It’s been a little over a year since my first blog post as a self-employed PR professional. Those of you who know me know that it’s been one crazy year both professionally and personally. The fact that my family and I have survived living in Austin [Lakeway, TX to be exact] and that my venture in PR as a soloist (for the time being, I hope) has been a relative success, I have to say crazy isn’t so bad.
The ‘craziness’ of the past year has brought me to learn many things about PR…and life. Here are 12 [one for each month] that I’d like to share with y’all [that's a li'l Texan slang for all you New Yorkers]:
12. LIFE IS FULL OF SURPRISES. Such a cliche, but it’s so true. Who would’ve thought that we’ll be living so far away from all our family, friends, and of course, the PR/media capital of the world? I still wake up in the middle of the night sometimes thinking I’m in Cambridge Heights in Nutley, NJ.
11. I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY…A LITTLE BIT ROCK ‘N ROLL. Moving to Texas has given everyone in the family an appreciation for the most spectacular natural scenery in the country. The Texas Hill Country and Lake Travis are must-adds to anyone’s bucket list. We’ve also enjoyed getting to know folks who come from a very different background as us, and realize that we aren’t at all that much different. We do miss the diversity that the Northeast offers in food, culture, people and…FOOD.
10. IN PR, LOCATION DOESN’T MATTER. My friends who work in New York City would probably hate me for saying this, but this is based on my experience. The Internet has really changed the way we communicate. I am just as in touch with what’s going on in New York City from here as I was when I was working there. Ok…maybe location does matter a little. That’s probably why I’m keeping my 201 area code.
9. CENTRAL TIME CAN BE A PAIN. Location might not matter in PR, but time zones do especially in matters of scheduling meetings and TV watching. The one hour difference is enough to get me mixed up in making appointments with people in the East Coast. I’ve also missed live TV events because of this. Obviously, there is a time zone bias going on here.
8. IT’S ALWAYS BETTER TO REP CLIENTS YOU LOVE. Every PR pro’s dream is to have clients that they feel passionate about. In my case, that’d be the PGA Tour or Tiger Woods. No, I don’t rep both as you can tell with all the bad press they are getting lately. I am proud to say though I do rep the next best thing. If you haven’t guessed it, then read here.
7. LIKE LIFE, THERE IS SUCH A THING AS DESTINY IN PR. I’ve told this story many times and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of re-telling this story again and again. Many of you who lived near us in New Jersey have had many yummy meals with us at Carino’s Italian. If I recall, I introduced Carino’s to y’all. In fact, our final farewell dinner, hosted by the Ocampos, was at the Carino’s in Clifton Commons. Then, the funniest thing happened along the way to Austin. The first ever restaurant we ate at after a long yet leisurely drive from New Jersey that took ten days was at Rudy’s “Country Store” and Bar-B-Q.
Then, a Divine Intervention, a few weeks later, I end up meeting one of the most innovative digital marketers in the U.S., Creed Ford IV, Principal at Pictoric Media Group, who runs the digital marketing for Carino’s Italian and Rudy’s Bar-B-Q…a couple of months later I’m playing golf with him and the owners of Carino’s and Rudy’s Bar-B-Q. The rest as they say is history. [If you're on Twitter and aren't following @creedford, you're missing out. This dude will change how restaurants operate. More on that on a later post.]
6. TIGER WOODS IS THE KING OF GOLF AND DOUCHEBAGGERY. Considering I’m in PR, I felt shafted that I, too, fell for his image that he can do no wrong. Nike, Tiger and the rest of his crew should watch out for a class-action lawsuit for all the emotional distress he’s caused faithful married men.
5. NETWORKING IS EASIER FOR A FIVE YEAR OLD. Seeing how my two sons (ages 5 and 6), without thinking twice, approach other kids their age to make friends, is something to emulate. I even blogged about it here.
4. TEXAS HAS ITS OWN INDEPENDENCE DAY. Texans have always said Texas is its own country. They’re right. I discovered this when my client, Rudy’s Bar-B-Q, launched a campaign on March 2nd (3/2) to offer up quarter pound barbecue briskets for 32 cents (a play off the date in case you didn’t get it) for a couple of hours. All payments received from the promo hours, as well as 50 cents for every new Twitter follower and Facebook fan a week leading up to 3/2, were donated to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. A simple cause related program that combined traditional and social media generated significant media placements for the client. Welcome to the Republic of Texas.
3. PR, SOCIAL MEDIA AND A HEART TO HELP, IS A WINNING COMBINATION. Besides the aforementioned campaign for Haiti. My client, Rudy’s Bar-B-Q, also embarked on a cause-related campaign that raised funds for the victims of the Fort Hood tragedy through a partnership with Soldiers’ Angels. In addition, Carino’s Italian restaurants introduced its new loyalty card, Pasta Points, by donating a dollar for every new registration from April 12th-30th to Autism Speaks, the largest nonprofit organization for autism awareness and research. You can view my behind the scenes take form Austin Live with Chef Peit here. Here are six things about cause-related PR you need to know.
2. I GOT PR’d TO MOVE TO AUSTIN. Kudos to Austin’s PR team for getting the city included in rankings of the Best Places to Live in the U.S. (U.S. News) and the Best Places for Business and Careers (Forbes). Besides the obvious of asking friends who’ve been to Austin, my research showed that Austin is great a hot bed for entrepreneurs and great place to raise a family. So far, that seems like the case.
1. GOTTA HAVE FAITH. Not talking about George Michael’s song. The craziness of the past year has actually made me more spiritual and to reflect on what’s really important. We may live with less, but we’ve become closer as a family. If it worked for us so it should for you. The ups and downs of being a small business owner requires a lot of faith in oneself. I don’t mean to be preachy, but without the belief that someone greater is watching out for you, the challenges will be tougher to face IMO. If you don’t believe me, read point no. 7 again.