Sunday, December 21, 2008

Vermont Public Relations Firm Newsflash!

Guess there are enough things worthy of note that I will use my blog as an outlet to post a Rachel Carter PR Newsflash. This is also because I do not use a newsletter service. With the huge influx of their popularity among businesses, I have also seen the popularity of them shrink among consumers and I do not want to feed into this trend.

First item of note, I am taking a real and honest vacation. It is VERY hard to do when you run your own business because nothing gets covered by anyone else and when you take a day it's usually double to make up. But since the holidays cause many people to take time and many businesses close their doors (or force employees to take vacation days as horrible as that is), I feel it is one of the only times, if not the only time, I can actually take time and not drown when I return. So, I am CLOSED! Rachel Carter PR will reopen on Monday, January 5th! Of course that doesn't mean I don't have a few odds and ends to wrap up, but the office is closed and that feels good!

On a different note, I think part of my "vacation" is due to my celebrating my first two years in business! Wahoo! I am where I guess I thought I would be. My marketing and finances are set in place and my niche audience has been honed with a variety of deliverables developed, so I guess you could say things are going well! I look forward to starting my third year as a small Vermont public relations agency continuing my commitment to working only with Vermont businesses and organizations in a variety of capacities - from consulting to retainer-based long-term public relations programming; from small business PR plan development to mid-sized organizational PR training. And even in this recessional, financial, global drama, this corporate hippie rocks on!

And of further news, my fabulous St. Michael's College intern from fall semester is unable to come back to to scheduling - gotta love the drama of time. So, I have an opening for the spring semester and am looking for an intern for my highly regarded Rachel Carter PR Internship Program. I am looking for a Vermont college sophomore, junior, or senior with interest in entrepreneurship, public relations, marketing, or journalism and studying in a related field. Self motivation and varied interests and background are key! This internship is very flexible and can be done for credit or simply for experience. Come join the successful line of interns who have worked with me! Here are where a few have gone on to:
- marketing position on a cruise ship
- executive position in high level financial firm
- account executive at New York advertising agency
- vice-president of marketing at international bank
- marketing manager at Boston based technology firm
Come join the ranks! To apply, email me at rachel@rachelcarterpr.com as to why Rachel Carter PR interests you (more info is at the website - www.rachelcarterpr.com), what you are looking to get out of an internship, and attach your resume!


Guess that's the news coming out of the Charlotte farmhouse which houses Rachel Carter PR. Other than that have the Happiest of Holidays, the Most Festive of Festivities, the Sweetest Greetings of the Seasons, and all that pizazz!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Two HUGE Communication Mistakes

It amazes me that many business people continuously make two very disrespectful mistakes. These mistakes would be not communicating a thank you and non-responsiveness to emails. It may be from a lack of customer service training or basic business etiquette skills, or just plain time constraints, but none of these are any excuse for not thanking someone when they have done something for you or for not responding to emails.

Let's start with thank you's:

If someone does something for you whether you ask them to or not, send a thank you note! Jeez, did your parents not teach you to send thank you notes for all the ugly sweaters you got at Christmas? Whether it's an email or a card you mail, take the extra two minutes and show your gratitude (in writing!) - what comes around goes around and that's not just a saying, it's very true. Just think what happens when you get thanked for doing something - you feel appreciated and you're more apt to do a favor again. Everyone needs favors and everyone should give favors - thank you's help this interaction between people, businesses, friends, and strangers continue in a positive cycle. So, if you're one of those people who always seems to forget to say thank you - knock it off!

And now the email responses:

I can't tell you how many times I email a business as an introduction for a potential collaboration or even someone I have blogged about and never hear anything back. This is so rude! I was taught from my first job onward that you respond to all emails in a 24 hour period. Even if that email is "Thanks for contacting me, I'll keep your information on file." Or "THANK YOU (ahem - see above) for writing a positive article about me - it is much appreciated." Now, as I am in the business of spamming the press at times, I understand that PR people to them are sometimes like fleas on the family dog, but those times when I get a simple email back acknowledging they got the email - man do my spirits soar. But I am not talking about the press here, I am talking about other business folks who just ignore emails. Even a "I cannot respond right now as I am swamped but will get to it soon, or please follow-up with me in a few weeks." When it comes to the ignoring, I just don't get it. Why, especially in a small marketplace like Vermont, would you not want to build your network by communicating with people? That is how business gets done - the more people who know what you do the more your marketing dollars are going to pay off. You can't just expect that article that ran or the ad you bought to drive your business - you need to stay top of mind. And a huge way to counteract that is to be non-responsive when people email.

I guess this was more of a gripe, but also a lesson in business etiquette - send thank you's and don't ignore emails. Simple. Period. Try it for a while and I think you'll start to see a big difference. There are larger things at work than the sphere you rotate in.

Peace to All...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Holiday Networking

The holidays may be the last place someone thinks of when thinking of networking. Either because you want to go spend time with family and NOT think about work at all or because you dread your family so that you want to keep conversation as minimal as possible.

I understand, believe me. It may not seem so to some, but I am a huge fan of putting work aside and enjoying family and friends without thinking about the insanity of running a public relations firm in Vermont. But this Thanksgiving taught me an important lesson about networking...

Sadly for my family, my grandfather passed away the day before everyone gobbles up turkeys. A leader in quality control and an innovator in computers, he lived a very complete life and was able to say goodbye to his children which is always a blessing. So last week there were more family members than usual in the vicinity of my mother's feast and all came out to my parent's home in the Berkshires for Thanksgiving.


Perhaps as a need to keep conversation light and because as I get older, I enjoy family company more and more, I babbled away about funny stories that stem from my work. Stories that are not about what I do and who my clients are, blah, blah, blah, but rather little tales that come out of the eclectic and varied work and situations I get myself into. This of course resulted in laughter and the usual tales that people share after an amusing story sparks their memory. Many, to the delight of all, also led into fun memories of my grandfather. This is to be expected, especially if the family is as colorful and talkative as mine.

But then something happened which I did not expect - these stories also sparked discussions of my uncle's golf partner who owns a business in Vermont related to one of my clients and my grandmother's travel friend who manages an organization that collaborates with a potential client. I think you see where I am going. You never know....

I certainly wasn't being the annoying niece yapping away about how awesome my business is and prodding for networking contacts. But I also wasn't being the tired business owner trying to steer all conversation away from my work (which I sometimes do). I was instead being a funny daughter sharing my experiences and listening and learning from others, and gaining a few new contacts along the way.

And this, my loyal readers, is something you should all think about doing over the Christmas holidays! Rachel Carter PR approved!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Power of the Open House

When done right, an open house or even a series of open houses can really help in publicizing an event or concept, without having to rely on the media and by targeting people directly. To exemplify this, I give you a case study on Lund Family Center:

Lund Family Center is an organization that has been in the community for 118 years and its services have evolved to meet emerging community needs over that time.
Today, Lund Family Center offers a comprehensive treatment program for pregnant or parenting young women with substance abuse and/or mental health issues and their children; Vermont's oldest and largest private non-profit adoption agency; and a comprehensive family resource as a Parent/Child Center.

Many people in the greater Burlington area only think of Lund as the maternity home they were familiar with when growing up and many more are unaware of the comprehensive services the organization offers. The most common response Lund gets when someone visits is, "wow, we had no idea that you do so much and that you are having that big of an impact!".

