Christy Laverty 0:00
Be flexible, because you want to make sure that you’re going to get the yes and that you’re going to have them coming back to you because you’re understanding. You know how difficult things are and you’re flexible, accessible and available to them.
Karen Swyszcz 0:14
I’m Karen Swyszcz, and you’re listening to The Bacon Bits ‘n’ Bytes Podcast. This is the podcast where a bit of business and a byte of technology come together.
Hey everyone, and welcome again to another episode of The Bacon Bits ‘n’ Bytes Podcast and today with me I have Christy Laverty. Christy is a media expert who helps entrepreneurs learn to get visible in a big way by amplifying the brands and businesses with media coverage. Christy uses everything she’s learned while working in some of Canada’s biggest broadcast newsrooms as a writer, producer and editor to help entrepreneurs master their media influence. She coaches, consults and represents businesses and their journey to earn media mentions press and coverage. Welcome to the show, Christy.
Christy Laverty 1:15
Thanks for having me. Happy to be here.
Karen Swyszcz 1:17
Yeah, for sure. Or actually, maybe I should say, welcome back to the show. For those of you who don’t know, we actually recorded an episode earlier prior to the pandemic, but we thought it would make a lot of sense to bring her back on and so she talked about businesses to talk about how to handle their messaging during a crisis. Okay, yeah, maybe we might have a blooper mini blooper. So again, welcome to the show.
Christy Laverty 1:46
Thanks. We had such a great conversation several weeks ago about media and PR. And obviously with COVID-19. A lot of things have changed. A lot of things with our businesses have changed. But also a lot of things with news and media have changed. So you know, you and I talked about this topic and how maybe it would be worthwhile to give people a little bit of sort of context, some tips to help them navigate because it’s a bit of a topsy turvy world out there for all of us.
Karen Swyszcz 2:20
Mm-hmm. So during this time, I can only imagine that journalists would be like, completely swamped trying to cover all these stories. So if you’re a business, should you be pitching to the media during this time? And if so, what are some tips on how to like, approach it carefully?
Christy Laverty 2:38
You know, I myself, I still have a few clients holding on and moving forward with media and PR. And, you know, it’s something that you need to take a critical look at, in terms of, you know, what you’re going to pitch. I think you shouldn’t abandon media and PR like you shouldn’t abandon marketing. I really consider media as part of your overall marketing plan.
I think it’s really important to keep moving forward, but really thinking about how you are approaching it differently because journalists definitely are swamped. They are struggling just to keep up with that daily news cycle. There’s, you know, the daily briefings by the Prime Minister, there are daily briefings by, you know, regional leaders, city leaders, provincial leaders, that daily crush of news is really difficult to stay on top of when you’re in the newsroom. But that being said, they still, you know, want to make sure that there’s a balance because too much doom and gloom is difficult. People don’t want to consume it all the time. So they need to be able to, to not only give some balance to it but also give some context. And so that’s kind of where a lot of businesses can slide in with some really thoughtful pitches, you need to really be thinking about the journalists, for example. And these are sort of rules that apply no matter what’s happening in the world. Right.
So being of service to the journalists being of service to the audience, making sure that the pitch you are sending is helpful. What is it that you’re trying to achieve? What are you helping that journalist try to achieve? By informing people? Bringing awareness to people about a particular issue or problem? Are you helping them live happier, healthier lives?
Are you sharing a good news story? Good news stories are great. Right now. They’re very relevant, very newsworthy because it does balance out some of the other things that are happening in the world with COVID-19. And some of the other news that’s still happening that may not be happy news.
So it’s really having a critical eye really thinking about this isn’t about me as the business that wants PR. You, again, your, the payoff for you is that you get more eyeballs on yourself, your business, what it is that you’re doing, but that shouldn’t be at the forefront. That shouldn’t be what you’re leading with. It should always be about helping the audience helping the journalists tell better stories, connect with an audience better. So, you know, looking at where can you highlight some of the efforts? Are you working with community groups to help those that are vulnerable? Is there a product that you have that can help people?
