Incorporating Awards into Your Communications Initiatives

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter It feels good to win an award. But beyond being able to bask in the glow of recognition, can awards help you reach your marketing goals? Entering for awards is one tactic we work into the public relations mix for our clients. Winning and award, or even being nominated for one, can go a long way to boosting brand recognition and can act as an endorsement for your product/service/organization. 5 Questions to Ask Before Entering 12797read more >

Don’t overlook internal communication

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter If you can’t communicate internally to get everyone on the same page, you can't effectively communicate with anyone else. When reviewing your audience segments, do you include your employees as a segment? Your employees are arguably the most important audience, and advocates, that your company has. Think about communication from their perspectives. Would you want to hear news about your company from an outside source? Probably not. Internal communication is often overlooked because it's incredibly simple and many leaders assume that people within the organization already talk to each other. Sure, people talk to each other regularly, but not always in the way you expect. Clue your employees in and let them know what your organization is doing. 12775read more >

Get Your Message Across in an Ad-Blocked World

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter A recent report shared that 32% of global page views are impacted by the use of ad block and mobile sees three times the rate of ad block use than desktop. Did you know that even some people who work in advertising block ads? Let’s face it, website ads are mostly annoying. If you’ve ever opened a webpage and had an ad start talking to you that you couldn’t turn off, you know what I mean. Although digital advertising has a solid place in integrated marketing programs, accompanying it with other tactics can get your message to audiences that wouldn’t be reached otherwise – those who use ad blockers. How do you get your marketing messages past ad blockers? 10247read more >

Are You Ready to Talk to the Media?

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter We're officially in trade show season, which means planning booths, putting together promotions, connecting with customers and preparing your staff for the show. One often overlooked aspect of trade show participation is the media. When you exhibit at a trade show, you can trust in the quality and relevancy of the attendees as potential customers. You can also trust that the media that is most important to your ideal customer will be at the show, so make sure you prepare to talk with them as well. I once supported a company at their biggest industry show. I'd set up meetings with media at the show and spent a lot of time in their booth. During a lull when I didn't have anything scheduled, I decided to go eat lunch. When I returned, the sales rep in the booth handed me an editor's card and told me he'd stopped to see you. I asked about the interaction with the editors, what had been shown to him and so on, just to find out that they had given him my card and sent him on his way. Throughout the show, the booth staff was so laser focused on getting leads that every time they encountered the media, they said two words, "See her" and pointed them to me. It's important to treat the media personnel at a show as if they are just as important as a customer ... if not more. Trade media have a huge audience of hundreds or thousands of the people who you want to reach. 10317read more >

Takeaways from 2014 PRSA International Conference

Earlier this month I had the privilege of attending the 2014 PRSA International Conference in Washington D.C. For three days I was exposed to an incredible amount of expertise, knowledge and thought-provoking ideas, that left me motivated and energized when I returned to my office.read more >

Are You Leveraging Social Media Across Your Manufacturing Business?

There are all kinds of buzz words out there integrated marketing, 360 degree marketing, etc. They all have the same goal in mind and that is to take your marketing message and share it across all methods of communication. Place you customer in the center of your efforts and then deliver your information in various ways so they can get it in the format they prefer.read more >

Host a Successful Manufacturing Day Event

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer What are you doing October 3rd? I hope your answer is hosting (or attending) a Manufacturing Day (MFG Day) event. Not sure what MFG Day is? Here’s the short answer: MFG Day, started in 2012, addresses common misconceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers the opportunity to open their doors and show, through a coordinated effort, what manufacturing really is and what it isn’t. Manufacturers can address the skilled labor shortage, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry. For the long answer, visit MFGDay.com. If you’re planning to host an event for MFG Day in October, here are some tips for making it successful: Set goals for your event. Do you want to improve your image in the community? Do you need to recruit new talent? Do you want to contribute to changing the image of manufacturing? Figure out what you want to accomplish with your event and then create your plan. Identify your target audience(s). Based on the needs of your organization, some potential audiences to invite include local technical school and high school administration, faculty and students; local and regional politicians; local and trade media; family and friends of your employees and/or the local community as a whole. Put together a simple agenda. Include time to introduce your company and tailor your event to the audience that you’re inviting. Plan informative and interactive activities. Facility tours, brief presentations on different roles and Q&A sessions are easy to arrange and are effective. Promote your event. Be sure to list your event with mfgday.com, use your network to promote, and personally invite your target audience and promote your event through your existing channels including on your website and social media. October 3…read more >

Considering Starting a Blog?

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer John and I presented a webinar awhile back, at the request of a client, about blogs. When it comes to blogs, the most frequent question we get is: Should we start a blog? It's important to analyze the goals of your organization's overall marketing plan to see if a blog fits into it. A company blog, like any other communication initiative, is a commitment. Blogs overall take time and energy to run, but they can provide a great payoff if they're done well. Here are 5 key questions to ask when thinking about starting a blog: Who is my audience? Who else is competing for my audience's attention? What will be the blog's focus? What are the goals for the blog? How will these goals be measured? If you have those answers established and decide that a blog should be a part of your marketing plan, check out the presentation from our webinar below, or watch it on YouTube to get more information on the ins and outs of getting a blog going. And of course, our team is happy to help you get a blog off the ground as well! Webinar: Should a blog be a part of your marketing plan? Slidesread more >

Trade Shows: Are You Taking Advantage of the Media Opportunities?

