Let’s see if a year from now I’m brave enough to look in the rear view mirror as we embark on 2017!
Happy New Year!
Let’s see if a year from now I’m brave enough to look in the rear view mirror as we embark on 2017!
Happy New Year!
(I’m not pictured yet in this photo. I’m still yet to come! I was number 5.)
I’m a gen-Xer. I’m kinda jealous of my millennial little bros and sisters. I feel like I’m the middle child; mad that the youngest is getting all of the attention.
As the baby in my own family, I remember my brothers and sisters say things like:
Today, I feel like I keep hearing the same messaging: We must cater to the millennials.
I realize in marketing and PR, I have to pay very close attention to the millennials preferences because of their incredible buying power in the marketplace. Things like:
As applicants and employees, millennials seem confident but sometimes lack in good old-fashioned persistent. We usually hire interns who don’t just send an email, but followup with a phone call because a tenacious young professional is the kind of intern that we’re looking for.
Some of the best learning experiences for new professionals in the workforce is to collaborate. I think it is important for all of us Gen-Xers and beyond to mentor (good learning experience for us too!), help motivate and show our appreciation.
I try to offer constructive criticism to interns and mentees from time to time, but something I’ve seen a few times recently in client meetings is an unconscious use of cell phones.
My advice: GET OFF YOUR PHONE.
Find something for your hands to do without it. Do not bring it to a meeting or if you do, put it away, do not text during a meeting, do not check your Instagram and do not have it out on the table. Without your phone, you might be able to:
In fact, I learn every day from working with young professionals, and I plan to continue my education by surrounding myself with bright young minds.
I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to write a blog post until I sat down to create this one about myself. Despite my daily use of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, I am struggling with actually describing myself to strangers via the Internet. How do I properly convey who I am with just a few paragraphs and a photo? I think you can learn a lot about a person by what keeps them busy, and by what they do in their free time.
Let me start by telling you who I am. My name is Maris Panjada, and I just finished my second year at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. I am double-majoring in Business Administration and Mass Communications, which definitely keeps me busy. I enjoy being able to attend classes and live in downtown Kansas City while only being twenty minutes away from a home cooked meal at my parents’ house in Overland Park. I started working as an intern at Megan Neher Public Relations in February of 2015, just a few months ago.
What else keeps me busy? Besides my internship with Megan, I work as a student ambassador at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at UMKC. I also manage social media for a local real estate team. I am actively involved in my sorority, Chi Omega – I have met some of my best friends through Chi Omega and through Greek life on campus (my roommate is a Delta Zeta), and I love being a member of an organization that prioritizes service, academics, and high standards of personnel. Through Chi Omega I have also gained a leadership position on campus. The Collegiate Panhellenic Council is an executive board that oversees all four on-campus sororities, and I serve as Vice President of Publicity and Events on that board. This position has kept me occupied every day of the past semester, but I cherish the ability to be a leader within the Greek community for women.
These responsibilities keep me extremely busy, and are partially to blame for the fact that I fall asleep on the couch at the early hour of nine o’clock most nights. But when I’m not dashing from the Student Union to Management 301, or working feverishly at my MacBook to finish projects for either of my jobs.. What am I doing?
Netflix. I do not know what people did before Netflix. Sure, I enjoy reading – I’m proud of the fact that I’ve read seven books so far this year, my favorites being Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (a Kansas City native!) and The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. However, when I’ve had a typical twelve-hour day on campus (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), or a day spent meeting with Megan and Ashley, grocery shopping for myself (who knew how hard this was without Mom to spearhead it?!), paying bills, and other scary adult activities, I do enjoy flopping onto the couch (or falling into bed) and watching Netflix. My favorite shows are The Office (I’ve watched all nine seasons hundreds of times), Mad Men, and Parks and Recreation. I also enjoy some “fluff” TV – Keeping Up With the Kardashians (I’m not ashamed to admit it), any HGTV show, and Family Guy if I need a good laugh.
