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By Arantza Calligari

Marketing and Communications Intern

“Finding Free Press for your Startup”

Running a startup business is hard enough.  Let free press help move things along.  Press is exceptionally beneficial because it creates credibility, exposure and brand recognition; not to mention, it’s free!  Yet the irony of the “press game” is the fact that some businesses receive no coverage while others effortlessly spread like wildfire.  Luckily, there are three easy steps to follow to guarantee not only free press, but also the right type of press.  These three steps are broken down into the following phases:  the research, the pitch and the follow-up.  When all three phases are performed correctly, it will translate into free press, and quite possibly, positive, long-lasting relationships.

The Research

Research can be intimidating at times, but it’s the key to creating new knowledge and an important part of our three-step process.  Plus, this type of research can be quite fun!  First, begin researching your competitors, who in the media is writing about them and what they are saying.  This will help you grasp a better idea of where you might want to pitch.  After you have researched the competitors, become familiar with the authors.  Similar to dating, you must research those authors and find out their background, read their stories and learn their style of writing.  Now, here comes the crucial part.  You must decide which authors are good matches for you and your startup and which are not.  Once you have your list of authors, you are ready to move on to phase 2, the pitch.

The Pitch

The pitch is the most important part, but once you know your authors, the pitch will come with ease. When starting to plan your pitch, put yourself in the reporter’s shoes, think about what they want to hear and keep it brief.  The best way to approach pitching is by beginning the relationship by asking for advice, which oftentimes boosts their confidence.  Next, offer a good story, something that will be intriguing for reporters, a brand boost for your company and exciting for the readers.  Try to steer away from profile pieces.  Also, before pitching, makes sure you have done the legwork.  In your pitch, make sure to include quotes, reference material and links in regards to your story.  This will drastically reduce the time the author must spend on your story and will dramatically increase your chances of receiving free press.

The Follow-Up

In terms of a follow-up, it’s important to be patient.  The life of a reporter is very hectic, so in your follow-up, make sure you aren’t overbearing, and remember that your relationship with that author should outlast the article.

Other Key tips

Go where the reporters go in their time of need, HARO (Help A Reporter Out).  HARO is a great tool for gaining exposure through free publicity.  Reporters use this tool to find quotes and information from experts and people in particular fields.  This will surely boost your company’s brand awareness in the press and give you the attention you deserve!

The three-step process will assist you in obtaining free press for your start-up; however, if you don’t have the time, leave it to the professionals at Pushing the Envelope.

samantha scott, apr, public relations fort myers

 

 

 

By: Samantha Scott, APR
Grand Poobah

Click the logo to view a showcase of the winners

Click the logo to view a showcase of the winners

I am so excited to share this blog entry… of course it’s fun to win, but it’s even more fun to win with your colleagues and clients who were integral parts of the process.

The Suncoast Advertising Federation (local chapter of the American Advertising Federation) held their annual ADDYs awards last weekend and I am pleased to share that PTE took home four awards – one for each entry we submitted! This success was not achieved alone, however. We were honored to work with the ever-talented Christine Rooney on some design components and with clients such as Scott Fischer Enterprises and Monti Firearms.

GOLD

PTE – Are you ready to push the envelope?
Collateral Piece

pte wins addy

 

Interested in doing business with PTE? This is our introduction piece that explains what we’re about and how we can help businesses (maybe even yours!) communicate and grow through public relations, branding, Internet marketing, social media strategy and more.

 

 

Monti Firearms Website
Consumer Website

pte wins addy monti firearms

 

Matt Mernin, our Interactive Web Developer and resident graphic designer and our former colleague, Alex Fernandez worked closely with the client to create this unique and very custom website. In fact, it was Matt’s idea to do the private log in coding.

 

 

 

 

SILVER

Scott Fischer Enterprises
Story of the Self-Made Man

Belief Doc ADDY Collage

 

Scott Fischer Enterprises employs more than 200 people and as they continue to grow they need a way to express what the company culture is, where it came from and where the leaders plan on taking it. Introducing, the SFE Belief Document, Story of the Self-Made Man.

 

 

 

Pushing the Envelope, Inc.
GetPushing.com

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 4.20.16 PM

Matt Mernin is also responsible for the look and feel of our company website and really brought the vision to life. Working with our former colleague Alex and myself, our new website really reflects our company in a unique way.

