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Connecting with the Media

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In the public relations industry, connections and relationships with the media are key.

Just think about it—if you were an editor tasked with choosing between two products for an upcoming story, would you choose to keep the item from the person who is unresponsive and unreliable, or would you choose to keep the item from the person who you know will not only be responsive and concise in providing you with all necessary information, but continue to stay in touch with items they know you would be interested in. To all of us at Avalon Communications, the answer is clear.

We know that doing our due diligence when it comes to pitching is a must, and enjoy creating and maintaining positive relationships with the media. A few of our team members were able to attend a media event this past week in New York City, where they were able to meet and discuss with many of the top editors and producers, and found that although most the conversations with these editors and producers has been via email or phone, that the Avalon name was well-received. It is always nice to put a face to the name of someone we have been in constant contact with, and this event was no exception.

For those of you wondering where to start when it comes to relationships with the media, we have outlined a few pointers below.

Do your research. There is nothing worse than an editor receiving a pitch for something they do not cover. Do your research and be sure you are connecting with them regrading a topic of their interest. Wasting their time is not a great way to start a positive relationship.

Be friendly. This may come as a surprise, but your product or service may not always be a perfect fit for a story an editor or producer is working on. Take the constructive criticism under consideration, and be courteous—they may still keep your pitch in mind for future consideration.

Say thank you. The process for placing a product in a story can be a grueling task. Editors inboxes are constantly being flooded with emails pitching a product that may or may not be very similar to yours. In the event they do end up using your product, please follow up with a thank you email (or take it one step further and send a card). This will help your positive relationship grow, and show the editor that their hard work did not go unnoticed.

Do you have any tips for connecting with the media? Comment below!

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Make the Most Out of Your Morning

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We all know there are two types of people, those who enjoy mornings, and those who despise them. If you are the latter, we have a few tips below that will help you make your mornings more productive, as well as keep you motivated throughout the day. 

Better mornings start with the night before. 

Create a to-do list the night before. This task doesn’t take any more than 5 minutes, and can be very helpful in getting you on track for the day ahead. This is also a great tool to eliminate those, “Now, what was I supposed to do today?” moments. 

Get a Morning Routine. 

By having a morning routine before your start working, your brain will adjust to when it is time to work and when it is time to rest. For example: When you get to work, turn on your computer and grab a cup of coffee or your preferred morning beverage while it boots up. Next, take a look at your to-do list (which you created last night if you followed rule number one), and jot down any extra tasks you may have left off.  Then, open your email and check if any messages are urgent and scroll through the latest news on your desktop. This routine will take about 10-15 minutes and will have your brain ready to work! 

Sit up or stand at your desk. 

If you aren’t a morning person, we suggest starting with sitting up at your desk. It’s amazing what good posture can have on your motivation and work ethic. 

Accomplish one important task first. 

It can be easy in the mornings to look at your to-do list and start with the smaller tasks, but what can really help boost your brain function and motivation is by taking on the biggest project on your list and completing it first. After this is done, completing the rest of your task list will be smooth sailing. 

Do you have any tips on making the most out of your mornings? Comment below!

Top Social Media Trends 2016

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This year, we were lucky enough to attend Social Media Marketing World for the second time, and it did not disappoint. For those of you who don’t know what Social Media Marketing World (SMMW) is, it is the world’s largest social media marketing conference that features hundreds of sessions led by expert speakers on a variety of social media topics like Facebook ROI, Strategy, Content Marketing and more.

Social Media Marketing World is one of the BEST conferences we have had the opportunity to attend, and somehow it keeps getting better each year. Not only is the event informative and up to date on all things social media, but they recognize the value of networking and provide attendees with the opportunity to listen and discuss with all-star speakers that are leaders in the industry on a wide variety of topics.

We learned so much at the conference, but have listed our biggest takeaways below.