Taking that into consideration, when Lund celebrated their momentous occasion of moving back into their expanded and completely transformed residential building at 76 Glen Road in Burlington last fall, they needed to look long and hard at how to share that knowledge with a community that gets news and information from a variety of sources, many of whom will never have the opportunity to actually step foot in Lund Family Center. While their roots at this site go back to 1890, Lund bid farewell to the 1960s maternity home building design and officially opened a new chapter by designing a space that meets the treatment needs of the families they are serving today and the families they plan to serve in the future. The new building enhances their ability to provide services to children and families and expands the capacity to annually help create new beginnings for an additional 25 Vermont children and their families, serving more than 80 children and their families each year.

So, this fall, Lund implemented a series of open houses - for board members, supporters, neighbors, community members, businesses, and all other folks they have in their wide network of contacts. I learned about it as I helped provide some PR services for Lund a few years back when I worked at an agency to help publicize the contribution they received from Senator Jefford's to be able to reach their capital campaign to begin the renovations. I went to one of these open houses last week and while I was amazed at the beautiful job they did with the renovations, I was equally impressed with how well the mothers and expectant mothers did with organizing the tour and lunch and fall of the people who attended to learn more about Lund Family Center.

In my professional opinion, I'd say open houses are back in! Plan far in advance, be creative about what is at your open house, and network with your networks!

And in addition - Congratulations Lund - you are great addition to the greater Burlington community! www.lundfamilycenter.org

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Potential Work & Technological Explanations

Are you a one person business stressed by the insecure financial times?

Are you a business person stressed by the emergence of all the new media/social networking/online marketing terminology?


I have found two websites referred to me by two well-respected professionals that I would like to pass on to you:

The first one is www.sologig.com. This is a website that offers freelance, contract, temp, and consulting short term work in the Greater Burlington area, hence the name Solo Gig. It has a pretty broad spectrum of potential work and looks promising for a lot of folks. So, if you are finding work turning up a bit short or need to have one or a few extra part-time/short term "gigs" that stay (for the most part) within the self-employed tax structure, definitely check out www.sologig.com from time to time to keep your options open.

Second, do the terms RSS feed, Facebook, Twitter, SEO, an metatag make you shudder in lack of comprehension? Fear the unknown no longer!!! Check out the website www.commoncraft.com. Common Craft is a website that simply provides explanation. Explanation in very simple, non-technology jargon helping you make sense of phishing, twittering, and googling. Give it a try - www.commoncraft.com - and remember to be patient in learning anything new!

Good luck all!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tears of Hope

Were shed last night - I have never been prouder to be an American than I was last night watching both John McCain and President Obama give their speeches. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Freedom

I wish I was not so insanely busy today and could spend time browsing the internet and following the election. But, in order to embrace my freedom that I hold so near and dear to my heart, I must continue the PR work for my Vermont clients and meet their deadlines. But, I did sneak away to go vote and had a little bit of time to reflect and feel that energy that is whipping around at the dusk of change for this country. Several of my friends have posted very though provoking blogs and have been feeling this sense of freedom that is swirling about this election.

I myself have some very strong opinions of this country and of politics in general and over my 32 years of life my sentiments have gone very quickly from optimistic to pessimistic to angry to sad. Seeing the results tonight one way or the other will not give me a sense of hope. Unfortunately I think this country is in a much deeper despair than one person can affect, but I will cross my fingers that it is a start - a start to at least bringing the focus back to the people who live in this country because things are bad.

I think of how I started my business almost two years ago. I did it for one primary reason and dozens of secondary reasons. The primary reason was to have as much control over my destiny as possible because what I saw when it was in the hands of others was sickening - everything from jobs to wages to benefits to expectations to taxes to a washout of the American Dream I spent my childhood dreaming about.

Of course if it wasn't for the glimmer of the American Dream that remained, I would not have been able to start my own business. I simply hope this election will be the beginning of some major shifts in the way this country operates and can start to replace despair with hope in people everywhere - from sea to shining sea.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Just How Do I Get All That Press?

Everyone has been asking me this question recently. People keep saying, "I see you everywhere!" It's strategically placed news folks! I take items that are newsworthy regarding my businesses - business launch, website launch, other related business activities (i.e. blogs, board appointments, etc.), recognitions and awards, new employee, etc. and I space out the news I send to the press. For instance three of those things could happen at one time. Instead of sending it all at once, I break it out into separate news items and send them several months apart from each other. I also time it for when I can take on business and inquiries. In addition, I seek out opportunities that can be press worthy and I continue to have updated photos to tell these different stories.

I also play the see and be seen game. People need to see your face to place two and two together ad I definitely allocate time for networking and career enhancement events. These events are always good for learning, as no one knows it all, and they are good for connecting and reconnecting. People get frustrated with networking events saying they don't transcribe into business - not directly for the most part, but the do abstractly and PR my friends is one abstract business!


Hope everyone is doing ok making it through financial stresses and taking time out for themselves! I am cutting off at noon today and going hiking and wildlife viewing with my sweet fiance. Providing public relations services in Vermont can take a break!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Document Strategy

The term document strategy seems to be one of those marketing terms that sounds strategic but yet doesn't really say anything. The office solution company, IKON calls it document efficiency. That's a little better, but still not very clear.

I'll help clear it up - wasting less paper and IKON has products and services to help companies do that. I was recently contacted by IKON to attend a sales/informational luncheon to learn about this concept and how IKON can help manage this problem. In my world of small businesses, document strategy is a foreign concept to me - not an issue and not a concern. My business was green at the get go - I work electronically, heck, I don't even print invoices. And I am conscious about how I dispose of my e-waste. I work at my home, keep meetings on a schedule so I only drive once or twice a week, and grow much of my own food. My carbon footprint is pretty low. Oh, and I just spent the weekend weatherproofing my house.

While I may not be the target market for such a luncheon, there are definitely businesses out there who are the target market - can I say The State of Vermont, insurance companies, utility companies, health care organizations, communications companies and everyone else that sends way too much junk/repeat mail? Unfortunately the process of "document strategy" can be costly and can cause some pretty hefty structural unraveling and that doesn't help the dwindling middle class worker.

The smart thing that IKON has going for them is their ability to offer the cost savings strategy - showing that it will probably cost up front, but the long term savings greatly outweigh the upfront costs. If only these bureaucratic organizations actually had to be held accountable for their carbon footprint - hopefully that day is not too far off.

Interested in attending the luncheon or letting others know?

What: IKON Environmental Show
When: Wednesday, October 29, 2008 from 10-3
Where: UVM Davis Center (A LEEDS certified building)
How: Register with Eric Thompson - erthompson@ikon.com
Info: www.ikon.com

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Rachel Carter PR Advice on the Economy

In my best mobster voice..."Forgaaht abowwt it."

Disclaimer - I am NOT an economist, financial planner, or algebra teacher, I am a Vermont woman business owner.

But seriously, stressing out, raising your blood pressure, or acting out in some financially rash manner is not only stupid, it is bad for all the other small business owners out there. Continue about your business, keep the flow going, and remember the media LOVE a frenzy!!!!

