A Love Song to Live On – front page news!!

In my 10 years of working in Charlotte as a public relations professional, I have helped clients announce news, events, and relevant happenings between the pages of the Charlotte Observer (when appropriate, of course). But I have never pitched a story to a reporter at the paper, only to see the story land on the front page of the Sunday edition!!

Last week I blogged about Matthew Chase Music and working with Sarah Tallman to help keep her late husband’s music alive. I only can hope that this cover story will assist in some small way and propel Matthew Chase’s music to bigger and better things.

Thanks to Elizabeth Leland at the Charlotte Observer who listened to my pitch on a busy Monday morning in the newsroom and taking the time to tell Sarah’s story in a wonderful way.

Help me keep Matthew Chase’s music alive – link to award-winning song

Hi guys,

I just wanted to tell you about an amazing project I’m working on with Sarah Tallman.

Please check out the multi-media news release which contains a link to Matthew Chase’s award-winning song “Believe.”

Chase wrote this love song last spring for his then bride-to-be, Sarah. In April 2008, just five months after the couple’s Nov. 15, 2007 beachfront wedding, he was killed off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa, when a rogue wave capsized the shark diving vessel he was aboard.

Despite her husband’s death, Tallman continued to support his music, submitting him into the Independent Singer Songwriting Association contest. He posthumously won the Lyric of the Year award .

I met Sarah only last week and we worked quickly to create a PR plan to announce this award in time for their first anniversary on Saturday, Nov. 15. The Charlotte Observer is planning to run a piece on Saturday and we have gotten a lot of other great leads.

Please help me keep his music alive!!

Palmetto PR profile – Harry Hoover, partner and chief marketing officer for My Creative Team

There is non-stop buzz in the industry that the success of traditional brick-and-mortar agencies may be slowing down and leaving room for virtual agencies to rise and be successful in today’s marketplace. One reason may be that with a full-time staff, it’s harder to create teams of individuals that have experience applicable to a particular project, client or activity.

This – of course – leaves the door wide open for virtual agencies to assemble unique teams of professionals to fit a client’s individual needs. Also, they are typically more cost effective than using a traditional agency, because overhead costs are not factored into the final invoice.

And, until I met with Harry Hoover, partner and chief marketing officer for My Creative Team, a few weeks ago, I had never really spoken with someone who was actually running a successful virtual agency.

My Creative Team is a Huntersville, NC-based network of independent professionals. They offer services that include website development and promotion, email marketing programs, pay-per-click advertising, advertising, media planning and buying, PR – the list goes on an on.

He has figured out the perfect formula for his successful virtual agency, and it’s exciting to profile him this Friday.

I hope he’ll keep us and our audience posted on the Social Media Club in Charlotte he’s launching. (Read below to learn more.) And be sure to check out My Creative Team’s blog, as it was recently selected by PR Week in a competition to be selected as one of the top PR blogs in the country!

o Please provide title and a brief description of what you do:

Harry Hoover, partner in My Creative Team. I’m chief marketing officer and handle new business development.

o How did you become interested in the public relations/advertising industry?

Like so many PR people, I started in journalism. I was too conservative and there was no Fox News at that time. Plus, I had a family and we needed to eat! So, I swerved into government public affairs and then moved into corporate PR and later agency PR.

o What changes have you seen in the industry that is the most interesting to you?

The growth of technology. When I began running an ad agency PR department in 1991 there were three PR professionals and an administrative assistant. Today, I get as much done as we all did thanks to technology.

o Are you involved in any professional associations? If so, what are they and what do you learn by being involved?
I’m no longer active in PRSA or IABC as I once was. You can only go to so many panels on media relations before you start reciting them aloud. I am, however, starting a chapter of the Social Media Club in Charlotte. We plan to hold our initial organizational meeting in late August or early September. This will keep me hooked into the new developments in social media and surround me with young people who are highly adept with the latest technologies.

o What is the one piece of advice you would give students that are interested in pursuing a career in the public relations/investor relations/marketing industry?

Learn to write well.

o What is the best thing about your job?

My clients. They are fun, smart, articulate, and committed to doing good work.

o What is the thing you like least about your job?