Is there some expertise? What’s your expertise? You know, for example, we know a lot of people now are working from home. These are people who have never worked from home before. So maybe you’re somebody who your business has always been based out of your home. Do you have tips to help people you know, manage that routine better tips to help people be more productive in a home office setting?
Maybe you’re, you know, a designer, interior decorator, somebody who deals with, you know that part of the setup. Maybe you can offer tips to help people be more productive to create a productive workspace. Those are all things that are timely, that are relevant, that are newsworthy, they’re not going to fit every news outlet. But there are lots that are producing and remember there are magazines. There are online magazines.
There are websites that are still producing content that might not be daily news, but they’re still producing the content that works within the platform that they have already set up. So you know, being aware of what’s happening, but also being aware of how your niche how your industry, how your expertise fits within the overall arc of the news of the day. So that’s really, really key.
So don’t abandon PR. Be critical. Think critically about what it is that you’re pitching. And just be aware that you know, journalists are busier than ever before. And it’s not just that they’re busy, but that, you know, the network, the show that they have. Maybe it’s all-news network. It is busy. It’s packed with a lot of news. So some of those extra spots that they’ll be using to give context or give interviews is limited.
So make sure that the pitch counts. Think about what it is that you’re offering. Be flexible, be accessible, be available, and know that there may be some shifts in sort of when they say yes, and when things might kind of bump an interview, but be flexible because you don’t want to be so rigid that you get an opportunity and that that because things are flowing in that new cycle that you’re being bumped and then you know you’re irritated because that didn’t happen when they said that it did. Be flexible, because you want to make sure that you’re still going to get the yes and that you’re going to have them coming back to you because you’re understanding. You know how difficult things are, and you’re flexible, accessible and available to them.
Karen Swyszcz 8:08
Mm-hmm. So at this time, I suppose it’s really critical on how you present yourself because people will remember your messaging like, what you said what you did and how you reacted?
Christy Laverty 8:21
Absolutely. It’s, you know, it’s a difficult dance. There is definitely, you know, a call for sensitivity and understanding. And it isn’t business as usual. Right? No, it’s not business as usual for anyone. So I think it is really important to remember that when you are stepping out in that spotlight, whether it’s, you know, a news interview, whether it’s, you know, blog posts that you’re sharing, whether it’s social media because I consider all of that part of your overall media and PR plan. You know, your blog is your owned media, your website, it’s your owned media. Social media is the shared media, that news interview or the coverage is earned media, it all goes hand in hand and even, you know those ads that you might be doing. That’s the paid media part of it. So it all does go hand in hand in your overall plan.
So it is really important to also be thinking about, you know, what are you putting out into the world? You know, are you did you have scheduled social media posts, you know, go back and start looking at those. be thoughtful about what you’re putting out. And, you know, some of that comes with being connected to the news of the day and I know it can be challenging, particularly now, there’s a lot of sad news. There’s a lot of news that can be stressful and anxiety-inducing. But you want to be sure that you’re staying connected to the news cycle things that are happening. So that you know, where you should be going in terms of the direction of social media, so that shared media, your own media, and that earned media.
And, you know, it doesn’t mean being a 24 hours a day, you know, consumer of it. It means being selective, but at least being aware of sort of the headlines like what is happening in Canada in terms of flattening the curve, what’s happening in terms of businesses, and restrictions, what’s happening in terms of the overall tone, so that you can adjust in your, your content, even just taking that idea of pitching the media. You don’t want to be that person who sends a pitch. And again, I always tell people, if you want to see bad pitches and how journalists react to it, go on Twitter and you know, put in the hashtag PR fail and you’ll see some of the things that journalists are getting, even in this time of COVID-19, things that are just tone-deaf that are just not, not in tune with the news cycle.
So you don’t want to be that person who’s pitching a journalist, because this is all going to come to an end at some point, right? And that journalists, they’re going to go back to a more normal flow of news, normal flow of, you know, producing and publishing content. So you don’t want that journalist to remember you as that person who was tone-deaf was off the mark and then was, you know, pestering about it was, you know, not being sensitive to what’s happening in the newsroom, what’s happening in the world, because they do remember people do remember, though, those, those things, so you want to be mindful.
