Sticky and Tricky Office Situations

We’ve all been there – we want to be included in the group at the office or in our internship, so we try to adopt the dialogue.  We start speaking our “office speak,” and maybe you develop a relationship or a vernacular with your co-workers that your friends wouldn’t see outside the office.  In some cases, it’s good to change and grow with the culture of your office, but in others it can spark big trouble.  When you’re as heads-down or intrenched in your job as PR peeps are, you’re especially vulnerable to some of these awkward office encounters.  The best thing to do is remember to keep your own interests top of mind.  You may want to make nice with your colleague or superior, but if trash-talking is happening you want no part of it.  Here are a few odd social situations that can happen in the office, and how to handle them.

You and your cube-mates have developed a very sarcastic back-and-forth, but now you feel like it’s toeing the line – Maybe you all started with a few harmless jokes, but now you’re sensing someone’s feelings are hurt or you are taking the jokes to be cutting or mean. It can be hard to dial back the sarcasm, but why not inject some friendly speak into the conversation. Compliment your friend on her new blouse or ask how she made her delicious-looking brown bag lunch.  You may all be a little biting, but if you keep most of the conversation light, you’ll avoid getting carried away with the nasty comments.

A co-worker loves to vent about her issues with another co-worker, and you feel you have to participate – I’m here to tell you, you don’t!  While you may like your colleagues very much, she is not your BFF who can lay all her troubles of the world on you, looking for you to bond with similar issues.  If a co-worker needs to vent, let her blow off steam, but don’t join in with more comments. Smile and offer support or a solution if there is one, but keep yourself clear of any bashing. Plenty of PR girls and guys have gotten in trouble for merely participating in negative talk, even if they may not have been the instigater.

You find yourself getting annoyed by what’s going on around you – Maybe you got up on the wrong side of the bed. Maybe a co-worker is just talking way too loud on the phone. Or someone is asking you a million questions you feel like you’ve answered a million times. Instead of waiting until you snap, get up and take care of yourself. Make a cup of tea, put your headphones in, go for a quick walk.  We’re all in this together, but you’re no help to anyone if you’re on the last string of your sanity.  Take care of you first.

And of course, if anything is making you uncomfortable in the office or you feel your work is suffering as a result, talk to your supervisor as soon as possible.

Come across any tricky office situations lately?

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How to Pitch Blogs

Continuing our “how to pitch” series, we already took a look at broadcast, magazines and online magazine editors. Next is one that M and I can easily relate to – how to pitch bloggers. Bloggers have become extremely influential and outreach to bloggers is a critical part of every PR professionals job. Following the below tips can help you generate some coverage and if you do it correctly, it can be very beneficial for you and your client.

How to Pitch Blogs

  • Follow influencers. Whether you work with a food, fashion or beauty client, keep your eye on the top influencers in your category. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, anything to keep you in the loop of what they’re covering.
  • Research each and every blog. This is a big mistake PR professionals make when they pitch our blog. Look at what each blogger covers and if your client is a fit. If each PR person that pitched our blog actually looked at it first, they would notice we don’t cover celebrity styles or gossip.
  • Create and keep a thorough media list. Keep notes as you research each blog on what they’ve covered in the past and any personal information that could help you.
  • Never send an email blast. We’ve said this before, but we see it all the time. Super, super important.
  • Keep it personal. Bloggers reveal a majority of their life story in their “About” sections so making a pitch personal is extremely easy. A simple opening such as, “I noticed you have a 5-year-old daughter and I thought you might be interested in…” should spark their interest. They want to know that you’ve done your research.
  • Be transparent. Something you hear all the time while working with media, but particularly with bloggers who can easily bash you and your brand. Let them know who you are and don’t hide anything. If you work for an agency, make it known.
  • Make your subject line interesting. “Product Review” isn’t going to cut it. Think of your subject line as the title of a post.
  • Offer them assets. If your asking for a product to be reviewed, make sure you offer them a sample of your product, links to more information about your product, high-res images, videos, anything that will make their post complete. Make it easy for the blogger to say “yes”. If you can’t offer a sample to be reviewed, be honest and include that in your email.
  • Include a disclosure. Most bloggers know to do this already, but make sure they are following the FTC guidelines and include a disclosure within their post.
  • Keep the connection. Send them a note if you see a blog post about them leaving for vacation. Keep the relationship going outside of just, I need you to do a favor. It will keep the relationship more personal.

