Welcome to the Ampersand Blog

The peeps at Kel & Partners have a lot to say. After all we are public relations and social media zealots who thrive on sharing interesting news and great stories with the public. The Ampersand Blog is really the voice of our Peeps – the kick-ass team of people that work at K&P. Whether it’s a story about the way PR works NOW, the social media universe, our families, beloved pets or quirky travel experiences, you’ll find it all right here. You may laugh, you may cry, but the best part is you’ll leave feeling “wicked smaht” as we like to say here in Boston.

Archive for August, 2010

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    Jennifer Brogan | Tuesday, August 24, 2010 16 Comments

    Here Comes the Web 2.0 Bride

    Love is in the air this summer at Kel & Partners as several Peeps are celebrating their wedding anniversaries, and other Peeps – including myself – are planning for their big walk down the aisle.

    When you work for Kel Kelly, you eat, sleep, and breathe social media – and wedding planning is no exception. So, I’ve compiled a list of my 5 favorite websites and tools that save time, money, and are, quite simply, inspirational.

    1. The Tiffany & Co Engagement Ring Finder

    Tiffany Ring Finder iPhone App

    Pure genius. Tiffany’s brand new iPhone app includes an accurate Ring Sizer, which lets users determine their special someone’s ring size by placing an actual ring directly onto the screen. You can then browse the collection according to shape, setting, etc., and all of the rings shown are true to size. Seriously – this is the stuff dreams are made of.

    2. Net-A-Porter’s Wedding Boutique

    Net-A-Porter's Wedding Boutique

    Would the Web 2.0 bride participate in the age-old running of the brides tradition at Filene’s Basement? I think not. Us tech-savvy gals don’t do lines – we do e-commerce. Which is why I absolutely love Net-A-Porter’s new Wedding Boutique, complete with stunning dresses from designer favorites like Lanvin. You can watch high-res videos of models walking in the gowns to get a better sense of their movement and fit, then click to share your favorites on Twitter, Facebook – or e-mail them to Mom & the bridesmaids.

    3. Style Me Pretty Blog

    Style Me Pretty Blog

    We still love you, Real Simple Weddings Mag, but Style Me Pretty delivers the wedding goods. Daily. Take one look at this site, and I guarantee you’ll keep goin’ back for more…

    4. Etsy.com

    Etsy.com

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of flea markets and head to Brimfield once a year to scour the stands for cool jewelry and furniture pieces. But, let’s be honest. What are the odds of you finding the perfect vintage necklace for your big day amongst 5 square miles of mostly junk after driving three hours to the middle of nowhere Massachusetts? Wouldn’t it be much easier to just type in the search term “wedding jewelry” on Etsy.com where you can shop homemade and vintage pieces from the comfort of your own home? For brides that are short on time, I’m pretty sure Brimfield is not the answer.

    5. Swaptree.com (Disclaimer: I’m pimping my client here.)

    Emily Post's Wedding Etiquette

    One of the first things I did once engaged was to head straight to the wedding section at Barnes & Noble to grab Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette, and a few other essential reads. When the total came to well over a hundred dollars (ouch!), I knew my voracious reading habit would not bode well for my wedding budget. Thankfully, Swaptree.com lets you trade in books that you’ve already got for books that you want, so I could swap in the titles that weren’t so helpful for new sources of inspiration. It’s wedding book bliss, for just a few bucks.

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    redheadmeag | Monday, August 23, 2010 5 Comments

    A PR girl goes in front of the camera

    You know the feeling – you see a HARO/ProfNet that is PERFECT for your client. You know exactly what you’re going to say – you respond immediately and eagerly anticipate the reporter’s response. But how many of you have indulged in a little self-serving pitch? It can be a nerve-wracking experience to pitch oneself, and brings that feeling of anticipation to a new level. I traveled down that path last fall, when a query came out for a “national TV show”, looking for “overweight engaged couples looking to lose weight before their wedding.” At the time, I was clocking in right around 300 pounds – even on my 5’10 frame, easily putting me into the “overweight” category. And my fiancé (who was built like a lineman – more Dan Koppen than Teddy Bruschi) and I had become engaged a few months prior during a trip to New Orleans (if you’ve never been, go – there isn’t a more magical city that I’ve ever found.) So I fired off an email, sharing our story and our struggles with weight, and waited to hear back.

    After 2 days, I gave up (you all know that feeling). But then I got a call that would change my life forever.

    “Hi, this is so-and-so from the Dr. Oz show – how are you?” Of course I knew who Dr. Oz was, and his new show had launched a few weeks prior – but thought they were calling about a client. It wasn’t until the words “wedding weight loss challenge” came out of the producer’s mouth that I realized she was calling for me! Several phone interviews and a video submission later, my fiancé and I were selected from hundreds of couples across the US to be featured in their special weight loss challenge.

    Over the course of my career, I’ve coached dozens of clients through TV appearances. “Don’t wear white or busy patterns”, “remember to sit on the back of your jacket to smooth out wrinkles”, “Mind your ‘um’s’ ‘so’s’ and hand movements” and “your message points are….”. When it’s time to be “the subject” yourself, those rules help – and certainly helped me to coach my fiancé – but the feeling of being “the subject” is not something that you can really coach through. The nerves are tremendous and overwhelming, even for an attention-whore like me. After 3 appearances on the program, I learned to relax – a little. The best things I’ve learned from my time in front of the camera:

    • There is such a thing as being “over-prepared”. Don’t let your client fall into the trap of having exact sentences prepared in response to questions. If you know what the reporter is going to ask your client, have them rehearse with several answers so they don’t end up fearing “flubbing their lines” – or worse, actually flubbing their lines.
    • Things like posture and smiling are very easily forgotten in the glare of the lights – make that your last reminder to the client as they head into the interview, because those two things can take you from “a natural” to “a disaster” if forgotten.
    • When you’re watching a client being interviewed, it can feel like an eternity as you watch, listen and critique their every syllable and movement. When you’re the one in front of the camera, time passes in a nano-second. And, it’s likely you won’t remember what you said…at all.
    • Post-interview is an incredibly vulnerable feeling. Did I sound intelligent? Did I look ok? Save the critiques of what they did WRONG for the day-after, and use the time immediately following an interview to effusively praise them for what they did RIGHT. Our job as PR people is to be both coach and cheerleader, and a little empathy goes a long way in prepping clients to become TV stars.
    • TV producers are busier than any of us even realize. Their days are incredibly long, for shows like Dr. Oz they are taping segments for multiple shows on the same day, and they are literally keeping hundreds of plates spinning in the air at any given time. In talking to producers at the Oz show, they agreed that email was the best method of pitching, and that they share pitches with other producers if they don’t fit what they work on. Also – don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back in a 48-hour time frame – sometimes it takes 2-3 weeks before a producer even has time to check their inbox.

    As for us? With the wedding a few weeks away, we’ve both lost a ton of weight (you’ll have to tune in to see how much!) and have loved every minute of our experience.

    You can check out our most-recent appearance (April 2010) on YouTube (at the 1:15 mark – just don’t critique me!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fw4IKl2naU&feature=search

    Stay tuned for an update this fall!

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