6 Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem

Did you know that February is International Boost Self-Esteem Month? Your self-esteem, or how you perceive yourself, is always changing. As you go through life, there will be times when your self-esteem is high and others when it is low. If you’re feeling like your self-esteem could use a boost, check out the six tips below!

1. Avoid negative self-talk

We tend to spend so much time thinking about our flaws that we forget about our strengths. This way of thinking can have a negative impact on our self-esteem. So next time you start having negative thoughts, take a moment and recognize what you’re doing. Challenge these beliefs by finding evidence against them. This will alter your way of thinking and make you view yourself in a positive light.

2. Stop comparing yourself to others

People do not always show their true selves on social media. So when you’re looking at your Instagram feed, try not to compare yourself to others. Clinical psychologist Linda Blair states, “You’re comparing yourself with a fantasy, and that will lead to either excessive striving or disappointment.” When you catch yourself wishing you were someone else, take a step back and think about everything you have accomplished. Remember, the successes of others don’t take away from your own.

3. Accept your flaws

No one’s perfect. We all have things we wish we could change about ourselves. To prevent these flaws from having a negative impact on your self-esteem, you should separate your flaws into two categories: flaws that can be worked on and flaws that can’t be worked on. Once you’ve learned to accept yourself for who you are, you will start to find peace within yourself and spend more time focusing on your strengths rather than your weaknesses.

4. Set manageable goals

Blair suggests setting short- to mid-term goals for yourself. This will help you feel a sense of accomplishment once you’ve done what you’ve set out to do. If you set lofty goals, you may be unable to achieve them, and this will have a negative impact on your self-esteem.

5. Practice self-care

It is very important to have a self-care routine. Even if you are extremely busy, you should take a few minutes out of your day to engage in activities that promote peace and well-being. This may include taking a walk, reading a good book, or cooking a healthy meal. In addition, you should take care of your physical health by getting an adequate amount of sleep, eating the right foods, and engaging in daily hygiene. Having a self-care routine will have a significant effect on your self-esteem.

6. Exercise

Not only is exercise good for your physical health, but it is also good for your mental health. When you engage in physical activity, your body releases endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling. You don’t necessarily have to do an hour-long workout to feel better. You can take a walk around the block or get up and dance to improve your well-being. 

Building self-esteem takes time, so be patient with yourself. As long as you try your best, that’s all that matters. Let us know if any of these tips worked for you!  

By Kate Artmann

The Hoyt Organization

Tips for Staying Focused at Work

After the holidays (or even a particularly fun weekend) it can be hard to get back into the swing of things at the office. Feeling sluggish or distracted the first day back at work is a common trait among weekend warriors. To stay focused, the obvious answer is a big cup of coffee, but there are many other ways to perk up. So, here are a few tips to combat any case of the Mondays and increase productivity.

To stay focused, sunshine is your friend

If you’re lucky enough to have a desk next to a window, or even your own office, it’s easy to start the morning with the shades closed or lights low. Instead, you should embrace the Vitamin D and let the sunshine wake you up for the day. While it may be uncomfortable at first, you will likely be in a better mood and less groggy for those mid-morning meetings.

Take a break

While it may seem counter-intuitive to take time away from your work, you will feel refreshed and energized if you take a couple small breaks throughout the day. It’s also important to take breaks from looking at a screen, so you are helping your eyes and brain rest during the breaks as well. A morning walk in the fresh air for 10 minutes or so can give your brain an extra boost of oxygen. In the afternoon, you can do a couple of desk exercises or walk across the office for a quick snack.

Always keep a supply of desk snacks

Low blood sugar is not your friend, especially at work. It’s important to keep some snacks on hand so you don’t fall into an energy slump or worse- become hangry. The best desk snacks are full of protein and nutrients so you stay satiated longer. I suggest nuts, granola bars, beef jerky, apple slices with peanut butter, carrots with hummus, and of course a little dark chocolate.

Start with the smaller tasks and work up to the big ones.

Sometimes if you need to get your brain back into the groove of things, it’s easier to start with the more straightforward tasks such as answering emails, cleaning your desk and returning phone calls. Then once you’re warmed up you can tackle the more difficult tasks.

Stay focused by staying hydrated.

While caffeine is your friend for perking you up, you need water to keep your mind clear and alert. Using a water bottle with a (reusable!) straw promotes water consumption because it is much more mindless to take a sip of water instead of unscrewing your lid every time.

Listen to music or podcasts.

Some workplaces/jobs may not allow for this, but if you are able to put on headphones it can be a great way to pump yourself up for the day. If you have a particular podcast that you enjoy then it can be something to look forward to each morning while you sip coffee and reply to emails.

As we move into 2020, I encourage you to try these tips to continue growing towards the best version of yourself. Staying focused and alert at work doesn’t have to be hard, you just need to implement these tips! Let us know if there’s anything else that works for you so we can share it with everyone.

THO

Mental Health Services: Do they need PR?

It wasn’t all that long ago that going to a mental health professional was considered something to keep hidden. Even the popular TV series Mad Men addressed a leading character’s mental health concern with a bit of embarrassment. Today that’s changed. With the increasing stress that life is throwing at everyone and the growing availability of mental health services.

Today it is quite common for someone to admit that they are seeing a therapist or are seeking out counseling. In fact, this actually points to society’s growing acceptance that we can – and should – take care of ourselves. After all, if we can’t take care of ourselves, how are we supposed to take care of anyone else in our life? The recognition that we all need help with the issues we are facing supports a stronger, healthier society.

Public relations is playing an essential role in strengthening this positioning. By taking the stigma out of using mental health services – and showing how this improves lives, strengthen communities and contributes to each client’s success – public relations is exactly the type of communications tools that should be used.  Not only does it help spread the word about mental health issues, it encourages those who may be standing on the side lines, needing help but not knowing where to turn, to reach out and find help.

What’s the best way to find the right public relations team to help? Here are a few things to consider:

Look for a public relations firm that has strong healthcare experience.

Healthcare is a complicated industry with many moving parts. Getting a new team up to speed can be challenging enough without having to teach them the industry as well.

Define your goal.

Do you want to raise the visibility of your mental health services in a specific community? Is expanding your client base your only interest? Is there a referral network your connected to? Every program should be custom designed to meet your goals. Clearly define your goal before you begin your search.

What type of model does your organization need?

If it’s a mental health services organization with a number of facilities is a full-service agency that can handle a national program better suited for your outreach? If it’s a smaller program with a geographically specific need, would a freelance professional better fit your needs?  Once you’ve defined your budget, you’ll be able to determine the type of public relations professional that will be able to truly perform for you.

Don’t forget social.

While in the past mental health was considered anything but social, today social platforms offer a great way to directly target those who are seeking referrals, ideas and tips on how to manage mental health issues.

THO

The Meaning of PR: How it’s changing as we head into 2020

When public relations (PR) first came on the scene in the early 1900s, it was originally based on a journalism foundation simply because most companies wanted to get their name in the newspaper.  As it evolved, it became a sophisticated approach to creating the right message targeted to the right audience in the right way. This resulted in public relations becoming one of the go-to services for companies seeking to mold how their consumer viewed their brand.

Now, fast forward to today. Has the meaning of PR changed?  With the advent of technology and the wide variety of ways we communicate, it has morphed into an all-encompassing field that now crosses boundaries with digital, advertising, marketing and more.

The Expanding Public Relations Bucket

While traditionally public relations focused on editorial content, today the PR bucket holds much more than media relations. It now includes paid media (advertising), earned media (editorial coverage), shared media (social), and owned media (company newsletters, etc.). Yet, this can – and often does — fall under the PR banner. While all these tools and tactics offer PR teams a wide range of options in how they communicate their specific message, has it changed the meaning, or just the delivery of the message?

Public relations, at its heart, is all about storytelling. While today’s PR professionals are tech-savvy and trends-focused, the profession still concentrates on shaping the message, earning the trust of the audience and moving the needle on how a company is perceived in the marketplace. Yet today the line is blurring between all of the services found on a company marketing wheel. In fact, PR companies these days include full creative services such as video production, event development, brand marketing, media planning and buying, as well as content creation and influencer strategies.

With the growth of mobile, social and viral PR, the industry has gone through a radical shift. What we are seeing today is a re-calibration of offerings by agencies on both sides of the aisle. Creative agencies – typically in the advertising bucket – are using content creation, digital strategies and experiential designs while PR agencies continue to push into paid digital and advertising, as well as earned media.

The baseline of PR: The Art of Storytelling

While this “blurring of the lines” makes it harder for the consumer to determine the type of firm that they are looking for, does it change the meaning of public relations?  The art of storytelling hasn’t changed. PR is still rooted in influencing opinions and ultimately changing behavior. No matter the mode of delivery – social media, paid ads, influencer campaigns or other tactics – this is not going to change. We will always need to craft the narrative – people love a good story.

What has changed is the definition of PR in 2020. While it is still rooted in its storytelling framework, today the stories are crafted in a very different manner. They can be an immersive, interactive event for a branded hotel; the stories can be an unveiling of a product at a trade show; it may revolve around a strong thought leadership program or any one of a million ideas that create and shape a successful campaign.

As a result, some of the trends we’ll see in 2020 include:

  • A thirst for content that’s relevant and authentic. This means making sure that the company voice is true to the company values.
  • A blurring between the advertising agencies, public relations firms, marketing specialists and digital companies and more. As companies search for a solution to their needs, it is no longer a once-size-fits-all and companies will begin teaming up or even acquiring other firms that complement their strengths.
  • A shift in how some of the social media tools are being used; one prime example is Instagram. This platform is losing its organic audience as more and more companies are paying to capture their audience.
  • A move into micro-market outreach. As digital tools become more and more sophisticated, firms now have the ability to geographically target micro markets for specific messages. This will become increasingly the norm.
  • An increasing use of data to show ROI and validate the success of a campaign. While data has always been powerful, now the availability of data today shows what worked, what didn’t and even what actions were taken.
  • Technology will continue to rule (even more than before) as the primary tool for PR practitioners. This includes digital marketing automation tools. These tools create efficiency and effectiveness without having the practitioner sit at the desk to do it.

Public relations has evolved drastically, and no doubt this trend, too, will continue.  That said, while the delivery methods may have changed, the underlying definition has not.   After all, in the end, it’s truly all about the story.

