March content calendar: ideas for social media and PR

Who can believe it's almost March already? While you're gearing up for spring, don't overlook this important month, chock full of great events that can serve as an inspirational source for blogging. These ideas are also applicable to your social media and media relations pitches. To get you started, here are just a few opportunities this month to align your brand or business with some already note-worthy happenings online.

March is...

  • Women's History Month

  • National Nutrition Month

  • National Peanut Month

  • National Craft Month

  • Music in Our Schools Month

Daily opportunities include...

March 1: Peanut Butter Lover's Day
March 3: National Day of Unplugging
March 7: National Cereal Day
March 8: International Women's Day
March 11: Daylight Savings Time Begins
March 13: National Napping Day
March 17: St. Patrick's Day
March 20: First Day of Spring
March 21: National French Bread Day
March 23: National Puppy Day
March 23: National Chia Day
March 26: National Spinach Day
March 28: Singer Lady Gaga's birthday (had to throw that one in!)

Want more content ideas for the year? We have developed four editorial content calendars specifically for the food & drink, arts & hobbies, health & wellness, and lifestyle industries. You can find them under the Downloads tab here on the FACTEUR website (and showcased below). We've pulled together social media, blogging, and PR opportunities based on monthly and daily holidays, hashtags, and high profile events that are related to each of those industries. Also included is a list of story ideas to get you started with developing your editorial plan, as well as space to brainstorm your own ideas. We're offering each calendar for less than $10, and if you buy all four with our Blogger Bundle, you basically get one free! Plus, every time we update the calendars, we'll make sure you'll get the newest iteration (at no extra charge, of course). Happy creating!


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Digital content and social media ideas for December

While we're planning for 2019, let's not forget we still have one important and busy month to end the year on, December! Can you believe the holiday season is here? It can definitely be hard to think about making time to curate content for your blog, PR, and social media channels when this month's to-do list seems almost a mile long. Here are just a few opportunities this month to align your brand or business with some already note-worthy happenings online.

December is...

  • Root Vegetables Month

  • Exotic Fruits Month

  • AIDS Awareness Month

  • Universal Human Rights Month

  • Write a Business Plan Month

  • Safe Toys and Gifts Month

Daily opportunities include...

December 1: Day With(Out) Art Day
December 2: National Mutt Day
December 4: National Cookie Day
December 11: International Children's Day
December 13: National Cocoa Day
December 15: National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day
December 18: Free Shipping Day
December 30: Bacon Day
December 31: National Champagne Day
 

Want more content ideas? Check out our curated content calendars specifically for the food & drink, arts & hobbies, health & wellness, and lifestyle industries. You can find them under the Instas tab here on the FACTEUR website (and showcased below). We've pulled together social media, blogging, and PR opportunities based on monthly and daily holidays, hashtags, and high profile events that are related to each of those industries. Also included is a list of story ideas to get you started with developing your editorial plan, as well as space to brainstorm your own ideas. Right now, we're offering each calendar for $9, and if you buy all four with our Blogger Bundle, you basically get one free! Plus, every time we update the calendars, we'll make sure you'll get the newest iteration (at no extra charge, of course). Happy creating!

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.

Social media and content ideas for the month of March

Who can believe it's almost March already? While you're gearing up for spring, don't overlook this important month, chock full of great events that can serve as an inspirational source for blogging. These ideas are also applicable to your social media and media relations pitches. To get you started, here are just a few opportunities this month to align your brand or business with some already note-worthy happenings online.

March is...

  • Women's History Month

  • National Nutrition Month

  • National Peanut Month

  • National Craft Month

  • Music in Our Schools Month

Daily opportunities include...

March 1: Peanut Butter Lover's Day
March 3: National Day of Unplugging
March 7: National Cereal Day
March 8: International Women's Day
March 11: Daylight Savings Time Begins
March 13: National Napping Day
March 17: St. Patrick's Day
March 20: First Day of Spring
March 21: National French Bread Day
March 23: National Puppy Day
March 23: National Chia Day
March 26: National Spinach Day
March 28: Singer Lady Gaga's birthday (had to throw that one in!)

Want more content ideas for the year? We have developed four editorial content calendars specifically for the food & drink, arts & hobbies, health & wellness, and lifestyle industries. You can find them under the Downloads tab here on the FACTEUR website (and showcased below). We've pulled together social media, blogging, and PR opportunities based on monthly and daily holidays, hashtags, and high profile events that are related to each of those industries. Also included is a list of story ideas to get you started with developing your editorial plan, as well as space to brainstorm your own ideas. We're offering each calendar for less than $10, and if you buy all four with our Blogger Bundle, you basically get one free! Plus, every time we update the calendars, we'll make sure you'll get the newest iteration (at no extra charge, of course). Happy creating!


