Thursday, March 26, 2009

Go Red For Women Luncheon!

I have been meaning to get this posted but I have been feeling the sand tightening around my head as my arms flail trying to get out. I am so grateful for all the excellent press I have gotten recently such as this week's Burlington Free Press, but I must apologize to those great folks contacting me for appointments as it's busy season in PR and I must focus on my current clients and their deadline oriented projects. Thanks all for understanding!!!

In the meantime, I thought I would shift the focus to some other fabulous women business owners, specifically those who sat at the table I sponsored at the Go Red For Women Luncheon to benefit the American Heart Association and to raise awareness on heart disease and stroke in women.

I'd like to give some shout outs to:

Kathy Blume, the fabulous Vermont actress and proprietor of Might Ruckus - an entertainment company that keeps Kathy performing across the country both on the stage and at conferences with her feisty political commentary.

Starr Jewell, a long time co-worker and friend from the agency world and current collaborator on marketing work for clients. Starr now owns and operates Starr Jewell Marketing Services and handles the whole kit-n-kaboodle.

Markey Read, an entrepreneur guru as well as avid urban homesteader, Markey owns Career Networks - a career and development center (great option if you are looking at your "Plan B" in the economic drama). Markey has also recently instituted a series of "urban homesteading" events which I attended one of this weekend.

Kim Reynolds, and excellent writer and editor of Woodstock Magazine, part of Vermont's Mountain View Publishing group. Kim publishes the lovely magazine depicting the lovely Woodstock, Vermont, the location of my first large travel PR account and her editorial standards are most admirable.

Not able to attend due to sickness and schedules, but still table members and supporters of the Go Red For Women Luncheon were:

Diana Jones, owner of bookkeeping and tax service firm, Double Entry Bookkeeping -

Stephanie Raccine, co-owner of website design firm, Off the Page Creations -

Diane Langevin, owner of interior decorating company, Signature Interiors -

Mary Beth Quinn, owner of the business coaching outfit detailed below, The Growth Coach -

Also in attendance was my amazing mother, a school district superintendent (not in VT) and the loving force behind so much of my success. I love you Mom!!!

Thanks ladies and enjoy the pictures!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Who Wants to Grow your Business??

You do! I am not a Vermont business grower, I am a Vermont business publicist, but the two are often very much intertwined. So much in fact that sometimes people want to meet with me to talk about how to grow their business before they have the kinks worked out so that they are ready for the PR. This is when I refer them to Mary Beth Quinn - The Growth Coach of Vermont. Of the many people I have met while launching and getting my Vermont public relations firm up and running, Mary Beth is truly one of those people who, quite simply, gets it. And as someone who gets it myself, I love to surround myself with like minded folks.

I figured Mary Beth and her strategic business coaching company would not mind if I stole some great pieces of advice for my loyal and new readers and gave her full credit. So, here are some tips from The Growth Coach of Vermont (edited into my own words), tips which I fully integrate into growing my own business. And from business owner to business owner, they are working!

1.) Identify your best referral sources over the past year and not only thank them, but keep them updated on your business and what you are looking for in clients today.

2.) Build up those relationships with businesses with whom you are the paying client and get yourself some informal sales agents.

3.) Ask your current customers and clients for referrals and introductions.

4.) Build strategic alliances with other businesses that have the same client base.

5.) Make doing business with you easy - especially do not ask potential clients to assume any risk in working with you.

6.) Consider, not resist utilizing telemarketing - especially with follow-up.

7.) Influence many in one niche market with events or seminars and collaborate with other business partners in reaching potential customers with events.

8.) Utilize public relations! For real, that is one of Mary Beth's tips!

9.) Revisit past customer and client relationships and heal those that may be tarnished.

10.) Leverage indirect competitors to gain new customers - leads can flow in both directions.

The Growth Coach of Vermont offers a variety of ways to work with Mary Beth including retreats, workshops, seminars, one-on-one coaching, and special projects. To learn more visit or contact me and I'll introduce you!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Vermont Sustainable Exchange

Doing business in Vermont?
Stressed by the economic drama?
Interested in looking at ways to change your business to be able to sustain yourself through these next several years and into the future?

I think most business owners I know would answer yes to all three of these questions. So, for those who answered yes, I want to share information about the Vermont Sustainable Exchange - located on the web at

Vermont Sustainable Exchange operates an online business to business marketplace that allows Vermont businesses to measure, grow, and coordinate their trade with fellow Vermont businesses.

Businesses pool the credit they issue to each other into a common marketplace where local goods and services are bought and sold, loans are issued to willing entrepreneurs, and the cost of doing business is lowered by consolidating expenses and buying power.

I plan to investigate Vermont Sustainable Exchange as a place to search for an Apple specialist to help me learn how to better use the IMac I am running Windows on. I am hoping to find someone more cost effective than going through Small Dog Electronics, but more importantly, someone who will help me learn a Mac, not just be irritated that I bought a Mac and am running Windows. Instead of paying, I pay with my time and someone else will be able to benefit from my Vermont public relations services. It will be interesting to see how this works, and I would love to get feedback from folks that are currently using Vermont Sustainable Exchange!

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Great Example of Grassroots Marketing on a National Level

If ever there was an organization that did exceptional grassroots marketing, including social networking, it would be the Fresh Air Fund. The Fresh Air Fund is an independent, not-for-profit agency, which has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Vermont is one of the places where many of these children come to experience fresh air in the summer. Right now they are looking for local college age kids to serve as counselors for this upcoming summer. More info is available here -

As a marketer, if you click the above link, you will be treated to one of the best uses of social media based public relations I have come across. The release offers embedded codes for bloggers like me to share the video:

It has online applications for camp counselors (which is what they are looking for with this particular release). It has embedded codes for banners, logos and tons of others stuff:

It has the background info (templated paragraph for my clients who read this!) and all media contact info. And my favorite - it has all the social media tags so you can Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube the heck out of it - if you want.

Besides having their technology in the tip top position, they have the staff dedicated to the time it takes to effectively manage a public relations campaign. The PR folks running this campaign sure did their research in their target markets (one being Vermont) and finding ways that people in these target markets get their information (local blogs being one). Because of my popular Vermont Vibes Blog, I was contacted last summer and asked to help find some family hosts via my blog. Coincidence or not, there were definitely some families in Charlotte who signed up to be host families who hadn't been before. And it didn't end there - I am contacted on a regular basis to write on my blog again. Can that be annoying? Sure! But one of the unfortunate side effects of being a PR person is you have to be skilled at being annoying! Otherwise I would never be writing this blog on behalf of the Fresh Air Fund, because without the follow-up, I would never remember!

I do hope they use the Fresh Air Fund as a case study in those books I had to use to teach the PR classes at Champlain College. Definitely a better example of current PR than say, the Tylenol one (PR pros, I know you know that one!).

So, if you are reading this and know how to get information to college age kids - please get them this link!