And if you’re not really sure whether now’s the time to pushing up that content or to be pitching. It’s okay to take a step back, and maybe do less posting, maybe not pitch as actively, but work on some other elements of your PR plan so that when you feel like there is room for you to start putting more out there that you’re well-positioned, so maybe that’s, you know, filling out your editorial calendar a bit more, maybe that’s, you know, looking at your media list, maybe that’s working on your media page that you’ve been putting off for a long time.
And really filling that out and making sure that you’ve got those key messaging points on that media page that you’ve got those contact bits that you’ve got some of that the older media appearances, that you just haven’t had time to put up on the media page. So it’s still keeping that media and PR plan active, but just shifting the focus a little bit.
Karen Swyszcz 12:57
You should be happy to note that I actually did finally create a media page and added all my accolades.
Christy Laverty 13:05
Hooray! Yes. Yes.
Karen Swyszcz 13:09
So going back to putting relevant content, especially on social media, and you mentioned on Twitter there, there’s that #PRFail. Have there been an increase in a number of like PR fail since the pandemic or you find you’re finding it’s relatively the same?
Christy Laverty 13:28
You know, in the beginning, there was a lot. The reporters, journalists were still getting pitches that seemed to be completely clueless about what’s happening in the world and you know, there was quite a bit. I was seeing sort of based on the lifestyle. So one I remember and I forget which journalist it was, you know, posting about, they’ve gotten a pitch about shopping you know, picking up the newest bag. You know the purse, you know, those kind of things and they’re like, like the world has literally come to a standstill. I’m not sure that, you know, we’re in a position to, to cover the latest in purse fashion. And it was not to say that that isn’t something relevant, but he wasn’t a fashion magazine. And they dealt in more sort of news of the day. And that kind of stuff was not that it doesn’t have its place. But, you know, when we were sort of at that peak of COVID-19 crisis when, you know, things were really critical news was coming out of Europe, that, you know, things were starting to evolve in North America. That probably wasn’t necessarily the time for that. I think that things have definitely kind of scaled back a little bit in terms of those PR fails because you know, I think that things are a little bit more clear in terms of what makes sense. So, you know, I think that there was a lot of that in the beginning. But again, it’s not that there isn’t a place for that. And this never works at any time. But that sort of mass emailing the mass pitching is where some of those things, you know, kind of look tone-deaf because it was probably a list, right? They kind of pushed out this email pitch this press release to a number of outlets, and, you know, outlets that cover news and maybe had covered that lifestyle.
Now, in this COVID-19 crisis, they’re covering less lifestyle, where everyone is sort of shifting to that Daily News. And they’re not necessarily covering what would call we would call their beats, but in terms of, say, a lifestyle or a fashion magazine publication, on my website, they’re still carrying and covering that kind of content. Because that’s in their mandate. And that still makes sense. We still need that, that outlet, right? We can’t be doom and gloom all the time. You can’t be consuming, you know that news of the day, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We still need to be able to pick up a magazine or read that lifestyle content to give people a break that release, we all need that. And I think sometimes it’s really just about, you know, are you pitching the right story to the right journalist at the right time?
And it’s just, it’s more critical when we’re in a situation like we are with COVID-19 to do the research and think about well, okay, is this more of a broad general media outlet and is that lifestyle reporter who would normally cover this story? Are they still covering that story or have they been pulled off that beat and pulled into that general news flow to help the rest of the newsroom handle the crush of information? So research is even more important now to be making sure that you’re pitching the right journalists the right story at the right time.
Karen Swyszcz 17:09
Mm-hmm. Speaking of the crush of information, do you feel that because we’re not able to physically meet with a lot of people that there is that sense of like over-communicating and do you think the whole like over-communicating like sending all these more, more emails more frequently and, you know, posting constantly do you think that could be potentially causing some overwhelm as well?
