Monday, July 28, 2014

Dear Small Business Owners: Do you have Facebook? If not, Get One

Dear Small business owners,

I have a passion to help busy small business owners make their businesses more successful. One big thing people often forget is their social media strategy. Most people use Google to find businesses to fulfill a need or desire they have. A few weeks ago I was interested in finding a clothing store to pick up some feminine, vintage finds. I had heard of one and decided to look it up. Instead of visiting the store and hoping for the best, I looked it up on Facebook.  I wanted to know if the store had reviews or any Facebook fans. The store I had heard of had very little interaction on the Facebook, and had only posted a few times. I didn't want to drive far out to go to a store I couldn't find any information on, so I kept looking and found another one with a update page and eventually made a purchase. The other store could have garnered my interest with their Facebook. I would have been satisfied with 10 likes and 5 pictures! Just have something to advertise your product to me!

Focusing on customer satisfaction and quality products is important. If you have both of those things, the next most important aspect is your online presence. Even if you only spend 20 minutes once a day putting a post on Facebook, or find a young college student to update your website, do it! I can not stress that enough.Stay within budget, keep it simple, but make sure something is there to represent your business that contains current contact and location information.

At the end of the day, profits are the goal. Create goals for your website and social media. Use tracking websites such as Google Analytics or Crazy Egg (more info on those here: Do not spend money you do not have or set unrealistic goals. For instance, do not expect to have 500 Facebook fans in the first 6 months. Quality matters more than quantity, and 70 dedicated fans is better than 1000 likes but no engagement or interaction. Don't get weary, people always think that they should have 1,000's of followers on Facebook and a million clicks a day on their website. The point is to have that presence there so that if people decide to participate, they can.

A great way to jumpstart your Facebook is to get friends and family involved. Have them like, respond, and maybe even give a few friends (as in no more than 3, you are not a charity) small samples of the product to test. Let them know this is the only time they will get a free sample. This is a great way to get some supporters and they can start telling whomever they meed about the product they tried and loved. A great fun way to do that is similar to a Mary Kay or Avon Party. This allows people to see up close what they are buying. One last idea, if you have the budget, is to have a website launching party. I'll have more on marketing events in another post.

Sorry if I overloaded you with information! Feel free to comment if you have any questions.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Busy busy! Infographic on the PR Process

This has been a busy crazy summer so far! I am enjoying my experience and learning from the ups and downs of political public relations.
Here is an amazing infographic illustrating on the different PR processes  you can use for your company or non-profit.
Sorry it's not the clearest, but from the starting line it's headlines are:

  • Strategic plan
    • PR Plan or Corporate Vision
  • Key Messages & Positioning
    • Competitors, Target
  • Draft Materials
    • Background, Releases
  • Executive Training
    • Speaking, Presentation, Background
  • Analyst Briefings
    • Identification, Feedback
  • Message Refinement
    • Marketplace, Competitors, Targets
  • Trade Press Briefings
    • Press Tours, Hosted Visits, Teleconferences
  • Public Launch
    • Webinars, Email Flashes
  • Trade Show Support
    • Press Appointments, Private Demos
  • Speaker Opportunities
    • Conferences, Seminars, Public Forums
  • Partnership Announcements
    • Technology, Distribution, International
  • User Success Stories
    • Roundups/Awards
    • Industry Specific or Beta Users
  • Tracking
    • coverage
    • awareness
    • understanding

So many different aspects! No PR is not just planning an event and sending out invitations to reporters!

Best of luck!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Eric Cantor Not Re-elected is NOT Shocking

You may be one of the many people who were shocked that Eric Cantor was not re-elected. I am not.

I have found that so many people are fed up with Congress and the game of pretending you care about constituents. You don't!  David Brat garnered appeal for multiple reasons: he was a constituent and he seemed to understand Virginians more than Cantor. He was not looking down on Virginians and living his lavish lifestyle like Cantor seemed to be. After Cantor was booed recently he should have known something was wrong. 

Other Congressman need to pay attention to Cantor's loss!

You cannot be disconnected to what your constituents want! You are there for them, not your personal agendas. Too many politicians get elected and then do not care about the people back home until it is re-election time. This is the first time the second in command has lost a re-election campaign since the early 1900's. This is literally embarrassing to the establishment of the GOP to be beat by someone who only spent $200,000 compared to Cantor's $5 million.

1. Do not forget the agenda you ran on. You made promises in order to get elected; keep them.
2. Do not live lavishly and spend the majority of your time and money raising more money. Forget about your personal goals and put your constituents goals first.
3. Do not ostracize your constituents with radical agendas. Moderation is key, and although the Red states seem to be getting gradually more conservative, it is important that as a congressman you still seek compromise, without completely going against your constituents wishes.

How does this relate to PR?

PR, just like civil service, is about meeting people's needs! Every company, every organization and every person needs people. If your company is not reaching and connecting with the needs of your public, your consumers, or your fans, expect your gains to shrink and your popularity to sink. Focus on people and their needs, provide for those needs and at least seem like you care! Otherwise you have no business in PR or anything other industry for that matter.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Managing Priorities To Get Tasks Done

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with work?

I am sure that at some point, everyone does. It can be difficult to balance relationships, work, and school. As a senior in college looking for work, finishing final projects, and seeking to spend time with my family and friends, it can be very easy to go off the edge. Here are a few things I have learned to prioritize and get work done.

1. Know there is no time to waste
From the time you wake up to the time you go to bed, there is no such thing as spare time. When it's crunch time, all of your energy should go towards your assignments and goals. There is no time to waste on Angry Birds or on the phone gossiping. Get to work! Once things slow down, you can catch up on leisure.

