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Intern Tips Infographic

MarketingMel’s #PR #intern Alex Quillin created this infographic. What tips would you add?

 

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The following is a guest blog post from MarketingMel Public Relations Intern Alex Quillin.

DogThanksI’m a 20 year old Advertising and Public Relations major at ETSU, so naturally, I frequent social media sites. I like Instagram and Facebook, and I have Twitter and LinkedIn, though I don’t use those as often. Classes taught me to use these sites to develop my professional profile, and my family expects me to keep them updated about various aspects of my life. But I did not realize how useful they can be until…

It was about 4 PM on a Friday, and I was unloading groceries. I faintly heard a “ma’m? ma’m?” in the distance and turned to look. At the top of my driveway sat a middle-aged lady in a golf cart with a precious puppy in a blue collar beside her.

“Is he yours?” she asked. “There’s no name on his collar.”

“Oh, no. I’ve never seen him before. He’s cute…”

“Well you can have him. I’ve been completely around the neighborhood and no one claimed him. I don’t know what to do with him.”

I looked at her. I looked at the puppy. I knew I could help her, I just didn’t want to fool with it.

“Will you take him and try to find the owner?” she asked.

“Oh, okay. Did you post it on Facebook?” I asked.

“No, I don’t know anyone around here so I didn’t think it would help.”

“Okay, I’ll post it… Come on little fella.” I said, instantly questioning my decision.

I took him inside and he started whining. Loudly.

I couldn’t believe I had gotten myself into this. I took three pictures of him and tried to put him in my bathroom, fearing he would run away if I left him outside. In the few seconds I took to upload the pictures onto the Facebook Local Yard Sales, the puppy had knocked over his water, managed to get soaking wet, and had escalated his whining level to an ear-piercing howl. “I found this puppy. Do you know who he belongs to?” I asked anyone scrolling through the couches and coffee pots.

Then I shut the gate to my porch, and let him outside. He sat on our chair there. I kept checking the comments on the posts. One lady wanted him if no one claimed him. Another wished me luck. Then I saw the comment that made me smile. Just two hours after I uploaded the pictures.

FacebookThread

It was him! The owner turned out to be a young boy. He was about 7, and he was so worried about his new puppy. His mom showed up at my door just a few minutes after we messaged each other. The next day, there was a knock at my door.

“Hi,” said a four-foot handsome fella. “Thanks for finding my dog.”

He handed me a card.

LandonThankYou

Suddenly, I was so thankful I took that whiny little dog. And I realized just how useful social media can be.

AlexQuillin

 

Alex Quillin is MarketingMel’s 2014-2015 Intern. A senior at East Tennessee State University with a 3.8 GPA,  she is the first recipient of the recently created MarketingMel Public Relations Scholarship at ETSU. Alex plans to work in the field of advertising and public relations.

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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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ToDoListIt’s time to roll out another new year and with it all of the hopes and changes that a new season brings. Old man 2014 withers and fades and the bouncing new baby of January 2015 is upon us. So many times we think “big” when we think of the changes we’re going to make in the new year. Perhaps that’s why gym memberships balloon like December waistlines each January, only to fall off once the sore muscles and routine of discipline sets in.

Instead of declaring broad, sweeping changes like to “lose 20 pounds in two weeks” or “win the lottery” what if we take time to examine our lives and make one, small change? That’s right. Just one, small change that we can implement daily.

In 2014 I did something so simple that not only worked, it streamlined my life. I’m delighted to share this tip with you. (I learned it from Success Magazine publisher Darren Hardy.)

Each night before you go to sleep, write down and PLAN the following day! Simple right? But it works. If you actually wait until the new day is upon you (as I did for years!) you will feel overwhelmed.  Write down the night before what the next day will look like. Quite simply, plan ahead. You will be amazed how much more smoothly the day will flow and how accomplished you will feel when you chart your course the night before.

What are some simple and small tips that you will be using to meet your goals in the new year?

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The Johnson City Chamber of Commerce Leadership 2015 class

The Johnson City Chamber of Commerce Leadership 2015 class

Today I had a fascinating round table discussion with members of our Johnson City Chamber of Commerce Leadership 2015  class. Since I only had a brief time to meet with them before they headed out on their “Technology Day” I shared the latest Equalman Socialnomics video. These videos are always professionally done and the fast-paced, statistic-packed video served as a great conversation starter for my question:

How has your business (or you personally) been positively or negatively impacted by social media?  

Here is a quick sample of the leaders’  answers:

1- Smart Phone Stress: Are we ever “off?”- One leader said, “I now feel like I have to work from the deer stand.” With smart phones he asked, “when can we manage to turn it off? When do you stop and decompress?”  The same man said that he deliberately left his phone behind when he went to Ireland for nine days and when he returned he had 1,600 emails to return. “I paid for it,” he said of his time “unplugged.” Others commented that if they are up at 3 AM texting they expect others to do the same. Our work cycle has moved toward 24-7.

2- Power-full: Representatives (and customers) of the power board mentioned how handy it is now to gain real time information about power outages. One class member and customer said how very appreciative she was of the regular updates from our power board versus other places she had lived.

3- Increasing student enrollment: A representative from the Gatton College of Pharmacy mentioned how she deliberately engaged students before they attend the school on Facebook. She welcomed them as “members of the class of 2018″and gave them a sense of belonging and engagement. After this type of outreach, enrollment numbers went up.

