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 - 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 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 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 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

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 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!!)