Mapping Your Plan

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter It's that time of year again... the 2017 calendar is looking thin and we've turned our attention to next year. If you haven't already started planning your marketing communications for 2018, now is the time. 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 the size of the organization or depth of the project. Whether you’re initiating a rebranding campaign or creating a 30-second video, you have to plan. To map out your journey, you need to determine: 12944read more >

Have you considered your brand experience?

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter Last year, I wrote a blog about Generation Z being the true digital native generation and urged organizations to look ahead. Perhaps you heeded that urging and have been looking forward, perhaps you're still trying to figure out the whole Millennial thing. By this point in time, the oldest Millennials are approaching 40. We've been working for/with you, buying from you or avoiding you for years now. Most of the business world seems to have made the jump into adapting to Millennial behaviors... even if some were pushed. It's time to move on. There's a whole generation approaching adulthood - Generation Z. Generation Z is the next group that needs to be reached, specifically for attracting them to the trades. They will be your next audience, so it's a good idea to start considering them in your communication efforts. You might be more prepared to handle GenZ than you think you are... 12938read more >

The Eighth Annual Sonnhalter Tool Drive Starts Now!

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter Today is August 1st, at Sonnhalter it's basically a holiday because it's the start of our annual tool drive to benefit Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for Humanity does fantastic work building and rehabbing homes for those who need them in an effort to eliminate homelessness and substandard housing. I'm amazed year after year at the work this fantastic organization does and the support that we receive for this tool drive from our clients, vendors, partners, community and even strangers! Our Tool Drive was born in 2010 12830read more >

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 an 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 >

Understanding and Adjusting to Email Habits

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter How many email accounts do you have? I have three. I’m not unlike others in my generation (the Millennial Generation) who maintain multiple email accounts. Each email address has a specific purpose and is used strategically. Work. My work email address is just that, work. It’s the @sonnhalter.com email that colleagues, clients, media and partners reach me on. I check this email religiously on my phone and have it open during the work day on my computer. I only give this email address out for professional purposes. Personal. This email address is the one I give to friends, family and anyone I do personal business with. I protect this email and am careful to whom I give the address. I check it most often on my phone and occasionally log into it from my personal laptop. Other. This “other” email address is the one that we’ll dig into today. Most millennials have one of these and many in other generations have also adopted an “Other” email policy. Sometimes we call it our “junk email” or “promotions.” I give this email address out like candy on Halloween. If you ask me for an email address, this is the one I give you. This is the inbox that I check, but don’t regularly search. I almost never send emails from this address and only check it from my phone. This is the inbox where I subscribe to e-newsletters and promotional offers. I was reading an article from Media Post titled “Millennials Love Email, But on Their Dual Inbox Terms,”  12635read more >

Case Studies Should Be Part of Your Content Mix

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter The terms "case study" and "testimonial" are sometimes used interchangeably, however case studies are not exactly testimonials. Although one piece of content can pull double duty, a simple testimonial can't provide the value for your organization that a case study can. In marketing, a testimonial is essentially a statement by a customer providing an endorsement of a product or service. A case study is a more in-depth, valuable piece of content. Spinach content if you will. Case studies explore a user's journey, not just with your organization, but through their entire problem and solution. Ideally, 12528read more >

Reaching Contractors with Social Media

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter You probably set up a Facebook page and a Twitter account a few years ago when social media was the new shiny object for marketers. But now, your social media is anything but new and exciting … and it doesn't help you reach contractors. You might be wondering if you're wasting your time on these channels or if you're better served by switching to the newest social trend. As a longtime leader in Business-to-Tradesman marketing, we’ve developed 12 helpful tips that will help you use social media to effectively reach contractors. In “12 Tips for Reaching Contractors with Social Media,” you’ll learn how to evaluate the social media you’re already using and pick the right avenues for connecting with contractors. The tip sheet shares best practices for social media in this niche space using content and integrating it into your overall marketing programs. Download 12 Tips for Reaching Contractors with Social Media by signing up here.read more >

Have You Hugged a Plumber Today?

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter Did you know that today is Hug a Plumber Day? (Sometimes called Plumber's Day.) Often plumbers don’t receive the credit and fame that they deserve, unless they’re Mario and Luigi and trying to save a princess. The Super Mario Brothers are the most famous plumbers, and they live in a Nintendo game. The reality is that without plumbers, our world would be far from sanitary or pleasant. As part of our team's commitment to getting our hands dirty in our clients' work, we've had the opportunity to see plumbers at work, we’ve used their tools and we’ve heard their stories; we know that they deserve to be honored, not just hugged, today. Plumbers do so much more than unclog drains and fix leaky faucets. It’s plumbers who install the miles of piping that make hot, cold and process water and gas utilities possible. Did you know... 12240read more >

Thousands of vocational programs, many ways to connect

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter More than a year ago, we released an extensive database of thousands of vocational education programs across the country. We recently updated that list, adding about 1,000 new programs, separating them out by state tabs and standardizing the descriptions to make it even easier to search, sort and use. Why would a marketing communications firm make such a resource? We hope the tool will bridge the gap between manufacturers and educational programs. The database serves as a helpful tool for companies looking to implement more grassroots campaigns to recruit the next generation of professional tradesmen. There are a myriad of ways to take advantage of a tool like our database. I'd love to name a thousand ways to use it (given enough time and coffee I probably could too!) but I'll leave you with a few suggestions of how to make our work, work for you. Fill the Talent Pipeline 12075read more >

Feeding the Content Beast: Types of Blog Content

By Rachel Kerstetter, Public Relations Architect, Sonnhalter If your content marketing program includes a blog, you've felt the pressure to produce a lot of content. Blogs are hungry little monsters that need a steady stream of new information to be effective. But never fear! It is possible to feed the content beast and not lose a finger in the process. 12051read more >

Should you jump on the bandwagon?