A good rule of thumb on the PR side of life is when the media are all bugging out - don't pester national media about stuff they don't care about when they are all caught up in something else. This is the same rule of thumb as don't launch a campaign during the holidays unless it directly relates to the holidays and don't try to get coverage about an event taking place right before an election.

But for small business owners in Vermont and other similar places, your local media are plugging along just like anyone else. I should know! After attending the fantastic Key For Women Financial Forum this morning with the most awesome former press secretary, Dee Dee Myers, I went about my business delivering press kits for Candles & Creations to local media outlets. Operating as normal. Not running around like the morning shows are making the country out to be.

If there are a few items in your business that need to be re-evaluated due to the financial situation in this country, fine. Set them aside until things chill and take this time to work on some other proactive areas of your business that never make their was into the regular To-Do list. You will be surprised at how productive this can be!

And, in the meantime, if you weren't at the Key For Women Financial Forum this morning or if you were and didn't get a copy of Dee Dee Myers' book, "Why Women Should Rule the World," visit the site, get a copy, and then read it!!! Her speech today was ridiculously inspiring and so right on with everything! It was also so right on with my previous post about the event, I simply had to get a picture with my new role model after she signed my copy of the book. I also share a picture of her speaking and of all the press that were there today - so cool! See? The Vermont press are much more interested in Dee Dee Myers speaking at an event than the stupid financial hullabaloo.



My apologies for the fuzzy pictures, my camera was obviously made by men.

Friday, October 3, 2008

5 Free & Quick Ways to Promote Your Business

1.) Google search your competition and post yourself everywhere you see them posted.

2.) Identify a trend, set of tips, and/or a solution to a problem and how your business relates to it. Write a press release and/or by-lined article on it and send to business magazines, journals, and websites.

3.) Send an email blast to your friends and good contacts telling them something new or that they might not know about your business and ask them to share with people in their networks.

4.) Offer to do a speech/presentation or be on a panel on a topic you are an expert on to an organization that reaches your target audience.

5.) Join your local Front Porch Forum and let your neighbors know who you are and what your business is! (www.frontporchforum.org)

These tips brought to you by Vermont public relations chick - Rachel Carter (www.rachelcarterpr.com). Check out my Charlotte Farmhouse office!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Blog Marketing

I have learned several things about blogging since I started my three blogs a year and a half ago. First and foremost they are TIME CONSUMING!!! However, that is the only down side and the benefits are so great that they outweigh any annoyance factor of not having enough time. Everything in my Vermont pr business is time consuming, so what's a little more, right?

I spend $50 a year on advertising and that is for my link on the Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce's website - www.vermont.org. Since I am in the business of public relations it would be pretty hypocritical to promote my business off advertising when I get paid to help people utilize other means.

I consult with many people on how to best utilize a blog for their business. So, I thought I would write a blog about how to blog. The blogging gets technical and I know that boggles minds so fast and then can't really help, so I am going to cut it down for you.

I very much dislike giving a list of do not's instead of do's, but so many businesses have entirely the wrong idea about blogs. And hey, you can do it anyway you want, but if you want it to actually market your business instead of just being a waste of time, I would pay attention.

A Blog Is Not...

~ For promoting your business
~ For telling your business news
~ For talking about your business
Because frankly, who out there in the internet world wants to hear about it? (hint, no one who doesn't already hear about it)

A Blog Is...

~ An online journal and a journal is an exploration of your thoughts
~ A first person, no gatekeeper filtered, account on the subject of the blog

Ok, enough subjective stuff here. If you are thinking about wanting a blog and aren't sure where to start, here is my Can I Have a Blog Quiz:

1.) Can you write?
If you can't, find another new media marketing vehicle, a blog is not for you.
2.) Do you like to write?
If you don't, find another new media marketing vehicle, a blog is not for you.
3.) Do you have other interests/areas of expertise besides talking about your business?
If you don't, find another new media marketing vehicle, a blog is not for you.

If you answered yes to all of the above questions, please continue. If you answered no, please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Media_Marketing for other new media marketing ideas.

Great, so you have what it takes creatively to create a blog. Now, learning the technical side is not quite so easy, but not so hard either. You must take it in steps. Keep in mind it took me about a year to really see fabulous marketing results with my blog (yes, this includes new business!). Here are the first steps I suggest you take:

1.) Start checking out blogs that relate to areas of your interests - a good place to search for blogs is www.technorati.com. Think of this as a search engine for blogs (which is what it is).
2.) Start using things like RSS feeds and Delicious to gather info on your favorite topics so you can see how the process works and collect info that is fun for you personally while you're at it.
3.) After doing this for a little while, then you will start to get a clearer picture of how blogs work and what you might like to have as the subject of your blog.

These steps are so key in developing a blog, I cannot go into technical how-to, plus reading a blog about how to technically create one is not where you should learn. Spend 2-3 months doing the above three steps - then you'll get it!

And check out my other blogs!
Vermont Music
Vermont Vibes

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"Why Women Should Rule the World"

I can give you several reasons why. I am not saying I am pro-women and anti-men, but women still manage to get the shaft in several areas including equal pay, respect, recognition, etc. I am not one to hide the facts of all sides of a situation so I will be honest that sometimes women are their own worst enemy. Regardless, women should have much more impact on the state of affairs on a national and global level. Besides the occasional catty and trashy chick fights, you don't see women fighting and being uncommunicative. Emotions aside, women communicate and men follow, break, and change rules. There is simply too much testosterone running the world and the only way to change that is with women.

Here is a real world example from my interesting and colorful life. Most folks know I am a live music addict. I love going to shows and festivals and rocking out with my like-minded friends. After over a decade of roaming around the hippie/jam band circuit I have learned LOTS of things. Much of it I apply in various direct and indirect ways to running Rachel Carter PR. And a huge social norm of the scene applies directly to national and world politics...the groups that hang together at festivals.

Group 1: All young chicks, no dudes. This is just not safe and stupid. The girls get too messed up, aren't prepared, have no experience, etc.

Group 2: All older chicks, no dudes. These mamas are about female empowerment and unless the gathering has a specific purpose for this, these ladies are probably pains in the butt to deal with.

Group 3: All dudes, no chicks. This is the worst group to encounter. They are foul, rude, cause trouble, are looked at as shady (and many are), and for the most part they are poster children for the concept that every good man needs a good woman. The worst thing about this group is most of the dudes are probably good guys, but in the mix of a testosterone only group, they go beyond the limits of what they should as good people.

Group 4: Mostly dudes, one or two chicks. The gals here are either girlfriends who are more meek than muscle or the one power chick who gets off on being amongst only dudes (because the power chick types thinks she's way too much of a pain in the butt). These one or two ladies will not have much effect on keeping the fellows in check.

Group 5: The mixed group of guys and gals, friends and relationships, siblings and co-workers, various ages. Any healthy group of individuals in the live music circuit consists of this form of arrangement. Checks and balances. The guys can be guys, the chicks can be chicks, the leaders can lead, the followers can chill, the group is prepared, the group is safe, the group is cohesive, the group is a positive attribute to the entire scene. And the nature of the group keeps individual demons in check.

Do you see where I am going? Everyone knows in politics the chicks without guys are just femi-nazis or whatever other names politicians and media want to call them. How come no one ever talks about guys without chicks? They are testosterone filled douchbags! And all the guys with one power chick? No better!!!


