What is a press kit anyway?

Why a press kit?

So you’ve worked with a fantastic web developer, and you’ve left no stone unturned on your website. Every question anyone could ever ask, and every need they could ever have, you have anticipated and relegated to the appropriate tab. After all, you know your website is your hardest working sales associate. But what if it’s not an existing or potential client perusing your website? What if the person behind the glowing screen is a journalist looking for company details so they can write a bang-up article about your market influence? Will they easily find the info they need to meet their deadline? Maybe not.

What exactly is a press kit?

While the elements that make up the kit can vary, the gist remains the same. The press kit (also referred to as a “media kit”) is a compilation of documents and assets journalists can easily find and navigate to give them the essentials about your organization. Journalists are BUSY; they do not have the time to click around your beautiful website like your prospects might. In fact, according to Forbes, “During any given day, a journalist will sort through over 200 emailed pitches while working on multiple deadlines and simultaneous stories.” They’ll need the facts (and photos) in one place to help them tell your story.

A press kit can be a physical kit that you might decide to take to trade shows or even mail to key journalists and influencers, or it can simply live on your website. Conversely, you could also upload all the docs onto a thumb drive and distribute them that way. Whatever you decide, make sure all elements are accurate, informative, and public-facing. Whatever you include is fair game to the media covering your brand.

What should I include in my press kit?

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What you decide to include in your press kit can vary depending on your industry, brand image, and key messaging. Below is a list of possible items.

Leadership team’s bios and headshots

Variety of your logos in different formats and file types

Fact sheet/brand background


Recent awards and accolades


Mission and core values

Notable recent press releases


Case studies

Social media handles

Media contact information

Anything else that is pertinent to your brand or business

I don’t have time for this press kit!

We get it. The thought of tracking all this information down, not to mention pulling it together in a cohesive and on-brand fashion, is not likely something you have time for. As you now realize, this is an essential piece of your communications puzzle, and you want to get it right. If you’re feeling overwhelmed (or irritated) right now, give us a call. We have created many, MANY kits through the years and would love to help you develop an impactful collection of stats and assets that best communicate who you are and why your business matters.

4 Tips for Banging Out a (Quality) Blog Post

So, you’ve been asked to contribute a blog post to your company’s content corral, and you’re not sure where to begin. Keep calm and read on; it’s easier than you think!

Blog posts are better when you write what you know

Have you ever heard the saying if you do what you love, then you’ll never work a day in your life? The same principle applies here. If you write about a topic you know, it will organically be a more enjoyable read for your audience and easier to write for you. Pick issues where you have some level of expertise or passion. You’ll also want to be sure to include links to other pieces of content about your subject (preferably from other writers who also had a good handle on the matter) for an added layer of credibility and to help your SEO.

Write your blog post for a friend

But, my friends don’t care about the airspeed of an unladen swallow; they won’t read my blog post, you say. Understood, but you need to write the same way you speak. If you write your blog post with a friend in mind, you’re less likely to use jargon and other unnecessary “big words” that only complicate and bog down the content for your reader.

Pepper your post with some eye candy

Don’t forget to give your reader’s eyes a break. According to a study done by Neilsen Norman Group, your audience will only read twenty percent of what they see on your page. Because of that, we want to use visuals to keep their attention and provide them with something memorable to connect your content to. The best types of visuals include:

  • Infographics
  • Charts and Graphs
  • Custom Images

And, as a bonus, if you share your content on your socials and include your image, you’ll enjoy a thirty-seven percent higher engagement rate!

Tell your reader where they can go

This is a lot nicer than it sounds, promise. You’ll want to direct your audience on what their next steps should be, also known as a call to action or CTA. Do you want them to call you for more info, fill out a form field, read another blog post? It’s up to you, but now that you’ve got ‘em, don’t leave ‘em hangin’. This is your chance to create another touchpoint with your audience, be sure to keep that communication going.

Write on!

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So there you have it. With these quick tips, you’ll create such unique content for your company’s website your boss will ask you to make it a weekly occurrence! I kidd, I kidd! But hopefully, it’s a little less intimidating and a lot more doable. And, hey, if you are the boss, and you want to take the content creation off your employee’s plate, give O’Keeffe PR a call; we’d love to help you both out!