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter “It seems like a lot of companies are doing _________. Should we be doing it too?” Fill in the blank with any new digital tool: Virtual Reality, Facebook Live, Snapchat, Augmented Reality, etc. Marketers are asked to consult on new communication mediums and trends on a daily basis. When they aren’t asked to consult, they’re being directed to jump in. Once upon a time marketers were asked about email, then social media and apps. We’ve come a long way in technology trends. But the basic question is: Should we jump on the bandwagon? 11944read more >

Sonnhalter’s Rachel Kerstetter Awarded “Rising Star Award” by Greater Cleveland Public Relations Society of America Chapter

CLEVELAND – December 2016 – Rachel Kerstetter, public relations architect at Sonnhalter, was honored with the inaugural “Rising Star Award” at this year’s annual Cleveland Rocks Awards, presented by the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) Greater Cleveland Chapter. This year marked the 14th year in which the PRSA Greater Cleveland Chapter honored the area’s best in marketing and communications with more than 50 awards across more than 30 categories. The first recipient of the Rising Star Award, Kerstetter was recognized as an outstanding public relations professional with seven or fewer years of experience. At the ceremony, Kerstetter was honored for her high level of professionalism, proven abilities in aligning PR strategy and execution with client goals. “In a short amount of time, Rachel has become an invaluable asset to not only the PR objectives of our clients, but also to the many inner workings necessary to make our agency thrive in our respective niche,” said Matt Sonnhalter, vision architect at Sonnhalter. “Sonnhalter is proud to see a well-deserving candidate such as Rachel be the first to receive this award. With a long career ahead of her, we look forward to watching her grow as an accomplished young professional and seeing how it will move our public relations efforts forward.” Kerstetter joined Sonnhalter in 2011 and served as public relations engineer prior to her promotion to public relations architect in 2015. Kerstetter is an active member of the PRSA, serving on the board of directors, and is vice president of membership of the Greater Cleveland chapter. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Mount Union, located in Alliance, Ohio. About the PRSA Greater Cleveland Chapter The PRSA Greater Cleveland Chapter is the professional organization that brings together public relations, communications and marketing practitioners throughout Northeast Ohio.…read more >

Take the Interview

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter It’s time when we start thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. Which means we’re making plans to improve ourselves over the coming year, as well as improve our marketing efforts. Here’s a PR resolution for your organization this year: Take Every Interview. Every time you have an interview request from your local media or trade outlets, take it. One of the biggest frustrations for a public relations practitioner is turning down editorial opportunities. An editor of a trade publication that we work with regularly at Sonnhalter told me this week that one of his biggest struggles is getting companies to take advantage of editorial opportunities with the magazine. 11729read more >

Make Sure Your B2B Communication is Still Human

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter When it comes to B2B communication, sometimes we get a little too caught up in the 2 Bs (business and business) that we forget about the Hs, Humans. Your organization is made up of human beings and the businesses that make up your target audience are also made up of human beings. When you recognize that your audience is made up of humans, you're already one step toward more effective communications. Communicating with humans means you need to take into account emotions as well as logic and make an effort to connect on a personal level. Be Human Mike McDougall gave a presentation at the PRSA International Conference on using the HUMAN method to connect with B2B audiences. Here's the model: 11132read more >

Run Social Media The Way Your Grandfather Ran His Business

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect How should you run your social media?  To answer that question, perhaps you should ask instead, "How would my grandfather have run his business?" Or at least that's the question Mark Schaefer asked. Mark is a globally-recognized speaker, educator, business consultant, and author, he blogs at one of the top marketing blogs of the world. One of his recent videos, "Social media marketing lessons from my grandfather, the plumber," dug into the attributes that made his grandfather successful in the plumbing business and how they can be applied to social media. For those of us marketing to the trades, his example is even more important. How did Mark's grandfather, a plumber from Pittsburgh, grow a successful business? 10439read 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 >

Anyone Can Write a Press Release

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter Given the appropriate details, anyone can write a press release, however, not everyone should write a press release. Too often when companies try to DIY their press releases rather than have a public relations professional write it, their message gets lost. Here are the most common mistakes that we see with DIY press releases: It isn’t actually news. If you’re going to ask for the media’s attention, you need to actually give them something, that something is news. If you inundate an editor with press releases that don’t contain news, you’ll do more to damage the relationship than build it. It isn’t written in a useable format. Press releases need to be written in AP Style; it makes them incredibly simple for the media to use. It’s a sales pitch. Sales pitches are not press releases. It puts the important information last. When was the last time you actually read to the end of an article? It assumes the reader knows anything about you upfront. A press release came across my desk once that was announcing a new tool and relied so heavily on the tool’s brand name, it never actually told me what the tool is used for. Press releases are a valuable public relations program basic that when done well can earn you media coverage and help build relationships. Don’t assume that just anyone can write a release well. Press releases have changed over time, here's a quick look at the Modern Press Release. https://youtu.be/rW9rISgnt5Uread more >

Stats on U.S. Manufacturing

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect The Fourth of July is more than fireworks, parades, cookouts and a day off. It’s a day that we recognize our country’s independence. All of the red, white and blue that comes out for Independence Day brings the topic of "Made in the USA" to mind. Did you know... Every $1 spent in manufacturing contributes $1.40 to the economy? This is the highest multiplier effect of any economic sector. The majority of manufacturing companies in the U.S. are small? Only 1.4% of firms in the manufacturing sector have more than 500 employees. Manufacturing supports 18.4 million U.S. jobs? That's about 1 in 6 private-sector jobs. In 2014, the average manufacturing employee made $79,533? That's more than $15,000 above the national average for all industries. Over the past 25 years, U.S.-manufactured goods exports more than quadrupled? Taken alone, manufacturing in the U.S. would be the 9th largest world economy? These stats came from NAM (the National Association of Manufacturers). You can find these and other facts about U.S. manufacturing on their website. If you're also thinking about U.S. Manufacturing today, check out these other posts on the topic: What does “Made in America” mean to you? Made in America: It Still Matters! Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!read more >

Are you ready for the true digital natives?