Christy Laverty 17:37
You know, I think, you know, especially in the first weeks of this, you know, social distancing, the physical distancing, that working from home, I think that there was a lot of us who were feeling the crush of, you know, how am I going to keep this going? How do I keep communicating? I need to tell people about what I’m doing. You know, I need to get out there and I feel anyways for myself that seems to have levelled off a little bit when now that we’re settling into some kind of new normal if there even is such a thing, but also it’s, you know, we’re starting to get a little bit of context and perspective in terms of what’s happening. And, you know, because in the early days, I think there was so much uncertaint., Not that, you know, there is, you know, a ton more things that are certain, but I suppose with certain is the uncertainty if that makes any sense. I don’t know. You know, and I think that we’re sort of coming to understand that there’s this ebb and flow that, you know, our lives are disrupted, and maybe that’s the new normal.
And I think too, in terms of the flow of information and news there is more now in terms of the context of it and getting perspective. Less about, you know, here’s the daily briefings. Here are the numbers, you know, here’s the rules, here are the policies, but also they’re starting to fill in those gaps of what’s the impact on us. And that gives us all some context, right? So there’s a lot more in terms of, you know, those stories of how people are helping each other. Where we can come together, how friends are helping friends, how families are helping families, how we’re all coping with all of these things. So I think, you know, there’s a less sort of frantic exchange of information. Again, this is how I sort of perceiving it, and more of that sort of ebb and flow, and a little bit more sort of critical sharing of information. So and I think that that’s really a good opportunity for that personal sharing. So some of the content, the content that you might be sharing on the blog. Maybe some of the pitches that you make might be considering sharing with some journalists on your media list.
Because now that we’re kind of coming to that bit of new normal, maybe your business has pivoted, and maybe that’s the story that you think about sharing is, you know, sharing with your community. Sharing with the media of how you shifted, maybe, you know, you’re seeing success in that pivot, and seeing a whole new way of doing business. Maybe you found a whole new niche or industry. And those are really interesting stories to share right now.
Because the other thing to remember about what’s happening is if journalists are really busy covering the news of the day, it’s even harder now to look for those sort of nuggets of good stories, those stories that really give us the sort of the flavor of community. They’re always hard to find. But now with even less time journalists, just have no time to look for those stories. So unless you’re bringing them to them in a pitch or sharing them with them on social, it’s almost impossible to find them. So that’s, you know, something to really keep in mind in terms of what you’re sharing in terms of that social media, the blog post, those pitches.
Karen Swyszcz 21:17
Mm hmm, yeah, I’m finding especially on my LinkedIn profile, people are sharing a lot of the things that they’ve been doing to help their community. And I think actually, although I’m talking about LinkedIn, I saw this on my Twitter feed that Michele Romanow of Clearbanc and who’s a Dragon’s Den, person, she ended up paying someone’s rent. I’m not sure if you saw that.
And then other successful entrepreneurs, they’ve been either donating their time, donating money and someone else who’s not an entrepreneur, but who also struck me is someone of royalty. I think it was from Sweden. It’s the Princess of Sweden. I can’t remember, but someone who’s of a royal position, she ended up going through training to work in the kitchens in the hospital, which I thought was was really great.
So it’s really nice to see that and I think you’re right, you bring up a good point, observing that. we’re kind of now in a different stream of COVID news where people are getting used to this new normal, still sharing how, how they’re coping or how their businesses have pivoted some. So speaking of pivoted, it seems like a lot of businesses, they’re kind of like launching new products and services at this time. So do you feel it’s okay to sell to your audience because I’m seeing kind of, in both people going in both directions, offering a lot of like free resources, free services, but then also people selling things but say at a reduced cost or offering free shipping. What are your thoughts on that?
Christy Laverty 22:56
So it’s interesting because I don’t think that you should be giving everything away. And I know that we’re all struggling to, you know, some, some people are still working, some people are not. Government support is starting to roll out to some people. But I think it’s really important that we’re all trying to make a living. And, you know, offering resources for free is fantastic. And it’s a great way to keep connecting with your audience. I don’t think that you should abandon all sales.
