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As if you needed more reasons to take a quick weekend trip.
Unless you’ve been living on a remote island with no access to the outside world, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the upcoming solar eclipse. For a brief period of time, the earth, moon and sun will be in a straight line from our vantage point, which means the moon will be blocking the light of the sun. The U.S. hasn’t seen one of these since 1979, so needless to say, people are pretty excited. And as it turns out, Nashville is the largest metro city in the country that is in the “path of totality” for viewing the eclipse.
The city of Nashville is taking the opportunity to capitalize on this celestial phenomenon. It is estimated a minimum of 360,000 people will travel to Tennessee to stay overnight and spend approximately $15-$20 million in Nashville. Schools are closing, companies are giving employees the day off and downtown hotels are offering Eclipse viewing packages.
Tourists and locals alike are gearing up, with #GreatAmericanEclipse branded items flooding retail stores. Businesses are creating t-shirts, handing out viewing glasses, selling branded cups, and hosting viewing parties all over town. This is great for the city of Nashville and downtown businesses, as Mother Nature is helping to generate tourism dollars and revenue.
It’s amazing to see how brands are getting and you almost can’t help but get caught up in the hype. At RPR, we’ve even helped our clients utilize the timely opportunity in creative ways like securing a feature on THE TENNESSEAN Hotel’s Lunar Shadow cocktail on HGTV.com and helping Twice Daily manage media inquires about their free eclipse-safe glasses.
Check out some more examples below of how local businesses are jumping on this opportunity.
Ole Smoky Moonshine
Tennessee Lottery Eclipse Jumbo Bucks
From moving out on your own to choosing a major that could dictate your entire career, college is a major turning point. That one history class may seem like it will last forever, but four years goes by in the blink of an eye.
Now that I have been out of college and in the workforce for a year, I’ve thought a lot about what helped me stand out and land a job in a competitive market like Nashville. All signs seem to point to one thing: internships.
These days, many college programs require students to complete an internship before graduation. While some students see this as a box to check off before walking across the stage, it should be seen as a holy grail of opportunities.
I kicked off my first internship working 40-hour weeks when most college students were enjoying a break for the summer. Why did I decide to trade the pool for a cubicle? I realized that while I did learn a lot about PR through my college curriculum, nothing compares to real world experience.
Fast forward three years and three internships later, I felt fully prepared for my job search as I scoured the Internet for that coveted first post-graduate job. How can an internship help you do the same? Let’s count the ways…
As an intern, you get accustomed to working in an office. You learn what’s appropriate to wear, better time management skills, office etiquette and a whole range of other skills that aren’t necessarily taught in the classroom. The transition from college life to the real world will be much easier if you are used to the early morning alarms and full days of work compared to only a few hours of classes each day.
Expand Your Networking
Networking. Networking. Networking. The job hunt is all about who you know. The employees that guided you along your intern journey could play an instrumental role in securing your first job. Before you leave the internship to head back to campus, ask your manager for a recommendation letter. This will give your internship weight in comparison to other activities since you have a true PR professional recommending you for a job.
Set Yourself Apart
Having a few internships under your belt will make a difference when you’re interviewing for your first post-graduate job. While it’s listed on your resume, make sure to highlight your intern experience in the interview and show the results from the projects you worked on while you were there. Hiring managers typically like to see numbers and analytics that prove you contributed something measureable and tangible to the team’s success.
Between balancing homework, a social life and somewhat of a sleep schedule, it can be difficult to make time for internships that aren’t required. But when it comes to applying for jobs after graduation, being able to join a team with past real world knowledge will set you a part and make you a more desirable candidate.
Interested in interning at RPR? Apply here.
SNL has always been known as the best place to get hilarious commentary on everything from current affairs to the latest on pop culture and Hollywood’s favorite movers and shakers. It turns out it’s also a great place to pick up some public relations tips from some of the funniest folks in the game. Keep reading for some of the top PR lessons taken from the 42nd season thus far.
Uber is your friend.
Whether it’s dashing off to a meeting, hitting a networking event or attending a new retail opening, the PR hustle is real. This is where Uber, aka your best friend, comes in. Living in a growing, major city like Nashville, the parking struggle is no joke. Becoming friendly with your local neighborhood Uber drivers is just good business sense. Especially when being late just won’t fly. Watch host Aziz Ansari and longtime castmate Bobby Moynihan reenact the importance of an Uber experience. Don’t forget that five-star rating.
Media is the real MVP.
One of the main pillars of PR is media relations. This makes getting to know your local media market essential. From familiarizing yourself with top reporters’ regular beats to becoming friendly with publications’ upcoming editorial calendars, knowing how best to work with journalists in your community separates the pros from the amateurs. Politics aside, PR professionals should learn from Melissa McCarthy’s fan-favorite turn as White House press secretary Sean Spicer and respect the media’s duty to share news. After all, they’re the gateway to the people. I guess that makes us security? See the SNL guest supreme act it out for us, here.
A little polite stalking is necessary.
When it comes to getting the information you need in PR, some sleuthing is key. Whether it’s finding contact information for an unlisted reporter or pulling a press clip from a small community newspaper, research is part of the job. It’s important to have savvy discovery skills so that when a client needs the Facebook of a potential connection or you need to track down that blogger you just met at an after-hours networking event you can rise to the occasion. Watch guest Kristen Stewart and popular SNL staffer Pete Davidson’s coffee shop meet cute with a side of light investigating, here.
Our fifth birthday is this year. That just blows my mind.
To some companies, that’s a blip in their history. To us, it’s a huge milestone. The reality is I didn’t plan on being a business owner. I didn’t have a business plan. I didn’t want employees. I definitely didn’t want the liability of a long-term office lease. I’d be just fine working as a freelancer, thank you very much. Or so I told myself. But the Nashville market was hot, I had to grow to avoid turning down projects and here we are almost five years later. When I first started out, numerous people told me that if I could make it five years, apparently my chances for long-term success increased exponentially.
