Author: hermanoffblog

PR Earns Top Billing for Stress

Forbes just released the top most stressful jobs for 2013. Here they are with their median salaries:

  1. Enlisted military personnel $46,000
  2. Military general 196,000
  3. Firefighter 42,000
  4. Commercial airline pilot 92,000
  5. Public relations executive 58,000
  6. Senior corporate executive 101,000
  7. Newspaper reporter 36,000
  8. Taxi driver 22,000
  9. Photojournalist 29,000
  10. Police officer 55,000

Here is the link with the entire list, if you don’t believe me:

Susan Adams of Forbes says this about PR executives:

Other jobs on the most stressful list that may seem surprising: public relations executive and senior corporate executive. Though many people may picture PR execs wining and dining and taking lunch with friends and connections around town, in fact they face almost constant rejection from people like me. I am subject to such an onslaught of PR email, I don’t even reply to most of the notes I get. I’m sure that is discouraging and stressful to anyone who approaches me. Lee also points out that PR clients are never satisfied. If the PR executive succeeds in convincing to cover something, the client will most likely say great, but what about The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times.

No wonder I work out every morning before I come to work – and sometimes after as well. This lady has it right. But that’s just one ice cube in the tray. There are clients who are never satisfied, constantly throwing their retainer in your face (which is much lower than it should be), the calls in the evening and weekends, the clients who sign contracts and then go back on their word, the late-paying client who makes you sweat payroll, the reporters who never return emails or phone calls who don’t realize how much money you might be losing on the deal, the prospective client who says you’re hired and you never hear from again – and the list goes on.

But despite all that, I still get a high when I land a new piece of business. I am on a roll when I am developing a strategic plan that gets the client excited, then making it happen. I get a rush when I come up with a new creative twist that makes the client smile. I love when reporters email or call and say they want that interview. I am awed by numbers spiking with social media. And I melt when someone gives me a nice compliment. Nice job, Sandy. That’s what gets me out of bed every morning, and what I love about public relations.

It’s the price of going into business for yourself, of trying to survive the HR issues, payroll, healthcare costs, the bottom line every month and the constant worrying about yearly growth or loss. Sometimes I think I’d like to pack it in and veg. And I’ve come close. My husband is a dream putting up with my 3:00 am “what the hell am I going to do” conversations.

My parents wanted me to become a teacher. They said it was a “solid profession” — whatever that meant. Yuk. I tried that honorable profession, but it wasn’t me.

So with all the stress, the ups and the downs, I love being a public relations executive. Even with the low pay and sometimes no pay. There are lots of lows, but boy, how one high really can change the complexion on everything. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Planning and Prevention Goes a Long Way in Crisis Communication

Just read about a CEO with 8,000 employees who warned his employees that if one of the candidates for president wins, they could lose their jobs. How would you feel going to work every day for that company?

That’s an internal crisis:  one that is going to take some quick turnaround time to give his employees a comfort level. Communication is the key – traditional and social media took this story viral.

Then there’s the case of the custom-made steroid prepared by New England Compounding Center, a specialty pharmacy in Framingham, Mass., that has caused the outbreak of rare fungal meningitis from steroid shots for back pain. The steroid was recalled Sept. 26, 2012, but 13,000 people were injected and who knows how many people will die from it. That’s an external crisis:  one that should be addressed immediately with an internal crisis issue as well. Again, communication is the key – and traditional and social media are taking this story viral.

If your company experienced either an internal or external crisis, are you set up to tackle it right away? Do you have a crisis team in place with a list of cell and home phone numbers for quick access? Is there an attorney on the team? Do you know how to prepare and handle media inquiries? Who are the audiences you must reach immediately? Does someone in your organization understand how to use social media in a crisis?

Don’t get caught like the chemical company that was asleep when a crisis occurred and lost just enough momentum in communicating with their audiences to eventually put them out of business. There were high stakes, they gambled and lost everything.

Crisis prevention is very affordable and can be a company life saver. The Tylenol case is a prime example. They communicated well with their audiences often and honestly and saved lives and jobs of thousands of people.

Our message is to have a crisis plan in place, hoping you will never need to use it.  Any good PR firm will be able to help.  At Hermanoff Public Relations we do all of the above – and offer 24-hour crisis counseling.

