Public Relations

Telling Your Story: Business Events as PR Opportunities

One of my clients, A&T Chevrolet-Subaru, is both celebrating a 30th anniversary and undergoing a major construction project. As in, knocking down 2/3 of the building to create something completely new and, ultimately, better for business and their customer base.

Always working to be proactive rather than reactive, I advised a story pitch to both announce the great news of a local, family-owned business thriving for 30 years and assure passers-by that, no, the walls tumbling down was a sign of strength and not economic demise. 

Congratulations to the Allen family on 30 years of successful business and cheers to many more! Here's the story as it appears in the Perkasie News-Herald:

"A&T Chevrolet-Subaru" Drives into Renovations"

Jeff Allen & Bruce Allen of A&T Chevrolet-Subaru


Time with My Tribe - Solo PR Summit Takeaways

It happens sometimes when you don't expect it. You're in a new place, a new situation and then, you find them. Your people. Those who get you, understand what you do. It can happen in any context or situation - personal or professional.

I've been a member of the SoloPR Pro community, a professional resource established by Kellye Crane, for a couple of years. I think I discovered via a tweet. One click and I discovered a wealth of information for the independent communications consultant. Membership, as they say, has its privileges, and mine has been getting to know such a smart, clever, caring group of people through the members only Facebook group - a safe haven for fellow communicators to ask the stupid question, vent, or just bounce around ideas and best practices.

Last week's 2014 Solo PR Summit in Atlanta, Georgia was made that much richer because I went into the experience already familiar with many of the attendees. Not only did I depart ATL with a re-energized brain and spirit, I also made new friends and colleagues.

Here are just a few takeaways:

Thanks to Chris Craft for encouraging me to be courageous in my work, professional networking, and life in general.

Diane Rose's presentation, "Solo Success with Subcontracting (and Free Yourself from Biz Dev Hell)," conveyed that there's a big world of opportunity out there and also shared terrific tips on making the most of a subcontracting experience - including avoiding potential pitfalls.

Shelly Kramer kicked butt and kicked our butts (in the best way possible) during her session on Content Marketing. It was great to be called out on our "cobbler's shoes" mentality - I always go with "the mechanic's car" - and come away with a renewed sense of purpose about my own business blogging. Also? "Being 'awesome' isn't enough. Be useful instead." Preach.

Continuing the spirit of accountability, Kami Huyse and Fran Stephenson shared how they helped each other brainstorm and develop strategies for their own businesses through "virtual lunch hours." I am also grateful to them for the in-session exercise asking "What Do I Need to Leave Behind to Grow My Business?" 

Shonali Burke's presentation on Real World PR Measurement for the Solo PR Pro was hugely helpful. As a solo practitioner, providing solid measurement can feel overwhelming. Shonali broke it down brilliantly and reaffirmed that yes, we can provide solid guidance to our clients using a good CRM system + Excel + Our Brains!

Daria Steigman spoke on the value of strategic partnerships, pointing that there is an important difference between being "fair" and "equitable."

Arik Hanson inspired me to be more diligent about checking my and the like first thing in the morning, which will help to get rid of that whole "mechanic's car" situation.

Kellye Crane and Jenny Schmitt led us through helpful role playing on having those awkward and difficult conversations with colleagues and clients.

Mary Deming Barber's presentation on why "Why?" is the most important question we should ask solidified the PR pro's role as counselor to a client.

Jason Falls closed the Summit with a perfect wrap-up leading us to consider What We Are as communications consultants and PR practitioners and What We Aren't. It's a basic premise that all too easily gets lost in the day to day and yet, has Jason shared, "we owe it to ourselves and our clients to define who we are."

Ok, I said just a few takeways - there were many more from all of the other presentations - each one terrific (and I'm not just saying that). The sessions themselves were enriched by great participation from the attendees, speakers included! It was surprising - and very cool - to notice that the speakers attended the sessions and participated. It was a true time of learning from each other, which is a gift.

Many thanks to Kellye Crane and Karen Swim for working so very hard to make this Summit a success!

If you'd like to get in on some of the smarts shared at the 2014 Solo PR Pro Summit, click here for an Eventifier summary!




Blogging. Why Bother?

We're big fans of blogging for business. Why? Here are just a few things a blog can do to build your business:
- Make your customers feel familiar with you before they even visit your store or office.
- Establish your credibility within your industry.
- Allow you to provide value to potential customers, making them more likely to become customers.
In fact, a blog is a valuable asset to your business. In this piece from Mark W. Schaefer, he points out that while the "comments" section of your blog isn't on fire with activity, that alone isn't evidence that your business blog isn't worth the time and effort.
Perhaps the most pointed reason among the 10 he lists is this:
A cost-effective sales call — You might not be able to visit your customer every week or every month but a blog is an excellent way to provide a constant drip-drip-drip of communication to remind them of your products, services, and why you’re special.  If they don’t read your blog, re-purpose the content in customer newsletters and sales materials.
From increased SEO to public relations, a business blog is a wise invesment. Not sure where to begin? VoiceMatters, LLC is happy to help; contact us today!


Facebook Begins Rollout of Embedded Posts

More Facebook changes are on the way. We first heard that 15-second ads are coming to a feed near you. But the next new feature is the ability to embed posts on your brand's website. Good idea or bad, it's important to be prepared. Especially from a PR/brand management perspective since a standalone post might become a major miscommunication out of context. As Shift Communications' Christopher Penn shares in his article on Facebook's embedded post plans:

PR professionals: Policing the Facebook page and managing the brand will be more important than ever.

Does your business have a professional on hand to ensure the integrity of your brand's online presence? Contact us to learn how VoiceMatters can be of service.