I am certainly not the one to talk abut this on a national level, so I am putting my faith in former White House press secretary, Dee Dee Myers. For those who don't know, the job of press secretary is the most esteemed public relations job in this country. So whether you are interested in the concept of "women ruling the world" or want to learn more in the scope of publicity from the creme de la creme in the field, you should join myself and a bunch of others at the 7th Annual Key4Women Forum.


The Key4Women Forum is being held this fall in several Northeast locations including the Hilton in Burlington on Wednesday, October 8, 2008 from 8:30 - 10:00 am. The $25 registration fee benefits The Vermont Women's Fund. Registration is available online at www.key.com/womensforum. I went to the forum last year and was blown away. Both the speaker and the networking is second to none in regards to events I have attended in this state. And my continuing kudos to Key Bank and the Key4Women program - their commitment to women business owners is unparalleled in Vermont and their business banking services have really allowed me to learn and grow in running my own Vermont public relations agency.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Williston's Taft Corners

I can't believe I am saying this. Me, the corporate hippie. But, I am growing quite fond of Taft Corners. It is not that I have found a new appreciation for box stores. I have found a new appreciation for convenience. Now, I hope that doesn't make me a Williston Barbie (I wish so badly I had saved the email I read a few years ago on the descriptions of Vermont women as to what type of Barbie they were based on the town they live in. In Montpelier I guess that would make them invisible since they don't allow Barbies to be sold in any stores there.)

Ok - sidenote - I think that is LAME! Political correctness irks me, even though I must practice it as a Vermont PR professional. I credit Barbies to so much of my imagination and creativity I have today - especially as a professional storyteller! My Barbies were so complex! They ran businesses and had rock bands and wrote in diaries and traveled across the country and visited their friends in cities and had dinner parties. You simply cannot have organic apple dolls do all that. See? This is why I am a corporate hippie.

Ok, thanks for letting me rant. Back to Williston. It rocks. It is close to my Charlotte home which is on the Hinesburg side. Since I am not rushing in the way everyone else is, I sneak in the back way and have learned all the ways to get around and have had some fun maneuvering my car. Instead of having full-of-themselves hipsters yelling at me for my sneaky car moves, I have tired businessmen and bottled up soccer moms nodding to me in secret appreciation that I have the balls to sneak out of the cluster...um...traps.

Next there is the actual store experience. As opposed to my eight years in Burlington where I felt like I had to dress uberly cool to even be looked at with respect in Vermont's downtown metropolis, in Williston I can bounce in and out of places without anyone looking at me twice. And if I am dressed uberly cool - I am actually the coolest! I also find I run into more colleagues, friends, and neighbors than I ever did in the perpetual 23 year old paradise.

And thirdly there is the store selection. Downtown Burlington is to see and be scene and for tourists who have lots of cash and locals who pretend to have lots of cash. This is why so many Vermonters head to Williston and other places to actually purchase clothes, groceries, supplies, etc. The fabulous thing I have noticed is now that I am in such an accessible proximity to Williston, I don't have to go anywhere else. Grocery shopping, hardware supplies, gardening supplies, client meetings, party supplies, office supplies, house crap - all in Williston. This doesn't mean I am a fan of the Walmart. That place is just creepy and I have to admit I feel a little weirded out by some of the people I see in there. And don't judge me - you all feel that way too!

So, the recap - Thumbs Up Williston!!! You are working towards making the Rachel Carter PR Best of 2008 List!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Media Maven Event Kick Off

This is hot news for Vermont non-profits!!!

Join the nonprofit members of CCTV's Center for Media & Democracy for their annual fall luncheon to kick off the monthly series of Media Maven events on Thursday, September 18th from 12-2. This year they will look at ways social media can make organizations sing--to clients, stakeholders and the community at large. Register today for lunch and stimulating, useful tools and techniques.
Email Sam Mayfield at smayfield@cctv.org with any questions.


I will most definitely be attending and encourage other folks working in the world of publicity to register as well. There will be great non-profit networking and fantastic learning opportunities in the realm of media.

I also encourage small and start-up businesses who are having challenges getting marketing plans up and running and who can't afford big company services to get in touch with Sam - they have a variety of services at costs that may be feasible for your company. And, they're the Center for Media & Democracy - even the name is inspiring! If you haven't connected with CCTV, I highly encourage you to do so - it is so much more than town meeting television. (And even now you can watch your town meetings online!!) www.cctv.org

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

High Fashion Comes to Vermont

Who says Vermont women don't appreciate high fashion? Not I. Appreciating and wearing are two totally separate things, however. But you ladies who love high fashion and have somewhere to wear it should certainly make an appointment for the Worth NY Trunk Show being held September 7-12 at the Vermont National Country Club on Dorset Street in South Burlington.

After throwing away a postcard and ignoring an email, I got a phone call to make an appointment for the Worth NY Trunk Show. (Here I reiterate the importance of follow-up)

Now this was a learning opportunity for me; who enjoys wearing legwarmers made by recycled sweater sleeves (by The Healthy Hippie of course). When I hear the word trunk sale I think of when an ex-boyfriend's mom showed up at Thanksgiving with a trunk full of imitation purses to sell. Or maybe when a favorite thrift store had a trunk sale of a bunch of items for extra cheap. But, this week, I learned what a trunk show really is - a special sale in which vendors present merchandise directly to store personnel or select customers at a retail location or another unique venue.

And it seems Worth NY (which I had also never heard of) is worthy of a traveling show. I did a bit of research and just looking at the website one can differentiate their superior style, class, and elegance from anything one might find in Vermont. The style is personally something I really like - if I chose to be a PR rat racer in NYC. But sadly, I cannot wear such lovely items traipsing around my farmhouse, killing spiders in between PR follow-up calls. See for yourselves at www.worthny.com.

Worth NY did their homework as well and learned that Vermonters, no matter what their style, like to attach spending dollars towards local causes and a percentage of the proceeds will benefit The Vermont Food Bank, although I am sure it is not as high as Candles & Creations, the unique Vermont boutique which donates 15% of net profits to Vermont non-profits. I did learn while chatting with one of the Vermont hosts of the show that the Vermont Food Bank recently bought a farm and will be growing veggies for clients in addition to the donations they receive. Very cool. Everyone deserves to eat veggies like these!

So, if it fits your style, please call Christine, one of the hosts who resides in Lincoln, Vermont to make an appointment to purchase some Worth NY designer clothing - 802-453-6416. Cheerio!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Public Relations Internship

As summer comes to a close and I see my blog posts are slim this month (I actually took a vacation), I realize I best get moving on securing an intern for the fall. My current intern, Aislinn Wallace, heads back to Dickinson College this week. Aislinn has done some great work here at Rachel Carter PR and I am bummed to see her go - especially as we wrap up the youth wellness public relations campaign for Candles & Creations - the unique Vermont boutique located in South Burlington's Blue Mall.

Anyway, I have internship postings at Champlain College and St. Michael's College. I don't think I have anything active at UVM, but students from any college are encouraged to apply! If someone catches this post here, check out my website - www.rachelcarterpr.com - and see if an internship in Charlotte with lots of flexibility and very hands on experience would be of interest to you! My small Vermont PR agency excels at combining traditional PR practice with new media, social networking, and grassroots marketing. An internship with me is a fantastic opportunity for the right individual.