You know, I think where it gets tricky is where you appear to be benefiting from a crisis. So it’s, you know, and that comes to, for me anyway, being critical about the hashtags that you’re sharing. Like some people are hashtagging their stuff with hashtag COVID-19. I don’t love that personally, you know, thinking back to 9/11, September 11. You know, would you use #911 to sell product? No, you would never do that. So I think you know, you have to be critical in terms of how you’re connecting.
It’s okay to sell. People need to buy things. When I go to the restaurant, I don’t expect them to give me food for free. I’m buying from, you know, restaurants in our community. Those are restaurants that I have always enjoyed, you know. Some of them we know the owners, personally, just from going to those restaurants over the years, and I want to be able to buy from them. I want to support their business. I want them to survive.
So I think it’s important to know that, you know, people want to support small businesses. They want to support the businesses that they supported before this all happened. So you want to be able to give them an opportunity to do that. And that’s where, you know, offering it at a really reduced rate giving, you know, a special discount promotion. I think that is absolutely okay. Not everybody’s going to agree with me on that which I get but again, we all need to be able to have businesses to come back to.
This will end at some point. And we want to help as many businesses survive as possible. And how we do that is by buying from businesses. You shouldn’t have to give everything away for free. And you should be able to give people an opportunity to support you.
The customers who, you know, enjoyed your services and products beforehand, they want to support you. So, you know, keeping that in mind is key. And I think you shouldn’t abandon sales because the world has changed. You may have to change your approach. Like you change your pitching. Like you change your social media like you change the content that you’re sharing. And just, you know, again, being critical, being aware of, you know, the tone in the world and what’s okay today might not be okay tomorrow or next week, or what’s not okay today might be okay next week, as we sort of shift. So being able to pivot being in that ebb and flow. And part of that is, again, as I always tell people being connected to the new cycle being, again aware, and it doesn’t mean being like this constant consumer because I know that you know, on a good day news can be difficult.
Now with what’s happening in the world, it’s even harder. So you know, set up some Google Alerts. Subscribe to, you know, some newsletters, The Skim out of the States. You know, here in Canada, there’s one called thebullet.ca. I think CBC News has something. So those come into your inbox, you can read the headlines, you can follow links if you want more, but it’s just to keep you sort of connected. And being a little bit more aware of, you know, the tone, the mood of the news cycle, and you know, what’s happening in the world really dictates, you know, our moods, right? Of how, you know, open we are to, you know, continue to buy to be, you know, comfortable. And so that’s going to help entrepreneurs figure out what makes sense in terms of, you know, selling in that marketing part and the key messages that you want to share. It’s an ebb and flow. You have to be able to kind of go with it as you move forward. But I don’t think we should be abandoning all sales. It’s how we support ourselves. Small businesses drive economies, and if we have a chance to come out of this with a strong economy, it really is going to be about supporting small businesses.
Karen Swyszcz 27:41
I agree. What advice would you give to someone if they wanted to say support small businesses but they didn’t have the financial means to do so but they still wanted to provide support?
Christy Laverty 27:53
So I think you know, again, we, we are so lucky that we are connected. That the internet connects us all. Social media is there. And, you know, you see a lot of these fundraising efforts. You know, this is a good example of it, right? You can’t necessarily buy from everybody. And maybe, you know, you can’t support every charity, but you can share, right? So you can share a tweet, you can share a post on Facebook, you can, you know, share on Twitter and let people know about, you know, the awesome businesses in your community.
You know, anything from amazing products to great customer service, you know, any promotions, I think that you know, we forget that the whole part of social media in the beginning when all of these platforms were launched, it was really about connecting and finding community and sharing things.
Sometimes I think we get lost in the noise of social media and forget that, that’s really, you know, the great part of it. So if you can’t buy from you know, your local businesses, you know, maybe it’s a great course that you know somebody offers, and you’re not in a position to buy, but you know that it’s super useful and that somebody might find it, the thing that they needed to hear or the thing that they needed to buy.
