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 the ‘Communications’ Category
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Julia Kacmarek | Friday, September 19, 2014 2 Comments
Life Moves Fast, But News Moves Faster: How To Read & Understand It In Less Than 5 Minutes
We’ve all heard it before – the phrase that makes media pros cringe at the faintest mumble…
“I don’t have time for the news.”
For those of us in PR, it’s hard to think of a response other than, “Bologna.”
Our jobs consist of following headlines hourly, so life without it is hard to imagine. But if you work elsewhere, understanding the news may seem like a tedious, waste of work hours. That’s where you’re wrong.
The news can seem intimidating, confusing and complicated, but if you incorporate it into your daily routine, it will eliminate the dread of having to read and comprehend it all at once. Plus, knowing something about what’s going on outside of your office will impress your co-workers, friends, and even possible business partners or clients.
Try some of these simple changes:
- Turn On The TV in the AM: Primp for the day and listen to the morning news. Even if you aren’t actively paying attention, you will consume some of what’s going on.
- Skip the Playlist on Your Commute: Instead of listening to the same 20 songs on your playlist tomorrow morning, try skimming the news on your bus or train ride. If you drive to work, put on NPR – it’s more interesting than the boring talk radio stereotype many associate it with.
- Pair Morning Coffee with Skimming: Make it a morning ritual to read the news as you drink your first cup of coffee every day. If you only have ten minutes, take in the top stories with quick lists like The Daily Beast’s Cheat Sheet, which lists all the stories you need to know in condensed paragraphs.
- Set Up Push Notifications: The Associated Press and other apps have notifications that will alert you with a short one-liner when any big breaking news happens.
- Follow News Sites on Twitter: Follow whatever site strikes your fancy – sports, breaking news, politics, local news, etc. You name it, they have a Twitter account.
- Subscribe to E-Newsletters: Many top news sites have daily newsletters you can subscribe to by email that will give you a synopsis of the day’s top stories. TheSkimm is one choice, but there are plenty of others out there.
Whether you’re a lawyer, doctor, businessman or woman, or work somewhere in between, there’s simply no excuse not to be in the know.Read more
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Margaret Menotti | Friday, August 8, 2014 16 Comments
Communications Skill Timeless and Priceless
Strains of pomp and circumstance in 2014 have faded for the latest batch of grads. It is a sentimental rite of passage that evokes deep reflection, bringing both joy as well as angst over where their new degree will lead them.
Our offices at K&P are a microcosm of the end of academia and focus on the workforce-ready season. The office is absolutely buzzing with the activity of our newest batch of interns. It is such a pleasure to meet, greet, and get to know some of them, and we have been blessed with some truly delightful interns – some of which have been hired upon graduation. The desire to please is absolutely palpable as is the need for reassurance that their major in communications, public relations, English, or journalism was a wise investment that will lead to a desirable job opportunity and fruitful career.
Yes, students who have studied science, technology, and math – often called STEM graduates – have an excellent shot at landing that great first gig. Awesome for them and their time in the sun! However, I do recall my college speaker from 3 decades ago- Dr. An Wang. He was at the pinnacle of his WANG success during the mid 80′s. However, the company and many of their rock star staffers became obsolete within a short time. Ditto for the “it” hiring companies at that time like DEC, Prime, etc. They were great firms and many had a great ride. The best and brightest of them continued to reinvent themselves and conquer new skill sets and industries.
The reality is that now, perhaps more than ever, there is an unquenchable thirst for clear, compelling, concise and well-crafted communications. Those tech, math, and science gods that are so worshipped everywhere still need to surround themselves with people that communicate well. There are great communications, public relations, and journalism positions that evolve and blossom for this dynamic set of innovators. Other good news is the “dues paying” hierarchy is gone. Great talent gets rapid reward.
Within the media industry, the traditional print, television, radio outlets seem to be disappearing more quickly than water in Vegas. Many a journalist and public relations professional bemoans the lack of defined beats, expertise, and institutional knowledge. However, the growth in digital media is astounding, and the footprint is enlarged via social media. The reality is that communications is in huge demand on a 24/7 global scale.
No matter what your interest, passion, skill, and a flexible mindset have always been highly valued commodities in the workforce. It is no different today. Study what you love, stay curious, be flexible, and work hard. You will reap great rewards.Read more
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Jenna Finn | Wednesday, February 26, 2014 14 Comments
The Past, the Present, and the Future Walked Into a Bar. It Was Tense
Welcome to 2014 – the year of the Horse, Radiant Orchid, and constant communication. Although we are talking to others all the time, they way we are communicating has drastically changed. Why write letters when you can send an email, a tweet, or a text? Why take the time to write words out when you can abbreviate them as LOL, BRB, or WTF? Will grammar and punctuation stay relevant or will commas be replaced by hashtags and emojis?
