Polina Opelbaum

    • Member Type(s): Communications Professional
    • Title:Community Services Specialist
    • Organization:ProfNet
    • Area of Expertise:social media, editing, writing

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    How to Become a Big Social Mobile Enterprise

    Wednesday, February 4, 2015, 4:34 PM [#ConnectChat]
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    In our last #ConnectChat, we discussed how companies can achieve their objectives by integrating big data, social media, and mobile. David Giannetto, author of "Big Social Mobile" and SVP at Salient Management Company, explained why it's important for these digitial initiatives to work together, how leaders of a company can create a big social mobile enterprise, as well as the positive impact it can have on a company. If you missed the Twitter chat, here's a recap:

    Can you tell us a little about yourself?

    I'm author of "Big Social Mobile" just released by Palgrave Macmillan and senior vice president at Salient Management Company.

    You mention three digital initiatives in your book. Can you explain what they are?

    They are big data, social media and mobile all connected back to enterprise objectives, process, people and results. The book and my work focus on bridging the digital divide. Connecting all things digital to traditional parts of the business. An omni-experience for the consumer where omni-channel is consistent every time they interact with any part of your company.

    Why is it important for these digital initiatives to work together?

    Typically, they are segregated from each other and core company functions, and therefore don't create tangible results. Each initiative also has segregated goals: more followers, more data, more downloads. Good goals but not as good as greater profit.

    What kind of positive outcomes can an organization expect from integrating their digital initiatives?

    Big social mobile is about using them to drive revenue and profit, reduced expense, higher sales, higher CLV -- tangible results! To do that they have to be connected to the people, process, tech and information of the company -- not separate and run only by specialists.

    Do companies normally implement them in a way that they work together?

    Not normally, but desire is growing. They want to know how to do it and big social mobile provides the method for how to use them that way.

    So big social mobile provides an actual method in it?

    Yes, it covers the big picture. It also gives five steps, concerns, questions to help the reader apply to their own company.

    Can you please give an overview of these five steps?

    The steps are: 1) segment and understand your digital community, comparing them to your "physical" community of customers and such; 2) understand how you are interacting with them through all channels, physical and digital to understand their behavior; 3) understand how you want them to act or interact with you to create the best outcome for your company -- profitable patterns; 4) analyze behavior and connect big data to traditional enterprise data to see a complete picture and influence them properly; 5) connect these functions to departments and managers throughout the company, build the right infrastructure in the company.

    How can the integrated approach benefit customers of an organization?

    I define two different types of customers: traditional and "social" consumers. Social consumer/customers want to attach to a brand. They will understand what the company offers and stands for, and not only having a better buying experience but better overall experience.

    Does this also apply to consumers as well?

    Everyone is a consumer; customers have made a purchase. The distinction is important and converting consumers to customers is the goal. Social media has changed things. Consumers now have more power and can influence any brand. Brands must therefore be more consistent. Big social mobile has to show how to unify a company's brand, message, and operations across both the digital and physical landscapes.

    What advantages does an integrated enterprise have over its competitors?

    Massive advantages. It’s hard to cover in 140 characters. They understand and control consumer behavior, creating more customers and better customers.

    What can leaders of an organization do to create a big social mobile enterprise?

    Two things: 1) ask BSM specialists how they will produce *tangible* results (as I define them) to help achieve company objectives, and 2) ask "line" managers how they are using BSM initiatives to help the company. They don't know so make them learn. The answer is always information. Use information to connect these digital initiatives to traditional functions to show the impact.

    Without having a specified brand manager position, what can companies do to start integrating the responsibilities of that position?

    Without a brand manager those responsibilities usually fall to a specific manager(s). Get them to understand how social consumers react to things. Use this information to influence their thinking.

    Do you think a chief social media officer is a position PR firms will soon be looking for?

    A PR firm should be looking for a chief social media officer, because it is how you spread the word more effectively these days, but they are PR-focused. The question is should a normal, mainstream company have one? A different question with different concerns.

    Who is your book really targeted for?

    It's for executives seeking to create an ROI for these initiatives, and BSM specialists looking to do that as well as how to make themselves more valuable.

    Where can the book be purchased?

    It can be purchased on Amazon (amzn.to/173IToX) or Barnes & Noble, and lots of places online. Here’s more info: www.bigsocialmobile.com or www.davidgiannetto.com. You can join the big social mobile community for free at www.bigsocialmobile.com on the community page.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us atprofnet@profnet.com. 

    Reinvention: The Art of Coming Out on Top

    Tuesday, February 3, 2015, 10:26 AM [Event Recaps]
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    Last Friday, New York Women in Communications hosted a one-on-one interview with Jill Abramson conducted by NBC News’ "Weekend Today" anchor Erica Hill. The interview covered Abramson’s departure from the New York Times, as well as how she reinvented herself after her very-public dismissal. Here are her responses from the interview:

    Why do you think there was such an interest after you were fired from the New York Times?

    The ingredients now for a big new story is that it just has to have a controversy of some kind. When I was editor of the New York Times, controversy was often a feature of so much of what we covered. My getting fired had that ingredient of controversy. It also added a lot of pizzazz that I was a woman and the first woman to have this job.

    You say that you'd rather be known as the fired executive editor of the the New York Times vs. the former executive editor of the New York Times. Why?

    It was important for me to show what I was made of and to be an example. Most people do get fired from a job, and I wanted to not make it something you can’t talk about.

    There does come a stigma with being fired -- that somehow you did something wrong, whether you actually did.

    I felt strongly that I hadn’t done anything wrong. If I have devoted my career to anything, it is to telling the truth. When I was called up to be given this news, I was handed a press release that said I had decided to leave. I said that there is just no effing way. I devoted my life to telling the truth. I am being fired and that’s what I am going to say.

    Do you feel like you’re reinventing yourself or are you finding yourself?

    My instinct is more that I am finding myself, mainly because I have worked in an office since I graduated from Harvard since 1976. I love not going into an office! The one thing I worried about is that I would somehow be lonely and miss being in the middle of things in the newsroom -- and, of course, there are aspects of the work that I miss. One thing I don’t miss is going into an office and ­­being handed a schedule everyday where I have a different meetings in 15-minute segments.

    It has been the best to be in charge of myself. I love that. If I want to sit and read something very closely for more than an hour, then I can do that now. Despite the bloody ending, I love the New York Times. I think it’s an irreplaceable institution in Western civilization. If it somehow went away, it could never be built again. I luxuriate in its coverage every day and read it exclusively digitally.

    Why do you read the New York Times digitally?