Besides Netflix, I also spend much of my free time with my boyfriend of 2+ years, Kyle Cimino, when he’s not playing rock shows at a bar or recording in the studio. If I’m not with Kyle or my friends, I am probably doing yoga, spending time with my parents, younger sister, and beloved dog in Overland Park, or, you guessed it, binge-watching another season of The Office on Netflix. I am also a huge fashion nerd and I follow East and West-Coast trends as much as I can on my tight college budget. I like dogs, kids, and Sanibel Island, Florida. I dislike bad drivers, bad weather, and bad food. A lot of my clothes are monogrammed, and I won’t go anywhere near a motorcycle, a port-a-potty, or a lawnmower.
I hope you feel like you know a little bit about me now. I am excited to continue working with Megan and Ashley, two amazing women who have had such a positive impact on many local and national companies through MNPR. Perhaps I will be lucky enough to write a few more blog posts in the future!
Learning new things at my age has become common place. I thought that after college and by my 20s and even my 30s, I would become a “seasoned” professional (just read my bio, because it says I’m “seasoned”); and wouldn’t have to spend my days learning. Instead, I would sit back and counsel all of the less smart people of the world with my intelligence. Of course, I would get paid millions of dollars for this amazing “counsel.”
Well, for anyone who isn’t past their 30s… lucky you, first of all! And, secondly, you’re not done learning. Not by a long shot.
I’ve considered going back to school to get a master’s degree. I’d like to re-career some day and teach college. (Maybe if I become a college professor I’d finally be done learning!) But going to school is not the kind of traditional classroom learning I’m talking about.
I’m talking about the daily lessons I get from real world experiences. Things like:
I was blown away yesterday when I sat down with a longtime friend who took more than hour out of her schedule to walk me through her decades of industry knowledge for a small client of mine. In exchange: a promise to help her out sometime and an inexpensive lunch. Obviously, I can’t become an expert like her in an hour but I was writing furiously to try to capture just a little of her vast knowledge to share with my client.
In turn, I try to always do the same for others. When I meet with small businesses who are looking for PR help, I offer them a short tutorial and even share my media list, knowing they may not have the resources to hire a PR firm or consultant. Why not offer them a lesson and pay it forward? After all, it has become clear to me… learning never stops.
My favorite photo of the day Natalie was born ten years ago. It looks like she’s smiling at her dad!
This is my tenth year owning my own PR firm. You learn working in PR that no one “in the biz” really celebrates anniversaries. I would have trouble even remembering the date except for one very significant reminder. I started my business just a few months before my daughter was born. So big and pregnant… I opened my laptop, cell phone in hand, on the couch of my parent’s house and started a PR consultancy company. We had just moved to town from Scottsdale and hadn’t even bought a house yet. This probably isn’t exactly part of the ideal business plan when you go to the SBA or the Kauffman Foundation’s entrepreneurship program. But it worked for me.
Like with a lot of small businesses, it takes time to work through the first few years. Things like: learning the art of prioritization and delegation; how to say no; do I REALLY have to file taxes EVERY year; and so on.
In addition to the tedious things every new business owner has to learn about taxes and technology, I’ve put together a list of “First Decade New Business Lessons Learned” by Megan Neher. I plan to read this 10 years from today and get a good laugh. Hopefully I’ll have a whole new list of new lessons learned by then!
1. FIO. Anyone who knows me will understand this acronym. I had hoped it would catch on like LOL or OMG. It stands for “Figure It Out,” and it’s something I tell every new intern or college student I’m advising. I think back to when I started as a newspaper reporter. At 23 years old, driving around the city with a folded paper map, not a GPS, figuring out how to get from one place to the next without Google. I had a written calendar, no cell phone and did research the old fashioned way. I’m not suggesting we go back to that; I just think we need to allow people to figure things out on their own.
2. Breathe. This lesson took me nearly ten years to learn. It’s basically my way of saying “don’t sweat the small stuff.” As I look around at clients and colleagues, I’m observing similar professionals my age going through the same growing pains. I guess this is something we all do! Start out rigid, and as we grow and mature in our professions, we become more flexible. We begin to understand that it is the gray area where progress happens.
3. My bra is not the only support I need! I’ve enjoyed being a part of KC/IABC but especially the entrepreneurs (support) group now called independent communicators. We meet monthly to talk about a variety of topics including things like clients, taxes, technology, websites, workload and more. It’s been my best support group, my best resources for subcontractors and a wonderful place to meet friends.
