Gaia Group PR Blog
by Lindsay Buchanan, Associate
Sadly, my time as a Gaia Group employee has come to a close. With law school on the horizon, it’s time for me to bid the firm “adieu.” However, I’ll always cherish these lessons that I learned from the Gaia gals. If you are seeking a job or even an internship position, perhaps some of the advice below will be helpful in providing guidance on agency life!
Never underestimate your own power.
During my fifth week at work, I was asked to run point on event support for a large-scale two-day client event. Suddenly, I was at the helm of communications for a 200-person summit. Although, I’m a self-starter, I was initially terrified to be “in charge.” That fear quickly dissipated when I realized that–thanks to my managers at Gaia Group– I was completely informed and capable of completing the tasks at hand. At Gaia Group, the leadership doesn’t believe in keeping other members of the organization in the dark: they believe in managing up and fostering a completely team-oriented environment. From Day One, I was included on emails, calls, event planning meetings, and updated on all pertinent information. I met with client contacts, worked closely on marketing materials, and acquired a considerable knowledge of all of the power players, jargon, and hot topics in our client’s industry. I realized that I had all the tools that I needed to succeed. More than that, knowing that my managers had enough faith in me to allow me to take the lead made all the difference.
Work for your network, and it will work for you.
One of my wisest professors always said, “Networking shouldn’t be about what you can get or use from others; it should be about how you can help each other grow.” Our fearless leader, Gaia Group president Laura Taylor, is the living example of that principle. Her success lies in the fact that others trust her, respect her, and appreciate her because she gives of herself, completely. That goodness radiates throughout the entire team. She can often be found setting aside twenty minutes to talk to a burgeoning businesswoman, doing pro bono work for causes and people she believes in, or treating her employees to lunch to make sure they know they’re important. She does so much for so many people, and in return, her network rewards her with words of thanks and referrals. From observing her and the other Gaia Group employees, I’ve learned that the key to growing happiness in your career comes from the selfless deeds you do for others.
I know. Let me explain. In order to specialize and be the best in your industry, you’ve got to think small: know everything about your industry (backward and forward), be precise, comb through every tiny detail, segment your research, and apply it to your client’s specific organization. Thinking small is imperative, but the real challenge is applying small, specific thoughts to big issues to create big wins for the client. This is where Gaia Group excels. Collectively, the professionals at Gaia Group are experts in the areas of cleantech PR, technology, public affairs, social media, editing, and media relations. They’ve thought “small” enough to become experts in a number of industries in order to make giant impacts for their clients.
All ideas are good ideas.
One of the main reasons that I felt like a true member of the Gaia Group team from early on in my employment was that I was treated as if my experiences and thoughts were completely essential to the organization. I think that’s the beauty of Gaia Group: every team member brings something different (and equally important) to the table. Every idea I ever had was treated with validity and complete respect. In my previous experiences interning at several different organizations, I was rarely ever asked for my opinion on client work. Now, at a PR firm with incredibly talented, seasoned PR vets, I (a first-year associate) was asked for my input almost every single day! Using a more collaborative team strategy allows Gaia Group to pull from a wealth of amazing ideas and produce exemplary results for their clients.
What I will miss most is the camaraderie I share with my fellow team members. There really isn’t a rotten egg in the whole crew. The warmth and dedication that lives in each member of the team is infectious. It touches everyone they work with– just ask any of their clients! I’ll definitely be back to the new McLean office to visit!
One of our clients, Haystax Technologies, was just featured in a CNET article . Their technology is “designed to pull in huge flow of raw data — things like camera feeds, radiological monitors, RFID and GPS systems, and social media — and algorithmically bring the most important data points to the top.”
In short, their product helps first responders find a needle in the proverbial haystack.
Check out the article here.
by Lindsay Buchanan, Associate
Early on in childhood, Disney taught us many life lessons. We learned that a dream is a wish your heart makes and that sometimes you’ve just gotta say “Hakuna Matata.” However, we didn’t know that some of the lessons from our favorite Disney films also inadvertently taught us a lot about PR.
Be timely. [Cinderella]
Good ol’ Cindy learned this lesson the hard way: always be on time. Don’t miss your opportunity to deliver relevant news about your clients. Moreover, don’t try to sell old information; that’s a losing battle in today’s digital, 24-hour news cycle. Keep up with current events, and tie in client news in order to add value and interest to your stories and press releases.
