The official blog of Nancy Marshall Communications
offering tips, techniques, and thoughts from Maine's PR Maven, Nancy Marshall


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Planning for Public Relations at 90 MPH

Greg Glynn, account executive at NMC

Hi, Greg here! In the world of public relations, we are always planning one, two, and sometimes even three steps ahead.  To further emphasize the importance of planning, I want to share the type of preparation and goal setting involved in my recent work for our client the Maine Beer & Wine Distributors Association and their spokesperson, Olympian Julia Clukey.

Olympian Julia Clukey is the spokesperson for the Maine Beer & Wine Distributors Association’s ongoing responsibility initiative. Since 2010, she has recorded public service announcements, appeared on local radio shows, and presented at 20 high schools—reaching more than 6,000 Maine high school students across the state—about the importance of responsibility and good decision making.

To continue to showcase Julia’s talent and her involvement with the MBWDA, a year ago we started planning how we were going to leverage the opportunity for Julia to compete in the 2013 World Cup on February 8 and 9 in Lake Placid, N.Y., the first World Cup luge competition in the states since 2007.

Leading up to the event, we knew we had several key goals related to the competition:

Julia Clukey Tight Shot by Shaun Ondak

1. Secure an updated action shot of Julia racing on the track to use in the poster that Julia hands out as part of her presentations for the MBWDA’s responsibility initiative at Maine high schools; we also took photos for use as a cover photo for magazine articles we plan to pitch leading up to the Olympics in 2014

2. Contact local and national media to cover the 2013 World Cup and provide content specific to Julia for local and national media

3. Capture video of Julia racing and celebrating with the home town crowd, including several of her family and friends

4. Make more contacts in the sport of luge and network with NBC Sports for a future story on Julia leading up to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia

With specific and measurable goals, I worked with one of our agency partners, the Ad Workshop in Lake Placid, to hire Shaun Ondak, a local professional photographer from Lake Placid who had shot the sport of luge before. An experienced photographer was an important part of the planning because the luge athletes travel at speeds of up to 90 miles an hour and Julia only had two runs for the photographer to get action shots.

Shaun and I planned ahead for the shoot and scouted the best location on the snow covered Mt. Van Hoevenberg more than three hours before the race stared to make sure we had the best location to take the action shot. We also planned to cover the post- event ceremonies and take the magazine photos after the race. All our preparation paid off as seen in this great action shot of Julia, perfect for the posters. We also got several other great shots that will be used on her website, marketing materials and for future magazine articles.

In planning for media coverage, days prior to the event I distributed a media advisory to TV stations letting the sports anchors and producers know that The NBC Sports Network would be televising the races that Julia was competing in so media could use that footage during their sportscasts and in two follow up stories with Julia on WCSH and WMTW. I also took photos on both race days to immediately send back to local papers in Maine, including the Kennebec Journal, for a feature story.

Julia Clukey after her silver medal win.

When it comes to video of luge, it’s certainly hard to come by, but the performance that Julia had at the 2013 World Cup made it a lot easier. I had arranged for a media credential and access to the finish platform, a great place for capturing Julia’s emotions and excitement of winning two silver medals. Her second place finish in the women’s singles race was a career-best. The opportunity for her to have an amazing performance on her home course, in front of her family and friends, made the video footage something that will last a lifetime and be a great addition to the video we are updating for her high school presentations.

Preparation for the 2014 Olympics and the stories we plan to pitch to local and national media contacts was a big reason why I traveled the 14 hours from Augusta to Lake Placid to provide media relations and public relations services. The opportunity to meet media that cover the sport, and contacts at NBC, will be a huge plus for our future planning and pitching about Julia’s incredible story of perseverance and determination to compete in the sport she loves and to give back to the Maine community that she says has given her so much. Her work with the Maine Beer & Wine Distributors Association and their responsibility initiative is very impressive and also includes her new summer camp, Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls.

Julia has been planning for her success in her sport since she was 12 and it was great to see her hard work pay off in Lake Placid with two silver medals. From a media relations and public relations perspective, it was also exciting to plan all the details and logistics that made the weekend pure gold.


Winter Scene in Rumford Center

As we look outside today, it is hard to remember the milder days of this winter. Nemo has taken over the Northeast and snow totals are expected to be anywhere between 6 to 32 inches!

Luckily for all of you, this week’s Friday Fab Foto from Deelight Zitzelberger takes us back to some warmer days. She says, “I wanted to capture my favorite spot before the river iced over completely.” Can anyone name this spot in Rumford Center, Maine?

Can you name this place?

Do YOU have a picture to submit to our Friday Fab Foto contest?

You can either post them to our Facebook page or email your pictures to with a brief description of where the photo was taken and why you love it!

E&H Photography & Design: Making Memories one Frame at a Time

Sisters, best friends and business partners: Ellen (L) and Hannah (R) Sherwood

Thick as thieves, peanut butter and jelly, yin and yang—these are a few of the terms you might use to describe this week’s Monday Maine Maven duo. Ellen and Hannah Sherwood, co-creative directors of E&H Photography & Design, are best friends, sisters and business partners.

Hannah, the lead graphic designer and a-soon-to-be graduate of Maine College of Art says, “Ellen is by far the biggest influence in my life. She challenges me, teaches me and inspires me.” Ellen, lead photographer, feels much the same saying, “Hannah is the most creative, brilliant and inspiring person I know.”  Even though they have different specialties and creative strengths there isn’t much they don’t agree on—they actually credit their very different personalities for their unique creative vision.

The business started as something fun to do together when their friends began getting engaged and wanted to have unique pictures or custom invites. Ellen and Hannah were the people they turned to, and when the results came through people began suggesting they should make a business out of their hobby.

E&H Photographer, Ellen Sherwood

They also credit their Dad for helping them make their idea a reality. Ellen says, “Unfortunately, Han and I did not inherit our Dad’s ways with numbers.” Hannah adds, “he helped us set up our business bank account, taught us how to keep records and checked in with us regularly for the first few months.” Their business records have been growing and recently they began transitioning out of word-of-mouth sales and into organic sales growth.

“We built up our Facebook page and posted flyers around,” says Hannah, “and the business began to take off.” Ellen agrees saying, “More than ever we are starting to draw in people that aren’t friends of friends.” They both say that it is exciting to have people begin noticing their work and to receive work requests from people they don’t know personally.

Their organic growth shows the power of a basic Facebook page.  Hannah says, “We chose to use Facebook as our main resource because we wanted to have a more personal, blog-like feel, rather than a website with all this information on it. It gives it a more personal feeling.” Another reason they chose Facebook is because of the natural connections it features. They can easily share sneak peeks of finished products with their clients. From there, they tag their clients, making the posts visible to not only the client, but to all of the friends within the client’s networks. It also allows people who like the pictures to connect back to their business Facebook page.

E&H Graphic Designer, Hannah Sherwood

This chain reaction is a good choice for a company based on graphics more than text. We previously discussed in our Pinterest vs. Googlearticle that Pinterest is a great tool for companies relying heavily on graphics and images. The ladies of E&H Photography & Design agree, and Ellen says, “We have a specific board dedicated to E&H. When we find something inspiring, we pin it to our board so we can easily share it with each other.” They frequently use this board as a basis for their client and business meetings.

They are currently running a Facebook ad campaign to connect with high school students that are looking to take their senior pictures in the spring. To connect with Ellen and Hannah visit their Facebook page, WordPress site, or email them at