Saturday, January 2, 2010

I evolved with the media, or did I?

I wrote my first article (outside of my high school and middle school newspapers) for my hometown community newspaper when I was a senior in high school. It was a 700-word article on a soccer game. Boring. Even better, I was on the team, and interviewed my own teammates and coaches. Bias? Heck yeah. But I wrote, and to see my name in the by-line was a trip.

Quickly the industry shifted, and reporters were making less, but I saw the advertising executives reaping the benefits. This was when the ad team and the editorial team rarely collaborated, and seldom crossed paths. This was how it worked. I realized I’d rather be a part of the ad team than the editorial team.

A couple years later, while studying Public Relations (journalism became my minor) at my college and while being a contributing writer to the school’s newspaper, I landed a job as an Account Executive for The PennySaver, an advertising newspaper book, which also had a classified website where people most commonly searched used furniture and puppies for sale. I was 19, and knew squat about the industry, but in a short period of time I learned a lot.

It was late 2006, and the 2007 tax season was approaching, as were the holidays. I was young, and I made a fortune, fast, too fast. It was too good to be true. I capitalized on the fact that I was young, Internet savvy, a fast talker and thinker, and could present myself professionally in any sales pitch meeting. I realized then, but just wouldn’t admit it, but I knew very little about sales, and even less about advertising.

By then I was 20, and school ate up all my free time. So in late 2007, after I had taken on a mortgage and treated myself to a new truck, I realized my sales were plummeting. Was it me? Had I lost my edge? I was still knocking on 20-30 doors per week, but maybe the magic number was 40. What I didn’t realize was that the media was evolving, but I wasn’t. We were already in the “post-advertising” era, but I was stuck in the advertising age. I couldn’t come out. Who could? With a near six-figure income and what felt like financial freedom, I would have done all I could to hold onto it.

I had lost my corporate accounts first. Those were first to go because the corporate camps had the tools to learn that the post-advertising age was here and that they needed to focus on other things: website, their own message, public relations, innovative marketing, and so on. They had PR execs, marketing directors, seminars and hosted speakers. My mom and pop advertisers caught on a little later to the trends, but when they did, the numbers fell again. It was gain one, lose 2. I couldn’t get ahead.

So, right before I received my Bachelor’s, I left my “dream job” and went to work for a wholesale foods company as a marketing and communications director. My eyes opened to PR and marketing. Things needed to change.

Here I was at the communications throne for a family-owned company that banked in over $50 million per year, but they didn’t even have a website. AHHH!! I was ready to pull my hair out.

What were they thinking?  No website, no collateral info, no way of expressing who they are. No PR or marketing campaign. I was doomed. And if they never believed in it before, why would they believe in it now? I tried, for almost a year, and then I realized I had a knack for this. I evolved with the media and was ready to tell people what I learned and knew.

We were in the post-advertising age. PR was not about articles and being named the best (although that still helps here and there), but it was about building an image through content, website, blogs, podcasts, rankings and linking in.

So, we created the company, Creative Touch Communications, an innovative marketing and public relations company. We don't just encourage clients to spend lavishly on campaigns or ways to gain the media's attention, rather we use a very powerful tool to help our clients reach their audience; the Internet.  A majority of CTC’s clients are small and growing, but together through promotions, brand building, article sharing, and more through the Internet community we’re all a part of, we have grown with our clients.

So, from my first newspaper layout with a glue stick and scissors in middle school, to my first published article, to where I am now, I feel like I’ve evolved with all these changes in the media.

Now it’s time to put it all to work…and continue to evolve. 

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