PerkettPR Turns 15 – Thank You!

ppr_15_anniversaryIt’s hard to believe that this month, PerkettPR has been in business for 15 years! I started the agency with a vision to deliver a unique and valuable experience for companies seeking a better marketing and PR partner. Although we started with a focus on VC-funded startups, we have expanded our expertise over those years to include servicing some great public companies as well – Fleetmatics, Constant Contact, WebEx, Time Warner Telecom, Juniper Networks and many more. We continue to work with startups that need creative, effective and amazing market launches – and to build crediblity, awareness and engagement for more established companies around the world in the tech, higher education, health care and consumer lifestyle industries.

Like any 15-year-old, we’ve got the energy and excitement to continue with unbridled enthusiasm and a belief that we’re unstoppable. Unlike most 15-year-olds, we know who we are, what we want to be and where we’re going. That’s not only a nice feeling, but a great place to be in order to deliver tremendous value to our clientele. We don’t need to be the biggest, but we do strive to be the best. We don’t need to be the most popular, but rather we’re grateful for the network we do have. (We take great care to support those who support us.) Our corporate vision is to be the most innovative, creative and effective communications partner that our clients have ever worked with.

Thank you to everyone who has believed in that vision – especially clients who have hired us repeatedly over the last decade and a half. To have folks move on to other companies and hire us over and over again is always the best testament to our ability to deliver ROI. I’d like to specifically thank people like Karen Leavitt, John Burnham, Donna Parent, Greg Shenk, Mark Pascarella, Mike Doyle and Jonathan Tang – clients who have not only hired us more than once, but recommended us to others. Thank you to so many industry friends like Jon Swartz, Michael Krigsman, Morris Porter, Stephen Hultquist, Ann Handley, Christen Rice Gentile, Marie Domingo, Mike Pratt, Stephen Dill, Jeremiah Owyang, Rick Faulk, John Jantsch, Joel Libava, Terry Frechette, Robert Scoble, Tyson Goodridge, Sarah Austin, Chris Selland, Aaron Strout, Karen DeWolfe, Dayna Verstegen, Diane Hessan, Kate Brodock, George Hulme, Russell Mix, Jennifer Leggio, Don Dodge, Ramon Ray, Mitch Wagner, Tory Johnson, Michael Arrington, Rachel Happe, Laura Lake and others who have worked with us in various ways over the years – whether writing with or about us, inspiring us through engagement, sharing their opinions on our clients or our campaigns, serving as pseudo mentors and advisors, or simply speaking up on our behalf during times when we could not. Your support – subtle or blatant – has helped us to continue to work with great people and companies, and to learn and grow in a myriad of ways.

There are so many other people – family, friends and of course, current and former employees, even industry “frenemies” – who I am eternally grateful to for helping us reach this 15th year. I have learned from each of you – both good and hard lessons – and I am grateful for such a strong network of intelligent people to learn from every day. I am also very blessed to have such a great group of employees – many of whom have stayed with PerkettPR for more than half of its life! And anyone one who knows the typical retention rate of an agency, knows why that’s such an amazing attribute.

Speaking of our employees, a few of them thought it would be funny to celebrate 15 years by sharing awkward teenage photos of us at that age. Click here to Like us on Facebook and see them – and to find out “What we know now that we wish we had known then.”

Here’s to another 15! Thank you!

Three tips for handling email overload

There may be some debate over whether or not email is dead, but take one look at your email inbox each morning, and I bet you’ll beg to differ.

As Peter Bregman reported in his recent Harvard Business Review blog, this affair with email is starting to really affect us in negative ways. According to an article he cited from USA Today, the number of lawsuits filed by employees claiming unfair overtime is up 32 percent since 2008. What’s to blame, in large part, for this increase? Email. And when you factor in devices such as smartphones, which we have with us – and neurotically check – at all times, there’s no denying that it’s quietly infiltrated our personal lives.

His advice for coping? Assign designated times to “bulk-process” emails and set designated non-email times, resisting the urge to constantly check email during these off-email hours.

Now, before we all balk and say that this is completely unrealistic, especially in a service industry such as PR where we’re expected to be on top of breaking news and at the beck and call of clients ‘round the clock – I believe that his is an argument worth hearing. We have to remember that the ability to be available and respond swiftly to inquiries is only one facet of the value that we’re able to provide as PR professionals. Public relations is more than managing the flow of information between an organization and its publics; our focus on building important relationships and relaying vital information back to an organization for analysis and action can have real, measurable impact on the achievement of strategic organizational goals. And this often takes time, focus and uninterrupted thinking.

Consider this, for example: Research in the UK revealed that employees working on a computer typically switched applications to view their emails as many as 30 or 40 times an hour, for anything from a few seconds to a minute. Dr. Karen Renaud, who carried out the study, said quite simply that email has gotten out of hand:

“Email harries you,” she said in an article in the UK’s Daily Mail. “You want to know what’s in there, especially if it’s from a family member or friends, or your boss, so you break off what you are doing to read the email. The problem is that when you go back to what you were doing, you’ve lost your chain of thought and, of course, you are less productive. People’s brains get tired from breaking off from something every few minutes to check emails. The more distracted you are by distractions, including email, then you are going to be more tired and less productive.”

