Ad2Reno - Young Advertising Professionals in Reno, Nevada

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There are two important steps to getting your press release
noticed; writing a great release and pitching what you’ve wrote. Here are some
tips on getting your press release noticed.

The Pitch

Writing a great press release is crucial to it being noticed
and published, however, the media has to be intrigued enough by your pitch to
even give your press release a chance, so the most important part of getting
your press release noticed is pitching it correctly.

The most important part of the pitch is when you pitch it
and who you pitch it to. It’s a big PR no-no to send a press release on a
Friday, the weekends or after about 3:30pm during the week. Monday’s aren’t
great either; people are returning to work from the weekend and are catching up
on emails. It’s more likely your email will get lost in the mix. The best days
to pitch a release are Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Don’t blast your press release. The media hates this. Do
some research on the best person to send your release to. If it’s a technology
announcement, don’t send it to the sports editor. Adding a name to an email
pitch shows that you care about where you’re pitching it and you’re not just
sending it to the masses.

Have a strong subject line. The media is inundated with
press releases and emails all day long, so your email has to have an intriguing
subject line that makes the reporter want to open your email.  Your subject line should highlight the most
important part of your press release: the main announcement you are making.
Example: (Ad2 Launches New Website).
Now that the media has opened your email, you want to
provide them with a short pitch of what your press release is about. It’s
important to highlight the who, what, where, when and why. The media should be
able to know all the details of your press release just from your pitch.

Lastly, let the reporter know that you’ve attached a press
release with more details about your announcement and to let you know if they
need anything else.

Writing a great press release

If you’ve gotten the media all the way to the point of
opening your press release, the last thing you want to do is lose their
interest with a poorly written release. Here are some press release writing
tips:

Don’t waste your headline. Your headline is the first thing
the media will see. Think of your headline as the subject line of an email. You
want to say something that gets the media to open your email and read more of
your press release.

Say it in the intro. You want to give the who, what, where,
when and why in the introduction of your press release. A lot of writers think
this information needs to be sugar coated, but the media is busy and they don’t
care about fluff, they want the facts.

Add a quote. Adding a quote to your press release makes it
look credible and adds a element of personalization to the release.

Keep it short. If they want more information then you’ve
provided they will call or email you. You shouldn’t need more than a page.

My last bit of advice is to follow up with your media
contacts. If your press release gets run, shoot a note out to the reporter or
editor and thank them for picking up your release. Public relations is all
about the relationships you build and if you have a good relationship with the
media you won’t have to try so hard the next time you pitch something. They’ll
get used to seeing your name and will know you produce good releases and you
won’t have to stress about a great email pitch to get it picked up. So keep it
quick, simple and good.

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So towards the end of last summer, you got all excited because Google was unveiling their new social network. You signed up, took a bit of a look around, maybe posted a couple times, figured that Google Plus was basically like Facebook (except

none of your non-work friends were on it), and started to forget about it before you ever really got into the meat of what it was all about. Frankly, it’s worth taking a second look at, so I wanted to spend a few moments showing you exactly what you need to know about.

First, let’s take a quick look at some the features on Google Plus that you can’t really find anywhere else, then we will explore some of the reasons you really should be using it both personally and as part of your social media plan.

Google Plus has several features that are worth checking out, the first is “Circles”. Circles allow you to organize all of your contacts into different groups, which become important when you begin to post content to your profile. Each post you make to your profile can be made completely public or you can set it to only be able to be viewed by people in the circles you indicate. For example, a local pizza place could announce publicly that they are having a free pizza day or they could organize all of the people who spend over $100 a month on their pizza into a circle and invite just the people in that circle as part of a customer rewards program. This feature is extremely handy if you have multiple audiences or just want to share different content with different people.

Another interesting feature on G+ is the way that it incorporates hashtags. Google Plus hashtags are a little bit different than the ones you are used to on Twitter. While clicking a hashtag on Twitter will only show you other tweets that have used that hashtag, G+ takes it a step further by using good old Google know how to show you all of the relevant results containing the words in the hashtag, even if no one else has used the exact combination of words in your hashtag. For example, if you click on hashtag #socialmedia in someone’s G+ post, it takes you to a sortable list of all relevant posts, pages, and profiles that contain the words social media.

