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 as to why Rachel Carter PR interests you (more info is at the website -, 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!