Wednesday, April 23, 2014

PR Fail

Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably already knew that I had a 15+ year career in PR.

Operative word is had. 

I made a conscious decision to focus on blogging, my social media consulting agency, the annual Lifestyle Bloggers Conference and my continuing education, to leave behind a career that I loved.

Operative word is loved.

As much as I loved the PR industry, enjoyed my staff and clients, I came to loose the passion for the industry that was changing before my very eyes.  I have already written about my PR doubts extensively, but very few venting blog posts exist any more. I deleted many of them, as to not burn my bridges, but you can read a few like this one, and this one.

Let's get a few things out of the way, I started my career in PR when you were trained to wear event black and you were at an event to work. WORK.  Socializing was limited to interaction with reporters and the client. You were not at an event to chat-up a storm, eat or God forbid, drink.

You were there, I was there, to make sure the client looked good. The overarching goal was to make sure that all the guests had a great experience from the moment they checked-in to the moment they left.

Since I started my career well before social media, my biggest concern at the time, was that guests would either call my boss or client with a complaint or issue. But today? Well, with everyone taking a "shot" as soon as they check-in on Foursquare, there's a bigger fear that anything can be, or will be, blasted on social media.

This is more the reason to be on-point when you manage events:
I expect publicists to be professional and an extension of the client they are representing. Distinguishable by their event black or other professional attire.  
I expect publicists to be working a room and standing by their client making sure that she, or he, meets every guest in the room.  
I expect a publicist to handle their client and extinguish any fires before they happen.
Most importantly, I expect that a publicist is on. All. The. Time.
In other words, I expect a publicist today, to do what I did for the last 15 years: be professional as they do their job.
What I experienced today, more so than at any other event, was a group of Diva Publicists.  The ready-to-club ladies were more concerned with taking their own selfies than making sure that we, the guests, were treated to the experience we were promised.

From the moment the door of the restaurant was closed in front of my colleague and myself, to the highlighter that was used to "cross" our hand for the "one drink we would receive if we took and tagged an Instagram photo," today's event was nothing short of cheesy and unprofessional.

The lackluster food and mismatched guest list only added to the long list of tonight's disappointment. THIS was the confirmation I needed to lock with a golden seal the long, and successful, PR career I had - I couldn't be happier to have left behind an industry before it evolved into tonights comedy of errors.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

First Day Back

Today is my first day back at school after having a nice week off. I'm not going to lie, I didn't sleep well and woke up before the alarm went off this morning covered in sweat.

It didn't help to see an email from one of my instructors reminding us of our homework - LAST NIGHT.  Homework?! Since I missed my Creative Writing class because of an award I received that same day (more to that later), I never thought about the possibility of homework during spring break.

Boy, was I wrong.

Last night I looked at the email hoping that it would it go away.

It didn't.

I procrastinated and did a bit of research about the assignment.  Nothing "clicked," but it didn't matter. The homework was still due and I didn't have any bit of a possibility of getting it done.

This morning I got myself ready, walked Maya and again stared at the computer screen.

Nothing.

I looked at samples and read insights & tips from professional song writers...

Oh, what, did I just tell you what the assignment was?

Yep.

I had to write a song.

A song?!

Writing a song was probably worse than having to write poetry, although the reaction was the same on my end: blank computer stare downs followed by painful stomach cramps. My physical response to "I have no F'N clue what to do."

Instead of working out-of my home office, I decided to plop myself down at our dinner table and turned on the TV for a bit of "sound."

Who am I kidding, I was still procrastinating.

Noise, noise, blah-blah, nothing interesting...

THEN...

"It takes courage to believe that the best is yet to come," flowed like honey outta Robin Roberts lips.

THAT was all I needed to get inspired.

That one line. That quote.  Those words inspired my song.

Sometimes all it takes is a moment to get back on track.

Stop and listen to the world around you. Take it in.

THAT is all WE need to get our creative juices flowing.