I'm a mom to two fab kids and have the most amazing hubby who helps me balance work and play. You can also find me on Twitter at @JodiEchakowitz.
Good food for thought and I especially love the closed coffee shop analogy as it definitely puts your approach into perspective. However, your post suggests that PR folks should not be looking at the more marketing (or sales) related metrics that PR can influence. This would mean casting aside many of the outputs, outcomes and business results outlined in the Barcelona Principles of PR Measurement. What I'm wondering is what your thoughts are on the Barcelona Principles.
4 months ago on Find the ROI of PR By Measuring the Value of Audience
Ann was one of the first people I connected with on Twitter quite a few years ago. And I love that I get the opportunity to know a bit more about her through the inquisition. My one question though is what's the story behind the fabulous photo?
4 months, 1 week ago on The Spin Sucks Inquisition: Ann Handley
Thanks for addressing this topic Gini. Educating our clients to think differently about measurement has been an uphill battle, but definitely one that's worth fighting. We've tried to get them thinking more about measurement that's in line with the concepts outlined in the Barcelona Principles. For example, we'll evaluate success based on **metrics** such as audience reach, number of articles, share of voice, sentiment, key message alignment, expressed opinions of preference, etc. We will often include vanity metrics (FB likes, shares, etc.) within these numbers as it is something our clients like to see. But then we go a step further and look at all the metrics in the context of **outcomes** such as visits to their website, queries from customers, RFI/RFQ, trial requests, sales, market share, etc. I've found that the CEOs are interested in this approach to measurement because it shows a direct correlation with their bottom line - which is something AVEs (in isolation) never did.
7 months, 1 week ago on Vanity Metrics in PR May Be a Necessary Evil
While PR folks should know better than this, I wonder if Mastercard was aware of what their PR agency was doing…
7 months, 3 weeks ago on What Mastercard Learned about Journalistic Ethics
I think this is a very timely post for all of us @ginidietrich as we look to kick off the new year (still can't believe we're already two weeks in!) with some new goals to guide us.
With having a virtual agency, our approach is certainly different from those who work in a traditional office environment. But I would love to get some insights on the time management challenge from those companies who offer flexible hours, flexible vacation time. Are employees more productive when they can come in as late as they want or leave as early as they want, or take as much (or as little) vacation time as they want - so long as their work is done? Any thoughts on this?
9 months, 1 week ago on Time Management: A Challenge to Make You More Productive
@ginidietrich That makes sense! ;-)
11 months ago on The 82 Things I Love
Awesome post! I especially love #79, but don't quite understand how anyone can love #58.
This is an important discussion that we've had with one of our clients. One of their competitors is not only posting fake reviews of their products (so easy to spot when the reviews across multiple sites are all the same), but is also posting comments on forums posing as customers. They've asked us what they should do and we've always counselled them to take the high road, continue to do what's ethical, and be transparent in all their responses in public forums. The NYT sting operation was a great reminder for them that it's not worth the risk to their reputation. I'm looking forward to sharing your post with them as well!
1 year ago on Fake Reviews Fined; PR Firms Beware
Congrats Gini and team! I love Spin Sucks (it should be required reading for everyone in a communications role) and can't wait to read some of your longer form content.
1 year, 1 month ago on Seven Years of Blogging. Happy Birthday, Spin Sucks!
@ginidietrich It's very sad, but the reality is it happens more often than not. Event organizers should make it a policy to have the audience complete a survey after each session so they can rank (and provide feedback about) the speaker, the content, etc. That way, they would do a better job at finding the right presenters and topics for their conferences.
1 year, 2 months ago on Six Tips for Better Public Speaking
I can't remember the last time I attended a conference session where I actually learned something new. I find the biggest benefit from attending a conference these days is actually the networking and not the content. With that in mind, and perhaps as a follow on to #6, presenters also need to think about the audience: How much do they already know? What's their reason for attending? What knowledge do I have that they don't? What do they want to learn?