The last feature of Google Plus we are going to talk about is “Hangouts”. Hangouts allow you to host a live video chat with up to 9 other people (for a total of 10, including you) where you can all interact, watch videos, listen to music, share your screen, or even collaborate on a Google Doc from anywhere you have an internet connection. Oh and if you have a front facing camera on your smart phone, you can use that to hangout if you don’t feel like hauling your laptop around. This feature can be used in combination with the Circles feature so you can let as many people as you would like know that you are available to “Hangout”.

As you can see, some of the things you can do on Google Plus are pretty cool, but what really helps to set it apart are the benefits you get from using them.

Let’s be honest, Google Plus IS Google! Regardless of your personal feelings about Google search results, with over 60% of search engine use in the United States, they are still the big dog on campus when it comes to finding what you or looking for. What does that mean for you or your brand? Well for starters, how would you like your picture and profile to show up on top of the search results the next time a prospective employer (or first date!) runs you though Google? Set up and use Google Plus and it can be accomplished fairly easily (check out my mug below, you can see my profile directly next to the search results.).

Granted, that’s pretty cool for personal branding, but Google didn’t stop there. They are applying this to brand pages and “subject experts” as well. Which means, the next time someone looks up your brand (or in some cases a related keyword) these results will show up along side the traditional search results. Pretty neat huh? On top of Google showing G+ profiles on the sides of search results, Google has started to use its +1 button (similar to the Facebook Like button) as an indicator of popularity, which means companies with active profiles have started to experience a bump in their search position for keywords that are important to their brand, a result I can personally attest to.

In addition to the effect G+ is having on search results, there is another benefit that is arguably more important for those of us in the Ad/PR/Social Media world. Social Media marketing is all about the interactions between customers and brands right? Remember the “Hangouts” we talked about in the features section? They are not just for personal profiles. That’s right, brand pages can have live face to face chats with their customers on Google Plus. It doesn’t get much more interactive then a live conversation, does it?

These are just a few of the things you need to know about Google Plus, before you start using. Still not sure you should be using G+ or think we missed something? Let us know in the comments section below!

 

Kony 2012. It’s swept the interwebs for at least the last 24-hours. If you haven’t taken the 29 minutes to watch, I’ll give you a link at the end of this post because I want you to watch it with the grain of salt I’m about to hand you.

It’s a powerful piece. It should be no surprise to those of us who have studied and worked in advertising though, right? How a thoughtfully written script, skilled editing and the right positioning can tug on our poor little heart strings.

If you watched this video already, did you have a voice in your head saying,

“Wow, it took nine years to get here?” or

“There sure is a lot of strategy behind this charity video.”

I did. I left the video open in my browser as reminder to look into the MANY organizations affiliated with the video, and make a decision later. I had to go and research it. Thanks to the internet though, the research found me. This article, though I have no idea how credible the source, cites dozens of articles contradicting, and in some cases completely eliminating the credibility of the video.

It really doesn’t matter who is right. Share the video if you feel compelled.. Raise awareness, by all means! But please just do your research before picking an organization to promote and financially support . Remember, we work in advertising. It’s our jobs and our livelihood to make materials that move people to action.

You scrolled down, didn’t you? Ok fine. Watch it now, but please come back and finish reading, mmk?

To be creative is to be curious and, let me tell you, there is a lot to be curious about in Reno. From people watching on Second and Virginia streets to the new businesses popping up in Midtown, creative ideas are flowing freely.

Basically, be curious about your community. There are a lot of beautiful places within the Truckee Meadows, both public and hidden, that may inspire your creativity. Take a walk near the river, stroll down city alleys that feature murals by local artists, attend community events, and (my personal favorite) eat at a new restaurant. Food cures all creative ruts.