The Millennial generation has been a hot topic for managers and marketers for many years now; in fact you used to call us Generation Y. Not everyone agrees on the exact years for each generation, but it’s generally accepted that Millennials are those born between 1980 and sometime between 1998 and 2000. read more >

Learn My Name!

There’s a woman that I know from a local professional organization. We’ve been “formally” introduced multiple times. After the first time we met, I knew her name, her face, we traded cards and connected on LinkedIn.read more >

Doing the Right Thing, and Not Patting Ourselves on the Back

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter As human beings, and companies made up of human beings, sometimes it’s important to do the right thing and not talk about it. This may be a little strange coming from a PR person, but there’s a point where the “R” in “PR” (remember PR= Performance then Recognition) goes away and we simply need to perform like human beings. A good communicator recognizes that point and smart companies rely on the counsel of good communicators. In the wake of crisis situations such as natural disasters or community safety crisis like what we’re seeing with Flint Michigan, we simply need to do the right thing and not seek praise for being human and helpful. By stepping up but not shouting out, we do the right thing, no one questions our motives and the real heroes get the credit. For example in Flint, the plumbers who spent a weekend installing new faucets and water filters for residences for free deserve the credit. The organizations who donated the supplies and food for their efforts aren’t pounding their own drum and saying, “look at us, we did something good.” No, they’re working together with their competitors to directly help people who need it. If your organization’s values are in the right place and your actions align with them, there’s no need to pat yourself on the back.read more >

Seven Things to Do with a Database of U.S. Vocational Education Programs

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter We did the legwork to identify more than 20,000 vocational programs at schools all across the United States, so that you don’t have to. All you have to do is download it. But once you’ve downloaded the Excel spreadsheet, what can you do with it? Here are seven different ways you can use our database: Build your network. Locate the programs in your area, and connect with the folks that run them. You never know when having a connection in those training programs could be beneficial. Become a resource for them. Whether it’s offering to send someone from your organization to speak to a class or volunteering to host a facility tour, the next generation of tradespeople won’t be able to be trained properly without support from the industry. Hire their students. Use the programs in your area as places to recruit skilled employees, co-ops, interns or apprentices. Supply them. If you offer a product or service that’s of use in a training program, supply these programs either through donations of your products or heavily discounted equipment, students will be more likely to use the equipment they're familiar with from school once they get into the workforce. This grassroots strategy has long-term benefits; an ongoing relationship with a vo-ed program will provide exposure for you for each new class. Learn them. Get to know the next generation better. Millennials as a generation seem to frighten marketers and managers, but there’s no reason to be scared. Millennials are bright, technologically inclined and learn quickly; the sooner you engage with this young talent, the better. Get your distributors involved. Your distribution network can amplify your efforts to combat the skills gap. They can reach into areas far from your headquarters and help train the next generation.…read more >

Don’t Get Lazy

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter Sonnhalter has used several services for a very long time… as in decades. I’m not sure how we started working with these services, but  I had to assume there was a reason. However when I took over the contracts with these services, no one seemed eager to provide the most important service of all… customer service. Coming into my new role, I wanted to understand our various contracts so I reached out to the most recent person assigned to us. No answer. I reached out to the company referencing our account number. No answer. I attended a conference and visited the service provider’s table, and immediately got attention because they thought I was a new customer. The sales person apologized up and down and said our rep would be in contact with me. He was able to look up answers to some of my questions. More than a week after the conference, I had no contact. When it comes to your customers, it’s crucial not to become lazy. Don’t expect your relationship to maintain itself just because you’ve been with them for years. Don’t focus all of your time and attention trying to win new business that you forget your current business. As I learned in Marketing 101 in college, it’s cheaper to maintain an existing customer relationship than to build a new one. When you ignore, forget or don’t serve your current customers the way that you should, you are in danger of losing them. At the conference I met with several competing service providers who would be happy to have me as a customer, what makes our current providers think we’ll stick with them if there’s someone else who isn’t lazy? In your personal life, if you were to call your mechanic…read more >

Top Posts of 2015

We've closed the books on 2015 and 2016 is already off to a great start. If you haven't already, now is a great time to evaluate what worked well and what didn't work for you in 2015 to calibrate your 2016 efforts.read more >

How to Define “PR” in 2016

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter Sometimes I get scared that others in the industry don’t know what PR actually is or stands for. The textbook definition of PR is simply put as Public Relations, the way that you communicate (relate) with your audiences (publics). For 2016, I challenge you to think of PR differently than ever before. Banish words like “spin” or “promote” and instead think about PR as Performance, then Recognition. Meaning, your organization needs to perform, do something, before seeking recognition or media coverage. The articles that practitioners like myself get for your company is called earned media, the “earned” part is very important. PR Pros can help you identify recognition-worthy aspects of your company, but we can’t create it for you out of thin air. As you go about your business this year think about the cool things your company does, such as launching a product, breaking a world record or being the first to provide a service that adds value, and recognize that these are opportunities to communicate with your audiences. PR is more than just getting headlines, it’s telling the stories of your company. Make 2016 a year of action stories for your public relations team to tell. Doing this will help you build your organization’s credibility in 2016.read more >