@martinwaxman @ginidietrich Happy to help ;-)
1 year, 2 months ago on My Klout Score: It Loves Me, It Loves Me Not
Gini, as you know this is a topic that's close to my heart - especially since this July is 12 years since I started my virtual agency (bring out the champagne!!). While I agree that those who aren't willing to work with a virtual agency should not be our target audience, it's still disappointing when a large company you would love to have as a client (especially after they ask you to participate in an RFP) decides that the virtual approach is not for them (happened to us earlier this year). At the same, it's really rewarding when you secure new business with a company that's skeptical about the virtual model but is willing to make it work. For this new client, I know that it's a huge opportunity for us to demonstrate that location is irrelevant to the results that we can deliver.
1 year, 3 months ago on How a Virtual Office Allows You to Stop and Smell the Roses
11/22/63 is a fantastic book. As you say, it's very long, but very well worth the read. I'm in the middle of Gone Girl and loving it. Of course, your list is very timely since I always pick my books based on recommendations, and was trying to think about what was next.
Another great book that I've read this year is Love Anthony by Lisa Genova (she wrote Still Alice), an author I had the honour of meeting this spring. I can highly recommend it.
1 year, 3 months ago on The Spin Sucks Summer Reading List
@EdenSpodek is a great friend to have and colleague to work with. What a perfect choice for #FollowFriday!
1 year, 4 months ago on #FollowFriday: Eden Spodek
I love that over the past few years, we have been able to come to the table and talk about measurement *and* PR in the same conversation. It's great being able to show our clients what kind of impact we are making through the integrated communications/marketing programs we implement.
I also think that the Barcelona Principles are finally helping to shift the thinking of the PR community. I came across this study which shows that there is some progress in our industry, and hopefully that will continue (http://www.prnewsonline.com/featured/2013/04/01/study-shows-pr-pros-making-progress-in-following-the-barcelona-principles-pr-news/). It is sad though to see that some PR folks are still using AVEs (cringe!!) as a measurement metric, but over time, hopefully that percentage will reduce.
1 year, 5 months ago on How to Measure PR: Use These Tools
Arik, I think this post covers off everything that all of us solo's have been wanting to say for a long time but never have. Over time I've built a great team of (consistent) virtual consultants that work with me on different client accounts, handling various components of my clients' PR programs together with me. Since doing that, I've found that the opportunity to brainstorm, connect with others and feel less disconnected is greater. They also cover for me while I'm away so that I feel less stressed while away, and can even periodically take a (more) disconnected vacation (although this only tends to happen in December when most companies and my clients are also taking time off... although even then, I typically check email at least in the morning and evening.) But there are still times when I find myself heading off to my local Starbucks so that I can enjoy some of the white noise of people around me.
Despite the downsides, the flexibility that being a solo offers - especially with having kids - is something I love. I try to be more disciplined about stopping work at set times so that I have good quality family time, but it's getting harder and harder to set those boundaries. Often it takes a stark reminder from my hubby to get me back on track.
1 year, 6 months ago on 5 reasons why the solo consultant lifestyle isn’t all it’s cracked up to be
@ginidietrich Don't you hate it when you know there was something else you wanted to say, but forgot what it is?
1 year, 6 months ago on Lots of Changes at Google: What it Means for You
At your previous recommendation, I also switched to Feedly and actually far prefer it to Google Reader. I'm going to check out Talk Walker now. Will be good to have another option that actually works the way Google Alerts should have been working.
This is really timely. Earlier this week, a client was considering his options for the distribution of a new product announcement, and I suggested a newswire purely for the SEO value. I also reinforced that media coverage comes from targeted media outreach (we never count newswire clippings as coverage). I plan to share your post with the client as a follow up, but It also gives me food for thought in terms of using a newswire as a news starter. I never thought of it that way, but I would love to experiment with it. I'd love to see some case studies of it being used to tell a story vs. news. Do you have one you could point me to?
1 year, 7 months ago on Do News Releases Have SEO Value When Distributed Via a Wire?
Finally! A good response to a potentially damaging situation. We need more positive case studies like this one.
It's a good reminder for all of us that if you have an issue with another person or company, take the time to talk to them about it. There might be an underlying reason why they did something that you didn't agree with. We're all so very quick to react without taking that basic first step.
1 year, 8 months ago on The OXO/Quirky Debate: What OXO Did Really Well
In addition to getting PR folks to stop being lazy and do their research long before they hit the send button, more of them also need to learn how to push back on their clients and start getting them to think quality not quantity.
