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Mary Ellen Miller, Elyse Batista and Dr. Stephen Marshall present Elyse with the 2015 MarketingMel Mass Communications scholarship.
Mary Ellen Miller, Elyse Batista and Dr. Stephen Marshall present Elyse with the 2015 MarketingMel Mass Communications scholarship.

This fall the ETSU Mass Communication department awarded the MarketingMel Mass Communication scholarship to ETSU senior, Elyse Batista.

As a transfer from North Carolina, Batista, a senior, maintains a 3.77 grade point average, leads the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) as president, and has been awarded the Dean’s List certificate since her arrival at ETSU in 2012. She will be interning with MarketingMel for the 2015-2016 academic year.

MarketingMel, founded by Mary Ellen Miller, is a creative firms that offers marketing, public relations and social media strategies. “The MarketingMel internship has propelled me into the communications industry,” says Batista. “From networking, researching and attending events to one-on-one mentoring with Mary Ellen (Mel), I’m able to put classroom lessons into action.” Batista says that the scholarship is a great bonus to a great program.

Originally, the scholarship fund was established by Miller in honor of the fifth anniversary of MarketingMel. She began the internship program as a mentoring opportunity for young women aspiring to work as communications professionals and the scholarship was a natural outcome. Over the years, the internship has come to be known as a great opportunity for students.

Since the start of the mentorship program six years ago, MarketingMel interns have experienced a 100 percent employment rate upon graduation. These interns have moved forward in the communications industry and have found their niches within a variety of specializations including public relations, marketing, sales, and advertising.

Miller enjoys mentoring young professionals. “I feel it is my duty to give back to the community that has been so good to me,” says Miller, “What better way than to mentor the next generation of PR professionals?”

When have you mentored or been mentored by another? Please share your experiences with us. 

 

 

 

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AlexMelInstagramIf you enjoy watching communications trends then you know that young people are all about visual social media channels. The more pictures and videos, the better! One of their favorites is Instagram. This photo-sharing social site is growing at a faster rate than twitter. Recently, MarketingMel was called on to assist a client with her Instagram presence.  Public Relations Intern Alex Quillin (who is 20 and loves Instagram) was given the assignment and received rave reviews from our client. Alex first had a customized one-on-one social media training session with the client. Then she created this handy step-by step how-to-guide to Instagram as a follow up piece. The client loves having this to refer to as she continues to build her personal brand on social media channels.

Instagram How-To

How are you/your children using Instagram? For business or fun? (Note: My tween LOVES Instagram and uses it daily to communicate with friends and even share homework!) Please comment!

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LisaRiceWritingA column about Lisa Rice’s successful judicial campaign, the Socktober campaign to help the homeless and the Johnson City Up & At ‘Em Turkey Trot were all winning entries for the MarketingMel public relations team at the Tri-Cities Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) awards banquet April 21 in Kingsport. Two awards were “Awards of Excellence,” the highest honor given.

Mary Ellen Miller, founder of MarketingMel, received the 2015 Award of Excellence in Column Writing, for a column titled “Three Ways to be a “Shoo-in” in Business and Politics.” MarketingMel was the only winner, in the writing category, to receive a perfect score from one of the judges on a writing entry. The column, first published in Out ‘N About Magazine, and later on MarketingMel’s blog, offers tips to success in the world of business and politics.

Miller was the campaign manager for Criminal Court Judge Part 1 Lisa Rice’s campaign. After watching then-candidate Rice’s hard work and determination, Miller was inspired to write the column. “It was an honor to work with, and learn from, the professionalism of then Candidate (now Judge) Rice,” said Miller.

“This is a wonderful and well deserved award. Congratulations to Mary Ellen Miller and the MarketingMel team,” said Judge Rice.