    When I was managing editor, I started reading it online. To survive, the New York Times has to have a new audience, and the new audience is reading it exclusively online. I thought that’s how I should absorb the news too. Except for that, I read the New York Times on the app.

    When you look at the way you did things when you were in it for so many years, and if you could change some of those things and have a little more time, what would you do?

    My first observation is that I am a much better manager of myself than I was of lots of other people. I don’t think managing people was my strength. I can be impatient and demanding. Demanding is OK, but combined with being impatient -- not a great combo.

    Is there a way to not only have equal pay but make it be a fair compensation for the work that’s being produced? Are those the same things or different?

    They are similar. Equality and fairness are close cousins no matter what arena we’re talking about. In my own personal case, I was just so happy to get the [New York Times] job that I never negotiated my pay.

    Going back to the year 2000, there were maybe five women who came to talk to me about their salaries or to ask for a raise.

    Looking back at the research you have done and thinking about how you have dealt with it in the past, any advice on how to walk in and ask for what you deserve?

    Don’t wait until you have a grievance to bring up, but it should be done calmly. It is part of the deal. It is best to bring it up as a matter of fact and not just because you think you heard you aren’t being treated fairly or equally. If it does become a grievance and an emotional thing, suffering in silence is not my advice.

    We live in a culture of immediacy where we need a constant update. How much do you think that influences the way stories are covered at this point, and how this information is delivered to people?

    It has a huge influence on the media. Anything that adds gasoline to controversy becomes an update. There is this whole trend of headlines and stories that are designed to just be clickbait. They usually have an element of sex, because that is the easiest clickbait. It infects the rest of the media landscape.

    Do you think we are less well-informed because we have this immediate access to all these different information points, whether they are accurate or not?

    Yes, I do. We are bombarded with so much information, but maybe not so much gaining knowledge. That worries me. My advice to be more knowledgeable is to tear yourself away from the Internet and read some books. I think it helps.

    Any advice on taking back your life and achieving that “new you” that you’re hoping to create?

    So much of it depends on your finances. The luxury of thinking about reinvention is just not there for most women. We know that women are the pillars and breadwinners in our society now. I would encourage anyone with a passion to pursue a dream, but it’s tough out there, especially if you’re looking for investors. I think it’s easier for men doing a startup to raise money, whether it’s in Silicon Valley or elsewhere. You have to make sure you have the resources to tough it out.

    Any story you didn’t get to tell as a journalist that you still want to tell?

    Perhaps I am going to be covering the story of a woman getting elected president finally.

    Any other advice on reinvention?

    The one thing about being fired is that the people who got me through it are my sister, my girlfriends, and my daughter. Don’t ever take your close women friends for granted. Those relationships are the best.

    Audience Q&A:

    Can you walk us though the media aftermath of getting fired and how you dealt with the situation?

    I am going to start by confessing something that’s honest, but not necessarily admirable. I was called up to the publisher’s office, and he told me I was fired. After I left the building, I got onto the street and said to myself, “What are you feeling?” I realized that I felt relieved. I felt this overwhelming sense of relief. No one was home, so I went for a really long walk in Central Park. I think my sister was traveling. My brother-in-law was home, so I spent a nice afternoon with him.

    It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized that I probably need to talk to a lawyer about a separation with a company that I worked with for a long time. I called an old friend of mine that is a very prominent lawyer and senior executive of a big media company. I told her I was fired and that I probably need a lawyer. She dropped everything and made one call and said, 'This is your guy.' A good woman friend came through for me. I didn’t have a personal lawyer. I never had a lawyer negotiate any of my jobs. That reference served me very well. I really tried as the refrigerator magnet says, “Stay calm and carry on.”

    Where do you think the media is moving?

    I am working on a startup with Steven Brill. Trying to build an entire institution and new newsroom is very difficult. What Steven and I are doing is going back to our roots as narrative storytellers -- deep, deep reporting. Our idea is very simple, which is: Publish one amazing story a month in a space that is longer than a New Yorker article but shorter than a book. When it’s appropriate to make these stories multimedia, the multimedia will deepen the storytelling. It will be subscription-based.

    If you were to ask me what the most influential media institution is right now, I would say Facebook. There are a lot of new institutions that are exciting. I think Vice Media is doing a lot of quality, narrative journalism. I have spent a lot of time looking at their longer videos, some of which are amazing, but along with the good you get stupid s**t. The same is true with BuzzFeed. They do some great journalism. Ben Smith breaks a lot of important news, but there are cute, corgi butts along with the news. These are institutions that are achieving success with a new formula.

    I have worked at the most amazing news institutions that I think exist. I worked at Time magazine, NBC News, Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. I have immense respect for the great institutions of the media, but I am not out to rebuild any of them. I want to devote the time I have left to reporting and telling stories -- some of which I write myself, and some of which are created by young journalists and some of the great legendary names.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us atprofnet@profnet.com. 

    Upcoming #ConnectChat: How to Become a Big Social Mobile Enterprise

    Thursday, January 29, 2015, 3:07 PM [#ConnectChat]
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    Most companies understand the importance of social media, big data, and mobile technology. Yet, instead of having these three initiatives work together, they segregate them and end up seeing limited return.

    In our next Twitter chat, David Giannetto, SVP at Salient Management Company and author of "Big Social Mobile," will discuss why companies should integrate these initiatives into each other, how this can be done, and the benefits to an integrated approach.

    To participate in the chat, join us on Twitter on Tuesday, Feb. 3, from 3 to 4 p.m. EST and follow the #ConnectChat hashtag to follow the conversation between @dgiannetto, @ProfNet and the rest of the chat participants.

    If you cannot join us on the day of the chat, you can find a recap on ProfNet Connect the following day. We hope you will join us!

    About David Giannetto

    David Giannetto is widely recognized as one of the most influential thought-leaders at the intersection of all things information. Working with some of today's leading brands he provides both the technology and methodology necessary to create, understand and utilize information to improve performance. He has been listed as a thought-leader by the American Management Association, Business Finance Magazine and Consumer Goods Technology Magazine, and is the author of 'Big Social Mobile" (Palgrave, December 2014) and the award-winning "The Performance Power Grid" (Wiley, 2006).

