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‘Tis The Season…for Holiday PR

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To the general public, the Holiday season means cold weather, finding the perfect gift and deciding what to serve at the annual family gathering. To those of us in the Public Relations industry, it means getting coverage for our clients in the many Gift Guides, segments and stories that will run this Holiday season. To learn more about the inner workings of a PR agency during the Holiday months, please see below.

 

What do we do?

From October to December most short lead media (Newspapers, Online Sites and Broadcast Stations) are focused on filling their stories and segments with everything Holiday. This could be through a Gift Guide, Holiday Décor story or even Festive Recipe ideas. For a PR agency, this means finding a place in these stories and segments where our client’s products might be a fit.

 

How do we do it?

Much like any campaign, we prepare in advance. Before a holiday campaign launches we make sure all of our documents are ready—this means press releases are finalized, target media lists are compiled and the coffee pot is full. This way, once a campaign is ready to launch we have all the tools needed for a successful Holiday season. Throughout the campaign we continue to seek out opportunities for our clients in the media and stay updated on what they have planned for future stories and segments.

 

Now you have a better idea of what goes on in a Public Relations agency during the Holiday Season. It may sound crazy, but we love every second of it!

It’s never too late to start thinking about PR! Check out our homepage to find a campaign that fits your brand.

The Importance of Formatting

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Organization is a key factor to the success of a business. Without it things can get a little out of hand— documents get lost, employees get confused and clients get frustrated. At Avalon Communications we find that formatting our documents plays an important role in staying organized (and keeping your sanity). Below we have outlined what formatting means and how it can help any business stay on top of their game.

What is formatting?

By definition, formatting is “the organization, plan, style, or type of something.” At Avalon Communications we feel that formatting is important to a business not only for the company itself, but for its employees and clients as well.

Why is it important?

  • For the Company. Scattered, messy and inconsistent documents may reflect poorly on the company as a whole even if the people working on the inside understand them. Being consistent with formatting can help streamline a companies’ efforts and present their information in a clear and concise manner.
  • For the Employees. In business it is necessary for employees to both understand the documents they are working with as well as keep them organized. Using the same format throughout the company is a great way to accomplish this as colleagues can easily read, edit and share documents without wasting time trying to decipher the contents.  Some companies may find that certain employees have a ‘system’ that works for them, which is fine! Just be sure the end result aligns with the standard format.
  • For the Clients. When presenting documents to a client it is important that the information be neat and comprehensible. A client should be able to look at the document and understand the information presented without any confusion. Using the same format also makes it easy for clients to compare current and previous documents for reference and helps your company save time and energy from explaining the format method.

 

How does formatting help you and/or your company? Comment below! Don’t forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook!

 

 

Choosing the Right Social Media Platform

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Social Media is becoming increasingly important for businesses as it not only helps build their brand, but allows them to connect with the public on a more personal level. With the hundreds of social media platforms available to businesses, deciding which one best serves their brand can get a little tricky and many factors must be taken into consideration. The proper social media platform will reach the right audience as well as display content in a way that works best for the brand. We have listed four of the most common social media platforms and what they offer below.

Facebook: To build a fan base and increase brand awareness for both a business and their products Facebook is the way to go. This platform allows companies to post content using text, images or videos that gets their fans excited about their business in a fun, creative way. Facebook also has the option to target posts and ads to reach a specific demographic for those that wish to create extremely customized content.

Twitter: Twitter is great for customer service as well as immediate fan engagement. It can serve as a quick-response platform to address questions, comments or concerns an audience may have as well as communicate company news (new products, expansion, etc.) in just one concise tweet.

Pinterest: Pinterest is great for businesses who benefit from their audience actually seeing their product. With Pinterest, a brand can post pictures of their product along with relative information their audience may need to know. For example, a food brand could post boards containing recipes for each season, nutritional information about their product, ways to use their product and more which helps increase brand awareness as well as show people how the product can be used in their lives.

YouTube: For companies that have a product people need to physically use or assemble, YouTube is the solution. Many times, a product may look more complicated than it really is, but with a video the client will be informed and instructed on how to properly use the product.

We hope this breakdown has helped you understand what purpose each social media platform serves—do you have a favorite social media platform? Share it with us below!

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Get the Most out of your Staff Meetings

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Many times when hearing the words “Staff Meeting” employees may think it is code for an hour of meaningless conversation that usually involves bitter coffee and donuts. At Avalon Communications, we think differently. Staff meetings should be fun as well as informative, and time should be used wisely. In the public relations world there is no such thing as free time, so when we have a meeting every minute counts. Below are a few tips so getting the most out of a staff meeting.

Be prepared. When attending staff meetings be sure that you are up to date on all of your clients. There is nothing worse than being asked a question regarding your client and not knowing the answer. If it helps, try printing out a mini-update or summary of where you are with a certain client as well as any pertinent information that may come up in conversation. Bring a writing pad and pen with you to the meeting in case you need to jot down any extra information.

