PR is a tricky profession. You have to have a plan, know how to execute it and be ready for any eventuality that comes along. I have over 10 years of experience in PR (ugh…that hurt) with multiple industry experience. While you can always be prepared for any eventuality, you can still get hurt…just like in life.
Recently (well in February), I broke my arm…my right arm…my dominate arm. Needless to say, it sucked big time. I broke my arm in such a precarious location that it was misdiagnosed the first time. It also sucked (pardon my language) that it was at the very tip-top of my humorous bone (near the shoulder). What that means is that it couldn’t be put in a cast…just a sling. It was literally like having one arm tied behind my back. Only, it was more like having it sewn to my stomach.
Everything changed for about 3 months. Any way I used to do things had to change. I learned how to sign my name with my left hand. I learned how to type with one hand. I definitely utilized dictation more on my iPhone. Don’t get me wrong…there were still a lot of things I couldn’t do. I couldn’t drive my manual transmission car. I wasn’t allowed to walk my dog (for safety purposes obviously) and I honestly couldn’t really cook for myself – no chopping veggies, sautéing or baking a big meal…all of which requires two arms.
Fortunately, I was still able to adapt to this eventuality that I never saw coming. I hated it…but I adapted. And I realized it could have been much worse.
PR is somewhat similar to having one arm tied behind your back (or sewn to your stomach). Just when you get comfortable with how things work, something happens. You then have to figure out how to do everything you know in a different way. I won’t go as far to say, “It makes you stronger in the end.” But I will say that shit happens, and if you figure it out, you won.
No one ever said that working in PR was going to be easy. As a matter of fact, it has been listed as one of the most stressful jobs to have. We live on no sleep, consistent pressure to produce for our clients, and a ton of coffee (or in Sarah’s case, water and tea!).
I of course knew that part of working in PR was keeping up on the news – in print, on tv and on the radio, online, etc. The part I did not see coming was how incredibly depressing the news was going to become.
Don’t get me wrong, it has ALWAYS been a lot of car accidents, crime, depressing world news, sad local stories, and so on, but it feels like day after day, week after week the news is getting harder to hear. On shows that used to feature celebrity news and cooking segments and fashion, there are now hard news segments, politics slinking into the segments and more.
The flip side to technology and of-the-moment broadcasting is that we know so much. And if knowing is half the battle, the other half is forgetting.
This morning I woke up and I just couldn’t do it. I had the news blues. Instead of turning on I went outside, I talked to neighbors, I had a cup of coffee looking at the clouds instead of my phone, and I didn’t follow a single thing that was going on.
I just now logged on at 1:30pm and there is an active shooter in Dallas at North Lake College. There are coal workers trapped in a mine in Iran. And more people care that you could see Kendall Jenner’s bare butt cheeks at the Met Gala.
What do you do when you get the “News Blues”? How do you shake the funk when your job is to know what is going on in the world, and to create MORE stories to add to it? I love my job, but we could all use some advice now and then, and I need to know – how do you keep your happy?
PR is tricky. We are sales people, but we do not sell product, we sell stories and words. In today’s media environment, there is a limited demand for words. Newspapers are getting smaller, magazines thinner, TV news shorter and filled with hard hitting news and less fluff. Not to mention there are more businesses than ever with new startups entering the market every day online, so the fight for that limited word space is tougher than ever. Now add to that more and more PR firms popping up every day, with access to Cision and other databases, reaching out to the same producer at The Today Show, the same editor at Vogue and the same photo desk at the local news outlet.
That means that as a PR rep, you have more of an opportunity to shine…and more of an opportunity to fail. While we all want to craft the perfect pitch, we have to all admit – sometimes you have a client whose product, service or event just doesn’t connect with the media like you thought it would. Sometimes you can pull a comprehensive media list, write a phenomenal pitch, press release or media alert, have b-roll and high res images up the wazoo, media train your spokespeople to perfection, and execute a supreme campaign – and no one really cares.
It is disappointing to the client and disappointing to the PR rep, leaving a bad taste in everyone’s mouth over the situation. However, the one thing we have learned over the last 16 years of PR (3 years with Mugsy, but we have been doing this a long time) is that certain things can not be guaranteed in public relations.