1 year, 8 months ago on I Hate PR People: The Rules of Pitching Bloggers and Media
Love this, Arik! "I am a PR pro."
1 year, 8 months ago on So, God made a PR pro
@ginidietrich @belllindsay I agree! Their rules are stupid - and even more so when they aren't applied consistently across every airport.
North American airports could learn a thing or two (in terms of security) from Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv. You (unknowingly) go through several layers of security and that's before you even get inside the terminal.
1 year, 8 months ago on What Not to Do: Eight Lessons from Airports
@ginidietrich @belllindsay One of my clients provides technology for the airline industry, and changes are afoot in terms of being able to provide services to customers like those you mention, including paying for faster boarding or access to the airport lounge even if you don't have status. The airlines do want to personalize their offers for travelers, but te current systems being used don't allow it. You'd be surprised to know that there are lawsuits related to this so that the industry can move to a model that is more Amazon-like and based on travelers needs and wants. Right now the airline has no idea who you are when you book a ticket so cannot make those offers to you. Blame GDS companies like Sabre, Travelpory and Amadeus for that... Anyway, just thought I would share so that you know what direction things are moving in.
@ginidietrich I don't think I would cope very well with my house being like central station. I take my hat off to you! When I do meetings, I tend to make Starbucks my temporary office instead of having people come over to my house (as I'm in the suburbs, going to a Starbucks somewhere on a subway line is often easier for others).
I love the idea of your Friday mornings. It's something to look forward to each week. Because I have my kids to take care of in the morning, that's unfortunately not an option for me. But I do take a little longer to get up when they're at camp in the summer.
1 year, 9 months ago on Getting Things Done: Why Working at Home is Better
I've been working from a home office for 11+ years, and love it. It means that I get in at least 1 - 2 hours of additional productivity each day that would otherwise be spent commuting. I think the best move that I made was converting a bedroom into a true office vs. a makeshift one. We did this a couple of years ago, and I'm convinced that my productivity has improved since then. It was designed to look/feel like a traditional office with built in cabinetry, lots of storage, and an efficient flow based on my work habits. If anyone works from home and can do this, I would highly recommend it.
While my hubby and kids know not to disturb me when my door is closed, I think the biggest distraction comes from other family who don't really equate working from home as being 'real' work, and think that calling several times throughout the day is okay (despite me explaining that it's not). And although I may not have other people to interact with in person during the day, calls with my team happen regularly and social networks have become my (virtual) water cooler.
Gini, your message is spot on, but I suspect that most readers of your blog are either already considering an integrated model or actually living it. The key now is to get the industry at large thinking about it, as well as those that are looking to hire a PR agency or consultant. I think education is critical, and it's great to see folks like @Martin Waxman and @Eden Spodekfocusing some of their time and efforts on education through a new Digital Strategy and Communications Certificate at the University of Toronto's school of continuing studies. It's also time to see organizations like PRSA backing the idea and encouraging the path to an integrated model.
1 year, 9 months ago on The Future of PR: Beyond Media Relations
@KenMueller @belllindsay Ken, I absolutely agree with you. One of my clients uses QR Codes for mobile business cards. Everyone's business cards have a QR Code on it that links to their personal contact info. With one click, people can then download the info into their contacts, link to them on social channels, etc. Just one of the smart ways I've seen them being used.
1 year, 10 months ago on Six Digital Marketing Trends for 2013
Haha! I think the water got to me... just re-read this part of my comment: "for people so many." Seems my language skills disappear after 5:30pm!
1 year, 10 months ago on Is it Time to Breakup With Facebook?
Good food for thought, Amy. The one thing I wonder about Facebook - particular if it does take a nosedive as many of us are thinking - is what will happen to the communities (Facebook groups) that have developed and have become a go to resource for people so many.
For example, I am the moderator/community manager for a Facebook page for a not-for-profit organization (the page is used solely to share information, articles, facts, etc.). I am also the moderator/community manager for this not-for-profit's Facebook group which has over 1,000 members. The members of this group actively use it to get support from others who are facing similar issues, asked the community for advice/feedback, and sometimes to just get moral support when they are dealing with a positive or negative issue. Given that Facebook groups evolved quite some time ago, what are your thoughts on their role when examining the future of Facebook?
By the way, that should be 'shone a light' (not line!!)