Here are a few of my favorite places and things that inspire me to strive for creative excellence:

Midtown Eats
Absolutely love this restaurant. From homemade light fixtures made out of recycled bottles to candles to book covers used as receipt holders, Midtown Eats is a DIY, Pinterest-worthy mecca. Did I mention they have great food?

Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum
Inside one of Reno’s newest attractions — a museum dedicated to teaching children about science — is a three-story cloud-like jungle gym. And like the four-year-old boy climbing to its top, I was just as inspired watching action from afar. So for a little inspiration, and a $10 entry fee, take a stroll through this facility and simply play.

University of Nevada, Reno
From its classic brick buildings to a vibrant campus community — from student events to art exhibitions — there is always something going on at Nevada’s oldest (and best) college campus.

Bibo Coffee Shop
This is a personal favorite. I love sipping on a large cup of this Reno coffee house’s Chai tea on my lunch break to unwind from a busy work day, regroup my thoughts and come back re-energized. Locations near the university, downtown and the Old Southwest.

Random Acts of Art
Have you noticed the art behind The Ross Manor? Behind Ceols?  Have you noticed the beautiful sketchings on downtown newspaper bins? There are many other samples of random acts of art. Have you noticed any?

Ad2 Reno…of course
The people. The ideas. Being around each member reminds you why you’re in the ad business. And having others to chat about business, bounce ideas off of and celebrate the successes of our tiny, but tight, community is inspiring in itself.

There’s always something to be found in Reno that may inspire creativity. Some places are obvious, some are hidden. You just have to be curious enough to find it.

If you have a spot that inspires creativity, share it in the comments.

Color, Sing and Dance

On stage in front of a conference room of 400 suited-up doctors, Brian Williams started his speech with a simple, but enthusiastic request. “Raise your hand if you know how to color!” Awkward silence deafened the room.  “Raise your hand if you know how to sing!” Again, absolutely no response. “Raise your hand if you know how to dance!” Not even a little bit.

Then he showed that same room of doctors a video of him asking the same questions to a room full of kids. “Raise your hand if you know how to color, sing and dance!” ….“YEAAAAHHH!” – Erupting as if they were at a rock concert. He laughed at this point, “If only you could crowd surf over third graders.”

Brian is the founder of Think Kindness, and this story opened his keynote at Ad2 Reno’s nonprofit workshop this past Sunday.

He begged the question – Somewhere between third grade and age 40, adults forgot how to color, sing and dance? What happened to the creativity? What happened to the dream bigbe anyonedo anything attitude we had when we were little? The theory: negativity in the media. The solution: non-profit organizations.

He reminded us non-profits that we’re the dreamers, the ones who promote good in our community, the ones who fight for what we believe in. We work hard at creating positive messages, rallying for a cause, and sharing them with the world.

Non-profits in the room were uniting around causes like autism, butterfly houses, health and fitness programming, technology for students, girl leadership, railroad safety, horses, and more.  They’re the rock star third graders coloring, singing and dancing.

Big thank you to our marketing professionals for sharing their industry secrets, and to Brian for setting such an inspiring atmosphere.

So you get to work from home. Awesome. Good for you. Now get to work.

Working from home, telecommuting, whatever you call it, is dangerous business.  There’s no supervisor breathing down your neck, manager keeping you on task, or co-workers to keep pace with, and these are good things – if you have the cojones for it.  It takes a tremendous amount of personal discipline to stay on track when so many distractions surround you.

-The most important thing I’ve learned about working from home is about preparing yourself for the day as if you were going to the office. Schedule an hour you must be up by, wash your face, put on some make-up if you wear it, and put some clean clothes on. It doesn’t have to be professional attire, but if that makes you feel more professional, then do it.  You’ll feel refreshed and ready to start the day.  Stumbling to the computer in your PJ’s just doesn’t work.

-Set up an office.  This is your space and no one else’s.  This space is also only for work, not for pinning photos or video chatting with your mom…

Conversely, you might be like me and need to do your work in a different place every week. Working at home can be lonely. For some reason I do better on the couch one week, or at My Favorite Muffin the next. There are studies that say changing location helps focus as well.

