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Veteran Broadcaster Steve Hawkins and the MarketingMel team of Sarah Kinsler and Mary Ellen Miller.

Veteran Broadcaster Steve Hawkins and the MarketingMel team of Sarah Kinsler and Mary Ellen Miller.

Last week my young associate Sarah Kinsler and I were invited to speak to Steve Hawkins’ Radio/TV broadcast class at East Tennessee State University (ETSU). Steve is a veteran of both radio and television news so the students are learning from an expert. It was a great, interactive experience with the students sharing some of their “zone of genius moments” with us and we shared our personal branding stories with them.  One of the students talked about how great it felt to recently direct a student performance at the Kennedy Center (Great example!) Sarah and I will be presenting “Powerful Personal Branding: The New Economic Imperative” this Wednesday at the PRSA Southeast District Conference in Charlotte. Here are some of our tips about how social media can help you in building your brand:

IceCream1. Showcase Your Personality– My new intern Alex Quillin, joined us today. We immediately began following each other on twitter and I quickly picked up that she loves ice cream. It was great fun seeing her photos of her favorite ice cream in the twitterverse and gave us an immediate common bond. I mean, who doesn’t love ice cream?

2. Help You Network with Peers– I can’t begin to count the friendships and business relationships I have built using social media. Using groups like #SoloPR or #journchat or one of the many other chat groups out there you can zone in on finding people with common interests.

3. Differentiate You from Others – Your social media presence can make you stand out in the crowd. In Sarah’s case it’s her witty sense of humor that shines through, particularly when she’s making fun of selflies on her instagram and vine videos.

4. Help You Promote Your Blog– You mean you don’t blog? Both Sarah and I were astounded that the radio/TV majors in that class who didn’t blog! Blogging is a free and easy way to hone the discipline of regularly writing and posting. Social media is a great platform for spreading your writing success. By the way, Sarah said in her PR classes everyone blogged. Hurray for Public Relations and the emphasis on the importance of the written word!

5. Give You “Google Juice”–  Social Networking can help you Build Your Personal Brand and help you to be found organically in search. The power of social networking and personal branding are becoming synonymous. Make it count!

What are some ways that you build your personal brand through social networking?

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Lovely stationary inspires great letter writing.

Lovely stationary inspires great letter writing.

The following is a guest blog post by MarketingMel Associate Sarah Kinsler, a millennial who still loves to write letters the old fashioned way. 

Last month, according to my cell phone bill, I received over 900 text messages. Everything from funny photos, to sweet good morning messages, to reminders for work. Funny though. If you asked me to remember the best text I received in December, I couldn’t tell you. I could however tell you about the two letters I received in the mail over the last few weeks. One being a card from one of my closest friends who recently moved to another state. She included a adorable picture of her dog and a short note about her recent ventures.  While this friend and I talk daily via text, social media and calls, the letter meant so much more because she took the time to write it.

In honor of National Letter Writing Month and the fact that I was gifted that CUTEST Kate Spade stationary for Christmas, I am supporting an old fashion, but effective form of communication. Maybe I’m an old soul, but I enjoy letter writing, always have. When my best friend in the entire world moved away in middle school, we turned to writing letters. (This was before “texting” became the social norm.) I started writing letters in middle school and continue to send notes, postcards and letters whenever I feel the need to say “hello”.

Here are a few reasons why Letter Writing is important:

1. Adds a Personal Touch
A text is great for saying, “Hey, we’re out of bread” or “Running five minutes behind” but doesn’t really work when you are expressing thanks or showing a person gratitude. A letter makes your message stand out. It lets the person see a different side of you.
2. Keep in Touch with Friends
Social media is a great way to get a glance at a person’s current happenings. However, people are only sharing their public news. Writing letters is a great way to stay in touch without all 759 friends looking at your post online.
3. Improves your Writing
Writing a letter is a great way to improve your written communication skills. What better way to improve your writing skills than expressing your thoughts in a card and making someone’s day.
What have been some of your finest memories of writing or getting hand written letters?
MarketingMel Associate Sarah Kinsler

MarketingMel Associate Sarah Kinsler

 

Sarah Kinsler is a December 2012 ETSU Public Relations graduate. An avid Vine, Instagram, Pinterest and SnapChat aficionado, she works with MarketingMel to provide clients with innovative marketing, public relations and social media strategies. Find her on twitter @sarah_kinsler. 

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Public Speaking is a great way to build your personal brand.

Public Speaking is a great way to build your personal brand.

Our personal brand is quite simply, how others perceive us. It’s what they think of when they hear our name and see our digital and in-person image.  As we move into the New Year let’s each take a quick assessment of our own personal brand and what we can do to better ourselves in 2014.