For further info or to apply, email me at rachel@rachelcarterpr.com, tell me what what interests you about PR and where your goals lie and attach a resume.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Government and Business

Do not mix. At all. Do not ever make the mistake of thinking that mixture will slop together for you. The government - federal and state - are both messed. While I believe that some of the people who work for the government truly want to make a difference, I think they get so caught up in bureaucracy, process, hand slapping, and just basic stupidity that they are either smart and get out to where they can make a difference, or they are stuck because the other demands of life make it very difficult to make personal change.

The power is shifting. Just look at the environmental movement. That is entirely driven by businesses responding to people's needs, certainly not the government. But businesses have to do it themselves because the government won't help. And the unfortunate part is businesses have to turn a profit, they don't have taxes smacking them in the rear ends to slow down the process some more.

I believe wholeheartedly in the power of the small business and I have no faith, respect, or conviction in the government. Too bad my taxes can't actually go to those who make a difference. Too bad businesses and government can't actually work together for the good of the people - isn't that what the government is supposed to be there for? Not to say they can't favor one small business over another when they have oil companies wiping their asses for them.

I recently met with the folks at CCTV - Center for Media and Democracy and chatted a bit about free speech. And here I am exercising that right - may more people use blogs to do what they can't many other places. Oh, and feel free to check out the Rachel Carter PR interview on a recent Live at 5:25 Local Media Show.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Internet Spying!

When I taught the senior level PR classes at Champlain College two years ago I gave the students their first assignment which I called internet spying. They looked at me blankly and I further explained this was a project for them to use the internet to spy on their crushes, themselves, ex-lovers, long lost friends, etc. They then looked at me like I was a mad professor. This was a semester long assignment and I sort of left it at that. Every now and then I would ask how the spying was coming and they would giggle and that was that. Until one day a girl came in and was all excited to share that she had met a guy at Red Square and wanted to learn more about him so she did some internet spying and Google searching and found all sorts of information (nothing bad, just info).

Now, I was not giving a lesson in safe dating (although this is a good dating practice), I was giving a lesson in having the skills to make it as a PR professional. You have to know your audience, who you are contacting, where to find people, what someone is involved in, etc. I one had a huge hit in the Los Angeles Times simply because I remembered that the writer had a cat for an office manager and he was so amused when I followed up on a pitch and inquired about the office cat (which I learned about from internet spying) that he happily worked on the story with me. Internet spying can make you look very on-the-ball which is a good thing. And it's not at all just for media contacting - it's for everyone - new business opportunities especially.

A few years ago I had to leave my students in the hands of Google, but now there are several sites which help speed up the spying process a great deal and I thought it would be helpful for my faithful readers to share them with you today:

http://ekstreme.com/buzz
Site to track buzz on yourself and find places you also might want to be listed on, etc. through searching keywords instrumental to your business

http://pipl.com/
A very detailed web search for people – good to search for yourself and see what’s out there and how finding you might need some work. Good tracking tool to search for yourself before you do internet marketing and then to do again several months later and see what's changed

http://www.peekyou.com
Great site for spying on others and yourself to see what might be out there in the social networking scene on yourself and where you might want to make alterations or create profiles

http://www.zoominfo.com
Free place to post both a personal and company profile as well as be able to search for what other work might be online connected to you

Happy Investigating!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Marketing in Vermont

I recently got a call inquiring about potential publicity for a company trying to create demand for a product for Vermonters made and marketed by those quite far away from Vermont. I won't say any more on that, but I will give some very serious advice for others trying to possibly do the same.

Vermonters aren't interested. And for those that might be, reaching them through the Vermont media isn't even an option. If your product is for the Vermont market than create it not only with the Vermont market and expensive statistics in mind, but with actual Vermonters.

Use Vermont companies to create and launch it and have Vermonters involved in the process throughout - that will help give you legs in this marketplace once it's time to publicize. You can hire the most expensive NYC public relations bonehead and get nowhere. You can also hire the most heady Vermont public relations mama and still get nowhere. You can't trick Vermont media into believing in something that was created with no heart, belief, or real connection to some part of the Vermont community. The only way to market at that point is lots of paid placement and lots of time for it to sink in - getting involved in the community would also be wise.

Pic of the Week: Rachel Carter PR - the Office Porch at the Charlotte Farmhouse

Where I have business meetings.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Media Lesson Number 1, 3, 6, 10, 15, 22 and so forth...

Just Because The Media Do Not Respond Does Not Mean They Are Not Listening.

I mean it. Think about how many times it takes for an impression to be made on you for you to finally act on it? If you are a business, how many times does it take for you to make an impression on someone else for them to actually pay attention to you? The media are not exempt from this concept. While many people wish there was a job rule that media people need to remember everything, no one else does, so why should they? I mean, hey - I am not even in the media yet am expected to remember everything and while I feel badly if I don't remember someone's name - I have entire databases I am working worth! My mind would explode!

Um, but yeah, this isn't about me - another lesson I continuously learn - and teach.

The media need continuous yet not annoying impressions over periods of time just as anyone else. And, they cannot be scolded for not putting you or your business first - remember it's not only about you.

Think about the concepts of communication as they apply to your own personal relationships and apply them to the way you relate to the media and you will gain valuable insights into the practice of public relations - especially right here in Vermont.

Monday, June 30, 2008

PR Buzz in Vermont

For those into PR in Vermont, if you are not already a member of the Vermont Public Relations Google Group, you most certainly should be! Check it - http://groups.google.com/group/vtpr.
The group is informally headed by Claudia Renchy Morton, the Director of PR at Kelliher Samets Volk (KSV), which is one Vermont's leading full service marketing agencies.

Claudia has done a great job gathering PR professionals in Vermont and getting us together time and again for PR sharing and learning - something I could certainly use more of as meetings with my cats get a little uninspiring at times.

Most recently we enjoyed a luncheon meeting at KSV's retro lunch room and heard from the folks at Boston based company, Bzz Agent. Bzz Agent has created a corporate strategy for word-of-mouth marketing. Of course, unless you are Green Mountain Coffee Roasters or Seventh Generation, hiring Bzz Agent would be a bit out of the budget as the smallest contract is around $79,000 for six months. But, the client's for Bzz Agent are big companies, but that doesn't mean the ideas can't be put to use on a smaller, Green Mountain scale...

The concept is simple - people believe their friends and folks they chat with about products and activities way more than any form of advertising or public relations for that matter. So, Bzz Agent has thousands of volunteer "agents" who share info with the people they know - openly letting them know they are indeed a "bzz agent." This means - no sneakiness - yay!!

So, my Vermont business owner friends - you should do the same! Get a group of your supporters together, build that group through your networks, and get them to talk about you! Share with them - in a consistent way - the info you want to get out and ask them to help you spread the word with the people they communicate with! Provide them with the tools, wording, message, etc. and ask them to help share when appropriate! (this does not mean you ask them to spam people via email - that is NOT the point!)

