M's Musings

Fight Overwhelm And Conquer PR

Are you feeling overwhelmed? And adding PR to your to-do list seems impossible for many reasons - but maybe it makes it even more overwhelming because you simply don’t know where to start? 

I thrive under pressure. It’s ideal for me to have too much to do in order to function at my best. My guess is some of you are in the same boat. However, there is a fine line between healthy, positive stress, and negative overload. So, how do we create or preserve that healthy balance?

As business owners, we are juggling a lot of things, often wearing all the hats. In my experience, if I’m feeling overwhelmed it’s usually because I’m not organized enough and I don’t have my priorities straight. Meaning, I’ve let my inbox fill to overflowing and my task lists (yes, plural) are spread out in a crazy combination of sticky notes and Google tasks. At that point, it seems impossible to add one more thing. And maybe you are there with me, even if your list...

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Dare To Be An Expert

It’s interesting how things come full circle. I have been doing PR for more than twenty years. Time really does fly, whether you’re having fun - or not. Kidding aside and being the optimist I am, most of my career in PR I would definitely list in the positive column when I look back. I’ve certainly learned a lot, traveled a lot, been to many tradeshows and events, written a lot, talked a lot, attended a LOT of meetings, build great friendships, and landed some very cool media placements along the way.

But you know what? There are still moments when I feel like a novice. There are so many things to know, and part of the wisdom that comes with experience is knowing what you don’t know. Do I know all the editors at all the design magazines? No, definitely not. (They keep moving around too!) Do I know how to write a pitch that 100% will turn into a placement? No, definitely not. (But no one does!) Do I meet all the pitch deadlines and is my...

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Help Is On The Way

As entrepreneurs and business owners, we wear many hats. It’s a lot to take on and handle on a daily basis - your actual business, interior design, or PR in my case, finance, operations, HR, tech, all the admin stuff, it never ends.

I am three years into being self-employed after many years of enjoying corporate perks like an IT help desk (I miss that!) or a corporate travel department (really missed that when I was stuck in Las Vegas for three days last year!). 

What I realized after a while of trying to do it all by myself is that it’s okay, no, it’s absolutely essential to ask for help.

I love learning new things, but there are just areas I will never be really good at, like graphic design, tech or, yikes, accounting. And even when I thought I couldn’t afford it, I brought in just a little bit of help for some of those areas, and it’s been worth every penny. I also believe in coaching and have been in different kinds of coaching and...

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Procrastination or Self-Care

Like every serious professional, I have a plan for my business. As a matter of fact, I am a huge fan of planning, it’s one of my favorite things to do. I am of course talking about the part where you brainstorm, think big, dream, come up with new crazy ideas, the fun stuff, not so much the part where you put it all in a spreadsheet and track the details. If you know me, you know it’s true...

But seriously. I usually send out my note to you on Tuesday and I write it somewhere between Friday and Tuesday morning, depending on how much life is happening when. Between school starting for my kids, soccer games, onboarding a couple of new clients, and creating and hosting my Master DIY PR digital course, there just haven’t been enough hours in the days lately. (I really should get a cleaning lady, too.)

So, last Monday, which was Labor Day, I felt super stressed because I had so much work on my to-do list, writing this email being just one of them. No thought of...

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Market Your PR to Stand Out

How do you feel about marketing? Is it something you love or just a necessary evil?

Either way, it is a must. I was reminded of that in a recent chat I had with Jason Lockhart, the CEO of Kitchen & Bath Marketing Solutions,  for my Design PR Insider membership. He said: “If you want to grow your business, you have to do marketing.”

The two crucial things every interior designer needs to do to grow her or his business, according to Jason,  are:

  • Social media
  • E-mail marketing

I am sure neither one of them come as a surprise to you, and hopefully you are doing both of them! 

Jason said something else in the interview about PR that I had never thought of in that particular way. A media placement gives you a USP, a unique selling proposition, which is just jargon for something that differentiates you from all the other interior designers. And that’s what you want! 

It’s the job of marketing to leverage your uniqueness, and PR placements...