4. Don’t underestimate follow-up. This has become my secret to maintaining happy clients. (don’t tell my competitors!)
5. Mistakes aren’t for newbies… unfortunately. I wanted to get my mistakes out of the way early on and be done with them, but guess what? I’m still making them, and I’ve come to the realization that learning lessons the hard way is sometimes the only way we’ll learn.
6. Faith. I have a unrelenting faith in people. I can’t get rid of it. I am a terrible judge of character and instead of becoming a skeptic, I’ve decided to embrace it and continue to believe in people even when they let me down. I’m constantly surprised by them when they disappoint me, but at least I’m optimistic. And, by the grace of God, I haven’t been hurt by anyone too terribly bad, so perhaps my faith in people isn’t misplaced after all!
7. Home sweet home. As much as I’d like to be “more professional” with a real office, receptionist, fake plant, logo hanging on the wall… all of those things will never outweigh the ease of having a home office. I can roll out of bed, make coffee in my slippers and get two hours of work done before 8 a.m. or squeeze in three hours of work after the kids go to bed. (Of course the home office challenges my work-life balance from time to time, but it’s been remarkable how clients and others have understood kids and dogs in the office!)
8. Solitary confinement. I can’t do this job alone, nor do I want to. I loved working at the advertising agency in Arizona because of the close friendships I made. I quickly turned my “sole proprietorship” into a boutique PR shop so I could bring in some seasoned experts to learn from, share ideas and collaborate. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Ashley Cleveland has worked with me for about seven years and she’s been a gift from heaven. I’ve partnered with other colleagues along the way too, including Nancy Besa. We share a lot of laughs as well as ideas!
So those are some of the lessons I’ve learned. And, trust me… there are many, many others.
After 10 years, what do the next 10 years have in store – who knows? More figuring it out; mistakes and faith! I do hope to breathe a little more and maybe even change the company’s name. What a boring name! Got any ideas?
I’m a waffleler. I don’t know if that’s a word or not, but I waffle on the topic of Pinterest.
I just attended a session on how fabulous Pinterest is for businesses at the IABC Southern Region Conference in Charleston, South Carolina. The presenter was Tim McMullen, a really cool guy who founded a marketing/social media firm in Nashville called Red Pepper. Prior to hearing him speak, I was four paragraphs into a blog post on what a waste of time Pinterest is. Thus, I waffle.
So, I begin with the negative: Generation Y’s love Pinterest, and they go around pinning everything they believe is perfect online. These mostly young women plan their perfect online lives. (Men, hello? Are you on Pinterest?) These girls adorn their dorm rooms, schedule their engagements, plan their weddings, decorate their homes or apartments, organize their pregnancy, reveal the sex of their children, and welcome their babies.
Keep in mind these are beautiful lives. In Pinterest land, nothing bad happens.
Yes, I believe in dreams. Everyone should have aspirations. But why waste your time sitting on your ratty apartment futon for hours pinning recipes you’ll never make, extravagant homes you’ll never live in and amazing hairdos you can never achieve?
I think we should all strive to improve our lives, but what I don’t like about Pinterest is that it has created a generation of women who believe this sort-of online Utopia will someday come true. Or worse, people who sit around pinning and make themselves miserable knowing that it won’t ever come true. Perfect homes. Perfect makeup. Perfect bridal showers. Perfect Thanksgiving tables with tiny turkeys at every plate.
And, a true story about a Pinterest-loving Bridezillas who was so obsessed with her balloons lifting off immediately following her wedding ceremony (an idea she lifted from Pinterest) that she couldn’t focus on one of the most important moments in her life.
I used to hate the phrase “live in the moment” because I thought who isn’t living in the moment? We are all living (well, aren’t we?)… and this is the moment! But, Pinterest is taking that away from those who are pinning, because that’s not living. That’s fake living.
And, isn’t it sad to pin things day after day that you want. It’s like a child’s Christmas list filled with ponies and backyard merry-go-rounds – but for grownups. Forever unattainable.
Now, to Mr. McMullen’s point.
First of all, he did his entire presentation IN Pinterest… which I didn’t even know was possible. And, that was SO cool! He talked about some very fascinating marketing strategies I hadn’t thought about: ways to target audiences, capture customer information and most importantly generate sales.