Online News and the Press Release

I’ve been reading the book, “Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator,” by Ryan Holiday at the recommendation of a colleague. It’s full of interesting, and damning, tidbits of information about today’s online publishing world.read more >

Save the Date! Oct 2 is National Manufacturing Day

Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect at Sonnhalter National Manufacturing Day, or MFG Day, is October 2nd, which may feel like a long way off from right now, but you should start planning today. If you’re a manufacturer, you should plan an event. Not sure what type of an event to plan? There are a variety of options for hosting an event, ranging from full day tours and sessions to half day learning seminars, or even 1-hour presentations. If you’re not a manufacturer, you should attend an event. You can find Manufacturing Day events in your area using this interactive map. If you’re planning to host an event for MFG Day in October, here are a few tips to make it successful: Set goals for your event. Do you want to improve your company’s 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. Not available on…read more >

Sonnhalter Promotes Rachel Kerstetter to Public Relations Architect

CLEVELAND – May 2015 – Sonnhalter, a marketing communications firm to the professional tradesman in the construction, industrial and MRO markets, announced the recent promotion of Rachel Kerstetter to public relations architect. In this role, Kerstetter manages public relations programs for Sonnhalter and its clients. She joined Sonnhalter in 2011 and served as public relations engineer prior to her promotion. Kerstetter is an active member of the Public Relations Society of America, serving on the board of directors, and is chairperson of the young professionals committee of the Greater Cleveland chapter of PRSA. “It was obvious early in her career at Sonnhalter that Rachel would be a great asset for the company,” “It was obvious early in her career at Sonnhalter that Rachel would be a great asset for the company,” said Matt Sonnhalter, vision architect at Sonnhalter. “We’re very excited for this next stage in her professional career and her continued growth here at Sonnhalter.” Kerstetter earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Mount Union, located in Alliance, Ohio.   About Sonnhalter Established in 1976, Sonnhalter is the leading B2T marketing communications firm to companies that target professional tradesmen in construction, industrial and MRO markets. Sonnhalter’s brand identity highlights its expertise in marketing to the professional tradesmen. Its tagline, “Not Afraid To Get Our Hands Dirty,” promotes the employees’ willingness to roll up their sleeves and dig deep into clients’ businesses, also, it refers to the market it targets: the tradesmen who work with – and dirty – their hands every day. Sonnhalter developed the acronym “B2T,” which stands for “business-to-tradesmen” to capture the essence of its specialty. For more information, visit the company website at Sonnhalter.com or visit the company blog at TradesmenInsights.com. #    #    # Connect with Sonnhalter: Facebook  ▪ Twitter  ▪  LinkedIn  ▪…read more >

Positioning: Have You Found Your Focus?

Last fall, Sonnhalter was recognized by HubSpot as an agency that "gets" positioning and has found its focus. It's no secret that we're known for our B2T marketing communication niche and that we really dig in and get our hands dirty. But the question we often get is: "Does B2T limit you?"read more >

Automate and ProMat: One Badge, Two Shows

I had the opportunity to attend Automate and ProMat in Chicago on behalf of two Sonnhalter clients (one at each show). A single badge got attendees and exhibitors into both shows, and the combined efforts of the automation and materials handling groups provided for a great event that included keynote presentations from Renee Niemi (director of Android and Chrome Global Business, Google for Work), John Mackey (co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods) and Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple, founder, chairman and CEO of Wheels of Zeus).read more >

Jerks are going to be jerks: Do’s and Don’ts for dealing with jerks online

Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer, Sonnhalter Sometimes in life you encounter people who are jerks. As children, we were often told to ignore the jerks. As adults we find ways to cope with the jerks we encounter throughout our days. It’s a little more difficult for companies to deal with the jerks on social media. Unfortunately social media also provides jerks with a megaphone for their poor attitudes. You can’t make everyone like you on social media, but you can take the high road when it comes to the social jerks who you encounter. Don’t fire back at them. If someone tweets nasty things at your company, don’t tweet nasty things back at them. It makes you look petty and like a jerk yourself. Do fix legitimate problems. People often use social media for customer service problems. If someone is having a problem that has them upset, they might come off as a jerk on social media. Publically respond that you would like to do what you can to fix their problem and ask for contact. For example, “We’re sorry to hear you’re having a delivery problem, please direct message us your email or phone number so we can find out more about your problem.” Or “We have been experiencing some issues with x, please call customer service at 800-xxx-xxx for an update.” Don’t let jerks scare you away from using social media. Often when we consult with a company who either refuses to join social media or has their channels locked down, it’s because they’re concerned about negativity on their social media channels. People will say what they want, if you let them say it on your channel you can be aware of it, try to fix it, or let your community come to your defense. Do let the rest…read more >

Fabtech Expo Recap

Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer, Sonnhalter I had the opportunity to attend the Fabtech Expo in Atlanta last week. It was my second year at the show and I am continually impressed by the immensity of this industry. The expo brought together more than 27,000 attendees and 1,400 exhibitors covering more than 500,000 square feet of the Georgia World Congress Center. Fabtech kicked off on Veterans Day and it couldn't have been more fitting since Workshops for Warriors was selected as the recipient of the Fabtech Cares campaign. Workshops for Warriors is a wonderful organization that I had the pleasure of writing about last year in Production Machining magazine. Workshops for Warriors, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to training, certifying, and placing veterans in manufacturing careers. It's no secret that manufacturers are looking for new sources of talent. At the same time, many former members of our armed forces are looking for work. Workshops for Warriors combines these efforts, giving American veterans and wounded warriors the skills U.S. manufacturing employers need. Veterans who are transitioning back to civilian life provide a vastly untapped talent pool of hardworking and disciplined talent for the manufacturing industry. Fabtech hosted a panel on the first day of the show on bridging the skills gap with veterans. You can see the progress of the fundraiser (and donate) here. Reshoring of manufacturing was definitely another popular topic. The Day One keynote actually came from Cindi Marsilgio, the VP for U.S. Manufacturing at Wal-Mart. The company has pledged to buy $250 billion of products made in the USA over ten years to encourage the creation of U.S. jobs. (You can read more about the keynote and Day One highlights on Fabtech's blog.) When walking the show and helping out in various booths, I heard the question, "Where are your products made?" Many…read more >

Social Media For Manufacturers

Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer Awhile back, we presented a webinar on social media for industrial manufacturers. Many in our clients' industries wonder if social media is worth their time, and we typically say yes. Social media is a broad and sometimes intimidating part of marketing. To simplify it just a little, we focus on the four areas where we see manufacturers receiving the greatest value: YouTube SlideShare LinkedIn Blogs To get the scoop, you can watch the webcast on YouTube and follow along on the slides below.   Webinar: Social Media In Manufacturingread more >

IMTS 2014 Stats and Highlights

Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer The 30th edition of IMTS (The International Manufacturing Technology Show) 2014 was the fourth largest IMTS in history and the largest six-day show ever with registration of 114,147 representing 112 countries. [Read the Press Release Here] I was able to attend IMTS two days last week and the one main impression that I walked away with is that IMTS is a huge show. Although I made a point to visit all four halls at McCormick Place in Chicago (North, South, East and West), I regret that I could not see it all. I spent most of my time with one of Sonnhalter's clients in the North hall and kept busy most of the time. IMTS takes place every two years and the 2014 show stats are impressive: 2014 registration was 13.9% higher than 2012 2,035 companies exhibited Exhibits covered 1.282 square feet 17,767 students, educators, administrators and parent chaperones (double the 2012 numbers) I had the opportunity to talk with exhibitors, attendees and media at the show and all of them had similar comments on IMTS being an impressive and very positive show. Here were some of my personal highlights from the show: Every client booth that I visited was busy and their teams reported gathering quality leads There were a lot of students who visited the show and they asked excellent questions at the booths such as, "What does your company do?" "How does this machine work?" "Where would I see your products in my everyday life?" and many more. The exhibitors were more than happy to answer their questions. Manufacturing growth and technology advances were evident everywhere I turned, from the world's first 3D-printed car [more on that here] to highly advanced machines and robotics and many other areas that I'm excited to learn…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 >

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 >

National Safety Month is Upon Us

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer National Safety Month kicks off next week with the start of June. The National Safety Council identifies topics for each week of National Safety Month, giving companies like yours a framework for refocusing on safety practices and helping equip employees for safe behavior both on and off of the job. Here are the weekly safety topics for June: Week 1: Prevent prescription drug abuse Week 2: Stop slips, trips and falls Week 3: Be aware of your surroundings Week 4: Put an end to distracted driving Bonus Week 5: Summer safety Safety is a top priority for everyone serving the construction, industrial and MRO industries, whether you’re a manufacturer, contractor, distributor or marketing communications agency. You’re probably already aware that safety is important and should be practiced all year long, but take June to refocus and improve your safety initiatives. To follow or join the conversation on social media, use the hashtag #NSM14. Check out nsc.org to learn more or request materials. Have a safe June (and beyond)!read more >

The Secret to Going Viral

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer, Sonnhalter You’ve probably heard the word “viral” in relation to online marketing before. If you’re not quite sure what it means, here’s a very brief definition: Vi-ral: Adjective : becoming very popular by circulating from person to person, specifically on the internet. If something “goes viral” that means it has been shared a great number of times; there is no threshold number of shares to be reached before something can be considered viral, but in general you know when something has gone viral by the way it is talked about. So here’s the secret to going viral: The one aspect that every viral thing has in common is that it is a quality piece of content that resonates with your audience. Content that goes viral is often in the form of blog posts, pictures or videos. Content can resonate with your audience in many ways, most of the time viral content resonates through humor. Content that is controversial or sparks a debate, as well as timely, helpful information will also resonate. In our industry, content doesn’t often achieve viral status, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t resonated, sparked conversation or been effective. As marketers, we cannot make content become viral. Content can only be made viral by your audience(s) - they have the power. Marketers and brands do not have the power to make anything viral. If you’re disappointed that you know the secret to viral but can’t do anything about it, don’t lose heart! The goal in any marketing initiative should not be creating viral content; it should be on creating quality content. Marketers and brands have the power to create quality content that will resonate with audiences. If that content goes viral, then that is just a happy side effect.read more >

Happy Plumber’s Day

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer, Sonnhalter April 25th is set aside each year to honor plumbers. At Sonnhalter, we have a great appreciation for plumbers and the work that they do. We salute the ones who keep everything flowing, and not overflowing. We’re thankful for the dedicated plumbers who answer the call and don’t recount the tales of what they’ve pulled out of pipes. In honor of National Plumber's Day tomorrow, we thought you'd enjoy checking out some plumbing history, compiled by Roto-Rooter.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 >

