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

 

PLEASE NOTE: This blog has been discontinued.
Please visit www.prmaven.com for new material from The PR Maven®.

 

Subscribe VIA Email

RSS Feed
Powered by Google Feedburner

Archives

website

Your Website is the Centerpiece of Your Marketing Program

When you are setting a table for a formal dinner party, you place something beautiful in the center of the table like candles, flowers or a bowl of colorful fruit. This centerpiece ties everything on the table together.

This infographic comes from our good friends at the Caliber Group in Arizona. Both our agencies are members of the Alliance of Marketing Communications Agencies. Thanks to the Caliber Group for sharing! www.calibergroup.com

Your website is the centerpiece of your marketing program. It helps you connect with your targeted audiences and ties all of your marketing efforts together. It contains all the information about your product, service, place, organization or brand that people need in order to connect with you or do business with you. Visitors come to your site to get more information, to evaluate your products and services and to assess your brand. By looking at your site, they decide whether they want to connect with your brand….or not.

Your website is the focal point of your brand, and the foundation of your marketing program. Every aspect of your marketing should point back to your website, including press releases, ads, business cards, brochures, flyers, rack cards, banners, direct mail and social media.

Nancy Marshall, principal of Nancy Marshall Communications

When people go to your website, they will immediately get a sense of your brand. If your website looks amateurish, people will think your business is amateurish.  If it is beautiful and full of useful information that draws people in and keeps them there for a while, then your website will build your brand and convey an image of professionalism.

It’s important to be sure that the centerpiece on your table and the centerpiece of your marketing program are consistent with the image you want to convey to your guests, whether they are coming for dinner at your home or coming to learn more about your organization online.

How to Make the Most of your Blog

NMC Account Assistant, Erika Bush

Erika here, and I have a question for you. How many times have you visited a company’s website and thought: I want to know more? I know I feel this way a lot. Press and News pages are great, but if you are claiming to be an expert or giving advice as if you’re the best out there, then I want to know why. Why should I buy from you versus a competitor?

An easy answer: you have a killer blog. The entire team at NMC believes that the key to success is being someone your consumers “know, like and trust.” A blog lets people get to know you and like you, and as a result they trust you.

For me, writing about social media sites is fun and easy. I grew up in a generation that experienced the evolution of social media platforms firsthand. AOL, yeah, I had that and I had an AIM profile page complete with hearts and smiley faces that would later evolve into a customized MySpace page. Then, as soon as I was old enough to get a college email address, I was on Facebook and witnessed it become more public, to the point that the nine-year-old kid next door could have an account if he wanted.

Blogs are one thing that has stayed constant in this frenzy of change. They have existed in some way since the internet began, and while their role is changing, they aren’t going anywhere.

So how can you make the most of your blog? Let me share five best practices when it comes to influential blogging.

  • Create weekly features. If you want regular readers, then you must provide regular content.
  • Keep advertising to a minimum. Most people don’t mind ads down the sides of the content, in fact, we might not even notice it, but we do mind when we can’t scroll until we’ve watched a 30-second ad about something we don’t care about.
  • Engage your readers. Create contests, or link your posts to your social media pages or your business website. Your readers should feel like they are getting something out of reading your blog.
  • Link to previous posts. Not many readers are going to scroll back or search to find a previous post mentioned in a current article, so link to it for them. Keep your readership growing by making it easy for readers to find more relevant information.
  • Acknowledge other bloggers. Blogging is networking, and it isn’t necessarily a competition. Comment on other blogger’s posts and join the conversation. You will be surprised by who may reciprocate.

The key to a great blog is to develop a rapport with your readers and to offer them information that is relevant to what you can do for them. Now, I’m not saying that you should make it entirely about sales and the services you offer, but it should be about establishing yourself as a reputable source of information when it comes to the services you offer.

Finally, always remember that no matter what your topics include, blogging can be utilized as a fun way to enhance your brand.

 

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.

 

Bangor Humane Society Goes Social

Stacey Coventry, public relations manager for The Bangor Humane Society, poses with Anna, a resident pitbull.

Cue Sarah McLachlan and add in some big-eyed, adorable furry friends. Yes, most of you know which advertisement I am referring to and we all know how hard it can be to either; a. change the channel even though you desperately want to; or b. to change the channel fast enough because it makes us sad just to think about those fuzzy little fluff balls.

This week’s Monday Maine Maven, Stacey Coventry, can relate as the public relations manager for the Bangor Humane Society (BHS). She has always had an affinity for animals and two years ago she found her very own big-eyed, furry calling in an advertisement for an event and volunteer coordinator. She applied, and with her experience in journalism, sociology and nonprofit management, she was hired.

Coventry credits her previous experience and skills, coupled with her drive to meet the needs of the Bangor Humane Society, for her current role as the public relations manager. Her responsibilities include managing a Facebook page and website, writing and distributing press releases and newsletters, and educating the public on pet adoption.

When it comes to social media, Coventry says you should post daily about anything that might interest your audience adding, “We found people want to be in the ‘BHS adoption loop’ and we find the more we involve and communicate with them, both online and through our newsletter, about our success stories and how we are utilizing resources, the more support we receive.” She goes on to tell stories of how they have been in desperate need for supplies and after a post on Facebook the supplies were on their doorstep by the end of the day.

Stacey and two of her very own rescues, Nala (L) and Koda (R).

Another program that Coventry says contributed to the growing resources of the Bangor Humane Society was their partnership with the ASPCA Rachel Ray $100K Challenge. The contest was between 50 shelters across the country competing to break their own records in rescuing more dogs, cats, puppies and kittens between August and October than the previous year. Although they didn’t win the competition Coventry says, “Our adoptions continue to be up by 25% post-challenge and I receive 20 volunteer applications a week versus the 20 to 30 I used to receive in a month.”

The $100K challenge has inspired Stacey to start similar programs on a local level to increase awareness and adoptions for the Bangor Humane Society. They have a special ongoing adoption program for seniors 65+ and veterans, in which all adult dogs and cats are 50% off with a valid ID. Also, throughout the month of February, they will be running a Valentine’s promotion. All adult cats are $25 and adult dogs are between 10% and 50% off, depending on what Valentine card is on their kennel. Check out the video below to see some of the available dogs:

For those of you that are debating whether to adopt or buy from a breeder, Stacey says to consider that there are six to eight million abandoned and homeless pets brought into shelters each year and that they aren’t bad pets; they are victims of unfortunate circumstances. Coventry says, “I have two dogs and a cat that I rescued and I swear they know they’ve been rescued! They are the most loyal companions.”  Coventry adds that the benefits go beyond connection. Shelter pets are all vaccinated, behavior evaluated and spayed/neutered—not to mention that all money spent to adopt your new best friend goes toward rescuing another homeless pet. Coventry says, “Visit your local shelter and see which furry face adopts YOU—you won’t regret it.”

If you aren’t ready to adopt, but would still like to get involved you may mail your donation to:

693 Mt. Hope Avenue
Bangor, Maine 04401

Or you may donate by going online to www.bangorhumane.org , where you can also enroll in their kennel sponsor program or review the shelter wish list. To contact Stacey, you can email her at Stacey@bangorhumane.org or call her at 207-947-8902, ext. 103.

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 https://www.facebook.com/eandhphotog, WordPress site http://eandhphotog.wordpress.com, or email them at eandhphotog@gmail.com.