 

 

 

Awards offer satisfaction, but they also remind us of the hard work that it takes to succeed. We’re proud of these awards and will use them as inspiration to pursue even greater success. Congrats to all the local AdFed ADDY winners, and once again to the PTE team!

 

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 10.13.54 AMTo see snapshots of the fun, visit our Facebook photo album.

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CAM00035Hello! My name is Arantza Calligari and I am one of the new interns here at Pushing the Envelope. I am a communications major, with minors in marketing, advertising and philosophy. I attend Florida Gulf Coast University or, if you watched last season of College Basketball, Dunk City!

I am outgoing, competitive, athletic and love being outdoors. My passion in life centers on the ocean and helping others. My favorite activity is combining my two passions and getting involved in causes such as Surfers For Autism, where I’ve helped children and young adults with autism and related special abilities spend the day surfing and enjoying the waters on Fort Myers Beach. I began as a communication major focusing on public relations; since I am always talking, I figured it was a great fit. Yet when I took my first marketing class, I was fascinated with the thought of building and maintaining relationships; I connected it with my passion of helping others.

As I drove to my internship for the first time, I was anxious and exited to apply the principles I had learned in the classroom to real life situations. On my first day, just hearing Samantha and Tiffany talk to each other about upcoming campaigns for their clients was rewarding. What I’ve learned so far is that knowing a marketing principle and knowing how to apply it is completely different. I feel as if I have so much to learn and I couldn’t be in a better place to do it. I foresee ten weeks of non-stop learning, fun projects and great mentors.  I look forward to gaining experience strategically, working with and utilizing social media to reach S.M.A.R.T. goals.

I am so fortunate to have such an incredible opportunity to learn the ins and outs of marketing and communications. I can’t wait to share this experience and everything I learn with you. Lets get pushing!

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CAM00012For the last year, I have kept telling myself that I have time to find a job, and an apartment, and all things related to graduating and truly becoming an adult and a member of the “real world”. As it turns out, a year goes by faster than one thinks. However, on the cusp of graduation, I can find solace in the fact that I am building a strong resume with Pushing the Envelope.

Before I tell you about my internship with Pushing the Envelope, let me give you a quick tour of…well, me! I was born in Bombay, India, but spent the first nine years of my life in Dayton, Ohio. When I was nine years old, my family moved down to Naples, Florida, where we have been ever since. I will be graduating from Florida Gulf Coast University in the spring of this year (2014), with a major in Marketing and a double minor in Advertising and Information Systems & Operations Management. In my free time, I love reading, traveling, binge-watching TV shows on Netflix (it’s kind of a bad habit), spending time with family and friends, doing anything “arts & craftsy”, playing tennis and watching football. After graduation, I hope to work for an advertising or marketing firm, specifically with something involving athletics and social media!

I am so excited to be joining the team at Pushing the Envelope! I truly believe this internship will help me develop my skills, both in the business world and otherwise. For example, this internship will help me hone in on my social skills including how to work with different clients.

Given that my true career passion lies in advertising and anything social media related, I can’t wait to learn more about the influences social media has on how a company does business as well as the different ways to successfully apply social media on a professional – as opposed to personal – level. In addition to learning more about social media marketing, I am also excited to be exposed to other components of marketing that I know less about, such as PR, branding, copywriting, as well as web design and development. This internship will help me become a well-rounded marketing professional. I think it’s safe to say that when May 10th rolls around, I will have the knowledge I need to walk across the graduation stage with confidence in my ability to pursue my passion in marketing and advertising!

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CAM00009On one of the foggiest mornings I’ve seen in the two years I’ve lived in Fort Myers, FL, I drove to my first day as an intern at Pushing the Envelope. Looking back, it feels like I have been driving here for the past two years, as there were many detours along the way.

As a young girl, I saw silly commercials and terrible magazine adds thinking, “I can do better than this.” Never did I think that could possibly be something I would want to pursue as an actual career. With much trial and error, and possibly more than a few changes in my chosen major, I have finally found what I am passionate about and am excited to be learning from people who share my same passions.

This is actually my second dip in the marketing intern pool; previously doing two summers as an intern in the marketing department at Moss and Associates, a very successful commercial construction company. However, my experiences there were a very different type of marketing. I am interested in exploring the other avenues of the industry, such as the use of social media, branding, public relations and website analytics. After doing my own research, I couldn’t think of any better place for me to learn the ins and outs of mixed-marketing.

