5 Ways NYC Inspires Writers, Marketers, PR Pros

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Rose sculpture and city reflection, MoMA

By Karen Hendricks

What does the phrase “recharging my batteries” mean to you? I’d describe it as:

  • Needing a boost of energy; a fresh perspective
  • Seeking a change of scenery; a change of pace
  • Feeling the need to “get out of a rut”
  • Breaking free of schedules, calendars, or commitments
  • De-stressing

Visiting New York City always always recharges my batteries and leaves me energized, ready to tackle projects anew. During a recent visit to the Big Apple, I noted the top 5 ways that I believe NYC inspires those of us in the creative fields of writing, marketing or public relations: Continue reading

The Sky’s the Limit…

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Every client has a story to tell, a goal to reach. We believe every public relations story and marketing goal should be approached with a “sky’s the limit” style.

That positive inspiration carries over to the Hendricks Communications’ blog, below. Offering inspiring tips, news and reflections on writing, marketing, social media and much more, join us in the conversations below!

Giving Back: The Joys of Pro Bono Work

Photo Credit: Master Isolated Images at freedigitalphotos.net

Photo Credit: Master Isolated Images at freedigitalphotos.net

By Karen Hendricks

During the holiday season, I think there’s a natural tendency to evaluate all forms of giving, including the gifts you can share with pro bono clients.  Many clients in need of pro bono services have profound PR or marketing needs with a driving sense of mission or cause, and I’ve found that working with such clients can deliver invaluable benefits.  There is definitely a rewarding satisfaction, sometime life-changing, when a successful campaign awakens the public to their causes.

Additional benefits, beyond the feel-good, spiritual satisfaction, include:

  • Working with pro bono clients, many of which are non-profits, puts you in touch with new community contacts.  They are often community leaders, and excellent word-of-mouth recommendations for additional business may come your way as a result.
  • Your name and/or business name becomes affiliated with a worthwhile cause within the community and elevates your presence.
  • Working with pro bono clients, many of which do not have large amounts of money for PR and marketing campaigns (you’re working for them pro bono after all) stretches your talents in new, innovative ways.  Seeking free or low-cost services for them, or establishing cost-savings partnerships, helps you flex your creative muscles.
  • You may also be able to “play” with marketing tools that you normally don’t touch during your regular business days.  You may enjoy the creative freedom of developing a blog/website for a pro bono client, for example, and therefore develop new skill sets.
  • There are also tax deductible benefits!

Of course, sharing your talents and gifts are one thing; running a business is another.  Your pro bono work needs to mesh with your (paid) client workload.  Here are a few tips to avoiding pitfalls:

  • While it’s common business practice to make sure every client feels as if they are your only client, your pro bono clients sometimes need to know there are limits to your generosity.  Set defined limits, whether in hours per week or meetings per month, etc.
  • Create PR and marketing goals for your pro bono clients just as you would for paying clients.  This will help you define expectations and specific tasks which you will perform.
  • Evaluate your pro bono work on a regular basis such as annually.  Are you still enjoying the work?  Does the organization still need you?  Is there another organization with which you’d rather be donating your time and expertise?

I’ve had the pleasure of donating my time to several organizations through the years.  The one that I’ve worked for the longest has been my church, one of the largest congregations in Gettysburg, which means there is always something happening!  I enjoy the challenge of using my public relations and marketing skills to deliver Christian messages.  Personally, I have enjoyed getting to know partners throughout the community such as the heads of area non-profits who gathered recently for my publicity shot.  They were the recipients of nearly $50,000 in combined donations from our church—what an amazing message to share with the community.  I’ve also had the privilege of visiting with the talented ladies of our church quilting bee, as they worked on their 700th quilt to be donated to victims of world disasters.  It was a joy to see more than 30 youth gathered on the steps of our church for a publicity photo, as they prepared for a mission trip to New Orleans. There are many additional memorable “stories” that I treasure.

I am also thrilled to begin a new pro bono endeavor:  Handling PR duties as a board member with the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity.  Habitat’s vision, “a world where everyone has a decent place to live” is a mission with which I strongly identify.  I look forward to rolling up my sleeves, but also enjoying getting to know a dynamic set of leaders and publicizing the many positive stories they are sure to generate in 2013.

During this holiday season, I encourage you to consider “giving” in a new light:  Giving of your talents and skills to make a difference in your community.

“Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow.  The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”  -Abraham Lincoln

4 PR Lessons from “the Last Day of School”

By Karen Hendricks

Early June never fails to bring a contrasting mixture of sweet, as well as bittersweet, days.  My children are celebrating every moment that brings then closer to the last day of school.  As a Mom, I find myself celebrating as well, but also savoring those fleeting final milestones (i.e. final spring concert, last soccer game, etc.).

I think there are four basic, fun and useful lessons that can be learned, by looking at the public relations, marketing or writing world through a “last day of school” lens.

1.  Take time to celebrate.

Think back upon your childhood and try to remember that euphoric “last day of school,” when the entire summer beckoned to you, filled with the promise of sun-drenched adventures.   Pure bliss.  How often do you take the time to truly celebrate marketing or PR milestones, or look forward to new ones, with a similar spirit?  So often, we’re on to the next writing assignment, or caught up in the building blocks of a marketing campaign. This is the perfect time of year to be in touch with your “inner child” and allow yourself to celebrate your accomplishments.  Be reinvigorated by looking forward to new challenges.

2.  Reflect on how far you’ve come.

Depending on the age(s) of your children, they may or may not be in a reflecting mood at the end of the school year.  My children accumulate school papers, projects and other paraphernalia in large baskets throughout the school year.  At some point early in the summer season, they each go through his/her basket, deciding which items are truly worth saving, incorporating into scrapbooks, or tossing.  But it’s always a great exercise that results in several exclamations of “Wow, I forgot about this project,” or “Can you believe algebra (or fill in the blank) used to be hard for me?”  So too, should we as writers, marketing and PR practitioners, evaluate our work periodically and take stock of where we’ve been, noting which projects caused us angst but allowed us to grow.

3.  Are your goals within sight?

As the school year winds down, my children are simultaneously planning next year’s schedules, making sure they’re meeting school and graduation requirements, being mindful of their goals.  During this season of final endings and new beginnings, it’s the perfect time to evaluate our clients, our work and our future goals.  Are you accomplishing everything you set out to do?  If not, make adjustments that allow you to stay in focus and on track.

3.  Remember that summer is a season of growth.

I treasure summers for the time they allow me to spend with my children, so I’m not a fan of year-round school, however I do agree with the experts that summer presents some of the best opportunities for learning.  Studies show that children are healthier during the summer season, growing more during this season than any other–physically, emotionally and mentally.  We too, as writers, marketers and PR practitioners, should tap into the unbridled, wide-open skies of summer to find inspiration and new approaches to our projects (I was trying to avoid the cliché “think outside the box” here!).  Allow summer’s green horizons, blue skies and golden sunshine to work its magic on you.