well, now we can ride bikes, French braid and throw the perfect spiral, but we can still apply this to our lives and careers. There are some stories that don’t get published right away, so we have to be persistent and revisit them later or perhaps explore a new angle. There are some backgrounders that I cannot get right at all, so instead of getting frustrated, I have to just put it away and come back to it later. I know that there will be times that the brilliant PR plan I created just doesn’t show the results I expected, but even if I failed miserably I can’t mope about it – I just have to come up with a new plan and try again. Everyone makes mistakes, but we have to just try harder next time.
- Even though I’m 24, mom still scolds me if I am ever the slightest bit impolite to someone, whether I think I am or not. I’m glad, though, because we all need to mind our manners in every facet of life. I’ve heard so many horror stories about divas and other employees that are hard to work with and I don’t understand it. “Please and thank you, they’re called the magic words” – we all remember that song, right? For social media etiquette tips, please refer back to the SoMe Etiquette post.
Thank you all so much reading, and please feel free to share with your friends.
– Sarah Funderburk