Finally, here I am eager to soak in all they have to offer and teach. As a very impressive company, I know that all they have to instill in me will only help me to thrive in the future world of marketing. I hope to take every day here as a new learning experience and never a routine. I am very grateful for this opportunity and would like to thank Samantha, Tiffany and everyone at Pushing the Envelope for taking their time to teach my internship team and me.

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samantha scott, apr, public relations fort myers

 

 

By: Samantha Scott, APR
Owner & Brand Manager

I love when I get to write blog posts about the exciting things happening at PTE. This one is as exciting as it gets – we’re hiring!

For the regular readers of this blog, you know the primary service PTE offers clients is communications strategy and application. We help companies communicate, create and foster relationships and thereby grow. It’s why we exist. We do this in many ways, one of which is via digital marketing, enter our current job posting.

We just officially released a job posting for the soon-to-be newest member of our team – a Digital Marketing Coordinator. This person will work closely with me, the Brand Manager, and their Project Manager to create social media plans, implement, oversee and measure them. They will also work on email marketing efforts and provide reputation management services for our clients.

The Digital Marketing Coordinator position is really an exciting one and we look forward to welcoming a new person to our team. If you’re interested, check out the Careers section of our website and apply today!

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samantha scott, apr, public relations fort myers

 

 

By: Samantha Scott, APR
Grand Poobah / Owner

The holidays are naturally a busy time of year, busy personally and professionally. In Southwest Florida where we are located, it’s even busier for local businesses. We are in the midst of what we call “season” when our snowbird friends return for a few months. It’s a great, but hectic time of year. If you’re in the public relations (PR) industry, or marketing in general, you might be wondering one or two things: 1) how can I leverage the buzz of activity going on now? and/or 2) how can I stand out amidst the buzz of activity going on right now?

Here are three tips to help you leverage the holidays for PR exposure this year…

Food Drive BoxShowcase your company’s goodwill and give back

Hosting a food, blanket or other collection/drive is a great way to not only give back to your community, but gain positive coverage for your business. For example, Pushing the Envelope holds a food drive each year, our CAN IT! Campaign.  The idea came from a need for food in our community, but it also helps showcase our company culture and builds the goodwill of our business. We give because we care, but it also helps our business.

Your company can do the same. Maybe it’s a blanket drive if you live up north or perhaps it’s a blood drive if you work in the medical field. There are many ways to get involved that help others and help your business gain positive media exposure during the holidays.

Typewriter What is Your StoryShare news about something other than the holidays

Another way to “take advantage of” the holidays is to give the media something else to talk about! As consumers/viewers/readers we start to get sick of reading about this holiday activity and that festivity. We crave information or news about other things. Media does too!

Does your business have something else going on that could make a great story? Contact applicable local media (TV if there is something visual, a daily paper if it’s real time, etc.) and offer it up. Your story could be just what they’re looking for – and it positions you as a resource for that media outlet down the road.

gulfshore business editorial calendarLeverage editorial calendars/topics

Another option for leveraging the holidays for public relations exposure is to use media outlets’ editorial calendars. For those of you who are unfamiliar with ed cals (for short), they are essentially a publication’s plan for topics to cover in future issues/months. Generally, it’s monthly, bi-monthly or sometimes weekly publications that have editorial calendars available.

If your business is hungry for coverage, take a look at the ed cals for applicable publications (local, regional, industry, etc.) and see if you/your business can fit the bill as an expert resource. Keep in mind, magazines work about 3 months out so this will require some pre-planning. If it’s too late for this year, don’t fret! Make a note to take advantage of this for next year.

The holidays are always jam packed, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still be working for positive publicity/media exposure for your business. It’s my hope that these three tips for leveraging the holidays for PR will help you. However, if you have questions or think you might need some help, feel free to contact us. Happy Holidays!

 

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Matt Mernin

 

 

By: Matt Mernin
Interactive Web Developer

Having a website should be a given for any business. A decade ago it would have been considered an option. If you don’t have one, or if you are considering a redesign, a budget is one of the most important things to consider. Your website is the primary digital platform used to represent your company / brand. It should be considered an investment, rather than a flat expense.

The key elements of a functioning business website include:

  • Accurate information
  • Easily accessible
  • Represent your company’s brand image properly
  • Demonstrate confidence in the specific field of business to the end user

7K0A9914For those with existing websites, consider this. A first time visitor should be able to perform tasks in the right order on their first attempt. Otherwise, frustration sets in and they are likely to leave. The same goes for your content and graphics… are they up to date, does it provide added-value, does it address all of your services and staff? Still thinking you don’t need a website redesign?