I would also love to hear some success stories if you do indeed try this put - please share and happy bzzing!!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Closing Paragraph

If you are a small business or venture and are starting to think about placing some advertising or attempting some PR, or if you have already done so and want to do it better - here is a great piece of advice:

Write yourself a boilerplate paragraph about your company. It should only be about 4-5 sentences and should read something like this:

Company is a type of blah blah blah organization offering blah blah blah to blah blah blah. Company is owned and operated by blah blah and has been providing blah blah blah since blah. Their mission is to blah blah blah and they are committed to blah blah blah. Company is located at address and more information is available at www.blah.com.

That is what I call your closing paragraph. Use that paragraph anytime you send information to anyone - client, press, etc. (Obviously you fill out the blahs.) This will really help in your consistent messaging.

Now take said paragraph and made it into a 50 word blurb and then add information and make it into a 100 word blurb. Save all three of these paragraphs in one place and refer to them when sending information and posting all of those company descriptions on various websites. You will be amazed at how much time you save and the results you will see by using the same language in all of your communication. Especially if you use the same keywords that are in your paragraph in your google analytics and website keywords.

Good luck!! And for a nice visual, here is the view out of my new office window at the Rachel Carter PR headquarters in Charlotte, VT! (Ah - check out the keywords in that!)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Over-Deliverance

I continue to learn in my process of running a PR firm in Vermont. This week's lesson deals with over-delivering. This also ties in with honesty and not being a sales pitcher, but rather an idea pitcher. Successful public relations takes time and a lot of it. Well implemented PR programs start to self run themselves after a period of time and the fruits of the labor continue to sprout long after the work is over. Educating people on how this works is necessary prior to beginning work so expectations are clear between both parties.

Here are what I think are the major misconceptions about the practice of public relations:

1.) Public relations is not offered in a store therefore you can not try on everything, see if it fits, try on something else, and have a specific price tag on everything. It is a practice - like practicing the law and is paid for as a lawyer is.

2.) PR people do not have magic wands that affect the media. The media are immune to any magic you think PR people have. (hint - good PR people are just intuitive, there really is no magic)

3.) PR really does take a ton of time - really. Come job shadow or ask my current intern, Aislinn Wallace - she will tell you the truth!

4.) You do not need a degree in PR to be a good PR person and that should make no difference in pay. I happen to have a PR degree so I can say this without hidden agenda. (plus, my hidden agenda is to live in the country and work from home, which I am doing)

5.) PR does not in any way, shape, or form stand for press release. It stands for Public Relations which is relating to the public aka communicating with different audiences. This may or may not mean via the media.

I must race off to finish up the last of the move the Charlotte, VT. Any chance anyone knows anyone looking for a well priced apartment/house rental in Charlotte? Next door is open - fantastic opportunity for a couple needing lots of space and a home office!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Marketing Tips Courtesy of the North Star Lodge

I have written about the most unfortunate experience I have ever encountered regarding customer service and discrimination with the North Star Lodge in Killington, Vermont in several different ways. My other two popular blogs - Vermont Vibes and Vermont Music both share different angles of this terrible experience of entering a contest, being scammed for a timeshare ploy by the company using the entries as sales leads, falling for it, and then treated with rudeness, turned away from the actual tour, and discriminated against because of youthful appearance and casual dress - hey it's Vermont and I am a good Avon customer! Please check out these blogs for the story and my further investigation into the North Star Lodge owned in part by a previous timeshare fraud, under the subsidiary of RCI aka Endless Vacation Rentals - the Enron of timeshares, utilizing the elusive and untraceable Summit Vacation Corp. - a professional scam group based in Pittsfield, Mass. If someone knows more, please enlighten me!!

Here are my marketing tips of the hour - fresh from the disrespectful, rude, and intolerable behavior of the staff at the North Star Lodge/Inn/Resort in Killington, Vermont:

1.) When conducting business in small locales like Vermont, do not hire sneaky out-of-state entities to do your dirty laundry. Instead, just leave Vermont all together and go do your dirty business in other states.
2.) Do not judge a book by its cover. You never know who wears farmer clothes and is a millionaire, who wears business suits and is in credit card debt and just filed Chapter 11, who wears hippie clothes and owns a business, who dresses like a Nascar fanatic and is undercover, who looks like a soccer mom and is a drug dealer, who walks funny but invented the latest electronic gadget, or who is a bouncy sometimes frazzled looking 30-something and is really a publicist!
3.) Do onto others - do I really need to go there? After this weekend apparently I do. Treat others kindly, have compassion, and don't be a jerk.
4.) If you're running a marketing program and say it's to spread the word, be positive and let the positive word be spread. If you are running a marketing program to sell something directly - be open and honest about what you're selling and don't use asinine gimics.
5.) Never underestimate the power of PR, the power of the press, and the power of the internet.
6.) Always google search new people you are about to deal with and know who you are dealing with so you are not caught off guard.
7.) Understand your market, be in honest touch with your product, and don't try to be something you are not.
8.) Don't take out your own inadequacies or your failing marketing campaign on others, just stop and go at if from a different angle with a different approach.
9.) Do not inappropriately use contests to your advantage. One well run true and real contest will garner enough PR to pay for the sales you could cheaply get out of a potentially fraudulent operation.
10.) Do not ever go to the North Star Lodge or recommend a friend to go there, and if playing with timeshares, be very, very cautious with RCI - Endless Vacation Rentals.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Quick Non-Media Tips

Moving is one daunting task! My blogging has become thirdary lately after running my Vermont PR biz and moving to the Charlotte farmhouse. But...I have a few tips I wanted to share for those looking to beef up their presence to their various audiences.

~ Become an Expert - Not just in your field of work, but take a hobby or two and get active and involved in organizations and events surrounding your hobbies. Not only will it help with your association marketing, but you can find opportunities to get quoted by the press and included in media opportunities that help paint a more three dimensional picture of who you really are. Like my recent memory lane trip of my junior prom in this past Saturday's Burlington Free Press.

~ Be a Speaker - Volunteer to speak for a group you belong to or a group who could benefit from hearing some tips you have to share. Research conferences related to your field and contact organizers about sitting on panel discussion boards. Be sure to plan far in advance for this - as you should with everything in PR.

~ Write a Blog - Not only is a blog a great internet marketing vehicle, it's a fantastic opportunity to be in an editor's shoes.

~ Be an Author - Contact a local newspaper, magazine, or radio show and see if there is an opportunity for you to author a guest column, write an article, or have a radio segment. Remember, this is not a place for shameless self promotion, but rather to share your tips and expertise about a subject appropriate for that media outlet.

~ Don't Forget your Friends
- Keep your peeps up-to-date with your activities in business - you never know who knows who. Sometimes friends can make the best business contacts if you strike the right chord and let them know how they can help you.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

So, You Think You Have A Story Idea?


Great! That means you are starting to think like a PR pro! The first thing you have to do with your story idea is think about who it would be of interest to. And, please - ask a trusted colleague or two who would be interested in knowing about your story idea. (hint: Do not ask people who always tell you what you want to hear - they are good friends, but not good business consultants)

Next, once you have an idea about what audience is going to be interested in your story idea, think about how those audiences get information. And don't only think about media like daily newspapers and TV. What music do they listen to and will they get that from a radio station or satellite? What niche magazines might they read? What types of newsletters do they subscribe to? Where do they live and what local media outlets reach them? What organizations do they belong to and communicate with? What websites do they frequent? What important people do they take stock in?