Four Tips for Effective Virtual Brainstorms

Collaboration is critical to the creative process. And where collaboration often begins is with brainstorming…that moment when a project team puts their heads together to come up with a solution for the problem at hand. It takes planning to conduct a good brainstorming session. Without proper planning, it can be a colossal waste of time.

Now, imagine the kind of chaos that can come from brainstorming with people in various locations. Due to ongoing precautions related to COVID-19, many, including the O’Keeffe team, continue to operate remotely. We’ve had to adjust the ways we collaborate to ensure we can still meet the demands of the job.

So, how do you replicate the effectiveness of collaborating in person?

1. Distribute the Topic and Goal in Advance

Reviewing the topic and goal at the beginning of the meeting can cost valuable time and just sucks more air out of the room. By distributing the topic and goal in advance, your team will have an opportunity to prepare. Ask each individual to come to the session with a few ideas so you can jump right into the discussion.

2. Set a Time Limit

Be respectful of the team members’ time. With many working from home, it’s easy to unknowingly encroach on personal time or obligations that come from working remotely. Also, keep in mind that teams aren’t always in the same time zone. So, while running a little long might not be a problem for you, it can interrupt someone else’s dinner.

3. Stay Focused

Appoint a facilitator who can establish and maintain focus on the topic at hand. It can be difficult for teams to stay on track for an extended period of time. One topic can lead to another, and the next thing you know your hour is up and you have accomplished very little.

4. Follow Up

It’s important that you don’t let your brainstorm session become a waste of time and energy. It’s essential that you turn those ideas from the brainstorm into actions. The facilitator should follow up with participants to remind them of ideas generated and any “to do” lists for the team to turn those ideas into reality. The O’Keeffe team creates a Google Doc to house all of the information from our meetings so participants can add to the conversation.

Effective virtual brainstorms can be conducted; they just take a little extra time and preparation. Hopefully, these tips can help you get started and stay on track. How is your team navigating brainstorms in the age of Zoom meetings? Let us know!

Fool-Proof Tips for Writing an Attention-Getting Press Release

Lisa shares four quick tips for writing a press release.

So, your company has an announcement they would like to make, and they have asked you to make that announcement via a press release. A quick Google search will tell you that your release should cover the Who, What, When, Where, and Whys, and you might even be able to track down a release template. That’s great; you’re well on your way! But allow me to offer a few tips and tricks that I have picked up throughout my years as a public relations professional. They might just help you craft a better release and make sure your announcement (assuming it’s newsworthy) gets heard.

4 Tips for Writing A Press Release

  1. 1. Remember to write the facts, not a 500-word commercial. A good question to ask yourself is, is it newsworthy? If it’s not, you’ll probably find yourself acting as more like an ad agency copywriter than a public relations professional. If you have a newsworthy story, it won’t be hard to share the facts without using overly flowery language and fillers.
  2. 2. Be human and conversational, but not fake. Journalists are human, and they want to know you have done your research and know what topics they cover. They do not, however, want you to act like you’re an old college buddy (unless, of course, you are). Skip the emojis and “how’s the weather” fillers and give them the info they need to create the content. I’m not saying you should write like a robot, but save the overly friendly banter for your personal contacts.
  3. 3. Use text formatting for emphasis. Make it easy to capture your dates, times, and locations by using bold, underlines, or italics. Increasing the scanability of your release increases the likelihood of it being read.
  4. 4. Don’t forget to include quotes: Try to have at least two quotes from relevant experts. Make sure your quotes sound like something a human would say and are factual and relatable.

Don’t forget THIS on Your Press Release

Never forget to include your contact information on your release. While this may seem obvious, I have heard many horror stories where journalists really want additional information to tell a great story but have no clue whom to follow up with to get the facts they need. Ugh, that hurts. Don’t be that person.

You’re Not Quite Finished After You Pitch Your Press Release

If you receive coverage as a result of your release, be sure to say thank you! Again, this might seem like common sense. But often times this simple act of appreciation can be overlooked. Plus, your mother would be proud.

You’re On Your Way to Writing a Press Release that Will Turn Heads

Well, there you have it. In addition to your Google research, you now have some tips and tricks of the trade! If you need additional guidance on crafting the perfect pitch, check out this blog to pitch like a pro and enjoy some pretty amazing Elle Woods gifs, too!

A Few Thoughts for Future PR Professionals

Thinking about a career in PR? Lisa shares her four tips for future PR professionals.