Share it, share it with your community, maybe you have a newsletter, a dedicated list of people. Sharing your newsletters and offer to highlight some of those local businesses or the businesses in your sort of supporting the industry and feature somebody on your newsletter. And that’s a great way to support because you may be able to connect even one person with that small business and they buy something. That’s one additional sale that they wouldn’t have had if you didn’t connect your people, your community to that business.
So I think it’s you know, you can’t discount the power of sharing information. And because again, going back to, you know, media and PR that’s really what it’s about, right? It’s about sharing. So if you can use your media platforms, your shared media, your owned media, like your blog or your newsletter, use that as a way to support others. It’s a great way to do that without having to spend the money.
Karen Swyszcz 30:14
Yeah, for sure. And now the fact that people are spending a lot more time on social media, checking their feeds, it’s definitely the right time to share.
Christy Laverty 30:24
Yeah, I mean, I’ve, you know, joined a couple of groups, all based, you know, all started with COVID-19. And one of them is all about supporting restaurants in our community. So I live you know, in Burlington, Ontario, and it’s been a fantastic group because I’m learning about restaurants that I didn’t know were there. And you know, people are sharing “Oh, fantastic meal, great service, you know, the prices were great”, and it’s a great way to connect. It’s that marketing piece, right, because all of these people who are in this group are learning about restaurants. So many of us have eaten at restaurants that we had never eaten at before. And that’s all because of this local group that was about sharing. And, you know, it’s not about buying from every restaurant in there but supporting a few, learning about a few. So that when you can support a restaurant right now, fantastic, but when this is all over, and we’re, we’re back to a newer normal, we can go out and support these restaurants. So it’s just a small way to connect. Use the platforms that we have available to us and connect on a bigger way in a bigger way.
Karen Swyszcz 31:38
Yeah, definitely. So I know pretty much like the majority of people, they want to publish things and they have good intent. But what happens if they end up publishing something that had good intentions, but for whatever reason, it ended up blowing up in their face, how should they handle it?
Christy Laverty 31:54
You know, I think it’s always important to sort of own things. Like we can’t be perfect all the time. We don’t all have all of the answers. And I think it really is how you react if things, you know if it’s not well received, and you realize that maybe you made a mistake, or maybe a mistake isn’t the right word maybe, you know, see things differently.
I always think it’s better to just say that to say, I’ve heard what you’ve said, I’ve listened. I’ve thought about it. And, you know, I think I see things differently now. And I, you know, I thank you for this exchange of information, this debate, this dialogue, I think, because a lot of times, things go wrong, and then people react badly because it’s, it never feels good to be on the receiving end of things that go badly. It’s human nature, right?
And you can’t be perfect all the time. So I think it’s, it’s important to embrace things I’ve posted things on Facebook where I’ve shared some content and then gone back and looked and went maybe it wasn’t my own content, but it was news related and looked and went, you know, oh, shoot. Yeah. you know what that headline was a bit, you know, too much clickbait or the article was not you know what I thought it was, you know, I’ve taken it down. Apologies or, you know, people have commented you go, yeah, you know what? Yeah, I see that now. I always think it’s better to not be defensive, but be open to dialogue.
And then if you see things in a different way, after you’ve had dialogue, it’s okay to say, you know what, I’ve taken it down or write a new post about the new perspective you’ve learned. And it’s okay to delete things off of social media, right? Like if something you post on Facebook and it kind of is going sideways, apologize and delete and then move on. It happens to the best of us. It happens when there is so much information being shared. And sometimes it can be really hard to decipher. You know what’s right. What’s fact? What’s not? I mean, heck, they’re world leaders who are struggling with what’s fact and what’s not. So be kind to yourself know that you know, nobody’s perfect. But you know, except that sometimes things go that way, acknowledge and move on is the best approach I think.
Karen Swyszcz 34:15
As much as I know the importance of being visible and active on social media to connect with people and to promote your business. For me, to be honest, these days, I feel I want to be less present because it seems kind of noisy, but I mean, it’s good too, in the sense that people are who weren’t active on social media are being active. But I think for me, I’m concerned about saying the wrong thing or if it’s taken the wrong way, even though I had nothing but good intentions. And I think it often ties back to what we are reading or hearing or seeing on the news that things are constantly changing during these unprecedented times. And I feel I can experience a wide variety of emotions like within a day.