    Giannetto's hands-on experience managing within the Fortune 2000 and as a consultant has created his reputation as one of few speakers, writers and practitioners who can make complex theory actionable methods, creating tangible results, driving differentiation, influencing consumer behavior and creating sustainable superior performance. He is a writer for the American Management Association and the Huffington Post, and is SVP at Salient Management Company.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    The Q&A Team: How PR Pros and Journalists Can Work Together

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015, 3:01 PM [The Q&A Team]
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    It's important for PR professionals to maintain a strong relationship with journalists. Sometimes it may be challenging for PR professionals to know the best place to pitch a journalist, or how to connect with a journalist on a social networking site. Alex Yong (@ggsolutions123), reporter for Small Business Trends and blogger for Techmania411, shares tips and suggestions for how PR professionals can connect and build working relationships with journalists. Read them here:

    What type of topics do you write about on Small Business Trends?

    I'm the NYC connection for them, so I write about various topics, including product unveilings. Product unveilings are sometimes unique, like the time IHS and Paychex announced big data would be used for a new monthly index of regional small business progress. It's a product, though it's not a B2C one, which is what many people think of when they hear the word "product".

    How do you like to be pitched (e.g., phone, email, etc.)?

    I strongly prefer Skype for pitches -- just the messaging part of Skype -- I don't mean Skype video. I heard that if an ISP doesn't like an email -- and that can be for any reason -- you simply won't ever see that piece of mail, not even in your spam folder. If that's true, that's scary for the sender and the receiver. I'd like to thank Gail Gardner of Growmap for pointing this out.

    As for phone pitches, no, those are dreadful, unless we had great rapport in person. When pitching through Skype, tell me immediately if you're a PR agent or a principal. It helps put me in the right frame of mind before chatting. Phone pitches from principals are the worst because the pitches can ramble on, without respecting my time, and then I'm forced to be brusque, which isn't my natural personality. At least PR agents know to not ramble, thank goodness. Either way, avoid calling.

    What’s the best way for a PR professional to follow up about a pitch?

    For me, it's Skype. Just ask if something's gone cold. Most of the time, the answer to that is yes. And don't be aggressive.

    How can a journalist and PR professional maintain a positive working relationship?

    One thing that can be done is really simple. When event RSVP lists are being made, keep me "top of mind" and email me that invite. If you really want to get on my good side, Skype message me within a minute of that email going out, then I'll know to look for it specifically. Add my name and confirm I'm on the event list without me even needing to respond!

    Try to be quick about things. I know it's not always easy when your clients all have a different pace, but try.

    Remind your clients that journalists tend to love data sources we can cite, so send data that's beneficial for both your side and ours. It gives us a good starting point. We absolutely love good images, with proper credit and the rights to use, of course. That's a huge, huge thing to remember.

    Make things easy for us, and your clients will see their name in lights and think you're a great PR person. With me, it's easy, just remember these three things: event list, data, and legal images.

    Are there any events you like to attend that help you meet and connect with PR professionals for future articles?

    Most events I go to are great for meeting peers (e.g., journalism-oriented events at Brandwatch, AMECorg.com), principals (e.g., unveilings, TechCrunch Disrupt), and cool executives (e.g., Shelly Palmer's Annual Digital Media Summit). Though PR is often on site at these things, I notice PR is usually busy helping with check-ins or running around to help the event go as smoothly as possible.

    How do you use Twitter? Does it help you to stay on top of trending topics and connect with experts?

    Yes to both. The funny thing is, I rarely check the sidebar where Twitter shows what's trending -- it's seldom relevant to me, even after I set it to local.

    What I do is make full use of Twitter lists. I can't get enough of them. They might even be the best feature of Twitter. When you group people into lists, you can hear about trends and pay attention to the accounts who tweet niche tweets with their niche's slang. Where there's slang, there's a niche. Where there's a niche, expect news and trends and community. On mobile Twitter, I use third-party tools so I can go directly to lists with one touch.

    What are some do's and don’ts for PR professionals trying to reach out or connect with you on Twitter?

    Well, I don't have a list of do's and don'ts. It's a good idea for PR professionals to add me to a Twitter list. Since every list has a name, that action will let me know how I'm perceived. If I'm added to a list named "trends" or "social media" or whatever the PR pro thinks of my tweets, the act of listing me, and where I'm put, meaning the name of the list -- gives me clues about how I'm perceived. If I'm added to a list and the word "awesome" is in the list name, it makes me smile, but many Twitter users will simply list me in "journalists". If you're a PR pro using targeted list names, it clues me in that you're a PR pro of the highest caliber.

    As for don'ts, I guess just don't overtweet with my @name because excessive tweeting like that will show up if anyone does an internal search of my @name. Also, don't list me in "people who aren't nice!" or something like that, because it's not true. I'm relatively sweet.

    What other social networking sites are you a fan of, and how do they help you with your work?

    I like Google Plus and LinkedIn. Google likes to experiment, but LinkedIn has a few advantages over Google Plus. For example, LinkedIn Premium is free for journalists, but only if we attend at least one of their special journalism webinars, which, as you can imagine, is only open to journalists. And we only need to attend one per year. LinkedIn Premium lets us use InMail, which is a way to send a message to anybody. I guess LinkedIn feels journalists aren't immature to where we'd spam and abuse InMail. The webinar requirement is smart because it allows LinkedIn to address the journalist userbase monthly and show off features that aren't well-known. One webinar often has hundreds of journalists listening in on it. And they're not long webinars, which is another nice thing. One rule that's enforced even before webinar attendance is that you're part of the LinkedIn for Journalists group, which requires approval and can take 12 weeks or longer to get in.

    As a blogger for Techmania411, you review products. How important is to have a clear and concise disclosures page?

    I think clear and concise was the minimum I could do; after all, it's just a hobby blog. Since some product reviews are on the blog, I thought it was wise to put something up there. However, I might advise a high-traffic, "rising star" blog with tons of reviews to get an attorney to write a page that'll have a strong chance of holding up in court, if a situation ever gets to that point. Hopefully never, but it's good to have legs to stand on.

    What did you outline in your disclosures page? Do you modify it frequently?

    Well, interesting story on that. I wrote it based on experience and I feel it doesn't need much updating anymore. In the past, I'd update it as I learned the ins and outs of events and PR. I'll tell you something funny. Many people out there talk about events, brands, PR, the FTC, campaigns, reviews, etc., but they don't have first-hand experience in that world, have never attended even one event, etc. That's like me reading tons about baking, meanwhile I've never baked even a single muffin, yet I pontificate on baking. How absurd and annoying would that be?

    One aspect of my blog's disclosure page reflects the fact that agencies won't always tell a blogger that he or she is part of a larger campaign. It's not exactly ethical for agencies to do that, but agencies tend to obey what the clients want, rather than advising clients on what's smart and what's stupid, unfortunately. My page addresses that, because if the FTC is holding you and your client's feet to the fire for unethical practices, you can bet the farm I'm going to protect myself. I refuse to get dragged down with a naughty agency or brand, if push comes to shove. While that's unlikely, it's good to be somewhat prepared. My advice to bloggers is: Protect yourself before you think you need it.