6 Tips For Using Video to Tell Your Story

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer Producing and using video content effectively has been a popular conversation topic around the Sonnhalter office. I had the opportunity to attend a presentation on storytelling with video by Chris Miller, director of the Akron Digital Media Center and editor of the Akronist.com. I asked Chris if he would be willing to share some ways that video helps tell a story or some tips on using video, here’s what he said: Because we live in such a visual culture, video has become a crucial means to communicate a message. Make sure your video is short and to the point - under three minutes is ideal - and be sure to focus on your audience and your message. The more personal you can make your video, the more effectively it will reach your audience. We relate to personal stories about everyday people. Profile a client or end customer - tell their story in their own words. Keep mobile on your mind when creating your video. Many people may watch it using mobile devices. So, again, shorter is better. Also consider posting Vine and Instagram videos with succinct messages. A compelling story is much more important than technical aspects (like special effects). A well-told story will transcend a lack of resources. Use B-roll (supplementary footage that helps alleviate the "talking head" interviews) and plan out your video by listing shots and locations ahead of time. A little planning will save you a lot of time in the editing process. About Chris: Chris Miller is the director of the Akron Digital Media Center and Akronist.com, as well as a community investment officer at Akron Community Foundation. Chris has more than a decade of digital and print journalism experienceread 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 >

A Picture is Worth…

We’re deep into mapping out marketing plans for 2014. When meeting with an editor to talk about their content needs in the next year, one comment stood out to me the most, “We found that pictures are the most popular.”read more >

Relevant Social Media and SEO

Today we have a guest post from Rachel Kerstetter, our PR Engineer, about the evolution of social media and SEO. In our B2T niche, as well as in the general B2B market, we use the word “relevant” frequently. When it comes to B2T social media, quantity does not equal quality. Quality social media engagement can’t be measured in simple number of followers or likes. The relevance of those follows and likes is where we find the quality. It can be hard to keep up with current SEO tactics that will land you on the first page of Google search results since the algorithms change every day, but as social media continues to grow, SEO is getting easier because it’s no longer optimizing for search engines that will land you on page one of Google. Social engagement is becoming the new SEO. One of the many benefits of being involved in social media that I explain when we create social strategies is improving search visibility. I was reading, “6 Reasons Social Media is Critical to Your SEO” on Social Media Today and Stephanie Frasco explained the concept so well when she wrote about the old SEO strategy of link building, “Think about it - why did Google ever allow links to determine which websites ranked above all the others? The answer is simple: links were like "votes" for your website. The more votes you get, the better off you are. So SEO companies started building links (aka "votes") manually[…]The idea behind links as a ranking factor is a very good idea, but since it's become so easy to manipulate, Google has been forced to turn to social media channels which do the same thing but are much harder to manipulate. Link building was always about social proofing.” The shift toward social…read more >

The Scary Side of Public Relations

Today Rosemarie and Rachel from our PR department are sharing some of the aspects of public relations that can be the scariest to clients. We find the realm of public relations to be fun, exciting and consistently fresh, but some areas of our field can be scary to our clients. Here are the top five fears people have about public relations, and why you shouldn’t be spooked by them. 1. You can’t control what the media does with a story once you’ve given it to them. “Earned media” is highly credible because readers know that you didn’t purchase the space to promote your company. Public relations and media relations professionals cultivate positive relationships with media, we work with these folks on behalf of multiple clients most of the time so we’ve built the foundation for positive coverage before they even get your story. In B2T public relations, we’re working with trade publications primarily and their goal is to be a source of helpful information for their readers. It can be scary not to see the actual article before it’s published, but with long lead times of trade media, it can be a sweet surprise to see your words in print. 2. Negative comments on blogs and social media. Your responses to negative comments offer an excellent opportunity to show off your wonderful customer service. Negative comments happen, and if they happen on your social media, you can control the outcome with your response and the community response from your other fans. It’s actually scarier to hide your head in the sand or cover your ears when it comes to social media. 3. Giving interviews is intimidating. When we set up interviews with trade publications, they often send some sample questions ahead of time to help you prepare. Knowing how you…read more >

The Scary Side of Public Relations

Today Rosemarie and Rachel from our PR department are sharing some of the aspects of public relations that can be the scariest to clients. We find the realm of public relations to be fun, exciting and consistently fresh, but some areas of our field can be scary to our clients. Here are the top five fears people have about public relations, and why you shouldn’t be spooked by them. 1. You can’t control what the media does with a story once you’ve given it to them. “Earned media” is highly credible because readers know that you didn’t purchase the space to promote your company. Public relations and media relations professionals cultivate positive relationships with media, we work with these folks on behalf of multiple clients most of the time so we’ve built the foundation for positive coverage before they even get your story. In B2T public relations, we’re working with trade publications primarily and their goal is to be a source of helpful information for their readers. It can be scary not to see the actual article before it’s published, but with long lead times of trade media, it can be a sweet surprise to see your words in print. 2. Negative comments on blogs and social media. Your responses to negative comments offer an excellent opportunity to show off your wonderful customer service. Negative comments happen, and if they happen on your social media, you can control the outcome with your response and the community response from your other fans. It’s actually scarier to hide your head in the sand or cover your ears when it comes to social media. 3. Giving interviews is intimidating. When we set up interviews with trade publications, they often send some sample questions ahead of time to help you prepare. Knowing how you…read more >