THO

Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Having the correct skills for a job is a crucial part of any hiring process. You have to be able to navigate numerous programs and the tech to make your job as efficient as possible. A new type of skillset that’s gaining traction in the professional realm is ensuring that employees have emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence (also referred to as EI or EQ for emotional quotient) is defined as the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

While possessing the correct experience for the position is still a major factor, employers are increasingly taking into account the emotional intelligence capacity of applicants as well as their current staff, for many reasons.

Emotionally intelligent people know their limits.

A part of being emotionally intelligent, by definition, is to be aware of and control your emotions. Everyone has been in a work environment where there was a lack of self-awareness and perhaps, in some cases, a lack of control. Working with a team where even one member is easily frustrated or offended and takes out their emotions on others can drastically change the group dynamic. A team that has two or more members lacking these skills can be detrimental.

Emotionally intelligent people know their limits, and while they may still experience difficult emotions, they are aware of the limits and take time to step away. Likewise, if they begin to feel too strained or overwhelmed, they have the self-awareness to take a mental health day, or enjoy some of their vacation time. This is essential for maintaining a true work-life balance.

Emotionally intelligent people understand others’ limits.

Having the aptitude to take a step back and gain insight into someone’s intentions, evaluate any existing communicative strengths and weaknesses, and communicate effectively and honestly is a crucial part of being in a position of leadership.

Emotional intelligence requires you to behave empathetically. Empathy is rarely talked about in the context of the workplace, but it is still key. It is vital understand that you may not know the extent of their lives outside of work that may be impacting their mood, concentration abilities or overall productivity from day to day can inform a productive conversation about work quality and how to improve the situation.

Emotionally intelligence in coworkers minimizes internal stress.

The growing popularity in EI is largely due to the positive impact it has on the workplace. EI cultivates a culture of understanding, true teamwork, trust and responsibility. It eliminates internal stress and even when there are interpersonal differences, they are handled quickly and respectfully. This eliminates passive aggressive post-it notes, messages or strategically placed smiley-faces in emails. It eliminates work-place gossip. It drastically reduces the pressures that many have reported feeling from corporate leadership. This removal of stress lets employees do their work at their best.

Emotionally intelligent leaders make for a healthier workplace and happier employees.

It’s no surprise that having empathetic, self-aware coworkers and leaders in the office make for a happier workplace dynamic. Emotional intelligence is becoming seen as a skillset of its own. It’s being considered more and more valuable, as you can teach an employee how to learn programs and procedures, but it is far more difficult to teach emotional intelligence.

It’s not hard to see the many benefits of not only practicing emotional intelligence for yourself, but how powerful it can be in a workplace. We all strive to better ourselves and add value to our teams – developing your EI is a great way to start.

By Lauren Howe

THO

Blogging: Five Pieces of Advice for Success

Blogging is a great way to attract an audience to your website. Blogging is a great way to promote your business or yourself. To become a successful blogger, it’s important to ask yourself these five questions.

Has this been written about before?

Find your niche. Find a unique topic that few people are writing about. Once you find a specific topic you are passionate about, brainstorm possible extensions of the topic. A perk of writing about a unique topic is that there is plenty of room for extensive writing on related topics. For example, if you are passionate about real estate and interior design, you could feasibly write about laws or economy fluctuations that may impact real estate, up-and-coming student designers, and more. If you are a travel blogger, you can also blog about your favorite products, tips to make travel easier, or write about apps to organize your trip.

Are you passionate about blogging on this topic?

Write with passion. Writing a successful blog will come much more easily if you write about something you are passionate about. Showing that you are invested in and care about what you’re writing about will in turn interest the reader. If you’re bored – so are they.

Is the blog interesting?

Ask yourself, “Would I find this interesting if I hadn’t written it?” You can’t expect people to read your work if you don’t even find the topic interesting. When blogging, you want to build an audience that trusts and continues to come back to your content. If their first impression of your writing is that it lacks enthusiasm, relevant details and personality, then they won’t click on your website the next time an article pops up.

Why should people care about your blog?

With every blog post, it’s important to answer this question. Don’t leave it to your reader to decipher why they should care. Explain to your reader why your work will positively impact their lives. Maybe it’s making them more educated about community issues, a better home designer or a better parent. Maybe it’s giving them invaluable information about caring for their health. Let them know how to use the information you share in the way that produces peak results.

Is your blog informed?

Know your topic front, back and sideways. Stay informed with industry news to ensure your work is staying up-to-date and isn’t telling a story told by countless others. Reading your competition’s blogs can be a good way to see what works and what doesn’t, without having to go through the trial and error yourself. This is also a great way of keeping informed with what readers are interested in. The best way to improve your writing is by reading.

By Breeana Greenberg

THO

Five Ways to Stay Organized at Work

Organization is the key to productivity at work. If you’re unorganized, you will have difficulty concentrating and finding the items you need. Another downside to being disorganized is lack of creativity. In order to be efficient in the workplace, we encourage you to try the tips below.

1. Make Sure Your Desk is Clean

Many studies have shown that you will have trouble focusing if your desk is cluttered. According to a report by OfficeMax, 77 percent of adults say clutter negatively impacts their productivity. For this reason, you should get rid of unnecessary clutter and only keep the items you need. You should also go through old documents to see if you need to hold onto them. After you’ve decided which documents you’d like to keep, put them in a designated folder so you can refer to them at a later time.

2. Organize Your Inbox

Create folders in your email to store important information. This will help you stay organized and find emails more easily. If you don’t have time to respond to an email right away, you could flag it so you can come back to it later. You can also leave it on unread so it stays at the top of your inbox.

3. Write it Down

Writing things down makes a lasting impression on your memory. So instead of typing notes on your computer, you should consider keeping a notebook. That way, you will be able to remember things more easily. Not only will the act of writing help your memory, but it will also unclutter your brain. Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin says, “[…] if you can get stuff out of your brain and out there into the world — something called externalizing your memory — it frees up your brain to be uncluttered and to think about the things you really want to think about.”

4. Avoid Multitasking

When juggling multiple tasks, your attention is divided. This prevents you from giving 100 percent. It also takes longer to complete tasks if you’re working on more than one task at a time. So, try to complete one task before moving on to another, as this will make you more efficient. 

5. Take Breaks

It is important to take several breaks throughout the day in order to stay productive and be creative. Even if you have a lot going on, you should still make time for yourself every couple of hours, as this will positively impact on your work. You can do something as simple as stepping outside for a few minutes to get some fresh air or walking around the office. If you skip your break because you feel like you don’t have the time, you will be less efficient. For more tips on how to feel good at work, check out the health and wellness blog.

As long as you make an effort to be more organized, you will not only see a difference in your work, but you will also notice a difference in yourself. Let us know if these tips worked or if you have any other tips you’d like to share!

By Kate Artmann

The Hoyt Organization

The Hoyt Organization Wins Three 2019 Prism Awards

The 55th Annual Prism Award were held recently to honor the best in public relations for public relations companies based in the Los Angeles area.  Hosted by the Public Relations Society of America’s Los Angeles chapter, hundreds of entries are submitted by agencies throughout the City. The Hoyt Organization was proud to be among the top winners, taking home three awards for campaigns that included recognition for a brand management program completed for HGA Architects & Engineers, a media relations program for Pinnacle Treatment Centers for a substance use disorder program and an award for THO’s own blog.

“Receiving awards from an organization such as PRSA validates the quality of our work,” says Leeza Hoyt, president of THO. “This type of recognition lets our clients know that our industry peers see our work as award worthy, and tells our employees that yes, we excel at developing programs that work. We are honored by this recognition and are proud to say we’ve been winning awards like these for more than 20 years.”

Named consistently by the Los Angeles Business Journal as one of the leading integrated communications firms in the greater Los Angeles area, THO has also been named as one of the top firms nationally by O’Dwyers, a news source that covers the public relations and communications industry.

To date, THO has won more than 100 awards for programs that encompass public relations, social media, integrated communications programs and more.

 

HOYT employees posing with the Prism Awards!
The HOYT girls posing with the Prism Award.

 

 

The HOYT girls taking pictures at the 2019 Prism Awards.

The Hoyt Organization team was thrilled to celebrate their colleagues achievements as well as take a moment to reflect on the year’s hard work and showcase their results.

 

 

THO

The Importance of Creativity in the Workplace

Everyone is born creative. As we grow older and use a little less of our imaginations, we stop nurturing our creativity. Finding the perfect outlet, especially in a job you enjoy, helps to foster inspiration. This is why embracing our imaginations causes passion to permeate any project undertaken, often resulting in exceeding expectations – and in the workplace, that’s a bonus. 

Nearly every job requires flexibility and creativity to an extent, but it is especially useful in the realm of public relations and strategic communications. Imagination and innovation are key ingredients to telling a compelling story and differentiating our clients from their competitors. 

Nowhere is imagination and innovation more important than when brainstorming. Kent Barrett, VP of the public relations firm, The Hoyt Organization, explains, “Our office has done exercises before, where nobody’s allowed to say, ‘No!’ or ‘the client won’t go for that.’ If the next person is going to speak, he or she has to actually come up with an idea that supersedes the previous idea. In other words, it’s all incredibly positive and anything goes. Ultimately, the last step of that creative process should be us asking ourselves, ‘What is realistic that we can actually get done?’ Oftentimes, you’ll find that by engaging in this free-associating process to begin with, that the final idea actually ends up being something you never would have considered to be realistic initially.” 

Using a divergent process to brainstorm, coupled with abstract problem solving often leads to the best results. There are no bad ideas in a supportive, collaborative brainstorming environment – just innovative ideas whose purposes have not yet been found, or identified – these ideas are called Nearlings.  

Using the techniques described above and coming up with “Nearlings” through vigorous brainstorming lets loose the creative forces. Lauren Howe, Associate Account Executive with The Hoyt Organization, describes the importance of moving forward with unique ideas, “Utilizing creativity for my job is really important, and I think it is in most workplaces. However, this creativity can take many forms – from finding new and exciting ways to pitch new business, redesigning your website, learning new communication styles, and more. Creativity isn’t confined to art or music or traditional avenues. If you aren’t being creative, you aren’t bringing new ideas to the table and moving things forward.” As Senior Account Executive for The Hoyt Organization Cinnamon Thompson explains, it is important to be open to non-traditional strategies which may help to secure a wider variety of media coverage. 