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Five social media tips for 2018

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Every Friday on Instagram, we are answering your marketing and communications-related questions on Stories! That includes topics such as media relations, advertising, social media, influencer relations, blogging, content marketing, planning, pitching, SEO, and more. This week's Q&A notes are below, and be sure to follow @FACTEURPR on Instagram to see our past and present Q&As, too!

Q: How do I grow my social media following?

A: This topic is HUGE. So huge, we spend a minimum of three months with our coaching clients researching, developing a strategy, and working together on creative, narratives, schedules, measurement, and more. (You can learn more about that offering here.) However, that doesn't mean there aren't tactics you can use now to see results. The new year is anticipated to be a tough one for brands on Facebook and Instagram due to algorithmic changes, but all that really means is pivoting our strategy just a bit to focus on conversations around content rather than strictly selling. (Related: Grow your brand or business with content marketing)

1. Post more video content

For several years now, predictions about the mounting impact of video marketing have only escalated. Year-after-year, video content consistently claims the top spots of seemingly every must-have marketing list, and ours is no different. Just take a look at these incredible statistics released by Hubspot just last year:

  • Video will account for 80% of all web traffic by 2019.
  • 90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions.
  • 64% of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it.
  • 80% of customers remember a video they’ve watched in the last month. 

If you're looking to gain awareness for your brand and sell products, consider video as part of your marketing strategy this year. And we don't just mean fancy, expensive videos. Platforms like Instagram Stories and Snapchat were set-up to steer users away from uploading rehearsed or professional video content. Instead, consider tip number 2.

2. Go live or go home.

That's live as in live video, not living life (although hey, we should all do that part, too!). Before you changed your notification settings, if you ever did, you may have noticed that many times when a page or person goes live on Instagram or Facebook, you receive a notification. This isn't happenstance. This is a feature these platforms are pushing to encourage meaningful, real-time conversation. Make a date with your audience and take the time on Facebook or Instagram Live to announce a new product or service, or answer questions about a specific topic. (Related: Friday Q&A: Your PR and marketing questions answered)

3. Use hashtags wisely.

People are following you on social media for a reason. Never lose sight of that reason and make it crystal clear for potential followers.

Each Instagram post allows for 30 hashtags to be attached to your photo. That is 3-0 opportunities for people to find your content. Use every opportunity available, meaning all 30 hashtags if you can. Vary them up post-to-post and make sure you are only using hashtags that are pertinent to the content you're posting and/or your brand. Pro-tip: At the end of 2017, Instagram rolled out a new feature where you can follow hashtags. This is a great new way to discover content and interact with it while scrolling through your feed. Follow those hashtags!

4. Focus on relevancy and relationships.

People are following you on social media for a reason. Never lose sight of that reason and make it crystal clear for potential followers. Focus on a strong bio, solid branding, and consistency in your message and voice. For example, if your company offers interior design services, chances are the majority of the people who are following you are interested in seeing and learning more about interior design (but of course, check your analytics to confirm!). That should be the focus of your feed. It's great to break things up with a post here and there from your lunch outing or vacation, but make sure you are balancing that with the content folks signed up to see. We often suggest creating a "social media formula" for your page, and would be happy to help with that. And don't forget, engagement is a two-way street. There's nothing like building valued relationships with returned likes and comments, too! 

5. Remember quality over quantity.

We always say social media is an art as well as a science. The way you present your brand is just as important as the hashtags you use and the frequency you're posting. Be sure to spend extra attention on crafting your creative, prioritizing quality content (photos, captions) over content to post for posting's sake. Pro-tip: Hire a professional photographer once a quarter to take "stock photos" of you, your team, your newest products, your store, etc. to share on social media and use for PR. Need content ideas? Be sure to check out our curated content calendar downloads for story ideas!


Have additional tips to share? Leave them in the comments below!

Do you have a marketing and communications related question you'd like to see answered? Share it in the comments below, send an email, or head to our Instagram page and send us a direct message!

Need more assistance? FACTEUR is here to help. We would love to work with you on a tailored public relations or integrated marketing and communications strategy for your brand and business. From planning to pitching, and consulting to creating, we're as hands on as you need. Learn more here.

 

Friday Q&A: Your PR and marketing questions answered

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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.

Our most beloved apps and tools for PR and social media

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In the spirit of creating space and working smarter, I wanted to share some insight on what types of apps and tools I've been utilizing to maximize my time, creativity, and results at FACTEUR PR – both for my own brand and my clients!

Adobe Creative Suite
While one can argue that the Creative Suite is not mandatory for successful media relations or marketing, I would still stress the benefit of the software. An important part of my job is not just getting the job done, but cutting through the clutter and making it stand-out. I use InDesign to design press kits for clients as well as my own new business proposals. Photoshop is great of course for editing photos as well as designing graphics, which we do a lot of for social media and websites. And it's hard to not need Acrobat Pro for e-signing or filling out documents.

Evernote:
This is one I can't live without. I absolutely love Evernote to take notes, whether it's to brainstorm new business or blog ideas, or to jot notes during a client call or meeting. I have the Pro version so I can have my notes on more than one device.

Asana:
Asana is an important tool we use for internal communications between our team and clients. I love its calendar function, which lends itself particularly well for deadline-driven projects, which includes just about everything. It's also the platform we use primarily for client project communications and content planning. Protip: Download our curated content calendars and input your content ideas into the Asana calendar to remind you about your story ideas for social media, blogging, and PR. 

Google Trends:
Speaking of story ideas, have you checked out Google Trends before? In addition to the important data you'll reap from your website's Analytics dashboard, I love using Google Trends to develop content ideas based on search results. Monitor the trending topics of the day, or search for a term such as "Cleveland Restaurants" to see the keywords' interest over time as well as related search queries.  

A Color Story:
If you love bright, crisp photos, you need to download A Color Story on your smartphone. The app is free but certain filter packs carry a nominal fee. We use it to edit almost all of our Instagram photos. (Follow @FACTEURPR!)

Harvest:
If you work in a service-based industry and have to track your time (or just want to get really productive with your time!), I recommend checking out Harvest. It's only $12/month and you can really get a good handle on how much time you spend on projects. If your hours are billable, you can also instantly export an invoice directly from the website. Harvest integrates well with Asana, too. 

Planoly:
What I like about Planoly versus other Instagram scheduling services is that there is a desktop calendar-view component. You can schedule and arrange future posts by message or creative, and publish them straight to Instagram through the app. 

Boomerang:
This is a must-have plug-in for Gmail. Boomerang allows you to flag emails you're sending out and notifies you when it's time to follow-up if you haven't heard back. Furthermore, it's useful to schedule emails for later, too. I love it for media pitching and client relations. 

Mention:
If you're monitoring your own media coverage or staying on top of your competitors, Mention is a great and affordable tool to use. It's so important to know what's going on with your competitors or brands that are offering similar products and services to you. If you're looking for a free, lighter version, of course, there's always Google Alerts.

These are just a couple of the apps and tools I use when doing my day-to-day work at FACTEUR. If you like these types of posts, please let me know, and I will be sure to share more! In the meantime, share your must-haves in the comments, too! 

Digital content and social media ideas for December

While we're planning for 2018, let's not forget we still have one important and busy month to end the year on, December! Can you believe the holiday season is here? It can definitely be hard to think about making time to curate content for your blog, PR, and social media channels when this month's to-do list seems almost a mile long. Here are just a few opportunities this month to align your brand or business with some already note-worthy happenings online.

December is...

  • Root Vegetables Month

  • Exotic Fruits Month

  • AIDS Awareness Month

  • Universal Human Rights Month

  • Write a Business Plan Month

  • Safe Toys and Gifts Month

Daily opportunities include...

December 1: Day With(Out) Art Day
December 2: National Mutt Day
December 4: National Cookie Day
December 11: International Children's Day
December 13: National Cocoa Day
December 15: National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day
December 18: Free Shipping Day
December 30: Bacon Day
December 31: National Champagne Day
 

Want more content ideas? Check out our curated content calendars specifically for the food & drink, arts & hobbies, health & wellness, and lifestyle industries. You can find them under the Instas tab here on the FACTEUR website (and showcased below). We've pulled together social media, blogging, and PR opportunities based on monthly and daily holidays, hashtags, and high profile events that are related to each of those industries. Also included is a list of story ideas to get you started with developing your editorial plan, as well as space to brainstorm your own ideas. Right now, we're offering each calendar for $9, and if you buy all four with our Blogger Bundle, you basically get one free! Plus, every time we update the calendars, we'll make sure you'll get the newest iteration (at no extra charge, of course). Happy creating!

Quick tips: social media for retailers

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With a crowded social media space, it is hard to stand out amongst the competition online, but it's essential to try your best. Posting content that is relatable, eye catching and relevant to your audience are just a few of the tips to practice when using social media for retail. Let's dive deeper.

Seven social media tips for retailers: 

1.     Be relevant. Be sure to stay true to your brand and your audience. If you're a fashion retailer, stick to content that will appeal to your customer who is looking for trends and stylish clothing rather than posting images of your lunch (a little off-topic content is OK, just make sure it fits into your overall strategy). Use the right hashtags, too.

2.     Show! Don’t just tell. Social media is all about the visuals, so have high quality photos and videos. While not all of your followers will see your content due to algorithms, those that do will see your images first, and then perhaps will read your caption. Always keep in mind the image you use in your post is catching the interest of your viewer first thing.

3.     Consistency is key. Readers will respond better when they are seeing quality posts from your business on a regular basis. If readers see your business posting every day, that consistency will help to build more of a personal relationship with them. That relationship builds trust, and trust builds sales.

4.     Pay attention to detail. Every post should be well thought out and intentional. Most of the time your followers will only spend a few seconds on your post, so make it count! 

5.     Make it personal. Whether it's on your website or in your store(s). you are selling to people, and on social media, you are selling to people as well, though not always through a direct transaction. Make sure your communications are personal and thoughtful, creating a two-way engagement, not just using your posts to sell. 

6.     Change up content. The great thing about social media is you can always experiment with your strategy. One way to do that is to switch up your content types. Try posting beautiful photos, but also videos, Boomerangs, Stories, coupons, contests, behind-the-scenes posts and more. This will keep readers engaged and interested. Just about ever retailer is on social these days. So change up your content to keep those customers coming back for more!

6.     Have fun. Remember, people don't just buy products, they buy the lifestyle that comes with it. Show how much fun they will have with your products - inspire them and have fun!

social media for retailers

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Anna Huff

Contributing blogger
Anna is FACTEUR PR's Digital PR intern for Fall 2017.

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Ten things to include in a pitch pack or electronic press kit

ten-things-to-include-in-a-pitch-pack-or-electronic-press-kit

With an almost unlimited amount of information available online, one might wonder when pitching a product or service if supplying a reporter or collaborator with a press kit is still necessary or even expected. 

Depending on the reporter you're pitching, or even the popularity of your brand, you may not feel the need to put in the time it takes to create a pitch pack or electronic press kit. However, having a press kit ready to go if a reporter (or even investor or advertiser) asks is only going to help tell your story, equip your reader with the most valuable images and information, and make your brand look super polished.

So, what should you include and how should you present your press kit? For starters, it's all about ease of use. We love to create a PDF that can be viewed and printed like a magazine spread, which helps editors visualize your story on paper, and an electronic version (or an EPK - electronic press kit) that includes downloads of images, press releases and more. These formats tend to work in for numerous circumstances, but feel free to get create and develop a video, microsite, and more!

Electronic press kits can be attached in e-mail pitches, as well as be available for download through your online press room.  (electronic media kit created by facteur pr on behalf of chill pop shop.)

Electronic press kits can be attached in e-mail pitches, as well as be available for download through your online press room.  (electronic media kit created by facteur pr on behalf of chill pop shop.)

Press kits can also be printed and mailed or shared with investors or buyers. (press kit created by facteur pr on behalf of chill pop shop.)

Press kits can also be printed and mailed or shared with investors or buyers. (press kit created by facteur pr on behalf of chill pop shop.)

Here are 10 things we recommend including in your brand or business press kit:

  1. Biographies: Be sure to include a detailed company biography, as well as biographies on your company('s) founder(s) and leadership team. 
  2. Press releases: What is the news you're trying to share? Make sure that those press releases are included in your press kit. 
  3. Fact Sheet: Fact sheets can be bulleted to help editors quickly glance at the facts, figures, history, and breakdown of your brand.
  4. List of products: If you have a product-based business, include photos and information about each of your products (like the example shown above). Don't forget to include costs!
  5. List of services: If you have a service-based business, include photos (examples work) and information about each of your services along with costs.
  6. Media highlights or other accolades: If your brand or business has been recognized by the press or with various awards, be sure to include highlights. These can be screen shots, links, pull-quotes, etc.
  7. Resources: A great way to position your company or yourself as a thought leader or expert in your field, don't be shy about listing the ways you can be a resource to a reporter. For example, if your press kit is for your yoga studio, but the owner is also a nutritionist, make sure to mention that he/she can also speak about the intersection of exercise and nutrition. 
  8. Contact information: Include how a reporter or editor can get in touch with you or your publicist, or how an investor or buyer can get in touch with you directly. (In your PDF, also link to any downloads on your website.)
  9. Videos: If you have any video content, be sure to include along with your press kit. Videos can obviously help illustrate your brand story, educate, position you as an interview source, and provide content for digital media outlets. 
  10. Hi-res photography: Embed and link to a directory of hi-res, quality photography. This includes photos of the physical business (if that exists), team members, founders, products, services, logos, etc. While it's always wonderful when a media outlet is able to send a photographer, in many cases they will ask for your photos. And if you can already show you have a selection of professional, eye catching photography, you may just be increasing your chances of landing that story. 

Remember, your press kit might be the first introduction for someone to your brand. Put in the effort to make it really count. Good luck! 


We hope this content is helpful for you, your brand, or your business. If we can help you create your pitch pack or electronic press kit, contact us!

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