Christy Laverty 35:00
Yeah, and you know what it kind of makes sense. I mean, even on the best of days, social media can be difficult. And you know, a lot is lost in having that, you know, typing the response, it’s okay to take a step back. And really sometimes, maybe it’s spending less time interacting with people but still sharing sort of content that you think is useful.
So really trying your best, still being personal but taking the sort of strong opinions out and it’s hard for me I’m, I have strong opinions on a lot of things. And, you know, I myself have to kind of take a step back and also, you know, kind of use some of that critical journalistic thinking, right, so remember just the facts.
If you present things in terms of the facts that you know, or, you know, framing it in your personal experience, you’re not speaking for others, but in your personal experience, you know, this is how it’s affected you or this is how it’s affecting your business, or this is how it’s affecting your family.
But also, you know, trying to keep some of the judgment out of it. And, you know, sharing facts about what you’re doing and how you’re helping people or maybe just how you’re helping yourself, that’s okay. But it’s also okay to kind of, you know, take a bit of a break, maybe post less often, maybe engage with people less often, if you feel like it’s only going to kind of hurt you, or maybe pull you down into that spiral of, of social media. We’ve all been there, right? So it’s, you know, finding a bit of a balance. And, you know, it’s okay to kind of keep sharing some of the stuff that you were doing before, as long as it makes sense.
And again, just having a critical eye, like think a little bit about what you’re sharing, you know, and I think social media sometimes can be a bit mindless. So if we’d be a little bit more mindful about what we’re sharing It can still allow, allow all of us to connect and, you know, share what we’re doing. Because I fear that the noisiness and the sort of anxiety that we’re all feeling that’s sort of being translated through social media, well, force some people to go silent. And I think the trouble there is, is that you still want to make sure that, you know, your business is being seen, even if maybe you’re taking, you know, a bit of a break, maybe, you know, if you aren’t able to pivot with your business, but you still need to sort of be there so that you’re not forgotten. You know, when things start to kind of go back to a bit more of a new normal when some of the restrictions are eased.
You want people to know that you’re still there. I caution people on completely abandoning, you know, being visible, but just sort of trying to find a way to stay visible without necessarily being pulled into the drama
Karen Swyszcz 37:58
Mm-hmm. Yeah. What I’ve been finding that’s been working for me is doing a lot of the Zoom chats and podcasts recordings such as this, and also participating in like virtual webinars and events. Like, that’s how I find I’ve been able to engage but to not feel so overwhelmed.
Christy Laverty 38:16
Yeah, I mean, it’s finding the balance, right and knowing, you know, when you’re feeling like it’s getting to you a bit, just shut it off, it doesn’t have to be all-consuming and you don’t have to necessarily be on all platforms all the time. I mean, again, on a given, you know, good day that’s challenging. So if there’s, you know, platforms that are that you’re finding more challenging than others, you know, just kind of put them on mute for a bit and come back to them when you’re feeling better about them, or when things have kind of settled down. Because, you know, we all know that there are platforms that are noisier than others. You know, Twitter is a challenging one.
Karen Swyszcz 38:55
Christy Laverty 38:56
It’s a great one to use to connect. With media and to do research, but also, you know, to sort of see what, what’s happening in the world, but it is definitely one that you can fall down the hole of drama, and, you know, the back and forth and it’s, you know, maybe not seen as, you know, a platform that is as friendly as some of the others. So, you know, just knowing that when you, you’re there, and, you know, sometimes it’s okay to sort of just get in and get out as quickly as possible on some platforms, being okay with that, and knowing that that’s just the way it is at some, you know, some moments, some days and just kind of managing around that.
Karen Swyszcz 39:39
Yeah, for sure. So one more question. I’d like to ask you, since you have been working from home for quite some time, what advice would you give to people who are new to working from home and seem to be struggling with it?
