Podcast: Mac Prichard: Job Seeking During COVID-19

Podcast: Mac Prichard: Job Seeking During COVID-19

Job Seeking During COVID-19

It may not be the ideal time to look for a new job, but you may not have a choice. In this episode of the PR Talk podcast, we talk with the host of Find Your Dream Job Podcast Mac Prichard.

Are there even any jobs out there?

We went from record low unemployment to great depression levels almost overnight. However, some employers are still hiring. Mac points out that while he used to have 200 jobs in his weekly Mac’s List email, he now still has 75 or so. It is a big drop, but not zero.

 

So, what do you do?

The basics matter more than ever. You need to establish a job seeking goal and have a plan. Mac says that using a “spray and pray” approach is even less likely to land you the job you want (or even land you a job at all as that position you randomly applied for is someone else’s dream job and they have put in the effort).

Many positions are never even published and even if they are, they’re likely filled through a referral or personal connection. You need to continue (or start) building relationships via informational interviews and virtual networking.

 

How to network virtually 

Amy asked Mac for some tips to be a successful virtual networker. His key points included:

  • Use the networking tools you always have including the phone, email and social media.
  • Webinars can also be a good virtual networking tool. Connect via LinkedIn with the presenter ahead of time and come with questions to engage and set yourself apart from the crowd.
  • Join professional groups and attend virtual happy hours. Just like an in-person meet-up or happy hour, the more you engage, the more value you will get.

 

The furloughed worker side-hustle

When the conversation reached how to maximize periods of furlough, Mac said furloughs might present ideal times to start side-hustles. You can get a feel for if it will be a good move for your future career or full-time gig. In fact, Mac started his agency as a side-project.

 

A couple of final tips

Don’t forget to take the time to enjoy the things that are good in your life. Even if you need to get a new job now, Mac suggests limiting yourself to 35 hours per week of active job seeking. Otherwise, you will burn out and you need to pace yourself.

Mac left us with a great work-from-home tip. If you are fortunate enough to have a dedicated workspace, shut the door when you are not in there to conserve a sense of balance. If you don’t have a separate space, put your laptop in a drawer at the end of the day or over the weekend. Don’t just work non-stop so the days all blend together. You still need to strive for some work-life balance.

About the guest: Mac Prichard

Mac Prichard is the founder and president of Prichard Communications, which was founded in 2007. He has a master’s degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Iowa. His career experience includes working for both Earl Blumenauer and John Kitzhaber and founding a second company called Mac’s List.

Connect and follow Mac’s List on social media:

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

What you need to start a podcast

What you need to start a podcast

Technical Elements

You don’t need a lot to get started podcasting, but there are a few crucial technical elements including:

Hosting (where you drive people and the actual hosting of the podcast files

How to host in general (where will it live)

    • On your website or stand-alone (create a site just for the podcast, e.g. prtalk.com)
    • Embed or host on-site (most people will embed a player, maybe website development firm will host the actual audio files themselves)
    • Can just use where you host the podcast files, but that is not a good idea (building their value/authority, not yours)
      • Quick aside – same goes for blogging. Do not use blogger or medium or LinkedIn as you primary or only blog host.

We embed on our site – see our podcast page

    • Have a section with a description of the podcast and a player, plus pulls all the blog post episodes.
    • Podcast blog posts are also part of our blog

Host + syndication via RSS

Equipment

Microphone(s)

Headphones

    • Check your levels and not record feedback

PRO TIP – if you have guests, ask them to use a usb microphone and headphones

Software

Audacity (free audio editing software)

    • find your perfect (or almost perfect) settings for every episode

Zencastr (free VoiP podcast recording)

    • Send your guest a link, record your interview, both audio tracks are saved to cloud (DropBox, etc.)
    • Records on separate tracks to you can edit the audio (the voice levels at the very least)

Want to add video?

