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How to Fire a Client

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In the 18 years I’ve been doing PR (and all related services), I’ve had a parting of ways with a client just twice. By parting, I mean outright firing – or terminating a contract early. In both instances, you do what you can – turn over files, maintain your work ethic to the end and wish everyone well. In my experience, you know in the first two to four weeks whether you can deliver what you’ve been hired to do – and whether it will meet your professional standards. If you’re stubborn, and don’t wish to recognize the root causes as to why it’s not working, you can hang in as long as you can and suffer the consequences. But in today’s mobile economy, you need ...
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Hiring is always a challenging process and if you don’t make the right decisions, your whole company is going to suffer. It’s not easy to determine whether someone would be a good fit for your firm after looking at their resume and having a conversation with them, especially when it comes to hiring public relations professionals. Because of this, you will have to get creative with the hiring process and try different things. Test Your Candidates Although your interviewee may seem like the perfect candidate on paper, it’s always a good idea to test your candidates. Of course, there are countless ways to do this, but when a candidate is applying for a ...
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Marketing has always gone hand in hand with PR. This is completely logical considering that their end goals are the same – to make a company more successful. While marketing is more focused on promoting and selling of services and products, public relations professionals are focused on maintaining the favorable public image of a company. In other words, while marketing is more focused on advertising and promotional materials, PR is devoted to building relationships with key publics as well as media relations. Combining PR and marketing is an excellent way to ensure your business prospers. It’s a good idea to invite at least one expert from your PR department ...
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Maybe it's because I'm stuck in the eighties (musically, anyway), but I often think of David Bowie. He was such a musical force in my teenage years, and I'm just really sad that he's gone. Even though it's almost as old as I am, "Changes" remains one of my favorite Bowie songs. Aside from it just being a phenomenal song, every time I hear it I relate it to some change I'm going through. And vice versa. Often when I'm going through some sort of transition, the "ch-ch-ch-ch-changes" refrain runs through my head. And change today is constant, isn't it? At last month's Hood Hargett Breakfast Club event, I had the pleasure of hearing Robbie Bach ...
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Most PR practitioners are familiar with Rotary International’s Four-Way Test. We hear it recited at weekly Rotary meetings. We nod our heads in agreement and support, but do we model, respect, live, and lead by its ideas? The four, simple principles created by Rotarian, Herbert Taylor, in 1932 and adopted by Rotary in 1943, has become one of the world’s most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics. Translated into more than one hundred languages, it is still as valid today as it was 87 years ago. This 24-word test should be at the heart of all communication. “ Of the things we think, say and do: “Is it the truth?”   Often what we consider ...
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Sometimes when you land a new PR client, it’s easy to make a relationship misstep. Not everyone understands media, for example, or even what they want to accomplish with media. So how do you prepare for client literacy and building a good rapport? Your job, after all, is to be a strategist. Here are a few suggestions: • When you start the review conversation about the potential work, you can ask them to complete a short survey with some direct questions. One example I use in initial conversations is this – In the best of all worlds, where you would you like your brand to be? One answer I received: Endorsed by Oprah in her magazine. Be real with your prospects ...
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As we honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it is worth reflecting on the place he holds in American history. Along with our past Presidents Jefferson, Madison and Lincoln, King is recognized as one of our nation’s most effective advocates of the American ideal. Following graduation from Morehouse College in 1948 with a degree in sociology, King entered Crozer Theological Seminary, a school whose unorthodox reputation and liberal theological teachings suited the young civil rights crusader. At Crozier, King studied the great philosophers in search of answers to his questions: ‘what is justice,’ ‘what deserves to be defended,’ and ...
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The results of a study conducted recently by Forbes Insights for Deloitte, published in “A Crisis of Confidence,” offer a startling but predictable outcome: there is a gap between large companies’ awareness of potential threats and the preparation to actually manage them.Among the key findings: 76% of corporate board members surveyed believe their companies would respond effectively to a crisis.  Yet less than half report that their companies monitor to detect probable crises, and less than one-third conduct crisis management simulations or training. Among those vulnerabilities that rank highest among board members (73%) is corporate reputation, yet ...
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The media continue to be filled with stories about companies that fail to manage crisis situations, costing them millions in damage, fines and reparations, lost revenue and lost jobs.  Many of those failures can be tracked to a few common causes: 1) lack of attention to the identification and assessment of risks, 2) weak leadership commitment to effective risk mitigation and crisis management, 3) no crisis communication plan, and 4) no process to assess, investigate and mitigate a crisis. A risk management plan alone is not enough. As part of an effective enterprise risk management program, leaders need to make the right moves when a crisis occurs to ...
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Do you follow Merriam-Webster on social media? If not, you’re missing out.  Not only do they give us insight into trends, they track popular word searches, authenticate new words that make it into the lexicon, and pick “words of the year.” PR practitioners know better than most that words matter. So it makes sense that how you describe yourself and your work also matters. A solopreneur is a person who sets up and runs a business – solo. Example: ‘being a solopreneur has forced me to learn how to handle all aspects of business.’ So true – you are the payroll administrator, IT director, accountant, client relationship manager, writer, event wrangler – and ...