Everyone’s unique ideas enriches the whole office, “Just because everyone does something one way doesn’t mean that that’s the way to do it. It doesn’t mean it’s right or wrong. I don’t believe one size fits all. And what each person brings to the table is unique,” says Amber Hergen Senior Account Executive for The Hoyt Organization. 

Finding outlets throughout the workday helps to nurture an imaginative mind. “I tend to consider the aesthetic of things more than the average person, and that is probably because of my interests and hobbies. I think this helps to boost my creativity elsewhere since inspiration can be drawn from so many places, people and things. Creativity is important in the workplace because it provides a foundation from which to think outside the box. It allows a bad idea to be transformed into a good idea with just a little time and attention,” says Bill Hess Account Executive with The Hoyt Organization. Nurturing your creative side is not just important for work, it also helps you look at the everyday mundane a little more positively and have more fun in your day-to-day activities. “I definitely find that my outside creative interests keep me sane. If I go too long without playing music, listening to music, creating art or participating in art-related activities, I become awfully grumpy. I know that my outside creativity definitely sure spills over into my work and I’m grateful. I will always find ways to be creative in any job that I have – monotony is not creativity’s friend and I have no use for it in my workday,” explains Erika Snow Robinson, Hoyt Organization’s Office Manager. 

In the end, creativity, imagination and inspiration are all rewarding, as it makes work a little more fun and a little less “work-ish.” “Creativity generates energy and builds a little more excitement than sitting in front of a computer day after day. It’s important to provide a bit of variety and allows for new and interesting things for people to work on as they move through their career,” says Leeza Hoyt, President of The Hoyt Organization. Using your imagination is the best part of public relations explains Pippa O’Brien, Account Coordinator for The Hoyt Organization, “I love the creative side of public relations – that’s one of the reasons why I went into it. We get to think of imaginative, compelling solutions for getting people in the media, events, social media, etc. so in a weird way PR is nurturing my own personal creativity. Attending events and pursuing digital and social media – all part of my job – help me be activate the right side of my brain and make my job something more than crunching data. The creative writing, strategic thinking, events marketing all make my job worth doing and keep me engaged.” 

 

By: Fall Intern Breeana Greenberg, Chapman University 2021

THO

What Makes a PR Firm The Best For You?

Today, PR firms fill a number of roles and functions, including media relations, corporate and marketing communications, brand awareness, creative solutions, and many more. Depending on your business, your relationship with your PR firm and the role of PR within your organization can vary considerably.

Regardless if a business is either trying to outsource the entire PR work or use a PR agency only as a support for the in-house communications team, most businesses share a similar understanding of what defines the best PR agency. Defining the criteria, however, is only one side of the story. Another task is asking the right questions and evaluating the answers to them.

Strategic communications agency ADVERUM in Vilnius, Lithuania, conducted a survey on the decision-making process among executives responsible for hiring PR agencies in September 2019. In total 82 decision makers at marketing and communication departments of international companies in Lithuania responded and shared their opinion on the most important evaluation factors when selecting and working with a PR agency. This is a summary of the key findings from the survey.

Look for Quality

Our survey reveals the most important factor for decision makers when choosing a public relations firm is the quality of services. This was identified as the major factor by 89 percent of respondents.

What defines quality?

About 81 percent of respondents trust the agency’s quality if they demonstrate:

  • an ability to meet deadlines and keep promises
  • capabilities to measure results and taking responsibility for those results (two-thirds of the respondents gave the highest score to this factor)

Finding the right agency shouldn’t feel like spinning a roulette wheel. Asking a few key questions upfront could help identify an agency that can deliver the best quality.

The key question to ask is simple:

What are the results of your recent projects?

Any struggle in answering this question in a direct manner gives a clear signal that the agency won’t take responsibility or care enough about your results. While listening to the answers, try to see if the agency’s representative talks only about immediate and tactical results they have achieved (number of publications, media outreach, etc.).

Do they talk about the change they have generated? Their impact could have caused a shift in opinion, increased sales, and more. You always want your agency to understand how their efforts contribute to your bottom line.

Look for Trust

The second most important aspect decision-makers look for when choosing a PR agency is trust. It comes mostly from recommendations or a personal “gut feeling”. This important factor was indicated by 49 percent of our respondents.

When it comes to trust in your future agency, it looks like it’s a combination of rational and irrational arguments. For example, 40 percent of respondents indicated that the “chemistry” within the first meeting with the agency plays a major role in the decision-making process. The same number of marketing and communications professionals tend to trust highly their friends’ and colleagues’ recommendations of an agency.

Some companies dig into research before listing the agencies to approach, while others ask for contacts to recent clients and make calls to them. If you’re about to make those calls or listen to recommendations, don’t forget to find out what scope of work and level of responsibility was given to the agency. That is a true reflection of the trust an agency really enjoys.

Agencies tend to brag about clients who are most widely known or have the highest marketing spend, but in most cases these brands and clients are not the ones that give an agency a real chance to make a change or a real strategic impact. Before looking for a partner you can trust you better:

  • define the role of the agency and
  • look for the recommendations in a similar role or agency/client relationship

Don’t Count Blindly on the Portfolio

One of the most common mistakes clients make when choosing a PR firm is giving blind trust to a PR firm’s portfolio and experience in a certain field or industry sector. Almost 70 percent of decision-makers say they would trust an agency with experience working in a certain field of industry.

When counting on this criteria, don’t forget to check if the people who have this experience are still with the PR firm and if those people will be the ones working with you. Pay attention to the fact that long-lifetime experience in a certain field has side effects, as well. People specializing in a certain industry gain unbeatable media relations and deep industry knowledge, but they also become less creative and often are too much focused on that area. It is hard to expect them to think outside the box.

Check Their Reputation

According to our recent research, the reputation of an agency in the market takes slightly less importance than personal trust, but it is still one of the major factors for most decision-makers.

It is worth noting that reputation is mostly considered as working with well-known brands and organizations. The only question you must ask here is:

What clients and brands do you currently represent?

Don’t get flattered by the worldwide-known brands that an agency has worked with 10 years ago. Only now is what matters.

A PR agency is a people’s business. You should pay a lot of attention to the stability, principles, and well-established management of an agency. And at the same time try and discover how the agency is changing within the market: Are there enough young people working for it? Does it really understand how to talk to your target audiences the way it is needed today?

Check Their Capabilities

The communications discipline is rapidly changing, and your desired agency should follow and reflect the changes.

We asked decision-makers what kinds of services they currently expect from their PR agencies. A total of 64% of respondents said that strategic counsel and planning are the most important capabilities, followed by media relations (57%), crisis communication (54%), and social media and digital capabilities (37%).

Your ideal future PR agency will tailor their approach around multiple channels and mix earned and paid media, digital and offline tools to help you achieve broader marketing and organizational objectives.

Your right future PR firm will align PR goals with your business goals. Your right future PR firm will ask questions about your business and will understand the answers and will proactively work to integrate with your team and provide strategy and deliverables that clearly match the company’s broader vision for success. Look for that approach and attitude.

Ask who will be your most senior consultant, and how many hours per month this person will work with you. It’s not a secret that agencies go to the first client meetings with people who are the best in sales, but often it’s the first and the last time the client sees them.

Manage Expectations

If the agency has experience in your industry, make sure there are no conflicts of interest. It’s more common than you might think. And as you could imagine agencies don’t like to turn down work. So, it’s imperative that you make sure you are comfortable with their existing clientele.

At the same time, make sure you talk openly about budget. Before meeting the agency, ask if they would be interested in your current spending. It can save a lot of time for both parties at an early stage and it also helps you find out if you might become “the least important” or “Level C” type of client in the agency’s portfolio. You always want to be important. Feel free to ask how many clients the agency has that operate within the same budget range.

Lifelong Love

Selecting an agency is not an easy task. Because you’re selecting a partner who will be and should be trusted not only with your most sensitive data, but also your goals, aspirations and biggest fears. A carefully selected and trusted PR agency should become your biggest cheerleader, protector, and a loving friend.

This is probably the reason most companies tend to work with their PR firm in the long run. When asked about that, 95% of our respondents said they intend to work with the same public relations agency for as long as possible, while only 5% said they would put up the assignment for a tender every year.

By Ieva Naujalyte: Ieva Naujalyte is a Managing Partner for Adverum Communications, an independent integrated communications agency, operating successfully since 2004.

The original article can be found on the PRGN website here.

THO

Pet-friendly office: Straying from Office Norms can Increase Creativity

Here at Hoyt’s pet-friendly office, employees are encouraged to bring their furry friends to work. From Chief Napping officer Milo, Chief Barking Officer Stella Bean Barret, and chief treats Officer Buddy, our puppies are here to help us get the job done. Working in a dog friendly environment has its perks. Here are three benefits to animals in the workplace.

pet-friendly office

Stress Reducing

Spending time with your pets can help relieve stress by releasing Oxytocin. The release of Oxytocin can help you feel more connected with your coworkers as well. Plus, animals can act as a great buffer from stress, allowing you to handle stress much calmer with the help of our furry friends. A pet-friendly office can actually increase productivity. Spending time with your pets can not only decrease your stress, the extra love and attention your pets will get in the workplace can also decrease their cortisol.

 

 

pet-friendly office

Improves Health and Productivity

If you bring your dog in to your pet-friendly office, inevitably you will have to take the time to let your dog outside on a walk. These extra brief moments of activity can help keep the creative juices flowing throughout the day. Taking breaks to play tug-o-war or play ball with your pet can help to increase the quality of your work by allowing you to come back to your task with a fresh mindset. Plus, getting out of the office and getting some exercise and fresh air can increase your dopamine and endorphins.

 

 

 

 

pet-friendly office

Bonding with Co-Workers

A pet friendly work environment can facilitate fun and friendly interactions between co-workers and promote bonding. Spending a spare moment playing catch with your co-worker and their dog can boost workplace camaraderie. Shared values like a love of animals can quickly boost empathy and build bonds between co-workers.