Zoom

    • Adding video takes your podcast to another level
    • Edit your settings to record two audio tracks so you can edit for your podcast

Video editing software

    • Likely already have one on your computer, we only trim video, no other editing

Check-list for each podcast episode

Each podcast episode requires some specific elements. Some elements may not apply depending on the format of your show, how produced it is and if you have guests and/or sponsors.

Each Episode (some only apply if you have guests):

    • General Intro – this tells the listener what the podcast is about (same every time)
    • Intro Music – use original music, rights-free or purchase rights (with snippets, same every time)
    • Custom Intro – this tells the listener what the episode is about (can just add to the beginning of the podcast, or create custom after the interview if you have a guest)
    • Episode content
    • Optional break(s) during the episode for sponsor read or CTA
    • Outro Music – use original music, rights-free or purchase rights (with snippets, same every time)
    • Sponsor Read (could be within outro and/or intro too)
    • Outro Validation – third party accreditation (same every time)
    • Outro CTA – subscribe, rate & review, share, etc.
    • Outro Music (same every time)
    • Write up – give listeners and Google somewhere to “read” about your episode. There are several options including:
      • Full blog post – write a short or long summary of your podcast episode. Use this in your portion of the episode to drive people to your website
      • Transcript – a full edited transcript or an AI generated transcript. Give Google text to index.
    • Audiogram – you can create an audiogram of a portion or all of each episode to share &/or use as a video for YouTube

Thoughts on timing and outsources (or using other internal resources)

Do you need a Podcast Editor?

An audio editor helps us with our time and doing a few things faster than what we can do internally. We use Nathan Isaacs, whom we’ve worked with for years, but there are also other companies (e.g. Podfly) that can help you put the podcasts together and also put a show music together for you. We originally didn’t have to use that type of company as I had an AE that was musically inclined and he put our beginning song together. 

 

How much time does it take?

The time it takes is actually a little misleading. You think it should be just the time of the podcast interview, plus just a little more, but it just isn’t. 

Here is a rough breakdown for one PR Talk episode:

Scheduling people & researching who to ask. This has gotten easier with time. We have found that we sort of go off into a theme with topical things, sometimes related to a conference or a thing that’s going on in the industry. Recently we have gotten months of content scheduled and recorded in just a month? One tip is to get some “in the bank” in case you run out of steam/allow for holidays. Save all initial pitches and re-use but customize per target. 

    • 2-5 hours per quarter? Scheduling people is harder than it appears/annoying. 
      • It is advisable to have at least three episodes ready to go at “launch,” that way when someone visits your podcast page, they see more than one episode. It will also help with getting “new” exposure on Apple iTunes.

Research before the interview (after they say yes). 30 mins tops as I just want it to be natural and not over-prepped. I hate over-prepping and I have found that the interview where I over-prepped my subject (and did a pre-call) was not natural at all. However, your topic is more controversial so your interviewees may need this to calm their nerves. In that case, add an extra 30 mins. 

    • 30 mins to one hour per interview 

Conducting the interview. With Zencastr, it’s just easier and I am not wielding a bunch of equipment around and not needing to drive to and from. So, one hour tops with this system as the interview just downloads right into Dropbox and I don’t even need to alert my editor to its occurrence. For in-person interviews, it is fun to see them in person but it always adds so much more time as there is a lot of chatting before and after the interview and they also try to make extra plans with you. 

    • 1 hour per interview 

Editing the interview. This typically takes 1.5 hours on each podcast. However, there can be some additional coordination if you have a “diva” guest who asks you to take something out (or if they happen to misspeak and say something wrong). Try to set expectations low that you don’t take out the “umms” as it is not natural and you want it to sound organic. We do not let the guests listen to the podcast before it is live. 

    • Pay for help. No time on your part. 
    • 1-2 hours per episode

Editing exception. However if they say something they are really worried about (incorrect/embarrassing), we have to honor them by taking it out, and then you should go back and listen to ensure the editor actually got it out before releasing. 

    • Probably no more than 30 mins? But you can do these things while you are doing other things, such as driving, so it is not too much lost time. 

