How do you cope with the uncertainty?

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past year, you’ve no doubt been watching the train wreck that is our global economy.  I’m an avid news junkie, and have a particular passion for business news.  So when the news about the failing economy started rolling in, I sort of felt like, “Yeah, and what else is new?”  I’d heard it before and things always turned out fine.

But the past few months have been unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.  All of a sudden I’m glued to the TV watching the Dow Jones drop like a lead balloon.  I read every news article I can find about the bailout, the subprime mortgage mess and more to try and decipher it all and try to make sense of it.  And I’m studying both of our presidential candidates with religious zeal to try and figure out how either of them are going to get us out of this mess. (Enough with the blame game already – everyone’s at fault here, so how are we ALL going to fix it?!).

What’s happening has left me shaken, and yet I can’t figure out if it’s me reading all of the news coverage that’s making matters worse.  Are we headed for the next Great Depression?  My husband and I talk about what to do with what little hard-earned money we have saved up. Luckily, we’re young, and everyone keeps telling us to ‘stay the course, it will bounce back.’  But it’s a hard pill to swallow when you watch that money you worked so hard to set aside go up in smoke. 

But I really feel for people who are close to retirement age.  Those people who’ve worked and saved their whole lives, just like they were told to do, only now to watch their 401(K) vanish into thin air. What happens to them?  Will they ever see that money again?  Will they have to work 20 more years past their expected retirement age? 

These are frustrating times, and I find it hard sometimes to stay focused.  Does anyone really care about the new product release or event announcement I’m promoting, when they’re scared to death about whether or not they’re going to be able to keep their house? 

As PR practitioners, how do we cope with the uncertain times in which we live?  Do you go about your business as usual and just wait for the storm to pass?  Or is what’s happening right now a game changing scenario? And how does PR adjust to continue to provide value to clients and organizations, knowing there are much larger issues to consider?

Has the current news and economic climate changed the way you view PR strategy?


Geek out about Blackberry Storm

I am not a tech gadget freak. I didn’t stand in line for hours to buy either iPhone. We do have a Wii, but only because someone gave it to us as a gift (thanks, mom!). I have a sensible PC laptop with the usual capabilities, but nothing fancy.

But I’m here to tell you I’ve been geeking out about the news I saw come out yesterday regarding the new Blackberry Storm Smartphone. Hi, my name is Liza, and I’m addicted to my Blackberry.

I had my first taste of “Crackberry” addiction about a year ago. Before that, I used my trusty cell phone to make and receive calls. It did not have e-mail or Internet capability and I could count on my hand how many text messages I sent on it.

But once I succumbed to the Blackberry last year, I was hooked. Before long, I had “Blackberry Thumbs” from typing so many e-mails, and my husband threatened to throw it in the trash if I didn’t put it down and have an eye-to-eye conversation with him every once in a while! Friends wondered if I ever left home without my phone firmly placed in front of my face (not much). You’ll be happy to know I’ve since toned down my Blackberry usage to more appropriate levels.

But my true ‘geek out’ moment came when I saw the announcement about the Blackberry Storm coming this fall to Verizon Wireless (my current carrier). The touchscreen! The 3.2 megapixel camera! Ah, the gloriousness of it all. Even though I’m not due for another “new every two” phone under Verizon’s plan until next August, it will take all of my willpower to not run out and buy one of these beauties when they hit store shelves. (Of course, pricing hasn’t been released yet, so this may cool my jets somewhat!).

I can’t remember the last time I was this jacked up about a product. Can you? What product did you geek out about recently? Did you bide your time or rush right out and buy said product? And more importantly, did it live up to your expectations? (All the marketing in the world is useless if the product doesn’t live up to the hype).

Tell me your best product geek out moment…..

Webinar – How to use Twitter for marketing and PR

Twitter is fun, entertaining, a good way to get questions answered quickly – and it’s also a great vehicle to have discussions with people with who you might never get the pleasure to meet. But I’m still not sure I’ve got any kind of idea on how I can use it in conjunction with any marketing/pr strategy for my business, or even get new business leads.

So that’s why I’m going to listen in on Friday’s conference call (it’s free!) and it addresses how you can use Twitter for marketing and PR. Even if you don’t listen in, if you sign up you can still access the slides at a later date.

As always, I’ll report back what I hear.

Shout out to Clemson PRSSA

For some reason, I guess since the VP debate, I’ve been wanting to give “shout out” Sarah-Palin style. So, gosh darnit, I’m going to give a shout out to the Clemson PRSSA students!

This post is LONG overdue, but in September Liza and I not only had the pleasure of participating in a panel discussion at Clemson PRSSA’s FIRST meeting, but we also had the joy of dining with most of the panel beforehand and meeting a lot of great future PR professionals after the panel discussion.

The students arrived on time, were prepared to ask a lot of great questions, were all dressed so professionally and clearly excited to be attending the first of many great professional meetings. Some were even using Twitter to share with others who couldn’t make it what was going on in the classroom (that was a little intimidating!). I couldn’t help but to think back to my college days and hope that I looked that interested and engaged (we can only hope).

