In mid-July, I received an email from Mia Salituro requesting an email interview which is posted here. After reviewing Mia’s background, I was intrigued by her Networking Newbie blog and aspiration to find a position with Ogilvy & Mather (Note: My first PR job was with O&M Taiwan as a translator!). Part of Mia’s approach is to interview one person per day (more like a week I believe) and leverage this expanding network to make inroads into the company.
I asked Mia to share her thoughts and the reaction to her unique approach to date. Personally, I think she’ll find a position – what do you think? What have you done to pursue your dream job?
1) Why did you start Networking Newbie?
I began networking as an international model and since then have learned that networking is one of the most beneficial tools we have to fueling our success. I may be in the small city of Kenosha, WI in the physical, however the Internet allows me to network with business professionals and entrepreneurs worldwide. One day I am interviewing an SEO expert from India, the next I am speaking with the CEO of an advertising company in Dubai. Networking Newbie has allowed me to maximize my summer holiday and use it to connect with inspiring business professionals and entrepreneurs worldwide.
2 ) You’ve expressed an interest to work for Ogilvy. How is Networking Newbie helping you to achieve this?
I aspire to work in PR for Ogilvy. Already, those in my network have been reaching out offering to help me pursue this dream. On July 6, the day of my first interview post, I e-mailed Lori Bizzoco, a 15-year PR veteran turned writer (www.loribizz.com) who I intern for and asked her if she had any questions to ask editor Isobella Jade and directed her to my site. Lori replied back, ” I don’t have any questions for Isobella, but I have one for you. It says on your site that your dream is to work for Ogilvy? Is that true? Given my PR background, I would be happy to help you make some connections. One thing I know, is that you are on the right path to making your dreams come true.” I think that this quote speaks for itself.
In addition, I plan to contact the managing directors of Ogilvy Shanghai and Ogilvy Hong Kong to invite them for an interview on Networking Newbie.
3) Who do you contact and why?
I contact those who I feel will not only serve as inspiration to me, but also to my readers. I am personally interested in PR,advertising, marketing etc., however I think that anyone can admire an entrepreneur regardless of their industry. For example, I interviewed Justin Beck, CEO of PerBlue, software startup in Madison. I am not particularly interested in software however Justin’s story is truly inspirational. He was 21 when he became the CEO of PerBlue . Lately, I have been sending interview invites to young entrepreneurs such as Justin Beck. My most recent young entrepreneur interview features Ryan Meinzer, CEO of PlaySay, foreign language learning program. I’ve also interviewed Jason Pereira who at the age of 19 has already owned an offline business in Bangalore and an online business in Dubai.These are the type of people that we should model ourselves after.
4) What has the response been to those you’ve reached out to?
Initially, I wasn’t sure what the reaction would be. Perhaps those whom I looked up to were much too busy to answer my questions. I am pleased to say that those whom I have contacted have been more than happy to participate. Many have even offered me advice, beyond my interview questions. I have received loads of encouragement. Receiving advice from such inspiring individuals is worth every bit of the work I put into Networking Newbie. It is very refreshing to see such busy people take time out of their hectic schedule to answer my questions. It is greatly appreciated.
I had an interesting conversation with Steve Gershik who writes Innovative Marketer the other day. We discussed his recent post, “An open letter to PR agencies…” which highlighted some of his frustrations over a recent PR agency search. For me, I come from the PR agency background. I truly support PR and want to see PR agencies succeed. But unfortunately, since going in-house, I have to agree with Steve’s points.