Business Cards Still Matter in a Digital World

Today we have a post from PR Engineer Rachel Kerstetter sharing some thoughts on business cards. When I first started at Sonnhalter, the day that I was issued my own business cards was a good day. It was exciting to have new cards with my shiny new title, but a comment made by a fellow PR professional lead me to wonder if business cards still matter. Last fall, I was volunteering at an event for students and was placed at a table with another PR professional. At the end of the lunch, I gave the students my card and encouraged them to connect with me on LinkedIn. The other professional said, “I never bring cards anywhere with me since anyone can just find me on LinkedIn anyway.” Her comments got me thinking about my business cards and wondering if they were still valuable. My observations and experiences over the past year have brought me to the conclusion that business cards are still relevant. Business cards: Enforce your branding, with your logo, corporate colors, tagline and job title. Make you easy to find by spelling out your contact information, and in my case, my long last name. Stick around. Often your card will find its way into someone’s pocket, and at the end of the day your card will end up being added to their existing business card collection. Get shared. How many times have you been asked for another card because someone gave away the only one you had given them? How many times has a friend or colleague handed you someone’s card and recommended you check them out? One small piece of cardstock can go pretty far in beginning professional relationships.read more >

National Manufacturing Day Opens Doors

Today we have a post from Sonnhalter’s PR Engineer, Rachel Kerstetter. I love to celebrate the random, weird holidays. It seems like every day is a celebration of something: National Hug Your Cat Day, International Tree Climbing Day, Corn on the Cob Day, World Toilet Day… and this list goes on. Tomorrow, October 4, is National Manufacturing Day and is much more than just a day on a calendar. National Manufacturing Day is a team effort to change the perception of the industry.read more >

Your Most Important Audience

Today we have a post from Rachel Kerstetter, Sonnhalter’s PR Engineer. I have noticed in some companies that internal communication is not made a priority. External communication in the form of advertising and marketing seem to be pretty important though. Here’s the problem: Within a company, if you can’t communicate internally enough to get everyone on the same page, how exactly do you expect to communicate with anyone else? One of my mentors once told me that internal communications is definitely “public relations,” because a company’s employees are its most important audience. Think about it: Would you want to hear news about your company from a source outside of your company? If a friend comes to you and says, “Hey, I heard your company just started Initiative X,” but you have no idea what they're talking about, it's embarrassing to you and your company. Internal communication is really very simple, talk to each other. Clue your employees in and let them know what you're doing. Word-of-mouth recommendations are incredibly valuable and have to be earned through solid communication. We live in an age where we look at online reviews before purchasing a pair of flip flops, so if your staff knows what your company is doing, they can be an excellent resource for recommendations. I know that my answer to the question: How’s work going? is a lot more interesting when I know about new things happening at Sonnhalter. Internal communication is also important if you’re hiring outside help... for example, an agency. There’s a reason for a reporting structure, even for outside help. It saves you not only hassle, but also money, if everyone on your team is on the same page, because your outside help won’t have to decipher what your messages and goals are.read more >

What’s a #Hashtag? And 5 Ways to Use Them in Marketing

Today we have a post from Rachel Kerstetter, Sonnhalter’s PR Engineer, answering one of the questions she’s frequently asked and sharing some tips on how to use hashtags. The basic mechanics of making a hashtag include putting a pound sign (#) in front of a word, phrase, acronym or combination of characters (but not punctuation). But beyond calling attention to the words in a tweet, post or whatever, hashtags allow you to join into a more broad conversation. Hashtags have become a standard part of online conversation and stretch across many social platforms. Hashtags originated on Twitter and very recently Facebook added hashtag capabilities to the platform, but you can also use hashtags on: Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and newcomer Vine. There are many ways to use hashtags, but they all boil down to participating in public conversation. Here are some common ways to use hashtags in marketing communications: Promote engagement during events. Whether your event is online or offline, it will have a presence. When you create your own hashtag (and publically identify it) you can then monitor and interact with the conversation around your event. Most conferences, trade shows, webinars and other events announce the “official” hashtag, put it on publicity materials and have a designated person using it. Mostly this happens on Twitter but permeates into other social media use. Host or take part in a Twitter chat. Twitter chats are a simple way to have a conversation with multiple people on the same topic. Chats are traditionally an hour and have a prescribed hashtag. Most chats happen weekly at the same time and center around a prepared set of questions, due to their growing popularity services have been created to help you participate more easily, for example Tweetchat is a Twitter application to organized the…read more >

A Powerful Story

Today we have a post from Rachel Kerstetter, Sonnhalter’s PR Engineer. Working in public relations gives me the opportunity to tell stories. I get to tell stories about company histories, professional successes, how products came into being, etc. Stories are a powerful tool in getting messages across. I’ve been thinking about safety since June is National Safety Month and one powerful story stood out to me. Here’s the headline: Laborer Dies in Trench Collapse and Lives to Tell the Tale It compelled me to read further and it brought me to a more in-depth account of Eric Giguere’s story about how not focusing on safety cost him his life and the tough decisions that those around him had to make, which ultimately brought him back. That article is here. Basically his team had been working in an unsupported trench without incident for quite some time, then it unexpectedly collapsed and buried him. The people around him had to make tough decisions about how to dig him out and then administered CPR. One of Eric’s statements about safety stuck with me: “I’m a guy who got comfortable doing things the wrong way.” By not taking the proper safety precautions, they were saving time on the project. But the cost was great. Eric’s story is powerful and carries more weight than statistics can. It’s not a horror story to scare people into following the rules rather, it’s a lesson in consequences for taking short cuts and an example of tough decisions, made quickly in a time of crisis.read more >

Awards: When Are They Worth It?

