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TWIST Communications Consulting

Foray Into the World of Boating

August 27th, 2010

Over the last couple of month’s Twist has had the opportunity to learn more about the world of boating and the passionate people involved in this pastime. One of Twist’s newest client’s, Clear Marine, is a marine solutions service/prodcuts provider based on the waterfront in beautiful Sidney, BC. Owners Jeff & Kami Fehr, pride themselves on creating simple yet effective tools for boating enthusiasts. Clear Marine, in cooperation with Twist & The Digital Lion Design just launched their sharp new site. You can check out their slick new look  here .

Your Audience Has Audiences

August 17th, 2010

One of my favorite PR/New Media superstars is Brian Solis. Solis has published a number of influential books about the changing face of PR with the advent of new media. He claims that with platforms like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, anyone can now find and connect with others who share similar interests, challenges, and beliefs—creating communities that shape and steer the perception of brands. Without engagement in these communities, we miss major opportunities to shape marketing messages.

The following is a quick clip from an extended series that Solis is currently featuring on his own blog .  This specific clip discusses the importance of connecting with individuals due to of the vast power that they wield through their own personal audiences (social media).

Monitor Your Mentions

April 16th, 2010

Have you ever done  a Google search on your own name? Come on, you know that you have. It’s a legit way of monitoring how your persona is being portrayed online.  Even if you have not Googled yourself, you can be sure that potential employers, friends and maybe even the occasional foe have already checked out your online ‘deets.’ I was privy to a situation once where a job candidate was not given an interview based on the way that they presented themselves in their Facebook profile picture.  Sort of discriminating? Yes, definitely. Is there anyway to prevent this from happening to you? Maybe.

Do yourself a favor and make sure that your Facebook, MySpace or Twitter settings are set on the correct restrictive levels. Be confident that you are not parading your pics and info from last weekend’s Las Vegas trip to viewers who are not actually ‘friends.’ Back in winter of 2009, Facebook specifically altered their security settings so that unless you updated your own personal settings, any Joe Schmoe with an account was able to view all of your info, pics and the sacred writings upon your personal Wall.  If you still have not checked out your security settings you might want to do so.

Doing a Google search on your own name is a reasonable way to monitor your own ‘personal brand’ but what are a couple of basic, cost effective ways to monitor the online conversation about your corporate brand?

1. Google News Alerts. This is the most basic and time tested way to monitor your brand- like a Google search on steroids. Simply go to Google.com/alerts and sign up for email alerts to be sent to you. Whenever the key words that you enter in as your ’search terms’ show up on the world’s largest search engine you will be notified in your inbox. You can also use this tactic to monitor what is going on with your competition.

2. Socialmention.com. Social Mention does the exact same thing as Google Alerts but specifically monitors social media chatter. You enter your search terms and simply click on which media sources you want to watch. Once again, this is all done from the ease of receiving email notifications.

3. Boardreader.com is another way to monitor what is being said about your brand in a variety of different places online. Boardreader is especially helpful if you are trying to track online banter on message boards

Many PR agencies employ media monitoring systems that cost thousands of dollars every year for similar results.  In certain circumstances (if you are a mega-corporate entity) it is worth the cost to monitor what is being said outside of the web in more traditional media outlets (TV, Radio, obscure print not online) but for most mid to small-size brands free online monitoring will do the trick. So now that you are equipped with a couple free tricks of the trade jump on the band wagon and start tracking!

Dream Big but Dream Smart

September 4th, 2009

Have you ever been in the supermarket and felt certain that you somehow knew the person standing in front of you in line… only to find out that they are a reporter from your local TV station? I have heard this oprah-winfrey scenario several times. We feel like we ‘know’ the personalities we view on TV everyday. And why shouldn’t we? We invite them into our homes during times when we are the most vulnerable, i.e. exhausted and in our jammies. This familiarity concept  applies to big television hosts too- I bet that some of you feel a special connection with someone like Oprah! So if you have a big story or want to talk about how cool your company is the logical thing would be to contact Oprah, right? She’s familiar and would definitely want to hear about your company or product.  Well, yes and no.