Lots of questions to answer before you run off to share your story idea. Answer these questions and then research ways to reach the "gatekeepers" (as we called them in PR 101) who are the ones who communicate directly with your audiences.

STOP! Before you actually reach out (phone call, press release, pitch letter or email, press packet, e-blast, article, tips, etc.) you must do more research!!! The best way to get your story out there is to supply all of the background information that might be needed to help further develop your story idea. Find websites that coincide with thoughts you are expressing, find examples you are referring to, provide photos, offer collation between your story and current news and event items, offer background research and statistics...do the homework and never think "it's not my job" - ever.

Managing successful public relations is no different writing an A-worthy research paper!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Tips on Setting Up a New Office

So, you have moved offices like me? It can be such a process! It's also a time to start fresh. Here are a few tips on some of the most useful things I have learned (and am still learning):

1.) Tell everyone! This way it's easier to schedule meetings farther away than normal because you simply cannot do it all!
2.) Google search yourself and change your address and phone number on all sites you are listed at. This is also a good time to update other business information and changes as well.
3.) Check prices and best solutions for your phone and internet. A move is a good time to get rid of stuff that didn't work so hot and go with something better! I found the cell phone as a business phone had run its course and was wayyyyy too expensive. So, I dropped my minutes to the lowest level and got a business line - tax deductible in toto baby! I also found that Champlain Valley Telecom rocks!!! Comcast was a rip-off with crappy service. I went through Kris Merchant and he actually came to my house and set it all up and waited for me because I was running late (one of my signature not-so-hot qualities). So glad I didn't have to spend 4 hours speaking to people who couldn't speak English telling me how to use a paper clip to poke at my equipment (no, I am not politically correct and yes, that was always super annoying). Anyway, Champlain Valley Telecom is Rachel Carter PR Approved and Recommended!
4.) Take the time to set up and reorganize your office - shut off the phone and don't check email. Your clients will appreciate it in the long run.
5.) Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - GREAT opportunity to be green! Get stuff on Craig's List, sell stuff on Craig's List, get friendly with Recycle North, and find creative ways to recreate your office without dumping tons of money at Staples (I haven't gone once!).

And the NUMBER ONE thing to do when setting up a new office - CREATE A NEW SCHEDULE FOR YOURSELF. Right away. I am power walking in the beautiful Charlotte country-side every day after emailing and start my day with tea and rolling the Chinese balls in my hand to help with the creeping in carpal tunnel. Oh, and get a mouse to hook into your laptop if you don't have one. Staples might be worth it for that or find one used like I did!!!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Rachel Carter PR Is MOVING!!!

Check it!

Rachel Carter PR is officially moving it's Vermont headquarters, operations, and offices to Charlotte, Vermont. The Burlington-based public relations agency/firm is now and forever more known as the Charlotte-based Vermont public relations extravaganza. Ok, Ok, I am being silly, that is because I am moving and am on that verge of cracking up that I think everyone hits when moving!

But, the truth, reality, and awesomeness is I am moving my home and office to Charlotte in a fabulous old farmhouse on a dead end, dirt road. Rachel Carter PR will be located in a large, working office with space for stuff, intern, working, and mailings as well as a comfortable inside meeting area and meeting lounge on a second floor porch. Meetings at the farmhouse are a must where complimentary sun tea is always on tap.

Everyone please make note - the new contact information is as follows:

Rachel Carter PR
564 Garen Road
Suite 4
Charlotte, VT 05445
802-425-4886
rachel@rachelcarterpr.com

Friday, April 18, 2008

Vermont Public Relations Internship

Calling Motivated Interns!!!

I am looking for an intern for Fall 2008 for my Vermont public relations agency! The summer internship position is filled and I am now searching for someone to fill the fall slot (or whole year)!

PS - My internships rock! Here's the scoop:

Offering:

- Flexible hours
- Relaxed home office environment
- Networking - for this I will cover the intern's expenses (internship is unpaid)
- Opportunity to work on PR accounts in various capacities - mostly writing, research, brainstorming, and helping with execution of various PR programs
- Rachel Carter PR email account
- Woman business owner firsthand experience, PR agency firsthand experience, skills and knowledge for intern to apply directly to work, life, and reality

What I am looking for:


- College student majoring in Public Relations or related field who is extremely driven and outgoing and who has REAL LIFE experience – travel, social skills beyond the college bubble, variety of friends, variety of jobs, etc.
- Candidate must have a laptop
- Candidate must be able to write well without spelling and grammar errors
- Candidate must be able to take direction and feedback as well as give feedback and insight
- Prefer someone who is going to stay in Vermont for a while since the opportunity for Vermont media contacts, business networking, and even job openings is high – this is not mandatory

Think you might be interested? Check out the Rachel Carter PR website at www.rachelcarterpr.com and get acclimated. Then, pitch me and show me what you've got!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Boost Your Internet Presence (for free)


Want more links to come up about you on the internet? Want your potential customers to see your name more than once when they search? Want to come across as bigger than you really are? Here's your free tips for just that!

1.) First, google search yourself and see what's out there. Then google search they major keywords people would use to find your business, product, or service.

2.) This should open up a whole can of worms of directories and website you can look into to see if they accept free listings (most do, you just have to look for the fine print).

3.) Search your competition - see where they are listed and list yourself too!

4.) List yourself on the Yellow Pages websites, submit your website to the free search engines at Google and Yahoo, and make sure you are listed in your state's business directory and any member organization directories you belong to.

5.) Join social networking sites like My Space, Linked In, and Facebook.

Want to know every tip there is? Go to www.GotClicks.biz and buy the complete "how to" package for under $100!

Yay Freebies!!! (and be sure to go to www.coupons.com for some good coupons to help you save at the store - everything helps with these damn gas prices!)

Friday, April 4, 2008

National Recognicio

Hey folks - check it out! My Rachel Carter PR Blog has been ranked as 83rd out of 1,295 marketing blogs from Blogger.com!

http://www.blogged.com/directory/business/marketing - check out the link for some other great marketing blogs!

Also - I was recently interviewed by a PBS blogger on the Front Porch Forum for a national article. Check it out at http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2008/04/digging_deeperfront_porch_foru.html
Of course, I told many positive things about the Front Porch Forum - like how I have contacted my newest neighborhood and have received six emails from new neighbors inviting me over and answering some questions I asked. But there is negativity in the Old North End and I was referring to that, not the Front Porch Forum - the forum is great! If you are not a member in your Greater Burlington, Vermont community - you certainly should be! Join today at www.frontporchforum.org.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Quadrify It...

If you are a business in Vermont (or Eastern New York), of any sort, you should immediately go to this site - www.CelebrateChamplain.org. As you hopefully know, 2009 marks Vermont's Quadracentenial Celebration and everyone is getting in on the action. And that is exactly why you should too. In marketing, you don't want to be the one who doesn't play.

If you are in Vermont and your business can somehow be tied to the history of Lake Champlain, the land around Lake Champlain, or the people connected to any of the areas over the past 400 years, than you more than qualify to quadrify!

You can already see how much fun it is going to be to quadricize everything (i.e. fun marketing words), so as a Vermont PR professional, I urge you to find a way to tie in your business...