 

 

 

pet-friendly office

Summer Intern Breeana Greenberg, Chapman University 2021

 

THO

The Dress Codes: Why Athleisure Fridays are Better Than Casual Fridays

In this day and age, there are a plethora of company dress codes. Each workplace has its own vibe and standards. Some of these dress codes are ingrained in the type of work – for example, financial firms must wear business formal suits, whereas tech companies tend to do the whole T-shirt and jeans with slip-on shoes thing. And then of course, there are the companies that abide by a more professional dress code Monday – Thursday, and shift on Fridays to more “comfortable” or “relaxed” styles known as casual Friday.   

But here at The Hoyt Organization, we have Athleisure Fridays. This means instead of wearing your favorite casual outfit, co-workers are encouraged to wear elevated workout clothes. Athleisure has become popular ever since the rise of Lululemon and the trend of wearing leggings instead of real pants.

The danger of the typical casual Friday brings a certain episode of The Office to my mind. Angela doesn’t want to see Oscar’s toes, Meredith isn’t wearing any undergarments etc. HR could have a hay day. But with Athleisure there is a definitive dress code still being followed. If someone showed up in baggy grey sweatpants and an old T-shirt with holes, then that is a clear violation of Athleisure.

All in all, Athleisure is the perfect way to allow your employees to be more comfortable at work without compromising an actual dress code that people can easily follow. Lucky for you, I’ve compiled a few looks to get your company started on an Athleisure journey of its own!

Women’s Athleisure Looks (dress codes approved)

   

Men’s Athleisure Looks

We would love to hear (or see photos!) of how your office handles Athleisure or casual Fridays. 

 

 

THO

Intern Advice for Rocking an Internship

Today, July 25th is national intern day. Through my summer internship at the Hoyt Organization, I’ve gained new skills through new experiences. Interning in such a positive work environment as allowed me to grow so much. In celebration of National Intern day, I’m sharing five key pieces of advice that I have learned throughout my internship so you can  gain the most from yours.

Absorb as much as you can

This summer I’ve learned so much about the industry I’m excited to go into. I’ve learned it’s important to come into an internship with an open mind and try to absorb as much as I can. Every experience is a learning experience, from growing comfortable answering the phones to handling your first media list.

Carry a positive attitude

When you become a positive energy source in the office you become a little more essential to office morale. Whether or not you can meld with other personalities and build positive relationships during your internship can be a huge factor in deciding your future at the company you are interning at. The relationships built in the office are key to having a positive experience during your internship. Plus, your positive attitude can be a great morale booster in the office.

Don’t make excuses

When you make mistakes (yes, you will make mistakes), don’t make excuses. Don’t pass the blame. Accept your mistake and take it as a learning experience. Ask your mentors to explain how you could do better. This will show your employer that you are humble and mature. This will show how you hold yourself responsible for your own actions.

Be confident

This internship was my first ever experience working. It was daunting at first but one thing I learned was the aphorism “Fake it ’till you make it” certainly holds true. Like many other women, I’ve found that it’s too easy to talk down your own abilities which can prevent you from being chosen for projects. This self sabotage can even hold you back from movement in the company.  Showing others that you are confident in yourself and your abilities helps to positively change how you and your work performance are seen.

Make an impression

I’ve learned through this internship that working with a smile and responding to requests with “happy to help” has shown how excited I am to be here. Offer your help to ease other’s workload whenever you can. This will help demonstrate that you are a team player. Above all, make an impression, hopefully a good one.

Summer Intern Breeana Greenberg, Chapman University 2021

THO

Five Best Apps to Assist Your Media Management

Communicating to a larger audience requires strong organizational skills and seamless time management. This holds true whether you’re doing media outreach/media management, trying to manage social media, or boost attendance for an event. Since part of being a successful communicator is being aware of and knowing how to correctly use the available tools, it is essential to remain up-to-date on programs that can help things run smoothly. Reaching your target audience in a timely manner is important because it provides the most value to your client. Whether you are new to media management and are unsure of the available tools or are a seasoned pro who is looking for new programs, we have complied a list of the top five programs changing the social media management game.

1. LNK.BIO

Lnk.bio is a website that can make managing an Instagram account a breeze. It allows you to include a link in the bio section of your account, simplifying staying current on news, events, and products. The program makes it quick and easy to promote projects or events, or even apply for a job you’re offering.

2. BeLive.tv

BeLive.tv helps take FacebookLive streams to the next level, allowing you to go Live in three styles: solo, interview and talk show. The solo option allows you speak to your audience as well as include viewers commentary on the screen. The interview option allows two individuals to merge both Live streams into one. The talk show option allows up to four guests to share a LiveStream. This tool is great for promoting events, interviewing a thought leader or event attendees or allowing room for more individuals in a conversation because of the varying features.

3. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a program that allows you to schedule social media posts and analyze performance with ease. Through Hootsuite, you can reply to messages and comments on any social media platform from one place. 

4. Buffer

Buffer is an app that simplifies managing your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn accounts by allowing you to schedule and post content from one centralized location. From the Buffer app, you can schedule and post content onto all social media accounts. Additionally, it analyzes how well your posts’ performance so you can improve your content.

5. Later.com

Later.com is an organizational platform that allows you to draft and schedule out posts ahead of time on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. Due to the programs time-saving prioritzation, you can work in advance and ensure you never miss a post date. Later.com makes it easy to see what the post would look like on your timeline, because of the easy-to-use preview tool.

Certainly, many other programs can be used for media outreach. Because of the unique features on these cutting-edge apps, in contrast, the above can be a game changer for a driven communicator. Minimizing the number of programs you use can maximize your productivity and success.

Summer Intern Breeana Greenberg, Chapman University 2021

THO

Ten Ways to Promote Workplace Health and Wellness

Health and wellness is key for employees to be happy and productive. Sitting at a desk all day can be draining and is not usually conducive to a healthy lifestyle. Our team tested out some of these small changes and we were able to improve the overall health and wellness in our office. We encourage you to try some of these tips out! 

#1 Invest in Standing Desks

It’s hard to sit in one place all day without getting restless or bored. The standing desk is a healthy solution to this problem because it allows employees to stretch their legs and stay productive. You can even hold competitions to see who can use their standing desk the most. It is a surefire way to get your office moving.

#2 Supply Healthy Snacks

Tempting treats at the office are one of the main reasons why people gain weight at work. There always seems to be a birthday, holiday or anniversary that is celebrated with cake or donuts. Instead of cutting out the celebrations, opt for more nutritious snacks. There are all kinds of meal delivery services these days, including healthy snack boxes that can be delivered right to the office. If that’s not in your budget, head to Costco and grab some healthy items. These could be trail mix, pretzels, popcorn or hummus or veggies.

Another alternative is to pick one party day a month. You can celebrate all the birthdays with a big cake or pot luck. If that’s not your style, maybe switch the Ben and Jerry’s out with Halo Top’s low calorie ice cream. Hint: it comes in over 25 delicious flavors! 

#3 Try 5-10 Minutes of Mediation at the Beginning of Staff Meetings 

Sometimes the best thing you can do to make your staff more productive is to actually give them a few minutes away from their work. There are all sorts of meditations and gratitude exercises that you can implement to help your team relax and refocus. The Hoyt Organization recently invited a meditation expert to our meeting to help us learn how to meditate, and boy was it a big hit! 

#4 Place the Printer or Coffee Maker at the Far End of the Office

The farther away, the longer the walks to go grab a cup of Joe or a printed report. These little walks not only give your team more chances to move their bodies, but they also provide a mini break from staring at the computer screen. People may groan about the less convenient placement, but over time their new habit will become a welcome break. It’s an unexpected yet effective way to boost office health and wellness. 

#5 Encourage Desk Plants 

Bringing a little nature inside the office can help your team to enjoy their work space more and can even help them to relax. Some of the best plants for office use are succulents which require little to no watering. If there are a lot of allergies going around, you can decorate your desk with a nice arrangement of plastic flowers to add a pop of color without all the pollen. 

#6 Offer a Discount Code to a Workout Class or Nearby Gym 

Finding time to workout can be hard with a full-time job. By providing a discount coupon or code for nearby classes or gyms, your team is encouraged to be active. You can make it a team building exercise and go all together, or you can simply support local businesses by choosing a gym in the area where employees can stay fit before or after work. Some companies even start workout clubs (like running or walking buddies) or some employees use their lunch break to hit up a class like Soul Cycle. 

#7 Encourage Water Intake With Fun Water Bottles and Flavors

The Hoyt Organization recently purchased personalized water bottles for the whole office. They came with straws, which are known to promote water consumption. We added everyone’s name so the bottles don’t get confused in meetings or on the drying rack. Additionally, providing lemons or cucumbers for people to flavor their water is a great way to get them to hydrate!

office water bottles with straw for health and wellness

#8 Two Words: Office Dogs

If your building will allow it, you should consider making your office dog friendly. The presence of dogs can reduce stress. It doesn’t need to be everyday, but maybe on Friday’s people have the option to bring their furry friend into the office. You can set a size limit so there aren’t a bunch of great Dane’s leaving large “presents” all over the carpet. It’s also important to do a trial run with the dogs to make sure they get along (Cue rotating schedule of office dogs). Another option is to have the ASPCA or another pet adoption agency bring some dogs to play with so your staff can relieve stress and potentially meet a new best friend. 

office dog Stella helping health and wellness    office dog milo contributes to health and wellness

#9 Boost Morale With Office Swag 

Take a page from the “fun office” like Google and Facebook! You can get branded swag for your staff to feel like a valued member of a team. Or instead spend that money on an item the whole office can enjoy like a ping-pong table, a treadmill desk (first come, first walk) or even a sparkling water machine to make hydration even more fun. 

#10 Start a Health and Wellness Program 

Turn healthy choices into a friendly competition. Tracking co-worker’s steps, exercise and water intake can boost competitiveness, motivating employees to be more health-conscious. Be sure to have a tempting prize for the winner, such as an extra vacation day or fit bit.

office health and wellness plan idea

Office health and wellness does not have to be hard. It just takes a little time, effort and creativity. Let us know if you have any suggestions or if you try any of these tips!

THO

The Five Proven Benefits of Meditation in the Workplace

Meditating offers an abundance of benefits. It can be especially helpful in a workplace setting. Mindfulness and meditation help to bring your attention inwards. Through focusing on the present and noting any thoughts mediation can help you understand yourself better.