In my years as a PR practitioner I have had clients with start-up businesses say to me, “Why can’t we just be featured on Oprah?” or “I want to be covered be on CNN” or “I want a story about us in the New York Times.” My answer to them is usually, let’s definitely make that a goal to work towards. I also gently remind my clients that having their start-up business covered by CNN (right away) would be the equivalent of having People Magazine cover their wedding or Perez Hilton making a snarky comment about what they wore at a party last night. Possible, but not super likely.

Do you feel like your dreams have just been squashed by Ms. PR downer?  I hope not, because there is a lot that you can do for your business until the day that you are ready to  speak with Oprah and Larry King with authority. If you have a start-up company or an innovative product or service it’s best to figure out exactly who your audience is.  Chart out whether your audience (or client) base is local, national or international. If your business is selling beautiful flower arrangements in the Greater Milwaukee area, then target the local media and other networking channels in Greater Milwaukee! When something big happens on a local level eventually other larger media outlets are more likely to want in on the action too. The key points to remember here are: 1. Know your audience 2. Gain Credibility. Once you establish your credibility the sky’s the limit and Oprah could soon come calling…

Feelings, Nothing More than Feelings?

August 24th, 2009

happy-sad-faces Don’t worry I am not going to wax mushy on you today. Love songs are for another day….

The New York Times came out with a very interesting article today about the merits of monitoring the        public’s ‘feelings’ towards a specific brand/company through online chatter.  New online tools are emerging all over the place that not only monitor brand mentions but also the overall ‘feel’ of the sentiments being expressed by the public through conduits such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc. We are now able to pinpoint exactly how people are either loving or hating a brand on any specific day/hour/moment. Powerful fuel for public relations.

This can be good and well for larger organizations and brands, but what does this mean for smaller companies or even start-ups? It means that if you have not started your own online dialogue you need to start now.  Something simple such as a Facebook fanpage and a Twitter account can go a long way to kick-off your own image. Social Media is not exclusive to twenty-year olds anymore.  Most people (especially those into social media) are voyeuristic curious by nature, so by sharing on a regular basis what your company is up to your potential customers feel involved. In the end isn’t that what we all want… to feel valued and involved?

The Day Has Arrived

August 17th, 2009

I am pleased to announce the launch of Twist Communications Consulting!

Let me introduce myself… My name is Sarah Gulbrandsen and I am a Communications Specialist. In school I was that kid in the corner whose voice seemed to carry just a pitch above everyone else’s. My report card always read  ‘Sarah is a delight but needs to work on the talking.’ As I matured became older , I figured out that I could use my gift of gab for the good of others and hence a career in communications was born! When I love something I want to talk (or write) about it and spread the word . Since I believe in my clients and their products it becomes my mission to tell their story.

‘What’s with the name?’ you may be asking yourself.  First of all it came to me in a dream (no, honest it really did!). Then I began to mull it over and realized that effective communications is all about making subtle yet effective tweaks (or twists) to a message, medium, brand, ect. to make it original and exciting. Hence then name Twist Communications Consulting.

Not sure if you have noticed, but the down-trodden economy has been a bit of a hot topic in recent months. Some people might find my timing to launch a business puzzling, but I feel that in light of recent economic conditions my services are needed now more than ever. Why pay a full-time  staffer or even an entire department when you can save on cost and hire a consultant who has years of specialized experience?

In a nutshell here are a few of the ways that Twist collaborates with clients:

Media Relations, Media Training and Tracking- Twist will create your story for the press, distribute it, teach you how to talk about it and then track the results.

Branding/Marketing- Even if you have a great story sometimes you need to work on your look and identity. Twist will equip you with the ways to create and market your own brand.

Events- Once you have your story and your brand you may want to use trade shows/corporate events as a way to further your reach. Twist takes care of all of the niggly details from inception to completion.

Check out Twist’s site at twistconsulting.com for more info. You can also check back here often to check out Twist’s latest projects and Tips/Tricks of the Trade.