Maybe you should rethink that…

I need a website. How should I budget for it?

Each website is unique and the cost for each should reflect that. The number of pages, amount of content, complexity and interactivity all factor in. You might be asking, “How much does it cost per page?” The idea of pricing a website based on its page count is very common. However, a red flag should be thrown if you ever hear a web design and development company charging based on the number of pages.

At Pushing the Envelope, our expert team we start with a questionnaire and then spend one-on-one time with each client to research and analyze the needs of your company, and the needs of your customer. Then we can provide an estimate within your budget based on our expert recommendation – to meet your goals, not your page count.7K0A0223

The amount of content, the strategic planning, the types of tools and features, and the custom design are very important when producing an accurate website proposal. Content development is a good example. If you have content written for your new website or have content on your existing website, chances are we will modify it and create new content. Ease of access plays an important role when delivering the correct information efficiently.

Each one of these of elements can vary as part of our overall plan. The number one deciding factor though, is your website budget. Consider the importance of a quality web presence, what your goals are and then look at your budget. All websites should be treated differently and are not created equal.

How can we help you develop a website budget and, ultimately an awesome website for your business?

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Our team here at Pushing the Envelope believe in giving back to our community. In an effort to help end hunger in Southwest Florida, we hosted our 3rd Annual CAN IT! campaign. CAN IT! is a food drive benefiting  Community Cooperative Ministries, Inc. (CCMI), for their soup kitchen and emergency food supplies. It is with great excitement and appreciation that we share the results of our 3rd Annual CAN IT! campaign.

3rd Annual CAN IT!

3rd Annual CAN IT!

Through the support of our multiple drop off locations and the many donors who contributed, we collected 1,062 items! Items were dropped off to CCMI yesterday, just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. It took three vehicles and a lot of volunteers, but we did it! With support from many community members and businesses, the goal was exceeded in just four weeks. To date, Pushing the Envelope, Inc. has donated more than 3,000 pounds of food to CCMI.

We would like to thank our participating drop off locations who joined the campaign this year including: Anthony’s on the Boulevard, Judy D & CO Hair Styling Salon, Profiles Hair Skin Nails and Salon Adrian for their efforts in helping local, less fortunate families.

Thank you all for your support! We look forward to collecting even more next year. If you’d like to see more pictures from our 3rd Annual CAN IT! campaign, please visit us on Facebook.

From all of us to you and yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

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samantha scott, apr, public relations fort myers

 

 

 

By: Samantha Scott, APR

Grand Poobah / Owner

 

We’re doing things just a little bit differently these days… I am excited to share just one of the new things we’re launching at PTE, Account Allies. As we grow and look to expand not only our services, but our clientele, we have created Account Allies to assist clients with all of their projects. Let me explain a bit – and point out how all businesses (specifically the customers/clients of those businesses) could benefit from a staff person like this.

We haven’t added any new staff (although we are hiring AND looking for interns), we’ve just changed the way we work. A big part of our “why” or how we do what we do is the relationships we create with our clients. We have to become part of their team, so to speak, and think the way they do about their business. The creation of this new Account Ally role specifically addresses this, first and foremost.

Tiffany, Alex and I are all Account Allies. We are committed to representing clients as their liaison and working with them to achieve the specific marketing, branding, public relations, social media, Internet marketing, etc. success which they strive for. We are their partner. That’s part of the reason why we chose that title – Ally. Not manager or coordinator. We are not managing or coordinating our clients. We’re their ally. We are working with them.

Why does this matter? No one wants to “go it alone” and when they are investing in the success of their business it’s important they have a partner to collaborate with along the way that they can rely on and trust. 

Doesn’t that sound like a great way to work with a business? What if you were making a large purchase and instead of just doing some research, getting hounded by a sales person, making the commitment/purchase and then going through the motions you had a Sherpa of sorts to help you along the way? Wouldn’t that be more pleasant, instill more trust in you and create more confidence within you about the company you were working with?

How can you be more of an asset to your customers or clients? How can you help them along the way (buying process, service cycle, etc.)? How can you become their partner in success?

This has always been the way we worked, we’ve just distilled it and we’re looking forward to the success it brings – our clients, and us. Questions? Feel free to contact me.

P.S. If you haven’t donated to our CAN IT! Campaign yet, what are you waiting for? I mean, please do so soon! The deadline is Nov. 25 at noon. :)

 

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