Christy Laverty 39:53
Yeah, I think it’s, you know, we started off a couple of times here, which you know, the listeners won’t hear. But knowing that when you’re at home life is a little unpredictable. I have dogs, they bark sometimes. You can’t control when you know the Amazon guy might be dropping, dropping something off at the door. And that’s okay.
The one thing that I am enjoying, particularly even just seeing, you know, people on the news, reporters, anchors delivering the news from their homes. A couple of weeks ago, a CTV reporter was doing his segment with Lisa LaFlamme on CTV News Channel from his home and he had a cat and the cat got up and walked in front of the shot. To be honest, I thought it was hilarious. The reporter appeared very embarrassed by that and I completely understand that part of it too, but I think that you know, accepting a certain amount of humanity of the situation. I think people are really understanding and so much more tolerant because we are all in this together.
So I think A. – Give yourself a break know that life happens, but also you know this if home is not your normal workspace, then adjust. Home is my normal workspace it has been for a long time. So be a bit more flexible, certainly set up a bit of a routine have a space that you normally work from. And if you can adjust hours that you work, try to do that when maybe the kids are doing their own schoolwork in classes or you know, maybe the kids once they go to bed and the house is quiet, if you can work on some things that didn’t need to be done during that sort of maybe traditional nine to five take that time when the house is quiet to work on some of those things.
But you know, certainly find a good working spot, try to stick to some kind of a routine and don’t necessarily worry about not being 100% productive 100% of the time. I think that’s the interesting thing is is that we are all in this really weird situation of a global pandemic. So it totally makes sense that things are not going to be as they once were when you were working in the office, but being kind to yourself finding a good place to work, you know, trying to keep some sense of a routine really is helpful.
And you know, communicating that’s the other thing that I think is a challenge for people when you’re working from home and let’s face it, if you have kids, the kids are home to you know, if you live with a partner, spouse, they’re home too and your pets are home too. So not much you can do to communicate to pets, but if you need to. You know, my pets were very communicative the beginning barking but you know, letting people know in the house, Hey, you know what, I’ve got a call coming up, you know, I’m going to be on the call for 20 minutes, 30 minutes an hour, you know, can I get a little bit of quiet time, letting people know that you’ve got things coming up, makes things a lot easier, then, you know, hopping on a call and then having kids in the background. They don’t know that you need quiet, it can be challenging, so communicate what the schedule is, like as much as possible and let people know everybody’s understanding, I think at this point that life and work are all intermingling. And it is what it is until it isn’t anymore. So (laughs).
Karen Swyszcz 43:12
Communication is definitely important to you when you’re working and other people are in your home. Yeah it’s funny because before like, when I would be recording podcast episodes, and my husband would be at work, I just didn’t think anything of it and now that he is at home, working from home in the basement, I let him know like the day of “Oh, I have calls at this time or I’ve podcast recordings at this time, so please don’t bother me.”
Christy Laverty 43:34
You just have to let people know because again, it’s a new normal for them as much as it’s a new normal for you. I mean, that’s kind of what we find right? You know, for you working from home was kind of a normal thing. So and you’ve had to make some adjustments in your schedule to now that there is somebody else in your work office. So it’s all been an adjustment and I think I’ve done you know, podcasts. I’ve been on calls Where I’ve just said, ‘Hey, you know what, this is a house of, you know many people and some pets. So there might be times where you’re going to hear them in the background’. So I do my best to not allow that to happen. But you know, it is going to happen from time to time. And as long as I think here, you let people know, everybody is pretty much in the same boat these days. So again, you plod along, ebb and flow, pivot when you can, and you do what you can.
Karen Swyszcz 44:28
Thank you so much for all this advice. It was very helpful.
Christy Laverty 44:31
Well, thanks for coming on. As I often say, I could probably talk forever about media and PR and all things communication. So I always love the chance. So I appreciate coming back on with you and talking and you know, hope everybody gets through this and you know, we support each other and support small businesses, and that will be all back to some kind of a new normal and enjoying our lives in person. Sometimes soon I hope.
Karen Swyszcz 45:02
Mm hmm definitely. Thanks again everyone for tuning in and stay tuned for more episodes. Ciao for now.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai