Five Reasons The DIY PR Project might be right for you

If you follow FACTEUR PR on social media, you’ve probably seen us posting about The DIY PR Project, a digital public relations workshop for the small business owner on a budget. Have you considered enrolling but felt hesitant about whether or not it’s the right fit? Here are five reasons why The DIY PR Project might be perfect for you.

You’re on a tight budget (or have nearly no budget to devote to media relations efforts).

Let’s face it — while you’re establishing your brand, every dollar you put toward your business matters. It’s easy to have a rigid filter on what you spend your money on, so we want to make this course as financially accessible as possible! The five-part course, complete with workshop modules, workbooks, 24-hour response time from our team and more, costs $397 total. If you register before July 31, you can take $100.00 off your package as an early bird member. With the discount, that comes to $59.40 a week, where you have access to rapid accountability and motivation that will help you stay on track and on budget. The cost of hiring a publicist will land you anywhere from $50-$250 an hour.

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You’re a solopreneur.

Doing this alone can be a challenge! Thankfully, the project includes videos created by Reena S. Goodwin, the founder of FACTEUR PR. After working in the field for more than a decade, you can feel confident that you’re in good hands when it comes to learning from a reputable source. When you sign up for the course, you also gain access to a private Facebook group with other members of the project. You’ll have a safe space to ask and answer questions while forming a community in the meantime.

You’re in charge of marketing for a brand and want to learn PR, too.

We love that you’re interested in expanding your knowledge! While a job in marketing lends itself well to understanding public relations, there are definitely differences between the concentrations, and we’re here to help break them down. With our week-by-week set-up, you’ll get public-relations-centered content delivered to you every seven days, allowing you to take your time downloading information and putting it to action in each corresponding workbook. This intentional setup allows time to review the content at your own pace and establish any questions you may have. Coming from a marketing background, we’re sure you’ll bring valuable and unique insight to our group of DIY PR Project students!

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You’re interested in outsourcing PR, but first want to get an idea of how it all works.

There’s no better way to understand something than having hands-on experience. Through our informative and illustrative videos, you’ll get a first-hand look at the ins and outs of public relations work from an experienced professional who has landed coverage for clients in national media outlets like Elle, Forbes, and Refinery29. This workshop will show you how, helping you gain a valuable perspective of the practice of public relations and how the media works, with explanations delivered in simple and accessible format. After learning about the process, you can feel confident making decisions when it comes to next steps for the brand you represent.

You’ve tried to land publicity for your brand in the past and didn’t see results.

It’s challenging to spend lots of time on outreach and feel as if you’ve come up short. And while The DIY PR Project can’t guarantee results (because hey - you still need to do the work and build those relationships!), we can guarantee you’ll learn things you didn’t know before and feel educated and empowered to pitch your brand to the right editors. If you sign up for the optional Pitch Pack Review, we’ll spend time reviewing your workbooks and offer you written, from-the-heart feedback about where to make improvements and go next. And whether your media results are immediate or gradual, you will forever have access to our course materials and updates, with the ability to review them any time and pitch onward!

Interested in learning more and signing up?

The DIY PR Project officially launches on Thursday, August 1. Register by July 31 at save $100 on the course (plus, take $100 off the optional Pitch Pack Review with the code PITCH100 through July 31, too). Cold feet still? You can still sign up anytime after August 1, but just keep in mind the prices will increase at that point.



Here's how having a strong brand helps your marketing

Whether you’ve owned a business or are thinking about starting one, branding that is true to your business identity is a crucial component of attracting your ideal clients. You can have the most extravagant marketing budget, but if your branding falls flat, appears outdated, or just doesn’t live up to the quality of products or services you provide, you might find yourself in a tough position when it comes to selling yourself. When it comes to marketing your brand, your story – verbal, written, and visual – need to be positioned and communicated clearly. While a communications professional can certainly help with messaging and storytelling, your creative assets must line up, too. 

photo: Annie Spratt

photo: Annie Spratt

CONSISTENCY:

In such a visual culture, recognizability really is key, particularly when standing out among your competitors. By drawing client and consumer eyes to a familiar look, you’re bound to have them more easily engaged than if your feed or website was made up of shots of varying quality or appearance. One way to ensure this is by selecting a photographer whose work represents the mood and style of your company. If you’re creating the photos in-house, you can achieve a similar idea by scouting out presets that embody the spirit of your brand. Google works wonders for finding these! The majority of presets will cost money to download, but considering the work a photographer put into creating them and the frequency with which you’ll use them, they’re well worth the investment.

RELIABILITY:

No matter what you’re promoting, beautiful photography will establish a deeper trust in potential consumers. They’ll be able to tell you care about your product — enough to have it captured in its best light by a talented professional. Audiences may be skeptical at first glance, and it’ll help if there is accuracy in how your company is portrayed. More and more, businesses are simplifying their marketing, assuring customers that what they see is what they get. Remember: consumers are increasingly attracted to brands that inspire or support a lifestyle, not just sell a product or service. By creating and sharing content that they can relate to you, your brand is not only attractive but attainable.

AESTHETICISM:

Social media and your website will be a driving force in how your brand is viewed. And let’s be honest, we want it to be gorgeous! The best way to achieve this visually is photography that is not only beautiful to look at, but tells a story and invokes a feeling in the viewer — it might not be apparent right away, but this method will inevitably top the noise of flashy advertisements at the end of the day. The best art directors and photographer know how to communicate clearly without adding unnecessary information their shot.

Above: Herbivore Botanicals is a great example of a strong brand. It not only sells beautiful products in gorgeous packaging, but also celebrates a lifestyle.

COMMUNITY:

Besides the obvious of wanting your brand to look its best, contracting a visual artist, whether a photographer or stylist, will only build your connection to community. They’ll likely be eager to post the work they did for you on their sharing platforms, all the while tagging your company and bringing you extra recognition. In the meantime, you now have a wealth of images you can share for several weeks or months, creating a cohesive feel to your branding while also sharing the photographer’s work to a wider audience. The payoff is twofold, and it will also increase your chances of working with them in the future. By forming a relationship with creatives in your community, you are entrusting someone to know your brand. The more readily they familiarize themselves with it, the better chance they will give it credit.

As a photographer and a marketer, I’ve progressively found it easier to identify someone’s photography without glancing at their username — but you’d be surprised how quickly your clients will be able to do this as well, visual background or not. Brand recognition is totally key! Have fun with the process, instituting a theme of sorts from the start, without letting it box you in. After you have a vision in mind, explaining your hopes to a professional will help solidify your grip on your product or service, while also identifying any holes you might not have noticed prior to your conversation. So: what’re you waiting for? If it’s time to kick start your business, or for a brand refresh, we hope we’ve offered some good reasons why!

 

Seven ideas to promote your business for the first day of summer

With summer comes tan lines, bike rides and relaxed times — but it can also come with an underlying heartbreaker — that summertime slowdown. It’s less frequently touched on than the highlights and joy rides the season can take on us, but it can totally be real! Maybe you’ve reached a posting slump, hit a snag in your marketing plan, or began getting slower responses through your public relations efforts. Thankfully, we’re here to help with a fun list that will get you out of that rut and back into that sun.

photo: unsplash

photo: unsplash

An Instagram giveaway featuring your favorite summer collection items — nothing attracts an audience like free goodies! Set something up on your feed and your Stories for maximum results. Create a flat lay of the latest and greatest things your business has to offer, whether that be stationery, sunglasses, or skincare. For greater results, ask another local business to provide an item or two of their own, allowing them to gain exposure while also bolstering your package. Promote the giveaway frequently, and require participants to tag their friends in the comments in order for their entry to be valid (bonus entries if they share on Stories!). In this way, your post will be exposed to more eyes, providing increased brand recognition. Plus, who doesn’t feel good about a business giving back?

In-store events with indie brand pop-ups, live music, wine or snacks while you shop — summer is a time for activity! When there are so many other options for entertainment, directing people into your shop with some unique alternatives is a great way to attract new customers. If there is an added element such as snacks by a local bakery, drinks from a close-by brewery or tunes from a hometown musician, customers are bound to see their time with your brand as not just transactional, but experiential.

Free downloadable to attract email addresses — At FACTEUR, we love sharing knowledge. It not only helps position us as being well-versed in our industry, but it also allows us to give back to our community. Your business should consider the same – drop that free knowledge in exchange for a precious email address. No underhanded tactics here, just some friendly sharing about your products from time to time, coming straight to inboxes. The downloadable you share can contain recipes if you’re a personal chef or restauranteur, styling tips if you represent a fashion line or boutique, or recommendations on how to relax after work if you’re a yoga instructor. Add value to someone’s life and in turn add valuable new audience members to your e-mail list.

photo: unsplash

photo: unsplash

Instagram/Facebook live of your new summer collection — We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: GO LIVE OR GO HOME! If you want to really connect with your audience on social media, video – especially live video – is the way to go. The ultimate goal is to feel like a customer’s friend, someone they look forward to seeing pop up because you’re providing them with something helpful! In fact, some people may know you only by your handle for so long before they make the leap to in-person connection. Make it count! Creating an Instagram or Facebook live video of the items in-store will entice followers to come your way, energized about specific pieces they saw on the screen (and hopefully by your own self, too!).

Share a postcard with a discount code valid through the end of summer in shopping bags and via email after purchase — there’s no better way to thank your customers for supporting you than a.) saying and b.) saying it with a discount! If you can provide them with products for a cut of the price, you’ll be sure to create a personalized loyalty that extends with every inventory change you make. You love your customers — after all, they’re what keeps you going, both emotionally and financially — and a discount code is just as much as a thank-you to them as it is for you. While we spend so much time trying to gain new customers, don’t forget retaining your current consumer base.

photo: unsplash

photo: unsplash

Social media advertising campaigns — there is so much to be said for good old-fashioned consistent and creative posting. Social media users love to see quality content paired with your username, and we believe you can make it happen with consistency at the core! By creating a frequently used font and color palette, choosing a dedicated filter or preset and using a scheduling program such as Later or Hootsuite, you can truly make the most of your social channels while advertising products or services you offer. This might also mean taking the plunge to pay for a boosted post or spending some of your budget on video creation for your company. Whatever it is, we promise: people will notice the efforts you put in!

Pitch local media to create a story centering around a theme that includes your business — do you own a beach-glass-based jewelry company that sells at local markets? Highlight why this has a place in a larger TV or print package about summer festivals, beach clean-ups or the best local vendors to make that upcoming proposal perfect. Getting your products on television stations or in magazines that your ideal consumer watches or reads can be just the exposure you need in a dry season. Remember when pitching that your timing and relevancy is everything.

Photo: supply co

Photo: supply co

Looking for more ideas to fuel your social media, PR, and marketing efforts? Be sure to follow us on Instagram, sign up for our e-mail newsletter below, and check out our instant resources!

How a background in journalism can give you an edge in PR and Marketing

Ever since I was a little girl, you could say I’ve loved writing and photography — it started out with my first disposable camera, ramped up with joining a scrapbooking club and culminated in creating “The Powell Times,” my version of our family’s very own newspaper with details about birthdays, field trips and visits to our grandparents’ house. It was the start of being in touch with media, and although I can cite slightly more impressive bylines now, I’ll never forget the smaller-scale creative projects I came up with.

It only made sense to attend Kent State University to get a journalism degree, so in the fall of 2014, I moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio to pursue a career in magazine journalism. Momentarily I considered switching majors, but in my heart, I always knew that reporting, editing and content-creating were the things I was best at. Having one year in post-grad under my belt, it’s wild to see how my eyes have been opened to even more possibilities as a result of this diploma.

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As my relatives would say, journalism is evolving — and I would have to agree. Structurally, media people have to think on their feet to present the news in new ways. Our society, specifically my generation, might respond to online content with more enthusiasm than they would a print publication. Although a sweeping generalization, we have to recognize that information can take on many different forms: an email newsletter, a longform article, a tweet, an Instagram caption, a press release, a broadcast story, a piece of citizen journalism captured on an iPhone. The media landscape is becoming wider and longer and deeper. And so it goes with the job market for those in communications-related fields.

When I graduated college, I never imagined sitting in FACTEUR PR, a PR and marketing studio in Ohio City nine months later, whose founder also has a journalism background. I didn’t think journalism and public relations were polar opposites, but I also wasn’t sure what aligning the two looked like. Today, I can say with confidence I do now! Studying and working with the art of fact for so long (since the days of the high school news magazine) has given me a deeper understanding and appreciation for the public relations “side” of this line of work. Here’s how:

Story ideation:

In almost every writing-intensive class I took, story ideas were the first step to a healthy semester. Some would use whiteboard brainstorming sessions, others would use prompts and others would assign beats to each student. It was always our responsibility to establish the “why,” narrow the “what” and find the “who” willing to help us craft an authentic, fair piece. This was a challenging process! A grade would depend on someone in authority getting back to you with a phone call, email or text, approving your request to meet with them and setting up a time within their oftentimes busy schedule.

I believe in the integrity of this system — it has produced some of the most wonderful stories I have had the pleasure of reporting. But as a trained journalist and an emerging public relations person, I see there’s no harm in letting public relations help guide your pitches. If you’re a journalist who receives an email from a communications person, it’s easy to be wary of their motives: are they selling me something? Are they persuading me to do something? Is this ethical?

If the public relations person is doing their job in a truthful way, they will present you with only the facts, operating as a messenger to inform the journalist about something engaging going on. They will act as an ambassador for a brand, event or organization to not only inform you, but to assist with art, logistics and communication. They act as a liaison from one busy person to another busy person, syncing up calendars, details and email addresses.

I used to get nervous when a public relations person would set up a conference call with me and my subject — now I welcome it! They are there to help things run smoothly, especially in something as complex as a phone conversation, where timing and intonation are key in asking questions and expressing the right message.

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Social Media:

In my photojournalism minor, I was taught photography primarily from the perspective that it would later be joined with an in-print or online news article. While this type of straight-out-of-the-camera photography is essential to the market, there’s something to be said about planned shoots. They serve different purposes, but their heart is the same: to notify you!

Social media, particularly Instagram and all of its mechanisms, has become a great short form way to tell people what’s going on — whether from your publication’s headquarters or on-the-go. There should be no shame in using this platform as a way to get your message across.

What’s phenomenal about social accounts is the adaptability they offer. If the demographic for your product, event or message is the baby boomer generation, it may be more wise to utilize a Facebook post to get the word out. If you’re looking to engage with millennials, Twitter or Instagram might be the preferable route to take. One realization I’ve had since working with trained public relations people is that this practice is not manipulation — it’s communication, and it’s a two-way street. The correct distribution of information is simply important in reaching the greatest number of people with your message you’ve worked hard to put together.

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Messaging:

Timing is everything! Whether you’re a journalist or a public relations professional, it’s important to set and meet deadlines. And when you’re a public relations professional, those deadlines should be created with the journalist in mind.

If you’re pitching to a newspaper journalist, it might be easier to notify them in a more last-minute fashion. Employees of newsrooms are well aware that our communities are constantly telling stories, and their job is to be on high alert for emerging details that will better serve their readers.

However, if you’re interested in pitching to a magazine journalist, a message well in advance will be appreciated. I never knew how real this was until I began working for Ohio Magazine. The Cleveland-based publication, which covers all things Buckeye State, operates on a month-ahead deadline schedule, often researching and writing stories for about two weeks, then fact-checking and finishing stories for the next two. I remember being assigned a piece about holiday lights shows across the state — I was calling people near the beginning of November for information. I felt like it was Christmas time for about two months.

Larger scale publications work even further in advance to create their lookbooks, articles, Q&As and round-ups. If you take a look at the editorial calendars for Better Homes & Gardens, Woman’s Day and Town & Country, you’ll find deadlines for June occur in mid-March. It’s helpful to take a look at these pages, typically available on brands’ websites, to get a better understanding of their pace.

For every single journalist, there are six PR professionals who are at the ready to help guide a story. Having experience now on both sides has definitely offers an edge: insight into how to best collaborate together. We’re excited we get to do that each day at FACTEUR PR.

Pinterest just might be that one thing missing from your marketing plan

Since its launch in 2010, Pinterest has seemingly fallen in and out of popularity over the years. However, all of us at FACTEUR think it is back, and in a big way. Time has proven that Pinterest is a very successful, yet rarely used, marketing tool. They have a great variety of users, mostly made up of millennial women. However, according to Pinterest, 50% of their new sign-ups this year have been men. If your targeted audience is included in this demographic, Pinterest is perfect for your brand! Whether you’re an influencer, blogger, business, etc. you should be using Pinterest in your marketing efforts to drive traffic to your website, increase sales, engagement, and credibility, among other things. Here’s why:


More People Use Pinterest Than You Think

Pew Research Center assembled research in January of 2018 which indicated that 29% of U.S. adults are users on Pinterest, third only to Facebook and Instagram. That is not an insignificant chunk of people.  And, if you’re not on Pinterest, you are missing out on that whole marketing segment.

Picture via SOCIALBARRELL.COM

Picture via SOCIALBARRELL.COM

Pinterest is more than Wedding Mood Boards and DIY Inspiration

Pinterest is essentially a search engine. People go there to find things they want, so why wouldn’t you put yourself out there for them to find? Once you break in and establish yourself, your experience is totally curated to your relevant fields of interest. Basically, you won’t have to fight with 50 “wedding dress” mood boards if you’re a personal chef, and vice versa! The OG Pinterest user, The Blogger, used Pinterest specifically to drive more interested traffic to their website, and so can you!

Pinterest Will Increase Your Visibility

Specifically, Pinterest can contribute to your site’s ever-so-important SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Newly launched in 2018, there are four different sections of Pinterest that your pins can be found on, making even more opportunities to connect with people. They are:

  • The Hashtag Feed

Relatively new to Pinterest, hashtags allow users to search for specific feeds showing current real-time posts containing their desired content. Adding all relevent hashtags to your pins will get your posts included in each one of those hashtag feeds.

  • The Smart Feed or Home Feed

This is where Pinterest assembles posts from a user’s interests. They are found using a new algorithm that looks at saved, related, and pins relevant to each user’s interest, and assembles a feed that prioritizes “best” over “newest.”

  • Search

The Search Feed shows the best of the best pins in the relevant category. In order to appear near the top in this feed, you need domain, pin, and pinner quality. A good way to get these things is to add as much information and legitimacy to your pins, personal website, and profile as possible.

  • The Following Tab

In the Following Tab, users see content that the people they follow are pinning. This is a one-stop-shop for recommendations from your own curated feed. A good way to appear on this is to increase your presence and consistency in pins to gain followers.


Appearing in all of these feeds will increase your SEO overall, and will lead to increased trust and visibility for your brand. Read here for some more ways to “win” at Pinterest.


You Can Create a Free Business Profile

Because Pinterest will let you create a free business profile, you will be able to see analytics and trends for all of your content, making for easy and streamlined monitoring of your efforts over time. If you already have a Pinterest profile, you can also convert it to a business profile at any time! Follow this guide to learn more.  

Zaful has created promoted pins with click through purchasing that aren’t an eyesore for the feeds they appear in

Zaful has created promoted pins with click through purchasing that aren’t an eyesore for the feeds they appear in

You can Create Promoted and Buyable Pins

You can also purchase promoted pins, which bump up your placement in feeds, and are shown to increase total engagement.

Pinterest also allows users to create pins which have a feature allowing products to be bought within the Pinterest app itself. This feature is now available to every Pinterest user, via Shopify. Pinterest has indicated that 1 in every 2 people will make a purchase after seeing a promoted pin, and why not make it easier for them with this cool new feature?

Still not convinced? Read on to learn about recent success stories from businesses who have embraced Pinterest.

ThirdLove, an indie bra retailer that makes the “perfect bra” started using promoted pins with one-click access to a landing page from their own website. After six weeks of consistent and new content in promoted pins, they saw a 26% increase in traffic to their site, and a resulting 14% lower cost per acquisition.

Wayfair, a wildly popular furniture retailer, found huge success by creating buyable pins for every single one of their products. Since launching this campaign they have seen increased traffic and revenues, and decreased advertising costs.

Moorea Seal’s Pinterest Boards

Moorea Seal was a recent graduate, who wanted to launch her own business. She gained popularity on Pinterest because of her curated boards. Each one was thoughtfully curated and housed enough appealing content to gain her a mass following. Since joining Pinterest, she has gotten two book deals, opened an online store, and opened a store front, all of which she attributes to her Pinterest success.

Seems pretty easy, right? Pinterest might just be what you’re missing to get your marketing plan really working for you. If you have experience with Pinterest or are going to give Pinterest marketing a shot, let us know how you get on in the comments below. And of course, share this post with your business hustling friends!

Tips to ignite excitement around a product launch: what we learned from Fashion Week

It is always exciting to share new products with your consumers. Along with all of the effort put into external promotion, however, we can’t forget about creating content for our own platforms. As we always say at FACTEUR PR, “own your story to share your story!”

Want a tip for approaching your social media in a potentially different way? Treat the drop of a new item like an event! Who wouldn’t want more customer anticipation building up to the release?

The concept:

A good source of inspiration for this kind of strategy is in the fashion industry, specifically how luxury brands engage followers during the release of their collections each season at Fashion Week. An easy way to look at the shared content is in three parts: before, during, and after the event. Instagram, and particularly Instagram Stories, are becoming increasingly important and utilized for brand engagement. Here are some examples of what to look for and share.

Luxury brands are often known for being the least transparent in the industry, so any glimpse into the process is widely welcomed. The desire for transparency is growing in consumers at all market segments, so it is a good thing for small businesses to keep in mind as well!

Pre-Show:

  • Instagram Story Takeover (example: a show attendee shares the process of getting ready for the show.)

  • Small Detail Posts (example: sneak peeks of the show venue, inspirational quotes or images that contributed to the designs, and glances at the production process catch the attention of followers.)

  • Attendance List (example: if someone cool is showing up or is otherwise involved, let viewers know.)

During the Show:

  • A Garment in Motion (example: choosing a few of the strongest or most unique looks from the collection works well when shown on the model in video or photo form.)

  • The Finale Video (example: even a fraction of the moment when all of the garments can be seen at once provides the observer with a good grasp on elements of the collection.)

Post-Show:

  • Attendees’ Responses (example: a candid interview occurs to capture the emotional responses of a variety of viewers.)

  • Edited Visuals (example: the sharing of final images and/or videos of the looks occurs after they have been sorted and edited to meet the company’s level of quality and aesthetic.)

An elegantly applicable brand to observe is that of Dior, one that is often acknowledged for their extensive social media content. On September 24, the luxury fashion house showed their Spring/Summer 2019 RTW collection in Paris. Its Instagram account utilized the story feature throughout the day. Instead of following the pre-show preparation of a well-known influencer, they featured a fresh-faced model describing each part of the fashion show she experienced (shown above). Luxury brands are often known for being the least transparent in the industry, so any glimpse into the process is widely welcomed. The desire for transparency is growing in consumers at all market segments, so it is a good thing for small businesses to keep in mind as well!

How to apply it:

Each of the kinds of content described can be translated and pared down to your specific products or services before, during, and after a launch. Post a sneak peek of the cool packaging or a video talking through your sources of inspiration. After the product is released, maintain its new position in the market. Though your business likely does not have the ability to make the volume of content that a brand such as Dior has, sharing a handful of quality visuals in the following days is already a significant reminder to your audience! At FACTEUR PR, we can’t say enough about the importance of continuing on after a big brand moment has happened. Keeping up public relations both online and off is a constant endeavor, so keep it fresh and creative!

Looking for assistance with your public relations and social media strategy ahead of your brand or product launch? We can help! Head to our Contact page to get started!

Instagram Story images c/o @dior. Cover image c/o Cleo Glover.

Our newest clients will adorn you!

There is always a multitude of changes going on as transitions between seasons occur, and FACTEUR PR has been along for the ride! In the last month, we have been excited to have added four new clients to our roster of brands we love, deepening our commitment to the creative community! We’d like to introduce them to you here on our blog!

Avarelle Cosmetics acne patches

Avarelle Cosmetics

This company was founded just over a year ago and sells their line of products exclusively on Amazon. The Avarelle Cosmetics skincare line currently consists of acne cover, treatment, and spot patches, as well as an acne treatment spot solution and rejuvenating herbal infusion sheet masks for every skin type. Based in New Jersey, the brand sets itself apart in its use of all-natural ingredients to combat acne, as well as the diversity in its products, particularly with its level of coverage and variety of sizes. Avarelle is made with Tea Tree Oil, Calendula Oil & Hydrocolloid Dressing. These treatments can be applied day or night, are easily concealable with or without makeup, and can be snipped to size to heal acne and its scars quickly and safely. Avarelle aims to ultimately boost confidence while solving skin and blemish issues.

VersaSpa Sunless Tanning Products

VersaSpa

Sunless, Inc. is the global industry leader in healthy, UV-free tanning and the power behind the well-known, most in-demand home and salon-applied spray tan brands: Mystic Tan, VersaSpa and Norvell. With its headquarters in Cleveland and an office in Nashville, Sunless’ mission is to help its broad range of consumers not only look better, but feel more confident in their own skin. Its products are not only safe, but easy to apply in four minutes or less.

Liza Michelle Jewelry Collection

Liza Michelle Jewelry

The essence and beauty of objects found in nature is what inspires the designer behind Liza Michelle Jewelry. Liza Michelle Jewitt Rifkin creates handcrafted fine jewelry and objects, utilizing a method of casting natural objects in solid metal. Founded in 2013, the company produces with a commitment to craftsmanship of the finest quality and environmental sustainability. Inside her Ohio City studio, each item passes through the designer’s hands and carries the story of her process and the clients.

Shannon Michael Style

Shannon Michael Style

Shannon Michael Style is an Ohio-based beauty consultant and retailer, primarily focused on hair and makeup artistry in the bridal and celebrity industries. Led by Shannon Dyer, the company contracts artists for numerous events throughout the year and most recently expanded to include a premium makeup line to offer both its online and in-person clients. This fall, Shannon Michael Style will begin a new chapter in its business by aligning fashion with its beauty brand. Bridal gowns designed Dyer, thanks to her background in design, will sell direct to consumers in several bridal boutiques. Utilizing her business strategy to incorporate fashion into the beauty brand positions Dyer’s company as a industry leader and offers a full experience for her consumers. 

We look forward to all of the creative projects ahead!

How to take on event planning & marketing to college students

marketing to college students

I recently took over the marketing department at my university’s bookstore. As a primarily commuter campus, our store’s goal for marketing was “outreach, outreach, outreach.” This meant creating and executing events that would bring more students into the store and create an elevated awareness of our presence in the university population.

When you throw an event for a company you work for, whether you’re in charge of the marketing department or were just given the opportunity to pull something together, there are a few things to keep in mind that could help you to go from just throwing an event to succeeding at it.

There is no event if no one shows up.

Merely planning an event is not enough, you have to effectively market the event to your audience for it to be truly successful.

In my experience, trying to captivate the attention of anyone, especially college students, is very difficult. More than ever, people are moving and sifting through messages faster and faster. The American Marketing Association reports that people’s attention is the most scarce resource of any modern marketing plan. Whether it’s email, signage, flyers, or even word of mouth, people are capable of seeing and instantly dismissing any message. This means that whatever message you are putting out there has to be something worthy of their extended attention.

When I am marketing for the college campus community, I keep those statistics in mind. Because of the fact that my college student target audience have lives where they are constantly busy and merely skimming through every message they see, my goal is to get my message to them in as many ways as possible.

It is only because I have identified the habits of my target audience that I know this works best for my brand. You should take time to do the same; identify who your audience is, and then, how, when, where, and why they consume their media.

Every student has different media consumption habits; some delete all their emails and spend all day on social media, some will only ever see an email, some will only see signage, etc. So, I will do my best to cover all of those bases, repeatedly. (This includes any social media, the university weekly Events Calendar email blast, paper signage/handouts, and digital signage which is projected on screens around the Student Center.) I find that if I update every single possible place with messages about my event (starting about a month to three weeks beforehand) the majority of students will see it, and I will have the most success. Because I repeatedly hit up these things with posts and graphics, they will see my message more than once, driving some familiarity and curiosity about it.

This tactic of coming at the consumer from all possible angles is not the best for every target audience. In fact, with some target audiences it might drive annoyance more than anything. It is only because I have identified the habits of my target audience that I know this works best for my brand. You should take time to do the same; identify who your audience is, and then, how, when, where, and why they consume their media.

When you are faced with the task of getting the word out about an event, come up with an exact plan that you can see through to the end. Identifying your target audience will help you compile a list of every place you want a message to be. Finalizing this list should be your first step.

This list turned into my most critical organizational tool as it kept me focused and aware of every outlet I wanted during my entire planning process. Once you have identified your outlets, your message should be finalized. Customize the message for each outlet and then track progress in your original list. The more places your message appears, the more likely people are to start recognizing it and gaining interest in attending, which, leads to my next point:

Incentivize

College students often are looking out for number one: themselves.

In order to get people interested in coming to my events, I create some sort of incentive. People, and students especially, are extremely busy, so they won’t come to an event unless they benefit or they see the potential to benefit.

The most effective incentive for a store event is a discount on your merchandise. If your company is able, offer anywhere between 5-15% off one item when they come to your event. If this doesn’t apply to your company or brand, consider having guests be able to enter a drawing when they attend an event. I recently had success doing a giveaway for a $100 gift card to an upscale restaurant which brought people in because they wanted to win, and then ended up staying for the actual event.

If giveaways aren’t your thing, bring something to the event which will benefit your guests. As crazy as this sounds, one of my most successful incentives was when I brought in dogs from a local animal shelter for a stress relief event. My target audience go crazy for adorable dogs so I knew having some at my event would inspire a lot people to come. The best part about having something out of the ordinary like this is that word-of-mouth marketing comes into play. People texted and Snapchatted their friends when they saw an opportunity to play with some adorable puppies and encouraged their friends to also enjoy the experience. Therein lies your success: When people step into your space and see what you have to offer them and they like what they see. So, make sure what you’re offering is clear, obvious, and noteworthy. 