With back-to-school messaging everywhere right now, I’ve been reflecting a lot about school and how I have been lucky enough to end up in a career I love. Judging by my early report cards and teacher evaluations, it was pretty clear I would one day end up in a communication role because apparently, I couldn’t seem to stop chattering in class. That got me thinking that in addition to the gift of gab, what else should current high school and college students consider when contemplating a career in PR? Here are a few attributes and skills that have proved to be particularly helpful to me and my PR roles.

1. Multitasking


I am continually working on multiple different accounts, projects, and pieces of content simultaneously. A PR professional must be able to toggle between numerous initiatives and efforts seamlessly. Excellent time management is critical here, and so is identifying priorities. However, bottom line, you must like variety and have a little bit of a squirrel brain to keep all the balls in the air.

2. Relationship Building


Relationships are essential in most professional roles for sure, but the sheer amount of interpersonal relationship you have as a PR professional can exceed the norm. From your internal team to client contacts, other vendors to members of the media, etc., there are many folks you interact with daily. Each relationship is unique and has its own separate requirements for effective navigation. As cliché as it sounds, being a “people person” really is imperative.

3. Resilience


This is key. As a PR professional, I hear a lot of no’s…or a lot of crickets… Many times, you pitch what you think is a home run, and you’re super excited to share with your client all the great buzz your story is going to get but then, no one bites. Ugh, it’s the worst. It’s hard to explain to your client, and it stinks telling your boss you weren’t able to secure any coverage, it just plain stinks. Moreover, it’s ok to be disappointed; that shows you care. However, you can’t think about it for very long because you have to pick yourself up and figure out a new way to tell that story, you must have thick skin and bounce back better than ever.

4. Creativity


Often as a PR professional, you’re looking for new and unique ways to tell your client’s story. And let’s face it, not every client or brand is exactly exciting. But that’s ok! This is where, as a professional, you get to dream and stretch your brain. You have the opportunity to think of new ways to pitch and new angles to take. As a PR pro, you also have to be a PS pro – Problem Solving. Being able to think of new ways to tell the same story, or to make a not-so-exciting announcement newsworthy goes with the territory.

A career in public relations is exciting and rewarding, but it’s also a lot of work. There are skills to hone that contribute to your success. If you’re headed back to high school or college and thinking about joining the world of PR, I encourage you to reach out to someone currently in the role to help you along the way. You’ll find most of us are receptive to helping newbies out. After all, relationship building is kinda our thing (wink, wink).

Want to work with us? Let’s connect!

The Elle Woods Guide To PR Pitching

Lisa explains why Elle Woods is the ultimate PR maven and offers tips to help you pitch better.

Be Responsive & Buzzworthy

Personally speaking, and I’m convinced Elle Woods would agree, few things get the endorphins going quite like exercise and good PR. While good PR might not keep one from shooting one’s husband like exercise, it can help you increase brand awareness and foster goodwill, which are equally as important! That said, if you want to get those endorphins going and don’t have the time to sweat it out at the gym, here are a few tips to keep in mind when pitching your story.  Here’s our Elle Woods approved guide to PR.

Not Everything Is Newsworthy

Here’s the deal, not everything you and your company does needs to be communicated via earned media. Utilize your website and social channels to communicate less monumental news. These platforms are great because you can control your message, and you won’t run the risk of annoying your media contacts with your emails and phone calls.

You might be asking yourself, “How do I know if it’s newsworthy?” This can sometimes be difficult to determine, especially if a boss or client is convinced their story is the bee’s knees.

When I’m in these situations, I like to ask myself a few questions to establish if I should whip up a pitch or look to owned (website) and semi-owned (social media) platforms to communicate the message.

Is it timely?

If the moment has passed, it’s probably not newsworthy. If someone else has beat you to the proverbial punch, it’s probably not newsworthy. If you only have half the details you need to tell an engaging and convincing story, it’s probably not newsworthy…yet. Timing is important, so make sure yours is on point.

Is it buzzworthy?

Is there already chatter about the overarching message that you could piggyback on? For example, does your story ladder up into the gender equality discussion or climate change? If you can ride the wave and maintain your uniqueness, do it!

Will it appeal to the general public?

If it’s timely, buzzworthy, AND has mass appeal; you have yourself a winner. Craft your pitch and press send! If not, don’t get too discouraged. You can also look to targeted media outlets with more specialization. 