In public relations, grammar and punctuation are more important than ever. In the PR field, our job is to communicate effectively and efficiently – and that’s hard to do with spelling errors, misplaced punctuation, and incorrect grammar. A pitch filled with glaring mistakes is also a fast way to land your e-mail right into a reporter’s trash folder. In 2014, let’s all channel our inner “grammar nerd” and remember some very important rules that every PR practitioner should know:
- There, they’re, and there are not interchangeable. Not now, not ever.
- An apostrophe does not make something plural. Rather, it makes something possessive.
- There are set rules for comma usage. For 13 rules for using commas without looking like an idiot, check out this great Business Insider article – and remember, commas save lives…
If you’re ever in need of a quick grammar check, here are some great resources I often use as a guide:
I’ll confess, I’m a big grammar nerd. Are you? Feel free to share your grammar pet peeves, your favorite grammar rules, and your go-to grammar resources here.
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redheadmeag | Wednesday, August 28, 2013 No Comments »
Heyo! Facebook announces major changes to how contests can run on YOUR Facebook page
Our social media Peeps could barely sleep last night. We know you’re asking “why?” In the “new changes announced every minute” world of social media, it takes a lot to get us THIS excited. But this is pretty huge!
Late last night, Heyo broke some EPIC news: Facebook announced a loosing of restrictions on how contests can be administered on the site. We’d like to take a moment to give solid props to Heyo on this one. When we received the late-night email blast, we checked our fav in-the-know media sites (Mashable, TechCrunch, Business Insider) and couldn’t find the news anywhere else. But a quick check of Facebook’s Page Guidelines confirms the news, and our world will never be the same.
So, what’s changed, and what’s the big deal?
Historically, in order to host a contest on Facebook, page managers were required to utilize a third-party platform. With a bevvy of affordable and easy-to-use tools out there, this one wasn’t hard to manage (unless you weren’t familiar with the rules and were penalized for hosting a contest without this important step – yikes!). By opening up this restriction, Facebook is enabling the less “socially savvy” business owners to engage with their fans in a new and exciting way on Facebook, and eliminating the need for well-designed tabs to host a cool giveaway.
The biggest change is that no longer are page managers’ hands tied in using “Facebook functionality” as a method of contest entry. Want people to “like” a post to enter to win? Now you can! Want people to comment with feedback in order to enter your giveaway? Do it to it! And want to announce your winner on Facebook so all of your fans can see that you do in fact choose winners? THE FACEBOOK WORLD IS YOUR OYSTER!
While you cannot use “timeline activities” for contest entry (such as ”share this post to enter”), Facebook has given page admins a great new tool in providing meaningful, engaging content to your fans.
We’ve already got our wheels turning on how we’ll roll out contests for clients with these new changes in place. What do the changes mean to you?Read more
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kandpeeps | Friday, June 1, 2012 13 Comments
Can you imagine a world without Facebook?
My eyes were glued to the TV as I watched Mark Zuckerberg ring the NASDAQ opening bell and expose his company to further public scrutiny. For many looking to make a quick buck off of the IPO, Facebook has thus far looked like a dud. With stocks plummeting, critics of Facebook are proclaiming “I told you so” and quickly writing off this American success story. I can’t wait to tell the speculators “I told you so.”
See, I’m a child of the social generation. I’m not a financial advisor, nor am I an expert on everything tech. However, when Google went public in 2004, I could have told you it would be a great investment. When Apple was on the brink of collapse, I could have mentioned that they had the capability of really kicking butt. And with Facebook going public now, I’m telling you that Facebook will be around for the next 50 years.
The main critique of Facebook is that it’s just a social networking platform that won’t be able to deliver real value. It’s an understandable stance. After GM ended its agreement with Facebook for paid ads, the very prospect of Facebook ads being worthwhile for businesses came into question. If a large company can’t profit off of its advertisements, how can a small business?
With 85% of Facebook’s revenues coming from advertisements, weakness in the system is undoubtedly a bit scary. The roughly 1 billion unique users inhabiting the Facebook-world are still hard to monetize.
With news of Facebook’s overvaluation, investors are reasonably skeptical towards Facebook’s exact worth. But should they bet against the 800-pound gorilla?
The Future (my fearless forecast)
If we take a moment to remember, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” then we appreciate that Facebook is still gaining its legs. Facebook has already shifted the world.
After all, it was Facebook that piqued my interest in Public Relations and later Social Media. It was Facebook that filled my college days with event invitations to parties. It was Facebook that started revolutions and unified people against tyrannical governments. When a government completely forbids their populace from using a social networking site, there is definitely something special.
It is Facebook that is working to determine presidential elections. It is Facebook that connects family members worldwide. It is Facebook that allows users to actively participate in conversations around the World Wide Web. It is Facebook that will continue to change the social landscape for years to come. And it is Facebook that does not yet know its own potential.