Organize the meeting space. Do you use a projector in your staff meetings? Be sure the computer works. Have a whiteboard? Make sure you have markers. These may seem like easy things to remember but it’s the little things people tend to forget. This way, you are prepared to start your meeting right away rather than testing out 10 markers and wasting 10 minutes. Another thing to keep in mind is to have a clean meeting table, this way employees will not get distracted and be able to apply themselves to the meeting.

Have fun! Remember that staff meetings should also be fun! Order in lunch, have a quick catch up on current events, whatever you feel might lighten the mood. This will help create an atmosphere where employees feel comfortable voicing their opinion, making for a very productive staff meeting.

Do you have any tips or tricks to getting the most out of your staff meetings? Share them with us in a comment below!

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Christmas in July!

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When you ask the average person when Christmas is, they are more than likely to say December 25th, but ask any Public Relations professional and their answer will be slightly different by a few months. Although there may not be stockings on the fireplace or gifts under a tree, in this industry Christmas comes in July. To better explain what “Christmas in July” really means we have listed a few industry tips below.

 

Lead Times. Public relations professionals must pitch according to what their outlets are working on.  Typically, major publications such as Real Simple, Every Day with Rachael Ray and Better Homes and Gardens have a 3-5 month lead time, meaning that while it may be July in real-time, they are already working on Holiday issues! For smaller, regional publications the lead time may be shorter—about 1-3 months.

Finding the Right Contacts. When it comes to pitching it is imperative that you reach out to the proper editors (Pitch food items to food editors, not fashion editors). During the Holidays, this can get a little confusing—some publications designate one editor that is in charge of Holiday Gift Guides, some have multiple editors accepting submissions and some publications don’t even have a gift guide! The key is to stay ahead of the game, do your research and figure out the Holiday contacts before you pitch. Nothing is more embarrassing than pitching for a gift guide only to find there isn’t one.

Deadlines. Deadlines are key in the Public Relations industry. If you don’t meet them, you won’t secure coverage and if you don’t secure coverage your client may not be a happy camper. Deadlines may vary for major publications Holiday issues, which explains the importance of doing your research. We suggest that when reaching out to find which editors are in charge of the Holiday Gift Guides or Holiday Issues that you also inquire as to what the deadline is for submissions (bonus points if you also ask for the theme of their issue)!

Hopefully these tips give you a little insight into what we mean by Christmas in July—have any extra tips? Comment below!

If you are looking to secure Holiday coverage for your brand please contact us, we would love to help! Have a Merry Christmas!

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Office Productivity 101

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Motivation by definition is the condition of being eager to act or work.  Every professional faces days where their motivation is at its peak— tasks are completed, goals are met and life is good. Sadly, every professional also faces days where they have difficulty finding this motivation and their productivity drastically decreases. Many may wonder what causes this lack of motivation and how it can be fixed.

According to an article on Forbes.com, some factors that may contribute to poor motivation include low levels of confidence, lack of progress or even boredom. At Avalon Communications we have found that the answer lies in a little friendly competition.

Creating a friendly competition that combines work, goals, fun and of course a prize, will have any company’s motivation and productivity at an all-time high! How exactly do you do this? Easy! Follow the steps below to create your own company-wide competition.

  1. Find out how you will be competing (most number of placements, most new clients, highest sales, etc.).
  2. Set a deadline to complete the competition.
  3. Pick a prize employees will find motivating.
  4. Let the competition begin!

Once you have decided the above rules, create a chart for all employees and track their status. Seeing where they stand among their colleagues will not only make employees more productive, but the competition will create a fun work atmosphere!

What keeps you motivated at work? Comment below!

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Top 5 Inspiring Quotes for PR Professionals

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We all need a little inspiration every now and then. Below are a few of our favorite quotes that inspire us to do our best every day! Do you have a favorite quote? Leave us a comment below!

 

  • “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” –Albert Einstein

As every PR Professional knows, pitching can be tricky. One day a pitch can land you the greatest placement of all time and the next you could be receiving an “unsubscribe” notice (with an overused pitch you will definitely receive the latter).  Just remember to keep pitches fresh and timely so that editors will actually want to read them!

 

  • “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” – George S. Patton

When it comes to public relations, brainstorming is a must; however it is hard to come up with new ideas when everyone is just agreeing with each other. We are not saying you should argue with your colleagues, but simply try offering additional ideas just to see what happens. Who knows, you may come up with an even better solution! Need tips on how to brainstorm? Check out our post on The Importance of Brainstorming!

 

  • “Understand your audience and you will understand the impact of your message on each follower in your social media networks.” ― Matt Gentile

This quote says it all when it comes to engaging fans and followers on social media. If you understand your audience, it is easier to tailor messaging so that it has the biggest impact on fans.

 

  • “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Enthusiasm and positivity are a must in the public relations industry and we strive to maintain this atmosphere in our office each and every day!

 

  • “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers.”— Daniel J. Boorstin

Okay, maybe we just like this one because of obvious reasons.

