364 days and a no.

My first 364 days with Well Done Marketing were a whirlwind. Not only new to agency, I was new to my clients—their industries, names and faces, and scope of services. But when I landed this job, I committed to diving in. New clients, new industries, new experiences; I came ready to immerse myself in #agencylife and to learn as much as I could. And, I did just that.

I won’t lie, I was intimidated heading into my first day with Well Done Marketing. Not only was agency brand new to me, but so was Fountain Square, and so was the caliber of talent within our team. So, when I say I took the first 90 days to ease into my role, I’m being serious. I took the first 90 days to move slow, listen carefully, take a lot of notes (which was great because, spoiler alert: I LOVE NOTEBOOKS.), and always ask questions.

As the year progressed, so did my confidence level. Not just in myself and my skillset, but in my knowledge of my clients—and in many ways, it was a record-setting year. Media mentions, audience reach, and publicity value were up across the board for my retainer clients. Media coverage was diverse not only by outlet but by service line. I was able to position my clients as thought leaders within their respective industries, often getting calls from media partners searching for subject-matter experts. Larger than that, my clients began to turn to me for recommendations. I was able to foster relationships with some of the smartest, hardest-working individuals in the community, and furthermore, I began to be considered a valuable resource in their tool belt.

But that was externally. Within the agency, I worked hard to be an asset to my peers. This started with a social media strategy for our agency. Working with our digital team, I was able to set benchmarks and goals for the remainder of the year (April through December 2018). We had two goals:

  1. Increase social exposure by growing our follower base by one to five percent on each of our social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter).
  2. Achieve a 30 percent increase in year-over-year traffic to the blog by December 31, 2018.

These were pretty ambitious goals, which honestly surprised no one in the agency, and I’m happy to report we delivered on both. We grew all of our social platforms, except Twitter, between the range of 2 to 11 percent. We also not only met, but exceeded goal two, by achieving a 19 percent increase over goal. So, a 49 percent increase.

My first year also included three really humbling moments. The first being a nomination and acceptance of the Well Done Marketing Whale Done award. It’s an internal award nominated by staff. I humbly accepted the award after scoring Tinker Street a spot on Indy Style to talk about their fall menu. The second is a longer story.

WhaleDone.jpg

I proudly assist Indiana Legal Services (ILS) with public relations, and for months we’d been struggling to place a story about their elder abuse service line. We pitched a few outlets in the spring, to no avail. Without a client story, it was hard to develop a pitch that really illustrated how important these services are for elders in need. From then until fall arrived, I worked with the ILS team to identify clients that might be willing and able to share their stories—and one magical day, we found one. We pitched the story and received media coverage from all of the outlets in the area. You’ll also imagine my surprise when I received a voicemail from People Magazine with interest in the story. While the story never made it into the magazine, it was an incredible achievement. The third takes a little longer to explain.

The start of 2019 was incredibly busy. Both personally and professionally—I was stretched thin. Budgets were finalized and clients were ready to move on projects, the mom in me was starting to think about summer plans, and life felt like it was moving full speed ahead. At the start of the year, I had expressed interested in participating in a local leadership academy, and my boss gave her full support. But as I started working on the application, I hesitated. I knew our agency was approaching a time of exciting change, but change can be overwhelming. My priority during this change: ensure my clients know that they have my undivided time and attention. While there were a great deal of media wins during 2018, I see so much potential to continue moving the needle and raising the awareness of the impact these organizations are having in the community. I also thought back to my favorite episode of the Joe Budden Podcast—which is without a doubt my favorite podcast. When I first heard the episode, I Tweeted Budden, and he actually engaged my Tweet. It’s powerful advice. Truly, words to live by. “Stand firm in your no.”

Quite honestly, the realization hit me like a ton of bricks. I just wasn’t ready to take on a leadership academy. Keep in mind, I’m also an adjunct faculty member with IUPUI, and at the time I was doing freelance work with Hamilton Southeastern Schools—oh, and I’m a full-time, truly single parent. My cup? Runneth. Over. So, I met with my boss, and I said, “I truly appreciate this opportunity, but I need to pass on applying right now. With the coming change, I want to turn my full attention to our clients. I’m working on freeing myself from some of my freelance commitments because there’s so much more I can be doing here. I don’t want to add something to my plate that will take my attention away from the agency, and I don’t want to join a leadership academy without having my full attention for that.” And she handed me a paper. Little did I know, this paper included a promotion offer to transition into the director of public relations.

I started as Well Done Marketing’s public relations manager on April 9, 2018. April 8, 2019, was my first day as the director of public relations. It’s been a quite the year, but I can’t wait to see what this next year and new role have in store.

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