    In your opinion, how are these five different: journalists, reporters, citizen journalists, bloggers, and corporate bloggers?

    I feel citizen journalists who are consistently tweeting and using Facebook truly like sharing the latest news and being in the know via social media. A passionate one might believe some issues aren't getting "enough attention" and that he or she is one of a handful of like-minded people with the same calling.

    Reporters are often just conveniently around for an assignment and know how to research and write. But if you look at a journalist's body of work, meaning a body of work that isn't totally new, it can read like a time capsule or mini-history of an issue, beat, or sector. I often use the metaphor of a teen girl's journal. It's a written record and it's chronological with story arcs. It's the easy way to remember: Journal, journalist. While a journalist might not aspire to be a historian per se, in time, a good one can be something like a historian and his or her content can be referenced. A reporter's body of work could be all over the place, sometimes cohesive, sometimes not.

    As for brand bloggers and bloggers, I feel they're similar in name only. I see them as incredibly different. People and brands value the opinions of bloggers, but brand bloggers? I'd say that's more of a B2B thing where the brand feels they "must" have a blog to showcase testimonials, business wins, and guides, etc., for SEO and because the competition is doing it.

    What's a great piece of advice you've heard or read lately?

    I ran across a very good piece by Contently's Shane Snow. I think it's helpful for communications or media professionals. It's saying we shouldn't accept bad answers when we ask questions. Sometimes we’re afraid of revealing that we don't know about something, so we'll nod instead of doing a smart interruption, and we walk away unclear. One tip was to repeat an answer back to someone, so that he or she can hear how vague the answer sounded, which can induce a better answer with better clarity. The advice in that article is the best I've seen in a long time.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us atprofnet@profnet.com.

    The Q&A Team: Top Professional Goals of 2015

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015, 9:53 AM [The Q&A Team]
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    Before New Year’s Day, people take some time to think about their personal goals and resolutions for the new year. Some people set a goal to join the gym and work on their fitness. Others set a goal to learn a new hobby or skill.

    For this Q&A Team post, we asked media and communications professionals to share their top professional goal for this year. Each professional completed this sentence:

    My top professional for 2015 is to…

    “Extend the value of our platform as we work on opening up Wochit to any storyteller. As outlets like Facebook and Twitter become more significant in terms of video, we want to help anyone quickly create and publish.” - Drew Berkowitz, senior vice president of Wochit

    "Speak to two new individuals a day and ask them a question. This has been an eye-opening experience for me and in 2015 I will continue this. In addition, though people would love to learn everything about everything, we are not (yet) machines, singularity is not yet here, and in order to accomplish my professional goals, I have committed to enabling and empowering at least one person per week." - Eugene Borukhovich, cofounder of Q!

    “Given the acceleration of blended campaigns, I’m very keen to come up-to-speed on paid media in 2015. By paid, I don’t mean traditional advertising, but the areas like sponsored content, PPC, native advertising, Outbrain, etc., that have potential synergy with PR.” - Lou Hoffman, CEO of the Hoffman Agency

    “Create a blog from scratch and build it up by networking – in-person through blogger conferences, and online through social media.” – Melissa Ibarra, online communities services specialist, ProfNet

    “Spend more time sharing my knowledge of and passion for the public relations industry by writing more bylined articles and participating in more professional speaking opportunities.” -Jenni Izzo, VP of PR at Costa Communications Group

    “Work with our staff/team in having them sit in on different business meetings and conference calls to get a feel for all aspects of the PR operations. Sometimes the left side of the floor needs to live and breathe on the right side, as it’s all eventually connected!” - Adrienne Mazzone, president of TransMedia Group

    “Drastically increase my capabilities around big data, around analysis, insight derivation, and strategy formulation based on what big data tools and methods can tell me. The ugly reality right now is that for every piece of data we can see, there are dozens of pieces of meta-data about that data that we either can’t see or can’t analyze as efficiently as we would like. We’re just getting started on this journey as an industry and we have a lot of catching up to do, so my professional goal for this year is to make as much personal progress as I can.” – Christopher Penn, vice president of marketing technologies at Shift Communications

    “Bring our clients closer to their customers. I want to use our laser-focused communications strategies to set clients apart in an increasingly competitive marketplace. This creates brand advocates from satisfied consumers and sets the stage for sustainable success for our clients.”  - Robert Buhler, chairman at MMI

    “Create exceptional content. I know this may sound sort of redundant, I mean we hear it a lot right: Create great content! But it goes a bit deeper than that. We may have to cut down what we produce in order to clear the decks to put out extremely helpful stuff. So I looked through some of the things I've been putting out there and thought: I can do better. This year I want to create some really amazing things in terms of content: checklists, exciting new ideas, and new ways for authors to gain traction for their book. I want to up the ante from ‘this is good’ to ‘this is really fantastic.’ I want to discover marketing ideas that no one else is doing to keep it fresh. And as a side note, that quote is permeating every part of my business. If it's good enough, it's got to go.” -- Penny Sansevieri, president/CEO of Author Marketing Experts

    "Rebalance my life so I'm spending at least 50 percent of my time in the ‘real world.’ I've already attended a nonprofit event (DefyVentures.org), a book club, and a sewing class. Not only did I meet some incredible new people, I unplugged from my devices for at least four hours this week!” - Nancy A. Shenker, founder/CEO of theONswitch

    “Share the many interesting and some disturbing dating experiences from my blog to an informative book on relationship wellness. The book will be an interactive what-not-to-do guide on how to establish healthy relationships. Also, for those looking for an ideal date, I would like to create an online dating solution that utilizes video conferencing as part of the pre-meet process and on a ‘happiness hypothesis algorithm’ I designed. - Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist and founder/blogger of “You’re Just a Dumbass”

    “Provide focused strategic media placements for my clients in financial and professional services, insurance and technology. In the rush of daily media relations activity, it’s more important than ever to maintain focus on the big-picture marketing goals.” - Henry Stimpson, APR, owner of Stimpson Communications

    “Better DilogR’s engagement, feedback and analytics, where we have already accomplished over 300 percent increases in leads and over 35 percent increases in sales and customer retention by adding in minutes interactivity, such as quizzes, polls and surveys to content -- videos, images, slides, and photos.” – Alexandra Spirer, principal at DilogR

