College Student Chases her Dreams

Starting a business is hard for anyone, but for a busy college student the challenge seems to be quite a bit more difficult.  Brooke Harris began her business Bubbling Brooke in June of 2010 after realizing that she enjoyed making personalized gifts for her friends; “I knew that it would be affordable, but personal,” said Brooke of her creative gifts.  She also found  that crafting relieves the stress that most college students experience.

Bubbling Brooke Designs creates unique hand-stamped jewelry and hairpieces, while being environmentally friendly and making use of old finds. “I bought a stamping set and from here, it was history,” Brooke began to think of different ways she could use stamps, she made an inspiration bracelet piece and began to get orders simply through word of mouth.  Opening up a web store where customers could view her work at their convenience seemed like the best option for Brooke and that’s exactly what she did.  On her website Brooke sells headbands, necklaces and repurposed home goods.

The next step was to begin getting her business out to the public; she began introducing her products at craft fairs and did very well. After making connections in her hometown, Brooke was able to get a few boutiques to sell her Bubbling Brooke Designs.  Incorporating her passion for the deaf and children she donates a portion of every purchase to The American Society for Deaf Children.  Brooke continues to be successful with her self made business, her dream is to continue to bless others through her crafts and one day have a store front of her own

If you’re like Brooke and have or want to start your own business you aren’t alone, in a recent poll 2 out of 3 people have considered starting their own business.  Here’s some tips from successful entrepreneur Max Durovic who started his own advertising company while he was just a sophomore in college.

  1. Get some experience
  2. Build a winning team
  3. Fight inexperience with advice
  4. Write a bulletproof business plan
  5. Raise money

 

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Social Media News Release

image credit: masternewmedia

Social Media News Releases or SMNR are becoming the wanted alternative to “black and white” news releases, so what’s it all about?

What: According to an article by Masternewmedia a social media news release is an evolved approach to preparing press releases characterized by a multimedia and facts-oriented approach. The typical social media press release integrates video clips, bookmarks, citations, blog posts, multiple links and resources allowing the news editor to pick and select individual info items that may best serve his interest, editorial style and audience. It is an approach to releasing announcements that provides a uniquely rich set of relevant aggregated information, in multiple media, all individually open to re-use and re-distribution and capable to transform a static text-only press release into a dynamic venue for relevant discourse and multimedia contributions on the topic.

image credit: charlottesvillerealestate

Advantages: The advantages of a SMNR include communicating in a more efficient and effective way to your audience.  It keeps your news release from being bias by linking information given by other journalists, PR professionals and organizations.  Including pictures and videos makes the news release more interactive and easier to understand.

Disadvantages: The disadvantages are that most SMNR’s reach only bloggers.  This makes the audiences that is reached by the news release smaller.  Also people unfamiliar with new technology and social media may find SMNRs  uncredible. Blogger Mike Volpe shares his idea on why he thinks Using the Social Media News Release is a Big Mistake

When & Why should PR professionals use a SMNR: Blogger Lee Odden says “Due to the increasingly social and sharing nature of the web and the increasing importance of press releases as direct to consumer communication tools, it is important for marketers and public relations professionals to adjust their message format and delivery to correspond with the needs of today’s web savvy audience. Another motivator for using social media with news releases is that editorial resources at many publications are running thinner than ever and expected to do more with less. Social media press releases provide links to additional resources that are helpful for story research and they also package information into formats that are easy to use for quotes and citing references/statistics. Images, audio and video also add impact to the release.”  With that being said Professionals should use a SMNR when they want to reach the virtual world or add feedback and other multimedia from others.

Links to help you get started on your own SMNR: Social Media Today, Pressitt, YouTube, inc.com

Examples of a SMNR:NVIDIA ,ITV , Adobe

image credit: debtkid.com

Tips for writing a SMNR: A post byMichael Perulli gives some tips for writing a good SMNR