Be transparent. [Pinocchio]
Just as Pinnochio’s fibs kept him from becoming a “real boy,” a lack of transparency could keep your company from becoming the” real deal.” As we’ve seen in the press lately, non-disclosed information can make a company look like they have something to hide faster than you can say “Gepetto’s Workshop. ” Divulge any potentially problematic information up front in order to avoid colossal embarrassment later. If your organization has particular trouble in this department, prepare crisis communications drafts so you’ll be prepared if trouble strikes.
Rely on your network. [Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs]
Snow White would have been nothing without her friends, and neither would you. Nobody gets to where they are by themselves. As a professional, your whole life is about connecting with others on a personal level. That includes your network. Your personal contacts are just important as your professional ones. Get out and meet people in all industries – join a professional organization. Build meaningful relationships with journalists and digital influencers: one tip or conversation could turn into a career-long relationship. Let your brand precede you. Always be genuine, professional, and reliable. But most of all, be compassionate. Never take the power of kindness for granted.
Be brave. [Merida from Brave]
At Gaia Group, we love to encourage our clients to forge new paths. Think outside of the box: it’s okay to have good, new ideas! Innovation is what sets you apart from your competition. If an idea doesn’t scare you a little, it’s not big enough. Don’t limit your ideas just because you think something will be difficult to implement. Dream big, and the execution will come. That’s what you have us for.
Lindsay Buchanan is an Associate and Digital Strategist at Gaia Group. You can catch up with her on her style blog, Southern Belle Stylista, or on Twitter.
We love to help clients make news and there is nothing better than a discussion in a widely read outlet like the New York Times. This article on solar power energy storage pieces together the issue surrounding the capture of energy and how utilities are harnessing the power of the sun after hours. The Solar Electric Power Association stepped up to support is utility members in this discussion.
Susan’s Social Corner: Your Social Media Reality Check
Using social media is practically a prerequisite for most B2B and B2C companies. Whether it’s a combination of using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or others, you’re probably leveraging one or more platforms on a daily basis. So how to you create more “meaningful” online relationships with the little time you have to post or tweet to ensure maximize impact for your business? Here are some tips to help guide you towards establishing a loyal following through on any social media platform:
- Create an open dialogue. Are you listening to your audience? This is your opportunity to find out exactly what your customers say about you and what they want. Bottom line: Interacting on Facebook is more than just pushing out posts.
- Commit the time and resources. Social media is not a quick process. Look at the people in your offline social circles—those you hold closest. How long have you known them? How much time have you spent together? All of this time bonds strong relationships. Bottom line: You need more than 10 minutes twice a week.
- Respond (and sooner rather than later). If you get a comment, respond quickly. Bottom line: Responding quickly shows that you’re engaged and listening to your online community.
- Create your own content. It’s ok share good content and information, but put your own spin on it. Bottom line: People want to hear what you have to say not what you found on the internet.
- Come across like a broken record. It’s important to have some diversity in your posts/tweets. Don’t say the same thing over and over. Say something new and different to gain the interest and respect of your followers. It’s ok to be opinionated. Bottom line: Share content that inspires you, infuriates you, or makes you laugh.
- Just sell your stuff. Social networks are not direct sales tools. Use them as a place to develop a community of people who are interested in your brand and what it has to say. Bottom line: We all have to make ends meet but try to focus less on pushing your products/services and more on creating and sharing interesting content.
- Be inconsistent. It is not good practice to update your online status twice in a two-hour period, and then only once the next week. Be consistent so your audience knows what to expect. Bottom line: Take the time you need to interact, listen to your community and hare good content.
- Ignore negative comments. See negative comments and feedback as an opportunity to reinforce your message. Bottom line: Ignoring comments only makes you seem like you’re hiding something. Be transparent in your comments.
Social media for business is about getting people to like, know and trust you. The more you communicate and have a two-way dialogue, the more you will humanize your brand and grow your a reputation within your niche.
Interested in more tips? Drop me a line to receive our quick guide on “How to Use Social Media to Drive Awareness, Grow Business, and Generate Revenue” at firstname.lastname@example.org