Additionally, MarketingMel received a second Award of Excellence at the ceremony. This was given for the Socktober campaign that saw numerous organizations come together to support the cause of socks for the homeless, first initiated by YouTube sensation Kid President. During this campaign, MarketingMel, with the assistance of Johnson City Schools’ homeless coordinator, Bonnie White, set a goal of obtaining 750 pairs of new socks. With the help of Johnson City Morning Rotary, Spine & Sports Chiropractic, Appearances Hair Salon, Exalt Academy of Cosmetology and numerous other businesses, more than 1,100 pairs were collected and given to the Johnson City/Washington County Area United Way for distribution through its agencies that serve the homeless. “The judges loved your measurable objectives and your clear goals for the project” said Brad Belote, Tri-Cities PRSA president.

The final award, the Award of Merit, was given to MarketingMel and the public relations team of Jenny Brock, Karen Hubbs, Keisha Shoun and MarketingMel Intern Alex Quillin, for their work on the 2014 Johnson City Up and At ‘Em Turkey Trot 5k. The race featured a first-ever press conference at Fairmont Elementary School. The event, which received widespread coverage from regional media, included a mascot race along with Biggest Loser Season 15 top five finalist and Grand Marshal Jennifer Messer.

“It is a tribute to the giving nature of our region that projects like Socktober and Turkey Trot have been so successful,” said Miller.

MarketingMelTeam

Elyse Batista, Mary Ellen Miller and Alex Quillin

Miller was accompanied to the event by her newest intern, Elyse Batista, and her outgoing intern, Alex Quillin, both ETSU PR/Advertising majors. Mentoring the next generation of PR professionals, including Batista and Quillin, is a pillar of MarketingMel’s mission.  “It is so incredible to get awarded for all of the work we put into these campaigns. Mel has taught me so much during my year with her and this ceremony was the cherry on top!” said Quillin.

MarketingMel, now in its sixth year in business, is a communications-consulting firm offering marketing, public relations and social media strategies to business professionals. For more information visit www.marketingmel.com

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Azaleas and the Master's Golf Tournament: True Signs of Spring

Azaleas and the Master’s Golf Tournament: True Signs of Spring

Ever since I was a little girl, tuning in for the back nine at Augusta National Golf Club was an annual family ritual and rite of spring. Back then I watched the azalea-covered Master’s golf course on television with my grandfather. He would always cheer for “the young guys.” Each year he taught me to encourage the up and coming generation of golf champions. “It’s time for the new, young guys to win,” my grandfather would say. “The other guys have had their time in the spotlight.”

Grampa must have been smiling from heaven Sunday as my 12-year-old son and I watched a new, young Master’s champion, 21-year-old Jordan Spieth, make his way up #18 and into the history books. Spieth tied Tiger Woods’ record of 18- under-par for 72 holes and did it by winning round after round, keeping himself atop the leader board. As Spieth said later, he “put a target” on his back for the other pro’s to take aim. They didn’t come close.

Tuesday morning I watched Spieth, garbed in his freshly tailored green jacket, interviewed on the CBS Morning News. I thought the comments he made were applicable not only to winning at golf, but to business as well.

1 – Visualize Your Goals: Spieth said he visualized winning the Masters and walking up to the 18th green as a winner, particularly for the past year. That’s because one year ago he tied for second after losing to Bubba Watson. His new dream had a different winner this time around. For more short term goals, he visualizes each shot and where it will land before he ever takes it.

2 – Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing: Spieth stayed focused on his goal for each day, namely winning that day. He wasn’t concerned with outside influences like tying or even for a brief time in the final round, beating, Tiger Woods’ record. He just focused on what he had to do to win the tournament.

3 – Never Let Them See You Sweat: When asked about his “cool as a cucumber” persona, Spieth said even if he’s worried on the inside he doesn’t let his competitors know it. “They’ll seize on the weakness” he says. “They’re the best in the world.”

4 – Stay Humble, Even in Greatness: The new champion’s humility is refreshing. When asked about his name (his father named him for basketball legend Michael Jordan) the question was asked, why golf and not basketball? Spieth laughed, “Have you ever seen my basketball game?” Frankly, that kind of self-effacing humor and likeability will earn him more in the long run than any amount of bragging could possibly bring his way.

