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 ‘PR’ Category
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Anna McCarter | Wednesday, July 16, 2014 27 Comments
Pursuing a Career in PR? Some Tips for Recent Grads
Another school year has officially wrapped, and millions of diploma-clutching grads are joining the rat race to find a job. The lucky few who have opted to seek out a position in the public relations field most likely have gained experience and knowledge through internships and related coursework. But in order to stand out from your peers, a true PR star will need to go above and beyond the norm.
Below are my top 5 tips for recent graduates pursuing a career in public relations.
- Don’t just “clean up” your social accounts, enhance them - Sure, you’ve heard that your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram should be employer-friendly and void of keg stand photos. But beyond just cleaning up your accounts, you should show off your social media skills by staying up on industry news, actively engaging in trending stories, and interacting with corporate accounts. Use your social platforms to show future employers what you could be doing for their clients.
- Start a blog – Blogging can look great to a potential employer because it not only shows that you can write, but also shows that you are ambitious. Blog about anything that interests you, even if it’s not industry related. Include your personal blog on your LinkedIn and resume to make sure employers can access it. Also be sure to post at least weekly, otherwise you’ll seem inconsistent or even lazy.
- Go on informational interviews – Even if you’re not landing actual interviews, you can email agencies that interest you and ask to speak with someone casually in an informational interview. Oftentimes, these lead to other networking opportunities that could become a job. If anything, you can learn more about what types of agencies are out there. You may decide you like the boutique atmosphere rather than the large corporate scene or vice versa.
- Attend PR-related networking events – Organizations like PRSA, and student-led PRSSA are always hosting networking events in major cities. Look online to see what your local chapter has scheduled for this summer. Come prepared with copies of your resume or personal business cards to exchange information as you network. Show initiative by following up with contacts to let them know you enjoyed meeting them and would be interested in any open positions in the future.
- Take that unpaid internship – We know there is nothing glamorous about working for no pay, but these days the job market is very competitive and the unpaid internship is almost like a rite of passage. Most companies greatly value their interns and will attest that they are a key component of a successful agency. So while you won’t be getting a paycheck, you’ll be gaining valuable experience that will boost your resume and could very well lead to a paid position.
As a recent graduate anxious to launch your PR career, the summer after you graduate can be an important three months. Make the most out of them with these tips, and you’ll be on the road to becoming the next PR pro!Read more
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Alexis Eliopoulos | Friday, February 21, 2014 16 Comments
Beyoncé Changing The Way of Music?
Each morning I stroll through my emails and check social media for any overnight excitement. One particular Friday morning while strolling through Instagram, I saw Beyoncé’s name in pink with the caption, “Surprise” and proceeded to watch the video announcing her latest album including 14 songs and 17 videos. I’m sorry – is this real?
It was real, and Queen B decided to launch her album on social media without any advance warning. According to Mashable, the surprise album generated 5,300 tweets per minute and spiked more than 1,300% mentions on Facebook. As a PR professional, my immediate thought was, “Beyonce just took traditional PR and Social promotion to the next level…and killed it. Typically before an album release, artists drop their single on the radio and begin media tours for at least 2-3 months prior to the release. They hit the national TV circuit, appear on magazine covers, and try to maximize publicity for their upcoming album with tactics including highly-visible PR stunts. For example, Miley Cyrus gave a memorable VMA performance in preparation for her “Bangerz” album release. However, Beyoncé wanted to do something different.
In the only press release issued after the album went on sale, Beyoncé said the following, “I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it, I am bored with that.” Beyoncé – and her genius team – took control of the power of social media and made a direct connection with her audience. The album sold 80,000 copies in the first three hours and continues to dominate sales. While the initial shock of this “surprise” release has subsided, it has earned its spot in history. It will not be soon forgotten, and should serve to inspire others brands to “kick it up” when it comes to how they approach product promotions and leverage social media as much as possible.
Do you think social media will change the entertainment industry?Read more
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Jayne Seward | Friday, January 24, 2014 23 Comments
Top PR Blunder Of 2013: Lululemon’s Founder Strikes Foot-In-Mouth Pose
While perusing through Business Insider’s end-of-the-year stories, one specific headline caught my attention: Max Nisen’s “The 5 Biggest PR Blunders Of 2013”. From Chick-fil-A’s inauthenticity to Carnival hiding at the top, Nisen hit the nail on the head with his list. But the one blunder that really struck a cord with me was his #2 choice: ‘Lululemon: Shifting the blame’. As a PR professional and Lululemon customer, this was one communication crisis from 2013 that is hard to forget.