  1. Google yourself– What do you find? Is it fresh? Is it negative? Does it need a PR boost? I once advised a prospective client who was looking for start-up capital for a new venture to google himself.  A simple search produced a five year old negative news story about his business. I knew that if I saw that so would his potential investors. There are ways (creating blog posts for example) to drive the old and ugly down.
  2. Does your brand transfer to social/mobile? More and more consumers are on both social media platforms and mobile devices. According to Business News Daily, “companies will be finding new ways to target mobile devices and users.”
  3. How are you visually “showing” your personal brand? Have you made plans for a new professional head shot? If your head shot is more than a few years old it’s time for a refresh. (I’ve already made plans to see one of my favorite photographers, Tina Wilson, next week.) The article mentioned above states that Trends predictors are saying that with our short attention spans it will increasingly be a “show don’t tell” world.  How are you “showing” your personal brand?
  4. Who is your target audience? What communications channels are they using? Each year I look back at all of the new social media channels that I joined. In 2013 it was Instagram, SnapChat, WeChat (international) and Vine. I entered those channels because I’m a professional communicator eager to check out the trends, but there’s no question the “tried and true” of Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn are where I connect with most of my business contacts.
  5. How do you plan to promote your brand in 2014? Through guest media appearances? Your blog? Podcasts? Social media? Your e-mail signature? Video? Civic clubs? Chamber of Commerce? Winning awards? Take time now to assess what has brought you business in the past and do more of it this year.
  6. Do you have an editorial calendar planned for 2014? Remember, social media provides a tremendous opportunity for you to be both content creator and publisher. No one knows your business like you do! Create your own content and plan ahead for the seasonality of your brand.
  7. Are you or do you expect to look for a new job or new client in 2014? If you’re reading this you are probably interested in finding new jobs or new clients. Maria Peagler and I developed a free one-hour personal branding webinar for you that includes more profit-making tips at www.personalbrandinghowto.com.

Please share what you’re doing to successfully boost your brand in the comments section below. All the best of luck to you in 2014!

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It was the year of fun with social media. The “Harlem Shake” was all the rage at my SoloPR conference and elsewhere around the country. The word “selfie” officially entered the lexicon. We made vine videos and celebrated National Ice Cream Day July 21st with an instagram video. So what do we do to conclude the year at the holiday season? Our team is closing out 2013 with some more fun. Sarah Kinsler and I will be leading the Johnson City Leadership 2015 class in a sing-along this week with a rousing rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” with a social media kick. We’ll be performing wearing Santa hats with Keith Ford on guitar and  Jason Pierce on mandolin.  What do you think of the lyrics? Would you like to share them at your office Christmas party? Enjoy and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

12 Days[2]

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Old Glory waves at our Tennessee home

Old Glory waves at our Tennessee home

What could be more All-American than ice cream, apple pie and changing trends? Yes a fickle public is probably as common in the U.S. as watermelon on the 4th of July.

Recently WFHG Supertalk Radio Host Steve Hawkins called to ask me to discuss the latest trends in both social media and interpersonal communications. Just click on the top link next to Steve’s face and crank up your speakers a bit to hear the podcast of our interview since it took place from my mobile phone.

Steve and I cover the gamut,from what to post and what not to post online, what to watch in youth trends and what to wear on camera! Now that we’re officially at the half way point in the year let’s take a moment to reflect on our successes and enjoy. Have a wonderful 4th of July week friends!

 

 

 

 

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The following is a guest blog post from MarketingMel associate Sarah Kinsler. This is a follow up to our joint blog post about Vine created several weeks ago.

Sarah Kinsler using the new Instagram video feature.

Sarah Kinsler using the new Instagram video feature.

Just a few days ago, Facebook announced the release of Instagram’s new video feature. The new addition allows users to record videos up to 15 seconds (twice as long as Vine) and gives the option of editing the video with a filter.

During the first day of the new feature, over 5 million videos were created then uploaded using Instagram. Now, users across the world are shooting, editing, and sharing not only their pictures, but also their instant movies.

Here is my first attempt at an “Instagram Video Post”

Nothing worse than a rainy Monday.

(I’m complaining about a rainy Monday.)

While the upgrade seem like a great new way to share videos, some users argue that the new features are a negative for Instagram. The addition of the videos in the news feed slows the app down.  Many people say they “don’t care” about the videos and would rather see photos without having to rummage through the videos to find them.

What do you think? Is Instagram keeping up with the times by adding the video feature? Or should Instagram stick to its initial purpose of sharing cool and unique photos and leave the videos to other social media apps?

MarketingMel Associate Sarah Kinsler

MarketingMel Associate Sarah Kinsler

 

Sarah Kinsler is a member of the MarketingMel team. She creates marketing, public relations and social media strategies for Mel’s diverse group of business clients. 

 

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Kristen, Mel and Sarah

MarketingMel (center) with current intern Kristen Pierce and past intern Sarah Rowan who is now employed by the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce.

