Casey Knox, Area 203

Casey Knox knows the power of personal branding. One of the featured speakers during last month’s Southeastern Public Relations Society 12 conference in Chattanooga, Casey led her presentation by talking about the power of personal branding. (If you want to see some phenomenal tips check out her SlideShare presentation: Digital PR, Toolkits, Reputation, and Search Matter More than Ever Before.) After her talk, two college students desiring careers in public relations, gathered around Casey, asking her for advice. The communications director of Area 203, a Chattanooga agency, gave this advice to the soon-to-be graduates: build your personal brand. I had the opportunity to interview Casey during SEPRSA#12. This week I’ll share the first part of that interview with you.

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Personal Branding on Facebook: Are your friends driving you crazy?

Recently I conducted a poll on my MarketingMel Facebook business page called “What do your friends do that drives you Crazy on Facebook?” It was a fun exercise with many of the questions provided by WFHG Radio Talk Show Host Steve Hawkins and others provided by myself and the MarketingMel Facebook business page users (thanks everyone!) including those who follow my social media for business column in Out N’ About Magazine. I then shared the results on air in a lively three-way conversation with Steve and Jennifer Hayes (you can listen to the podcast here.)

Please note, we are not saying that people shouldn’t do any of these things, all we’re pointing out is that too much of any one thing can drive your friends crazy! Just as we wouldn’t want to eat too much rich food; just remember to post in moderation.

The results of the poll were as follows (in order of items that received the most votes for driving other people crazy on Facebook.)

1. “Fishing for a compliment: sexy photo, lost weight, etc.: You know the kind! That friend who’s always posting the super sexy photos of themselves or giving us the play by play (or pound by pound and photo by photo) on their recent weight loss!

2. Complainers that whine about everything:(Let’s remember the power of personal branding here. If you’re always complaining, it shines through on your digital footprint. If you need help with your personal brand be sure to check out the free webinar I co-created with Maria Peagler of SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com. You can view it at www.personalbrandinghowto.com

3. Political commentaries: (This one is really hard to avoid this time of year but I have friends on both sides of the political fence and want to keep them after the election is over!) My advice: Be kind.

4. Intolerance toward opinions: This was added by a user and I’d love to hear more about what they were thinking with this one!

Other categories that  received NO negative votes; Cute cat and cute baby photos. Awww….guess my friends are like me on this one and enjoy the babies and kittens. There must be a reason Keyboard cat’s been around all this time!

What about you? What do your Facebook friends do to drive you crazy? Feel free to vote in the poll and add your own categories, or comment on this blog post!
photo credit: pepe50 via photopin cc

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Women control or influence 85% of all consumer brand purchases.

How should advertisers market to women? Stephanie Holland of the “She-econonomy” blog was one of several fantastic speakers at the recent Southeastern P.R.S.A. 12, who spoke about the changing role of women consumers, particularly since the recession.  “Women have changed and we’re not getting put back in the box,” said Holland who used as one example the need for “life stage”s rather than ages of women in characterizing them.  “A 40 year old female might be the mother of a toddler or she might have a child in college.” Advertising has changed forever thanks to social media, women and money she said. “We no longer trust the government, corporations or big business but we trust each other, ” said Holland. “The consumer is in control.”

Some other interesting facts presented by Holland:

83% of women are busier than ever but they are not willing to give up anything

36% of women hold a bachelor’s degree

28% of men hold a bachelor’s degree

70% of all new businesses are started by women

4 out of 5 stages of the purchasing process are led by women

85% of all consumer brand purchases are controlled or influenced by women

BUT 91% of women do not feel advertisers connect with them. Holland says brands need to “listen and engage with women for success.”  Holland showed this amusing video to illustrate the big disconnect between what advertisers think and women’s real consumer behavior. What are your thoughts? If you are female, do you relate to the woman in this video? (I know I do!)

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Maria Peagler and Mary Ellen Miller at the Southeastern P.R.S.A. conference

“Show don’t tell,” was the primary message that I took away from last week’s Southeastern Public Relations Society of America conference in Chattanooga. The conference, appropriately named “Creating Authentic Relationships in the Age of Me,” featured several speakers who talked about the short attention spans we now have and our states of “constant distraction.” A fascinating presentation by Amanda Mauck and Nellann Mettee of LeBonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis reinforced the message of our ever shortening attention spans. In fact they called their presentation, “Nobody’s Going to Read That: Telling your story in a world short on time and attention span.” The two communications professionals apparently hit home with that title as it was the most crowded of all of the sessions I attended!  They shared how their hospital physicians told them there is “no time to read” anymore.  Here are some of the changes the communicators implemented as a result of their research:

1- Tripled their professional photography budget.

2- Targeted physicians by creating 5 x 8 postcards instead of traditional newsletters. The postcards feature four, quick briefs and multi-color photos.

3- Created short (1:30-2:00) video interviews with physicians and posted them on YouTube.  The two said that people love to see their physician on video, particularly when he or she has helped to save their child’s life.

4- Increased their use of  digital cameras and iPhone cameras and they posted daily albums to Facebook.

Realizing the power of images, Mauck and Mettee, along with their on-staff videographer and a fabulous nursing crew, created an award winning music video to tell the LeBonheur story. If you have any interest in positive employee communications, take less than 5 minutes and watch this exceptionally creative video. They managed to get all of their key messages across and showcase every group of hospital employees all in one rappin’ video! The “stars” are real nurses who tried out for the parts! How have you seen the use of images change over the past few years? Do you have examples of great images that you’ve used with success?