Thanks for the business and life lessons Jordan Spieth. You are definitely a champion.

In case you missed the interview with the 2015 Master’s Champion here it is. Even if you don’t play golf it’s worth it to watch. What can you learn from this champion?

photo credit: DSC_0425 via photopin (license)

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Matt Overby, Executive Director of Summit Leadership Foundation

Matt Overby, Executive Director of Summit Leadership Foundation

Recently I’ve noticed a trend among my 30-something friends with young children. When it comes to social media, you can’t find them (or their babies.) One of those friends, Matt Overby, the 37 year old Executive Director of the Summit Leadership Foundation, decided, along with his wife, to “cut the social media cord” when their infant son was born last year. I was interested in why a very tech savvy, marketing-oriented leader would choose to do this. So I sat down to interview Matt and ask him about it. Matt has extensive training in the hospitality industry both at Starbucks and at Chick-fil-A, and he is a student of Leadership Guru John Maxwell. Our seven minute conversation is well worth the listen to see the insights into a young father’s mind as to why he did not want his baby on Facebook, twitter, instagram or any other public platform.

Although I had seen this trend with Matt and others, in researching this pos,t I found only one article about it called “No Baby on Board: Many Parents Keeping Info About Their Babies Off Social Media.” Ironically, after I left the interview with Matt I bumped into another young father and shared our discussion with him. This very tech-savvy dad told me he also quit social media when his first child was born. “Not with facial recognition,” was his comment as he shook his head “no” when asked if he posted his kids’ photos on social media platforms.

What’s been your experience with other parents of newborns? Are they staying on social media or quitting? I would love to hear from you.

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Beautiful Christmas decorations adorned the Martha Washington Inn weekend when we were there in early January.

Beautiful Christmas decorations adorned the Martha Washington Inn.

The first month of the new year is a fresh start for everyone. We all begin at the January starting line together. Many of us work on our company’s strategic plans over the holidays and prepare for what lies ahead. But how many take the time to create a strategic plan  with their spouses and families?

Four years ago my husband and I sat down for the first time in our then 16-year old marriage and wrote down a plan for the future. We have literally checked off the “action items” we created in that meeting one by one over the ensuing years.

This year over the first weekend of 2015  we took an overnight trip  to the Martha Washington Inn in Abingdon, Virginia (one of our favorite getaway locations and location of our honeymoon night!) The Inn’s General Manager Chris Lowe gave us a wonderful meeting room space, complete with a roaring fire, to work on our family’s plan. The idea of being in a neutral, quiet location with the chance to talk is one I highly recommend. Also, by spending the night at “The Martha” we had an opportunity for some fun together time (like swimming in the indoor salt water pool) and it wasn’t “all work.”

Here are our tips for your family’s planning:

1- “Begin with the End in Mind.” That famous Stephen Covey statement is a great place to start. Decide on a family mission statement and work backward from there OR work until you come up with your family mission statement as we did during our first meeting several years ago. That gave us a starting point for this meeting.

2- Get away! Go to a neutral and preferably “get away” location where you and your spouse can have some fun too. Do not try this at home or at either person’s office. (We know we’ve tried!)

3- Ditch the Devices: Take calendars, notepads (the kind with paper) and pens or pencils. We turned off our mobile devices during our meeting and just focused on one another. We manually wrote down the tasks and goals for 2015 and beyond. We wanted to focus on each other and not on our screens.

4- Follow up: Be sure to turn the notes into an easy to reference “action item” list to refer to throughout the year. Post that list in a prominent place in the kitchen where you’re bound to see it. Then check-off items as you complete them.

5- Share with your children: Include your children in some portion of the planning process if they are old enough. Our “tween” has great insights and unique points of view (particularly about family vacation planning). When we returned from our “getaway” we shared some of our discussions with our son to get both his input and his ideas to make the 2015 Miller family plan even better.

Have you created a strategic plan for your family? If so what tips would you add?

