Until 1995, I ran a NY PR firm, BL Ochman Public Relations, and was blessed with great, household name clients and extraordinary employees. Together, we grew it into one of the top 100 independent PR firms in the US.
The Internet was new
One day, in 1994, I saw the Internet. It was like nothing else I’d ever seen, and I was instantly struck by its coolness; its vastness; and the amazing people who were its creators.
I closed my PR firm soon after that, took a year off, and re-tooled myself. There was no class you could take, no creative technologist degree, no webinar to teach you how to market yourself. I looked at everything that people and companies were doing and saying. And whenever I saw something interesting, I called the person and said “can I talk to you, can I interview you, can I learn from you, will you show me…..”
Everyone said “yes”
And everyone said yes. I started writing about what I thought the Internet would do to communications and to marketing. To my amazement, IBM called me, and Ford, and other big companies and asked me to come talk to them about the Internet and how it would impact brands.
Being stuffed with opinions, as I am, I was thrilled. I also took on the leadership of a list of called IPR, which stood for Internet PR, with about 10,000 subscribers. I began aggregating PR-related news and sharing it with the list twice a week.
Pretty soon, I knew I had to have my own blog because there was just so damn much going on that I wanted to share it with people on a daily basis. In the early days, I posted as often as 10 times a day. My client load soon made that schedule impossible, but I never stopped blogging.
I blog for the love of it, and so everything that has come of it has been a huge but unexpected bonus. What’s Next Blog has been my storefront, my own personal bit of Internet real estate, and my ticket to meeting wonderful people in all walks of life.
Meeting Hugh Macleod
In the early days of blogging, we bloggers were eager to talk to each other. We linked to each other, commented on each other’s posts, and, called each other on the phone.
Hugh Macleod used to call me from Scotland, where he lived then. We’d ask each other, “are we crazy, should we get jobs?” And then we’d laugh and say we were sure we could make something out of this blogging thing somehow.
I got to hire Hugh to do the art direction for Up Your Budget, the first online treasure hunt, which I created for Cendant’s Budget Car rental. And we finally met in London a couple of years later. We’ve been buds all along.
If it were not for blogging, I’d never have met and become friends with Seth Godin, or Steve Rubel or David Armano, Toby Bloomberg, Judy Vorfeld, Robert Scoble, or David Berkowitz or Ann Handley, or the dozens of other incredibly talented people who blogged in the early days and are still blogging today.
And I’m quite sure I never would have had clients like Cendant, IBM, McGraw-Hill Meijer, American Greetings, and more. Or been headhunted into a Managing Director position at WPP.
I blog for the love of it
I am not one to blog in my underwear. How I stay focused is to get dressed every morning, put on makeup, comb my hair, and caffeinate like mad. But before that, even when I have to get up at 5 a.m. to do it, I spend an hour in Central Park with my dog, Benny. Because I can. And because it’s how I clear my head and renew my energy.
By following my heart, and exercising my head, I have seen my blog change my life for the much better, and I’m just as happy blogging today as I was 10 years ago.