SMMW16 Recap:

Live Video. In the Keynote sessions, one thing was made very clear—live video is King. By using live video, a company or brand seems more transparent, making consumers more likely to share and engage with the content. Social Media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat are in on the live video game and are making it even easier for consumers to use on both desktop and mobile devices. At the moment, Facebook Live is the most popular (and most effective) form of live video—and will give live video preference on fans timelines.

Influencers. There are many different opinions on the power and definition of a social media influencer, however when you combine influencers with live video, content can become viral, and your brand can not only gain enormous exposure, but the trust of the influencer and their following. To get the most out of working with an influencer via live video, use YouTube, Periscope, Snapchat, Facebook Live or Blab.

Hashtags. You may already be using hashtags in your social media campaigns, but the key is to use them consistently and when appropriate. Branded hashtags are huge, and really bring together a campaign, so be sure to choose your branded hashtags accordingly—make sure they align with your brand, are easy to type and memorable. Once you decide what your branded hashtags are—use them! Include them in all appropriate posts and use additional related hashtags to gain a following. If you partner with an influencer, be sure to use their branded hashtags in addition to your own—this will not only expand reach, but it will benefit both the influencer and the brand.  

Top Platforms. The most important social media platform differs based on the brand you have and the content your audience is interested in. If you are not sure, try using one of the top platforms (which are all live video friendly)—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.

Did you attend Social Media Marketing World? Comment below with your biggest takeaways!

Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter.

Top PR Books to Sharpen Your Skills in 2016

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It’s 2016, and with this New Year comes the annual New Year’s Resolution. This year, we encourage you to not only make a personal resolution, but a work resolution as well—this could be to get more organized, learn something new or to simply sharpen your skills in the industry. We have listed a few of our favorite Public Relations Industry books that can help you accomplish all three of these below.


“Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg:

 Summary: In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.


“This is How You Pitch” by Ed Zitron

 Summary: This book will teach you all you need to know about public relations, from
what to do on your first day at your desk to how to start your own PR agency. You’ll learn the core skill of the business: pitching. It’ll also tell you how to avoid becoming a buzzword-spitting automaton that the media will hate.


“How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

 Summary: You can go after the job you want…and get it! You can take the job you have…and improve it! You can take any situation you’re in…and make it work for you! For over 50 years the rock-solid, time-tested advice in this book has carried thousands of now famous people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives.


“For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations” by Ronn Torossian

Summary: It is essential that businesses know how to communicate quickly, often preemptively, and effectively to survive—and at a cost that is far lower than comparable marketing and ad campaigns. The first book by the owner of a top 50 PR agency, For Immediate Release, Ronn Torossian reveals how public relations can do just that—while also defining brands; helping companies and individuals court the press or avoid it; growing business without alienating loyal customers; resolving crises quickly; and improving first page results on the most powerful search engine in the world (Google).


Do you have a favorite book that has helped you improve your skills? Comment below! 

Facebook Reactions: What Do They Mean for Brands?

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Facebook has introduced a few new additions to their “Like” feature with the rollout of Facebook Reactions, which are six new emoji’s that users can choose from to ‘react’ to a post. Not only does this allow users to express a variety of emotions, but it allows brands to learn how consumers are receiving their brand and gain insight as to what type of content their target audience is interested in.

We have included a brief overview of Facebook Reactions below that will help you understand what they are and how brands can learn from them.


What are Facebook Reactions?

Basically, Facebook Reactions are an extended version of the original “Like” button that come with an emoji. Now, instead of just “liking” a post, users can express their reaction to a post with “love,” “haha,” “yay,” “wow,” “sad” and “anger.”


How to Use Facebook Reactions

From a computer, users can hover over the “Like” button and the additional emoji’s will pop up on a floating panel where they can click on the desired reaction. On a mobile device, users have to hold down the “Like” button, and the rest of the emoji’s will pop up in a panel to choose from. Much like the use of the “Like” button, users can only use one reaction at a time. For example: You can’t “Wow” and “Love” the same post.