Awards competitions can sometimes be valuable, but they can also be a waste of time and money in some situations. Sonnhalter’s PR Engineer Rachel Kerstetter is with us today to talk about when awards are worth it and when they aren’t.read more >

Happy Plumber’s Day

April 25th is set aside each year to honor plumbers. At Sonnhalter, we have a great appreciation for plumbers and the work that they do. Today, Sonnhalter's PR Engineer Rachel Kerstetter will be sharing with you about plumbing. Often plumbers don’t receive the credit and fame that they deserve unless they’re Mario and Luigi and trying to save a princess. The Super Mario Brothers are the most famous plumbers, and they live in a Nintendo game. The reality is that without plumbers, our world would be far from sanitary or pleasant. As part of our team's commitment to getting our hands dirty in our clients' work, we've had the opportunity to see plumbers at work, we’ve used their tools and we’ve heard their stories; we know that they deserve to be honored today. Plumbers do much more than unclog drains and fix leaky faucets -  it’s plumbers who install the miles of piping that make hot, cold and process water and gas utilities possible. Using a little research combined with our knowledge of the profession, we've put together a list of things you may not know about plumbing: The word "plumber" goes back to the Roman Empire and the Latin word "plumbum" for lead. It's because of a plumber that the Chicago River is dyed green every St. Patrick's Day. The river was first turned green in 1962 using plumbing dye for detecting leaks. (more of that story here) The ancient Egyptians had plumbing systems. Archeologists have found lavatories inside tombs as well. (more on that here) Since 1963, more than 28 billion feet, or about 5.3 million miles, of copper tubing has been installed in U.S. buildings. In 2004, there were more than 91,000 miles of water distribution piping in the U.S. 78% of that pipe is made of…read more >

Spring Clean Your Social Media

Since the social media scene developed many years ago, it’s become cluttered. There are accounts on all social platforms that sit, gathering dust for years. Do any of those accounts belong to you or your company? Today Rachel Kerstetter, our PR Engineer, is sharing some pointers on how you can spring clean your social media. When I entered into the realm of public relations with a broad social landscape, I was a little surprised that much of my social media consulting and instruction wasn’t about getting social programs started or operating them, it was a lot of clean up. It doesn’t take much time to get your social media back on track if you know what to do. 1. Take a look at what you have. How long ago was your last status, tweet, post or picture? Do you have messages or invitations that are waiting to be read? When you look at an old account, try to see where/when things went stale and identify what may have been the cause. Did you have an intern running your social that has since left? Did you “run out” of content or ideas? Do you need help? 2. Check your branding. If anything in your company’s branding has changed, all of your social accounts should reflect that. Get your logos, profile pictures, covers and banners up to date. Make sure that you have a Twitter cover, a LinkedIn banner and a Facebook cover for your company. Use your own company and product names correctly. 3. Is your profile complete? Fill out the boxes with information about your company. Make sure there isn’t a blank spot where an About section should be and make sure that you have links to your website and contact information on there. Here's what the About Section on…read more >

Google Shuts the Book on Reader

Google announced that it will discontinue Google Reader as of July 1st. Here are some of the details. I’ve asked Rachel Kerstetter, our PR Engineer, to share some recommendations for moving on without Reader. If you’re currently using Google Reader to keep your blog and news organized, you’ll need to find another way by July 1st.  There are many RSS reader options out there, but here are some options that we recommend. The built-in Wordpress Reader is a pretty good option if you follow only Wordpress blogs, which is a popular choice for company blogs. But if you follow nonWordpress blogs or don’t blog using Wordpress, this is not a good option. Feedly is our top pick that offers a quick and easy transition of your feeds from Google Reader right to its service. Feedly has an app for both Apple and Android. Their blog has instructions on seamless transitioning here. BlogLovin’ is pretty popular among lifestyle and fashion blogs, but might start growing due to Google shutting down Reader. There is a bloglovin’ app in the Apple App store and they offer a way to import directly from Google Reader before it’s shut down. Since importing your Reader contacts is really easy on both of these services, you can always test them both out and see what works best for you.read more >

LinkedIn Changes

Social media is transforming to be more visual and ultimately more mobile-friendly. LinkedIn recently introduced some changes to improve the overall Company Page experience and made it easier to interact with your connections.read more >

Rachel Kerstetter Joins Sonnhalter as Public Relations Engineer

BEREA, Ohio – January 2012 – Sonnhalter, a communications firm marketing to the professional tradesman in the construction, industrial and MRO markets, recently announced the appointment of Rachel Kerstetter as public relations engineer. As public relations engineer, Kerstetter will assist the public relations director in developing clients’ public relations programs, planning and implementing social media initiatives and will be responsible for day-to-day public relations activities for the Sonnhalter client base. Before joining Sonnhalter, Kerstetter interned at Fahlgren Mortine, a public relations agency, and Humane Ohio, a nonprofit organization. Kerstetter is a graduate of the University of Mount Union, Alliance, Ohio. Established in 1976, Sonnhalter is the leading B2T marketing communications firm to companies that target professional tradesmen in construction, industrial and MRO markets. Sonnhalter’s brand identity highlights its expertise in marketing to the professional tradesmen. Its tagline, “Not Afraid To Get Our Hands Dirty,” promotes the employees’ willingness to roll up their sleeves and dig deep into clients’ businesses, also, it refers to the market it targets: the tradesmen who work with – and dirty – their hands every day. Sonnhalter developed the acronym “B2T,” which stands for “business-to-tradesmen” to capture the essence of its specialty. In 2009, 2010 and 2011, Sonnhalter was named one of BtoB Magazine’s Top Agencies. For more information, visit the company website at www.Sonnhalter.com or visit the company blog at www.TradesmenInsights.com.read more >