I’m actually going to speak at Dr. Mihaela Vorvoreanu’s PR-inciples class this month, alongside John Gouch, Assistant Director of News Services, Office of Public Affairs, Clemson University and am very excited to return.

For all those out there who are lucky to be pursuing their passion in PR, what’s the one piece of advice you would give upcoming students these days? Let us know!

Kim passed her APR!!

She was waiting to receive her official notification from PRSA, but now that she has, I want to be one of the first to tell you that Kim Simko Banks has passed her APR exam!! I know many of you have been following her journey through the APR process on our blog.

She studied really hard for the exam, and all of her hard work paid off. Congratulations, Kim!! I’m so proud of you!!!

I’m sure Kim will post something soon to give more insight about her exam experience, in case others are looking to possibly follow in her lead. Stay tuned for more details!

Palmetto PR Diva Dish – Bianca Crawford, Red Carpet Communications

I really want to first and foremost apologize to Bianca.  She completed the PR Diva questionairre seemingly eons ago and I told her a date that I would post her information and send her a link.  But this was right around when Liza and I went on a blogging vacation and it just got lost in the shuffle.

Liza and I completed a great Greenville media tour (right before she went on bedrest!) and we also spoke on a panel at the first Clemson PRSSA meeting (more to come in the future on that) and there are lots of exciting things going on with us that we would like to share.  Sorry for being absent and we hope we can get on track for the fall (well, me at least, since I’m not on bedrest!).

o        Please provide title and a brief description of what you do: Bianca Crawford, President Red Carpet Communications.  I run a full service Public Relations, Marketing, Event Management and Consulting Company.


o        How did you become interested in the public relations/advertising industry?  I have always loved the public relations industry.  When I was a little girl I wanted to be a publicist, then when I entered USC I was a Broadcasting major until I found out how much money they start out making and quickly changed majors to Public Relations.  I love everything thing from writing press releases, pitching stories to writers, media placement and event planning. 


o        What changes have you seen in the industry that is the most interesting to you? The infusion of integrating marketing into every marketing plan. I remember when most companies had static websites, no one used email as a primary means for communications and there was no facebook or myspace.


o        Are you involved in any professional associations?  If so, what are they and what do you learn by being involved? I’m a member of PRSA and I am the IP chair for the Midlands.  PRSA has allowed me to connect with other independent practitioners.  I have gained so much knowledge from the training sessions and round table discussions.


I am also serve on numerous boards around the city: Columbia Development Corporation which oversees the development in the Vista area within the City of Columbia. Benedict Allen CDC which focuses on economic development in the communities surrounding Benedict College and provides training for small and minority businesses and the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce.


o        What is the one piece of advice you would give students that are interested in pursuing a career in the public relations/investor relations/marketing industry? Network, Network, Network!!  You must let as many people as possible know what you do and its imperative that you know what line of work other people are in so you can use them as resources and send them business. 


o        What is the best thing about your job? The Flexibility! On Monday’s I pay bills, do paperwork and write proposals.  I meet with clients, attend meetings and network. Fridays are for me.  I usually get my hair and nails done and shop for myself and handle my personal business.


o        What is the thing you like least about your job? Nothing, I have focused on building a company that I love and enjoy.


o        Are there any exciting announcements you’d like to tell us about (either with your company or one of your clients)? I have just been named the 2008 Young Professional of the Year by the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce.


o        How do you balance your professional career with your personal life? By taking Friday’s off and never working on Sunday’s.


o        Anything else you would like to add? I love this industry!!  

When life gets in the way…

Hi everyone,

This post doesn’t have anything to do with PR, marketing or social media, but rather is a quick update on me. As some of you may know, I’m eight months pregnant with my second child, another boy. I had my first son early at 35 weeks, after going into labor at 33 weeks. (Thankfully, he’s a happy, healthy two year old now!).

This pregnancy is proving to be a replay of the first, since I started going into labor again earlier this week, at only 32 weeks. After two fun-filled days in the hospital, they discharged me under strict bed rest orders to try and get me to go until 36 weeks.

If you know me, you know how it’s near impossible to make me sit still. I’m just one of those Type A personalities that’s always go, go, go. So obviously bed rest doesn’t really fit into my ‘neat little agenda,’ but I’m doing my best to comply so that I can give my baby a good start.

I’m fortunate that I have such great understanding clients, and a job where I can do most of my work from my laptop and phone. So for the most part, it’s been business as usual. But I won’t lie, it’s hard being cooped up in the house all day, not going to any meetings, not seeing that many people, etc. It makes it hard to stay focused and motivated.

I’m learning to roll with the punches and realize that you can’t always script everything out. I know the next three weeks are merely a blip in the time space continuum, and that it’s important for me to take it easy, for the health of my child. But I won’t say that it’s going to be easy. I’m used to do everything myself and now I’m having to rely on others to do things for me.

What do you do when life throws you a curve ball? Do you adjust well, or is it hard to make the change? What advice do you have for me so I can stay motivated over the next few weeks?