Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Five Things I’ve Learned Over 25 Years in PR

A note from Melissa Libby:

Twenty-five  Five Things I’ve Learned Over 25 Years in PR

As I see my agency’s 25th anniversary quickly approaching, I started to write a post about the 25 things I’ve learned over that extremely interesting, exciting, frustrating, and amazing time. But given attention spans these days (mine and yours), I decided to keep it to five.

1.      You be you
For years I worried about what my competitors were doing. I noticed their client rosters, great placements, awards received, new employees attracted, and compared all these with mine. This made me cranky. So now I take that energy and direct it to noticing all the fabulous work my outstanding team does for our wonderful clients. And I congratulate my peers when I see that they have enjoyed success too. I’m much less cranky.

2.      Always find the funny
I believe that teams who laugh together do the best work. There are few circumstances so serious that you can’t find a great movie reference, meme, or cat video to use to bring some levity to the situation. Clients appreciate this too. It’s hard out there and we’re all putting in a lot of hours and enduring some stressful situations. Why not break up the meeting with a good joke or funny story?

3.      Don’t read postcards from hell
This advice from a Wood Brothers song is my go-to answer for Yelp “reviewers”, Facebook commenters, and all the other Negative Nellies we encounter in the customer service aspect of our jobs. It’s so easy to be swayed by the vocal minority we call haters but you’ve got to know which ones to ignore. Hint: it’s most of them.

4.      PR is not brain surgery
In Atlanta, we have maybe two days each winter with a threat of snow and ice. I always take a moment to remind my team of our one-sentence snow policy: “Do not risk your life to promote the latest cocktail trend.” I do take our responsibilities seriously and I know that our work is crucial to our clients’ success, but I also know that no one will die if we make a typo, send something out late, mislabel a photo or take a snow day even when it’s not really snowing.

5.      It’s all about the people, people.
No 25-year career is without its bad moments. I try not to dwell on them. I like to dwell on the positives and they all revolve around people. From the mentors who believed in me, to the boss who laid me off so I had to start my business, to the person who gave me my first restaurant account, it’s always people who make the difference in business and life. I try to surround myself with the best, most supportive, happiest, funniest, smartest people I can find.

Check back in 2042 to see what I learn over the next 25 years!


Tim Wilkerson said...

You;re right on all five counts (and even more than just these five). I count it a privilege to know you and your crew!

Tim Wilkerson

celestial.bean said...

This beautifully embodies what makes Melissa Libby and Associates, Inc. the stellar team / P.R. agency that it is: At its head is an insightful & brilliant mind, a gracious & witty soul, a determined spirit, and a compassionate & beautiful heart for people.

I consider it an honor to have briefly been a part of the MLA team & a privilege to continue to call Melissa a friend and mentor.

Congratulations on a great 25 years!

I am so very proud of all that you & your team continue to accomplish.

I raise a (wine) glass & toast you. Here's to 25 more!

Celeste Kenney
The 1st (non-ML) MLA full-time employee

Unknown said...

Congratulations on 25 years!!!

UplayOnline said...

I count it a privilege to know you and your crew!