In the end, I want a successful partnership (stress partnership here). But in order to do this, you need to be honest with me regarding your workloads and what is truly possible. This way, we can set the right expectations for success. Which leads me to
Referrals are key…
In this economy, referrals are worth their weight in gold. The expectations are higher when you’re referred by a person I trust or I’ve worked with you in the past. But don’t waste this opportunity. If you do poorly in front of my executives, it looks bad for you, me and the person who referred you. In the end, I’ll never refer you again. So bring in your A game and do 150% if you’re referred to me. But one word of caution
Respect My Process
People like Steve and I are managing entire marketing programs. For me, I cannot manage the vetting process from beginning to end so I work with my colleagues to help me in the process. Don’t try to circumvent that process by trying to reach me directly. In fact, you may lose the business as a result. And for PR agencies, would you go around a reporter to the editor becuase you thought the reporter was too slow? I guess it depends but you would think twice before doing that becuase of the remifications, right?
What do you think? Are there any other points to consider?
The response to my post on which PR firms hasd a social media presence was, well, more than I expected. My post received 66 comments while Jeremiah Owyang’s post had 47 comments. When reviewing the comments, you could see two audiences emerging:
- those who believe that you have to practice what you preach and
- those who believed that corporate presence wasn’t as important as much as the work that was done for clients and the individual participation within those firms
Regardless of which camp you belong to, the discussion resulted in the creationing of a wiki to allow PR firms to proactively update their profiles. To the A few firms that did proactively update their profilesm thank you. To those who haven’t yet, why not?
Overall, here is the breakdown:
- 109 firms are on the list
- 50 firms have blogs
- While 38 firms have corporate Twitter profiles, 5 firms deferred to individuals versus corporate Twitter. In total, 13 firms had individuals participating on Twitter.
- 47 firms had a Facebook presence, while 38 had LinkedIn
- 16 firms have started using Flickr, YouTube and Second Life
So, who else is missing from the list? Go to http://prfirmssocialmedia.pbwiki.com to make the udpates.
Response to Comments regarding "Would YOU Trust a PR Firm without a Social Media Presence with Your Social Media Programs"
There has been quite a bit of discussion from the original post and on a post by Jeremiah Owyang titled “Walking the Talk: Some Agencies and Vendors Demonstrate Social Media Prowess,”. I honestly didn’t think that my initial effort would generate such discussion, which I think provides a lot of fodder for thought.
I do want to provide my perspective on one aspect of Jennifer Leggio’s comment:
Client service comes first, always. Yes agencies should strive to have a presence of their own but not having a presence on Twitter or LinkedIn for their corporation is not a good measurement — at all.
When reviewing Jennifer Leggio’s post “Is ‘social PR’ for real?”, this paragraph resonated with me:
Agencies need to work hard to ease their clients’ or potential clients’ minds by showing hard metrics of how social programs have worked for other clients. There is also more justifiable pressure on marketers as a whole to demonstrate ROI from social media programs. Clients should start requiring these types of ROI metrics or case studies and not take “this is a new practice” as a valid excuse for the agencies not having proof points. The agency at the very least should be able to show how it’s built its own brand / the brand of its people through social media.
I do agree with the position that a PR agency having a social media presence is not necessarily a barometer of how that agency can deliver results for clients using social media. However, I will argue that an agency’s ability to use these tactics/strategies to build awareness and industry expertise demonstrates understanding of the pressures that clients face and their objectives. This includes increasing incoming sales leads, communicating with key customers, building thought leadership, reaching key audiences, etc.
Besides this particular point, I want to add the following:
I recognize that individual contributors are just as important as corporate brands. I will still assert that corporate brands will be just as important for establishing brand awareness and thought leadership
With that said, how one participates in social media can be dictated based on one’s audience and goals. I strongly believe that having a presence in the right avenues helps to drive an agency’s lead generation efforts
Since I was laid off, I decided to do this research out of curiousity. I knew it would take time and spent a several hours over a two week period to “research” the original list. As I was doing this myself, I acknowledge that I may have missing or incorrect information. As such, I appreciate those who have provided updates in comments or emails to me. I have updated the table accordingly.
And finally, as this endeavor is much bigger than I originally anticipated, I have set up a public wiki for agencies and the community to make updates directly.
A lot of PR firms are stating that they have social media capabilities and can help develop your strategy in this arena. So I thought, how many are actually practicing what they’re preaching?