Our agency recently had the privilege of inviting in a meditation expert to lead our teams in a series of exercises. Focusing on health and wellness in the workplace has been proven to increase employee happiness and decrease employee burnout. Due to these benefits, bringing a meditation expert into the workplace was a great way to unwind with coworkers. We were able to relax in a setting that we would otherwise not have the opportunity to. Many people may have developed an interest in it, but haven’t had a chance to try it yet or don’t know where to start. This was the perfect opportunity to try it. It provided a fresh perspective on the importance of unwinding in your daily lives. Here are a few more benefits that meditating can have.

Meditating can lower stress

Learning to manage stress properly can trigger a domino effect of positive outcomes. Decreasing your daily stress is shown to lower blood pressure. Lower blood pressure is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. These practices can teach you to stay focused on the present, both during meditation and in your day-to-day life. Staying present minimizes stress. It helps to keep you from worrying about the past or future.

Meditation can boost Productivity

Meditating can help boost energy levels for several reasons. Too much stress is proven to minimize productivity. Meditation decreases the stress hormone, cortisol, removing an energy drain. Meditation can help with insomnia by giving you the tools to help you clear your mind of stressors and tomorrow’s worries. By helping you get a better night’s sleep, you’ll have more energy throughout the next day.

Meditative practices increase Quality of Work

Meditating can increase your quality of work. As a communicator, it is important to re-center yourself to ensure you are focusing on what’s really important. Meditation can help you keep calm when distractions and deadlines come. It can help you focus on what you and your clients need. It improves your ability to work under stress through heightened focus and attention. By focusing attention, meditation helps keep you from careless work or sloppy multitasking. By giving your thoughts attention, meditation gives you the skills to refocus. This is important. It can decrease the amount of time your mind is wandering. Repetitive meditation practice may even promote divergent thinking which may help boost your creativity.

Meditation has shown an improved mood

Through increased self-awareness, compassion for others and yourself, and improved communication, meditation can improve your mood. By decreasing irritability, meditation can therefore increase happiness. Focusing on the present is powerful. Meditation allows you to become more level-headed and less reactive to negative feedback. The practice may even reduce job strain and burnout. This has lasting positive impacts. It makes this practice a major asset to the workplace.

Meditating has proven positive long-term effects

Long-term effects of meditation can be seen through daily practice. It may begin with stress relief but by practicing, you can become more aware of others and yourself.  In fact, meditating may change the way you engage with the world. You may become calmer and more level headed, because of committing to regular practice.

Summer Intern Breeana Greenberg, Chapman University 2021

THO

Building Bridges to Cross the Generation Gap at Work

Generation Gap Differences

Love them or leave them – the fact is we simply can’t ignore them – the generation gap between employers, the Baby Boomers and their younger employees, the Millennials.

One of the most common complaints Baby Boomer leaders have about Millennials is that they seem to have a sense of entitlement. This is a result from a co-dependency with their “helicopter parents” hovering forever over them, always at the ready to meet their every need.

For Millennials it is the rigidity, the lack of flexibility, the “overbearing attitude” of the Baby Boomers that drives them to despair.

And the frustration is not just between Baby Boomers and Millennials, Generation X is in the mix as well. Gen Xers are the often-overlooked generation that shares characteristics with Baby Boomers. They show up to work on time. Boomers attend formally dressed, and are content to wait patiently for five years or more. This is when they might ask for that long overdue promotion.

In an interview with a group of Millennials in Germany one young employee was recently asked about the generational differences. The employee said, “We have much to thank the previous generations for. No generation has grown up as carefree and with as many possibilities as ours. However, it has come at a price. We have been left with a society that revolves around profit rather than sustainability. A society where material prosperity counts more than individual happiness.”

Generational similarities

What is surprising, however, is that if you go beyond the surface you will find that each generation wants the same things. Each has similarities. They want respect, security, and acknowledgment. They want to make a meaningful contribution, live meaningful lives and have a secure future.

The vastly different environments in which Millennials, Baby Boomers, and Gen X grew up is what determines how well they understand each other. Or not.

Clearly, they have all experienced vastly different economic climates. The older generation grew up in a stable economy. An economy where they could join one company and climb the corporate ladder. This results in gaining promotions. You could afford a home and have a family along the way. As long as you worked hard and paid attention, your future was secured.

Not so for Millennials. In today’s world with less security, the economic climate is far less predictable. It is no longer true that the route to success is by climbing the corporate ladder.

Millennials want more than anything to be valued “as individuals” rather than as “production units” in a business world.

So asserts Jenny Watson, a human resources specialist. Jenny explores generational relationships as part of her master’s degree at Middlesex University, London. Watson is the co-founder of Swiss-based company, Leading Brains. The company pioneered the Human Behavioural Framework as a way of applying brain science to the real world.

Generational Research

According to Watson, research shows that all these generations share the same desire to fulfill basic human needs. To fulfill the need for self-esteem, to have some control over their lives and the need for meaningful relationships.

It’s how they get there where the gaps develop. “Perennial values and a combination of upbringing and personality do not change – but their life experiences are different,” says Watson.

“Millennials feel the need to make an impact, and they are just as motivated about career progression, but how they express their ambitions is vastly different. They want companies to invest in them, develop them, and if they do, they will, in turn, invest their time, skills and dedication in the company.”

Older generations want their employees to invest. They want them to show their commitment first before they’ll consider returning the investment. They expect youngsters to get to work on time, pay attention while they are there, and get the job done.

It seems that the gap is not so much a generational gap. It appears it is a cultural gap.

Perhaps if we spent more time learning from each other instead of focusing on the differences and perceived shortcomings, we can ensure the future benefits from the present.
After all, we do want the same things.

By Lynn Erasmus: Lynn Erasmus is Managing Director of Cape Town-based strategic communications, marketing and public relations consultancy HWB Communications Pty Ltd. a member agency of the Public Relations Global Network. 

The original article can be found on the PRGN website here.

The Hoyt Organization

Universal Tips for Great Business-to-Business Public Relations

The traits that form the foundation of great business-to-business public relations campaigns are universal. What’s true in the United States is also true in Canada, Mexico, South American, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. This is where The Hoyt Organization has partner agencies as part of the Public Relations Global Network. Uwe Schmidt is from THO’s German partner Industrie-Contact AG. Schmidt illustrates some of the universal tips for doing B2B PR work that supports everyone. It supports the  media, clients and clients’ clients.

Business to business communication is essential.

After 40 years of agency history, there are some key learnings I’d like to share. We find that one of the best PR tools are case studies. Let’s clarify first how we in the German market define a case study. It’s definition is an article showing a solution (product/service) of a client of ours in use by one of their clients. The objective in publishing a case study is to show proof of the quality of the solution in practice.

German trade media love those pieces of journalism. I assume it is similar globally. Typically, we do not have to pay the media for those pieces, except in certain industries, where media is almost asking. The best tips on how case studies make all involved parties happy is in the below outline. This includes the media, our client, our client’s clients and us.

Make the media happy

We first identify top target media that is ready to accept the case study as exclusive content. We do not distribute the case study to other ourlets. Otherwise, we’d hurt exclusivity and jeopardize the good relationship with the selected media.


After the initial placement, we might try to place the article in another media with another readership. This usually works. We rewrite the case study to avoid duplicate content.

Make the client happy

The next learning is about the client and communicating business to business. We very often see that on the client’s side the PR/marketing team is not well supported by the product managers who would normally play a key role for us to get sufficient information on the products and services and to open the door to their clients.Product managers often see the PR team’s activities only as a waste of time. They do not always understand how important a good clipping in a top-notch media can be.

We recommend to sell the idea of a case study as a piece of sales material internally first. This means after the case study publishes, we ask the media for copies that can be used as a sales tool. A case study officially published by a top outlet convinces readers much more than product brochures. We recommend publishing a summary of the case study on their website and set links to the page of the media where the case study publishes. The same can be done through blog and social media posts or by introducing the case study via an e-newsletter.

Make the client’s clients happy 

Prior to interviewing a client’s client for a case study, we prepare questions in advance and give the interviewee enough time to develop the answers before we meet them. This preparation in advance really helps make the interview meeting easy going.Sometimes the interviewees do not understand that we are PR guys who will ask for approval before publishing the case study in the media. They take us for real journalists who can do what they want with the interview material. To avoid this misunderstanding, we always determine explicitly with the client that all content and visual materials will be subject to approval.If no on-site appointment is feasible, the interview questions can often be clarified through a phone call or in writing. But we definitely prefer face-to-face interviews as it normally leads to better results.

Being on the customer’s side also helps us getting good pictures. For that reason, we bring our professional camera equipment and do the shooting after the interview.Even without an on-site appointment, we make sure that we get good on-site pictures and photos of the participants by booking local press photographers. They know well how to shoot in company environments and their fees are very reasonable compared to photographers who do advertising shoots.

Make us happy

Working on a case study brings us closer to our client, spending more time together for background talks and learning more about the business. This way we get to speak not only with the same people of the PR or marketing departments, but we also get in close touch with product managers or even the CEO. This very often helps us to understand the client much better and can lead to getting input for further activities.Last but not least, getting case studies published in the media are not only a great reference for our clients, but also for our agency. We show them to prospective clients when we try to underline our B2B capabilities. Trust me, it works.

By Uwe Schmidt: Uwe Schmidt is CEO of Industrie-Contact AG, a leading PR firm located in Germany’s media capital Hamburg and a member of PRGN since 2002. The agency celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2019.

The original article can be found on the PRGN website here.

The Hoyt Organization

Six Pieces of Advice for Getting an Internship

Finding an internship can seem daunting at first. The tips below can help you land your first internship and gain valuable experience to launch your career.

1. Use your resources

Take advantage of on-campus resume help and mock interviews. To prepare for your interview, create a list of questions you may be asked. Internships are competitive, make sure you set yourself apart from the competition. Show your passion for the company. Most importantly, be prepared but natural.

2. Do Your Homework on Internships

Before your interview, do your homework and research the company. Make sure you can express why you want to work there and what strengths you can offer to help the company succeed. What is their mission statement and how can you help the company further their goals? During the interview, make sure to ask what your day to day would look like.