It’s always better and safer to stay ahead of the curve.  And planning for a crisis is just one smart move before the holidays.

How Clients Can Get the Most Out of Their PR Agency

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Building a relationship with your agency is just as important as building your brand. Just like any relationship, it’s a two way street and both sides have to put effort into it to enforce a strong bond.

The growing success of your brand goes hand in hand with the strength of your relationship with your agency. In a good client – agency relationship, information gets passed along much easier and it keeps everyone on the same page. With constant communication from the client, an agency can better prepare for their needs.

Learn how to build a strong relationship and get the maximum potential out of your agency by following this guideline:

  • Trust your agency – build a strong relationship with them.  Trust and chemistry is 90 percent of the contract.
  • Let the agency be the professionals and come to you with proactive ideas, but collaboration is always welcome.  Allow creativity to flourish.
  • Be open to social media and be willing to try new techniques and tools to build your brand.
  • Be accessible, if you are the spokesperson; an alternative spokesperson is always a good idea.
  • Make sure you have a great product/service or story to tell – research/survey results, new hires, events/tradeshows, milestone, expansion, merger, etc.  You may think you have a story, but the media may not agree.  Let your agency help you determine how you can differentiate yourself from the competition.
  • Understand that following the AP Stylebook when writing releases and media materials  is important, and that a good agency will be fussy about writing.
  •  Try to return phone calls and emails on time and don’t make the agency wait for approvals and critical decisions.
  • Pay your bill on time. Your mother carried you for nine months, but an agency can’t.
  • Help your agency succeed.  Introduce them to other businesses that might become clients.  Your agency will appreciate your support and work harder for you
  • Say thank you. Compliment your agency on a good job, but know constructive criticism is welcome. If you’re unhappy with something, let them know and give them the chance to change or fix it.

And remember, a sense of humor is always welcome!

Winning for Detroit: I’m a Believer Campaign wins Best of Show Mercury Award

Winning is important only when it involves and inspires people who are better because of it.

So goes the I’m a Believer Campaign which won Best of Show last week in New York, competing in the Mercury Awards with 1,000 entries from 21 countries. Mercury Awards

The Campaign, which is my baby and also that of Paige Curtis from the Curtis Group, is a regional marketing initiative focused on changing the hearts and minds of area residents, encouraging volunteerism to revitalize the City of Detroit. The purpose of the campaign is to unite and recruit an army of “Believers.” We developed a compelling marketing campaign, pointing to a website created to motivate and encourage residents to become “Believers” and volunteer.

Hundreds of thousands have helped by volunteering to do whatever they can – to help make Detroit a great city again. The campaign continues to change the city through the work of volunteerism that the message inspired.

The Cities of Service website has been hosting thousands of non-profits and area citizens, bringing them together to do what is necessary: help tutor a child, plant a garden, clean up a neighborhood – whatever it takes to make Detroit a great city again.

The contract with Cities of Service ends in April. Since that is the content management system of the Believer Campaign, we are exploring ways to develop a new website.

Things seem to be on hold with Detroit, so I’d like to hear from area residents on where the campaign should be directed. Do you know of a website that would be willing to partner with us? Do you know someone who could build a new site for us? Like the city, our funds are low, also.

Believer won a big prize in New York City, but my concern is keeping the prize here at home for our residents in the city. Then we can make sure that there’s a win-win for everybody.

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5 Reasons Your Business Should be on Facebook

Facebook has provided a number of tools to make it a powerful resource not just for individuals, but for businesses and brands as well.  It’s no secret that Facebook will help spread your brand and propel your business into the forefront. Facebook has over 350 million active users. More than 35 million users update their status each day, with more than 55 million status updates each day. More than 2.5 billion pictures are uploaded to Facebook each month. These are five reasons why your business may need a Facebook page:

  1. Establish yourself as an expert, while staying on top of your field and your competitors.
  2. Target potential and current audiences without resorting to spam. Since the users make the decision to connect with your company, marketing messages will be anticipated, not disregarded.
  3. Engage with user-friendly options such as photos, videos, blogs, and status updates. Traditional media is passive, while social media is interactive.
  4. Enhance credibility by controlling and communicating directly with the key audiences and building the company’s brand.
  5. Learn directly from audiences on social media sites such as Facebook. These platforms let the company learn directly what customers are saying about its service and products.