1 year, 11 months ago on The Vacation Nation: Unlimited Paid Time Off
You've shone a line on the very sad reality that so many of us have come to know (and struggle constantly to try and change). There is no such thing as working 9 - 5. We live in an always-connected world, which for many means responding to emails at night and/or on weekends (although I know Gini is super disciplined about this and I take my hat off to her), and working on projects after the kids have gone to bed. Despite making sure I take time off for 2 - 3 weeks of vacation each year (usually in the spring/summer and again in the winter) it's very hard to disconnect when I'm away. I have a great team that makes sure things run the way they should and all our clients are well taken care of while I'm out of the office, but I still end up checking email at least once per day while vacationing with my family. It's very hard to let go. Finding the right balance (for me at least) is close to impossible.
I've been using Newsle for a while and agree that it's a great service for many of the reasons you mention above. I never thought to send a quick note of congrats, but that's a great idea!
1 year, 11 months ago on 4 potential PR uses for Newsle
This is an interesting topic, but I don't think there's a cut and dry answer as to whether or not PR agencies/consultants should share client info via social networks. For example, I have a lot of followers on Twitter who are trade and business media that write about mobile, wireless, and technology - three key areas that my agency is focused on. They know that in my stream I share a mix of personal information, articles related to those core areas of focus as well as interesting client news on those topic areas. Unless I'm RT'ing something using Twitter.com (which no longer let's me do a quote tweet that I can edit or add to), anything that is client specific is always marked as such with #client at the end. That way, there's never any doubt as to my intentions.
1 year, 11 months ago on Should agencies be promoting clients via their social media accounts?
Gini, I'm thrilled to hear that the virtual approach has worked so well for you and your team. The pro's definitely outweigh the cons. The key thing for anyone considering going this route is figuring out what works well when it comes to managing/working effectively with a virtual team (and it sounds like you have nailed this down) and supporting the needs of clients. As for those who dismiss the idea of working with you because you are virtual - they clearly have no idea that success has nothing to do with where the team is located, but rather the collective skills that are brought to the table. If you have the right mix of people and expertise, the work can be done from anywhere.
2 years ago on Pros and Cons of a Virtual Office
Thanks for the great review, Gini. I had a feeling that you would love Squeeze! Looking forward to seeing feedback from everyone else.
2 years ago on Review of Content Marketing Measurement Platform Squeeze
Gini, I'm really glad that you and I had a debate on this issue, and that you decided to write about it. I think there are lots of lessons we can all learn (or be reminded of) from Samsung's program and how they implemented it. Like @allenmireles, I'm also surprised that there wasn't more negative press about the program (but you're right, the Labor Day long weekend and the fact that it didn't have in North America are likely the reasons why). Samsung has certainly gotten off lightly this time around, and hopefully it's a lesson learned for them too.
2 years, 1 month ago on Samsung Threatens Bloggers and Provides a Valuable Lesson
Gini, I'm very interested to see where the conversation goes on this topic. We had a company approach us that wanted to use what they called performance based pricing, but in essence, they wanted to pay us a fraction of what we felt a particular project should cost, and then pay the balance if we reached a set target in terms of the number of interviews set up with mainstream business media/dailies. I declined the opportunity because I didn't think we were being compensated fairly. Working at a huge discount with the ability to then bring the fee in line with what it should be based on tactical (and not business oriented) results achieved from the PR campaign was just not something I was prepared to consider. I do however think that what you are proposing could actually make for an interesting model. It's more strategic, and shows the potential for a true client partnership.
2 years, 1 month ago on Performance-Based Pricing in a Billable Hours Industry
@ginidietrich It's the best way to go and I have no doubt that it will not only work, but be a huge success!
2 years, 1 month ago on #FollowFriday: Allen Mireles
Congrats all around on the fabulous new addition to your team.
Canadians (even the imports) are a good group of people. Of course, I may just be a little biased! Rebecca and I started following each other on Twitter yesterday following some #SoMix2012 tweets, and based on your recommendation, she sounds like a great person to get to know.
2 years, 2 months ago on #FollowFriday: Rebecca Todd
Achieving a good work/life balance is tough for anyone, especially those of us with kids, but I'm not sure how changing the focus to goals and delivering results makes an impact on ensuring a more balanced lifestyle. Since I started my PR agency 11 years ago, it has always been focused on delivering results (and not about billable hours). We get the job done quickly and efficiently and make good money along the way, but this approach doesn't help me live a balanced lifestyle. Of course, I like to think it's balanced, but in reality it's not.
