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PR Interview with Jeff Domansky – The Coach

January 25, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

No doubt that when I get the opportunity to build my PR All Star team, this guy will be The Coach. An accomplished PR professional and author of PRoactive: The Public Relations Job Hunter’s Guide, he is probably best known by most of us as ThePRCoach online.

While I’ve been fortunate to get to know Jeff a bit over the last couple of years, if it wasn’t for this Q&A project, I never would have learned that he built his own cedar strip canoe and survived a near fatal spinal injury when surfing in Hawaii. Every coach has a story. To learn more, please enjoy the following interview with Jeff Domansky for episode 007.

Jeff, you’ve been running The PR Coach site (one of my favs) as blogger, editor and publisher for the last couple of years and you’ve been CEO of Peak Communications for 18 years, how do you balance the two?

Balancing your work, family and online presence is always a challenge as you know Paul. I’m very disciplined about when and how I spend my social media time. On the PR/social media client consulting side you’re at the disposal of your clients. If your client has a crisis or a social media or marketing challenge, it’s your challenge too.

Q&A signHow much time do you put to these two positions?

I spend about two to three hours a day on social media and another couple of hours a week writing blog posts. I’ve developed a couple of unique ways to save time researching, reading and posting. Stay tuned.

In other words, dude, do you ever sleep?  

Sleep does not compute, LOL.

You are one of the best PR bloggers out there and your work is always well read and widely circulated on social media, so who are some of your favorite PR bloggers?

Apart from the 230+ PR bloggers in my PR Library? I have a few that I keep a close eye on: Jay Baer (Convince & Convert); Brad Phillips (Mr Media Training); Deirdre Breakenridge; Kevin Dugan & Richard Laermer (Bad Pitch Blog); Jeff Esposito; Lou Hoffman (Ishmael’s Corner); Heather Yaxley, etc. (PR Conversations)

Have you ever written a blog that you thought was one of you best pieces only to see it not get the attention or reaction that you expected? If so, which one(s)?  

I have two favorite posts that never jumped for some mysterious reason: Will That Be Value or Values with Your PR? and Public Relations: Great or Gone in 7 Seconds?. Oddly enough they were two of the easy ones to write. On the flip side, who can explain the huge traffic I still get for Bad News Releases: 25 Press Release Turkeys? Truth really is stranger than fiction.

What is the story behind the “The Coach” handle?

The PR Coach persona really fits me well. When I’ve run agencies in the past, what I enjoyed the most was PR counsel for clients and young PR pros. I’ve had several terrific mentors in my career and I’ve always believed in paying it back and forward by doing the same.

The CoachHow do you explain your job to friends and family?

Well, I certainly don’t use PRSA’s definition of PR. Depends who I’m talking to. If it’s my mother-in-law, I say it’s “sorta like advertising without the ads.” These days, it would be meaningful to talk about public relations in terms of “social PR.” Maybe creating and managing communication with key individuals and communities would capture it?

If you could do anything outside of PR / Communications, what would you choose and why?

I’d be an English professor. I originally started university in pre-law but after one year switched to English and history. I was partway through my masters degree when I decided to take a year off work. I got a job as an ad copywriter, moved into PR after several years and never looked back. How cool is it to get paid for writing and ideas?

How did you get into public relations?

My first PR experience was in nonprofit. I learned to do everything with nothing and to not be shy about asking anyone for advice, including the media. I spent several great years in government public affairs but the majority of my career has been in PR agencies.

If you could change one thing about the PR industry, what would it be?

I wish we could get out of the media relations “straitjacket.” I hate it when clients think every solution is media coverage. What’s up with that?

What does PR/Comms industry look like in 5 years?

In five years, our role will still be very similar to what it is today. That is, providing communication solutions regardless of the shiny new tools of the day, the challenges of people or organizations or the shifting media platforms.

Do you make any attempt to differentiate you personal from your professional social media persona? If so, how?

No. My PR Coach persona is very true to my own personality. Be smart, be well read, write well, be a leader and share.

The best PR / Communications people you’ve ever worked with share what quality?

Prolific readers and writers, quick studies, steady under pressure and obsessively curious.

What is the the last PR / Comms book you’ve read and would you recommend it?

 Two recent favorites; both highly recommended. Paul Smith’s Lead with a Story and Content Strategy for the Web by Kristina Halverson. If you’re curious about business storytelling, Smith’s book is a must-read.

What advice would you give young professionals just starting out in this industry?

My advice mirrors those PR pro qualities I mentioned earlier with a couple of tweaks. Be a prolific reader and writer. Be obsessively curious about social media and new technology. Learn how business works and how to read and interpret financials. Find a mentor and always share. Marketing is not a bad word except when it’s used in PR.

Do you subscribe to any print publications (newspaper or  magazines)?

In the past two years, I’ve cut back to just my daily newspaper, a couple of business publications and two lifestyle mags. I read everything else online including traditional media like The New York Times, CNN, Economist to online media like Forbes, Huffington Post, Gawker and Buzz Feed. I also monitor a pretty active RSS feed with more than 350 media and blogs. Of course there it’s headline scanning.

Have you ever deleted a Tweet / post? If so, why?

Nope. Live or die by your comments.

If you were interviewing yourself, what would you ask and how would you answer?

Q: Where did you get that warped sense of humor?
A: I was the kid with the smart mouth in English class. Fortunately, my teachers got the jokes and liked my writing. They also fostered my love of reading anything and everything.

Immediate reaction to the following (in one or two words preferably):

Twitter: essential
Facebook: Farcebook
Google+: some day
Klout: relevant yet?
Corporate blogs: critical
LinkedIn: necessary, evolving
Pintrest: possibilities
Social media: need for speed
Public relations: = social PR

Still need more of Jeff? Check out: 
Twitter: http://twitter.com/ThePRCoach
LinkedIn: http://ca.linkedin.com/in/jeffdomansky
Blog: http://www.theprcoach.com/pr-blog
Curation: http://www.scoop.it/t/public-relations-insight

If you like this interview, please also check out recent interviews with Jeff Beauregard,  Jules ZunichFrank StrongKrista Giuffi and Lisa Zone.

Q&A image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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