I started my own agency so that there wouldn’t be anything I didn’t like. Mission accomplished.

o Are there any exciting announcements you’d like to tell us about (either with your company or one of your clients)?
Yes. Our blog, Thinking (my-creativeteam.com/blog), was just selected by PR Week as one of 32 PR blogs to be included in a competition to select the top PR blog in the country. Voting starts sometime around July 15th so get out there and make us #1.

o How do you balance your professional career with your personal life?

I try to work set hours and I schedule my personal time. My wife and I take ballroom dance lessons weekly, and I go to a weekly wine tasting. These activities are totally outside of my day-to-day work experience and they help me to make a clean separation between work and life. Also, my business partner and I work four day weeks. He takes Friday off and I take off Monday. You can’t be creative, nor can you run your business effectively if you don’t take time off to recharge.

o Anything else you would like to add?

Like journalists, PR people have sometimes been slow to embrace new methods and new technology. I’d like to call on my peers to change that. We have always been the communicators interested in dialogue. New technology gives us the chance to truly have one-to-one relationships with journalists, customers and our other publics. We need to own the conversation, but we can’t if we don’t understand the new enabling technologies.

New Kids vs. Tom Petty – fair fight?

So, I was jogging in a local park during my lunch break this afternoon, listening to the radio on my horribly un-hip and outdated walkman from 2004, and I hear New Kids on the Block’s “Step by Step” come on. Not only did I NOT change the station, I turned up the music! It was a lot of fun for me to listen to a New Kids song and walk down the proverbial memory lane, because – let’s face it – they aren’t exactly on heavy rotation on any of the radio stations, not even the ones that play songs from the 80’s and 90’s. When the song was over the DJ mentioned the band is back together, they have a new album and they are touring, too…heh?

I’m not gonna hate. NKOTB was the first concert I ever went to. I even wore a seemingly lifesize “Joey” button, which roughly covered two-thirds of my tween torso. But why are they back? What are they doing touring now?

When I got home I googled NKOTB. Surprisingly, they are not all angry-looking and bloated like many pop stars past their prime. They actually look good! And I also realized that this news was announced in April, so I’m a little behind the times. But I still have no desire to go see them, nor do I really want to hear anything from their latest album, and I think it’s because I just see this as a huge marketing ploy – something that will make them, their managers and their record label a lot of money.

But as I type this, two concert tickets for Tom Petty are within my view on my desk…he and the Heartbreakers are playing in Charlotte this summer. I’m going to that. Why am I not cynical about his tour? Maybe it’s not fair to compare the two.

I did a little more digging and found this article, which is really interesting and says that reunion tours should be examined on a band-by-band basis. From that perspective, you can decide for yourself whether a band is reuniting for the fans, for the band or for cold, hard cash.
http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/article/428430

What do you think of reunion tours? Are they just another marketing ploy for everyone involved to earn extra income? Do they even care about the fans? And, more importantly, who was your favorite New Kid?

Diva Dish – Beth Doughty, director of PR for Corder Philips

Happy Friday, folks!  I’m excited about this weekend, as my husband is a groomsman in a wedding…This is probably the first – and only -time I will ever see him in a tuxedo.  Needless to say, I’m taking a lot of pics.

 

O.K.  Well, this week’s Palmetto PR Diva Dish is with Beth Doughty, director of PR for Corder Philips in Charlotte, N.C.  I met her when I joined Wray Ward in 2003.  She needed assistance putting together what seemed like a gazillion press kits for a Presbyterian Hospital event.  Since we were in a conference room for hours on end putting the kits together, we became fast friends!  She just bought a home in Charlotte and I can’t wait to see it.  Enjoy!

 

o        Please provide title and a brief description of what you do:

 

Director of Public Relations for Corder Philips, a full-service firm based in Charlotte.

 

I lead a team of five great PR professionals, handle daily client obligations and serve on the new business and mentoring teams at the agency.

 

o        How did you become interested in the public relations/advertising industry?

 

I was one of those geeks who was interested in advertising at an early age. I always pulled the coolest ads from magazines and plastered them on my walls much to my mom’s dismay. This turned into a passion for PR while I was in college and started to understand the differences in the discipline. I was waitressing at Kiawah Island Resort during my sophomore year. Once I learned they had a PR department, I offered to work for free until they eventually hired me on full time. I stayed with the resort for seven years and it was a wonderful, wonderful opportunity to learn the business. I didn’t mind visiting the Atlantic during my lunch hour either.

