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When PR and marketing work a little too well…

Not a huge fan of Miley Cyrus’ new image – but commentator David Johnson has a point — she and the people behind her brand crafted a strategy, carried it through, and stayed on message. That’s the  PR/Marketing lesson for today.

Also interesting: Twitter played a big part in bringing her to the media forefront.

According to this author, tweet activity is a factor to sponsors and advertisers now, and MC was the topic of more tweets than any other performer during the MTV Video Music Awards program.

So, we’ve got another example of how branding works, and how to leverage Twitter.  PR-wise, it works.  But is everything about PR?  For that matter, is everything about being successful and a household name?

Doesn’t the music still matter?  Or is that a really naive thing to say? Is it really all about twerking now?

It makes me sad to think of all the musicians who have dedicated years to learning and perfecting their craft — who put all their creativity into music, making untold numbers of sacrifices along the way, and they are eclipsed by someone who wiggles their bottom.

I know the music industry is competitive and branding is nothing new to performers. Still, I have to wonder: at what price did her current success come?  Will she look back at this time and have regrets about the damage she did to her credibility as a musician?  Or is it all about the money?

Sometimes, I think what we learn and apply in PR and marketing can work a little too well, you know what I mean?  It can take on lightning speed.  Her transformation was meteoric. Perhaps that was the intent.

To illustrate, here are two videos.  One is from less than a year ago, December 2012.  To me, then she had an image that she could own. Her voice is not spectacular, and the song is Dolly Parton’s, but she could have built on this.

And this is Miley, today… Her look and sound seem like a formulaic, success-built hybrid of Madonna/Gwen Stefani/Lady GaGa.  Her voice is still unimpressive, she can’t dance, and the video is gratuitously salacious.  She has all the presence of a little girl walking around in her mama’s shoes.  But she offers shock-value.  She got views.

The thing is: where does she go from here?  This is flash-in-the-pan marketing, and the only way to maintain it is to just keep dialing up the shock value.  Musically, she has nowhere to go, unless she metamorphoses once again, because this is all packaging.

I just question whether a 20-year-old is in the position to make these kinds of life-changing decisions.  Maybe she is.  Someone in PR and marketing is advising her.  Is this responsible?  I hope they can live with the results.

Spring Cleaning: 5 Fresh, Budget-Friendly PR and Marketing Tips

I’ve asked some of my favorite bloggers to guest blog and provide us with some of their favorite creative and affordable marketing tips. 

Check out what Karen Hendricks has to say about making the most of your social media platforms.

Broom,_sponge_and_towelSpring cleaning isn’t limited to dust bunnies under the bed. Did you know… you may have virtual dust bunnies lurking in your social media and marketing accounts? This is the perfect time of year to freshen up your marketing strategy, evaluate and consider adding a few new marketing tools—all with a budget-friendly approach. Here are five ways to put a little springtime sparkle into your marketing mix:

1. Facebook Facelift: Give your business or organization a fresh look on Facebook by uploading a new top image. This is a great rule of thumb to follow at least once per quarter or season. This instantly sets the tone on your account as a current, relevant source of information. According to a study by Vocus, Facebook fans are a brand’s most valuable customers, with 79% of your fans more likely to purchase your products/services as compared to non-Facebook fans… so give them a fresh “face” atop your latest content. Remember the dimensions for Facebook’s cover image are 851 x 315 pixels.

2. Blogging Bling: When is the last time you updated your company’s or organization’s blog? According to, 60% of all businesses have a blog, but a whopping 65% haven’t updated it within the past year.  A blog is the perfect example of content marketing at its best—especially if you take advantage of a free, easy-as-pie WordPress account. The only investment is your time spent writing and adding effective images—a key component to higher engagement rates.

3. LinkedIn Luster: It’s been about a year and a half since the professional networking site LinkedIn unveiled its Company Pages feature. Since then, 2.6 million companies have developed company pages, including all Fortune 500 companies. Many small businesses and non-profits have yet to take advantage of this free marketing tool, with valuable access to the 200 million professionals currently on LinkedIn. When you create a Company Page, invite your customers to provide endorsements, share your business news, and begin creating a buzz on a professional level. You can even advertise jobs or scout for potential new hires. For inspiration, check this post on the LinkedIn blog, with tips from the top 10 best company pages of 2012.

4. Add Polish with Pinterest:  Last summer, Mashable reported that Pinterest users were following more brands than Facebook or Twitter users. I think the main reason why boils down to Pinterest’s focus on images. It’s easier to “see” what you like rather than “read” about your favorite brands, causes or businesses. If you haven’t yet created a Pinterest account for your business or organization—or if you haven’t added new content recently, polish your image with a free Pinterest account. Make sure plenty of your pins link back to your core marketing presence, your website, to ultimately drive traffic to your doorstep.

5. Add email marketing muscle: Don’t discount good old fashioned email marketing! It’s still a wonderfully viable way to engage with and grow your core customer base.  See the Inbound Marketing blog for their recent “23 Tweetable Stats on Email Marketing Trends” and it’s bound to put some spring into your marketing step.

