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 ‘Tips’ 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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Maria Kennedy | Thursday, August 28, 2014 No Comments »
Ways To Keep Control of Your Inbox
Inbox Management. Sounds like a futile and tedious activity, but as someone who gets a very large influx of emails daily, it is easy to lose control and feel overwhelmed when trying to stay on task. At Kel & Partners we are encouraged to either have an inbox of zero or to only have actionable items remain unfiled — emails that still require a response or attention. Read the rest of this entry »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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Alosha O'Brien | Monday, July 21, 2014 17 Comments
Cape Cod Is The Best place To Be In The Summer
Cape Cod Is The Best place To Be In The Summer… you Can Go Swimming In The Blue Water & Go Kayaking Any Where you Like Go Golfing & Go To good places for Lunch & Dinner. If you Like Going To Explore Their Is Bunch of Hiking Trials All Over The Cape Cod. If you Like Some Music Melody Tent Is A Good place To See Every One Who Come’s To perform.
What is The Best Activity you Like To Do Because you Will find It At The Cape Cod. One Thing I Like To Do Is Going Swimming & Kayaking & Have The Best Time Relaxing. Vacations Is The Best It Gives you Some Time To Be free from Work & All of The Stress you face Every Week lol!
Cape Cod Has Come A Long Way from Being Jest A Island Where Their Was No Traffic Going over The Bridge & Now Their Is So Many people Going To The Cape They Started Buying Homes. The Cape Has 2 Bridges Because Not A Lot of people Went To The Cape & They Did Not Have Money To Get A Home, So Some Rented & Some Lived All year Round.
So If you Are you Going To The Cape Cod pleas Make Shore you Have your Sun Block & Bottle of Water & Have The Best Time of your Life Wen you Go To The Best place To Visit Cape Cod Is One Of My places To Go Every Weekend & Every Vacation I Go On To Relax!!!! Alosha
Thank you So Much
Big Al!!!Read more
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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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Kendyll Messina | Monday, June 2, 2014 16 Comments
Get in the Social Know: Emerging Hashtag Definitions
Hashtags. We see them all day across the social media landscape, not just on Twitter and Instagram. Most are simply combinations of phrases or abbreviations of words we are already familiar with, but then there are the other Hashtags, the ones that leave us thinking… “WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?!” I dedicate this article to those of you that struggle with these less-than-obvious hashtags. Don’t remain dazed and confused in the land of social media, check out the definitions of the latest and greatest in Hashtag lingo below, and let’s get in the social media know together…shall we?
#mcm = Man Crush Monday
- Definition: That one guy that as hard as you try, you simply cannot stop thinking about (whether he is attainable or not is beside the point). For example – Leo, Bradley, George, Justin, Adam, David… you get the picture
#TT = Transformation Tuesday
- Definition: Most of the time this will come in the form of a before and after photo. The “transformation” can be interpreted many different ways, whether it’s a photo of someone who has reached a fitness goal, or has finally cleaned up their extremely messy desk.
#wcw = Woman Crush Wednesday
- Definition: Similar to man crush Monday, this is when it’s most appropriate to post about a woman you find attractive or admire.
#tbt = Throwback Thursday
- Definition: Features a photo from the past, whether it’s an embarrassing photo from childhood or from just a few nights ago at the bar, which may still be embarrassing – but most importantly memorable.
#FBF = Flashback Friday
- Definition: Because you just didn’t get enough on Throwback Thursday…
#FF = Follow Friday
- Definition: Mainly on Twitter, this is when a person recommends that you follow someone they follow. This can be anything from a friend or celebrity, to a particular brand of clothing or restaurant.
- Definition: When people take selfies on a Sunday. If you don’t know what a selfie is, you may just be a lost cause at this point…
#ootd = Outfit of the Day
- Definition: When someone shows off or shows approval of an outfit, which they or someone else is wearing.
- Definition: Something you simply cannot handle, so you just “can’t”.
- Definition: Referring to an incredibly attractive food item of the healthy or not so healthy variety.
- Definition: A way in which one says that they are “sorry”, but don’t really mean it… like at all.
I’m personally a fan of using Hashtags as long as it’s clear to me – and my potential reading audience – what they mean.