 

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MythbustersRecently I had the opportunity to speak with a class of incoming freshmen at Milligan College about careers in public relations. My presentation was called PR Mythbusters.

Myth #1– PR presents many glamorous job opportunities (a la Samantha Jones in Sex and the City.)

Reality:  PR is all about your client and making THEM look good!

Myth #2- PR is about press conferences and press releases.

Reality: While it is true that we create these kinds of events for clients there is a tremendous amount of behind the scenes planning work that goes into what you see on the visible, front end. To be good in PR students must excel at written and verbal communications.

Myth #3- Publicity is only needed when bad things happen.

Reality: Publicity is a two edged sword. Sometimes it can be used to address crises as in a well-thought out crisis communications plan. Other times it can be used for much good as in our recent Socktober campaign with Kid President that brought in over a thousand pairs of new socks for the homeless in our community.

Myth #4– Any publicity is good publicity

Reality: Although Hollywood stars may ascribe to this,  there are times when some of the greatest accomplishments of a public relations professional include keeping a client out of the limelight.

Myth #5– Anyone can do it

Reality: It takes a well trained, well thought out team to execute a top PR plan including strategy and tactics. Our current Up & At ‘Em Turkey Trot PR committee incorporated last season’s Biggest Loser top five finalist Jennifer Messer as grand marshal. Toronto Blue Jays pitcher (and Science Hill High School grad) Daniel Norris is also helping spread the word of the popular Thanksgiving Day Family Fun Run/walk.

Myth #6– Social Media is just for fun

Reality: Social Media, particularly LinkedIn, can be a great connecting tool that will build professional bridges now and in the future. Futhermore using social media well can help build clients personal and professional brands.

What are some PR Myths or reality questions that you may have?

Here is the SlideShare Presentation

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Students in MarketingMel's "Gettting Professional With LinkedIn" workshop at Milligan College.

Students in MarketingMel’s “Gettting Professional With LinkedIn” workshop at Milligan College.

LinkedIn is one social media platform woefully underused by college students. Recently I was invited to present a LinkedIn workshop to a group of Milligan College Juniors and Seniors. The students who attended came on their own time so the classroom was full of soon-to-be graduates who were eager to learn.  It was a two-part session with the first hour sharing information and questions about LinkedIn and the second being hands-on creation of individual student profiles. Students brought their laptops.  Each student brought their resume to class in order to have it handy for the LinkedIn profile creation. First we extensively reviewed the demographics of LinkedIn which leans heavily male 25-54. Income levels skew $100,000+ and the typical LinkedIn user checks in around 8 AM and 5pm, before and after work. Clearly, these are the business professionals who will be making the hiring decisions for these students in the future. Here are a few of the tips I shared with the college students.

  1. Professional Photo: Probably one of the most critical elements of LinkedIn is the good, professional head shot. The school provided a professional photographer. Then each student had a professional head shot made to upload for their profile creation during the hands-on portion.
  2. Professional attire: All students were advised to look professional for the photo. In other words wear clothes appropriate for a job interview.
  3. Use LinkedIn to find potential job leads: LinkedIn has an excellent internal search engine specifically for jobs. We used this as an example in class to look for “marketing jobs in Johnson City, TN” as an example.
  4. Join Groups and ask pertinent questions: I showed the students how I used an actual LinkedIn group, the Public Relations and Communications Job Community, to crowdsource in helping me prepare for the talk with them. We received 25 very helpful comments on using LinkedIn to find a job that I shared with the class.
  5. Updates: Post regular updates on LinkedIn that will be of use to your business audience.
  6. Get references: When we went to the hands-on portion of the workshop I invited students to connect with ten people, then seek out a written reference and  give someone they know a written reference. (In LinkedIn as in life, what goes around comes around.)

What tips would you share from your LinkedIn experiences? What recommendations would you make to help seniors in college as they prepare to enter the workforce? Do you have a need for a similar workshop at your college, university or place of business? If so, please contact me via this web site.

View the prezi created by MarketingMel intern Alex Quillin for the workshop:

 

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