Lululemon founder and chairman Chip Wilson ignited a social media frenzy last November after telling Bloomberg TV that “quite frankly, some women’s bodies just actually don’t work,” in reference to criticisms that Lululemon’s pants were too sheer. Numerous media outlets picked up the story, and Twitter erupted with responses to Wilson’s “fat-shaming” comments.
Although I think we can all agree that his statement was offensive, what made the whole situation worse happened when he released an ‘apology’ for his actions on YouTube that has since been deleted from the company’s YouTube page. Many believed the apology was insincere, and ABC News noted, “It seems like he [was] saying I’m sorry I got caught, but I’m not sorry I said it.”
In many ways, how Wilson handled the situation showed us how not to handle a PR crisis situation. Here are a few things we can take away from this situation as we begin a new year in crisis communications:
- Think Before Speaking – All company spokespeople should think carefully before they speak – especially in our media-happy world where anything can be shared by anyone.
- Tell The Truth – Always be honest and speak the truth to your customers and to the public. Own up to mistakes if you’ve made them, and cite specific actions you’re going to take to remedy them. Being truthful and authentic can go a long way.
- Tell It Fast – Wilson waited four days before issuing an apology. Responding immediately could have lessened the blow in this instance, and it’s critical to act quickly when in a crisis situation.
Business Insider also summed up the overarching PR lesson that can be learned from this quite well: “Don’t blame customers for your mistakes, and know when to shut up!”
Do you think Chip Wilson has made the situation better or worse by attempting to apologize for the comments he made on television?Read more
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kandpeeps | Monday, December 30, 2013 36 Comments
PR & Social Should Be Friends
Relationships often start with less than 140 characters. A cleverly timed Twitter mention or a sly retweet has the potential to sprout a bond – not just personally, but professionally as well. From a PR perspective, finding ways to interact with reporters on a more personal level can be a secret to success – and Twitter can be a great way to do just that.
Working in the rapidly changing field of PR requires media relations specialists to readily pivot their approach to communicating with reporters and adapt to new styles. The following are reasons why PR professionals should stop neglecting their Twitter account – and start using it as an important tool to interact with the media.
They’re Already Active Users
In a world where Facebook feels too personal and LinkedIn feels too formal, Twitter can be the perfect medium to strike up a conversation with a journalist. And according to MediaBistro, 59% of journalists worldwide actively use Twitter.
It’s Their Pulse-Checker
Twitter allows journalists the opportunity to reach out directly to sources that would otherwise be unreachable. Most importantly, it is through Twitter that journalists can feel the pulse of their target audience and stay on the cutting edge of their industry – and breaking news.
Kind Words Go a Long Way
The Internet has unfortunately enabled disgruntled readers an easier (and often anonymous) forum to vent their frustration. Comment trolls are lurking in the depths of online articles waiting for a journalist’s single misspelling, misstated fact, or opinion that doesn’t align with their belief system. On the flip side, you can offer thoughtful responses and insightful commentary to spark conversation through Twitter or via the web. Include the reporter’s Twitter handle to give credit and to make their work feel appreciated.
Create a Lasting Relationship
Journalists are barraged by hundreds of pitches a day filling their e-mail inboxes. Standing out from the crowd requires not only highly targeted and creative pitches, but building a trustworthy relationship with the writer so that they actually open the email you send. Does that mean you should pitch them on Twitter? Probably not – unless there is a breaking news story where you can provide an immediate source. What it does mean is that you should develop an affiliation where he or she associates you with positive feedback or helpful insight – instead of just another pitch.
Low Barrier to Entry
Finally, unless the reporter has a private account or blocks your Twitter handle, the recipient will see all @ mentions from your Twitter account. This means that all well-informed responses have the potential of being seen by the reporter – no more spam blocker.