Does it connect to the heart?

Does your story have a feel-good message? Human Interest stories are always a crowd pleaser, and you should be seeking out opportunities to pitch these when you can. We all need shining lights to get us through the day, and your brand or employee story could be one of them.

Know Your Pitch Target

Do your research and know whom you’re pitching. You don’t want to pitch the Grand Opening of The Buttery Baking Co. to the local health reporter. You also don’t want to pitch a story to anyone and everyone you see on Cision. Take the time to figure out the best fit and craft a unique pitch for them. You might even want to reference some of their recent work, so they can see you’re sincere. Journalists are people too, and they want to know they’re not just on your copy-paste-repeat list.v

Be Responsive and FAST

Our media friends are on constant deadline and don’t have time to lose waiting to hear back from you or your brand.

Be mindful of this, follow up, and provide them with the answers they need. If you need time to collect that information, it’s fine to say that, but make sure you do indeed follow up with the information requested. Just like you remember who ghosted you at the sorority date party, they remember who ghosted them on their story.

So, there you have it! Now you can pitch like a PR pro!

That said, if your happy place is on a reformer and not behind an iPhone and MacBook, feel free to call O’Keeffe PR and we’ll make sure you’re pitch perfect!

Busy vs. Productive

Are you busy or productive? Lisa Dyson digs into the drawbacks of being busy.

Three Tips to Keep You Performing Without Losing Your Mind

There seems to be an unspoken badge of honor associated with being busy. When asked how work is going, often the response is something along the lines of, “Oh, I’m crazy busy right now” or, “This is our busy season, so it’s kinda bananas” or only “BUSY.” To which the individual who posed the question will often reply, “Great to hear, busy is good.” However, is it? Is merely being busy a sign of accomplishment or somehow job security? 

Busy, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “engaged in action” or “being in use.” That makes me think of a constant state of motion with zero rest. I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds exhausting. A 2016 Fast Company article about busyness and the brain says this; “Since an overly busy life is so often linked to stress, the result of not having enough downtime could release hormonal chemical cortisol that temporarily shuts down our digestive and immune systems. This could stop us from performing at maximum potential, keeping our bodies in a constant ‘fight-or-flight’ mode.” Yikes! So maybe busy is not good?

However, this is real life, and we have work and kids and pets and friends, and how could one not be continuously engaged in action? Is there any way around this cortisol-creating way of life? I believe there is. The benefit of productivity is accomplished goals and tasks, and the opportunity to enjoy some downtime. Here are three tips to help you cut the busy and become more productive.

Make a List

There are two types of people in the world; the listers, and the non-listers. Here’s some tough love- if you’re not a lister you should be. Our brains are bombarded with millions of messages each day. If you do not write down items that need to be accomplished, those thoughts will flitter away with the wind. Losing track of what needs to be done only creates more busyness when that one thing is eventually remembered. Instead of it being a manageable task, it has now ballooned into a massive operation with a tight timeline to finish. Don’t set yourself up for this; write it down or type it up, do it!


OK, so making a list alone does no good if everything you write has equal importance. Take a look at what you have written and move the items that you need to accomplish first at the top (you can also color code or star them). Put the things that have a longer timeline below that, and the ones that you’d like to do, but it’s OK if it hangs out and collects dust for a bit, at the bottom. Now, start at the top and work your way down. Some of those deprioritized items will hang out at the bottom for days or weeks, and that’s OK! The important thing is that they have not fallen off your radar and you’re still aware they exist. So, here’s the FUN part, once you have completed an action item, make sure to move it from your to-do list to your Ta-Da list! There is something to be said for looking at your list with strikes through the items that have been completed. You are on your way to being productive, my friend!

Say No or Ask for Help

This last one is the hardest. Most people who are busy are that way because they are not lazy. They take additional tasks on and desire to make the most of their time. These same folks who take on too many jobs are (generally speaking) the same people who do not like to say no or ask for help. This can lead to excessive busyness and eventually burn-out. My advice is to take a look at your list when asked to take on a new project or task. Assess your priorities and see where you’re not the best person to tackle the job, or if others can come alongside you to work toward the goal. While this may take some pride-swallowing, it will make you more productive at the end of the day.