-If you’re very easily distracted, especially if you check Facebook or Twitter too much, set an alarm for every 20-30 minutes.  It’s a reminder to return to the task at hand should you drift off.

-Get a part-time morning job.  You have to get up, get ready, and when you get home you’ll be awake and energized.  The social interaction really helps as well if you’re extroverted.

-Set a time when you’ll be done for the day.  Turn off your computer for a couple hours, stop checking your e-mail and relax.  If you don’t clearly separate time for work and your personal time, you’ll feel like you’re always at work.

Take advantage of the flexibility of working from your home, or wherever else you might choose. Hit the bank when it’s slow, cook a healthy meal for lunch, but keep the distractions at a minimum. You’ll know when you haven’t put your best day’s work in.  You won’t feel professional and ultimately your work suffers.  There’s nothing more satisfying than putting a good day’s work in with nothing but your own drive and motivation.

 

It’s time to get thinking about your most creative advertising efforts from 2011 and enter the annual northern Nevada ADDY® awards hosted by the American Advertising Federation of Reno (AAF Reno). Entries are due by Friday, January 27 at www.aafreno.com.

The ADDY® awards are our industry’s largest and most representative competition, recognizing and rewarding creative excellence in the art of advertising. Every year approximately 60,000 entries are submitted in local ADDY® competitions.

The northern Nevada ADDY® awards are the first of a three-tiered national competition – local winners will compete against other winners within their district and those winners move on to the national ADDY® awards competition.

Entries for the northern Nevada ADDY® awards must be made online at www.aafreno.com, and hard copies must also be submitted at the drop-off party held at Jeff Dow Photography on Friday, Jan. 27 starting at 4:30 p.m. Jeff Dow Photography is located at 8543 White Fir St., unit D3. Complete entering instructions can be found online. For more information about entering, please contact Amber Howland at (775) 527-6121.

Themed “The Golden Age of Advertising,” this year’s northern Nevada ADDY® awards show is being presented by Peppermill Reno. The event will take place Friday, March 2 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the EDGE Nightclub inside the Peppermill.

Tickets to the northern Nevada ADDY® awards show are $55 by February 28, $65 at the door. Ticket price includes awards party, appetizers, entertainment and an ADDY® award book For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.aafreno.com or call (775) 852.0881.

Hey students! Enter your work in the student ADDY category!

Nothing like a boost to the resume like award-winning creative! Enter your real or theoretical student work for a chance to win, and go to the National Competition!

Best of all: your pals at Ad2 Reno are hosting the after party

The fun doesn’t stop there. Stay at EDGE Nightclub immediately following the awards show to continue your celebration with Ad2 Reno.

The American Advertising Federation of Reno (Formerly A2N2) is Reno’s official advertising club, a professional organization dedicated to serving as the ultimate resource for education, networking, and recognition within the marketing and advertising industries. AAF-Reno is an affiliate of the American Advertising Federation. For more information, please visit www.aafreno.com.

Ad2 Reno is the young professionals chapter of the American Advertising Federation.


Thank you to all who helped make this event a success!

We’ll help you learn how to craft effective marketing, communicate your message, get grants and benefit from social media. In this Sunday’s workshop, each topic will be covered in an 45-minute segment. Topics include:

  • Using Social Media to Your Advantage
  • Media Buying: Picking the Best Placement for Your Message
  • Messaging: Reach Your Ideal Clients
  • How to Become a 501c3
  • How to Pitch Your Ideas
  • Grant Writing

Date: Sunday, February 19, 2012
Time: 8:30 a.m. to 12:05 p.m.
Location: Reynolds School of Journalism, on the UNR campus at 1664 North Virginia Street
Cost: $30 general public, $10 to Ad2Reno Members & students, $40 at the door

Schedule

8:30 to 9 a.m.

Registration

9 to 9:30 a.m.

Keynote: Non-Profits Build up Communities One Act of Kindness at a Time (in presentation room A)
Brian Williams, Think Kindess

9:40 to 10:25 a.m.