2. Do not be afraid to say no
If you are overwhelmed and your boss asks you to take another project, politely ask if they can wait until you finish your current task. If your friend wants to hang out on a Wednesday night, let her know you wish you could come, but you can't. Never kill yourself to make other people happy. At the end of the day, you will either end up rushing an important project or missing a deadline.

3. Plan rewards for yourself
When I get all my work done I buy my favorite snack, sushi and brownies. That is only if I got all my work done. We are all children on the inside, and after stressful times we often just want to unwind, eat junk, and recuperate. That's fine. Never work crazy for weeks without a break. Give yourself a break at the end of a successful week, recharge, and do it all over again!


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What's All the Fuss About SEO?

What is Search Engine Optimization Anyway?

So many small business are trying to catch up with the buzz they see other companies generating online. Starting a website does not mean that automatically you will grow in profit and your company will grow. Oftentimes many websites only get a small amount of views. Bringing traffic to your website is a challenge, and in the past many companies have actually cheated Google's algorithm in order for their website to come up higher in searches (i.e. Expedia, Halifax, RapGenius).

Search Engine Optimization is working to make your product or company at the top of the searches on Google. Google is the most used search engine, and most people who search for something never get to the second page of results, let alone the bottom of the first page. When we search we typically choose the top three or four results (think back to when you use Google and you will see this is typically true). Google uses an ever changing algorithm (yes unfortunately the internet is built around math) that tries to constantly update itself in order to more efficiently give people what they are searching for. 

If you are trying to bring  more traffic to your website here are a few quick tips:
1. Make sure you have an easy to read website. The way your website looks has a big part of whether or not people will want to read your content or buy from you. Make it look nice and if you are ever stuck on the design either hire someone or keep the less is more rule in mind.
2. Try using the Google Analytics tool. Google has a new Beta version that is supposed to include more helpful tools for business owners. Using this tool will help you to track how much traffic your website receives and it is free! Here is a link to it:
Also try using Google Adwords and Google Alerts. It helps you to see what people search for most that is related to your business. For example: If your business sells fancy bow ties, you would create an alert for fancy bow ties. If your company comes up in the top 4 then you may be on your way to your way to success

3. Make sure you're sharing your content to your social media pages so that it can reach your followers.

Hope this helps!


Here's a few helpful videos
Sorry about the Tony Soprano looking rep, but many parts of this video are helpful :)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Two PR Nightmares of 2013

Before reading this you may already be thinking up some of the drama that celebrities started in the media world. The two I chose, I chose because they are in my opinion somewhat related.

1. Paula Deen
2. Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson

Paula Deen was and still is one of my favorite cooking personalities. She seemed to have a grandma quality that other chefs didn't have. Who doesn't love cooking with their grandma? Phil Robertson is the patriarch on the most popular reality show of all time (take that Kardashians!). So what can we learn from their huge PR gaffes? How can you help your client in a similar situation from losing their careers and ruining their reputation?

Tip 1: Never allow the press to shape your narrative
I have a friend who complains about how negatively his exes have effected his reputation. The problem is that he has allowed them to shape his narrative. Paula Deen's story is one of hard work, wit and charm. Although I do not agree with her actions, as her PR Manager my job would have been to protect her legacy and in turn, her fan base. I would have focused on what she has done right, and she would have immediately apologized for any confusion on her past remarks. That is controlling the narrative, not allowing the press to paint you as a racist and then making comments that can in some ways prove them right.

Tip 2: Be aware of what you say in public
Phil Robertson seems like a nice, genuine guy. But when you are doing an interview for a non-religious organization that is not the time to talk about the controversial intricacies of your personal beliefs. There is a time and a place for everything. Use the exposure your organization gets by focusing on the positive aspects of yourself that encourage people to be interested. If you are a company seeking to choose a spokesperson, make sure they are coached on what to say and what not to say, and then make sure they know to avoid controversy for the sake of the company.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Should Public Relations Bow Down to Beyonce's Star Power?

Did Beyonce's Secret Album Release Prove PR is Unnecessary?
Many of you have heard all the buzz recently about Beyonce's surpise album that was released around midnight. She released it without visiting Oprah, being critiqued in any blogs or interviewed in any magazines. Public Relations is often the middleman between consumers and the market place. We help people to see how new products or services can enrich their lives. So does it matter that Beyonce broke an ITunes record for most CD sales in one day without utilizing the middleman?

  1. First of all, technically what Beyonce did IS a PR gimmick                                                               
  2. Before Beyonce was a worldwide sensation, she relied on PR.
  3. She doubtfully will try this again!
 Beyonce essentially decided that she's a star and shouldn't have to pay so that people will pay attention to her. She utilized her status and product to generate buzz on it's own. Its publicity for free! Without sending anyone her CD, without going on the couch with Oprah and Wendy Williams, without high fashion photo shoots and other stunts.  Beyonce does that even when she doesn't have a CD coming out. She constantly is doing PR, such as Super Bowl performances and magazine covers, she is constantly in the public eye. While she does take breaks in between, she consistently comes back into the limelight to remind us all she is still alive and glamorous. Please do not begin to think that PR was belittled or proven unnecessary by this publicity stunt. It generated so much free publicity that other stars may wish they had thought of it sooner. However, like Paranormal Activity's similar luck, such tricks only work once. After that the traditional route is used. Beyonce will most likely taken the traditional route next time, and promote her album before it comes out.