    “Learn how to use social media for more effective media relations." - Evelyn Tipacti, community relations specialist at ProfNet

    “Continue to promote my newly published book, 'The Little Book of Big PR: 100+ Quick Tips to Get Your Small Business Noticed' (AMACOM). The book is geared toward established and startup entrepreneurs who prefer to manage the PR function themselves. It provides nuts-and-bolts tips on common tactics such as media relations, social media, networking and speaking engagements.” - Jennefer Witter, CEO/founder of the Boreland Group

    “Have more fun! I believe in working hard, but I also believe it is critical to play hard. If we aren't having fun at work, what's the point!? My company is all about healthy advice and support, but the name is also a fun way to laugh about the stress of marketing (and overcome it). My top goal is to keep the fun pumping through my company -- with our marketing, our teamwork and with our clients.” - Lorrie Thomas, CEO of Web Marketing Therapy

    *Photo via JobsDB.com

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    Top 10 Q&A Team Posts of 2014

    Tuesday, December 30, 2014, 12:00 PM [The Q&A Team]
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    It's been a great year with many different questions answered about social media, communications, media, and much more in The Q&A Team column. Thank you to all the experts who provided their expertise about these various topics. Here's a list of the top Q&A Team posts from 2014:

    15 Tips for Creating the Perfect Headline. The first thing most readers notice is the headline of an article, blog post, press release, etc. It is important that the headline catches the reader’s attention and persuades them to continue reading. Our ProfNet experts shared tips on creating the perfect headline: prn.to/1p0sXHN

    Get a Grip on Your Handshake. Experts shared the different types of handshakes out there and tips for improving your handshake: bit.ly/18MnV97

    Your Next Social Media Obession: When discussing well-known social media platforms that are used by many, most people think of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. But, what will be the next social media platform that will get everyone talking and signing up for? Here's what our knowledgeable network of experts had to say about this topic: prn.to/1koaGFC

    Most Annoying Social Media Features. We all have certain social media features that make us want to scream. We asked our network of experts which social features they find the most annoying, and here is what they said: prn.to/1ckFbTQ

    Infographics That Communicate Your Message. If you are looking to deliver a particular company message in an educational and entertaining way, then infographics are a great option. ProfNet experts provided their tips for creating successful infographics: prn.to/1iZXuPX

    Marketing for Mompreneurs. Mompreneurs shared how to put together a powerful marketing plan, successfully manage social media accounts, and other helpful marketing lessons: prn.to/XbeqAi

    The Business of a Mompreneur. Mompreneurs explained the definition of a mompreneur as well as how they got into their business: prn.to/1so1kwu

    How to Become Socially Credible. It maye be a struggle to find the right story at the right time to share on your Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn page. Scredible provides an easy and reliable solution for this problem. Scredible's social and data marketing manager Lori Friedrich, explained how Scredible works as well as how it can help companies with their social media efforts: prn.to/1sdmuhb

    How to Get From Q to A. We spoke with Eugene Borukhovich, cofounder of Q!, a new social search app. Borukhovich discussed with us the idea behind Q!, how the app works, as well as other information you should know about social search: prn.to/1bMne0f

    Secret Behind the Rise of Ello. There was a lot of buzz about the social networking site Ello. ProfNet experts shared how Ello is different from other social networking sites, and why it gained such popularity: prn.to/1yVWSFH

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com

    How to Pitch Health Care Reporters

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014, 4:20 PM [The Q&A Team]
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    Dear Q&A Team,

    I am interested in pitching health care reporters. I want to know what type of story ideas I should and shouldn’t pitch. I’m looking for the best time to pitch health care reporters. Any other tips would also be appreciated!

    Infectious Ideas


    Dear Infectious Ideas,

    On Dec. 3, I attended an event hosted by HPRMS about pitching health care reporters and editors. The event was moderated by Nancie Steinberg, senior vice president of Hill+Knowlton Strategies and president of HPRMS. The panelists included:

    Here are some helpful highlights from each panelist:

    Irina Ivanova

    Crain’s NY Business covers anything and everything that impacts the business community in NYC. Our readers are small-business owners, entrepreneurs, and  decision-makers in their fields. Our coverage tends to be less consumer-focused and more about how something will affect somebody’s business. We write about politics and policy, but as it impacts the business. I mostly write for Crain’s Health Pulse, which is a daily subscription newsletter. It is all about business and healthcare in NYC. The newsletter has four stories every day, and we write all of them and don’t link to anywhere else. If you want to pitch us, it has to be in NY and has to have a business angle. I find stories by being on Twitter a lot, reading financials and press releases. I read every single email that I get. My tip is to do your research. Make sure you pitch what the reporter covers. My email is iivanova@crain.com.

    Dan Goldberg

    Capital NY was bought by Politco. We cover politics and policy in a variety of different topics. I cover health. We tend to focus on how policy is affecting business and politics and the decisions that are made within the city and state. We are a subscription model like Politco, so our audience tends to not be individuals but hospitals, health systems -- anywhere where there is a group of people. I generally look at data stories. We look for stuff about something coming in front of the city council or state legislature, or something being lobbied for or against. I have a free newsletter that you can sign up for, which will give you a good idea of the stories I cover. The newsletter is a good place for PR pitches that are not a full story, but more about someone being promoted or winning an award. My tip is if something has been in the news, it probably has been written. As a general rule, unless it is a story that you think will keep moving forward or you have a fresh angle, a reporter will most likely not cover that same story. My email is dgoldberg@capitalny.com.

    Jessica Firger

    I write the content for CBS News Interactive. We produce general consumer news content every day. We do a lot of study stories. The studies that I tend to choose are typically more general. For example, we covered a mammography story yesterday. We wouldn’t necessarily cover a less common cancer, because our audience is probably not going to our site for that. I do more enterprise stories, and I find my own but also look to PIOs for ideas. When I say enterprise stories, I mean longer features that I can spend a day or so doing and would translate well into video. Stories about patients are of high interest. For a bigger feature, I probably wouldn’t consider a story that doesn’t involve a patient. If you book a morning or evening story with the CBS Network, I would be interested in an email that gives me a heads up, because it would be great to collaborate. I also welcome pitches that have a possibility to include photos. My email is jessica.firger@cbsinteractive.com.

    Meredith Engel

    We really like inspiring patient stories. We do a lot of study stories as well as diet and fitness stories. I am always reachable by email and rarely answer my phone. One email is OK and then a follow up email, but after that it’s probably going to be a no, unfortunately. We love the NY angle, but we also cover inspiring stories from overseas and other states. My tip is to make you sure you're pitching the right outlet -- I don’t work for the NY Post. If a main competitor has a covered a story, then that’s not really a selling point for me. We love exclusives and it’s a great way to get into the paper. My email is mengel@nydailynews.com.