4- Everyone’s a publisher: Conversation was lively concerning the “double edged sword”; the ability to publish but also the ability to move quickly and not take time to check the facts as in certain well publicized recent news stories.

5- Checking out future workers and colleagues: The leaders cited the ability to go onto LinkedIn and quickly assess people to see their resume, their connections and more.

6- Not EVERYone is online: Two leaders who work in the highly regulated financial services industry two  said they are extremely limited as to what they can and can not do digitally. “Everything must be recorded” said one leader. “Even our instant messages have to be recorded.”

7- Go Paperless (Really): One Human Resources director said she really enjoys the elimination of paper work in both the job application process and recruiting thanks to the digital workplace. “An applicant now never touches a piece of paper until they come to work for us,” she said.

How have you as a leader been impacted by social media and our digital society for good or for bad? I would love to hear your story.

 

 

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Preparing for the start of the 2014 UP & At 'Em Turkey Trot.

Preparing for the start of the 2014 UP & At ‘Em Turkey Trot.

The 9th annual Johnson City Up & At ‘Em Turkey Trot 5K Road Race and Family Fun Run has come and gone like last week’s turkey leftovers. With over 4,000 participants including runners, walkers, strollers, wheelchair racers and dogs, it was deemed a huge success by everyone involved. Universally participants and all committee members have told us that the publicity for this Family 5K was the best ever. The value gained from press, media, and promotions was worth many thousands of dollars.

Here are four tips that helped the Public Relations plan work:

  1. Set a goal: Know your goals, in this case the numbers of participants you are going for at the start.
  2. Have a Team of Professionals: This year we had a total of 5 marketing/public relations professionals working together. We met weekly and followed up on our action items including lots of interface with the media. We were a subcommittee to the main race committee and operated independently concentrating only on the publicity aspect of the event. The race director was a member of both our committee and the main race committee.
  3. Press Conferences can still work – if done right: We opted to hold a press conference to launch this year’s event. We held it in an elementary school (that consistently has the most student participants). We gave it a pep rally feel, complete with hundreds of students screaming in the gym. The beloved local anchorman was emcee and covered the event live on the popular morning TV show. We brought in mascots from a variety of local businesses and held a race with the turkey (guess who won?) This was also a good opportunity to recognize our sponsors.
  4. Get a celebrity/celebrities involved: One of our team members knew last season’s Biggest Loser top five finalist Jennifer Messer. Jennifer lives nearby. She was more than eager to help us as parade grand marshal, with the press conference, with media interviews and with social media. Having the power of celebrity behind a cause can really boost an event!

When the actual day arrived, despite snow, cold and wind, the people turned out! For many it’s become a family tradition to burn off a few calories before sitting down to feast. I walked it with my dog, Lucky, and a friend. (This is one of the few races that allows dogs and this year hundreds of well-behaved canines on short leashes strolled or jogged with their handlers.)

These are just a few of the PR tips that went  into this event’s success. Do you have additional thoughts or ideas as we look to implement an even bigger and better race next year?

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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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Those of you who’ve been following my posts know that  I was inspired by Kid President Robby Novak’s YouTube video calling on local communities to collect new socks for the homeless during “Socktober.” The results are in and it was a resounding success!  With some fantastic team work we soared past our goal of 750 pairs of new socks, actually getting 1053 pairs!

With the help of a number of  local businesses and the Johnson City Morning Rotary Club, we collected new socks in all sizes and for both genders. This week we gave the warm, new and often colorful socks, to United Way of Washington County, TN for distribution to the United Way agencies that serve the homeless.

Socktober sponsors turn in socks to United Way President and CEO Lester Lattany.

Socktober sponsors turn in socks to Washington County TN United Way President and CEO Lester Lattany.

“We would like to thank all of the coordinators and participants of this year’s Socktober campaign. The socks will be given to our agencies that provide direct services to children and homeless families in our community. This campaign is another expression of the very caring spirit that is in this great community” said United Way of Washington County’s President and CEO Lester Lattany.

Johnson City Schools Homeless coordinator Bonnie White said the sock donations are vital necessities. “These new socks are very much needed,” White said. “Many children come to school with shoes that are too small or too large and they get blisters on their feet from not having any socks at all.”

United Way of Washington County TN and Mary Ellen Miller of MarketingMel with  over 1,000 pairs of new socks for the homeless.

United Way of Washington County TN and Mary Ellen Miller of MarketingMel with over 1,000 pairs of new socks for the homeless.

MarketingMel along with Summit Leadership Foundation, Spine & Sports Chiropractic and Appearances Hair Salon and the Johnson City Morning Rotary (at Johnson City Country Club) were Socktober sponsors. This year many great drop off locations participated including: Appearances Hair Salon, Cumberland Marketing, Exalt Academy of Cosmetology, First Tennessee Bank, Johnson City Country Club, Spine & Sports Chiropractic, Summit Leadership Foundation, Tri-City Community Bank and Princeton Arts Center. Additional businesses that heard about the campaign and asked to be a part were Chick-Fil-A Crossings and Robinson’s Animal Hospital.

A great big THANK YOU to all who took part. If you’re reading this blog, did your community take part in #Socktober?

 

 

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