3. Be Open To New Internship Opportunities

When seeking out your ideal internship, it’s important to look for companies that will help give you a sense of direction. To help you evaluate your career path, pursue an internship that will offer a variety of experiences and hands on projects. Having the opportunity to test your skills on a variety of tasks can help you determine your strengths or any areas of improvement. It also may give you enough experience to know that you are studying the right major and will truly enjoy your chosen field.

4. Build Relationships and New Connections during the Internship

A good internship should provide long-lasting and beneficial connections. The connections you make during your internship may lay the foundation for your career. Learning from a mentor who can guide you in the field is extremely beneficial. Internships that provide the opportunity to work closely with a mentor helps set you up for success once you enter the workforce. Even after the internship ends, having someone you can bounce ideas off of, use as a reference, and learn from will prove priceless.

5. Remember Your Manners

Shortly after the interview, follow up with a thank you note, either by email or snail mail. Sending a thank you note shows that you appreciate the time they took to meet with you. Write down any questions that tripped you up during the interview so that you will be more prepared next time. Even if you don’t land the internship, making a good impression, highlighting your experience and being polite in the interview may still open doors when applying for jobs later on.

6. Make The Most of the internship Opportunity

An internship should be a great opportunity to build your resume. Rather than send you for coffee runs, an internship that offers meaningful work experience and hands on training will provide the opportunity to build your resume. When in future job interviews, you will be able to reference specific goals you met, projects you played a role in and point to your success. Hopefully, by the end of this internship, you should have positive references for future employers

It worked for me,

Summer Intern Breeana Greenberg, Chapman University 2021

The Hoyt Organization

What to do if a client has a project or product that gets bad press or damages their reputation

It’s bound to happen – sometimes people misspeak, provide incorrect information or panic and make a choice they shouldn’t have. A project or product getting bad press is a moment of crisis, but it doesn’t need to damage their reputation permanently if the correct steps are take

First, assess the damage to your reputation.

What went wrong and why? Then, do your homework. The media will want details. Decide what you’ll be able to discuss, and what you won’t. Remember, you have the information, so it’s up to you to decide how to feed it out to the various audiences. Depending on the issue, a bad reputation may impact customers, clients, potential clients, and a variety of other audiences. Don’t forget to take them all into consideration; then develop messages and distribution systems for all of them. Those companies that truly want to recover also develop a follow up campaign once the immediacy of the crisis is over.

Take responsibility.

When a client is in a crisis, the most important step is to take responsibility and be transparent about what happened. By acknowledging when you are at fault and explaining what steps will be taken in the future to prevent the situation repeating, you can help the public to slowly rebuild trust.

Express sympathy.

It is essential to express sympathy if a client has done something that has harmed or caused problems in any way. It’s important to step away from corporate dialogue and connect with the public on a human-to-human basis. Apologizing sincerely and showing true remorse is vital to restoring reputation.

Anticipate problems arising with your reputation.

Any damage or crisis-related communications should, hopefully, not be unanticipated. A bank or credit union, for example, knows that one of its branches will be robbed at some point. They should include communications as a component of its security response plan. Companies should anticipate the likelihood that something will go wrong and the potential severity of the damage and map them on a risk matrix to budget sufficient time, energy, and resources to crisis management. No matter how prepared, however, you can count on something to go wrong to some degree at some point.

Ensure honest communication.

When communicating in the case of a crisis, always be honest. Hiding the truth never works – it will eventually come out. Stick to facts. If you don’t have all of the facts, say so and give the best estimate time frame to gather more information. And finally, remember that the company is the least important in any crisis. Employees, customers, business partners, and the community are your audiences and make sure to communicate on their terms, not yours.

The Hoyt Organization

5 Ways to Rock a Pitch Meeting

Pitch  meetings can be really intimidating. But they don’t have to be scary – especially if you’re prepared. Follow these pitch meeting tips and you’ll be signing contracts in no time!

Believe in yourself.

You can’t “sell” someone on an idea if you don’t believe in it yourself. If someone sees your enthusiasm and that you truly stand behind your ideas, they’re more likely to believe you and buy what you’re selling.

Dress appropriately.

You should always bring appropriate clothing. Do your research ahead of time so you know what kind of style the potential client would consider appropriate. Do they dress in business attire, business-casual, or do they wear athletic clothing to the office? Find out what their office culture is and mimic this style. Know whether to wear a suit and tie, a suit without a tie, a sport coat, polo shirt with casual pants, etc. If you are pitching to a financial services company, you may want to err on the side of formal. If you’re going to meet with a surf wear clothing company, you might want to sport your best aloha shirt, linen pants, and sandals.

Stay connected.

One of the simplest  yet most crucial pitch meeting tips is to bring a laptop and tablet with internet connection. Make sure that your mobile phone can serve as a hotspot in case of a wi-fi error or if internet access is otherwise unavailable.

Bring business cards.

Make sure to grab a stack of your business cards. This may sound like it is a no-brainer, but in the chaos of preparing materials, printing documents, and prepping with your team, it can be easy to forget to include a few of your business cards in your wallet.

Work as a team.

Always bring great ideas! The best way to rock a pitch meeting is to tag-team with a colleague, so when one person is speaking, the other can focus on reading the room, picking up on cues that you may not be noticing while presenting. While formal presentations can be helpful, showcasing your great ideas is done best through generating an energizing conversation and listening to the potential client’s feedback.

What are some of your pitch meeting tips?

The Hoyt Organization

Start Your Day with the Right Marketing Mindset – Four Tips to Create a Successful Daily PR Routine

Optimizing your schedule is important for making the most out of every workday. It’s true no matter what your profession is – public relations professional, CEO, parent, teacher – since every minute you save allows you extra time for yourself, your family or another client. But, prioritizing goals to maximize your daily schedule isn’t always easy. How can we create a better PR routine that sets ourselves up for marketing success?

A number of years ago, I spoke with a colleague about ways to be more productive and efficient. We started talking about The Ivy Lee Method, a 100-year-old strategy that has been proven to help people save time and reduce wasted energy. Under this method, you should focus on one task at a time, going from most important to least important, until you have accomplished your whole list. Any unfinished business should be moved to the next day’s list of six tasks. Consider this… before leaving the office, write down the five or six most important things you want to accomplish the next day. List them in order, starting with the most important task and remembering not to list more than six items. The result will be a schedule that eliminates indecision and wasted time, and forces you to focus on just a few tasks at a time.

It is an interesting approach, but one that this writer finds a bit tricky in an industry where multiple accounts are seemingly always on deadline. And, when client requests that have me listing “master juggler” as skill on my resume, I desire a daily routine that blends structure with a bit of flexibility to get in the right marketing mindset each day.
Here are four tips, using the Ivy Lee Method as the foundation, to help jumpstart your PR day.

  1. Read. Seems basic but keeping up with the day’s headlines can easily get pushed aside by more urgent tasks. Start your day by browsing the headlines, reading trade industry news feeds and checking up on the competition. Look at your accounts’ social activity or even peek at your clients’ personal Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn activity to see if there are any hot issues or trending topics.Whether during your morning workout, commute to the office or even during those 10 minutes you are prepping a morning shake, you will find it prepares you to engage in conversation. What’s more, it sets you up to learn something new. In the PR and digital marketing world, there is no room for stagnation. There is always something new around the corner or an up-and-coming influencer that may just be the voice you need for a campaign!
  2. Prioritize. Remember the premise of the Ivy Method. Refine your list and focus on what is necessary. By having a clear, concise to-do list, you will be one step closer towards tackling a new media plan, designing a creative campaign proposal or locking in a media win.
  3. Journal and Assess. Throughout the workday—and especially before heading out for the evening—evaluate your work. For me, having a journal and day planner creates a clear picture of what needs to get done before the end of the day or week puts my mind at ease.Truth be told, a journal also allows me to write down ideas as they come to me, brainstorm on the fly and even visually map out content ideas mentioned in passing or during internal team meetings.
  4. Take Risks. Understand that the marketing landscape is constantly shifting, as are consumer demands and opinions. What is trendy and working today may not work tomorrow. Rather than get frustrated, prepare to measure, listen and learn from campaign results. Moreover, get inspired and talk to other marketers or partners to discover new ways to innovate, shift your thinking or delve into a new approach.

What tips or daily routines would you add to this list? Do you have the right daily mindset for marketing success?

About the Author: Deanna Killackey is a senior vice president at L.C. Williams & Associates in Chicago. Follow her on Twitter or connect via email at dkillackey@lcwa.com.

By: Deanna Killackey

This article was originally posted on the PRGN website here.

The Hoyt Organization

5 Ways to Use Your Blog to Manage a Crisis

Let’s be honest, every company can face a social media crisis at any time. If it hasn’t happened yet, it may come to you sooner or later.

A comprehensive communications toolkit today cannot be complete without a blog, so it is quite right to ask: How can a blog be part of your contingency plan?

Here are 5 things to keep in mind:

  1. Create a social media policy and crisis management manual: Since information in social media runs really fast, you never know when a crisis will hit you: an employee saying something inappropriate, a community manager making an unfortunate statement, a product failure occurs, or an advertising campaign makes a false claim.The first step to crisis prevention is to have a solid social media policy for your employees and a crisis management manual. This will allow you to prevent situations and react fast once the crisis begins.
  2. Quick response: Your blog is as important as your other media and social media channels. In this case even more so. Since you control your blog, you can use it to publish your holding statement or first “official” response to a crisis in the shortest time among all channels. This prevents others from speaking first on your behalf. Reassure your followers and closest community that you’re actively working on the issue.Use your blog as your company’s voice when you can’t reach everyone quickly through other channels. On your own blog, you don’t need to shorten or select your messages to fit to character limits or other criteria, as you do with external media platforms. Also, people who follow blogs take more time to read blog posts than social media users who just scroll down on the newsfeed.Extra advice: When using your blog to publish your statement, choose your words wisely and make sure to include some keywords in the headlines and posts. It helps your text rank higher in search results on the subject.
  3. Updates: Regular updates on your blog can be useful in keeping employees, customers, the media and the general public informed about new developments. Most crisis managers know it’s important to show that even if you have not yet resolved the crisis, you’re working to solve it.
  4. Media relations: Your blog can provide critical information to the media, as well as links to press releases, fact sheets, FAQs, photos, video, and everything else a reporter needs if they can’t reach a spokesperson. You can do the desk research for them and provide the most important links and facts in one place via your own blog. This will help lead them to the direction you want them to go.
  5. Post-crisis: Crises generally receive the most attention during the initial phases. While the crisis itself tends to be covered widely, the way it was resolved attracts less attention. However, your customers, your employees, the media and the public-at-large all need to be informed that you handled the crisis well. They need to be reassured that they are safe, and that they can trust you to do the right things now and in the future. Your blog again proves to be the best channel to convey this message: anybody browsing your company’s page will see it, so even if the media does not report on the positive resolution, your blog will reach those who care about you; the blog can also serve as a for-the-record report on the aftermath; and again you are not limited by space or attention span to express your thoughts and highlight your efforts and standpoint.

