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 December, 2013

  • Facebook

    kandpeeps | Monday, December 30, 2013 37 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.

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  • Facebook

    kandpeeps | Friday, December 27, 2013 11 Comments

    Social Media’s Effect on the Holiday Season

    We all know just how heavily brands use advertising throughout the holiday season, but in the ever-evolving media world, have you ever taken the time to think about how much your Facebook and Twitter are influencing your spending as well? Shoppers are increasingly turning to social media to hunt down the best deals and gifts from both businesses and friends alike.

    I was recently surprised by an infographic I came across on Yahoo! Small Business Advisor highlighting social media’s impact on holiday shopping. It claimed that 65% of shoppers used social media to find gifts – and even more, 67% of these shoppers purchased a gift they saw on social media. My immediate reaction was that this was hyperbolized; dramatically skewed in some way and that no one really looks at the advertisements scrolling their Facebook pages.

    Then I got to thinking: it clearly wasn’t the direct advertisements that were social media’s marketing gold mines, it was the word of mouth. 60% of women use Pinterest to research the gifts they plan to buy. Why? Because someone they followed and trusted pinned it first. Their positive opinion on the gift makes others more likely to have the same positive opinions.

    Then I started noticing my own habits. I was one of the 67% of shoppers that used digital coupons I had seen on Facebook while at the mall. I was one of the 59% that found out about J.Crew’s Cyber Monday deal from a Twitter follower. I was even one of the 63% to click a link to a holiday giveaway (fingers crossed!). Social media had consumed my holiday shopping behavior and the more I thought about it, the happier I was— sales, sales, sales!

    What about you? Do you think your holiday shopping is affected by your social presence?

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  • Facebook

    Anna McCarter | Friday, December 13, 2013 31 Comments

    A Nostalgic Look at Some of Our Favorite Holiday Commercials

    The holiday season is upon us and with it comes a new crop of holiday-themed commercials. This year, you’ll find Taylor swift and Justin Bieber making an appearance in a celebrity-filled Macy’s holiday commercial. You may have also seen the group of pant-less men “jingling their bells” in the risqué Kmart commercial. Companies put a lot of creativity (and money) behind their holiday advertisements, as it’s a key window to drive retail sales, but consumers more often remember the particularly heart-warming ads far beyond the season – sometimes for many years to come. In honor of the holiday season, let’s take a moment to look at some commercials of holidays past, which have become holiday classics.


    Who can forget the bright red Coca-Cola holiday trucks that lit up the night? As a true “Americana” brand, Coca Cola does a great job of associating their product with family traditions like waiting up for Santa – or in this case, waiting for the red Coca Cola trucks coming to town.



    In the early 1990s, Folgers Coffee pulled at our heartstrings with the “Peter Comes Home for Christmas” commercial. Folgers incorporated the

    classic scene of a person waking up to the smell of a fresh brewed pot of coffee. But on Christmas morning, the version is extra special with Peter’s surprise return home. This ad reminded us that no matter how many presents are under the tree, having your family home for the holidays is always the greatest gift. And of course, it reminded us that Folgers Coffee is perhaps “the best part of wakin’ up” on Christmas morning.

    Campbell’s hit one out of the park with their melting snowman commercial from 1998. As the snowman eats the soup, you see the snow melt away to reveal a young boy underneath. The commercial is clever, and most importantly, it makes you want to warm up with a bowl of Campbell’s soup after watching it. Their tagline says it all: “Nothing melts away the cold like a delicious bowl of hot chicken noodle soup.”

    In December, most people watch classic movies like “A Christmas Story” or “It’s A Beautiful Life” to get in the holiday spirit. In a similar way, these older commercials stir up holiday excitement and make us nostalgic for seasons past. What are some of your favorite holiday commercials from over the years?


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  • Facebook

    Caitlin Gribbons | Monday, December 2, 2013 19 Comments

    Giving Back: The Reason for the Season

    With the holiday season in full-swing, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the chaos of shopping, decorating, and party planning. Don’t lose sight of the true meaning of the holidays, an opportunity to give back to those less fortunate in Boston. Read the rest of this entry »

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