Diary of a PR Amateur

The Consummate PR Pro

April 27, 2010
3 Comments

Now that the off-site scheduling is behind me – the CEO approved my revised version, of course – I can get back to doing what I like doing so much … PR.

We haven’t put out an announcement in some time, which is just fine with me, given the strategy I’ve developed. But our antsy CEO wants an announcement this week, so he’s – get this – asked a friend, Tim, if he’d like to come aboard as a part-time team member with the title of “Chief Corporate Development Officer.” Of course, his friend said yes, but that’s not surprising, given the friend’s uneven track record in the business world.

I imagine this friend is going to get a ton of stock options and a nice office as well.

And if you can sense that I’m a little cranky about it, you are correct. Wouldn’t you be? I can manage circles around this new guy, Tim, and I’m still here in my cube.

But, as you know, I am the consummate professional, and the media will never know that I think this announcement – and the hire behind it – is dumb and a waste of investor dollars. To the media, everything will be just dandy around here. In fact, here’s the headline (and subhead) I’ve cooked up:

(MY COMPANY) TAKES MAJOR STEP FORWARD WITH NEW CORPORATE DEVELOPMENT HIRE

Tim To Help (My Company) Expand In New Directions

That subhead, mind you, is a little private joke between us girls here. You see, by writing “Expand in New Directions,” it will sound like he’s changing the strategy of the company, and the board will be all over the CEO for that one. Ha! I simply can’t wait for this …
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I Know How To Make Edits

April 22, 2010
2 Comments

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE THESE SMART UPDATES SENT DIRECTLY TO YOU, PLEASE CLICK ON THE “Enlighten Me, Joe!” BUTTON ON THE RIGHT.
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Well, maybe my boss was off-base when he told me he disagreed with my itinerary for the off-site meeting, but he is the boss after all, at least for now.

So as he requested, I’ve toned down the luxury and raised the level of business content.

Here’s the original schedule:

Day One

Morning – Lavish breakfast at fancy restaurant, followed by white-water rafting
Afternoon – Lavish lunch, followed by one-hour brainstorming session about technology’s impact on our lives
Evening – Lavish dinner, followed by 15-minute presentations by five department heads

Day Two

Morning – Lavish breakfast at different fancy restaurant, followed by visits to three local museums (to cultivate our creativity)
Afternoon – Lavish lunch, followed by one-hour brainstorming session about our business, and how it can be improved
Evening – Lavish dinner, in the form of a barbecue, followed by a dance party

Here’s the revised one:

Day One

Morning – Nice breakfast at nice restaurant, followed by canoeing, during which people can discuss business content
Afternoon – Nice lunch, followed by two-hour brainstorming session about technology’s impact on our lives
Evening – Nice dinner, followed by 20-minute presentations by five department heads

Day Two

Morning – Nice breakfast at different nice restaurant, followed by visits to three local museums (to cultivate our creativity)
Afternoon – Nice lunch, followed by two-hour brainstorming session about our business, and how it can be improved
Evening – Nice dinner, in the form of a barbecue, followed by a business content party

I expect that the CEO will approve this version. I’ll let you know.


Off-Site or Off-Base

April 18, 2010
1 Comment

When I came up with the fantastic idea of organizing an off-site meeting, I thought for sure that they’d put one of the secretaries in charge of it. After all, it’s an event that should be taken care of by one of the “worker bees,” not by any professional staff.

But my CEO thought it would be a good idea for me to organize it. I guess that means that he thinks this is important enough for someone of my caliber to plan.

So here’s the plan:

Day One

Morning – Lavish breakfast at fancy restaurant, followed by white-water rafting
Afternoon – Lavish lunch, followed by one-hour brainstorming session about technology’s impact on our lives
Evening – Lavish dinner, followed by 15-minute presentations by five department heads

Day Two

Morning – Lavish breakfast at different fancy restaurant, followed by visits to three local museums (to cultivate our creativity)
Afternoon – Lavish lunch, followed by one-hour brainstorming session about our business, and how it can be improved
Evening – Lavish dinner, in the form of a barbecue, followed by a dance party

I presented this smart plan to my CEO, but he said it’s way too heavy on the food and leisure, and not heavy enough on the business content. I told him I’d make some adjustments (even though I think he’s a moron who doesn’t get it).

But what kind of nerve does he have, telling me to make adjustments, when he put me in charge of the event. I think he’s off-base.


Off-Site Is a Must

April 12, 2010
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I’ve always been a big fan of the off-site meeting. An off-site meeting, for those of you without my level of experience, is a meeting that takes place away from the office. The idea is that, once away from the office, the team’s thoughts will be freer, and, as a result, more creative and clear.

So I suggested to my boss that we have an off-site in the next few weeks. I told him that I thought the “corporate thought-process has been stagnant recently,” and that clearly had an impact on him, because he shot me an interested look right after I said that.

Anyway, the next thing I knew, I was being called into the CEO’s office and was asked for an explanation of what I meant when I said that the corporate thought-process has been stagnant. I was about to explain myself when the CEO got a phone call from one of the investors or from his wife. It had to be one of those, because they were yelling his ear off. He quickly dismissed me from his office, and shouted at me on my way out,

“Joe, work with HR to set up the off-site. And I want there to be good food there!”

Like I said, I’ve always been a fan of the off-site meeting.


A Strategy Must Be Honored … By Everyone

April 7, 2010
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Sometimes it can get frustrating to think so many steps ahead of everyone else. For example, they say that there are sometimes incredible athletes that are so far ahead of their teammates that they wind up looking not as good. They are thinking three steps ahead and their teammates are three steps behind, so they wind up losing the ball … or the puck … or even the frisbee.

That’s the position in which I find myself today, and quite often, frankly.

You see, our CEO came into my cube today and asked me why I’m not calling back reporters. Apparently, he said, they are now calling him hoping he will speak with them, since I won’t.

“Did you speak with them?!” I asked, panicking about my entire strategy being blown up.

“Of course, I did, Joe,” he said. “Why wouldn’t I? We haven’t been covered in a substantial way for months, and we just sent out four releases. They want to talk with us now! Gotta strike while the iron’s hot!”

I just shook my head.

“What?” he said.

I just kept shaking my head … and I kept shaking it until he walked out of my cube, muttering to himself that he’d have to speak with my supervisor about this.

I was feeling particularly bold, given that my strategy was making the media so hungry to speak with our company, so I gave him a piece of my mind:

“Listen, (CEO’s name), I don’t tell you how to do your job,” I said. “So please don’t tell me how to do mine. I know what I’m doing.”

“Joe,” he responded, “I’m not sure you do, and since I’m the CEO, I will tell you how to do your job if I don’t think you’re doing it well.”

You know, that’s the problem with this company. They don’t let me do my job. But the good news is that now that he’s stuck his nose in my business, I can point the finger at him if my strategy doesn’t work.


Sitting Pretty

April 6, 2010
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You have all noticed, no doubt, that I have not posted here for a while. Of course, those of you who pay attention to this blog know that I have established a strategy of sending out a bunch of announcements in rapid-fire succession, and then laying low for up to two months at a time. Well, I’m happy to report that it is working.

The media don’t quite know what to do with themselves, after I sent out four releases in five days. Then, over the last two weeks – silence. In fact, I won’t even return reporters’ phone calls. Absolutely silence.

Then, in a couple more weeks, I anticipate having the ability to announce a few more things, and then, whammo, we’ll blitz the media again!

But for now, I’m just sitting pretty, not contacting the media, not returning their calls and not sending out announcements.

And in a few weeks, when I contact them again – on my terms – they are going to be begging me to write about my company.


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