And how will Facebook do it?
The potential of f-commerce (Facebook Commerce) to track data and optimize it for individual users is mind-blowing. Businesses will be able to reach ~1B users and sell merchandise directly through Facebook. Slowly, users are accepting that Facebook caters advertisements to interest and search history. Once Facebook finds a way to remove the taboo of being a social media site and harnesses its mobile potential, it will explode financially.
With all the comparisons to Myspace’s gigantic fall from grace, there is one big reason that Facebook won’t fail. It has time.
Facebook has what all businesses seek: a user base that is incredibly loyal. As much as people dislike the changes that Facebook makes to its platform, they always stay. The prospect of a gigantic user-base and technological advancements prepare Facebook for future progress.
This preparation for the future will work well as Facebook emerges as much more than a website. Think once again of the two tech companies that come to mind first, Apple and Google. Apple is now much more than a computer company (iPad, iPhone, iPod, iMac) and Google is much more than a search engine (Android operating system, Google+, Google Docs, Google Maps, Google Glasses).
Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, told investors that ‘the one company closest to being like Apple is Facebook. And just today, Apple announced a partnership to build Facebook into their iOS 6 software.
So why are we betting against Facebook?
If you are a business owner, you probably would love the ability to do these things at a fraction of the cost
- Cater ads by interest and location
- Sell items to interested parties
- Create promotions
- Find new customers
- Interact with happy and disgruntled users
- Send messages to followers
However, Facebook does not just help businesses; it also educates the user on new products and allows for feedback that traditional media do not allow. After all, we trust our peers much more than we trust advertisements.
In the end
I’m putting my eggs in the Facebook basket. I’m no financial advisor, but I do see the potential of Facebook to continue to drastically change the worldwide business environment. Does this mean that Facebook will transfer into immediate justification of the $38.00 per share? Absolutely not, but I’ll leave it at this: I’m not betting against the social giant.
It may be a hunch, but can you see a world without Facebook?Read more
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Deirdre Carey | Monday, February 6, 2012 22 Comments
YMNKM, but I am a SWF, and mom of 2.
Both my children have cellphones, both text and my teenage son is on FB constantly.
I consider myself pretty hip. I mean, I own an iPhone, post on FB and wear skinny jeans with UGGS. Yes, I text too. However, as a writer, it is hard for me not to use proper sentence structure, grammar even when communicating through mobile devices. I know my lengthy, full sentences (okay, paragraphs), grammatically correct, properly punctuated texts drive people nuts, especially my kids, who I know take one look at a text (novel) from me and actually read it in its entirety. But all these text & chatting acronyms drive me crazy.
I have no issue with the ones I’ve known and used since my youth: BBQ, BYOB, MYOB, FYI, PDQ, TGIF, ASAP, ETC., XOXO (which, BTW, I believe I coined back in the 8th grade as a way to sign all the letters I wrote and passed to my BFF’s in class, and am now wishing I trademarked because everyone uses it today!) And of course, my three favorites: PYT & TLC (thanks to endless hours of listening to my Michael Jackson Thriller album). And NKOTB (If you don’t know who I’m referring to, then you might not be cool enough to be texting anyway. I’m just sayin’).
So, in an effort to up my texting etiquette, and have the ability to decode what my kids are saying when I spy on their phones & FB posts, I did what every red blooded American would do, I turned to Google to find the top most popular text & chat acronyms.
Here’s my .02.
YMAK a lot of acronyms, but BM&Y, IDK many!
KYFC I use acronyms correctly when chatting with BFF’s.
U may think TPS
Here are my top 11 (it doesn’t always have 2B 10) new favorites I will use often:
1) TNSTAAFL – There’s no such thing as a free lunch
2) RUOMCUMHD – Are you on medication because you may have missed a dose
3) FCOL – for crying out loud! (An expression my mom used on a daily basis when I was a kid. That and “I’m going to brain you! WT* does that even mean? IDK)
4) GOYHH <insert name> – get off your high horse
5) ^5 – High-five (how did I NOT know that one?)
6) BISFLATM – But I still feel like a turquoise monkey
7) LMKITWFY – let me know if that works for you
8) HFAC – Holy flipping animal crackers
9) YYSSW – Yeah, yeah, sure, sure, whatever
10) RME – rolling my eyes (I will use this one the most!)
11) SWAK – Sealed with a kiss (since everyone stole my xoxox!)
And here is one I’m going making up myself that I hope catches on:
TSWCOT! – The sun will come out tomorrow! Y? Because it’s positive, it’s upbeat, and I’ve always been a huge fan of Annie the musical TYVM!
What a GR8 learning experience!
10Q 4 reading my post!
Have 2 GBTW now
PS: Ne1 want 2 add?
FF to comment.
No TMI PLS.