    How do you feel when your colleagues receive the same pitch that you also received?

    Engel: If it doesn’t work for me but it might work for my education team, then I am happy to forward it on to them. I would try to not simultaneously pitch, send it to me first and then try someone else.

    Ivanova: I think transparency is best. Be very clear in your email that you are also sending your pitch to another colleague, so I can check with that person.

    Goldberg: I am fine with it. It doesn’t bother me.

    Do you find an interest in press releases that come over the wire?

    Goldberg: I use them sometimes. Also, I am sometimes surprised by the ones that come over the wire that no one emailed to me. The releases that I find most helpful are acquisitions and business-related news.

    Do visuals make or break a pitch?

    Engel: They definitely help and don’t hurt.

    Firger: For me, it is always a yes. The fewer stock photos I can use the better. If it is a new technology, then it needs to be translated visually in a way that will be interesting to the general reader, otherwise it may be a tough sell.

    Ivanova: We do photos and videos on paper and online. We have a photographer and videographer, so we like to do our own stuff. If we’re considering a story to do for the Web or paper, the possibility to get a visual can make or break it.

    Goldberg: For a pitch for us, it doesn’t really matter whether you have photo or video.

    Is there a particular day of the week you prefer to get pitches?

    Ivanova: We are daily so any day is fine.

    Goldberg: There isn’t a particular day.

    What would get one of you to attend an event where there is potential news?

    Goldberg: I generally first look at who is speaking.

    Engel: It depends on the speaker.

    Ivanova: The speaker is what I would consider first. If it’s a topic that I would like to know more about it or are readers would like to know about, then I might also consider that.

    How does social media play a role in finding and distributing stories?

    Goldberg: I have a very large Twitter list that I follow. I also follow a lot of health reporters in metro areas and national health reporters. If everybody is talking about something, that gives me a good sense that it's probably news. Since we have a subscription model, it’s not a primary focus for us when disseminating stories. We don’t tweet out stories behind our paywall, but we tweet the ones in front of it.

    Engel: We have a separate handle for the health section. We do tweet out the stories we produce and post them to Facebook. If a story is doing well and getting a lot of leverage, we may tweet it out again if it’s not very time sensitive. If it’s doing well on social, we might put the story on the homepage.

    Ivanova: I follow a lot of health reporters and institutions. If there’s something major going on, I would find all the people involved and follow them. When deciding if something is really a story, you really need to evaluate who is talking about it and how many people are talking about it. We tweet out a lot of stuff that isn’t in Crain’s health polls, just because it’s easier for people to read.

    Engel: I tweet some of my stuff, but we have social media editors who do it all day. I do use Twitter to find stories and see what people are talking about. I also search hashtags a lot. If something is trending, I definitely use hashtags to see what people are saying.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    How to Achieve Work/Life Balance

    Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 11:48 AM [#ConnectChat]
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    Whether you work for a large corporation or are self-employed, it may be challenging to manage all your work obligations with your personal obligations. Learning how to "shut off" and appreciate what's in front of you may seem easy, but doesn't always happen. In yesterday's #ConnectChat with Rachel Weingarten, lifestyle writer, style columnist and author, explained how to balance the demands of work and the holidays. Weingarten provided tips and tools that will help you manage your time and learn to disconnect. Here's a recap of the Twitter chat:

    Can you please tell us a little about yourself?

    I have two simultaneous full time jobs, I’m a marketing and personal brand strategist and also a writer/columnist and author of three nonfiction books. My latest book is called “Ancient Prayer: Channeling Your Faith 365 Days of the Year.” And since I’m the proverbial shoemaker’s child going barefoot, my own website(s) is/are woefully outdated. I sometimes teach personal branding and cosmetics/fragrance marketing on the graduate level. I’m also on TV morning shows from time to time talking about style, marketing and my books. I’ve had a pretty colorful professional and personal background that led me to this point!

    Can you tell us more about your latest book?

    My book came out in September and if I do say so myself, it’s the perfect holiday gift. “Ancient Prayer” delves into the prayers and texts that have been used for centuries to find relevance for modern life. In one of my previous incarnations, I wanted to be a rabbi, of all things. (I’ve been among other things, a celebrity makeup artist and owned the first mini-muffin company with FDA approval. I’ve also I’ve had my own TV show about women entrepreneurs on CNN Money and been an Internet 1.0 entrepreneur.) When I sat down to write this book, I had come through a life-threatening illness and was rethinking my professional life. I’m child of Holocaust survivors and marvel at deep faith that kept my father going during one of darkest times in history. I wanted to tap into that faith more than anything, what keeps you going when it feels like you haven’t got much else.

    Is your book only for religious people, or can anyone benefit from it?

    I wrote “Ancient Prayer” to appeal to people of all faiths and none at all. Of course I write from my own experiences and personal history, but my background is just one part of me. I think that in the modern world we all struggle with similar big themes -- love, faith, success, especially now when there seems to be so much injustice and fear at times. I think so many people can benefit from reading my book and just reflecting on those big themes and how they can break down for everything from work to social media. At least I hope so!

    How can we not get frazzled during the busy holiday season and try to really enjoy the holidays?

    It’s hard not to get frazzled during this time of year. For some, it’s about remembering the deeper meaning behind the winter holidays. For others, it’s about reconnecting with the people you love. For still others, it’s cutting through the crush to buy everything in sight and instead concentrate on what’s meaningful to yourself or those you love. So perhaps the best thing to do is treat the holidays like any puzzle or even work project -- come up with a plan -- how much time you’ll devote to shopping, how much you will or won’t spend, how much time you’ll spend with relatives and how to respond (or not at all) to those well-meaning relatives who seem determined to cut you down to size. There’s so much about life that isn’t manageable, perhaps the key is to learning to manage expectations during the holidays. The holidays are a wonderful excuse to distill your feelings and emotions down to what matters most. Sometimes that gets lost in the retail shuffle and the old bad feelings that can emerge. Try to focus on the simple things -- hot chocolate on a cold morning and a gift that really means something. It doesn’t have to be life changing to matter.

    What about at work? Is it possible to balance holiday cheer with professional obligations?