Interaction

Interaction with guests is absolutely critical to building a clientele and leading to more success in the future.

When you throw an event, introduce yourself and your colleagues to new faces and old. Whether you’re representing a large corporation or a small family-owned business, connections between people make a huge impact. Customer interaction is now more important than ever, with 54% of some companies rating customer interaction as being in their top 5 list of priorities, and half of those rating it their #1 priority.

You build trust when your guests can identify a face, voice, or attitude that they automatically can associate with your brand. One successful event will only lead to more successful events if you have made your attendees want to come back. This doesn’t mean leaving them happy, but leaving them happy AND wanting more.

Measure your success and identify your weaknesses.

Once you’ve thrown your first event, you will have a much better idea of what to plan for in future event planning. I’m not ashamed to say my first event didn’t go over that well because it enabled me to identify what I was doing wrong. If your attendance is low, you didn’t market or incentivize enough. If people came but seemed less than impressed, you didn’t plan or interact well enough.

With each event you plan, what works best will become more and more obvious and you will be able to expand and focus on those things that will create effective and successful events for your brand. And remember, marketing is an ever-changing field, so always try new things in order to be more successful.


Hannah Krisinski is a junior at Cleveland State University, where she studies Journalism and Promotional Communications and minors in Digital Design. She currently handles marketing, promotional work, and event planning for the CSU bookstore, where she is able to use creativity and innovative ideas to engage in campus life nearly every day.

Takeaways and trends from SXSW

Marketing trends from SXSW

Every year, South by Southwest (SXSW) springs upon us, and feels like it flies by. During each conference panel, festival, exhibition and networking opportunity, there is greatness that happens, and new ideas and trends that we in the creative fields need to be aware of!

This year from March 9 through 18, SXSW dedicated itself to helping creatives achieve their goals, whatever they may be. Throughout the conference, there were some definite trends that were talked about that we need to keep our eyes open to and consider so we can stay relevant in this crazy world that we live in.

SXSW covered some of the trends that they thought were most relevant from this past conference, and I want to highlight some that I think are the relevant when it comes to marketing.

The Maturing VR Market

We’ve seen Virtual Reality enter our world fast and mighty, but throughout this past year, it’s really making a name for itself. What may have been thought of as a trend or a fad, was wrong. SXSW reports VR has really matured into a potent tool in the arts, medicine, business and entertainment fields and is really accelerating into mainstream technology now.

So, what’s next after VR, you ask? It’s MR, which is Mixed Reality.

Mixed Reality is going to allow you to created environments and overlays. It is going to give you a really immersed feeling and becoming more of a mainstream technology tool.

Inclusion in Business and The Arts

During a time where the country has never felt more divided, we have seen a rise in inclusion in brands and throughout marketing. It’s 2018, so we should expect this, but now it’s actually happening and is going to continue!

We are seeing a rise of empowerment of women, people with disabilities and people from various backgrounds. It is part of our jobs in PR/marketing to further these messages.

The Rise of the Short Documentaries on Social Media

Social media is the new form of journalism. We get our news and learn new things from social media. For example, on Facebook, there is a page called 60 Second Docs. These short documents do a story about someone/something in 60 seconds.

With our short attentions spans, these short documentaries are a quick way to learn a lot about something! In PR, we are constantly looking for a way to grab someone’s attention through all of the noise, and video content is the way to do it!


Danie Minor is a recent graduate of Kent State University, where she studied public relations. She is passionate about all things having to do with social media and influencer relations.
 

Friday Q&A: Your PR and marketing questions answered

Friday.png

This new year is off to a busy start, but we want to make sure we take the time to give back with a bit of what we know and have learned! Every Friday on the @FACTEURPR Instagram Stories, we answer a PR or marketing question you've asked. That includes media relations, advertising, social media, influencer engagement, blogging, content marketing, planning, pitching, SEO, etc. The videos will stay live on Stories for 24 hours, and we will add the most recent ones to our Instagram page Highlights. 

To ask a question, send us an email, drop a comment below or leave a comment or DM us on Instagram.  

We look forward to connecting with you and hope you find this series valuable. And as always, we're always here to help with your specific public relations, social media, content marketing, and digital creative needs! Contact us here.