Blog post (BP) writing. Up to 3-5 hours as a writer needs to listen to it before/during writing. For us this is a very important part of the podcast and we typically do more than a quick recap or transcription of the interview (although that is an option).

    • 3-5 hours

Social Media. We share these on social media an average of three times with different messaging each time.

    • 1 hour (to be safe)

Other. Some people also create short video snippets for their episodes and/or make a “video” for YouTube (I put “video” in quotes because we are not suggesting video interviews, but posting as a video with a still image). The short snippets can be easy for your editor to make while doing the video, I would estimate .5-1 hour extra. 

    • 1/2 to 1 hour

TOTAL TIME = 7.5 – 10.5  hrs / podcast

Note that about half of the time is for the blog post. Some people/organizations do not write a post for each episode. We think this is a huge missed opportunity.

Also, depending on the length of your episodes, these estimates can vary significantly. E.g. an hour-long interview takes 4 times longer to listen to and at least twice as long to write the blog post that a 15-20 min interview.

The Ins and Outs of Podcasting presentations to PRSA Oregon

This podcasting presentation includes many podcasting stats and demographics in addition to the “hows” and “whys” of podcasting:

Podcast: Lauren Reed: Reed Public Relations

Podcast: Lauren Reed: Reed Public Relations

How a Consumer-facing PR Agency Pivoted During Coronavirus

PR teams are at an advantage right now, putting our delicate messaging and story-telling skills to use. 

You may not think that now is the best time for a small PR agency to change direction, but that is exactly what REED Public Relations had to do. As stay home orders were given, so were requests to pause or cancel campaigns at Lauren’s firm. So in response, Lauren set up a free COVID-19 Hotline to help. In turn, even though her new office sits vacant, her firm had its best April ever.

Free PR Hotline

Did you read the New York Times article calling out a new PR pro for sending an inappropriate pitch? In addition to the chastising of one PR pro, the author also gave kudos to Lauren’s PR hotline.

The hotline was part of a pivot from the agency to provide value during a tough time. In addition to answering lots of PR related questions, hotline callers get a free consultation and mini-marketing plan.

As the country was entering the pandemic Lauren asked herself what industry could her firm really help? Based on their connections, experience and a huge need, she landed on senior living. By providing value from the hotline and free consultation, they are now helping several senior living facilities.

 

What should we be pitching right now?

Lauren says that now is not the time for your typical PR campaign. It is not the time for the hard sell, but that we should simply be available as a resource. Consumer accounts need to communicate how they are open for business and how they’ll keep everyone healthy. Pointing out that differentiating and branding doesn’t matter right now, the only thing that people want to know is how you are going to safely do business with them.

 

She tells PR pros that we can’t ignore the pandemic, but she also warns us not to over-capitalize through any pitching we might do that is tied to COVID-19. She adds that PR is actually positioned perfectly during times of crisis as we are used to taking delicate messaging and telling a storyputting us at an advantage.

Lauren ends her interview with her top discovery from the past couple of months:

“I knew I had a good team, a decent team…I didn’t know I had an all-star team until now.”

About the guest: Lauren Reed

Lauren Reed is the president and founder of Reed Public Relations in Nashville, TN. She is a professional with a passion for delivering top-notch results. Experienced creating and directing award-winning public relations campaigns that build and protect brands. Lauren is a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Women Presidents’ Organization, president of PRSA Nashville and recipient of the PRSA Nashville 2011 Mercury Award, which recognizes the market’s top young PR professional.

Connect and follow Lauren and Reed PR on social media:

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

Who Needs PR Distribution Services?

Who Needs PR Distribution Services?

Wow, I started the draft for this post four years ago and probably thought about writing it a few years before that…

Maybe I just keep thinking that the question will go away…but it hasn’t.