By Rosemarie Ascherl, PR Foreman, Sonnhalter Industry trade shows are much more than just a chance to get out of the office and mingle with prospective customers, answering questions about the newest product launches, with aching feet and dry mouths. Industry trade shows are terrific opportunities for connecting with industry trade editors who are attending the trade shows to report on the latest and greatest happenings in their markets. Here are a few ideas to take advantage of the editors' presence: 1. Schedule editor meetings at your booth. Contact the trade show management a couple of months ahead of time to obtain its list of registered media. Review the list and identify editors who are key to your industry or who are unfamiliar with your products and services, but should be familiar. Contact the editors to determine if they are interested in meeting with a company representative. Chances are they will be. Editors want to make the best use of their time at trade shows to gather information that they can share with the readers of their publications, e-newsletters and on their websites, to showcase the latest industry trends. Make sure you are prepared to walk the editor through a short presentation and demonstration of your company’s products or services at the booth and then leave them with a thumb drive or a link to follow-up press materials. 2. Press events. Have a worthy product introduction or key company news? Depending on its newsworthiness [see below], a press event, in the form of a media breakfast, media luncheon or media cocktail hour, is an extremely effective method for conveying important company information and building favorable media relationships. Depending on the trade show’s rules and regulations, the event can be held at your company’s booth before or after show hours, or…read more >

Photo Worthy: 6 Steps to Build Your Photo Content

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer Pictures are incredibly powerful marketing, PR and social media tools. Every single project that I work on for Sonnhalter’s clients involves some form of visual element… which is also one of my biggest challenges as a public relations professional. Trying to wrangle high-resolution images for a project is tough because sometimes the photo well is just not deep. In our digital age, it doesn’t make sense to not have photographs of basically everything. There is no concern regarding wasted film because everything is digital. Here are my tips on making sure you have an ample supply of good photos to accompany your marketing communications programs: 1. Think that everything your company does is photo-worthy. If you host or attend an event, you should take pictures. That includes: Trade shows, customer events, employee events, seminars, etc. [Tweet This] 2. Take a lot of photos. Not all pictures will turn out great, some will be blurry, someone will have their eyes closed or being making a horrible face. Take several pictures to make sure that you have useable ones. For example, for last year’s Sonnhalter Tool Drive, we took 50 photos and a couple of videos and only used 13 of them in our Facebook album from the event. For events and trade shows, don’t limit your photos to just the pre-event set up. Capture some action, get people in your photos, both candid and posed. After events, people love to go back and see if they were caught on camera. 3. Assign someone to take photos. Chances are there is someone in your organization who is pretty good at taking photos. Find that person and leverage their abilities. If you aren’t sure, ask for a volunteer to run around and capture photos. They don’t have to…read more >

8 Tips for Media Interviews

Do you ever pick up an industry trade journal and wonder why your company’s perspective hasn’t been included? Editors often rely on “round-up” articles, which entail interviewing several manufacturers’ spokespeople to develop an industry trend story.read more >

Choose Your Words

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer, Sonnhalter I spend about 90% of my time in the office writing something - news releases, feature articles, testimonial stories, ad copy, social media updates, blog posts, emails, etc. When you’re writing anything from a formal proposal to a memo or a social media posting, the best advice to keep in mind is: Choose Your Words. When choosing your words, make sure that your message is clear and concise. Why would you write 50 words when you could write 5? Keep it short and clear. Make your point and let your busy audience move on.read more >

Is work fun? (Fun At Work Day)

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer, Sonnhalter Today is Fun At Work Day! Is your work fun? Do you have fun on the job? Too often, we hear that work isn’t supposed to be fun, but a valuable part of internal communication is to help your staff enjoy their jobs and working environments. One way to infuse a little fun into work is with internal events. Whether you do something semi-annually, quarterly or monthly, I recommend looking beyond a yearly holiday party. Here are some ideas of employee events: Have a picnic or barbeque during lunch. Who wouldn’t want to have their bosses grill them a burger or serve them baked beans? Host internal competitions. Whether it’s a health initiative that includes counting steps or a simple tree decorating or pumpkin carving competition that lets your crew get creative. Every year, Sonnhalter has a summer photo contest and we submit photos from our summers that are judged by our Idea Builder for their composition and adherence to the theme. (You can see some of the winning photos in our Facebook album.) Celebrate strange holidays.  At Sonnhalter, we celebrate National Tradesmen Day, World Toilet Day, Fire Prevention Day and many other trade holidays. Other companies celebrate the more obscure holidays like National Pi Day or Squirrel Appreciation Day. Go to sporting events. Build your team by cheering on a baseball, football, soccer, hockey, basketball or other sports team. Make something together. We like to get our hands dirty at Sonnhalter, so most of our events follow that theme including making our own pasta, painting pottery and glass blowing. Serve your community together. 2014 is the 5th year that Sonnhalter will hold an August Tool Drive to benefit Habitat for Humanity. Our team comes together for a good cause and we have a…read more >

Plan, Plan, Plan

From Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer For most of us, a new year is a lot like a blank slate. New goals are set at the beginning of each year and new initiatives are undertaken. To have a successful year, it’s important to do more than just set goals. You don’t just jump in the car to go to a new location for the first time, you look at how to get there, how long the trip will take or at least put the destination into your GPS. That’s planning. Planning is crucial no matter how big of a project you’re going to start. Whether you’re initiating a rebranding campaign or creating a 30-second video, you have to plan, plan, plan. To map out your journey to your goal, decide: Who will be involved. Make sure you know who will be in charge of each aspect of your project and if you’ll need outside help. What outline the strategy and tactics of your plan. Sometimes this is a simple statement of intent and the steps the “who” of your plan will take. Other times this is a large document that will guide your team in your new effort. Where you will focus. In the example of a 30-second video, the where is not only your filming location but where the video will go next. If it’s a product advertising campaign, will you use print, digital, broadcast or other types of ads? When will your project start, end and when are your check-in points. A large year-end goal is great, but plan for pit stops along the way to see how you’re progressing and rework that plan. How will your project get done and how much will it cost. Make sure you know what time, talent and equipment resources you need and…read more >