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Flickr: Museum of Hartlepool

Recently, Maria Peagler of SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com and I were rehearsing for our upcoming PersonalBrandingHowTo.com webinar with a live audience of four people on the call. They were trusted clients/friends who  provided us with their honest feedback so we could make the “real” webinar on September 13 even better. One of the women wanted to know more about my slide on “getting featured in the media.” She was very interested in getting an article about her products featured in a magazine and then she found out I was a former magazine editor! I invited her to follow up with me “offline” and that is what led me to write the following tips on how to publish an article in a magazine. She found them helpful and I hope that you will find them useful as well.

  1. Use your “personal branding” skills to position yourself as the_____ expert (fill in your profession). Be sure the magazine goes out to your target audience.
  2. Magazine editors love to know about trends so tell them what’s hot for _____ in time for whatever their deadline is. Hint: It’s probably spring right now.
  3. Magazines generally work months in advance. Holidays may still be a possibility if you got it to them immediately and depending on the publication. Do your research and know their deadlines and word counts.
  4. Identify the types of magazines you want to be in (find out who the editors are) See if they are on social media and start connecting with them there. See how the conversation goes (don’t push.)
  5. Muck Rack is a good site to learn more what journalists in general are thinking and talking about.
  6. If you are a good writer, offer to write an article for the magazines you’re approaching. They need good content and even if they don’t pay you, you will gain credibility from being published.
  7.  If you really want to be the one featured, be sure you point out what is unique and different about your products that will be of interest to their readers.
  8.  If the magazine is based near you perhaps you could visit with the editor directly or find out when he/she is speaking on a panel etc. and attend that event.
  9. Be sure you are familiar with the writing style of the publication. Make sure you’ve targeted the correct publications.
  10. Sending free stuff to an editor is often a way to simply fill their trash can. However, when it comes to writing about a travel location you will generally see writers and photographers given free room and board in B&B locations in exchange for the good P.R. Again I would stress knowing the publication that you are pitching and their rules!

If you’ve had a great success story with magazines please share it with us.


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Jane Maas autographed her book Mad Women for me!

Recently I had the honor of meeting and interviewing Jane Maas, the original “Mad Woman.” Jane, a copywriter for Ogilvy & Mather in New York City back in the 1960s, is the author of the book Mad Women; The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the 60’s and Beyond. The Peggy Olson character on Mad Men is modeled after Jane.

In a video interview I conducted with Jane immediately after her engaging and lively talk with our local advertising and public relations clubs, Jane, now 80, said today’s advertising and P.R. job seekers need to “get their foot in the door.”

“Advertising at its best mirrors society,” said Jane who calls herself the “mother” of the “I Love New York” campaign. She said she has watched the relationships between ad agencies and their clients change over the years. Where once they were long term, now clients will take their business elsewhere on a whim. She said that is not unlike today’s personal relationships.

As to the creative process, she said that research and knowing the consumer is key. “The best advertising is done by people with the brand DNA in their veins,” she said. Her mentor, David Ogilvy,  taught her to “immerse yourself in research, then in a bottle of wine.”

When asked what her favorite current advertising campaigns are Maas mentioned the MasterCard campaign that has endured through the years. “They did what all of those other credit card companies could have done; they put themselves in the place of the consumer with those ‘priceless’ experiences.”

Jane gets a gleam in her eye when asked about the racy combination of working women, booze and sex. Yes, she says, the Mad Men TV show is in fact, very real!

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Remember these? Wikipedia Image

Recently a prospective client called on me to help him build his personal brand.  In assessing his needs, I quickly saw that there were five things he could do immediately to start building up his social media presence. Here are five ideas for branding yourself.

1- Have a professional photo made, and use it! I am actually amazed by the business professionals who contact me via LinkedIn who appear as grey silhoutees on the page. Remember you are projecting an online image at all times, like it or not. Once you get that photo be sure to sign up on Gravatar so it will appear whenever you comment on others’ blogs.

2- Create an e-mail signature: Every time you send an e-mail (and ditto for an invoice) it is an opportunity to brand. Decide what information you regularly want people to have about you and put it in the signature. Be sure to get clients’ feedback on this. I added my phone number to my signature when I first started my business at client request.

3- Enlist your “Rolodex”: I have to chuckle when people still refer to their contact lists as a “Rolodex.” While I can’t remember the last time I used one of those spinning lists of business cards, the point is you do have contacts somewhere. Capitalize on that list through an opt-in e-newsletter.

4- Use LinkedIn’s Questions, Answers and Groups: If you haven’t read Jon Moss’s superb guest blog piece that’s a How-to LinkedIn “Ten Ways to Totally Rock LinkedIn in 2012” please be sure to do so. Then use LinkedIn to your advantage to gain visibility as an influential thought leader.

5- Post Regularly: There are different schools of thought on how often to post but be sure to keep your contacts well informed with your valuable professional insights.

For these and other helpful marketing and P.R. tips please sign up for my “News You Can Use” quarterly e-newsletter on the right hand side of this page.  You can also visit the MarketingMelPR Facebook business page


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MarketingMel speaks to ETSU's P.R.S.S.A student chapter

Last year’s blog post “How to Find a Job in Public Relations” was extremely popular, particularly with college students preparing to head out into the workforce. So I decided to turn it into a less-than-three minute video with the hope of helping even more people along the way.  For the pro’s viewing this, please share any tips you would like to add for our recent college graduates who are looking for communications jobs. Thanks!

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