It all started at a 5,000-watt radio station in Fresno. No, that’s not right.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…I like it, but it seems a tad familiar.
So much for a catchy opener. I am a public relations, marketing, and communications professional. What does that mean? Among other things, it means I can write a press release that will get noticed and do it quickly.
It means I know how to develop outreach plans and strategies to highlight campaigns, companies, agencies, products and individuals.
It means I can write speeches, put together catchy TV/radio/newspaper ads and pithy Tweets, start social media conversations, handle crisis communications, and negotiate the day-to-day challenges of managing a public presence.
I have worked in state and municipal government and in the private sector, for political campaigns and business clients, established executives and start-up entities, in the higher education arena and in financial services (at the same time!).
Through it all, I’ve learned a few essential truths:
It’s important to have fun and to like the people you work with:
Work is work, but it doesn’t have to be a slog if you enjoy what you are doing and have quality people around you.
Whether working in old media or new, you have to be interesting:
You have to find your story and you have to cut to the chase. For me, life’s too short to see cruddy movies, read boring books or drink watered-down beer. For reporters, life’s too short to read confusing press releases that don’t get to the point, go to events that don’t offer anything of interest, or pay attention to Tweets that are outdated or inscrutable.
Sometimes the best announcement plans, the most well-thought out launches, the perfect strategy for getting a message out simply don’t work. They just crash and burn for the most unexpected, random, and annoyingly fluky reasons. How could anyone know that some public figure was going to be arrested and have their perp walk for the cameras at the same time as your event? You have to be able to pick yourself up, keep everyone calm around you, and find a way to get another bite at the media apple.
Most of all, I’ve learned that you have to be passionate about what you do. One of my favorite quotes is a simple one, from Kurt Vonnegut—“Be cool and care.” Care about the work you do, care about doing right by the people around you, care about making a positive impact on the world.
Sounds plenty cool to me…
related: About Me: Personal