Monday, October 29, 2007

New Magazine in Vermont!

And its GREEN!!!

I feel like such a reporter today instead of a Vermont public relations practitioner. Coming very soon to a newsstand near you is the Central and Northern Vermont edition of the Green Living Journal. Yippee!! The magazine is being published by Vermont magazine industry veteran, Ellen Shapiro, most recently seen as an account manager at Vermont Woman magazine.

Green Living Journal
is "a practical journal to friends of the environment." There are currently editions in Southern Vermont and Southern Oregon, and now Central and Northern Vermont with Ellen as the Publisher! The magazine operates as a whole with structure and general content publishing "news you can use" articles on organic gardening, green building, health, eco-careers, outdoors, socially responsible investing, eco-notes, Q&A, book reviews, and environmental issue topics. But, the magazines are independently published so they are tailored to the specific geographic regions they reach which allows content to be localized while offering the backbone of an established magazine group (Green Living Journal started in 1990).

Sounds like a win-win to me! The website is and look for the Central and Northern Vermont edition soon! And be sure to look through for a blog column written by me! If you'd like to reach Ellen for marketing opportunities with the magazine, email her at

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Constant Contact

Yes, in marketing, of course people should have "constant contact" with constituents. What I am talking about, and actually wondering about as well, are email marketing programs such as Constant Contact, a company that provides such services as newsletter distribution and other email based communication programs.

I highly recommend such programs for newsletter distribution, however, in my direct business, that is not something I currently offer. I may, if I sign up with an email program like Constant Contact. I heard about Constant Contact at the latest monthly luncheon for the Burlington Chapter of the Women Business Owner's Network - one of my favorite self employed business activities and organization I might add. Every time I go to a WBON event, I learn such valuable and helpful information for operating my independent public relations agency - RachelCarterPR. (I've decided I like the one word identity.)

Anyway, the reason I am interested in a potential email marketing program is for press release distribution. I can see how it would be a plus on one side with eliminating annoying formatting issues and being able to include photos without attachments. However, editors get so much email, that will the majority of them even bother to click the button that allows newsletter content to be read? And, furthermore, they haven't subscribed - email marketing is anti-spam and while there would be an option to unsubscribe, they never subscribed in the first place and the last thing I want to do is annoy the press. For this post I need advice - anyone have any???

Friday, October 12, 2007


I like the concept. I do. Work for someone and trade for something you need. The key word in that sentence is need. It's a lot like coupons.

The concept of coupons is good. Be diligent, clip coupons, create a shopping list of things you need and then use the coupons against those things on your list and save money. But, how many people see coupons for things they might like, or might want to try, a might use down the road and how many people end up buying those things simply because they have a coupon?? I mean, seriously, isn't that the point of coupons? Yes! They are not there to save you money! They are a marketing strategy to get you to buy things!! And, in my opinion, a very good one.

And, yes, even as a public relations and marketing consultant in Vermont, I too fall prey! When I moved to my new apartment to help consolidate expenses for starting my own business, I got the relocation coupons. One was a 10% off Home Depot. So, of course I went to Home Depot to buy some stuff I needed and quite a bit more stuff I did not need. Great marketing tactic to get me to shop at Home Depot when normally I would go to South Burlington Ace Hardware and support my local hardware store owner where I already have a 10% discount card that applies everyday!

So silly. But, we all do it, don't we?

However, now that I run my own business, I have started to come up against the bartering and trade for my public relations work. And, I have to be frank -

I do not like them PR fans,
I do not like to barter PR for my ham,
I will not barter for my pork,
I will not trade PR for a silver fork,
I do not want a bag of yams,
I will not have it Bartering Fans!

Unless it is trade for my rent, internet, phone, utilities, or garbage, as I am in my first year as a business owner, I think I'll opt out. There is the Vermont Barter Network, which down the road, I may explore as I am one to be open minded, but that, my friends is for another post, in another year.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Media Lists

Good media relationships, understanding the concept of what is newsworthy, long term media campaign planning, and synchronizing publicity efforts between print, broadcast, an online outlets are what I consider to be the four most important factors in a successful public relations campaign. If one of those four are not working, than the other three really will not be able to make up for it. Hence what I try to tell clients and prospective clients - public relations is NOT a quick fix or a magic wand.

But there is a major backbone to public relations that if not in proper alignment can significantly hinder a public relations campaign - even if all four of these components are in place. That is accurate, working media lists. There are a few ways to keep media lists and anyone handling any part of public relations work probably does one of these three things:

1.) Keep an ongoing contact list of your media contacts.
2.) Search on the internet for email addresses and contact names and information for the media outlets you want to target.
3.) Subscribe to a media database - the three most well known being Cision (used to be Bacons), BurrellesLuce, or Vocus.

And, here are the pros and cons for each one:

1.) Media Contact List
PROS: Exceptional idea because the best editorial you will get comes from those people who know and like you as a person, so keep this updated and send individualized notes or "pitches" when appropriate to these folks.
CONS: If you rely only on this, you are missing out on a world of other media outlets who may be interested in different news stories - don't underestimate the power of the vast markets there are out there that are interested in many different elements of the news you are trying to publicize.

2.) Internet Searching
PROS: Web centric, remember? This is great because it allows you to find niche publications, outlets, websites, blogs, etc. that you won't find anywhere else. It helps globalize your news. And, news outlets often change emails because of the high spam volume they get (which is why you shouldn't bug news people unless you have something newsworthy) and usually update their website first - either with a new address or the form, which is becoming increasingly more popular.
CONS: As someone pointed out on my Web Centric post - not everyone is online! Not all publications are online and not all people are online, so relying on this way to get media contacts will only cover partial markets and media outlets.

3.) Media Databases
PROS: Media databases list just about every media outlet that exists - you'd be amazed how many niche publications and trade journals there are out there. And this is exactly why media databases are great - they allow you to find, rather quickly, all of the media outlets that fit your demographic, market, and region. This is especially important with any regional or national publicity you are trying to garner.
CONS: They are super expensive and while they have a contact management system, they do not always list the contacts you may have made or the most appropriate person all the time to contact. They are also a bit lacking on the web side of the equation.

So, what to do? All three of course! You must do a little of each, making the field of public relations so much more about organization than it has ever been. This is part of the reason I love public relations in my new role as running my own business. While I love being a professional storyteller here in Vermont, I am also uber organized, so it all works out well! And coordinating all three components of media lists is quite the organizational task! If it's too much - feel free to hire me as a consultant- even if it's just to help you coordinate and organize the process and you are the actual media contact - I do it all! My company is RachelCarterPR, my website is, and I subscribe to Cision (an an FYI).

Happy Media Listing!