Yes, today people consume media differently. It’s not just traditional stuff like TV anymore. And, it’s certainly not newspaper, (even though I still read it)! Pinterest is growing at an astounding rate. In only two years, it has more than 10 million users – Facebook only had 6 million users in its first 2 years. (Thank you Red Pepper Pinterest page for that pin!)
Bottom line: from a business perspective, I MUST use Pinterest. I have to get on board, get excited about it and get creative!
I’m open to suggestions. If you use Pinterest for more than a fake/beautiful/coveted life, inform me! I’m a newbie and I’m willing to be “pinned wrong” on this one!
I just finished a call with a potential client who is getting hammered through social media and online comments because of a very public scandal. She was seeking a publicist. I was happy to offer some counsel, although in the end I wasn’t the right person for the job. She and I went back and forth throughout a weekend over the phone with ideas on how to combat this attack.
She paid me the ultimate compliment. She said I was kind, and that very few people are kind to her because of the scandal and the mis-communication that it has caused.
That reminded me of a promise I made to myself 20 years ago.
I was cowering behind a cubicle wall at a very large public company where I worked in the finance department where they had unwisely hidden the small PR team. The president of the company had stormed up to our group at 6 p.m. to rant and rave about a speech I had written and inadvertently had left revisions that had been made in a previous edit. My boss at the time stood up tall and took the blows. He never once said, Megan wrote the speech. She’s the one to blame. She’s the dummy who didn’t make the right edits. Meanwhile, this idiot making six-figures was hollering every word in the book at the top of his lungs so that anyone in finance, real estate, marketing and even down in IT could hear his slurs.
I promised myself at that very moment. No matter how important success became to me, I would not act like THAT. I would not become unkind. And, I would not treat people disrespectfully.
I do not hold myself up as unique. Recently, I was in a meeting of communication professionals for KC/IABC at our monthly Independent Communicators luncheon. Our discussion topic turned to this very issue – with a slight twist. Can a woman gain success in the business world while maintaining a kind demeanor? And we all agreed she can!
Kindness and respect in the workplace was significant to every single person in the group (mostly women). And although it had been challenged throughout the years for us, and we’d definitely seen women and men who had climbed the ladder more quickly or furiously because of their lack of kindness, it wasn’t something we were willing to sacrifice.
Stay true to your promises. Go Kindness!
Communicating at light speed – that’s the new norm. We PR practitioners need to get accustomed to it or become dinosaurs.
That was never so evident than when the marketing/PR/communications team for the Susan G. Komen Foundation was blindsided with the concerted effort of Planned Parenthood recently. No matter what side of the argument you land on, it was clear to anyone watching this national controversy unfold that one side was communicating effectively and powerfully, while the other was getting pounded.
Komen had decided to publicity announce that it had pulled its funding from Planned Parenthood. They politely and quietly made their announcement apparently unknowing what was about to happen. They were unprepared for the social media firestorm.
I have no idea how Planned Parenthood was able to secure its grassroots armies of social media troops throughout the country to attack Komen so quickly. Did they have prior knowledge of the announcement? Was it solely the passion behind the cause that fueled the storm and efforts so quickly?
Whatever it was, they communicated via Facebook and Twitter in a concerted and effective method. So much so, I believe, that it was the single most significant reason Komen reversed its decision. From their standpoint, thousands of people were hammering them over and over again with targeted negative messages. This hammering was preventing them from getting their messaging out. Even a PR person for Komen tweeted on day No. 2 of the controversy that her office was full of #idiots for not recognizing this would happen.
Another recent example proves that social media is more than just a social playground. JC Penney named Ellen DeGeneres as its spokesperson. Because she is gay, an organization called the One Million Moms began an online protest. Again, I think the organization may have been surprised by the response they received.
Ellen, with the power of her television show and passionate following, addressed the protest head-on. In response, supporters of Ellen have offered to shop at JC Penney… even if they’ve never shopped there before by posting thousands of Facebook and Twitter messages – all pointed directly at One Million Moms. Probably not what they expected! Ultimately, I was pleased JC Penney stood by its decision and didn’t let an organization bully them with threats of boycotts and value complaints.