Just like in normal times when your blog serves as your most honest and credible voice, you’ll find it to be your best channel of communication when a crisis situation puts your communications preparedness to a hard test.

By Dominique Biquard – IDENTIA / PR

This article was originally published online on the PRGN website here.

The Hoyt Organization

Five ways to destress in a stress-inducing industry

Every industry has stress factors, and public relations isn’t immune to this problem. In fact, public relations is ranked as one of the most stressful industries to work in! This can be attributed to the competitive, creative, deadline driven nature of the work. Here are a few tips on how to make a stressful job a little more bearable.

Touch base internally on your stress

Lack of communication can increase stress within a workplace. Make a point to touch base with those on your team so you can manage the workload, figure out what to expect in the coming week, and prioritize your tasks.

Write everything down

With countless deadlines, names, and bits of information floating around, set yourself up for success by simply writing down pertinent details or tasks that need to get done. Whether you go through these notes at the end of every day or once a week, you’ll never have to worry about forgetting something. Having a trusty planner (Erin Condren is always a good choice for organization) or an online tracking system such as Monday.com are easy ways to stay on top of your work.

Go out for lunch

And by go out, we don’t mean you necessarily have to go out to eat. The most important thing is to step outside of the office, get some fresh air and give your mind a short break. Studies show that you are more productive when you take short breaks between projects. Whether it is leaving for lunch, taking a five-minute walk down the hall or to grab coffee, giving your mind the space to reset can aid your focus and memory. Jumping from one project to the next can tire you out and lower the quality of work.

Create space to get the little things done

Block out half an hour to get some of the little things done. When you’re fighting to meet deadlines and finish projects, sometimes the small tasks can start to pile up. These can grow into a mountain, and may make you feel overwhelmed. Giving yourself a few minutes at the beginning or the end of every day to get these things done can make your stress-levels drop and help you to focus more on the larger projects at hand.

Don’t stress over work outside of work

Make sure to disconnect a little when you’re not at work so you don’t get burnt out. If you find yourself frequently checking your work email, responding past hours or working on things that could realistically wait until the morning, you may need to take a little break. Your weekends are for you to disconnect and relax, so prioritize yourself on the days off. You should use the time off to get rest so you’ll be more focused, productive and calmer throughout the work week.

The Hoyt Organization

Six Tips for Managing Social Media for a Business, Client or Brand

Have a good calendar

This may seem like common knowledge, but many people just fly by the seat of their pants when it comes to social media. This can be attributed to the fact that personal accounts tend to involve less planning and more spontaneity. Having a schedule in place is imperative to maintaining a consistent flow of content. No need to get too fancy – even free, commonly used programs like Google Sheets can work. Programs like this allow you to color code sections, map out each day of the month and gives you the option to “hover” over text boxes to see more details.

Alternate post content

Variety is the spice of life. Try to switch things up now and then, alternating from the typical boomerangs and classic photos to some info graphics. Sharing articles and blogs are also a great way to add variation and ensure your page has a nice flow to it. If you only post one style of content, your followers are likely to get bored.

Have a defined aesthetic

To create a unified brand image, it can help to determine a common filter, color scheme or theme in terms of content. Make sure your brand logo and colors are in the profile picture area. Doing so establishes consistency and creates a cohesive social media presence.

          

 @ihavethisthingwithfloors                   @hbgoodie                              @sugaredandbronzed

Engagement is key

While having artfully crafted posts and trendy articles are a crucial part of social media, it is called social media for a reason. It’s a key part of a business’ social media, yet frequently forgotten. To grow your following and gain credibility, try to set aside time each day to like, comment, share, and engage with other people’s posts. This engagement and interaction is the key that many people forget about.

Coordinate with brand managers from other companies

At times, it can be difficult to get people to like or repost your content. If you have friends in the same industry, a product partnership, or anything else that will connect you to others on social media, reach out and see if you can plan something that will highlight both brands. For example, you can send card, small package, or a cupcake (literally anything) to someone at their office and have them post about it and tag you. Then you can reshare that content.

               

The Hoyt Organization lost a bet with the Castle Group over the Super Bowl outcome. So we had to send them a treat box from Los Angeles. This was a cute way to get cross posts and followers for both profiles. 

Be respectful if you get message and/or backlash

Some brands are more prone to customer service issues than others (like McDonalds or American Apparel) and when people reach out to complain or praise your brand, you need to respond with respect. The rule of thumb is to simply ignore a message is if it’s extremely hateful or if it’s actual spam.

 

You can follow THO on Twitter and Instagram @thehoytorg

 

 

 

THO

7 Pieces of Advice on Public Relations

In our office, we’re lucky to have many strong women coming from a range of backgrounds. Public Relations is a female-dominated profession, with women making up 61.3% of the industry. One thing that we each have in common, aside from our job, is that we were each impacted, mentored and empowered by other women throughout our lives.

We are grateful for the advice that our female role-models have given us. We’re happy to pass along some of what we’ve learned in the hopes that it will inspire others. Here are seven pieces of advice from women in the industry:

1. Expand your horizons

It’s no longer just public relations. Its digital, marketing, special events, social media. Keep learning. Don’t ignore learning the business side of the industry. How are profits generated? Where are the future new business contracts coming from? Then, you’ll be well positioned for the future.

 

2. Stay on top of the news

Always prioritize staying on top of the news. Definitely the news in your client’s respective industries, but also the general news as well. You never know when certain news topics can have a direct impact on your media outreach, and you always need to be one step ahead of your clients.  

 

3. Have confidence in yourself and in your talents

My advice for young women who would like to be in Public Relations is to be confident in who you are and your talents and work hard to go after the job you really love. It may take a while but work your way up and don’t give up!

 

4. Be fearless

Do, try, fall flat on your face – sometimes in front of everyone. And if you don’t have the ability to control your fear of failure, do it anyway.

 

5. Be flexible

Follow your dreams but be flexible; you never know where it will lead you. 

 

6. Be kind

You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Sometimes the PR world can be cut-throat and intense. But that doesn’t mean you should stray away from your morals or stoop to other’s level. Rise to the occasion in your own way, be kind, and work hard.

7. Try to always pick up new information 

While in any industry, there will always be things you don’t know how to do – how do you reformat the Excel spreadsheet? Should you be using InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop for this? How do I get this document to print double sided?

 

By asking questions and learning the correct way to do seemingly small tasks, you will save a lot of time and you’ll be better prepared in a crunch in the future.

 

CLICK HERE to read the rest of our International Women’s Day interview with the women at THO.

 

The Hoyt Organization

Behind Every Great Public Relations Professional, There’s a Solid Office Manager

Public relations and strategic communications, whether it’s in print, online, or simply via social media in 280 characters or less, can be a daunting and sometimes scary business. Crises arise, promotions happen, companies hire and fire, and transactions and mistakes are made daily. There are many nuances involved: from storytelling, to pitching, to ensuring the right words get seen by the right eyes. However, behind the scenes of what goes into the day-to-day mechanics of a public relations office can be even more grueling. Especially if your support staff is not up to par, and he or she doesn’t have a clear grasp of what you do day in and day out – or worse, what you need.

Here are some suggestions from a seasoned administrative professional to ensure that your day, your staff and your work life run smoothly, and the office interactions are as seamless as possible:

Communication is key.

The irony of this statement is not lost on the author. It’s a classic case of the cobbler’s children not having shoes. While we communicate daily and have to ensure that client’s announcements, press releases and key newsworthy events reach the outside world, it’s important to take a look at what’s happening internally. Are you letting your admin know if you’re drowning in work? Are you asking your mentors for guidance? Are you conveying the simplest of things like what kind of office gear or supplies would make your life and your job easier?

Get the right tools in place.

Have your administrative staff and/or executives take a look at and ensure the right tools are in place to help you help the company. Would an internal messaging tool like Slack cut down on the “constantly getting up to run over” syndrome? Would stand up desks ensure that everyone is not just sitting for eight or more hours per day? Think simple. Would a white board somewhere in the office help even a little bit to know where employees are on any given day versus searching someone out who happens to be at a doctor’s appointment (especially, when you’re up against a deadline, of course!)? Will Monday.com help keep processes in place and tracked?

Immerse or involve support staff in the actual business of public relations.

While an office manager may be hired to do just that – manage the office – a true administrative professional who is good at his or her job can do just about anything. One thing they cannot do, however, is read minds. If an office manager has never had cause to work in a public relations firm, they may not know exactly all that is involved. While they may think they know all the steps, until someone literally walks them through the PR process from onboarding a client to a final press release going out, their knowledge may be limited. Conversely, until you let him or her help out in other capacities, you may not know that your office manager is a stellar writer! Truly making sure your administrative staff knows your job inside and out can only help.

If you remember and follow the above advice, you may just be able to keep the chaos (that sometimes is a natural byproduct of the public relations field) at bay. You will, most certainly, be ensuring there are no bad days in the office – and even if something does go sideways, you’ll have someone else to lean on who is prepared and can help you and the firm get back on track! 

About Erika Snow Robinson: Erika is the Office Manager for The Hoyt Organization – a Girl Friday extraordinaire, able to leap huge PowerPoint Presentations in a single bound, faster than a speeding Word document, and catches typographical errors with her bare hands, no matter how small. Her specialties include MS Office Suite, Adobe Creative Suite, editorial/proofing skills, acrylic painting Redondo Beach-specific icons/landscapes and playing bassoon in the Beach Cities Symphony Orchestra.