I work from a home office, which I know puts me at an advantage since I don't have a commute, but it also means that my office is always just a few feet away from me, and beckons more often than I would like. I make the time to workout almost daily (this helps keep me sane, focused, energized and healthy so that I can run my business well); I participate in carpools and play taxi to ensure my kids get to their extra-curricular programs and doctor's appointments on time (and work on my laptop while waiting for them). I usually stop working at around 6 so that I can spend time with the family, eat dinner together and relax with them, only to jump back online at around 9:00 and work until past midnight (and if we are all watching a TV show together, more often than not you will find me half watching so that I can use the time to deal with email). Just because I get to do the things I want to do for me and my family during a typical day, doesn't mean my life is balanced. I still manage to work ridiculously long hours. I usually take 3 - 4 weeks of vacation a year, but still end up working while away - even if it's only for a few hours. How is this balanced?
Personally, I think the best way for us to at least feel like we have a more balanced lifestyle is to set more balanced working hours, fully disconnect from work when we are on our own time, and take real vacations from work. Society has come to expect that we make ourselves available 24/7, and because we never push back, this will never change and our lifestyles will never be truly balanced.
Perhaps focusing on goals/results ensures we work more efficiently so that we have additional time to do the things we want to do, but until we set limits about when we are available for work vs play, I can't see anything changing.
2 years, 3 months ago on Women Can’t Have it All? Change the Conversation!
I think I've been hiding under a rock. I haven't read any of the books you mention, but am going to add them to my reading list. One book that I absolutely loved and would highly recommend is 'The Book of Negroes' by Lawrence Hill. In the US it was published as 'Someone Knows My Name'. It is so well written and the story is incredible. I couldn't put it down.
2 years, 3 months ago on Top 10 Favorite Books of All-Time
@ginidietrich @EdenSpodek That's the optimist in me who likes to think there are only a "few" who give PR a bad name. But clearly, I'm way off base :(
2 years, 4 months ago on How to Pitch a Story Like a Pro and Get Results Every Time
Sadly, there are a few bad eggs in the industry that continue to ignore the great advice being given to them. I'm convinced that the PR folks who read your blog are the ones that do actually take the time to research media/bloggers, understand what they write about, and build a relationship with them - before actually pitching them. We're the ones that want to take the time to learn how to fine tune our skills so we can constantly achieve great results. The PR folks that continue to use "spray and pray" tactics would probably never make the time or effort to read an educational blog post like this one - even if it meant it would help them be more effective in the work they are doing. So if they're not prepared to educate themselves, how else can we get the message across?
Congrats Gini! It's a great partnership with a great team.
2 years, 5 months ago on Arment Dietrich Creates Partnership with Thornley Fallis
Arik, you've hit the nail on the head here. This exact issue is something I've had on my mind for a while now. I love going to conferences, but for the past few years, they've been more for networking than anything else - I have not gotten any professional development from them.
While I do like your suggestions (especially the Improv one), I still think there needs to be some kind of higher level learning and collaboration opportunities for those of us that have been around the block a few times and then some. I bet we all have fabulous case studies and learnings we could share with one another, but how do we make that happen in a formal environment?
2 years, 7 months ago on Is there a gap in the social media conference scene?
As a communications professional, one of the things I think we do really well is help the companies we work with either refine or develop their core messaging to ensure they can effectively explain what they do, why and how they do it, and why anyone should care. If we can do it for companies we work with, then we should be able do it for our own profession. This is just sad.
2 years, 8 months ago on Redefining Public Relations
I've had to deal with some "prize" clients since starting my business 10+ years ago but I'm extremely thankful that I've never had to go through what you went through. Your story is a great reminder that we should let our instincts guide us. And if we feel a knot in our stomach when it's time to speak with or meet a client, warning bells should be going off, reminding us that it's time to part ways. As always, thank you for being so open and honest in your blog posts. In sharing your thoughts so openly, you help all of us in more ways you can imagine.
2 years, 9 months ago on How Do You Know When It’s Time to Fire a Client?