The Latest

Why Small Businesses Need to Invest in Their Digital Presence

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For years, small businesses have asked the question – do we really need a digital presence? The answer is – yes.

Research shows that much of our audience was already online before the pandemic. Studies conducted before March 2020 reported that 70 to 80% of people research a small business online BEFORE visiting the business or making a purchase from it[i]. Yet, according to research conducted in 2019, 40% of small businesses still don’t have a website. Further, 28% say it’s likely they won’t build one in the future.

It’s time for that to change. Continue reading Why Small Businesses Need to Invest in Their Digital Presence

Why Clear Communication Matters Now More Than Ever

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If there’s one thing we can agree on right now, it’s that messaging and communication over the past few months regarding COVID-19 has been anything but consistent.

As a professional communicator, it can make you shake your head.

Let’s take the messaging regarding wearing a mask to prevent the spread of the virus as an example. When all this started back in March, we heard from the CDC that it wasn’t necessary to wear a mask.

Somewhere along the line, that message changed to, “Yes, you SHOULD be wearing a mask when you go out.”

Has this caused confusion? (Yes.) Does everyone understand what they’re supposed to do? (No.) And even if the directive has now changed, does that mean that everyone will adhere to the new guidelines? (Definitely not.) Have some people – because of the confusion and mixed messages – simply given up on even trying to figure out what they’re supposed to do? (Undoubtedly yes.)

What’s the point, you may ask? Continue reading Why Clear Communication Matters Now More Than Ever

5 Reasons to Over-Communicate With Your Audiences Right Now – and What to Say

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As we catch our breath from the past few weeks of dealing with the coronavirus quarantine, one thing has become apparent – companies are anxious to keep in touch with their audiences. They’re just not sure what to say to them.

With our daily routines as we know them on pause for now, brands are searching for ways to stay in contact with their employees, customers and other stakeholders.

And, some are in doubt about the best way to do this. Should we post on social media? Should we email? Should it be business as usual?

The answers to that question are differ from brand to brand. In this time of uncertainty, no one formula works for everyone.

The worst thing companies can do right now is to stop communicating. If anything, now is a time when you should over-communicate.

5 Reasons You Want to Over-Communicate With Your Audiences

Continue reading 5 Reasons to Over-Communicate With Your Audiences Right Now – and What to Say

14 of the Best Budget-Friendly Tools to Help You Master PR, Content and Social Media

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With the new year well underway, many small business owners and freelancers may be looking for ways to streamline projects and squeeze more productivity out of the workday.

As a public relations consultant and freelance writer who sometimes dons a reporter’s hat, I’m always interested in trying out tools that allow me to get more done — but as a solopreneur, I’m also cost-conscious.  I’m often asked what my favorite free or low-cost solutions are to accomplish communications-related tasks.

Here, I share 14 of my top picks. Continue reading 14 of the Best Budget-Friendly Tools to Help You Master PR, Content and Social Media

How to Time Your PR Efforts Over the Holidays

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The holidays are indeed upon us.

While timing is always important in PR, trying to get media coverage at this time of year can be especially challenging.

In talking with clients about their imminent PR plans, the holidays have to be taken into consideration. Not only might our audience be tuned out to our news, but many reporters are also out of the office enjoying holiday time with their loved ones. And, adding yet another hurdle, one reporter I just spoke with mentioned that the holiday changes his newspaper’s production schedule.

Considering your schedule, the reporter or publication’s schedule and your target audience’s schedules, PR timing over the holidays can definitely present a conundrum.

So, if you have news you must pitch over the holidays, what’s a PR pro suggest you do? Continue reading How to Time Your PR Efforts Over the Holidays

Top 11 Things I Learned at Content Marketing World

Content Marketing World was this past week. I looked forward to it for months. I went. I learned a lot.

But the highlight for me is the people. Making those face-to-face connections is priceless.

Yes, we live in a digital world. In fact, I was marveling recently at how many people I “know”—but have never met in person, or even spoken to on the phone. While I value those relationships, there is just something about actually being able to make that personal connection with someone.

Content Marketing World

TrackMaven had one of the best vendor booths at this year’s Content Marketing World with its “See What Sticks” marketing target, complete with spaghetti to throw.

Beyond that, here are my top 11 takeaways from my time at #CMWorld: Continue reading Top 11 Things I Learned at Content Marketing World

Yes, You Need A Website For Your Small Business

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I was doing some research recently when I came across an article that said nearly half of small businesses don’t have a website. You read that right, nearly HALF. 45 percent is the number quoted in the article, which by the way was titled, “You’ll be shocked to learn how many small businesses still don’t have a website.” And yes, I was shocked.

I’ve seen research like this before, and on one hand, it isn’t hard to believe. Small business owners are strapped for time and funds–I get it. They’re overwhelmed by the demands placed on them, including not only sales but marketing, operations, business development, HR and the list goes on.

On the other hand, how can a small business NOT have a site? It is simply a must for any business today. Even if you’re not selling anything online, a site is the hub of all digital marketing activity—social media, content marketing, PR, advertising and SEO. Where is the first place many will go when they look for a product or service? Online. If you’re not there, they may not bother to seek you out–and go elsewhere.

Continue reading Yes, You Need A Website For Your Small Business

Why you should create a crisis communications plan BEFORE you need one

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Summer is nearly here. How did we get here already? Everyone’s calendar is filling with plans for graduations, Memorial Day and other celebrations.

But, not everyone is celebrating.

The past couple of months has been anything but a party for several well-known brands. Pepsi. Delta. Adidas. And of course, United. All these brands have had major missteps that became headline news.

While we may cringe when we hear these tales of corporate missteps, there may be a silver lining. These mistakes present an opportunity to talk about how PR, specifically crisis communications planning, can help in times of trouble. Continue reading Why you should create a crisis communications plan BEFORE you need one

It All Started with a Flying Machine

As I celebrate 18 years of Garrett Public Relations, I’ve been thinking back to my very first client.

When I launched my business, I was in the Bay Area—one of THE places for entrepreneurs with great, if sometimes crazy, ideas.

As I was preparing to leave my day job to go full-time as a solopreneur, I was fortunate to be introduced to one of these entrepreneurs, an inventor. What had he invented? A flying machine. For real. It was called SoloTrek and was a vertical take-off and landing aircraft based on ducted fan technology. (The two-person model, the DuoTrek, resembled the flying car that’s been in the news this week.)

Continue reading It All Started with a Flying Machine