I decided to see which PR firms were actively participating in social media. [update 2/20/09] I initially evaluated PR firms listed on O’Dwyer’s list of top 100 independent PR firms. This list was based on worldwide fees for firms with major US operations. As such, some prominent firms, such as Ogilvy & Mather, Ketchum PR and others. Since this post was published, the list has been exanded to include firms that have proactively included information in the comments or email. It is now sorted alphabetically and includes different types of firms, such as IR, healthcare and technology.
Some points to keep in mind:
- I looked at if the agency had a blog, Twitter profile, Facebook page (both group and/or fan), LinkedIn Group
- While there are individuals within each agency who have great online presences, I was seeking corporate presence. So some fields may be marked as “none” as a result
- And since I did this myself, I was trying to maximize my time:
* I didn’t categorize the type of PR each firm did – I took the list at its word
* If the blog wasn’t listed on the home page or easily found via a sitemap, I assumed there was none or you don’t really want me to find your blog
* I searched on the agency’s name or common abbreviation as presented on their website. Anything more exotic or too cute, would not have been found
* For Twitter, I used Twitter search or tried to manually type in what seemed like an appropriate Twitter handle
* I used the group search functions found on Facebook and LinkedIn respectively
* I decided not to look at other sites like delicious, slideshare.net, flickr, etc., frankly, because I was doing this myself =); however, I did include it if the agency made it easy to find
- Almost all of the agencies did NOT link to their profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. from their website. I would’ve expected this on their Contact Us page or linked from the Blog but this was very rare.
- While those who had blogs did a good job of putting the blog link front and center on the home page, some were too cute and hid the link under a different section of the website. If you’re one of these agencies and I found your blog regardless, it’s because it was listed on your site map.
- 39 agencies had blogs; 28 had Twitter profiles with one having a hashtag but no Twitter profile; 35 agencies had Facebook Group pages with two establishing fan pages; and 25 had LinkedIn Group pages while two created company pages
So let’s see how this little experiment works. If you’re a PR agency and I have incorrect information, please provide the corrections below or write a post that links back. I will then update the listing as quickly as I can. And if you have accounts with Flickr, YouTube and Slideshare.net, let me know.
But If you don’t have a social media presence, tell me why. I want to give folks the benefit of doubt. I was able to format the list into a table below captured the list in a jpg (couldn’t get it to format correctly, sorry!) or you can download a pdf version of this list. visit the public wiki and make changes to the table.
Table of PR Firms and Social Media Presence
Update: 2/19/09 – This table was updated to be in alphabetical order, includes additional PR firms not on the original list, and eliminates “none” from the table. You can also visit the PR Firms Social Media Public Wiki to make changes.
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All content copyright Cece Salomon-Lee, Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, with the attribution: By Cece Salomon-Lee, PR Meets Marketing, and a link to the post.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been hearing that more agencies are working on projects on a retainer basis vs hourly. My understanding is that the retainer enables an agency to focus on the work versus the administration.
This is intriguing, because I previously wrote that charging by the hour contributed to part of the bad image that PR folks have. It raises several questions for me:
- Are smaller/boutique agencies the only ones doing this?
- Does this result in better quality work?
- Does this mean there is less “nickel and diming” since it’s a set retainer?
Heck, being in-house, I like this. I know what my budget is on a month-to-month basis. No ugly surprises. No explanations to my boss and finance department. What is there not to love.
I posed this question to my twitter folks, “do you think a retainer basis is better than hourly? If so, why?” Here;s the conversation:
I would love to hear from PR agencies and other folks – in-house or agency. Which is better – montly retainer or monthly projections billed against hours?
Cece Salomon-Lee is director of marketing for ACTIVE Network, Business Solutions division, and author of PR Meets Marketing, which explores the intersection of public relations, marketing, and social media.
This blog contains Cece's personal opinions and are not representative of her company's.
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