~ Offer a Quadrific discount
~ Make a Quadspific product
~ Share your history in your marketing materials
~ Tell your quadcentric story
~ If you run events, sign up to quadrify your events and benefit from the mass marketing of the Quadracentenial team
~ Collaborate!!!!!! Find others in your area and see what you can offer as a group for this great celebration!

The Quadracentenial will be going on all of 2009 with a kick-off bash after the clock strikes midnight once 2008 turns to 2009. The key events will be held in the summer of 2009, but folks can celebrate the Quad year 'round!

Interested? You best be! Go check out the Celebrate Champlain website at www.CelebrateChamplain.org and see how you can get involved and how your business can benefit by this widespread, collaborative effort!

Friday, March 21, 2008

End of March Events Worth Checking Out

Progressive Sale at Tootsie's and Progressive Art at Candles & Creations

As my favorite band says, "Break outside of your cathedral." And I share that advice for the coming of Spring!


Break outside of your cathedral and trade in your winter-ick shoes for some fun spring shoe fashions at Tootsie's on College Street in Burlington during their "progressive" sale this March! The sale starts Thursday, March 27th and runs through the weekend. Prices start at 40% off and go down to 70% off on Sunday, March 30th. Best prices at the end, best selection at the beginning. And if you didn't know, they give the best pedicures in town (so I've heard)!

With the money you save on shoes, wrap up your March by heading over to Candles & Creations in the Blue Mall anytime between now and March 30th to get your tickets for the Kimberlee Forney Art Benefit Event being held on the 30th at 5 pm to benefit Prevent Child Abuse Vermont and raise awareness about Traumatic Brain Injury. Tickets enter you to win a bunch of prizes from other artists connected to this community nexus of a store as well as the option to bid on Kimberlee Forney's live auction at the event.

I declare the end of March as Support Your Community Businesses Week (as well as every other time of the year)! Do it!!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Former Mentee Follows in Footsteps

When I graduated from Marist College back in 1998 with my degree in public relations, I moved to Nashville, Tennessee to spread my wings and prove my independence to whoever cared (um, myself?). My PR experience at that point consisted of the classes I took in college and the internship I had at the Dutchess County Girl Scout Council (site seems to be disabled) in Poughkeepsie, New York.

While I searched and applied for entry level PR jobs, I started to learn of the judgment that is deeply passed on those of us from the North. I didn't really think it existed since I had never been south of Washington DC before and when folks up North think of folks down South, we pretty much think of cool accents and grits. But, while I continued to not get called for first interviews for the many vacant public relations and marketing jobs at the vast array of companies, I naively learned that going to college in New York was a weakness in the Nashville job market. Luckily, Nashville has the 5th largest Girl Scout Council - www.gsmidtn.org - in the country (well, it was then) and with a background in Girl Scouting since the 1st grade as well as the internship, I thought they must be able to find a use for me - and luckily, I was right!

I began running a theater program for high school girls and a high adventure program for middle school girls which then molded into earning the position of Teen Program Manager and I had a ball! What a great first job for a budding young professional. I got to interact with tons of girls, motivate adults, and create programs and ways to market them with my Northern flair! I found the Girl Scouts to be a refreshing source of open-mindness, diversity, and the progressiveness I was accustomed to being a gal from the Northeast. I made many friends and the very best part was my involvement with so many amazing young women. I try to track some of these women from time to time and one of them most recently found me on Linked In. I had volunteered to be her mentor through one of the many programs we had at the Girl Scouts and she also performed in the theater and singing group I started.

Her name is Kia Jarmon and she was one of the most articulate, aspiring, helpful, smart, and pleasant young ladies I have had the privilege of mentoring in all of my time in that role. She emailed me the other day and shared with me her success of starting her own PR agency in Nashville, Miss Ellanious PR. It literally made my day! From what I have found on the internet and know of this young lady from ten years ago, I attest she is truly impressive. Kia has carved a niche for herself in industries and areas she has personal interests and passions, she works on a very grassroots level, and is committed to the relationship element of public relations, three of the basics I hold near and dear to my own heart.

I wanted to share her success with my readers and also ask that you share her PR agency, Miss Ellanious PR at www.kiajarmon.com, with any of your contacts in the Nashville area. And kudos to the concept of six degrees of separation!!!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

3 Tips

Think you have news? Do you want to get your news to the press so they can share with your audiences? Good. You are thinking in terms of public relations. Now, you have to determine if your news is newsworthy. Here is how:

1. Does your news solve a problem?

2. Does your news offer useful tips?

3. Does your news identify a trend?


If it does not do one of these three things (and we're talking 100% here, not "it could if you looked at it this way") it is not newsworthy!

Now, I am not talking about small company announcements, etc. that are being included in specific areas of a business publication. I am talking about trying to get a feature story written.

So, if your news doesn't do one of the three items above - don't despair! Do some background work and research and find a way for your news to do one of those three things - then you'll have something editors want to know about!

Friday, February 29, 2008

New Media News and Plugs

Happy Leap Year Friday all! It's been a busy bee month of Vermont PR work at Rachel Carter PR. Lots of exciting things in the works for my clients and lots of positivity floating around which is refreshing and invigorating. I thought I'd take a moment to plug a few folks on the new media, multimedia, and media tools front. So, for those of you needing to design or enhance a website and actually want the web developers to help you market it, or for those of you looking to enhance your multimedia visibility through blogging, podcasts, video, and other fun and interactive web stuff, here are come folks you need to be in the 411 with!

As Seen In VT - TV: Down in the Mad River Valley, these video guru folks are doing it right and if you have something worth video capture (which most people do), you should check out this site - www.AsSeenInVT.tv. Jump on the video bandwagon before it becomes the new hit means on transportation after the hybrid.
Note: I also just learned from these folks about a new program that ties in web site creation, content management, RSS feeds, and just about everything else that's hip with multimedia - www.joomla.org.

Off the Page Creations:
Are you starting a business and need to get a website up and running and want it marketed as well? Stephanie at Off the Page Creations - www.OffThePageCreations.com is one of the first people you should talk to. And she isn't just Rachel Carter PR approved, she is Rachel approved!

Shadow Productions: Voiceovers, web multimedia that combines talent, and other odd projects you have created in your mind but aren't sure how to put them together? Then you need to chat with Shadow Productions - www.ShadowProd.com. They aren't just a talented provider of multimedia, they have access to the talent too!

Vermont Duplication: So, now you have some neat multimedia pieces in your hand, but you need them mass produced to send to clients, prospective clients, media, investors, your class reunion organizer, or for your family reunion - whoever! Niel at Vermont Duplications makes digital copies of almost everything. Check out the dupe services at www.VermontDuplication.com.

Shark Communication: Do you want it all? Are you a larger company and you want to integrate new media and multimedia components with your website and other marketing vehicles? The folks at Shark keep the fin in all of the above swimming merrily alongside the multimedia bandwagon. Check them out at www.SharkInteractive.com and look - they even have a blog! http://newsblog.sharkcomm.com/

Rachel Carter PR: I can't help to plug myself here! While I am a public relations guru, my multimedia mixtures in the batter are blogs, social networking and online community relations research, and press room content for your website and I hope you know where to find me - www.RachelCarterPR.com.

Happy Expanding Your Horizons!