I’m writing this blog post today because I was asked by a Kansas City TV station to be a social media/public relations expert for a news segment last week. I figured… if I gathered my thoughts enough for the TV interview, I should at least get some use out of it and put it down in a blog!
The interview occurred before Komen reversed its decision to fund grants to Planned Parenthood. It’s interesting… at the speed of communication today; things can change in a split second. You have to stay on top of the issues or you’re left arguing for (or against?) a topic that is no longer relevant!
Some people think I’m sick. I love grammar. I like to edit things. I scour for errors. I’m not unlike many of you out there. I cringe when my husband says, “where’s it at?” or I get a newsletter from school that says “Event Tonite!”
I come from a long line of freaky editor types. My grandmother was born in 1901 and was the editor of The Kansan at the University of Kansas in 1920. She also worked on the yearbook, as did my mother. I went to K-State, but was an editor at both the college newspaper and the yearbook. Maybe grammar is in our blood.
“It’s lie, dear,” my grandmother would say when I would say that I was going to go lay down for a nap. Ouch, that’s even hard to type those words now.
In today’s world, young people don’t care about grammar. Yes, they have to for English class. But otherwise there’s no pride. And, I’m not just talking about texting. It’s not just young people. I think because people are consuming media differently, there’s a general lax. Very few of my adult friends subscribe to the newspaper, nor do they read it. So how are they to learn/be reminded of good grammar if they aren’t consistantly consuming quality written media?
One example. I upload my clients’ press releases to an online service on the Kansas City Star’s website. (I’m not sure why I do this because I don’t think anyone reads this site or cares about it, but at least it’s on there.) Anyway, while I’m on the site, I’ll read some of the other press releases. Most are very professional. A few appear to be written by second-graders. I’m shocked by the disregard of the rules of sentence structure, punctuation, spelling and grammar.
There’s been a lot in the media about texting and how it is ruining the youth’s writing skills. I agree. Hopefully most young people can see the difference between a text and true writing.
What scares me is going beyond that. For the past… errrr… I don’t know… 10 years or so… I was one of the few former journalist-turned-something-else who believed the newspaper would never die. I’m over that. I believe in the next five years or so there will be no newspaper in my driveway every morning, and that makes me very sad. I love opening it up. I love spreading it out. I love touching it.
So, here’s my question: will college students study print journalism? Why would they? That won’t even exist. Will every college student who wants to be a “journalistic writer” get a degree in online journalism? Is that writing different? It shouldn’t be. I don’t want online journalism or writing for online in general to be considered so temporary that we can be sloppy.
Some may think they don’t have to really care about grammar or rules because it is just for “online” or just a blog. Some blog writing is atrocious. I suppose that’s OK if a grandma is simply chronicling her soup recipe or a mom is writing about her son’s first year, but there should be a difference between the paid professional who studied for four years to become a… journalistic blog writer?
I would hope that there are college professors meeting right now and developing curriculum for this next generation of writers. I would ask them to please require each student to purchase a printed copy of the AP Stylebook and to READ it cover to cover as I did – twice. Along with many other good books on grammar. These books should be studied and these students should be tested on the rules of grammar.
Finally, for those who uncover good writing online and ferret out some bloggers or online journalists who truly care about the written word – whether it appears on a screen or on a printed page, let’s applaud them… for they may be an endangered species.
Sometimes even communications pros fall for ”myths” regarding our own industry. I thought this blog posting from a while back was a good reminder to what PR is… and isn’t.
Take a look at Myth No. 9. This one is spot on. As a former journalist and someone who helped with hiring at a large PR firm, I saw first hand as PR pros truly believed this myth! Some folks in the PR world think former journalists have a “secret knowledge” to placing stories with media. Sure, I think it can give someone a leg up to have been a reporter, but another good way to simulate this experience: READ the paper and local magazines, LISTEN to the radio and WATCH local/national television news.
Top 10 Myths about Public Relations
By Guy Bergstrom, About.com Contributing Writer
You’re exposed to the fruits of public relations every day, in every medium — TV, newspapers, radio, Facebook, Twitter, magazines. It’s a growing profession and never have so many public figures been in the public eye in so many different ways.