MarketingMel was honored to be featured in a recent issue of Ragan.com’s PR Daily for the post “How to Find a Job in Public Relations.”

Here is the link to that post in case you missed it and I have re-printed it below. It was my most popular blog post ever and I refreshed it when PR Daily asked if they could publish it.

It seems like every week I field a call from a desperate college student seeking advice on how to break into public relations. I’ve answered their questions so often that I thought I would jot down a few tips I’ve learned during my more than 25-year career.

1. Think strategically. What is your goal, and how can you accomplish it? Have a plan. Write it down as you would a business plan, and then work it.

2. Seek internships. Be sure to have one; they often lead to jobs. Furthermore, internships help you understand if this business is really for you. (It can be stressful!)

Treat an internship as if it’s a job. Be ready with a professional resume and photo. Be prepared with questions and skill sets you to have offer.

3. Set yourself up for success. Have an outlet after your internship. Look for opportunities, volunteer and play up your accomplishments. For example, my recent intern Sarah Rowan, was the top PR student at her community college. That impressed me.

4. Communicate with communicators. Communicate on their terms through their channels, and be sure to identify yourself. Since I founded my firm, there was only one time a college student reached out to me in such an engaging way that I asked to meet with him. If you want to see what the pros are doing, listen to Twitter chats like #soloPR and #journchat, and say hello.

5. Study the thought leaders. Look who’s leading the way in your chosen field, your community and the world. I treasure my virtual friendships with my international friends.

6. Innovate. Use the latest tools and learn about new ones. The communications field changes daily. Be sure you keep up with it. (My assistant and I recently used Vine to create a video message, and have fun, too.)

Are your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles up to date? Ninety-five percent of all headhunters are on LinkedIn, so you need to be there. Use YouTube to present yourself on video to a future employer. Skype is another handy tool.

7. Learn something new. Do you know a foreign language? Spend time abroad. Be open to opportunities elsewhere. There will never be a better time in your life to move somewhere and do something different. It will expose you to a new way of thinking.

8. Show kindness. Put the phone away in class and have some real face time with your teachers and friends. This goes for online behavior as well. Others can tell when you genuinely care about them.

9. Follow journalists. Media relations is part of public relations. Follow your favorite journalists and engage with them. I often chat on Twitter with my local news anchor, Josh Smith. We are both early risers, and our friendship has deepened with our regular Twitter banter.

10. Know your strengths and weaknesses, but focus on your strengths. Now, Discover Your Strengths” by Buckingham and Clifton is a book worth reading. It includes an easy-to-take online quiz that will help you determine your strengths.

11. Create your personal brand. Put some thought into this one. Again, there are some great books available (see Tom Peters’ article, The Brand Called You). Remember, your personal brand will follow you from job to job for the rest of your life.

What suggestions would you add to this list?

Mary Ellen Miller, “MarketingMel,” mentors a rising, young PR pro each year as part of her firm’s mission. Connect with her @MarketingMel. A version of this article originally appeared on MarketingMel.com.

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(Editor’s note: This article is co-authored by Mary Ellen Miller and Sarah Kinsler, a recent ETSU Public Relations graduate and assistant to MarketingMel.)

Sarah Kinsler,MarketingMel assistant and intern Kristen Pierce.

Sarah Kinsler,MarketingMel assistant and Mel’s intern Kristen Pierce, leaders in the next gen social networkers.

The once great love affair between America’s youth and Facebook  is over.  The social network, once the “craze” for teens a few years back, has slowly turned into a ghost town when it comes to high school aged kids.

 

Why you ask? It’s simple. Now that Facebook has become the chosen network for the middle aged and even seniors, teens are feeling a little “crowded.”  Now they aren’t sharing info, updates, jokes with just their friends, but with Grandma too! Another reason of course is teens are all about chasing new trends and being involved in the newest networks. So adios Facebook and Hello Snapchat, vine and Tumblr.

 

Snapchat, a mobile app sharing service, lets users take short video and photos, then allows users to send as a message.The unique thing about this app however is that once the message is seen, for a very short amount of time, it self destructs (or so teens believe). This is huge right now because teens find it fun that they can live in the moment and not worry about the consequences of a photo/video being taken for a permanent record.

 

Another popular app right now (number one on iTunes actually)  is called Vine. The is app was created by Twitter to take short video clips and mash it into one looping six second short video.  (Sarah and Mary Ellen created this video on Vine while waiting to be interviewed about recent youth trends at WJCW radio last week.)

 

Tumblr is also very big right now. This app is for photo blogging and creating fun profiles that represent the user. It provides teens with a since of creativity without the extended family watching their every move.

To listen to more of our discussion on youth and social media trends please listen to our podcast.  Prior to the podcast Mary Ellen posted on both her Facebook business and personal pages about youth leaving Facebook and got a resounding “yes” from parents who agreed. What trends are you seeing in social networking and youth communications these days?

 

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