 

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Sharing is Caring

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Everyone know the classic phrase “Sharing is Caring,” but how does it relate to social media? With the recent decline in Facebook reach, businesses that use social media are resorting to an age-old way of gaining new followers, the SHARE technique. By using this technique, fans can share content so it will show up in their friend’s news feed, who in turn shares the content again, and in no time you have a high fan engagement level, reach and even MORE fans!

Now for the catch—how exactly do you get fans and followers to share your content? It’s easy, just make the content interesting! (Okay, easier said than done). We have included a few tips below on creating ‘Share-able’ content.

3 Ways to Promote Sharing

  1. Viral Content. Fans LOVE video content—so why not give them what they want? Remember that viral video everyone was talking about with the (insert viral video topic)? If it relates to your page in some way, post it! Not only will this increase clicks on your own page, but your fans will share it with their friends, giving you a chance to score even more fans!
  2. Photos. Pictures make posts more interesting, simple as that. Not only are fans more likely to click on a post when an image is involved, but they may even comment with their own photo!
  3. Make it Meaningful. Whether this means inspiring your audience to join a cause or comment on a trending topic—if the post relates to fans in some way they will act on it. (Remember, this can go both ways so try to keep your posts positive)!

We hope these tips help your page reach its maximum potential! Have any more tips on creating “Share-able” content? Share them with us below! (Pun intended).

 

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5 Tips to Keep Calm in the Public Relations Industry

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The Public Relations Industry is what some may call ‘fast-paced’ and at times it can be (very) stressful. Here are a few tips on how to stay sane when things seem to be getting a little crazy.

  1. Organize your Inbox. Email is a key form of communication in the PR industry- and a cluttered inbox makes for a stressful day. Take some time before you leave work to go through your inbox and organize it. Delete emails you no longer need and file the rest. When you come in to work the next morning a clean inbox will be very refreshing.
  2. Take a break from your desk. We know you all love sitting at your desk staring at a computer screen, but sometimes you just need a break. Take your lunch break outside and enjoy the weather, walk around your building or even stand up and stretch at your desk. Anything to get you moving throughout the day!
  3. Drink something other than coffee. We are all guilty of it—but next time you feel the need for some caffeine swap out that morning coffee (or maybe just the second morning coffee) for an Orange Juice or water. This is not only healthier but it will keep you from hitting that mid-day slump and give you actual  energy to power through the rest of the day!
  4. Take a break from your tech devices. This may be very difficult considering our phones and tablets are like an additional limb—but you can do it! Try putting down your gadgets an hour before you go to bed and you will wake up a new (well-rested) person.
  5. Breathe. This may seem silly, but the best thing to do when faced with a stressful situation is to stop and take a deep breath. This will help calm you down as well as give you some time to take a step back and really think about the task at hand. Easy as that!

How do you relax in the fast-paced world of Public Relations? Comment below!

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How to Survive Facebook Reach

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The social media supergiant Facebook always seems to have an upgrade for its users, and in this case it doesn’t come cheap. The latest in Facebook news is an algorithm that decreases a brand’s “reach,” which ultimately means fewer people are seeing posts from a brands page. This means that in order to reach more fans, a brand must increase its “Facebook” budget. Two years ago, reach was at 16 percent, today it can be as low as 2 percent depending on the brand—so what does this mean for brand pages and their content and how do we remedy this without paying an arm and a leg? One word: Engagement.

Now is the perfect time to focus on engagement. Since not many ‘new’ fans will be seeing your page, why not get the existing ones to join in on the conversation! We have listed a few ways to counter the new algorithm and maintain a brands page below.

  • Content: Do your fans like Notes, Videos, Photos, Status updates or Links? Take a look under the “Posts” tab in Facebook insights to find out and adjust your content according to which type of posts gets the most interaction.
  • Timing: When are your fans online? Again, take a look at your Facebook Insights under “Posts” to see what time of day your fans are on Facebook and schedule your posts to match that, otherwise you are shooting in the dark in hopes that your post shows up on fans timelines.
  • Sharing: Your fans will always be your best promoters, and it’s time to rally the troops. Encourage fans to share your content- this will not only help increase organic reach but you get the chance to gain new fans!   
  • Incentivize: Fans typically will not engage with a brand unless something is in it for them. Contests, Giveaways and Coupons are a great way to get fans involved and give them something in return. (Tip: Have the contestants share their picture for a better chance to win!)  
  • Cross Promotion: All brands are facing the same challenge in reaching a broad audience-why not help each-other out? Find a complementary brand (preferably with a high number of page likes) and cross-promote. This benefits both brands as they will get access to a whole different pool of potential fans!  You can also cross-promote internally across all of your social media platforms to increase brand awareness.
  • Streamline: Make sure your messaging is the same across all social media platforms. This includes Twitter, Instagram, Vine, etc. You don’t want fans getting confused about your brand due to separate messaging.

We hope these tips help you and your brand overcome the Facebook Reach obstacle. If you have any extra tips or tricks please comment below-we would love to hear your thoughts!

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