It amazes me that I still get asked so often about press release distribution. Sometimes that’s refreshing because prospects want to be certain that we are not just writing a worthless press release and putting it on “the wire.” But at the same time it’s sad because obviously that is all some firms seem to do. So, I am finishing this post today, so I can just send them all a link to bust the PR distribution myths.

 

Should you pay for PR distribution?

The simple answer is NO!

I guess there are a few instances that it makes sense (see those below). But I am going to start with the myths around PR distribution and bust em’.

 

PR Distribution Myth Buster

 

1. Using distribution will get my press release on a bunch of media websites and create a bunch of links and links are good for SEO.

Yes, media links are good for SEO. But press releases sent via PR Distribution services do not get you real media links.

It does not help SEO, it hasn’t for a long time (in fact I think the first time I thought about writing this post was while attending SMX Advanced in 2013?). According to Google, PR Distribution Services do not provide “real” links.

Here’s an example

**note: this is a completely random example, I went to PRWeb’s news section and went to the 100th page of releases to get a release that has been “distributed” for a couple of weeks.**

Ovation Hair is (was) doing a Valentine’s Day promotion. Part (hopefully not all) of their promotion includes a press release about it via PRWeb. I can’t say it is a very good press release, but they paid for distribution so at the very least it will go to lots of “media” websites and “journalists” right?

Let’s take a look at the Google SERP for the title of the release (we will do an exact match search to see who picked it up verbatim):

Google SERP PR Distribution

Ok, 157 results, that’s not bad, maybe it is worth it. Let’s analyze a few of the top results:

  1. Markets Insider – repost of the press release without links on a subdomain. High authority site, even the subdomain, but no links and you can’t find it on a site search.
  2. Vector News – repost of part of the press release without links on an irrelevant European site.
  3. News Break – seems good, it is a snippet of the press release that was posted on Houston Chronicle. That a real media news site, this seems promising…
    • Let’s analyze this one as it is a classic distribution hit. Do a site search on Chron.com for “Ovation Hair” and that hit should come up, right? Nope sorry, the only result is for an Ovations Hair Studio from 2008. Even though it looks like it is on Chron.com, it really isn’t and no one will find it.
  4. Christabelles Closet – huh? this doesn’t make sense…ahh, I see this site likes to repost Cision/PRWeb press releases. The Hair Ovation release isn’t even listed any longer.

I could go on…none of these are media hits. So let’s go search in Google News to see if we can find some real stories about it:

Google News SERP PR Distribution

No luck, but a story wouldn’t use the exact title of the press release right, so let’s change the Google News search to “Ovation Hair” Valentine’s Day:

Nope. I don’t think that is a story about their Valentine’s Day promotion.

Here is what you do get…you may get a bunch of nofollow links on subdomains that have zero value. The links may show up on Google if you search for the topic of the press release (which no one but you would do), but that “story” that shows up in Google, it won’t even show up on a site search on the website it appears to be on because it is most likely on a subdomain (and remember, not only does Google show results based on the value of the page not the domain (pages rank for keywords, not sites), but subdomains are valued separately as well).

 

2. PRWeb (or Newswire, BusinessWire, etc.) will get my press release in front of 10,000 journalists.

It may go to 10,000 “journalist” emails or 10,000 junk folders or 10,000 deleted email spam graveyards. It is basically seen as spam and will be ignored by 99.9% of those journalists. They don’t want to see your mass press release.

Ok, but I only need like a .2% conversion rate and if I send a press release to 10,000 people, I’ll get 20 stories.

    • Nope, you are way more likely to get no stories and you may even annoy that reporter for when you have a real story for them.

3. Writing a press release is PR, so we have to send it somewhere

PR is so much more than writing and sending a press release (here’s a press release template if you need help), but the act of organizing your information into a good press release can really help flush out the story or media hook. If your marketing department or agency partner is only writing and distributing press releases (or even if this is one of the major strategies) you are doing it wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying you should never write a press release. Press Releases are not PR on their own, but they certainly still have a purpose in some situations. I am saying that PR distribution is not a PR strategy and you should think hard about what you are accomplishing by doing it. There is a time and a place to use a press release, listen to When to Use a Press Release on PR Talk for more on this.

