She won the 2009 award for “Best Social Media Content Guru” from the Utah Social Media Club, and her webinar entitled “Creating a Killer Publicity Strategy with Online News Releases” for PR Web was attended by thousands and earned her a spot on PR Web’s list of “Best PRWeb Webinars of 2009.
Janet has spoken around the country to the PRSA, PRSSA, at major universities, on webinars and at many conferences.
When I started my career I was newlywed and newly graduated with a degree in conservation biology. I didn’t plan on starting a career. In my mind I was simply supporting my husband through grad school. Yes, I was starting a career, I just didn’t know it yet.
I remember a woman who said God gave her jobs. I thought it was a bit strange but later I saw her point. I feel I was pointed toward my career as an online marketer. I recognized the impact the moment I heard about it. I think angels started singing and it instantly became the focus of my professional life. When I look back it all makes sense, but at the time it didn’t seem to.
My first job out of college was answering the phones at an internet startup. I got a lot of calls about broken links so I taught myself HTML in order to fix them. In the process, I learned the internet in depth. This was key to my future.
Years later I had my first child and stopped working full time. I thought I wanted to be a stay at home mom, but the problem was it was boring and isolating. When I looked for friends I found that I didn’t fit in with the other moms. We also needed money, so I started thinking about finding a job.
I saw a flyer for a neighborhood meeting and decided to go. That’s where I heard about a part time job as a community organizer through Americorps. It was a one year commitment. My only question was, could I bring my son to work with me? The answer was yes and that became the next step on my journey.
That job proved to be a godsend and provided a soft landing for me. A year after I finished my work, when I was getting a divorce, they called me to interview for a job I hadn’t applied for. I got it the job the same day, which was good. My life was in upheaval and I had no money at all, only a credit card. There I did PR (public relations) because there was no one else on our small staff to do it. I was the default network administrator too. My first PR win was to land a story about one of my projects on the front page of the local newspaper. Later I took what I learned as a community organizer to online communities.
Each of my jobs taught me something I needed or introduced me to people I learned from. For example, being a recruiting assistant at Novell demystified the hiring process. I learned to interview and market myself well, a skill I’ve used almost every day. Due to my time at Novell, getting a job has never been difficult for me. In fact, one of my friends teases me about how I can get a job easier than anyone he’s ever met.
I found that this community of online marketers and developers were incredibly open and gracious. I gained and learned so much from many amazing people, such as my friend Paul who was the first person to tell me about internet marketing. We bought ebooks, shared ideas and blog posts. We talked about ideas for marketing online whenever we worked together.
Since I have a bad memory, I wanted to document what I was learning about internet marketing. So I started my blog Newspapergrl.com, which helped me gain a following. My book, I Need a Killer Press Release, Now What???, and the reputation I built finally led to what I’ve wanted all these years.
Penelope Trunk cites research about how most women want to work part time or do freelance work once they become moms. She writes, “The best way to stay home with kids and not lose your mind from boredom is to pay someone to take care of your kids while you do freelance work.” That’s what I hoped for and what seemed possible since I can do my work from just about anywhere.
It worked. Today I help businesses become more visible and findable online. I organize blogger events for local businesses, manage social media (blogs, Facebook and Twitter) and write optimized press releases. In addition to driving online traffic and sales, some of my press releases have landed clients on TV, in newspapers and magazines.
I feel blessed to be where I am now. There were times it was scary and I never want to repeat them. It was fun but still really, really hard. However, life is good. Not only do I get to do what I love on my terms, I'm a mom and I have a supportive husband. In fact, according to him, I’m the highest earning “paid at home mom” on the block.