Reflecting on my First Year at Caster!

Four hundred days ago today, I started my career at Caster, and the world of tech PR became my life overnight. My introduction to the industry was a baptism by fire, as I kicked off my career during CEDIA Expo season and witnessed firsthand all the hustle and bustle that comes with supporting clients through a major trade show. A short period of smooth sailing followed as I adjusted to the role, which included ramping up PR initiatives for brand new clients, learning the ropes of working at an award-winning agency, and starting to help secure press wins.

While the first six months went swimmingly, 2020 brought on one of the most obscure predicaments a PR person can face: a pandemic. I can tell you with certainty that August 2019 Lexie did not expect a crisis like this to hit during her first 6 months of her career. But yeah, it happened.

As a recently promoted senior account coordinator with a year of twists and turns under my belt, I’ve learned to embrace the chaos and roll with the punches. As a result, I’ve experienced immense growth as a writer, a thinker, a creator, and a team member here at Caster. Here are some of the principal lessons I’ve learned along the way.

Talking the Talk, and Talking a Lot

Public relations got its name for a reason – our job is to cultivate relationships with publics, meaning all of our client’s stakeholders, fans, customers, and beyond. Forming these relationships takes a lot of clear, thoughtful communication across all types of platforms. From social media to blog and from contributed articles to speaking proposals, I’ve learned that words matter more than anything when it comes to successful PR, especially when facing sensitive discussions and crises.

Beyond PR strategy, one of the most important realizations I’ve had is that every single conversation that takes place in a PR pro’s career has an impact on the success of the agency and our clients. For me, that means careful consideration across eight different account teams in the office, productive emails and calls with clients, and countless media touch points daily. The relationships I personally leverage with the Caster team, journalists, editors, analysts, and beyond are equally as important as the ones that are public. We all lean on each other to succeed, so communicating clearly, concisely, and transparently makes all the difference. Especially during these increasingly digital-heavy times, this has proven time and time again to be one of the most effective methods to get things done.

Finding Confidence in Joining A Team of Legends

Something I’ve loved since the start of my job is that everyone at Caster brings something new to the table – from incredible writers to the creative minds behind mind-blowing PR campaigns, I am truly learning from the best and gaining a fuller, more diverse perspective of the industry every day. This said, PR can be an intimidating, high-stakes job, but when done well, it packs the thrill of success. As a young professional, I’ve learned that one of the most important traits I can have is confidence.

This is easier said than done, as a 23-year old telling the stories of disrupters in a fast-growing tech industry, but I found a way to make it work. PR is a job that involves constant evolution and improvement. A valuable lesson I’ve taken away from my first year in a PR agency that has helped me soar is that there is no such thing as perfect, but the right attitude, focus, and hard work leads to outstanding results. It’s the mindset of continuous improvement and growth that makes extraordinary impact.

Anticipating, But Never Expecting

After only working with some smaller campaign teams and marketing roles before Caster, one skill I had to work hard to develop was the ability to always think about what was coming next – how quarterly goals flow into each other, how messaging ties into a brand’s overall story, and how to keep things fresh and relevant. PR requires a unique mix of a keen attention to detail and a knack for seeing the big picture, and striking the balance was tough at first.

This balance came when I learned to live vicariously through my clients and make it a point to anticipate all types of scenarios, challenges, problems, and opportunities from the perspective of not only their leaders, but also their audience. It’s imperative to know what matters to them, what makes them tick, how they respond to all types of circumstances, and how my clients’ brands fit in. These elements guide the way we communicate across every single platform, blog post, article, interview, and beyond.

Things do not always ago according to plan, as the pandemic we are living through has clearly revealed. Relying on rigid planning and content won’t always work when we can’t see what’s around the corner. Stepping outside of my comfort zone to adapt this strategy has made all the difference in all aspects of practicing PR and has helped me support clients and other companies doing incredible things during this time.

With this, I’m proud to say I have one year of unmatched tech PR experience under my belt, and I look forward to many more years of growth.

Follow me on Twitter @lexie_gardiner and @CasterComm for client news, updates, and fun!

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