While these tips might not be earth-shattering, if put into practice, they will work. If you’re struggling and feel like there is never enough time to do the things you love to do, give this a try for a week and let me know your thoughts. That is, if following up is on your to-do list, of course!

Need help prioritizing your communications? Let’s connect!

Chasing Confidence and 4 Tips to Catch It

Breaking Through Imposter Syndrome

I remember my first agency job and the butterflies that never really seemed to go away. I remember thinking, “I’m too inexperienced for this” and “don’t they know I have no clue what I am talking about?” I marveled at the fact that super-sharp professionals were asking for my thoughts and feedback. I had an overwhelming case of Imposter Syndrome. For those of you who have abounding confidence, you may not be familiar with this condition. Wikipedia defines Imposter Syndrome as:

a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud.” Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon remain convinced that they are frauds, and do not deserve all they have achieved. Individuals with impostorism incorrectly attribute their success to luck, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent than they perceive themselves to be.

Yikes! No wonder the butterflies were in a constant flutter. While I’d like to say that it eventually went away and I got into a rhythm and everything fell into place, that’s not quite how it happened. I had a few rough years and some not-so-great work experiences. I was told on more than one occasion that I needed to speak up and talk more in meetings. I was also told there was no place in the agency world for wallflowers. I was also once told that I needed to laugh more in the office, but that’s another blog post entirely #amIright?

I’m happy to report this is no longer an issue for me. Work confidence isn’t a problem; I can lead a meeting and a client with ease and yes, I can now laugh freely in the office. So, if you’re currently in the position that I was many moons ago, and you’re wondering how I did it; I’m going to let you in on four small tips that worked for me.

  1. Watch/ Learn from Those In Your Agency You Admire

This is obvious, but I studied people. I watched how they approached each client, I paid attention to their body language in meetings, and I observed how they would walk into a room. I would note how they took notes, leaned in, twirled their pen and shook hands. I WATCHED EVERYTHING. And after this creepy phase, little by little, I imitated them (this still may have been part of the creep phase…). I would incorporate some of the same behaviors in my work style. When a situation or a meeting came up, I would think to myself, “What Would ‘Work-Idol’ do.” Eventually, this roleplay became a way of life, and the line between my “act” and my actions became blurred.

  1. Prepare

Know your stuff. When you do your homework and know your client and their business backward and forwards, you can rest easy in your expertise. Your client hired your agency because you can provide a service that they cannot do for themselves. They’re great at producing widgets, and you’re great at telling the widget story. Rest easy in that, but also make sure that you do indeed know what you’re talking about. Don’t be afraid to ask questions but also be sure you’re proactive, too.

  1. Dress the Part

Ok, this isn’t going to win me any new fans. I know one of the perks of working at an agency is the option to look like you’re an unaware college freshman who bought into the myth that people wear their pajamas to class. (Side note, if you’re a high school senior, THIS IS NOT A THING, get dressed before you leave your dorm room.) For those of us who are in the agency world, it may be easy to fall into the trap of sporting “loungewear” if we do not have a client meeting. I would caution you against this. Whether we like it or not, how we present ourselves outwardly says something about us to the rest of the world. Unconsciously, it may be difficult for our coworkers and counterparts to take us and our work seriously if we look like we got dressed in the dark. And even beyond others, think about how dressing “smart” makes you feel about yourself. If you know you look like you should be there, you’ll work like you should be there. So, unless your Mark Zuckerberg (and even then, it’s questionable) leave the hoodie on your futon, freshman.

  1. Fake Confidence Until You’re Confident

This may seem silly or easier said than done, but it is true and actionable. Early on in your career, or if you find yourself in a new job or a new company, it’s okay to be nervous. New things can be scary. Rest easy that you are smart, thoughtful and have the brainpower needed to do the job. As noted above, if you need more information to prepare, ask questions and then make notes of what you are told. Speak up and let others know your thoughts and ideas. The more you throw out there, the more those around you will see and know that you have insights to offer. Even if you don’t always knock it out of the park, you have demonstrated thought leadership.

Chasing confidence takes time. Some of us exude it from the get-go, and some of us need to practice. For me, it didn’t come naturally, but I kept speaking up, kept learning more about my clients and their industry, kept preparing each day both internally and outwardly, and I found something amazing happened. I forgot I felt like an imposter, the butterflies packed up and move elsewhere, and I realized I was a valued member of my team who had the talent to be there. I hope that you’re able to evict your fluttering friends, too.