What Can Brands Learn from Facebook Reactions?  

Facebook Insights: Page Managers and Admins are now able to see an even more in-depth overview on post statistics including the full breakdown of reactions for each post, making it easy to see what content is most popular among their fan-base. This will allow brands to capitalize on content their fans are interested in as well as gauge what content works best for their brand.


Competitor Analysis: The new Facebook Reactions are also great for analyzing competitor pages and seeing what works and what doesn’t for a specific target audience. This gives brands the chance to see what is working for their competitors, and adjust their own content accordingly.


What do you think of the new Facebook Reactions? Comment below!


Don’t forget to Like our Facebook Page and use these reactions on our posts! 


Five Steps to Stay Motivated at Work

Posted by | The Workplace | No Comments

Create a Task List: Creating a task list at the beginning of your work week can help you keep track of what needs to be done, as well as the order of importance of each task. Task Lists also help you outline your goals for the week, which is a great motivation tool for you to use. Even though you might feel comfortable keeping this list in your head, it helps to write tasks down so you can keep track of how many tasks are completed and how many are left—it also feels great to scratch a task off your list once you finish it.

Work-Life Balance: We know you love your job and can’t wait to get into the office the next morning, but it is important to have a couple hobbies outside of the workplace as well. Not only will this help you relax after work hours, but it will give you something to look forward to after work, adding a much needed boost of motivation to make it through the day.

Keep Your Desk Organized: When your desk is clean and organized, it makes it much easier for you to stay motivated. Documents are easy to find, and a clean area will help you keep a clear head for any emergent tasks that may come up, making for a less stressful day.

Stay Positive: A positive attitude is very important in the workplace as it not only affects you and your performance personally, but it can affect co-workers around you as well. A toxic negative environment does not provide for a motivated individual, so even if something goes wrong think about how you can make it a better situation and move on—no need to dwell on the bad.

Take a Break: Sitting at your desk all day can be draining. Take a break every once in a while and step outside for some fresh air, or just walk away from your desk so you can reset and come back refreshed.

How do you stay motivated at work? Tell us in the comment section below!

How To Use Hashtags

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Today, hashtags have become almost essential when it comes to social media marketing. While we don’t want to get overzealous with our hashtag use- cue Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake- we do want to make an impression and create conversations among our social media audiences.  To do that, here are some tips on how to create resounding Tweets with the use of hashtags.

Keep it simple, but memorable: When using hashtags, it’s important to keep them short, sweet and unforgettable. Creativity and humor are always welcome, but keep in mind that the hashtag you use should have a positive connection to your brand.

Stay engaged: Join the conversation and engage with your audience with the use of your hashtag. By monitoring, responding and conversing with followers, you have the opportunity to leave them with a lasting impression of your brand. Maintaining positive relationships with your customers should always be a priority!

Don’t overuse: One thing to avoid is the excessive use of hashtags. Some may argue that you are likely to get more attention, but in reality, most users find them to be annoying and less credible. We suggest keeping the use of hashtags to a minimum of two per Tweet.

Stay consistent throughout platforms: Once you’ve developed your hashtag, be sure to use it consistently throughout each of your social media platforms. Followers should be able to associate the hashtag to your brand through the use of all different mediums.


Instagram Ads: What’s the hype?

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If you stay up to date on the latest trends in Social Media, then you probably know all about Instagram. What you might not know is how their latest announcement can help your brand reach a new target audience that has remained untouchable in the social ad-sphere until now.

Instagram has served as an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that has attracted over 400 million monthly users since its launch in 2010. Recently, they announced that businesses will now have to ability to advertise on the platform with a “self-serve” option allowing companies will to target their audiences through the popular app and advertise their brands to numerous Instagram users.

The most active users of this innovative platform are teens and young adults who are interested in the latest social trends and understand the features of this social media platform—which makes the long-anticipated introduction of Instagram Ads a breath of fresh air for businesses looking to engage with these users.