Erika Snow Robinson - Office Manager. Erika served with her sister in the USMC

 

By Erika Snow Robinson

The Hoyt Organization

10 Tips That Will Make Your Business Travel a Success

Let’s face it. It’s much more difficult to pack when you’re a woman. While men get by with a suit and one pair of shoes, and perhaps extra shirts and a workout outfit, women come equipped with skirts or a dress, jackets, pants, casual outfits, and the list goes on.  In fact, sometimes it’s just downright scary.  Is there a way to make this simple, easy and effective? Yes, there is.  If you’re new to the travel circuit, here’s the top 10 secrets that will make traveling a breeze.

1) Go light on the shoes. Yes, I know, most women (myself included) are shoe lovers – except when I travel. Take out what you want to wear, then cut it in half. If you’re doing a four-day conference, you’ll need a pair of flats for walking, a low pair of heels for evening, and flip flops for the pool. If you’re a runner, throw in your running shoes.  No one will notice you’re wearing the same pair of shoes, and if they do, they won’t care.  That’s it.

2) Remember extra cell phone chargers and a portable battery. You may not need them, but trust me, the best way to make friends is to help someone else out. Seriously, someone will need one, especially on a trade show floor.

3) Always travel with a few band-aids, and headache remedies (aspirin, Tylenol, etc) as well as a sample size of hand lotion given how dry it is on the plane. You might not need them, but it’s better than searching around a strange city for them. You won’t have time for it anyway. 

4) Remember to carry a few power bars. You may get in too late for dinner, or be on a trade show floor with limited access to food, or there may be a significant time change and you’ll be hungry – but no one else will be.

5) Pack a traveling outfit to change into for long flights. Find one that is wrinkle free with a jacket or sweater of some sort to keep warm on the plane, and doubling as a lightweight piece for walking around town. 

6) Business cards. No, they never go out of style. 

7) Remember to call your credit card companies and let them know if you’re traveling overseas. Then, if you are traveling out of your home country, bring an extra credit card or two. That way, if one is declined because you’re out of the country, the other one will work. Keep them separate so if one is stolen/lost, you’ll have a backup. Don’t forget to check their foreign transactions fees and choose the one that doesn’t have any, but do find one that gives you miles. You’ll qualify for free tickets. 

8) Bring duplicate copies of your travel schedule and passport. Be sure to keep them in separate locations, just in case. 

9) If you’re bringing a presentation, bring your laptop but put a duplicate on a portable thumb drive. That way, if something happens to your computer you still have your information. 

10) Don’t bring extra expensive jewelry. Wear classic pieces that go with everything, even formal wear. If it’s a business dinner, you can’t go wrong with beautiful but classy basics. Then, you won’t accidentally leave them in the hotel safe, and since you’ll be wearing them, they won’t get lost. Bottom line, don’t bring anything wildly expensive or that you’d be really upset to lose. 

BONUS: Ladies- when it comes to your makeup, forget the bulky yet adorable cosmetic bag and opt for just bringing the essentials for the days you’re gone. Put your makeup in a quart ziploc bag and bring along some travel sized shampoo and conditioner. 

Traveling is stressful. Time zones are difficult and packing can be overwhelming. But, paring down your suitcase will allow you to carry exactly what you need, and in this case, less is usually more. And there is an added plus, you don’t need to worry about the airlines losing your luggage.  Bon Voyage! 

About the author: As president of The Hoyt Organization, a Los Angeles based public relations firm, Leeza Hoyt has been traveling around the world for more than 20 years. She has been to more than 30+ countries around the globe, and most major cities (and some not so major) cities in the US as well.

 

By Leeza Hoyt

The Hoyt Organization

Valentine’s Day Advice for a Long, Healthy Relationship with Media

Ask any couple celebrating a milestone wedding anniversary — 10, 25 or 50 years – the key to their longevity, the response is most often: communication, respect and honesty. Naturally, wisdom that is commonplace in our personal relationships easily translates to our professional lives. Yet too often, our colleagues, business partners, customers and even competitors feel the love, while the reporters and editors who cover our industries don’t. So many industries – real estate, education, banking and finance – fall within editorial “beats” with reporters and entire publications dedicated to covering them every day. Major corridors such as Silicon Valley’s tech industry have regular contact with reporters at all levels: local newspapers and business journals, national tech and business media, and beat reporters at the world’s largest media outlets.

While these relationships are unlikely to last for 50 years, a CEO of a company that a reporter is assigned to cover on a daily basis have been thrown into an arranged marriage of sorts. They have to make it work. And the secrets to longevity isn’t much different than so many happy couples toasting lifetimes together:

  • Honesty: Lying and cheating are grounds for breakup of any relationship. It will take a very long time to regain trust. 
  • Respect: The media have very hard jobs. They’ve chosen a field that is essential to our democracy and yet often pays poorly. 
  • Teamwork: Not every interview is going to be a glowing review of you or your organization. Sometimes reporters simply need your expertise for a quote. Still make the time to help them out. Otherwise, your phone won’t ring for the stories that do help
  • Consideration: if you’re late coming home, a call is expected. Same for reporters. If you schedule an interview or promise information, be on time. If something truly comes up, communicate and do what you can to find a solution. 
  • Forgiveness: You wont like every story. But accurate, objective news is a reporter’s job. It’s a job they won’t keep if they only write what you want. So be prepared to move on. The silent treatment only hurts you. 

Kent Barrett

What to Do When You Hang up the Phone After an Interview and Realize You’ve Provided False Information

When you are participating in an interview, the primary goal is to ensure that an accurate, positive story is curated. You want to make sure that the information being provided is error-free and that it paints you, your client or your company in a positive light.

It happens to the best of us – sometimes we forget key pieces of information, misinterpret something we were told or end up having wrong information altogether.

In the age of aggregate news sites where an online news story is instantaneously published in additional news outlets that will copy the story verbatim, accuracy is more essential than ever before. If you share inaccurate information, it can be tempting to let it slide or hope it goes away on its own. Though this option seems easier, it is imperative and simpler in the long run that the information is corrected before it continues to spread.

John Bohannon wrote and published a fake study, stating that he, along with a team of German researchers, had discovered that people adhering to a low-carb diet would lose weight 10% faster if they consumed chocolate each day. Reportedly, this story was published and copied in more than 20 countries, talked about on news shows and was translated to six different languages. The story was featured in publications such as Shape, and Bild.

Making a timely correction to the original article after noticing the misinformation helps to avoid the spread of the mistake, decreases risk of damaging reputations and actually recovers your credibility when you retell the story later. It’s crucial to pick up the phone and correct it yourself; the reporter will respect your commitment to journalistic integrity. Maintaining the respect of the media organization you are working with is essential, and although this may seem like a hassle, it’s better to correct the mistake than to the reputation of someone who is a source of fake news.

Bottom line: just pick up the phone and correct the information. It’s as simple as the chocolate diet.

The Hoyt Organization

What To Do When You’re Skype-Jacked?

Skype-Jack (verb): When children, pets, or other disruptive forces interfere with a live on-camera interview as it’s being broadcasted, streamed or recorded.

If you get Skype-jacked, no one will remember anything you said before or after. They will only remember how you handled it.

Golden State Warriors Guard Stephen Curry, an NBA Most Valuable Player and World Champion was already worshipped by fans and admired around the world when he began the obligatory press conference after a playoff game. The tightly controlled environment was unlikely to affect his popularity in either direction.  But then he was skype-jacked… by his daughter Riley. He could’ve handed her over to mom or dismissed her. Millions of viewers from dozens of countries wouldn’t have been surprised. He could have scolded her, which most parents might have done in private under different circumstances. Instead, the World’s Greatest Basketball Player morphed into the World’s Greatest Dad right before our eyes. It was an authentic moment in a space normally reserved for canned quotes. For one moment, this sports hero was a dad, doing dad things. He was relatable. The world instantly adored Riley and loved Curry more than ever. Though not a Skype interview, it was a clinic in how to handle a Skype-jacking.

Just imagine if he had snapped at his daughter.

In the world of TV news there are few opportunities to be truly authentic, but that’s changing as more and more as news programs conduct live interviews with experts via Skype. Interviewees are inviting millions into their homes and offices where real-world distractions lurk just outside a door. If you’re home alone with kids, they will barge in. If you have dogs, they will see a squirrel. If you’re a teacher, a student will enter without knocking. All of them will get viewers’ undivided attention and immediate sympathy. The only thing you can control in this situation is yourself. The only one who can look bad is you.

So, remember Stephen Curry. The ball is in your hands and little time left on the clock. What would he do?

Invite your student to have a seat and learn about the topic. Don’t be afraid to take a moment to scoop up your child and put him on your lap. Introduce the world to your dog. At that point, all the audience watching is how you react.  

Kent Barrett

The New HoytOrg.com Launches…And The Shoemaker’s Kids Have New Shoes

Public relations, marketing and communications professionals – the really good ones, anyway – are notorious for ignoring their own advice.  We correctly insist, in no uncertain terms, that clients’ websites, blogs, media relations, social media programs, and countless other communications tools are key to giving clients a digital advantage over their competitors. Day in and day out, we design and implement just that.

Rarely do we take our own advice.

Just as a home builder can finish an entire subdivision before finishing his or her own kitchen remodel; an interior designer creates hundreds of incredible living spaces in home after home while his own walls are adorned with only paint swatches; or a landscaper hires the neighbor kid to mow his law; or a broker rents an apartment until the perfect home comes along; The Hoyt Organization team always puts clients’ needs first. We embody the phrase “The Shoemaker’s Kids Have No Shoes.”

Until now.

We are pleased to present the new HoytOrg.com, completed over the last year in baby steps of progress. Five minutes here. 10 minutes there. Brief, guilty windows of time – when we practiced what we preach – and worked on our own digital presence. In the time it took to redesign one website, our team won dozens of awards, placed hundreds of news stories and wrote millions of words.

Yet, somehow working on our own website just felt weird. Still does.

So, the THO team and our colleagues from around the world will spend the next year giving back those 5 and 10-minute increments of time spent on ourselves.

52 Weeks of Free Advice will publish each week in this space, and answer questions that PR clients have (or should) ask us.

After a year, we will call it even.

THO

How Can We Help?

Make us your first call if you’re launching a new product or service, re-branding or encounter a need for media relations or crisis communications. We’re here for you:

  • Targeted PR
  • Strategic Communications
  • Social & Digital Media Strategies
  • Crisis Communications
  • Marketing & Design