Beth Monaghan Archive
We’re growing quickly and to do that, we’ve had to pivot just as quickly to adjust to new technologies and the fast-moving media landscape. This isn’t easy, and it requires employees who are not just like us. We look for good writers, big thinkers and hard workers who know the difference between hard work and good work. We rely on their new ideas and new perspectives.
We’re so excited about the new group of people joining InkHouse – they bring a unique mix of backgrounds, talents and personalities, and we have no doubt that they will make a positive and lasting mark on our growing agency. We welcome:
Like all business owners in Boston, when I saw news about the explosions yesterday, I instantly began working to make sure everyone was okay. Last night at 6 p.m., I received the last and most anxiously awaited email. The subject line was “I’m safe” and it was from an InkHouse employee who was running the marathon.
As I listen to the reports of the injured and lost today, my heart breaks all over again with each painful detail. And today, I came in to an InkHouse team that was sad, but strong. Seeing the sorrow on their faces has been hard, but being in their company has been a comfort and a privilege on this hard day.
It’s not enough to simply push your news out. Don’t get me wrong, that part is critical, and requires a tremendous amount of hard work and smart messaging. As the nature of the news media changes though, it’s becoming increasingly important to pull audiences in by making news findable.
Three factors are driving this trend toward pull:
- The first source is often the cited source. With rare exception (particularly in technology media), gone are the days when reporters spend days and weeks finding sources and information for their stories. Reporters and bloggers are often under the gun to publish 10 stories a day. Accordingly, the time spent sourcing material for those stories has shrunk. It’s more like minutes, maybe hours on a good day. You need to be there first and often.
Has InkHouse succeeded because we’re lucky or because we’re smart and we work hard? According to Facebook COO and Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg, while men tend to take credit for a company’s success, women often ascribe success to “luck, help from others, and working hard.”
Sandberg has started a national discussion that has gone from the Silicon Valley, to Oprah, to The Daily Show and last Friday, to Boston at a breakfast hosted by the New England Venture Capital Association at the Harvard Club (if you missed it, you can watch the livestream video).
One of Sandberg’s tenets is the importance of fostering confidence in women. This week, Andrew Ross Sorkin interviewed Irene Dorner, president and CEO of HSBC USA in The New York Times. She said the problem of the glass ceiling is matched by the “sticky floor” (women who don’t proactively seek higher-level positions).
According to The Pew State of News Media 2013 Report, there was a 3.6 to 1 ratio of PR people to journalists in 2008 (up from 1.2 to 1 in 1980). I am not surprised. InkHouse grew 45 percent last year, and we’re on course to do the same or more in 2013. Why this growing gap? In short, the news media’s business model is in painful flux. As the Pew notes, “newsroom cutbacks in 2012 put the industry down 30 percent since its peak in 2000 and below 40,000 full-time professional employees for the first time since 1978.”
The opportunity for PR is growing as we see new ways to engage with audiences directly and plentiful opportunities for content. Is the news business going away? Absolutely not. It’s changing.
The only industry changing more quickly than PR is the media, and we are inextricably intertwined. I entered PR in 1997. The dot.com bubble was fat, as we ignored our collective common sense in the wake of skyrocketing IPOs and lovable sock puppets, which turned out of course, to be unprofitable. Despite the dot.com buzz, we were still perfecting how to use email for media relations and favored hard copy press kits (I frequently made the midnight run to Logan Airport to make the last FedEx pickup).
Almost a decade later, InkHouse was in its formative stage, and blogging was exploding. Media empires were waning, and PR people were trying to figure out how to communicate with opinionated bloggers who operated under unknown deadlines. As it turns out, this was a boon to creative and ambitious PR people – if you were willing to exchange emails late at night, you could often get a lot more coverage than was possible just a few years earlier.
Yesterday Tina and I were interviewed by CBS Boston TV about Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision to eliminate working from home at the company.
I understand why Mayer made her decision. Working from home is great if you only have to collaborate with small teams. In fact, when InkHouse began, we had a 100 percent work from home model. We relied on phone calls, Skype, IM and email to collaborate. And we thought we had it down.
Fast forward to today, we have more than 40 employees and InkHouse is one of the fastest growing private companies in Massachusetts. Had we kept the work-from-home model, we would not be where we are today. Our growth only took off after we took formal office space where we have realized the tremendous value that comes from impromptu brainstorms and hallway conversations.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to Keynote New England Venture Capital Association Breakfast on April 5
She’ll be speaking to an audience of 500 venture capitalists and entrepreneurs and will also participate in a Q&A afterward. Submit questions in advance on Twitter using the hashtag #NEVCASandberg.
Sandberg’s book, “Lean In,” debuts on Monday, March 11. She’ll draw on the themes from the book for the talk on April 5, talking about entrepreneurship, innovation and how aspiring thinkers and innovators can turn themselves into leaders. Read more here in the press release.