This brings us back to Bregman’s point. He’s not suggesting that we throw the baby out with the bath water and abandon all established email etiquette when it comes to keeping up with the daily workflow. Rather, he’s proposing that we merely try to be more mindful about it. For example, when you set up designated intervals to handle emails, you’ll be working for that express purpose, effectively making you more focused and efficient on the task at hand. We have our heads down during these email-only times, and waste less time transitioning from one activity to another in a blur of information.

The hardest part is resisting the urge to check…and check…and check…which has likely become more of a reflex than a deliberate action. So until you can resist temptation and set up some real boundaries between you, your inbox and your daily to-do list, here are a few ideas to help make the detachment process a little less painful:

1. Stop it at the source. Whenever possible, try to reduce the amount of junk email that enters your inbox on a daily basis. Set up a spam filter, unsubscribe from unnecessary email newsletters and turn off automatic notifications.

2. Realize that hoarding won’t help you. Many of us like to let emails linger in our inbox, keeping them in digital limbo until we decide exactly what do to with them. It’s a matter of personal preference, but if you find that this system just isn’t working for you, try a more aggressive approach with filing and deleting.

3. Think before you hit send. And unless it requires a direct response, don’t do it. Tim Ferris spoke with blogger Robert Scoble about how he stays on top of tens of thousands of emails, revealing that “replying to more people more often — the goal of most people — actually creates more work instead of cutting it down.”

What are your favorite tips for cutting down on email chaos? Please share with us in the comments below!

PerkettPR Interviews Robert “Scobleizer” Scoble, Part II: Good PR, Bad PR, Great Leaders and More

We continue our interview with Robert Scoble, “The Scobleizer,” as he gets into some interesting PR and business topics. Scoble tells us how Google helps him deal with PR executives, what makes a good PR pitch, what PR emails will get trashed and what makes a PR person smart in his eyes. He also shared his opinion on what makes a great leader, what his “non-techie” pastimes are (hint: take him to a sushi spot!) and if he ever, ever unplugs. Be sure to check out Part I of this interview if you missed it.

 

 

 

NOTE: We’re reviving our interview series of influencers, media and entrepreneurs across industries such as tech, fashion and healthcare. If you have an interesting subject for us to consider, please email blog [at] perkettpr [dot] com!

PerkettPR Interviews Robert “Scobleizer” Scoble, Part 1: tech, blogging, social media & more

In PR, it’s important to pay attention. Paying attention means listening, reading and following – especially when it comes to industry innovators. One of the biggest tech influencers we follow is Robert Scoble, otherwise known as “Scobleizer.”

While Robert now has a corporate job as a video blogger for Rackspace – where he is building a community for people fanatical about the Internet called building43, he has long been a technical evangelist. Also a published author of Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers, with Shel Israel, Scoble is probably best known for his blog, Scobleizer, which came to prominence during his tenure as a technical evangelist at Microsoft and is now unarguably one of the top tech blogs around. Scoble also used to work for Fast Company as a video blogger, where he learned his fair share of dealing with PR people.

PerkettPR sat down with Scoble recently and asked his opinion on everything from how kids influence his perspective to what his favorite sites are (hint: tweet, tweet) and how he uses them, to what he wanted to be when he grew up. Here, in Part I of our two-part series, you get to know a little bit about how he got started (there were only about 200 blogs around when he did!).

 

 

 

Persuasive Picks for the week of 06/14/2010

Peter Himler recaps the opinion that traditional Search Engine Optimization is dying – as proclaimed by Gary Vaynerchuk during his speaking session at last week’s Internet Week in NYC. The post also provides opposing points of view from Jeff Jarvis and Lee Odden.

You Have To Have Thin Skin

It’s common to hear that putting yourself (or your brand) out there in the social media space requires a thick skin. Comments and opinions won’t always be in-line with your beliefs or mission, and your response to those needs to be timely, yet thoughtful. This post from Mitch Joel explores the idea of wearing a “thin skin” instead. I like his angle.

Five Ways to Keep Current in Public Relations News & Trends
This post from Barbara B. Nixon on her Public Relations Matters blog provides PR students and practitioners with five simple ways to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to keeping up with the fast pace of the PR world.

Intuit Fails Big Time to Communicate During Service Outage
B2B Marcom Writer, Diana Huff recaps Intuit’s bad decision to stay silent during their recent service outage this week, only to post an apology and an explanation for the downtime on their site after systems came back up about 24 hours later.

Robert Scoble on Being a Spokesperson and a Reporter
Andy Plesser from Beet.TV shares this candid interview with Robert Scoble that explores the “issues facing companies who are seeking to use Web video to enhance their image.” Stay tuned for PerkettPR’s own multi-part video interview with Robert hitting our blog next week.

 

 

Image Credit: Heather Hoesly