Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Upcoming Open Houses!

Newsflash!!! With the chilly fall weather comes the season of open houses and I wanted to take a moment to suggest a few to blog readers...

The first is an official Burlington area Tweet-up and is taking place this Friday, October 30th from 8 to 9 am at the new, hip, and tweeterrific bakery, August First and is followed by an open house at Office Squared - the new co-working in Vermont workplace. After delicious treats at August First today I took a tour at Office Squared and highly suggest getting in touch with owner Jen Mincar to check out the opportunities to rent work space as needed - such a fantastic concept for all us home officed biz owners! Click here for the invite to the Tweet-up.

The second open house event takes place the following Friday, November 6th from 5 - 7:30 pm and is a great chance to tour the newly renovated suites at the Green Mountain Suites - formerly Hawthorne Suites - as well as enjoy complimentary beer, wine, and hors d'oeuvres around a colossal fireplace. For those of you who are part time business operations in Vermont, both of these open houses are great options for you to know about.

And, speaking of events, let's not forget the Wine & Swine event taking place on November 12th at Gardener's Supply in Williston - this one is in a category all of its own...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Attending Events!

Some people are extroverted and some people are not. Both types of people enjoy being entrepreneurs, however not both types of people enjoy attending events and doing the networking thing (or as I used to call it, cruising with intent). Here are my Vermont PR tips as to why attending events is important and how to maximize event attendance if you are not an extroverted person...

Why Event Attendance is Important:
1.) It is another form of marketing yourself; but just like using social networking and finding newsworthy items to use in news editorial, it's not direct marketing. Attending events are another place to help share your brand, not your services. In other words - share who you are as a person.
2.) Attending events keeps your presence in check and keeps you on people's radar.
3.) It is also important to understand that attending events is not to land business from giving out a business card. Attending events is to help build relationships and it is best to NOT talk about your business but to share positive news of others in the industry.

Tips on Attending (Especially if You Are Shy):
1.) Find an extroverted friend in a similar industry or with similar clients and hang out with them! DO NOT go with another shy person!
2.) Attend events that personally interest you - not just ones you think you have to attend.
3.) Look into the event before you go - who attends, what news surrounds the event, and what news surrounds those who attend. Then you will be prepared with some conversational pieces.
4.) Wear something that starts a conversation - a shirt with a message, a groovy scarf, a fun tie - don't try to just blend in, show a little bit of your personality with some form of flair which can be great conversation starters.

A recent event I attended was the Vermont Hospitality Council's Gala at The Essex. My fiance is a gem and actually enjoys attending work related events which turns many networking types of events into dates for us - it makes it much easier to be a person then than "Rachel Carter PR." Below are a few photos from the events. More photos can be seen on Facebook and for the 2009 award winner, please click here.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Collaboration: Apples to Ipods

Collaborations are increasingly becoming an integral component of successful public relations work - especially in a state like Vermont where relationships, transparency, and integrity own the way a company relates to the public.

In addition, collaborations relate very importantly to the newsworthiness of something. Pretend you are a furniture maker living in Northern Vermont who enjoys fishing. Which would be more meaningful to you?
a.) An article on the newest furniture polish and its eco-friendly attributes
b.) A blog post written as a first hand account by a guy from Southern Vermont who visited a Vermont resort for a fishing outing and took a furniture making class where he tried the newest furniture polish and then shared a link on his blog to its green attributes.
(please note the social media plug)

Anyway, here is a case study of sorts on a recent Vermont collaboration:

Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing wants more Vermonters and tourists alike visiting Vermont apple orchards.
Vermont Department of Agriculture wants more Vermonters and tourists alike visiting Vermont apple orchards.
Small Dog Electronics wants to continue to be known as the leader of Apple products both in Vermont and beyond.
Woodchuck Draft Cider wants more people (of legal age) to know about their product and to have appropriate settings to taste it.

The common denominators of Vermont, apples, and similar demographics made for a great opportunity for collaboration. Small Dog Electronics and Woodchuck Draft Cider sponsored the Vermont Tourism and Vermont Agriculture "Apples to Ipods" promotion where 20 or so wooden apples were distributed throughout apple orchards in Vermont and when someone finds a wooden apple, they trade it in for an Ipod. A kick-off event held on September 15th brought on a few more collaborators - the event was held at Shelburne Orchards and Shelburne Farms cheese was provided as a snack. People could pick apples, taste apple and cheese treats, chat with folks in the Vermont Tourism and Agriculture industries, and a Woodchuck Draft Cider tasting was held in a designated area. The event and entire Apples To Ipods promotion was low cost, responsibilities were spread across the collaborators, and the publicity not only came from different collaborators, but was far more newsworthy by involving multiple groups, rather than just one product or experience.

Here are some photos from the kick-off event...

And if they haven't all been found yet - keep looking and enjoy those apples!!! Mmmm.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Quick Tips from the Week's Presentations

Thank you so much to two well respected and great Vermont organizations for inviting me to present to their constituents this week!

The Vermont Women's Business Center assists women who are starting or growing their businesses by providing resources, training, and networking opportunities for women state-wide to achieve business success. What a great group of women business owners who shared with me some great ways they are already integrating social media into their PR - way to go ladies!

The Addison County Chamber of Commerce represents and works with area businesses to promote tourism activities and business to visitors AND residents. As a new member I look forward to more opportunities to network and collaborate with folks in Addison County and since the Charlotte Farmhouse is almost in Addison County and I have been Vermont Vibing there quite a lot recently, this is a new area I have been enjoying connecting with! Plus, they have a Facebook - be a fan!

Quick Tips from the 2 Presentations:

~ Take your target audience and break it into smaller groups based their interests
~ Associate yourself with where each of these groups gets information and understand it will be different for each group
~ Use social media as your PR people and have them share information with your target audiences
~ Relax - it takes time whether you rush or not.

Thanks again!