What Are We Doing Here?
I was lucky in my draw of genes. As is typical of her family,Â my motherÂ has only a few grey hairs at an age when most people have more salt than pepper.Â She has fewer wrinkles than most of my friends from high school, and it certainly wasn’t from living a cushy life. So if being in the shooting industry for 25 years and owning a PR business for 20 hasn’t given me grey hair and too many wrinkles, what have I gotten out of it?Â Well, I ache in a few places I didnâ€™t know I had when I started, and, oh yes — I’ve learned a few things about how this complex relationship between manufacturers and the press works. Or how it ought to.Â
I’m not one of those PR people who think outdoor writers have their hands out for “free stuff.” On the contrary, most of the writers I know have more “stuff” than they have roomÂ in which to store it. I’ve always considered it a privilege to help writers and editors with their projects, and that’s what my PR philosophy centers around: I want to help you do your job. Sometimes that takes the form of overnighting products to you, writing copy that will exactly fit your 7Â¼-inch sidebar, or creating a makeshift studio on my credenza or fence post to quickly set up exactly the photo you need. It’s my job and my pleasure.
But times have changed. In the same way that digital photography, email, and the internet have changed the manner and speed with which we can fill your editorial needs, they have changed your jobs. Your editors have different expectations of you. You have more competition among other writers, photographers, and editors. A tight economy means magazines are closing or getting thinner, dropping writers, paying less for your work, or requiring greater rights for what they’re paying.
I’ve made a genuine effort over the years to stay abreast of trends so I could service my accounts and help writers in the way they need to work — but at the same time, to bring them along to new ideas and new and better ways of working. In the 1980s, I insisted that many writers buy fax machines so we could improve our communications. In the 1990s, I walked writers through the process of setting up email accounts, sending and receiving attachments, and other activities you now do with your eyes closed. Now I consider myself a social media evangelist bent on bringing outdoor writers and organizations online and in real-time communication with their readers, customers, and colleagues.
So that’s what we’re doing here. I want to help you do your job; in some cases, just to help you see things through another set of eyes, and in other cases, to give you ideas of new ways to do your job easier, better, and more competitively. How can I help you?