 

o        What changes have you seen in the industry that is the most interesting to you?

 

I’m pleased to see that clients are relying more heavily on public relations versus advertising these days. It seems like people finally understand what PR can do for your brand and bottom line. It’s taken a long time for that shift to take place. It will be interesting to see how the melting of new media and PR change the industry in the next couple of years.

 

o        Are you involved in any professional associations?  If so, what are they and what do you learn by being involved?

I’m barely involved in PRSA but love the monthly luncheons where we learn more about buzz marketing and ethics among other things. I should go more often.

 

o        What is the one piece of advice you would give students that are interested in pursuing a career in the public relations/investor relations/marketing industry?

 

Be prepared to suck it up and do grunt work. Be humble and drop your sense of entitlement at the door. You will learn amazing things along the way. At the same time, life is short so don’t work for people that you don’t respect.

 

o        What is the best thing about your job?

 

I love those days where you are able to deliver outstanding results for your clients and “rock their world” so to speak.

 

o        What is the thing you like least about your job?

 

Losing a new business pitch.

 

o        Are there any exciting announcements you’d like to tell us about (either with your company or one of your clients)?

 

Nothing that I can divulge right now but I will say that there are some great companies in our area doing some great things. The future looks good.

 

o        How do you balance your professional career with your personal life?

 

I’ve started making myself go to the gym during my lunch hour. This way I don’t have excuses at the end of the day and I’m doing something healthy for myself. I also try to come in early so I can leave on time in the evenings.

 

o        Anything else you would like to add?

 

While I love the PR business, I could never be in political PR. I admire those people who are out handling the presidential campaign right now. That’s not for the faint of heart.

 

 

Palmetto PR Profile – Brett Turner with Jackson-Dawson

It’s Friday, and you know what that means! We are featuring a public relations practitioner to share thoughts about the industry, as well as provide firsthand suggestions to those just starting out. To be fair, Liza and I agreed to call the “dudes” PR Profiles. So here we go!

(Next week, we will feature Allison Skipper, public relations associate for the S.C. State Ports Authority in Charleston, S.C.)

Brett Turner is Manager of Public Relations for Jackson-Dawson Marketing Solutions. His responsibilities include strategic planning and daily oversight of all of JD’s PR clients, including BMW, Michelin, Milliken, the BMW Charity Pro-Am golf tournament and Piaggio America.

Turner has extensive experience in sports journalism and public relations, having covered the North Carolina men’s basketball team and the NFL’s Carolina Panthers from 1994-1997. He then managed public relations accounts for NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series teams from 1997 through the end of the 2000 season, before being named Director of Public Relations for SailNet.com in Charleston, S.C. Turner joined JD in 2001.

Turner is a 1993 graduate of Clemson University and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History with a minor in Communications/Journalism. He is married to the former Suzanne Spaulding of Charleston and has a son, William, and Truxton, the family Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

Please provide title and a brief description of what you do:
o Manger of Public Relations for Jackson-Dawson Marketing Solutions. I oversee a five-person department that represents clients such as BMW Manufacturing Co., The BMW Charity Pro-Am golf tournament, Bloom and Food Lion Grocery stores, The Palmetto Bank, Milliken Napery and one of the world’s largest tire manufacturers.

How did you become interested in the public relations industry?
o I was a sports journalist in Charlotte covering the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and North Carolina’s men’s basketball team. I enjoyed writing, but met a lot of people on the PR side of the business and knew that was what I wanted to do. I started working for a NASCAR-specific agency in Charlotte before settling in Greenville at Jackson-Dawson.

What changes have you seen in the industry that are the most interesting to you?
o The speed in which news flows, is sent and is received. I can still remember reporters that brought typewriters into the media center and dictated stories back to news rooms. I also remember when the fax machine was the greatest invention of its time.