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How to learn the foundations of DIY PR

Today I want to have an earnest chat about doing your own PR and getting your own ink. From my many conversations with designers I know that PR is important to them and that everyone understands the benefits of being featured in the press. But there are a lot of open questions - and preconceived notions - that prevent people from actually doing their own PR. 

A week ago I asked for the top questions on this topic and I am so grateful for all the responses. I noticed a lot of the same themes: how to approach PR overall, what goals to set, where to start, how to do it without spending a lot of time, and of course the ins and outs of pitching and getting placements.

The questions have definitely helped me finetune the topics I am covering in my upcoming course, but at the same time I was excited to see that most of them focused exactly on what I will be teaching: Laying the foundation to do your own PR, and doing so in a way so you don’t have to spend a lot of time or money....

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About (Not) Giving Up

When it comes to doing your own PR, getting started is hard. But keeping going is even harder.

At the beginning, you are all fired up and motivated, pitching away. But then you get a no, or two, or three, or worse, don't hear anything back at all. Poof, the energy and motivation drains.

But motivation is a myth. It fades more quickly than your summer tan. The tricky thing about PR is it doesn’t take a lot of effort, it only requires a little bit of time here and there - but consistently. And staying consistent is hard, really hard. It takes commitment to stick with it, not just when you’re fired up, but when you’re busy, tired and overwhelmed with life and work stuff.

There is no instant gratification. PR is a marathon, not a sprint. It needs to become part of your business routine like paying your bills or posting on social media. You have to show up and keep showing up, even, or especially if you’re not seeing results. Because they are likely just...

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To Communicate - or Not

business public relations Jul 06, 2020

I have been on the fence about whether or not to address this topic because, honestly, I wasn’t quite sure about what I would say. We live in a complex time and there is no easy, straight forward way to approach it. The pandemic, the racial reckoning, the political mess - it’s a lot to deal with for us as humans and communicators.

We’ve had conversations about this on my weekly coaching call for my Design PR Insider Membership, and I very much appreciate everyone’s perspective. Not having grown up here in the U.S., I sometimes feel like I am missing some of the experience and history that inform people’s perceptions of the issue who have always lived here, especially when it comes to the BLM issue. But I am open and ready to learn. 

As a communicator, here is what I would say to you if you have a design business or another business in an industry not directly related to any of the hot topics:

  • As a rule, always communicate openly and honestly. If...
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Why Self Promotion Is Hard

business public relations Jun 29, 2020

For over  20 years I have been promoting businesses, products, services, people, causes. From sports (soccer, of course!) to banks to mobile service providers to aids organizations to tech start-ups to engineered wood and designy things and people. Making other people and things look good in the media and elsewhere has been my professional life, and it’s gotten to be fairly easy because after a while you’ve mastered the tricks and tools and have built the relationships.

My comfort zone is in the background, coaching people what to say and do. I’m good at that. I have media trained plenty of top executives and savvy business folks, written presentations and speeches up the wazoo and organized countless media interviews.

Now, running a business of my own - starting with a direct sales business years ago and leading into my current consulting gig - has challenged me in different ways. Is still challenging me!

Not surprisingly, it’s much easier to help other...

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Spreadsheets - Love or Hate?

business public relations Jun 22, 2020

Do you love or hate spreadsheets?

To me, this is a purely rhetorical question. Like everyone else in their right mind, I DESPISE spreadsheets. With a passion. Opening Excel makes my skin itch and my face fall asleep. Could there be anything more boring and tedious? 

Okay, maybe bookkeeping or doing tax stuff… Am I right, or am I right?

(If you fall into the spreadsheet lover camp, good for you, weirdo! You probably already have a master spreadsheet that tracks more things than I can think of. I don’t know how you do it, but I have the utmost respect and maybe wish I could be just a little bit more like you...)

That being said, I actually do use spreadsheets, albeit reluctantly, because tracking is supercritical in PR as in every kind of business. I even have fancy PR software that is supposed to do it for me, but honestly, it leaves a lot to be desired, and I often find that it’s more effective to keep it simple (the Get Ink DIY mantra!) and set up a basic...

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