In every new client meeting we stress the following statements. And as much as we hate to have to say this to clients, it has become a mantra of ours to make sure they understand. Of course, we still have a disappointed client from time to time, but overall, we find that setting realistic expectations is key to a happy relationship.
What We Can and CANNOT Guarantee:
As PR professionals we have contacts in the media. We guarantee we will contact them. We guarantee we will tell them about you, your brand and your story. We guarantee we will share with them photos, video and news. We guarantee to research the media contacts relevant to you. We guarantee we will learn their outlet, their niche, their interests and how to best pitch a story to them. We do not and CANNOT in any way, shape or form, guarantee that they will cover your story. We guarantee that even upon confirmation that an outlet says they will cover your story, that nothing in PR is actually guaranteed until it prints or plays. We guarantee that we will work every angle of your story, but we do not guarantee that the media will have the space or staff to cover it. We guarantee that if your story IS covered, it is still not a guarantee that it will translate to sales. However, we would not work with you if we did not believe in what you are selling, and we will represent you with as much passion as we would if we were selling our own story – and THAT we guarantee.
When I first started Mugsy, I wanted it to be a representation of who I was and what I loved. That was how we ended up with a PR firm that is professional with a cheeky edge and a bit of a vintage feel (with a healthy dose of pink of course).
When we work with startups we tell them the same thing – try to infuse your business branding with a bit of YOU. Obviously keep it relevant to your company, but just a hint of your own style of personality can go a long way in making you truly FEEL the brand. And isn’t that the point of branding? To make people feel something when they think of you and your company. Below are three examples of people and companies that have done a great job at personalizing their branding and it has gone a long way for them. How have you let your true self shine through for your brand?
Sometimes what is on the “Mind of Mugsy” is YOU. We want to know what you like, listen to, enjoy doing and all of that good stuff. Yeah, yeah, don’t get a big head about it 😉 – just fill in the blanks in your comments below and let us know what’s on your mind!
The one blog (except Mugsy PR’s of course!) that I read every day is ______________________
I absolutely never miss a podcast from __________________
The first social media site I check every morning is ______________________
I will click on any article that mentions ___________________
I wish more people would include topics like ___________________ in their social media, blog, vlog or podcast content.
Over the last two and a half years, we have had several moments where we needed to reflect upon what to post on social media based on the sensitivity of a current event or even a personal issue. Sometimes it is a matter of what to share or not to share (the death of a pet or an illness in our family) and sometimes it is how to share it (a perfect example was how to honor the two reporters who were killed in Roanoke on air this week).
We have also had our share of clients that covered delicate topics from mental health professionals to divorce attorneys to a luxury lifestyle cannabis blog, our copy writers and content creators go the extra mile to make sure that the information put out is interesting, relevant and appropriate while remaining sensitive to the topic. Our most recent client addition is an independent film that goes inside the LAPD homicide department and their connection with the families and organizations in the community to help solve murders in LA county. While one might think this would have a lot of easy content, we are spreading a message of healing and anti violence awareness and this is not an easy task. It would be a lot easier to spread more stories of crime and violence to up the numbers, but we as online marketers appreciate a good challenge!
Our top three tips to writing sensitive content?
1. Revise: Write your initial thoughts and then revise it. Your first post draft might be emotional or insensitive based on the topic material and your relationship to it. A revision or two is never a bad idea to make sure the brand is making a statement, not a rant.
2. Review: Read whatever you write over again before you post. Get a second opinion. We know social media is fast and you sometimes post as a reaction, but it is better for a company to be a minute later than to have to draft a formal apology in 140 characters in the end.
3. Reach Out: Instead of writing your own content, reach out to others to share theirs. When dealing with something like death, illness, divorce, etc – other’s stories can speak the words your brand can’t.
I am a proud partner today! I was so excited to open up one of my favorite local blogs, The Tropical Sun, and see such an incredible piece on Mugsy and my ‘Partner in PR’, Sarah Caro for their #SmallBiz Spotlight.
Below is just a snippet, but you can read the entire piece here.