    Probably not. Okay, I’ll amend that -- probably not entirely. I used to create/lead a lot of professional etiquette workshops and one of the things we discussed was that whole personality clash/balance thing. It can be hard to get through incredible work pressures while trying to plan holiday fun. Conversely, it can feel impossible to get through a holiday meal or get together without checking email or texts 34 times. I think setting boundaries for yourself can be the most important thing to do on both counts. Don’t forget to work when you’re being paid to do just that, but don’t forget to enjoy the not so simple pleasures of family and friends during holiday time.

    What role has technology played in finding a work/life balance? Has it made it better or worse?

    Instinctively of course, I’d say worse. But that’s what people thought when the light bulb and telephone and radio and TV were invented. But I do worry that people are so busy staring at screens and comparing their highlight reels to everyone else’s people seem to miss out on life’s smaller moments. Eye contact seems to be a dying art. So does flirtation and silly dinner conversation. That said, our hyper-connected lifestyle doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, so it’s time for us to figure out how to make that help us in the long run. Setting up apps for everything from making your greeting card lists to gift buying to travel to setting up autoresponders or putting your phone on sleep mode during family time can help reclaim some balance.

    Some businesses are doing more to help their employees have more of a work/life balance. Is that a trend you're following?

    Definitely. It's an ongoing trend. People used to make fun of the giant tech companies swallowing their employees’ lives whole, but then offering delicious food in the cafeteria or wellness programs that employees were too busy to enjoy. It’s fascinating to note the ways that companies strive to understand the off work hours of employees and try to implement rewards or wellness programs to make them happier. I think we're at the early stages of how far this can go. Companies are learning to treat employees as valuable, multi-faceted. We've evolved from a paycheck to person model where the business and business owners look for that deeper connection and a happier, more satisfied employee makes a better run company on the whole. Ultimately, that makes for a better economy. Or that's the hope!

    What are other benefits to a business where employees have a health work/life balance?

    I can't imagine that there are anything but benefits and fewer distractions. If you're understood and appreciated, you work better so things like yoga or meditation or executive coaching on the corporate level (something my sister Kiki Weingarten does) allow businesses to give their employees something other than simply a paycheck. So you're not dreading going to work, you know there might be happy surprises and hopefully you're not counting down the hours until freedom either. Your day is enjoyable and productive and it allows these employees to recharge during their stressful day and work happier and better.

    What about freelancers? How can they better manage their time, most especially during the holiday and end of year crush?

    Being self-employed, this is something that I struggle with on a daily basis. It’s hard to shut off at the best of times, much less when you’re the proverbial chief cook and bottle washer. For me at least, it’s setting guidelines -- no email responses after x o’clock; taking a weekly tech Sabbath. Maybe start by informing your clients that you’ll be out of the office in advance and try to finish up projects or at the very least inform clients or colleagues of when you’ll be back and ready to finish things up. The flip side is that as an obsessive freelancer, I also usually pick up a ton of business during the holidays. It’s a fun way to take advantage of the corporate culture that shuts down for much of December, but that’s my personal choice -- and I get to charge a lot more for those gigs!

    How important is to delegate responsibilities when it comes to achieving work/life balance?

    Crucial. But it’s as important to know which responsibilities can be delegated and also when to let go of perfectionism. It's also a lot easier said than done. That’s something only you know about yourself and your workload though. To quote the Disney song that has been seared into all of our ears over the past year -- it’s important to learn to “Let it go.” The pursuit of perfection is an impossible ideal. Understanding how to be great while still having a life is in my opinion, the more achievable and attractive ideal, and learning to delegate is probably your best tool in doing just that.

    Why do you think it's challenging for people to find a way to balance their professional with their personal obligations?

    For all of the above reasons and then social media magnifies the achievements of others. If it wasn’t already hard enough to keep up with the people you went to high school with or your neighbors, or evil coworkers, now you’re reminded of everyone else’s accomplishments on a daily basis.

    What are your best tips for disconnecting just enough but not too much over the holidays?

    I think that's the key. Figuring out what's just enough. I don't think it's realistic any more to think you can disconnect entirely during any point, even the holidays. Maybe set up twice a day to check in, and then schedule responses and calls and texts and stick to it. It's a huge relief not to be chained to your obligations. And maybe that's a takeaway for year round, so that you no longer allow yourself to wake up at 3:30 a.m. panicked that you forgot a work thing or neglected your kid. I'm a huge fan of things like Boomerang for Gmail, so you can at least seem to not always be available.

    You also tap into and go 0-120 mph during your most productive hours, could you talk about that?

    I think we all have our own weird work quirks and something that I've struggled with is accepting my work style. So even during the holiday, I might get immersed in work, but then I'm able to enjoy the guests and gifts the rest of the time. Maybe the key is understanding the evolved too tuned in worker and workspace also means more time to shut down?

    Do you have any tips or advice for people on the pressure to change at the beginning of the year?

    Don’t do it! My first instinct is to tell you to stop being so hard on yourself. You’ve developed into the person you are by understanding your best qualities. Of course we all feel so much pressure to change and to want to become better, so I say take baby steps. Start with one small thing and build from there. Fon’t change everything, just the parts that are no longer working for you.

    Is there a place for spirituality in modern life?

    More than ever, yes there is an absolute need for tapping into spirituality in modern life. I think that as we become even more industrialized and technologically reliant, we have that huge gaping void that needs to be addressed. I wrote my book to allow people to have one short moment in their otherwise busy days to reflect simply on their inner being and how that core connects them to this crazy, messy world. I don’t think you have to believe in a deity or all-knowing being to be spiritual either. But there’s more to life than the next iPhone and sometimes it’s already inside you (and inside my book, which is Barnes & Noble exclusive). Some more about me and the book can be found here: ancientprayerbook.com

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    10 Career Tips From Marie Claire's Editor-in-Chief

    Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 2:36 PM [Event Recaps]
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    On Nov. 22, New York Women in Communications Foundation hosted their annual Student Communications Career Conference. The conference consisted of various panels pertaining to the communications field. I had the pleasure of attending three of those panels as well as a luncheon keynote given by Marie Claire’s editor-in-chief Anne Fulenwider.

    If you missed any of the panel recaps, you can read them here:

    PR, Advertising & Marketing

    Breaking Into Fashion & Beauty

    How to Build Your Personal Brand

    During the luncheon keynote, Fulenwider provided a top 10 list of things she has learned during her career. They are:

    1) Put in your time and do the hard work.

    2) You have to show up. It’s about creating your own luck. You need to show up and see what happens.

    3) You need to throw yourself into whatever you're doing and work hard. On the weekends, turn it off and do something you like.

    4) Work doesn’t feel like work when you enjoy what you're doing. You’re going to work for a long time, so don’t be bored.