How about you? Have you seen any other Hashtags recently that have your head spinning, wondering what the original poster was trying to convey? Feel free to share yours in the comments below!Read more
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Maria Kennedy | Tuesday, April 29, 2014 11 Comments
Staying Productive During the Winter Weather Months
Living and working in Boston during the winter you realize one thing pretty quickly – it’s very cold. Especially with winter lasting longer than one would hope, you don’t have to travel far to hear someone complaining about the weather, wishing they were in Aruba rather than walking to work in the snow. So, it is not shocking that some people tend to bring this negativity into the office, affecting not only their mood but also their productivity.
So how does one combat the cold weather from negatively affecting their work ethic and stay productive throughout the cold winter months and into spring? Below I have included some tips and activities anyone can do to stay motivated regardless of the weather.
- Stay healthy. Winter is a time for viruses and bacteria to run wild in office – causing sickness that make you feel drowsy and weak. Make sure you are drinking water, washing your hands, and eating right. While all these seem cliché, they are still very important and can make a difference all year round.
- Step outside. Even if it is cold outside, getting fresh air can make all the difference. At lunch, bundle up and go for a walk. Any glimpse of sunlight can give you that extra vitamin D that you need. Make this a habit, and before you know it, spring will arrive and you’ll be able to shed some of your winter garb.
- Get a head start on your “spring cleaning.” Most people wait until the spring to clean up their desks and work environment. However, ridding yourself and your workspace of clutter sooner than later can make you feel more organized and less stressed. This is something that should be done frequently – don’t allow piles to grow or your inbox to get too out of hand.
- Find an office workout buddy. Ask around the office and it is very likely someone else is feeling the effects of the cold winter. Find someone who also needs a bit more motivation to get to the gym. Hold each other accountable, and you will both feel accomplished afterwards. Maybe sign up for a race in the spring and help each other achieve a common goal.
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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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kandpeeps | Thursday, February 6, 2014 16 Comments
What Type of Commuter Are You?
What keeps you occupied on your public transportation commute?
Let’s be real. The commute to and from work takes up a good chunk of the day for a lot of us. Walking to the stop. Waiting for the train or bus. The physical commute itself. And godspeed if you need to make connections. How do you pass the time while you’re waiting to get from Point A to Point B?
The majority of us are lucky enough to own the holy grail of time wasting: a smartphone. With the ability to connect to the Internet, download fun apps, email, text, and you know…actually make and take phone calls, we literally have the world at our fingertips. The options are endless! Which of these things are you most likely doing?
The Candy Crusher
DAMNIT I NEEDED A RED JEWEL RIGHT NOW TO CLEAR THAT LEVEL. You know, like when Tetris was a thing and every piece could save your life except for that dreaded stick. Not only have I seen the Facebook notifications, but I’ve heard the whispers on the train: “What level of Candy Crush are you on?” I’ve never played, so I can’t speak from experience, but apparently it’s addicting. I’m a ‘Bewjewled Blitz’ girl myself. Apps are perfectly valid, brain-numbing activities to pass the time. Which ones keep you occupied every day?
The Internet Troll
Social media stalking is perfectly acceptable. Have at it! Mentally date that guy/girl you’ve had your eye on for the last couple months and picture yourself in their Facebook photos. Chuckle and think that all of their Tweets are extremely witty. Do it up! You can do this for the entire length of your commute. Social networks are perfect for creeping!
Texting pre- and post-work feels like a no-brainer. What better way to pass the time than to be engaged in conversation? Make or cancel plans. Chat about the person you mentally dated on your way into the office in the morning. Whatever topic tickles your fancy. If you have somebody to chat with, type as fast as your fingers will let you. It is the perfect transportation time-suck. (A personal request: if you’re not texting and have these conversations out loud, please, keep your voice down. As a fellow commuter, I don’t need to know how your night went – in graphic detail. Please and thank you.)
Ahh. This, my friends, is my commute bread and butter. Nine times out of 10, you will find me reading on my commute. It’s the only thing that really transports me from public transportation to, well, anywhere else. It’s as simple as that. I do pose a question though. Is there a specific genre of book that’s best to be read while commuting? Me? I’m a murder mystery fan, but I’m open to recommendations!
So who are you, my fellow commuters? If I saw you every day during the daily grind (who knows, maybe I do!), what would you be doing? Are you doing something else that’s so exciting it could switch me from a bookworm? Let me know!Read more
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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