With impressive click-through rates, the potential for Instagram ads is tremendous. Early Instagram advertising campaigns from Taco Bell and Mercedes-Benz have already seen impressive increases in ad recall, spurring other adopters to follow their lead. What’s more, Instagram Ads can be created through Facebook Ads Manager and Power Editor, making it easy for businesses to post photo ads, carousel ads or 30-second video ads to reach their target audience as well as select from four objectives including Clicks to Website, Video Views, Mass Awareness and Mobile App Installs to ensure they are getting the most out of their Instagram Ads.

If you think Instagram ads may be a good strategy for you, be sure to keep in mind what kind of media and creative your target is interested in and learn more here!

How to Increase Twitter Followers

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1.       Find Influencers. Influencers are people in a specific industry that have a high level of social media influence. These “social media celebrities” have the power to reach a specific audience, engage with them on a topic of interest and create content that is relative to a specific brand or industry. By following influencers not only will a brand have a great source of industry information and content, but also the opportunity to have this person interact with your page.

2.       Compose Thoughtful Tweets. Followers do not want to follow a page that only pushes a product or service. Mix it up a little with fun and intriguing content like photos, videos or interesting links that will grab the followers attention and encourage them to engage with the brand. Be sure this multimedia content is related to your brand or industry in some way as you don’t want to confuse your audience.

3.       Be Active. If you are not consistently active on Twitter, you will lose followers. Be sure to tweet at least twice a day and remember to interact with your followers by answering Mentions, Re-Tweeting their content and responding to Direct Messages. Followers like to know their tweets and questions are being answered, so try to keep your response time within 24 hours (if not sooner).

4.       Use Hashtags. The use of Hashtags helps increase visibility of a Tweet in followers news-feeds as well as categorizes the Tweet so it will be visible in Twitter search. When using a hashtag, be sure to keep it current with trending topics so when fans search or use the same hashtag, your tweet is likely to show up.

5.       Cross-Promote. Promoting a Twitter Page on Facebook is a great way to increase followers and leverage both fan bases. In addition, you can link a Facebook page to Twitter so Facebook content will automatically post to the Twitter news-feed. Learn how here.

6.       Twitter Ads. Increasing a Twitter following organically can be difficult, which is why we recommend using Twitter Ads to jump-start a follower base. Twitter Ads can be targeted to a specific audience which will ensure your followers are already interested in your brands product/industry and increase the likelihood they will become a loyal follower.

We hope the above will help you increase your Twitter following and gain loyal fans. Have any tips or tricks of your own to secure followers? Comment below!


Don’t forget to give us a follow at @AvalonComm!

Simple Ways to Strengthen Media Relationships

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The relationships public relations professionals have with the media are the key to a clients’ program success. Without them, it is impossible to secure exposure or receive feedback. As in everyday life, relationships are key and likewise, one must work to establish and maintain a strong relationship with the media they are targeting for coverage. Below, we list a few tips below that will help strengthen these relationships.

Stay Current and Specific to the Media YOU are Targeting. Read recent stories editors have written and send an email with feedback. This shows the editor that you are genuinely interested in their work and are not only talking to them to get a product or client featured.

Stay Connected!  This can be via Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Not only will following them on social media give you an idea of what an editor is interested in outside of their career, but it will make you stand out among others. (It also doesn’t hurt to endorse them for a skill or like their posts).

Know what they Cover! Knowing what an editor covers is key to understanding what stories/products they are likely to be interested in. Many editors may move around between publications, or just switch up what they cover for different months–be sure to stay updated so you can pitch them accordingly.

Appreciate! Appreciate! Appreciate! More often than not, feedback to the media is negative. When an editor covers a product or story that you pitched, be sure to send a follow up email thanking them for the placement. This shows them you appreciate the time they took to review your product and that you actually read it.

Comment Below with other Tips That Work for You!

Ready to talk about driving exposure for your brand and products? Contact us today