Yet the art and science of public relations is still more art than science. There are many myths and misconceptions about PR that are not only wrong, but it many cases dangerously wrong. Here’s a list of the Top 10 most common myths about public relations.
1) Myth: Any Press is Good Press
There’s an old saying, “As long as you spell my name right.” The idea being that any ink is good ink, that just getting your name out there, and breaking through, is a benefit that outweighs any negative content in a story. This is an enduring public relations myth. It’s also a losing strategy.
2) Myth: PR is All about Press Releases and Press Conferences
“Press release” and “press conference” are the two phrases that clients and bosses know. They will use those phrases. Often. And this is bad. Bad for you, if you’re doing the work, because press releases are over-used and often the wrong tool for the job.
Bad for your client or boss, because press conferences should be rare and reserved for the biggest possible events. If you hold press conferences all the time, reporters won’t show up. Public relations today is an ever-changing field, with more and more communication happening in cutting-edge ways. YouTube videos, Twitter, blogs.
3) Myth: Once You Break Through with Publicity, You’re Golden
Say you did a viral video and got a million hits, or wrote the most amazing press release the world has ever seen and newspapers all over the world picked it up. One big hit in the media isn’t enough.
It’s like music. One-hit wonders are common. They skyrocket to the top and just as quickly, they crash to earth. The tough part for rock bands — and any public figure or organization — is steady success.
4) Myth: Publicity is Free and Easy
We all drive cars. That doesn’t mean you should hire your neighbor to fix your Chevy’s engine. Not when your competition is using a trained mechanic. And there’s a lot of competition with public relations.
Most organizations are trying to get coverage in the media. Most people doing public relations full-time are experienced professionals who used to work at newspapers, TV or radio stations, and the ones who didn’t often got degrees in journalism or public relations. So it’s smart to have the best possible person doing the job — or if you do it yourself, to study up and talk to pros before you dive in.
5) Myth: You Need to Hire an Expensive PR Firm
For many individuals, small business owners and people just trying to break through — whether it’s in politics, entertainment or professional sports — hiring an expensive PR firm is not an option. The budget isn’t there. But there are other options.
6) Myth: Good Products Don’t Need Publicity – Only Bad Products Do
Even if what you’re doing is innocent — puffing up a bad product while ignoring your good products — that’s an odd and unproductive strategy. You want people to know about your best product. You should be proud of it, and making it the centerpiece of any publicity or marketing campaign.
Saving PR only for bad products means will trust what you say if you finally decide to do publicity on your good products. In their head, they’ll have made the link: whatever these people try to pump up is garbage, so if they’re pumping this widget up, it’s also garbage.
7) Myth: Public Relations Can’t be Measured and is Therefore Worthless
Public relations isn’t like baseball. There aren’t statistics for when you succeed and when you don’t. Some people and organizations do try to quantifying public relations, but that’s like trying to nail jelly to the wall.
You can try to compare earned media to an equivalent amount of advertising. Yet earned media is far more credible — and effective — than ads. You can’t pin that down as a number.
8) Myth: PR Means Schmoozing and Controlling the Press
The worst thing you can do is tell a reporter to NOT cover a story, or to stop digging. That’s a flashing neon sign that says, “There is journalistic gold buried here! They’re hiding something really juicy — dig dig DIG!”
You can’t control the press. The press isn’t not a monolithic institution anyway. Public relations is about communicating with the press and public in a smart, effective way.
9) Myth: Only Ex-Reporters Can Do It
In public relations, there’s no professional license or test to pass. The profession is growing, as the demand for information grows. There are more public relations jobs in business, entertainment, politics, non-profits and government.
Organizations of all types are seeing the benefit of communicating with the press and public, and they’re doing it in more ways than ever: web sites, blogs, Twitter, radio, Facebook, print, e-mail, Youtube videos and television.
10) Myth: Public Relations is Spin, Slogans and Propaganda
Propaganda is manipulating people to do something that’s not in their best interests, and it’s usually the tool of a state, used along with censorship and fear. Public relations pros avoid spin, slogans and propaganda techniques.
Today’s audience has never been more sophisticated, and there have never been more alternative sources for news and information. A lot of public relations is simply making life easier for busy clients and journalists.