We work collaboratively with our clients to empower them to do the best work they can. Ready to meet your new PR best friend? Let’s connect!

Why (Social Media) Diets Don’t Work

We have all seen it before, a friend, family member or celebrity takes to social media to say they are taking a break from social media… Yep, let that one soak in a moment. They tell a tale of no longer being able to handle the negativity, politically charged comments or Susan’s constant CrossFit updates. They sign off, meaning they don’t actively post or engage for a week or two, and then triumphantly return announcing they’re back and letting the world know that their absence has been life-changing. How do I know the stages of the social media elimination diet so well? Because I, too, have proclaimed my emancipation from social sharing and have come back realizing that “everything in moderation” really is the best advice of all.

So why do these “diets” rarely last, and why do they ultimately leave us counting down the days until we can once again indulge in our bestie’s yoga-with-a-goat grams? To get to the heart of this, we need to examine why we use various social media platforms. Earlier this year, GlobalWebIndex published a blog post that detailed the top ten reasons people use social media.

To stay in touch

To stay up-to-date with news and current events

To fill spare time

Because friends are doing it


To find fun content

To share photos or videos

To share an opinion

To meet new people

To find new products

All of these reasons seem harmless enough, so how do we go from here to the point where we need to break up with our social-selves? The answer is because social media can force us to focus too much on what is happening in other people’s lives, and not enjoying and appreciating our own. We can concentrate so much on what others are saying and doing that we forget that there are humans in our inner circle that we should be having actual conversations and interactions with. The majority of folks posting to the inter-webs only share carefully crafted and edited images, and snippets of their lives. From the outside looking in, it’s easy to assume everyone else is living the dream while you’re stuck with an alarm that doesn’t even have a snooze button.

Now that we have identified the issue, how do stop the yo-yo of social-purging and create a healthy relationship with our social platforms? Bustle gives us a few tips to get to that sweet spot.

Schedule your social time

Remove the apps from your phone (the horror!)

Call your friend (like, have an actual voice conversation)

Think before you post (ahem, nothing good is ever posted after 11 pm)

Be selective about who you follow (this is good advice online and off…)

Don’t feed the trolls (never argue with crazy; people watching might not be able to tell the difference… just sayin’)

Stop comparing yourself to others online (PREACH!)

Post latergrams (not sure if this even a thing anymore with Instagram’s new algorithm …. Happy to hear your thoughts)

Keep social media out of the bedroom


If we can learn to be present with the humans in our lives and be comfortable with moments of quiet reflection, perhaps we won’t need to make a grand overture and proclaim that online sharing networks are the root of our unhappiness. We might even be able to appreciate all the positivity that community sharing brings to our lives. I, for one, am now incredibly thankful for the burst of cuteness that The Dodo or Fluffsquad brings to me on Facebook each morning. At the end of the day, I need to remind myself that just because someone across the globe has a pet sloth, my life is still meaningful even though I do not.

How Being a Step-Mother Has Made Me a Better Public Relations Professional (and Vice-Versa)

Looking back, I stumbled into the world of public relations much like I did the world of step-motherhood. If I’m honest, neither were my first choice and had I known ahead of time the hours, frustration and exhaustion each would bring, I’m not sure I would have dove into both quite as fervently as I did. With that said, after time, effort, and a little wine, I know I am exactly where I belong.


When you’re a step-mom, you enter a no-mans-land of parenting. I say no-mans-land because no man (or woman) ever grows up to say they want to be in that land. You have many of the same responsibilities as bio-parents (packing lunches, taxiing around town, sitting through various sports practices and cleaning up vomit) without many of the perks (breakfast-in-bed on Mother’s Day, input in daily decisions and the uninhibited love of the child). You learn early on that the relationship between you and your spouse, you and your step-children and you and the rest of the world is a dance. It’s a constant give and takes and one must be able to navigate and adjust expectations on a dime. Things don’t always go as planned. Many times the only thing you can expect on is the unplanned. These little humans are complex, and so are the many relationships that go along with them. Bobbing and weaving is a daily occurrence, and one must be able to recover quickly or be knocked out of the ring.

