What Do We Do Now?! Dealing with Fortune 500 Layoffs

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AT&T is slated to layoff 12,000 workers in the upcoming year; a bittersweet irony coming from the company whose warm and good-natured slogan used to be “Reach out and touch someone.”

Layoffs are everywhere, an unavoidable topic du jour (and most likely a topic du demain, as well) and the media industry is far from immune.

On Twitter, one of the Tweeps I follow is The Media Is Dying.  Throughout the day, I check in and find alarming updates about which magazine is folding, which network is cutting programming and which newspaper is canning entire sections.

I choose not to check it out during lunch as it often makes me lose my appetite.

To add insult to injury, the “economic downturn” isn’t the only symptom that plagues print media.  Our beloved Internet has displaced newspapers as the #2 source of information for the general population (television, obviously, holds the #1 spot), pushing print to the sad position of #3 (or second loser, as competitive types may call it).

The first lesson anyone learns as they enter the field of Public Relations is that your list of contacts becomes your bread and butter.  Rolodexes, binders filled with business cards, email address books: all these items can make or break you in a very short amount of time.

So in a time when it’s almost impossible to keep track of who is where and how long they’ll remain there, how is someone supposed to keep track of all those changes?

(And no, sending out a mass, “Are you (still) employed, and if  so, where?” emails is not an option.  Or tactful.)

Here I’ll generalize some key tips for coping with the whirlwind of changes, but for you in Public Relations, New Media, Print, Communications and beyond, the full link to the article can be found here on the Bulldog Reporter Website.

“Get plugged or perish.”  Right now you’re reading a blog (and since it’s this blog, that’s encouraged).  But have you thought about starting your own?  And if a blog is too intense, what about a Twitter account?  Is that too much?  I certainly hope not.

But if it is, and for some people the maintenance can be overwhelming, then simply follow other people.  You’ll learn who is doing (or covering) what, and will often find yourself flooded with good information.

Who knows?  You may even get involved in the dialogue, and that’ll always be a good thing.

“Give your press release a makeover.”  Old news is no news.  And now that there is so much emphasis on the Web, make your press release “Web-friendly.”

“Don’t rely on a single contact at a news organization.” Your single contact might not be there tomorrow.  The more relationships you have, the greater your ability to effectively reach out directly to the right person.  And this goes for all industries, not just news media.

“Don’t reach out to a journalist only when you want to pitch a story.”  Let’s broaden this to “don’t reach out to people only when you need something.”

The effects of the dismal job-mosphere are far-reaching, but there are ways that you can be proactive.

Want to get started?  Here are some Twitter people you should definitely follow:

(Shamelessly still) Members of the AMP3 team: Alyson Campbell, Dion Roy, and Termeh Mazhari

The Media Is Dying

Business Owners Online

PR Week Staff

Pitch Engine


and, perhaps most importantly for you Flatiron fellows, Shake Shack 

From there, check out who those people are following, and look into following them, too.

*Note: There are definitely other good Tweeps you can find, but I won’t list them since, as noted before, contacts are our bread and butter.  If you feel you should have been on this list but were left off, chances are it’s because you’re too valuable.

Ultimately, the main point that people seem to be trying to get across is to get involved in the dialogue, make your presence known, and keep up-to-date tabs on the relevant folks in your industry.

Otherwise, all those MAILER-DAEMON bounce backs are no one’s fault but your own.

Jackie for AMP3pr.com

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