  1. Do Your SEO Research and Have Measureable Goals
    Ok, so you’ve been tasked with writing a social media press release to help boost your search engine ranking. What now? Do you write a press release and link every word to your home page? No!  That will actually do more harm than good since most search engines will recognize the release as spam.Instead, the first thing you should do is research and create a few goals for the release itself. Which keywords and terms related to your company and brand are you trying to “own” on Google? It’s not always easy to determine.  Some broad terms, such as “hamburger” for example, are difficult to compete for when everyone else is trying to rank for that term too. When choosing keywords, try to be specific and you will have more success. Instead of hamburger, try “angus burger” or “gourmet burger.”Once you have narrowed down your keywords, type them into Google and see where your company appears on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). A good goal would be to move up two or three spots per month. Keep in mind that you will rarely see results by only doing one release; you need to have an SEO strategy.When writing your release, a general rule is to have your keywords appear in the first paragraph and only link them to your company’s site one time in your release (link them to a deep and relevant page on your website, not the home page). To avoid being “spammy,” don’t hyperlink more than seven keywords/phrases, and always try to keep your headline under 65 characters (Google only displays 65 characters of your headline in the SERP.  Added bonus:  Short headlines are Twitter-friendly).
  2. Know Your Target Audience
    In an ideal world, every demographic would be interested in your product or service, but unfortunately that’s probably not the case. Again, you need to do your research. Social media monitoring tools, such as Sysomos, can give you insight into who is talking about your company on the Web, what they are saying, where they are from, how old they are, etc. If you come armed with this information before sitting down to write your press release, you can adapt your style of writing accordingly. For example, if I told my mother I got a new pair of shoes, I might say “I just got a splendid new pair of sneakers.”  If I was telling my friends about it, I might say “I just got a sweet new pair of kicks.” You get the idea.
  3. Put Your Readers First
    Search engine optimization is obviously an important part of the social media press release because it’s a critical component of how your news and content are found online. However, it is just as important, if not more, that your release is reader-friendly. Make it easy for readers by being concise and relevant with your content.In addition to making your content reader-friendly, make it shareable and include your social sharing links in the release (you wouldn’t believe how many companies forget to include their Twitter handle in the contact info of their release!). It can be tricky to write for search engines and readers at the same time but, with some practice, it will become second nature.
  4. Incorporate Multimedia Content
    Whenever possible, try to use at least one multimedia component in your release. It is a lot easier to get your picture or video to the top of a SERP than it is to get your website there. YouTube is a great social sharing site, but people often forget it is also the second largest search engine on the Web. Be mindful that your multimedia content will almost always be viewed before the text of your release, so it must be as interesting and engaging as the text is.  What’s more, multimedia assets help tell a richer, more engaging story, so don’t forget the photos, infographics, video and audio clips.
  5. Remember, It’s Better to Give than Receive!
    If you take anything at all from this post, let it be this: When it comes to writing SMPRs, don’t be selfish! The SMPR can be great for product launches and sharing product information, but because of its social sharing capabilities and its ability to carry so much multimedia content, it is a perfect tool for educating your audience and providing a fuller, richer interactive experience which can go beyond the typical product launch.It can be very tempting to write a social media press release pushing your new product or service; but in reality, unless you are Apple releasing the newest iPhone, people probably aren’t going to flock to your release or make it viral. The social media audience gets distracted easily and if you aren’t offering something interesting or educational, you will lose them — fast.Instead, try to offer topical advice, step-by-step instructions or YouTube contests for something related to your product. For example, if you are writing a press release for the newest flavor of Gatorade, write a step-by-step process on recovering after a workout. This is topical advice that also provides you with the opportunity to organically place your product in the release (That one was free, PepsiCo!).

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Mom Valet

image credit: iccmops.blogspot.com

We all love Chick-fil-a with their delicious food and great service, but Lakeland Chick-Fil-A is kicking it up  a notch for the moms

A post by polkmoms.com gives us a little more insight on the new idea.

“You go through the drive-thru to order, pay and then park your car.  While you’re getting your little ones out, employees are inside preparing a table just for you with your order on it.  You can simply sit down and start eating.”

What a great idea for those with a bunch of kids who won’t stand still in line, or just an extra blessing for hard working moms! Go try it out!

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You drive me Nuts!

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Tips for New Bloggers

 
 
 

 

image credit: techiemania.com

 

1. Only write something you would want to read.

Bloggers don’t want to read something boring,  so make it interesting and memorable.  If it sounds boring to you try getting a bit more creative with your words

2.  Pictures make it pretty.

Going along with the first tip bloggers don’t want to be bored, they want to be entertained.  Add pictures that are relevent to what you’re talking about, if they wanted to read black and white text, they’d read a book.

3.  Keep it linked

Make sure you arn’t just adding web addresses in your posts.  Link them into a words or words in your post.  This makes your blog look more neat and professional.

4. Comments make friends
Comment on other peoples blogs, not only is it proper blog etiquette, but it will bring more traffic to your blog

image credit: milwaukeesearchengineoptimization.com

If you get people who read your blog on a regular basis, they will check it often and if you don’t keep up with it, they will follow someone else

 

6.  First Impressions count

Make sure the name of your blog lets bloggers know what yours is about (ie PR, Shopping, Journalism). 