Similarly, if you want to succeed in the world of public relations, you must learn to be flexible. We’re talking full-on splits flexible. Clients, media, and even your agency team is ever changing. Agility and the ability to think on your feet are a must. If your client calls you an hour before they’re to appear on a live morning show to tell you they have an aggressive case of pink eye, what do you do? If you pitch your heart out about your client’s new product, and your media friends are excited to tell the story, but at the last minute the product is canned, what do you do? Flexibility is critical, and a level head is a necessity. My stepdaughters’ have given me many opportunities to strengthen my flexibility muscles, and I’m thankful they have, especially since the examples above are real-life pages from my career book.

Gentle Persistence

Secondly, as a step-parent, you quickly learn the art of gentle persistence. No one likes to be hounded. Having someone constantly looking over your shoulder and asking if you cleaned your room, fed your turtle, or used shampoo to wash your hair, is not pleasant. I have learned that my girls hear me ask the first time, but for various reasons (My Little Pony Friendship Adventure is on, they’re making paper bag puppets, or an intense game of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is about to go down) they are “unable” to accommodate my request. While I refuse to give up on my original ask, I step into their world, see the importance of what’s happening to them at that particular moment, and take a step back. Later, when the time is right, I gently remind them of my original request or direction.  While this is by no means fool-proof, and there are times that they give me the proverbial take-a-hike look, most of the time they respond favorably.

Likewise, we need to put ourselves in the shoes of our media friends. Many are stretched thin and working against razor-thin deadlines. When you’re feeling that kind of pressure, the last thing you need or will respond to is a PR person asking for the third time if you received their pitch. Conversely, as a PR professional, we still have the responsibility to our client to leave no stone unturned when telling their news. After all, if we’re not gently persistent in sharing their story and telling folks why it’s important, who will?


The next thing my girls have taught me is that creativity is king. Like adults, their brains are being bombarded with thousands of messages every day. From school to friends, to PBS Kids, they’re being served up lights, sounds, and ideas that make my faux-momma mind tired. If I want to cut through the clutter and make memories with my girls, I need to be memorable. I need to think of new ways that will engage them and give them something to think about after the day or the event is over.

Equally, as PR professionals, we must be able to think differently.  Every day we are tasked to be creative, whether we’re approaching an old story in a new way or taking a story and making sure we tell it in a way that it receives the attention it deserves. This skill is necessary for both roles, and I am grateful my girls have pushed me to develop this ability, even on my off days.

Thick Skin

Let’s be real for a minute. I love my girls. They are a part of my life that I never thought I had room for, but I do. They have expanded my heart and made my life fuller (and more chaotic). With that said, I’m not their bio-mom. I never will be their mom. Remember what I said above, as a step-mom you do many of the same dirty deeds that their birth mother does, but often you don’t reap the same rewards. I’ve learned not to take this personally (most of the time).

PR professionals need to apply the same roll-off-your-back mentality to avoid burn out. There are many time times that we hear no thanks (or just NO) from a reporter, journalist or client. We can’t take this personally; it’s the world we work in.

As for my girls, many sweet moments happen, too. The way they snuggle in for a story at night or to watch funny animal videos on YouTube, the good night hug, and even when they tell me that my Ranch dressing is better than their mom’s (I’m #1 at something!). I relish these special moments the way I relish when a reporter does an amazing piece for my client. You take the good with the bad, and you choose to remember the good when the laundry is piling up, and emails and phone calls to your media friends go unanswered.

Focus on the Relationship

Lastly, my girls have helped me hone my relational skills. Just because I married their Dad, doesn’t mean that instantly we felt like a family or that they trusted me. Quite the opposite. I sat on the sidelines for longer than I’d like to admit before I realized that if I wanted to be embraced, I needed to embrace. I needed to dig in and show up for them. I needed to read books with them, play Calico Critters, watch Larva (if you don’t know what this is, you should). I needed to get to know them and what makes them tick before I could put any expectations on them. The same goes for our clients and media friends. We need to do our research and make sure we’re bringing them stories that are right for them. Everyone prefers to spend time with people who have taken the time to invest in them. My girls have taught me to put the time in before expecting the reward.

When I started my career in marketing, I had no idea that I would one day be a part of the PR tribe. In the same vein, when I started dating my husband, it hadn’t occurred to me that I would enter into the position of bonus-mom. Both were unexpected and at the time, challenging. Now that I have *ahem* a few years under my belt, I can say both are exactly what I want for my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My girls have shown me how to be a better bonus-momma at home and a better PR professional at the office.