Posts Taged holidays

3 Ways to Make the Most of December

make the most of december

2016 has been nothing if not eventful. Whether you felt this year dragged on forever or thought it went by in the blink of an eye, the end is quickly approaching.

When I was younger, my dad jokingly referred to tendencies to hibernate and indulge in holiday sweets as “cookie foot”. While December is a month full of festivities and bustle, it’s also easy to lose momentum and find yourself doing the bare minimum instead of transitioning to the New Year full steam ahead. Here are 3 ways to make the most of December for your clients and yourself.

1. Reflect

In the fast paced environment of PR it can be easy to quickly move on to the next task, the next project or the newest client. Take a moment (or several) to reflect on the last 11 months. 2016 has been a bit of a whirlwind in terms of current events. What were your key successes for clients this year? Did you have any major failures? Both of these questions are important for growth and goal-setting for the upcoming year. Which brings me to my next point….

2. Plan

With many projects wrapping up before the end of the year, December can feel like a waiting period. Take advantage of this time by getting a jumpstart on your 2017 planning. End of the year planning falls into two categories: planning for clients and personal professional planning.

Take the time to meet with clients and ask about their goals for the upcoming year. Suggest new projects or initiatives you’ve been holding back on for whatever reason.

In terms of personal professional growth, December is a great time to set new goals for yourself for the upcoming year. Set aside some time to evaluate where your strengths and weaknesses stood out during the following year.

You’ll thank yourself in January for taking the time to plan now.

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3. Give back and Celebrate

Giving back is a surefire way to beat any holiday sluggishness. Give to your clients, to your co-workers, and to anyone else who needs it. Let your co-workers know you appreciated their help on a project or admired their poise in a difficult situation.  Don’t let good work go unrecognized.

I hope these ideas will help you avoid cookie foot, make the most of December and head into 2017 feeling energized and motivated.

What Public Relations Professionals Can Be Thankful For This Year

thanskgiving public relations

For Americans, November is often considered a month of thankfulness. We’re thankful we get a day or two off work for Thanksgiving, we’re thankful to see family and friends, and we’re thankful to have the opportunity to over-indulge on comfort food while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s a time to reflect on the past year and remember what we have to be grateful for while we look ahead to the new year.

For me, this extends to my career in public relations. The last year has provided a lot for PR pros to be thankful for amidst a sea of changes that will mean big things for the field in 2017. Here’s the three things I’m thankful for this year as public relations professional.

The Shift to “Micro”

Not too long ago, social media programs were seen as successful when you’d amassed thousands or millions of followers on each channel. It was a way to prove reach, and thus usefulness. This made it hard for smaller businesses to justify social media programs. Now, we’ve come to learn that having a ton followers doesn’t mean, well, much of anything. Especially with Facebook’s ever changing algorithm, followers don’t always translate to reach. The name of the game is now engagement.

Garnering authentic engagement from the followers you do have is proving to be much more worthwhile. “Micro” influencers in your industry, who may not have one million followers on Instagram, are a useful tool in reaching your target audience and creating engagement. As a public relations pro, this opens the door to creativity. When we’re not focused on creating messages for the masses and instead considering the individual, we can craft compelling, personal experiences that leave a lasting impression.

Work Life Balance

The “Mad Men” era of public relations and advertising is finally beginning to fall away. PR, marketing, and advertising used to be known as fields that dominated your lifestyle and required insane hours. Thankfully, this attitude is changing, and work-life balance is becoming an integral part of agency culture.

With the new Department of Labor overtime rules going into place December 1st, PR agencies that relied on a “churn and burn” culture among junior level staff will need to change course by either raising their pay, or paying overtime for those all-day-Saturday work days. PR still isn’t necessarily a 9 to 5 job (crises don’t happen on a schedule), but flexibility is now desired.  Quite a few agencies, especially those led by women, have already begun fostering a culture that encourages time away from the office and productivity over 80-hour work weeks. I’m thankful to work at A.wordsmith, where we prioritize hard work, but also time for our families and ourselves.

Snapchat Spectacles

Virtual reality in daily life might be commonplace in the next few decades, but we’re not there quite yet. However, 2016 made major strides toward this future, my favorite of which has been Snapchat’s launch of Spectacles.

Spectacles have been referred to as a cooler version of Google Glass, even if they’re not quite as extensive. The sunglasses come in colors and a shape that are right on fashion trends, and let wearers Snap “from their eyes” instead of their phones. When saved to the Memories feature on Snapchat, users can relive events in their life as they saw them before, rather than through a picture or video. There’s some privacy concerns with Spectacles, and they probably won’t do away with selfie culture, but the sunglasses could mean exciting things for how brands use social media and how important video will be in public relations plans. I’m thankful to be in an industry that will only become more important as we head into the future of digital.

I’ll be even more thankful if the Spectacles Bot vending machine decides to make an appearance in Portland so I can snag a pair.

Giving Tuesday 2013

giving tuesday

Halloween is barely behind us, and already the Christmas ads and holiday displays are popping up everywhere. While few of us are feeling truly ready for the holidays, it’s a consideration that is already top of mind for businesses; there are client appreciation gifts to pull together, holiday cards to design and print, and employee appreciation parties to plan. (Does anyone still do those? Ah, the good ol’ days…)

That’s not what this post is about, though.

Giving Tuesday

Over the past few weeks, I have been proud and inspired to help a number of clients and colleagues prepare for a new annual tradition: Giving Tuesday. What is Giving Tuesday? Only in its second year, “#GivingTuesday™ (#GT) is a movement to create a national day of giving to kick off the giving season added to the calendar on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday…In the same way that retail stores take part in Black Friday, we want the giving community to come together for #GivingTuesday.” (Learn more at the official GT website.)

FINALLY, an answer to the overwhelming and exhausting culture of consumption that seems to dominate the secular holiday season. Let’s all be thankful for what we have on Thanksgiving, and carry that spirit of gratitude into GIVING BACK.

Does your company participate in this movement, yet? Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to invest in your community, and show your clients which causes are important to you. The Giving Tuesday site provides “toolkits” to help you plan and prepare for December 3rd, including creative implementation ideas and visual assets like logos and web banners. From a visual perspective, you can have a lot of fun and inspire others through shareable, branded social media images.

And of course, non-profits can leverage the movement to aid their annual giving solicitations. As a Giving Tuesday partner, Tacoma Art Museum has pulled together a really great set of shareable images that both reflect the museum’s character, and encourage social sharing of their Giving Tuesday message through playful art-lover “profiles”:

giving tuesday

TAM’s profile: “STRATEGIC. I love the Seattle Sounders, Tacoma’s Frisco Freeze burgers, and my pet iguana named Romeo…”

giving tuesday

“SOPHISTICATED. I love sailing, learning to roll sushi, or shopping for a hat for the Boardwalk Empire season finale party.”

“PLAYFUL. I love food truck rallies and my dodgeball team is going to nationals.”

“PLAYFUL. I love food truck rallies and my dodgeball team is going to nationals.”

View more profiles at TAM’s website.

Giving back to the community is no longer an option for the socially responsible business; it’s essential to sustainable success. Giving Tuesday can be a company’s annual celebration of generosity; give generously throughout the year, and highlight your giving efforts this December 3rd.

For non-profits, this Giving Tuesday could be a key opportunity to publicize your organization’s mission and fundraising goals, and to inspire the community to take a break from consumption and rally around a greater cause.

As an individual, I look forward to seeing where this movement goes…and I already feel a bit more energized for the upcoming holidays. Now, which organization will I give to this year?…

Happy Giving!