Are you involved in any professional associations? If so, what are they and what do you learn by being involved?
o Yes. I’m a big believer in getting involved. I am very passionate about PRSA and our profession. I serve as the state’s Accreditation chair and am currently the chapter’s President-Elect. I also am involved in my church’s marketing/PR efforts, work with Anderson and Clemson Universities, and volunteer with A Child’s Haven, Meals on Wheels and Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

What is the one piece of advice you would give students that are interested in pursuing a career in the public relations/investor relations industry?
o Learn to write correctly and use proper grammar! I can’t stress this enough. I see a lot of talented young people that graduate from college that can’t write and don’t speak correctly. What’s worse is that they’ve been allowed to get away with it for so long that it has become a bad habit. All the good that you will do in the profession – great ideas, building relationships, etc. – will be forgotten the minute you send out a poorly written press release or stand up to speak in front of an audience and use improper grammar/English.

Please describe your experience in obtaining your APR. Was it different than you thought? How has it made a difference in your professional career?
o Obtaining accreditation in public relations has been the greatest professional decision that I have ever made. I use what I’ve learned every day. To pass the test, it takes discipline. You have to set goals and work to achieve those goals. The experience was great, too. It was like taking a graduate-level course at your local college/university. It was a lot harder than I thought, but also a lot more rewarding, too. It is the number one greatest business decision that I’ve made. It has helped me advance, has gained me publicity when I speak to new clients and others in the profession, and has provided me with many tools that I use every day.

What is the best thing about your job?
o The people that I work with.

What is the thing you like least about your job?
o I hate sitting behind a desk. I like to be outside and running around.

Are there any exciting announcements you’d like to tell us about (either with your own practice or one of your clients)?
o We are continuing to grow, which is always good news.

How do you balance your professional career with your personal life?
o It’s very tough and I’m not very good at it. I typically refuse to take work home with me, but that means that there are many nights and weekends that I spend in the office. I’m just not wired to be able to “shut things down,” when things aren’t completed. Like most of us in the professional, I’m also a perfectionist and very detailed oriented. As a 36-year-old husband and father, my day consists of work and family, with an average work day being 11-12 hours. But I’m happy and love what I do. I’m very fortunate to have a loving and understanding wife.

Anything else you would like to add?
o I really like this blog. Keep it up.  (editor’s note:  Thanks, Brett!)

Palmetto PR Diva Dish – Jennifer Sharpe, senior ae at Mullen

I met Jennifer in 2003 when she joined the public relations department at Wray Ward in Charlotte.  We worked together on Charlotte Bobcats, Charlotte Arena and Charlotte Jumper Classic projects, so we spent a lot of time in the city together at all sorts of events in Charlotte!  We even scored a couple of the agency’s floor seats for a few Bobcats games!  And, when I went client side to Rack Room Shoes in 2005, we were able to still work together, because she was my agency contact at Wray Ward.

And now, even though we went separate ways (she is now senior ae at Mullen in Winston Salem)and wound up in different states, she continues to be a great friend.  Thanks, Jennifer, for letting us profile you here today!

 Also, just as an FYI, we’ll be profiling Brett Turner, APR, public relations manager with Jackson-Dawson Communications in Greenville on Friday, April 25.

Please provide title and a brief description of what you do:

Sr. Acct. Executive – Mullen

Conduct media relations/publicity for Wachovia

 

How did you become interested in the public relations industry?

I was well on my way to pursuing a career in speech pathology in college and ended up taking an Intro. to PR class, only to fill credits, and ended up loving it!

 

What changes have you seen in the industry that is the most interesting to you?

There seems to be more importance placed on consumer-generated media, such as blogs, Wikis and non-traditional/alternative media, podcasting, etc…, to generate buzz.

 

Are you involved in any professional associations?  If so, what are they and what do you learn by being involved?

No, but at Mullen, we have weekly presentations and training sessions from agency leaders. They also regularly schedule industry experts to give presentations on various topics related to PR/advertising/digital.

 

What is the one piece of advice you would give students that are interested in pursuing a career in the public relations/investor relations industry?

The first few years are tough and you will find yourself given tasks that don’t exactly require a college degree (press kit assembly, mailings, etc…), but continue to drive on – you will eventually reap the rewards.

 

What is the best thing about your job?

PR is a great and challenging field that gives you the opportunity to wear MANY hats.  I think a good PR professional is multi-talented: creative, well-spoken, well-read and even analytical.

 

What is the thing you like least about your job?

Calculating ad value equivalency – I told you it requires some analytical thinking!