Media Buying: Picking the Best Placement for your Message (in presentation room A)
Lynnae Hornbarger
, Reynolds School of Journalism Instructor

OR

Grant Writing (in presentation room B)
Wendy Firestone, Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada

10:30 to 11:15 a.m.

Messaging: Reach Your Ideal Clients (in presentation room A)
Alison Gaulden, My PR Coach

OR

Using Social Media to Your Advantage (in presentation room B)
Kaitlin Godbey, Bureau of Land Management; Connie Aguilar, Abbi Public Relations

11:20 a.m. to 12:05 p.m.

How to Become a 501c3 (in presentation room A)
Kelly Troescher, Tech is Good

OR

How to Pitch (in presentation room B)
Annie Flanzraich, Reno Magazine

Ad2 Reno adopts a local non-profit each year providing marketing and advertising services. We had almost 60 organizations apply for our services this year. Sixty! This workshop is a thank you to all of the nonprofits – a way to help the organizations we couldn’t otherwise reach. Also, by partnering with the Reynolds School and UNR’s Ad Club, we’re able to reach future Ad2 members and possibly connect students with organizations that might need their help.

Press releases don’t have to be for media-eyes-only. Many organizations increase their audiences and website traffic by also posting the information to their website or blog.

According to HubSpot, Inc., developer of the popular website analysis tool, WebsiteGrader.com, businesses that blog at least 20 times per month generate five times more traffic than those that only blog a few times per month.

To maximize your benefits from writing a press release, it’s best to write for two audiences – those interested in your press release’s information and the search engines that deliver the information to those who search for it.
Start by asking yourself, “If I were to look for this information online what words would I type into a search engine like Google, Bing or Yahoo?”

You can also compile a list of preliminary keywords using research tools such as WordTracker, Keyword Discovery or Google Keyword Tool. To get an idea of how popular a keyword or phrase is, view the average number of global monthly searches it receives.

Then strive to use those words in headlines, bolded text, url addresses and page titles. Using your chosen keywords in those contexts can encourage search engines to rank your page as more relevant for that keyword or phrase.

That’s a good start, but there is always more that can be done to improve your pages’ rank with the various search engines. Here are more resources for additional steps you can take:

  • SEOMOZ’s cheat sheet provides more techniques for optimizing your site for search engines. Click here to download it.
  • For Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide, click here.

By Rebecca Wikler & Chris Shaffer
Ad2 Reno President & Treasurer Respectively

When is your story worthy of a press release?

Have you raised a significant amount of money, cans of food or school- books? Do you have an upcoming event or fund-raiser? Will dignitaries be present showing their support? These are all newsworthy. If you don’t have any big-ticket facts or figures to draw in a reporter, think about the human interest. Journalists like an interesting story about an oddball donor or a story of human triumph over adversity.


Whose voice belong in a press release?

Remember, you’re writing for the news media, who have to remain un- biased. Therefore, you should be writing your press releases in the same way that an unbiased observer would write about the content in your re- lease. This not only makes it easier for journalists to translate your press release into a story for their organization, it also lends more credibility when publishing your release to your website or social media networks.

So, how do I achieve “unbiased voice?”

Remember to refer to your organization in the third person. Think about it in the way a journalist would report on your event, fund-raiser or an- nual report – they’ll refer to you by your organization’s name, and they’ll keep the facts in the forefront. Journalists look for impressive facts and figures. Dollars raised, meals served, acts of kindness tracked.

How to put together your media list

Building and using your media list is one of the most critical elements of your press release process. The list should be made up of journalists and media organizations who are likely to cover your story.
The easiest way to get started is by searching local or regional media outlets for similar stories to see which outlets covered them and which reporter was assigned to the story. For example, a nonprofit that focuses on children and education would reach out to a reporter who might have recently covered the school district. Find their email address or preferred contact method and send them your press release in the email and as a PDF attachment. Don’t forget to include how to contact you if they have questions.
Another great way to build your list is by using social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, to locate traditional journalists and bloggers who may be interested in news.

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