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Five years of Gem PR & Media

Five years of Gem PR & Media

It's been a long time since I posted, it's been a busy few months. It's also five years since I launched Gem PR & Media from our dining room table in Guernsey. And sure, we have 250 #FiveYears of #LipSmackingService Serious Lip Balms to gift to our friends, family, and clients (let me know if you’d like one and I’ll make sure it happens), but I also wanted to share a few thoughts with you.

It’s been vital to our survival that we love what we do. That’s what it comes down to. If money is more important than doing what you love that’s ok too. But for small business owners, we do it because it’s what we're meant to do. 

Celebrate the good times. Do not dwell on the bad times, they will pass, and you will get through. If you mess up admit it, apologize, and move on. Know that if something isn’t your fault, and you did a good job, you can’t win them all. 

Listen to advice from your peers. Not all advice is good, but in time you will discover those whose advice is invaluable. 

Stay true to yourself. That gut feeling has always been a strong indicator for me. If I feel something is off it usually is. 

Do good. As a business owner, you have the power to leave this place in better shape than when you found it. Give your time wisely and use it for good.  

If you can’t stand up for your industry then help make it be a better one. Lead by example. It’s ok if others follow I genuinely believe that.

Go the extra mile for your clients it will make all the difference. 

Finally, recognize your accomplishments and those that have helped you along the way.

So thank you to everyone that has supported us over the years we appreciate it, we really do! 

How to improve your SEO

How to improve your SEO

Whether you’re writing a blog, a Facebook post, or article how you write and what you include will make all the difference when it comes to online traffic.

First of all, make sure you include keywords. I’d recommend at least three. Think about the words your target audience will use to search for you on Google.

Be clever when it comes to your headline. Again, use words that will be plugged into the search engine.  

Don’t ramble. Get straight to the point.

Avoid redundant words and repetition. Keep it short. I always try to keep my blogs to around 200 words, my articles to between 300 and 450 words for Eighteen21, and my Facebook posts to one sentence (two max).

Include links to other pages, articles, and social media platforms. Backlinking helps increase your SEO.

Include a call to action; at the very least remind people where they can find out more or who to contact.

So, with the above in mind, if you’re looking for great content creation, by a professional, with more than a 15 years’ experience in the media industry, call 217-210-1589 and speak to me, Gemma, about how Gem PR & Media can help get you and your business noticed online!  

It’s not about us, it’s about you

It’s not about us, it’s about you

In August 2015 I wrote the blog ‘A day in the life of Gem PR & Media.’ It was a take on a feature that I’ve produced (in one shape or another) for a number of magazines around the globe. We currently run a similar piece in called ‘My not so 9 to 5,’ which chronicles the day for those living in and around Springfield. It’s a great way to gain insight into someone’s business, organization, or life.

This week I thought about revisiting the idea of a ‘not so 9 to 5 at Gem PR & Media,’ but then I got to thinking – it’s not about us it’s about you. What I really should be talking about is our clients and what their days are like working with us because that’s what matters.

A lot of the time our clients will apologize for their delay in getting back to us about a blog we drafted, the month’s social media posts we’ve scheduled, or a meeting date and time. The reason is they are busy. Well, that’s exactly what we want to hear. We are glad that our clients are too busy to get back to us right away. When I get a text message that reads ‘my phone has been ringing non-stop,’ that makes my day. It means that we’re doing something right. 

Most recently we’ve been working with the team at SPFLD Emojis, which released about a week-and-a-half ago. The media reception has been fantastic. We issued a press release on June 1 and since then SPFLD Emojis has appeared on multiple platforms from TV to radio and print to online, of course. I’ve always said that if you’ve got a great story the media will want to tell it – and that’s the case with SPFLD Emojis. 

Something else that we feel strongly about is including clients in the opportunities that we ourselves pursue. Last week we attended the Women Empowerment networking event at Erin’s Pavilion, organized by our client Deb Sarsany and her team at The Real Estate Group (another of our clients). We wanted to show some of the work we do and what better way to do that than have clients attend with us? Brittany Wallin of SPFLD Emojis and Crystal Apostol of Apostol Heirloom Portraitist joined the Gem PR & Media/ table, mingled with guests, and developed new relationships. We also had marketing materials from Sensible Innovations, AlignLife of Springfield, which has its annual 5K in Washington Park in September, and copies of the 2017/18 Springfield Visitors Guide, which we researched and wrote last summer. We also gave away four tickets to a 2017/18 Springfield Jr. Blues games, kindly provided by the team, another client of ours – and because we are located across the road from the fabulous Pease’s at Bunn Gourmet, we had a selection of their delicious mini desserts for guests to our table. 

