Forbes Communications Council is an invitation-only organization for communications, public relations, public affairs and media relations executives. Members are successful executives from world-class companies, each bringing a wealth of experience to the table. In this spotlight series, we profile our incredible members and share their advice with you. This week: Jennifer Zeidler.
We asked her four important questions. Her answers are below:
How did your career as a communications executive take off, and what do you attribute your success to most?
My career as a marketing and public relations executive took off when I began doing in-house PR for tech companies. Prior to working with start-ups, however, I was an Emmy-award winning television producer. During my time as a journalist, I produced shows such as Fox News, Inside Edition, American Journal and The Travel Channel, and wrote articles for People Magazine. My professional journey took a turn when I went from reporting stories to pitching them as a public relations, social media and digital marketing executive.
Now, as the VP of marketing and communications at FreeConferenceCall.com, I lead a full team of marketing and PR professionals. As it turns out, that career move was less of a total departure and more of a springboard. In fact, it’s the breadth and depth of my experience across different industries (entertainment, news, travel, retail, health and wellness, and telecommunications) that has afforded me extensive knowledge of all mediums and social channels – broadcast, print and digital. I have learned how to leverage the media as well as secure paid and earned placements, all while maintaining a constant laser-focus on customers.
The key to success in this industry is to live and breathe the brand or brands you represent and know the business from every angle. Because I began my career in communications as a journalist, I can now successfully pitch the story of a brand with unique news angles that get noticed. In other words, reporters know how to get other reporters to pay attention. I attribute most of my success (beyond the benefits of memorizing the AP Style Guide) to the mentors I was fortunate enough to have early on in my career. When I asked what I could do to pay back my role model for her career advice, she said, “Simply give it back to someone else one day.” And, throughout my career, I have always tried to do just that.
How do you keep yourself passionate and driven regardless of how busy you are day to day?
I stay driven because I thrive on the energy of my work and my team. I work remotely from Chicago, so I hop on a plane to Southern California to reenergize and engage face-to-face with my co-workers. Also, the passion and momentum of the leadership team at FreeConferenceCall.com, and its founder and CEO David Erickson, are as contagious as the products we offer. When you work with passionate people — and a product that people are passionate about — it’s easy to stay in the right gear: full-speed ahead.
What do you see as the future of the communications industry?
In my opinion, the future of communication will be shaped by real-time interaction tools and global networks. Saving money on business travel, meetings and getting things done virtually is the way of the future. So while workers continue to meet around the conference room table, more and more are connecting remotely. With 75 percent of companies worldwide now promoting flexible work policies, a new global record has been hit: 1.3 billion mobile workers. With the numbers rising so rapidly, mobile communication and collaboration is the future for both work and personal use.
What is your best communications strategy tip for businesses?
Pick up the phone and tell your story to anyone who will listen. There is power in going “old school.” Texting and emailing are fine, but sometimes the best thing a communications strategist or business owner can do is pick up the phone.