Work friends can be real friends…. and nine other things I learned at LPP
Ten years ago, I started at Lois Paul and Partners in Austin as a bright eyed, yet terrified, account rep. One of my first assignments was to fax a press release and keep track of “clippings” to build a clip book for the client. The list of trade publications was endless, and I remember tracking speaking opportunities kept me busy all week. How things have changed! While we might not be faxing anymore, I learned so much in those first few years that still ring true today:
1. Balance – Everyone is always trying to reach the perfect work/life balance. You’ll never find perfection, but you can find a happy medium if you set realistic expectations for both yourself and your clients.
2. Learn humility – In this business, being humble is hard. Let’s face it, when I secured briefings with the Economist and then Wall Street Journal within a week, I was proud. But I had help. My client flagged a WSJ article that I responded to, and @phoebefrancis found out the Economist was writing a story right in our client’s sweet spot. I took the outreach. The key is to recognize while valuing yourself is important, valuing and recognizing others will lead to a much more satisfying way of life.
3. Fail quickly – Failing is allowed and expected in this business. Thomas Edison famously said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” But fail and move on.
4. Relationships – Building relationships IS this business. That trade reporter you worked with at EE Times just might end up at the WSJ one day. Your small client that was just acquired by a large company will likely show up at another tech company soon and need PR support. You might be bummed about a team member leaving the agency, but they could become a future client. The PR world is small, and paths cross all the time.
5. Recognize small wins – Recognizing the small wins goes a long way with keeping up team moral and helping people to stay engaged. Every victory matters. Period.
6. Face to face is still valuable –Yes, we tweet, text and email way more these days, but nothing replaces face time. And I’m not talking about the Apple app.
7. Perception is everything – The key here is being aware. Be aware of yourself, aware of others, aware of your environment. Once you lose awareness of how your actions are affecting those around you, you’re going to end up in trouble.
8. Pick up the phone – It’s too easy for us to hide behind our computers and smart phones. I’ve seen endless email chains cause confusion to the point of hysteria when everything could have been straightened out with a simple phone call.
9. Know your journalists – If you’re pitching a particular reporter, be aware of their beat and past coverage. We’ve all made the rookie mistake of pitching someone to only have them say, “Do you understand my coverage area?” Hopefully, if you do make this mistake, you only make it once.
10. Work friends can be real friends – And finally, my old colleagues, turned friends @mlyschmidt @linseymcnew always joked that ‘work friends CAN be real friends.’ I can certainly attest to this, as former work friends turned real friends helped inspire this post. (shout out: @Allie_McCormick @ErinHanley @linseymcnew) And even though none of us work together anymore, you never know. See # 4.
What is something that you learned when you were just starting out that has helped you be the PR professional you are today?