I Killed My Blog and Why

Jon’s 1.5 is dead.

It was time.

It’s not like I was running out of things to say but the original reason for the blog and the number of voices needed to tell that continuing story has evolved.

Kirk or Picard? Ok, I'm really done now.

A lot has happened in the world of PR, social and digital in the three years of Jon’s 1.5 and a lot has happened at Hodges during that time.  The initial journal that the blog was started to chronicle is over.  Think of the difference as the original Star Trek and TNG.  You might debate Kirk over Picard but the voyage continues and the characters change but the Federation’s prime directive is the same.  Okay, I’ve really pushed the geek envelope here.

So Jon’s 1.5 (the next generation, okay I promise to stop now) is now the Hodges Blog.  You likely noticed the changes in recent posts.

We not only have a new look and feel, also soon be seen in a slight tweak to our agency identity and a major redo of our website, but also in the number of post authors.  Don’t worry (for those who were really losing sleep over this), you’ll still be hearing from me on a regular basis.  But you will also be hearing from all the Hodgers.  The subjects of the posts will range from our culture (Tony’s recent post on our coffee issues) to our work (Elisabeth’s post on our growing luxury practice) and share our expertise (like Sonali and Casey’s collaboration, a  social media cheat sheet for Facebook Timeline for Brands).

We will continue to feature our work like today’s media relations successes for CarLotz in Fast Company and Snagajob in Time, or social media campaigns or mobile app development.  But we will also feature the people behind the work and what they do (and how they do it) to be successful for our clients.

A mentor of mine taught me a long time ago a simple lesson about our business that I try to practice and repeat:  The key to business success is to hire people who are a lot smarter than you and let them do what they do best.  The Hodges Blog will showcase them and by extension show how smart Josh and I were to bring them on board in the first place. 🙂

It is now their time to shine.

So please enjoy the Hodges Blog and try to keep your emotions in check about Jon 1.5.  I hope it served you well.  I know it did me.

Tempest in a Coffee Pot

By Tony Scida

I’m not exaggerating when I say the most horrible thing that happens around the office is when there’s no coffee left in the coffee pot. Actually, scratch that, I’m definitely exaggerating. But still, none of the coffee drinkers like it very much.

One morning recently the topic came up, and Emily had a suggestion: if you take the last cup, brew another pot—a policy I thought could truly get behind. It was also suggested that perhaps a sign should be created enunciating this policy, so I took a few minutes the other day to throw something together.

And, you know what they say; making a sign makes it true. So, this morning Emily announced the new policy at our weekly staff meeting.

Of course, I believe the world will be a better place if everyone follows Emily’s advice, so we’re making the Brew it Forward sign available to anyone who wants it under a Creative Commons license (you can do what you want with it, as long as you don’t sell it and as long as you share any changes you make under an equally permissible license). Grab the PDF here.

Looking for inspiration

Where do you look for inspiration?

For example, I’ve been trying to inspire myself to get into a more regular blogging rhythm.  I’ve also tried to be a source of inspiration for others as we’ve had lots of “churn” recently at THP with clients coming and going and assignments and roles changing with that churn.

It’s not always easy and I sometimes I find myself in sort of an inspiration rut.  Let’s face it, even those he’s The Boss and all there’s only so many times you can listen to Badlands to recharge your batteries.

Some people turn to their faith, some to their families, some to music, some to relaxation.

Some people like me, try to mix things up a bit and get their energy from new projects or assignments as a way to light that fire.

So in this time where the economy has sucked for a while, where we’re still banging our heads against the wall on the same local issues we’ve been dealing with for years, and we (at least we are) moving us and our kids around at the speed of light, where do we turn?

Where do you turn?  I’d love to know.

Growth, damned if you do….

Sorry for the lack of posts in recent days.  We’ve been busy…..really busy.

As some of you have seen on Twitter, we’ve (THP) added a number of new accounts that we will announce in the coming days.  And there may be more coming.  We also may have some additional news on a new line of business (I know, I’m teasing, can’t help it) and hope to talk about that soon.

This at a time that we’re having discussions with current clients about expanding our relationships.  And at a time where we’re in the middle of some major client projects.

While this excites us, it also gives both me and Josh (my business partner) a little heartburn as we try to plan for the future.

As an old friend and clients once told me, “If you don’t grow, you die.”  Words to live by.

But the question is, how to grow?  Do you hire?  Can you absorb some of the work internally?  Who do you hire?  What roles do they fill?  How you maintain your culture?

Here are some of the lessons we’ve learned about growth:

  • Gauge whether the workload is permanent or temporary.  If it is filled with one-time projects, suck it up.  If this workload seems consistent for the forseeable future.  Then hire.
  • If all your employees are ready to kill you and even you think it’s justifiable, then it’s time to hire.
  • Use a “growth” time to reward.  It’s a great time to give more responsibility to those who have earned it or who are asking for it.
  • Don’t hire for the sake of hiring, be strategic.  Don’t hire a person to fill a hole or a gap, but try to look six months into the future.
  • Be a glutton, if you’re going to grow take some chances.  You are growing because you are successful.  If you have been waiting to have “that conversation” with a client, now is a time to do it.  You may be surprised and even more business may come your way.
  • Fire a client?  Not recommended but if a relationship is just not working this might be the right time for some client churn.
  • Be selective and don’t settle.  This is a hire you will have to live with.  Make sure it’s a good fit culturally.

What are your thoughts on business, organization and agency growth.  I’d love to hear them.

For those interested we are looking to gather resumes for a specific potential need.  Someone with 3-5 years of media relations experience, travel/tourism experience is a plus.  IMPORTANT:  This is a very specific need so if you don’t fit into the qualifications please don’t apply.  I really wouldn’t want to waste your time.  Thanks.

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