Building a mutually beneficial relationship with members of the media is the goal of all PR professionals. Fortunately, in 140 characters or less, Twitter has made it much easier to build a rapport. It’s right at your fingertips, so give it a try – instead of always just sending an e-mail.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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Jenna Finn | Thursday, November 3, 2011 30 Comments
Want to be K&P’s Newest Intern? Here’s How:
It’s that time of year again; time to start searching for an internship for the spring semester. Whether it is your first internship or your last before you enter the workforce, Kel & Partners would love to have you. We are looking for candidates that are interested in learning and experiencing the public relations field in a unique and dynamic agency. Although this internship is unpaid, you can earn college credit and learn lots while doing so! If you are interested in joining the peeps team for the semester, please email your resumes to Jenna@kelandpartners.com.
If you want to learn more about Kel & Partners, search around www.kelandpartners.com. We are located at 21 Drydock Ave, in the beautiful Seaport District, which is easily accessible by both car and public transportation.
Also, we want you to have the greatest experience you can as an intern so here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your time spent here at K&P.
- Set personal goals: Setting unrealistic goals could make even a good internship seem bad, so make sure your goals are realistic and attainable in your internship.
- Everything you do, do with enthusiasm and a positive attitude: Every task, no matter how little, should be done with passion. It shows that you care.
- Ask questions: An internship is a learning experience. To get the most out of your time spent would be to make sure you understand everything you are doing so ask as many questions as necessary.
- Take initiative: If you prove that you can go above and beyond, you are more likely to be given additional, more complex responsibilities.
- Network: Every person you meet, no matter if it is in the workplace or not, is an opportunity to network. People always know other people and if you are looking for a job or further connections, make a great impression and then ask around.
What is your best tip for getting the most out of an internship?Read more
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Alexis Eliopoulos | Thursday, September 29, 2011 15 Comments
From PR tools to celebrity obsessions: here are my top 5 accounts to follow!
As of today, my following count on Twitter is exactly 437 people. Some people have said to me, “you enjoy hitting the ‘follow’ button a little too much”. However, I like following different people, brands, celebrities, and news outlets. It allows me to get different information from all ends of the spectrum. At times, Twitter can get overwhelming, especially when you leave it open for five minutes and there are over 85 new Tweets! Since our culture is impacted by information overload, I wanted to break down my top five accounts to follow. Check it out:
@boston – For fellow Bostonians, this is a must. @boston has constant updates about news, traffic, and weather. For me, it is especially helpful for morning and evening commutes – I’m updated at all times!
@mediapost – MediaPost covers a wide variety of topics such as daily, media, online, and marketing news. The best part of following MediaPost is the constant news updates and the different blogs.
@nycprgirls – They have become my PR bible! These 20-something PR girls in NYC hit every point whether it is PR, fashion, even TV show reviews. They were my go-to guide during post-grad interviews and had some helpful tips while prepping for interviews.
@thoughtcatalog – There is a “follow must” for every age: Thought Catalog nails every real life situation. For example, “Lies Felicity Told Me About College,” 10 Life lessons Learned From Playing Minesweeper,” or my personal favorite, “Things I Want To Say To The People on The Subway.” If you’re looking for a mid-afternoon giggle, please follow them! Major props to my fellow colleague, @missjrf for pointing them out!
@kimkardashian – It’s okay, you can judge me but I don’t care. I have a Kardashian obsession. Let’s face it, she branded herself pretty well, even if it did come after a sex tape. She just hit 10 million followers, which puts her in fifth place on Twitter.
Who are some of your favorite accounts to follow?
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Jenna Finn | Tuesday, August 30, 2011 19 Comments
And she’s off…
I am not the kind of person that sits back and waits for opportunities to come to her. I go out and get them… full force. When I started my first job out of college (a mere three months ago), I was ready to kick ass. I had experience from past internships and knowledge from previous classes. I was willing to do whatever I needed to do and I was not about to wait around. Since I’m “proactive by nature”, I’m sharing my list of tools that a proactive PR girl cannot live without:
The Five Things an Entry Level PR Girl Cannot Live Without
- Cision- The Bible of media contacts. Whenever I need to stalk someone to find their email address or create a list of all the BLANK beat reporters in the BLANK area, Cision is my go-to. It cuts my research time down significantly and has my favorite, handy export feature.
- HARO/ProfNet- Who’s writing what. I love looking at all the different stories that people are writing and being able to connect clients with hits. Although some stories are weird (why does someone need figurine dragons for a giveaway?), there are always some great fits, which make our job so much easier.