The Tropical Sun recently sat down with Sarah Caro, Co-owner and Vice President of Mugsy PR (and a Boca Raton resident) to learn a little more about social media marketing, brand reputation management, and of course, public relations.
We asked Sarah to share five fun and fabulous aspects of her business with us. Our sit down showed us that the Mugsy PR team certainly lives up to their motto: “a little bit quirky, a little bit analytical and a lot of awesome, all rolled into one.”
Join us as we get to know more about Sarah and the impressive team at Mugsy PR.
It’s been a fun and busy week for Emily and I and we’re so excited to share it with you! You know we usually share our fave/fab 5’s with you….however, today we decided to share our top 10’s with you – 5 from each of us. Get ready to jump into the minds of Mugsy!
1. How Do I Love Thee…Let’s Dodge the Drone: Ask anyone…I love drones and the work they do. For example, see the drone video that was done by Sky Copter Media a commercial spot done for Mugsy client, the Boca Raton Historical Society & Museum. He captured the community of Boca Raton in a professional manner with ease and created a commercial that helped the organization garner visibility, share the love of the community and sell tickets to the top Boca Raton community wine and food festival. Bottom line…if you’re gonna do it…do it right! Just make sure you get the right person and your wedding video doesn’t get ruined like these poor people: Drone Wedding Photography Gone Wrong.
2. Why Child-Free Aunties are Amazing: For those of you who know me well, you know I don’t have children. I do, however, have two amazingly handsome nephews and the cutest niece you’ll ever see! (And yes….I’m obviously showing A LOT of favoritism…lol). I loved this article on Huffington Post because it resonated with me. I want to be the favorite Aunt, I want to be able to help when needed and I want to get them everything they ask for (with parental approval of course!).
3. Life’s a Beach: ICYMI, The Boca Raton Historical Society & Museum was one of the main features in The Coastal Starthis month! Emily and I both love the the the exhibit – me – I’m all about the beach life back in the day and Emily is all about the fashion! Hurry in to see it as their exhibit will be changing soon!
4. Florida Social Con: Get ready….it’s coming on July 18th! And you’ll be able to learn more about it with Karla Campos and our very own Emily Taffel on Rod with a Twist – a brand new video segment for Sun-Sentinel that is also featured on Hulu! That’s right….Mugsy will be featured on Hulu soon!
5. Summer Camp: With most schools being out for session, it seems like the talk of the town (or any town) is about summer camp! I’ve heard a lot about the summer camps in my area and can’t believe how amazing they all are….either through school, dance summer camp, etc. If you have kids, let us know what kind of summer camp your child is attending and what they’re doing!
1. Rue McClanahan Dies Again. Golden Girl Rue McClanahan passed away in 2010, but for some reason news of her death began to pop up on social media again this week as if it just happened. Apparently the same thing happened last year, so this seems to be a weird trend. We don’t get it, but Sarah and I are both big Golden Girls fans so any reason to talk about it works for us!
2. Restoring Faith in Humanity. Southwest Airlines did the most amazing thing this week. They rerouted a flight and went above and beyond in customer service to assist a woman who found out her son was in a coma from an accident. THIS is how being a caring corporation should be done. I think a lot more people will consider flying Southwest now.
3. Those Darn Female Scientists. Tim Hunt resigned today from University College London. This makes me happy. If you don’t know how he is, Time Hunt is the Nobel Winning Scientist who made the following statement, ““Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them, they cry.” What happened in between his statement and his resignation? Kick ass responses from female scientists across the country with the hashtag #DistractinglySexy (see the best here).
4. And In More Science News…Two years ago 15 year old Tom Wagg discovered a planet. This week more definitive news came out and the now 17 year old is getting worldwide recognition for his discovery of an exoplanet that resides outside of our solar system. He is one of the youngest people to ever make a discovery like this. Not a bad way to start your college career!
5. I Choose…A New Tattoo. To leave you with a smile to start your weekend with, I had to share this pic that is trending of a brilliant Pikachu tattoo cover-up. Enjoy!
Ever wonder what runs through our heads? Your dreams have come true. Every day we will share the top five things we have discussed in the Mugsy office. Welcome to the madness!