7.  Be a good speller

Make sure you use spell check when writing a new post.  This makes your blog look more professional and keeps it credible.

8. Your opinion counts!

It’s YOUR blog, so it’s okay to include your opinion, in fact it’s needed. There are tons of blogs that people can read, but they are choosing yours because they like your style of writing and your personality which come through in your posts

9. Be inspired

Read other blogs, including professionals, it will help you learn and give you inspiration for your own blog as well

 
 
 

 

image credit: bloglinkadvertising.com

10. Bloggers just wanna have Fun!

Have fun writing your blog, make it something you look forward to rather then just an assignment!

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Put the books down and listen!

For those of us with busy schedules who don’t have the time to make the seminar or read the book, podcasts are a great way to get information in a timely and convenient way.  For those in the PR world there are many podcasts you can listen to to deepen your understanding of PR, increase your excitement about your career, or just learn things about other PR professionals.

The Creative Career is one of the many PR podcasts you can listen to

image credit: flickr.com

“Happiness at Work” is an interview with Jessica Pryce -Jones author of Happiness at Work.  Jessica explains her secrets to staying happy at work by keeping an optemistic attitude, finding ways to do projects with people you work well with, and get rid of anything negative that you have control over.  The interview is beneficial for anyone in the work force not just in the PR world.

I also found a post of the site with some great information about Networking Events, Here is The Creative Career’s

5-simple-tips-for-networking-events

  1. Try attending a few events alone. When people attend networking events with friends or colleagues, they tend to create a comfort bubble and chat among themselves—which, by default, leads to far less networking with others
  2. Know that most people feel a bit awkward when they arrive at an event and do an initial survey of the scene—but remember, they’re all there there to network too. That’s the point. Don’t be afraid to walk up to an individual or group and ask what brings them to the event
  3. The more events you go to—and the more you reach out to strangers—the more people you’ll know next time (and you will see many of the same people again, so it will only get easier!)
  4. If the event itself is not a great environment for meeting others (too noisy, too crowded, not enough time, etc.), make plans for a follow up lunch, coffee or gathering with other friends who you know would have something to add to the conversation. I met some great friends in the city through a simple follow up at a networking event for interns years ago
  5. Volunteering at an event is one of the single greatest ways to break the ice—you have an automatic in with those who are running the event and other volunteers

image credit:blog.ning.com

One of the Podcasts that I really enjoyed was The Nine Personality Types-Differing Personalities at Work

In an Interview with Elizabeth Wagele the co-author of The Career Within You: How to Find the Perfect Job for Your Personality you learn how to figure out what your personality type is and what job fits your personality.

The nine personality types include:

  • – The Perfectionist: motivated to make improvements
  • – The Helper: motivated to meet other people’s needs
  • – The Achiever: motivated to attain a successful image
  • – The Romantic: motivated to express individuality (I’ve decided that I fall into this camp)
  • – The Observer: motivated to acquire knowledge
  • – The Questioner: motivated to reduce risk
  • – The Adventurer: motivated to explore possibilities
  • – The Asserter: motivated to set clear boundaries
  • – The Peace Seeker: motivated to maintain inner calm

This is a great way to figure out what type of job would be best for you, for those who haven’t figured out what they want their career to be.  Aside from figuring out your job, it’s great to know your personality type to understand why you think and act the way you do.  To learn more about personality types check out Elizabeth’s website

Well it’s time to learn, no, don’t go pick up a book, check out a podcast!


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Visual Learner

Infographics are are visual representations of information, data or knowledge. These graphics are used where complex information needs to be explained quickly and clearly.  Let’s face it who wouldn’t rather look at a colorful interesting chart or picture then black and white text. Infographics help people portray information in a creative and beneficial way.  I found a blog with some examples of unique and cool infographics

What is an Infographic?

1. It’s a visual explanation that helps you more easily understand, find or do something.
2. It’s visual, and when necessary, integrates words and pictures in a fluid, dynamic way.
3. It stands alone and is completely self-explanatory.
4. It reveals information that was formerly hidden or submerged.
5. It makes possible faster, more consistent understanding.
6. It’s universally understandable.

The easiest way to make a simple infograph is on Microsoft Excel.  You can make pie charts which is what I used, bar, line, scatter, bubble, stock or surface graphs.  It is pretty user friendly, but if you need some extra help visit How to Make a Graph using Excel

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