 

You said there are a few instances when you should use distribution?

90% (or probably more like 99% for most people/companies) of the time you DO NOT NEED TO PUT YOUR PRESS RELEASE ON “THE WIRE.” But there are a select few instances that using distribution could be a good tool. Here they are:

You are required to make the news public for SEC (or other entity) requirements. Yep, this is a thing although a spammy press release distribution to a large list via Cision will do the job as well and you only have to pay the person/agency to do it (if you have a list and/or subscription) and not the fee.

You have really BIG news that may actually get picked up. This one is kind of tough because if your news is big enough you shouldn’t need PR distribution…but it may work if the news is big enough…catch 22

Your client or boss or whoever thinks that a bunch of links that look like they are from real media sites are important. **note that this is sarcasm. if this is your reasoning you should be fired.

You have partners that expect you to put it on BusinessWire (e.g. investors, shareholders, etc.). I get that we can’t unteach years of putting it on the wire in one blog post. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

 

PR Distribution Vendors Compared

The other question I get is if you need to use distribution which one should I use? Paid or free?…and like most things in life, it depends. So, if you must use distribution here is a quick cheat sheet of the major “service providers:”

Paid Services

 

Cost: Min $825 for National Distribution (plus setup fees)

Owned by major PR services company Cision PR Newswire is arguably the best-known distribution service. PRNewswire has national ($825+), regional ($475+) and statewide ($355+) pricing. Specific targets (e.g. multicultural, Native American, African American, Hispanic markets, etc.) can be added.

Cost: Starts at $250-$675 (plus setup fees)

Similar to PRNewswire in that you can target specific Cities/Metros ($210+), States ($225+), Regional ($250+) and Nationwide ($675). As well as Global ($3,725+) and specific regions such as North America, Latin America and Asia-Pacific.

Cost: Starts at $99

Also owned by Cision, PRWeb touts getting your press release on search engines (basic), plus media partner websites (standard at $189), to influencers (advanced at $289) and via Twitter and blog networks (premium at $389).

Cost: Starts at $135

Similar to PRWeb, it provides “distribution” at a lower cost than PRNewswire and Business Wire.

Free Services

 

Free to search engines, discounted to news website and journalists

With a free account, you may distribute press releases and submit job postings. There are also paid packages with monthly and per press release pricing.

“Celebrating over ten years (2005-2015) serving the news distribution market.” It’s 2020…not sure I’d have much faith in this one?

Free version that is live for 90 days on Online PR Media…

 

Ask PR people if they get stories picked up from using PR distribution and your likely answer is an emphatic “NO,” or maybe a more subtle “I doubt it, but you never know.” So why are they still in business?

Podcast: Work/Life Balance

Podcast: Work/Life Balance

Work/Life Balance

Work/life balance is a popular topic for all industries and job-types. Amy and Mike talk about how they strive to strike the right ratio and provide tips for listeners on the PR Talk Podcast.

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

Podcast: PR Tools

Podcast: PR Tools

PR Tools

If you are like me and you hear the term tools, you start thinking about software or applications that make your job easier. Or, maybe you think about the more classic tools of a carpenter such as a hammer, measuring tape and architectural designs? Others may think of humans most important tool, the mind. 

In this episode of PR Talk, Amy shares her view that the most important PR Tool is not the mind, relationships, a press release or even her favorite, the telephone. She insists that the most important PR tool is instinct.

Other PR tools that help you do your job include:

  • The Press Release

 

  • The Press Pitch
    • Editorial Calendars
    • Contributed Articles & Ghostwriting
    • Media Exclusives

 

  • Additional (maybe even more important) tools
    • Photos & Videos
    • Media Database/Media List/Relationships
    • Press Kits & Virtual Press Rooms
    • Media Drops
    • Email
    • Snail Mail
    • The Telephone

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.