These are just a few examples, but I think it’s important to demonstrate just how much we appreciate our clients, how we continue to look for new opportunities so that they are able to grow their businesses, and how being a part of the Gem PR & Media ‘family’ is a positive experience. 

Writing award entries

Writing award entries

It’s that time of year when we sit with our clients and recommend a list of awards they should enter some local, some statewide, and others that are national. Our experience and some research mean we are able to identify award opportunities that will not only suit them best, in terms of their business development goals, but we genuinely believe they have a chance of winning.

In the past, I’ve talked about the importance of award entries in building brand awareness, but I haven’t talked about how to write an award entry, which I will do now. 

First, you must identify which awards suit you, and your goals, best. If you want to build your brand in the community perhaps you need to look at a volunteer award. If it’s the community you want to relate to you must focus on local opportunities. If you want to demonstrate your capabilities then you’ll want to enter a business award, such as the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce awards, for example. Perhaps you want to gain recognition for something more specific to your industry. If that’s the case you may need to look to an association. We have a number of female clients who have not only excelled as entrepreneurs – there are plenty of award opportunities here too. 

Once you’ve identified the award to enter you need to read over the criteria. Can you fulfill all of the criteria? Will you stand out against others in the same category? If so, you can begin drafting your responses. If you don’t meet the criteria, work out what it is you need to do in order to meet the requirements of the award entry and work towards this over the next year. 

I always start by copying and pasting all of the questions into a word document. Often, these awards are entered online so it’s a good idea to create a draft in case the site crashes. It’s also a great reference point for future entries. 

Make sure you have all the salient details correct, such as contact numbers, email address, names etc. When responding to a question I like to highlight the words that explain what the judges are looking for. That way I can refer back to make sure I’m answering the questions.  
I always try to write award entries in the first person. This demonstrates the relationship between the nominator and the nominee. It is a much stronger entry if the judge believes he or she is reading the words of the person who has nominated the nominee.

If you’re entering your business for an award, opposed to an individual, you need to write passionately about your business. As in all good stories, especially if the entry form calls for it, start at the beginning, work through the crux of the business, and talk about your future goals. 
If the entry asks for additional documents, in support of the nomination, choose wisely – don’t send too much that you’ll drown out the reasons for the nomination. 
Proof your responses, errors are frustrating for judges who must read multiple entries and, if you’re entering an award for your business, appear unprofessional. Don’t waffle; get to the point. Have another member of staff review the entry; there may be something you have forgotten, which is crucial. 

Finally, make sure you make yourself available to the judges if there are any further questions.  

Public relations and media outsourcing

Public relations and media outsourcing

Have you ever considered outsourcing your company's communications to a consultancy like Gem PR & Media? Well, if you haven’t, you should. We think you might be surprised at how cost effective it really is. 

Recruitment costs are high; you have to get the word out about the fact you’re hiring, pay for advertising in print or online, sift through resumes, conduct interviews and negotiate a salary, plus benefits. Once you’ve hired your new public relations, marketing, or social media manager you then have to train them, again, this can be costly and extremely time-consuming. After all that, you’re only getting one person for your money. That person may get sick, for example, and then you’re left without the support you need to promote your business successfully.

What a consultancy, like Gem PR & Media, offers is an experienced, knowledgeable, and qualified team right at your fingertips. There’s no such thing as a sick day – because we are not one individual person, but a well-oiled, fully functioning team that gets to know your business as well as you do.

We have a wide skills base, which is difficult to find in one person. And, we’re well connected in the community. We have a network of clients, suppliers, software, and contacts that we can call on when you need something. We can even manage the tender process for you – acting as a go-between so you can concentrate on running your company smoothly.

Outsourcing is a great way to manage your time and finances. Having an expert team on hand to support you, your staff, and your business in the most cost-effective way is the road to success. 

So what’s stopping you? 

Experience speaks volumes in our opinion

Experience speaks volumes in our opinion

Lead by our CEO, who has not one, but two degrees in Journalism, a diploma from the Press Association and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, one of the largest bodies representing public Relations professionals in the world, our team has worked in marketing, PR, and media roles around the world.

Together we have worked on political campaigns, helped bring companies back from the brink, and won numerous awards for our clients. We believe in creating and delivering a strategy tailored to each client and their business’ individual needs.   

So, next time you hear or see that someone ‘does’ PR, social media, or marketing ask what it is exactly that they do. Don’t be shy about asking for examples of their work.

Ask to speak with clients to find out if they had a good experience. Do clients feel they have achieved a return on investment? And, with that in mind, did the consultancy meet the objectives set at the beginning of the campaign?

For the team at Gem PR & Media, it’s about putting into practice the skills we’ve learned, the knowledge we’ve gained and the experience that sets us apart from all others that say they are experts or visionaries in the field.