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Although it seems that every year the practice of sending Christmas cards diminishes, our PR firm still maintains the tradition. While some clients may dismiss them, others pay a great deal of attention. I found a cute message from a client and close friend, who in 2005 received a card from Marketing Strategies that was damaged in transit. Here is how we averted this crisis. Here, also are ten humorous things you can do with those cards you received, considering, of course, that you received a few traditional greetings. We regret that your high-gloss, four-color Christmas postcard arrived in poor condition. We are alerting the authorities. We can take ...
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To give or not to give during the holidays! It’s that time of year – when charitable donations are doled out for the tax year and fundraisers are hitting Facebook. But how many of you remember the journalists and newsrooms you work with each year? Oh sure, the doughnut, cookie or pizza pile is always welcome in a newsroom stretched thin around the holidays. And the free food is almost always mentioned in social media tags. But it may be somewhat complicated for a journalist to accept well-intended holiday goodies from a public relations colleague. A few thoughts (and tips) on recognizing media during the holidays: 1) Remember that most newsrooms ...
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Anthony Bolton got into internal communications because he wanted a steady writing gig. But what he found was a job that went far beyond intranet content and newsletters, and straight to the heart of helping employees love their experience at work. Find out how he’s leading the charge at Gulfstream Aerospace and why he decided to head up our Connect 19 employee communications conference. First, the basics: Tell us a little bit about what you do and where you work. I lead the employee communications function at Gulfstream Aerospace . I’m based in beautiful Savannah, GA.   What drew you to the world of employee communications? I kind of fell ...
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The midterms are here. Don’t underestimate their importance. If you have earned the right to vote, let your voice be heard. Be proud of who you are and what you stand for. Here is what Oprah Winfrey said about voting. As a woman who has worked hard for her rights, I find Oprah’s words inspiring and beautiful. (Reprinted from RealClearPolitics.) OPRAH WINFREY: All of us may have been created equal, but if you're woke, if you're woke just a little bit you have the sense to know that everybody is not treated equally. The reality is we see injustices big and small all around us every single day of our lives... Every single one of us, every single one ...
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Crises are Inevitable. The likelihood that a highly threatening, unexpected event will hit your business has never been higher. In a survey conducted by PwC of 164 CEO’s worldwide, 65 percent of respondents reported experiencing at least one crisis since 2013, and 15 percent had experienced five or more. A crisis communications plan is a crucial component of any disaster plan. It can act as a guide to help you quickly contain the crisis and recover from its impact. Whether it's a weather disaster, a highly publicized lawsuit or a lousy product review, your reaction should be immediate, focused and emphatic. Crisis Communications: Lessons Learned from Horror ...
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Today is the 112 th birthday of the press release. On October 30, 1906, the New York Times printed verbatim the very first press release written by Ivy Lee, the “father of modern PR.” The Pennsylvania Railroad was a client of Ivy Lee, and on October 28th, 1906, 50 people lost their lives due to a three-car train jumping a trestle in New Jersey and plunging into a thoroughfare creek. In response to this, Ivy Lee created the first press release that afternoon. He not only convinced the railroad to distribute a public statement, but he also convinced them to provide a special train to get reporters to the scene of the accident. The New York Times was so impressed ...
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Savvy professionals ask the tough question of management: why don’t we have a crisis communication plan? As a crisis communication consultant, I have seen countless examples of organizations that either don’t have a crisis communication plan, or fail to effectively implement the one they have.  Numerous studies confirm that only about half of all organizations have any kind of crisis plan.  So, what’s the excuse for the other half? Here’s what I think:  Crisis prevention isn’t sexy. It’s boring.  And denial is far too easy.  ‘That will never happen to our company’ is an all-too-common excuse for not investing in a crisis communication plan. These days, when ...
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Today’s 24/7 media environment gives an immediate and constant voice to stakeholders. The information they share can be just as consequential as journalists reporting facts. Our organizations need not only a strong crisis communications plan but also strong issues management daily practices. Here are some tips for helping your organization prepare for and weather crisis situations. 1. Craft a crisis communications plan (or update it). 2. Get a seat at the table where organizational and operational risks are discussed (risk management meeting, etc.). 3. Maintain 24/7 on-call status for the public relations staff. 4. Brainstorm potential issues and situations; ...
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Over the weekend I tackled the most challenging physical activity I have ever undertaken - a 125 mile bicycle ride with over 16,000 feet of climbing. (That's me in the photo above on one of the downhills.) To give some perspective, my ride was the equivalent of cycling from Manhattan (New York City) to the very end of Long Island (the Montauk Point Lighthouse) and climbing more than the height of Europe’s tallest mountain (Mont Blanc at 15,781ft) on the way.  It wasn’t a single climb. Rather the ride was a series of peaks and valleys; a slow push up , followed by the speedy rush of a long downhill. It took me the entire day to finish the ride – with seven ...
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I have been out of college for almost 2 years now and am having difficulty landing a new position due to lack of experience, new to the field, etc. I have found that most places that offer internships will not usually allow a graduate the opportunity. With being impacted by a recent restructure at my full-time job, I am on the search for a new position and unfortunately haven't been able to tie anything down. Can anyone offer any suggestions, tips or companies they know of that are looking for entry level public relations people? Thank you in advance! Best Regards, Donunshae
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