What are some other tips for pitching blogs?

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When I Grow Up…

For a recent new business pitch, I had to think back to when I was a kid and list all the things I wanted to be when I grew up.  It was a humorous exercise, since the list was kind of long and very far from what I ended up doing in my life.  But it’s also kind of funny to see how a PR girl is a culmination of all the things I wanted to be, wrapped into one whirlwind job.  Everyone has this list, but I thought I’d share mine to get a little nostalgic:

When I was young, I wanted to be:

A ballerina – This was what every little girl wanted to be, but I actually danced until I was about 20 years old. “Real life” called, and I had to get off stage. My lack of stage fright still helps me in new business presentations and meetings every day. Not to mention AMAZING moves for spontaneous dance parties over the weekend.

A novelist – Pretty much the dorkiest thing a kid could want to be.  All I wanted to do was write when I was little. I would turn in the LONGEST writing assignments in my class. I pictured myself alone in a log cabin with my dog or on the beach in a breezy house writing fiction until I was 100 years old.  Now I write press releases.

A country singer – I still believe in a past life I was a country singer. I don’t know why. I don’t know how this applies to PR. I don’t think it does.

A fashion buyer – I think this comes from watching Friends and being jealous of Rachel’s job.  Working at Bloomingdale’s and buying clothes all day sounded perfect to me. Now I pitch beauty products to magazines to get the stores to want to buy the product. Still involved in the process!

A magazine editor – As you can tell from this list already, apparently childhood Meg pretty much wanted to be on stage or in New York City.  Magazine editor fell into the last category. I pretty much thought this was my calling until I got to college and realized how nuts an editor’s job is (a LOT of respect for them). I turned to PR to work with more people and form relationships, while still writing and working for brands I cared for (and magazines are involved too!)

What did you want to be when you grew up?

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PRofile: @NBTalent

Today we’re profiling one of my best friends and an entrepreneur that has always inspired me. Nicole is the Founder and President of NB Talent Services, a talent management and public relations firm based in New York with an office in Minneapolis. Nicole has experience independently handling the marketing, public relations and operations for several individuals, products and corporations. She graduated in 2007 from Florida State University with a degree in Recreation and Leisure Services Administration and a certification in Special Events Management.

nb talent

Internally at NB Talent, Nicole is responsible for all marketing strategies to create and develop the NB Talent brand. She focuses on securing new clients, handling all internal operations and client communication, developing new processes and procedures for social media strategy, research and development, press materials and more. She acts as a liaison between her clients and any and all major networks, agents and media outlets and works directly with legal teams to organize and execute contracts and booking red-carpet, TV and club appearances. In a nutshell – she’s EXTREMELY busy!

How did you get started in public relations?

I know all of the upcoming publicists don’t want to hear this but I literally walked into the industry when I met my first client, a Chef from Next Food Network Star. The rush of the media, VIP events and the overall journey of my ‘trial and error experience taught me the world of public relations and gave me an opening for referrals and eventually starting my own business.

What is your average day like?

Every day is different which is what is so great about this life. I have monthly calendars that I keep for each of my clients with target dates, to dos, and editorial goals which I go over every morning (over coffee of course). I update my schedule of phone calls, emails, pitch plans and begin to execute! Sometimes being a publicist is like being a superhero; building reputations one media placement at a time can almost seem like you’re saving a life!

Nicole Bandklayder

What’s your favorite part of working in public relations?

Seeing my clients in the news and in magazines! Nothing is better than waking up to your client featured on MSNBC.

 What’s the best PR advice you ever received?

Perception is everything! Make your client seem like they are the greatest thing since sliced bread and soon they will be!

Any advice for those looking to get into PR?

Take advantage of your teachers, bosses and friends with experience in this industry by asking questions. PR is all about being resourceful and lots of networking.

Be sure to connect with Nicki on Twitter @NBTalent or