Saturday, July 24, 2010

This may be an out of the ordinary statement ... but guess what?

I had a GREAT work week! Yup, you heard right. I mean, who says that?

It started off a little sketchy. One of my clients had some pretty bold news that he wanted to go out first thing Monday morning. I wasn't sure how the press would take it, but let's just say that this super influential journalist in my client's industry who has 1,300,000+ followers on Twitter actually read my email pitch and decided it was worthy enough to tweet about. A tweet? May sound minuscule to some of you, but lemme tell you, this guy's influence and credibility is NUTS. As soon as that tweet went out, views on our press release jumped from 700 (which I was already pretty happy about given our other press releases usually averaged 300 views) to 11,000 views in less than 24 hours. WOA. Amazing!! Needless to say, this translated into a ton of online sales, and not to mention crazy exposure, for my client who was just peachy pleased as could be. Yes!!

Lesson learned: I almost didn't reach out to this industry expert guy. In my mind, sending an email to him was like sending an email to some other worldy being like Dr. McDreamy or whoever. Unlikely that it would even get opened, right? But I went for it, and look what happened! This can apply to any of us. When an idea may sound too far-fetched or if you have low confidence in your abilities, don't listen or give in to those negative thoughts. Go for it, and be bold. You never know when it will pay off.

Second cool thing that happened. PR people often have to deal with spending hours and hours writing a press release with perfectly worded sentences and strategically placed paragraphs that go through layers and layers of approval, tailoring creative quotable quotes from company execs that get tweaked a bazillion times, and then when all is done and finalized, at the very last minute, guess what? More changes! It's probably the worst process in the world. Anyway, the point is to get the finished product, this immaculate document, into the hands of a journalist who will use the info to write an article. Ha, "use" is a loose term here. Journalists often twist things around, misquote, and get the info all wrong anyway. Well, not "wrong" per se, but just not what you or your client intended the article to say ... yeah. Over time, I've learned not to write a press release for your client, write it for your journalist. Write it in his/her language and tone and with his/her audience in mind. Anyway, so imagine my surprise and utter glee when I see my own headline from the press release I wrote copied word for word as the title of one journalist's article. Yeah!! In fact, the first sentence of the article stated, "I hate to steal headlines, but this one from [client's name] was just too good." O. M. G. Nicest work compliment ever.

Lesson learned: Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in "rules." A lot of the time, those rules are old and don't make sense anymore. Such as, writing a press release that's completely stuffy and reads like a computer manual. Don't be afraid to question the rules. Have you guys seen, How To Train Your Dragon yet? (Such a cute movie.) There's a lot to learn from that Hiccup kid.

And finally, the third great thing that happened to me this week: I landed a new client! Whoopie!! This new client is an amazing artist, and while I've never done PR for an artist before, I'm way, way excited to take on this new challenge.

Sigh. I wish every week was a fantastic week. These are far and few between, that's for sure, but when it does happen, don't hesitate to celebrate. I know it may feel weird, it's more natural to complain about work than to rave about it. But, that's why we're working girls, right? To kick butt! Now have a great weekend everyone, and look forward to Monday with vigor!!!


Megan said...

I normally don't write negative comments, but since this is a blog for working girls and I know I'm not the only journalism working girl who reads this, I just want to say I was a touch offended by your comments about journalists getting it "all wrong." Journalists do not exist to be PR people's lap dogs, only writing what you want when you want. In fact, most of the time our job is do exactly the opposite of that. Our audience's expect us to get beneath the surface and find the real story. Sometimes, the real story is what you tell us. But imagine if, for instance with the recent BP disaster, journalists only wrote what was given to them by BP's PR people, without trying to find out more info or write the article in a way BP didn't intend them to. People don't want to read press releases in their news. If they do, it's easy enough to find them themselves, especially in this internet age.

Also, since you backtracked the comment in your blog, here is one of the best pieces of writing advice I've ever received, yes, from a journalist: If you write something that you feel has to be mitigated or explained away later, it's probably not worth writing at all.

PR Working Girl said...

woa, woa, Megan! Take it easy. First and foremost, I love and respect journalists, that's why I'm in the industry I'm in because I enjoy working with them. But you just have to see our side (and I also see your side better), we spend all our time just trying to make our clients look cool, really, that's all it comes down to. But when it's the negative stuff that gets press all the time, that's not fair! I'm sure there's great things BP is doing, but does anybody want to write about that? No, unfortunately not. People get a bigger rise out of hearing what an epic failure they are right now. All I meant with that comment is that it would be nice if more often journalists would see companies in a better light in a way that the companies would like to be portrayed, but still fair, accurate and unbiased. Sometimes there's actually good beneath the surface, believe it or not. Thanks for your comment anyway and I hope we can still be e-buddies.

Skinny Bitches in the Making said...

Good for you.
I think works weeks we can be happy about are far and few. One day maybe, but a whole weeks is rare. Hope you're out celebrating somewhere

Rebecca Watson said...

im glad you had a great work week! enjoy your weekend!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I have to agree with Megan here. There are definitely a lot of times when press releases just get regurgitated (and I must admit, some are incredibly well written) - although in those cases, PR people whine about lazy journalism.

OTOH, our job is not to take your line at face value. "Just not what you or your client intended the article to say" - Of course not; your job is to portray your company in the best light possible; ours is to write as balanced of a story as possible.

Either way, I don't think you can win in the eyes of PR people. The gulf is too wide.

As for BP, I just don't think anything they could do right now could come close to cancelling out the gigantic PR mess that the Gulf spill is.

Anyway...I hope I didn't come off as attacking you personally here. Just couldn't let the post go without commenting.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations!! As someone who's written a PR or two (or twenty), as well, I understand the frustrations that can come with it. You just get re-write after re-write...I get the same thing with all the copy that I write (my main gig at the marketing firm I'm with is copywriting/editing).

"This is great and I know that we have to release this today but...did we not mention that XYZ must be mentioned prominently in this release? Well, it must."

Gee, thanks.

I'm glad you had a good work week. Sometimes they're few and far between for PR pros.

Ms. Attitude said...

Wow, that's impressive!

J-Diggety said...

Congrats on a great week!! I love weeks like that, little gems in the rough :) Hope this week is great, too!
xoxo J

20s Enthusiast said...

I'm really glad you had a great work week. I don't think I have ever had one.
But like the other girls, the journalism jab did offend me a bit.
Just be flattered so many of us are reading your blog :)
It's more common for journalists to do a PR person a favor than the other way around...