It’s been full of extreme highs, the lowest of lows and everything in between. I’ve cried (a lot), I’ve laughed (even more) and I’ve learned more about myself these past five years than in the previous 29. And while it is difficult to pinpoint just a handful of lessons – because, quite frankly, I make a lot of mistakes and each one provides learning opportunities and a greater self-awareness – here are the ones I’d offer to aspiring business owners.
Surround yourself with people who get it. Other business owners have been critical to my sanity. Not everyone knows the pressure of making payroll or trying to figure out the right thing to do versus the affordable thing to do when it comes to employee health care benefits or how the heck to try and take a maternity leave and still run a company. Those are the people you want in your corner. There are organizations for business of all levels. I participated in the EO Catalyst program early on and still meet monthly with some of the other business owners from that group. Depending on the day, the people in my forum are my sounding board, my cheerleaders, my reality check or sometimes my happy hour buddies. It’s been inspiring to watch their businesses take off. As my company has grown, I’ve also joined the Women Presidents Organization, where I’m able to tap into the advice and expertise of a group of truly amazing women running multi-million dollar businesses. Find a group and plug in. You will inevitably hit tough times as a business owner and I firmly believe the support of others who have been there can be the difference between fighting through and coming out stronger on the other side or giving up.
Hire people smarter than yourself. Being a lifelong learner is critical to running a successful business. I want to be surrounded by people with skills and natural abilities that I might not have. If I’m the smartest person in the room, who will I learn from? Set your ego aside, figure out your weak spots and hire people who can make you better. This is especially important in my business. I’m not selling widgets. I’m selling our time and expertise. I personally only have a finite amount of hours, so I need really smart people to a.) do the things I am not good at so I can spend my time working on the things I can do well and b.) handle projects and clients that I am not involved in, increasing our capacity for additional revenue.
Reward success. The job’s not done once you hire those smart people. You need to make them stay. The top talent could walk out today and get other jobs, especially in a strong market. Pay people what they are worth. Teach your team that compensation is directly tied to the value they bring to the company and then reward them for growth. In my experience, being generous with profit sharing has only caused our revenue to grow.
Know your ideal client – and the value that you bring. Early on, I thought we had to be the perfect fit for every client and we had to win every single account. We had to recognize that not every client is going to be a great fit. Until we learned that, we weren’t able to do really great work for those who were a good fit. By working with just anyone who knocks on the door and not paying attention to red flags, you aren’t setting yourself up for success.
Sometimes you just need a donkey. Or puppies. Or tacos. Or whatever it is that lightens the mood and reminds you not to take yourself too seriously. Life gets busy, work gets stressful and even the most functional team can wear on each other’s nerves. Have fun. While the resulting visit from the landlord was slightly awkward, one of my all-time favorite days was sneaking a live donkey into our office to film an invitation to our Cinco de Mayo party.
It’s funny – while I never wanted to be a business owner (let someone else sign the rent checks!), after five years I can’t imagine having it any other way. I’m most grateful to my family and friends for their constant grace as I try to balance mom life and work life, my team for showing up every day and making me look awesome (even after that one time I was in Hawaii and forgot to run payroll) and my tribe of other business owners for their support.
Oh, and we’re obviously going to have a party. Stay tuned.
Depending on your industry, you can spend anywhere from 40-60 hours a week with colleagues. That may be more time than you spend with your family or friends, so your interactions shouldn’t be limited to work tasks and meaningless small talk. What’s the last non-work related activity you did with your coworkers? And no, hour lunches and post-work happy hours don’t count.
The RPR team recently went to Escape Game Nashville, figured our way out of The Heist – a room with a 27 percent success rate – and strolled out like bosses. Why? Not because it was someone’s birthday or an exclusive activity for just a few coworkers after work. It was a part of our company retreat, a quarterly practice in which we set aside a day to refocus and regroup. Whether it’s a day at the pool that turns into a failed attempt at teaching me how to swim or gathering everyone to watch an epic skit from the account services team about our core values, we always make a point to have fun.
But it doesn’t stop there.
We’ve rock climbed, taken a company spa day, cruised around the city singing karaoke while looking at Christmas lights and a number of other outings that range from mental to physical and everywhere in between. The one thing they have in common – they have absolutely nothing to do with our work.
It’s easy to become so consumed with work that you think of your coworkers as just another part of the job. While your colleagues don’t have to be your BFFs, there should always be mutual respect, trust and support. Take these relationships a step further by incorporating team activities within your company – it will help combat those monotonous days and alleviate stress.
While some of the more daring women of RPR consider swimming with sharks and bungee jumping ideal activities, there are enjoyable outings for every work group, big or small.
Attend a sporting event
Paint and drink art gallery
Go to a festival
Wine and cheese tasting
Tour a historic landmark
Volunteer at a local charity
Activities don’t necessarily have to take place outside of the office to be effective. In October we had a pumpkin painting party complete with Angry Orchards and homemade trail mix to celebrate fall. We’ve also been known to squeeze in an hour of in-office power yoga. We’ve even implemented TEDTalk Tuesday, a casual biweekly discussion of our favorite TEDTalks.
The bottom line is you shouldn’t let your work relationships be characterized by business conversations, status meetings and countless emails. Want to help build a stronger-knit team? Invest some time, money
and creativity in occasional company activities. When done right, your team will appreciate you for it and your company will reap the benefits through improved performance and stronger bonds. At RPR, our close connection has created an even deeper respect for one another and provides reassurance that we have each other’s back.