- Twitter- I am MissJRF and I am a Twitter-holic. I monitor Twitter for story ideas, relevant news, and to see what is going on in the world. Twitter lets me know what the people I am interested in are doing. Not only is it a source of entertainment but also, research has shown that Twitter is now becoming a front-runner in the quickest dissemination of news.
- Google Alerts- What is being written. Alerts are a great way to see what is being written about a topic that you are interested in. Set up these babies, sit back, and wait for alerts to come in. It is a much easier way to “search” for the news you are looking for.
- Wi-Fi- Always connected. In today’s super high-tech, connected world, a place without Wi-Fi is a PR girl’s worst nightmare. Any place where I cannot get online to check my emails or research a story might also be known as hell. And I can’t check Twitter… just kill me now.
What else do you think is a PR must have?Read more
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redheadmeag | Thursday, April 28, 2011 22 Comments
Let’s get it on…line
As a PR person, I am a rabid consumer of media. I subscribe to 12+ magazines and get giddy the days they arrive in my mailbox. My day always begins by flipping between Today, The Early Show and the local news stations. On my drive in to work, I listen the radio every day, flipping between local stations and NPR.
But the biggest rock of crack in my pipe (to borrow a phrase from Kel Kelly) comes from the internet. I subscribe to dozens of newsletters from media sites and bloggers to have news delivered to my inbox, all fresh and ready for me when I get in to work. My Google RSS feed should have it’s own internet zip code. And Twitter….ah, Twitter. I follow every mass media outlet known to (wo)man, use TweetDeck to separate news sources by topic so at a glance I can consume dozens of pieces of information to stay on top of what is going on. My friends share tons of news via Facebook, and Facebook Connect enables me to communicate with them about the stories they read across the internet. What a wonderful world!
My dependence on the internet to stay up-to-date becomes most apparent on those oh-so-busy days when I find myself with several out of office client meetings, on location for news segments and knee deep in pitching. If I go a day without checking Drudge Report, Huffington Post, Business Insider, CNN, Slate (and many more) – the next day, I am shocked to realize how much has happened without me even knowing it. I can’t imagine my life without internet news to stay informed.
What about you? Is the internet your primary news source? What is your favorite media format?Read more
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redheadmeag | Thursday, March 17, 2011 34 Comments
Twitter’s Turning 5 – A Twitterholic’s Musings on Why Twitter Matters
In early celebration of Twitter’s 5th birthday, I’m ready to admit it – my name is RedHeadMeag, and I am a Twitterholic. I cannot imagine a day without it. Twitter is, for me, an essential part of my existence – a part of my morning routine, my every day work here at Kel & Partners, and even the last thing I do before washing up for bedtime. I view Twitter as a media outlet that I customize to my widely varied interests – from recipes to Boston sports to literature, music, gossip and more. Twitter lets me stay on top of a huge amount of information that is relevant to all of the many hats I wear in my life as a woman, a wife, a puppy mommy, a marketer and a human being.
In PR and Marketing, we’re tasked with staying on top of all of the news in our clients’ industries. I can remember the early days of my career, when I read at least 4 newspapers a day and 35+ magazines each month – all cover to cover (imagine that, younglings). Now, I pop over to TweetDeck a couple of times an hour and scan the columns I have set up for each client. I monitor analysts, reporters, media and bloggers in my clients’ industries – and even their competitors – in small doses 7 days a week. How did I get it all done before Twitter?
When I come across breaking news, I head to Twitter before anywhere else. Last week’s incredibly tragic #tsunami in Japan is a fantastic example of why – news from hundreds of sources is at my finger tips, resources of perspective and how to help – Twitter pulls in all aspects of a story in an instantaneous format that leaves me the room to digest what is going on at my own speed, while giving me a platform for sharing my own thoughts and feelings. At times like these, it is amazingly comforting to be able to connect with my fellow humans and see the outpouring of care and concern being felt across the world.
For all of these reasons and more, I am continuously amazed at the slow to no adoption of the platform by the Millennial generation. With stats on Twitter usage showing that less than 7% of the American public is actively using the service, and that only 22% of us are responsible for 90% of the content on the site, I’m left scratching my head. As a Twitter evangelist, I’ve heard all of the “Twatter” jokes (ok, ok – it is funny) and the “I don’t need to let people know what I had for breakfast” lines – how is it that these people and so many others don’t see what I see?
So why are you – or why are you NOT – on Twitter?Read more