    5) Seek new experiences. Do things to keep your curiosity going. Curiosity is the opposite of complacency. Complacency is the killer of good ideas.

    6) Remain useful in the most positive way.

    7) Make people notice you. You have to point out what you've accomplished. Your hard work deserves recognition. You need to be right and brave. The times I have been most bold are the times I have been the most successful.

    8) Stick with it. There are many variables in your life, so it’s crucial you hold onto something for yourself. Work can do this. Work is going to forge your life and expose you to new people and different lives.

    9) Work helps you with financial independence, which is empowering. The odds are you will live long and never know what will happen, and financial freedom can really help you.

    10) Do the things you're afraid off. Don’t ever let the reason for you not to do something be fear. You have to intellectually dismiss fear.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    How to Build Your Personal Brand

    Monday, December 8, 2014, 4:16 PM [Event Recaps]
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    On Nov. 22, New York Women in Communications Foundation hosted their annual Student Communications Career Conference. The conference consisted of various panels pertaining to the communications field. I had the pleasure of attending three of those panels. If you missed the last two panel recaps, you can read them here:

    PR, Advertisting and Marketing

    Breaking Into Fashion and Beauty

    The third panel was called Building Your Personal Brand. The panelists included:

    • Nicole Ryan (moderator), co-host of VH1's Morning Buzz and host of SiriusXM Morning Mash Up;
    • Amy Cao, curator of FiftyThree Inc. and creator and host of Stupidly Simple Snacks;
    • Kimmie Smith, founder of Accessory Expert;
    • Kris Ruby, president/founder of Ruby Media Group; and
    • Aly Walansky, freelance lifestyle journalist.

    Is attending events an important part of networking?

    Ryan: Networking has been one of my saving graces. It’s one of the main things that has helped me do what I do. My manager dragged me to a red carpet event that I didn’t want to go to and that’s how I landed the job at VH1, from the people I met there. If you have no one to go with you to an event, still go and meet people. It is so important.

    Walansky: There are about half a dozen media events every night and sometimes you don’t feel like going, because you're exhausted. I have definitely gotten a lot of assignments from people I have met at events.

    Smith: One of my favorite photographers that I love working with came from a referral from a really good friend. There is also an organic thing that happens when you aren’t actively networking.

    Cao: You don’t only meet people at parties or events, but you can also meet people on airplanes and trains. You strike up conversations and meet people who may be able to help you. I tell my team that you should always tell people what you want and aspire to. People might remember you for later -- even if they may not know of a current job opening. Don’t be afraid to express your wishes for yourself, because people do want to help you.

    Ruby: I think you have to walk through the fear when networking with people. You should also think about how you can be of service to that person. Ask that person questions about themselves rather than thinking what you can get out of it.

    What is the best professional advice you have ever been given? 

    Ryan: The first rule in radio is to be liked. Just be nice to everyone. Everyone thinks that when you are building something you have to be a jerk. You need to get people to like you, so they want to work with you.

    In radio they would have a girl on the show to just fill in that chair. When I first started doing the show, they were looking for a girl to do that, but I wanted to break and change that. I didn’t just want to be someone to laugh at the jokes, but I wanted to make the jokes. I wanted to be the one to come up with some great topics and stories. 

    Walansky: You don’t necessarily even have to attend an event, but if you see someone’s work that you like, follow them on Twitter. They may follow you back, and now that’s a connection you made.

    Smith: You need to check in with yourself and not inundate yourself with things that aren't about your personal brand. I personally like to do a little short-term and long-term goal to make sure I am where I am supposed to be. 

    Ruby: Turn every "no" into a "yes." When you work in PR, you deal with rejection all the time. You really need to make sure to push things forward. 

    Cao: Surround yourself with people who inspire you and make you want to do your job better. I rather hang out with people who inspire me and build relationships with them then spend a lot of a time with a lot of people who aren’t as inspiring.

    As women, has it been challenging doing what you’re doing?

    Walansky: I started my blog eight years ago when people didn’t even know what a blog was. Most people think that having a different schedule as a freelancer means being unemployed. It is really hard for some people to understand that you may work different hours, and it takes a while for people to respect what you’re doing. It is really a journey.

    Cao: I work in technology and startups, which is a mostly male-dominated world. There are many steps being taken by women within and outside that world to empower women to go into engineering and math. It is important for women to remember they are not alone, because we are all in it.

    Ruby: I work with many male corporate executives, and I feel pretty lucky that I have been treated as an equal. There will be things that are said that will make you feel uncomfortable and you may not like, but you really have to think about the situation. You really need to think about whether that person has an issue with you as a woman or are they just saying things in a weird way -- and can you look past it.

    What piece of advice would you give your younger, first starting out self?

    Walansky: I would have gone to networking events in college. When I started freelancing, I knew nothing and no one. 

    Ruby: I would say to be more understanding when you work with other people. For example, I work at a very fast pace and I expect everyone I work with to work at the same pace. I am realizing that this is not going to happen. You need to magnify someone’s strengths versus focusing on their weaknesses. If I could do anything differently, it would have been to take some more management classes.

    Smith: I definitely would have done internships. I didn’t do any when I was college.

    Cao: Get as much as work experience as you can. When I hire people now, there is a big difference between those that have work experience and those that don't. I would always pick the person that has that work and internship experience and has dealt with different personalities in the office, etc.

    What recommendations do you have for prospective employees?

    Ryan: For us, it is important to have a person come in and be a self-starter. We want you to come in with ideas. It is also important to be creative and think outside-the-box.

    Make yourself invaluable. Don’t ever put yourself in a position where someone can do your job better than you. This is why I never like anyone filling in for me, because you want to be the only one that can do that job and do it the best. You also want your boss to feel the same way. There are no problems, but there are only solutions.

    Walansky: I travel a lot, so if I am going to hire interns to go to events for me when I am not in town, they may not be able to text me and will need to handle things themselves. They have to act in a way that represents me, as well as bring back the content that they need to write about it.

    Ruby: Keeping up with the pace of the industry is very important. Many interns are looking for an internship program to be very structured the way school is, but in the real world it is anything but that. You need to make that up on your own, think about where you can add value and bring that to the company. 

    Smith: Crunch time is the most important thing to me, because when things go crazy I need the person to think of how we can fix things and make everything look seamless. If someone freaks out during crunch time and it's debilitating the process, that to me is so glaring, because you have one shot.

    Cao: It is important to have a can-do attitude and be able to turn those “nos” into “yeses.” Not everything is going to go smoothly, but if you can make it smooth for your boss, you are going to be invaluable. This is when you will be rewarded.

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