If you aren’t currently using an email marketing service, consider the following: one of the gold standards in the industry, Constant Contact offers a free 60-day trial period that’s especially helpful for small businesses since the initial free contact list is limited to 100 or fewer contacts. Otherwise, paid accounts on Constant Contact will not break your bottom line, and non-profits receive a 15% discount Additional budget-friendly options include Vertical Response, which has a free option for all 501 (c)(3) organizations, and Mad Mimi which offers a free base email program for up to 2,500 contacts and up to 12,500 emails per month. Make sure to dust off your writing skills as well — 64% of email recipients say they open an email because of the subject line.

Karen Hendricks, Hendricks Communications

Karen Hendricks, Hendricks Communications

Karen Hendricks, President/Owner of Hendricks Communications, focuses on public relations, marketing and freelance writing/photography. Learn more at and follow her on Twitter @karenhendricks9.

Social Media Tips from Debbie Friez of BurrellesLuce

Discovered this terrific Slideshare presentation from local social media expert, Debbie Friez, Vice President of Major Accounts at BurrellesLuce.  She offers terrific tips for getting the most out of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  Check it out!

December Content Marketing Ideas

Saturday, December 1: Have you organized your December editorial calendar?  The 12th month of the year is a fantastic time to connect with your clients and engage with your followers.

Sunday, December 2: The weekend is primetime for Facebook Page updates.  Upload your seasonal Facebook Page timeline cover today.  Try a different look each week!  Holiday versions of corporate logos are fun, too.  Ask Fletcher Prince to design these assets for you.

Monday, December 3:  Time to mail holiday cards to clients and supporters.  If you are having a special holiday invent, mail invitations now, too.  Fletcher Prince can design your company holiday cards for you.

Tuesday, December 4: Today is National Cookie Day.  Can you create a cookie with your logo?  Try it — and post the photo!

At 5 p.m., the Capitol Christmas Tree will be lit by Speaker of the House John Boehner.  Follow @USCapitol on Twitter.

Thursday, December 6: President Obama and the First Lady light the National Christmas Tree today at 5 p.m.

Friday, December 7: Inspired by all these Washington, DC Christmas trees?  Have a tree decorating party in your office today!

Saturday, December 8: Wish your followers a Happy Hanukkah!  Tonight, Hanukkah begins and is celebrated through December 16.

Sunday, December 9: The lighting of the National Menorah takes place tonight in Washington, DC.

Monday, December 10: What does your company do for good in the community?  Publicize a story about your community involvement or support of a local nonprofit organization via your blog, or even an online press release.  Send a short note and photos to your local newspaper.  Fletcher Prince can help you with public relations efforts.

If you haven’t yet started a company goodwill effort, the holiday season is a good time to start!  Consider a food drive in your office to benefit SOME (So Others Might Eat).  You can follow them on Twitter @SOME_DC

Wednesday, December 12: Today is National Poinsettia Day.  Why not gift your clients with pointsettias to show your appreciation?  Or offer them to followers as an online give-away.

Saturday, December 15: People will be tweeting about Santarchy today!  Join in the fun by posting photos of your employees in Santa hats.

Monday, December 17:  Today is a good day to upload your company’s previously recorded holiday greeting video to YouTube, and send it to clients and customers via email to your permission-based contact list.  Post it on your Facebook Page, Pinterest account, Twitter profile, and Google+ account to wish your supporters happy holidays.  Fletcher Prince can record your holiday video.

Monday, December 24: Today is Christmas Eve.  The North American Aerospace Defense Command tracks his progress each year.  Follow on Twitter through @NoradSanta.

Tuesday, December 25Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 27: Time to look back at the old year as you get ready to ring in the new! Discuss with your staff what marketing tactics worked well and what should be continued in 2013.  What were your most popular blog posts?  Which of your videos got the most views?  Talk to Fletcher Prince about developing an actionable marketing plan for 2013.

Friday, December 28:  After Christmas is a great time to blog your company annual report.  Chronicle the achievements of the past year.

Sunday, December 30:  Most people are in New Year’s resolutions mode.  Ask your Facebook Page followers about their resolutions for the new year, throwing in your industry-specific suggestions.

Monday, December 31: Today is New Year’s Eve.  Be sure to wish your clients and supporters a Happy New Year, and offer them plenty of helpful suggestions for success in 2013.  This is also a good time for brave thought-leaders to make their industry 2013 predictions.

Congratulations to all of you for a successful year, and thanks for reading our blog posts and supporting Fletcher Prince.  Happy New Year!

Related articles

Is your company Twitter profile up to snuff?

Fletcher Prince offers its clients a variety of marketing services, including branded Twitter profiles, consultation, and planning services.

Fletcher Prince is a small but top-rated Washington, DC area public relations firm.  We offer personalized service to our clients.  Check out our 27 LinkedIn recommendations!  Follow Fletcher Prince on Twitter

For more information, email or call (571) 269-7559.

Grab these holiday greeting video and design deals

There is no better time than the holidays to let the most important people to your company or nonprofit know that you appreciate them.  You can do that easily and creatively this year with affordable and personalized holiday greetings designed for you by your friends at Fletcher Prince.  We have special deals for you — just in time for the holidays.  Just because we enjoy this kind of work so much!

Holiday Greeting Videos

Holiday Greeting Videos are a wonderful way to spread your company’s message of cheer and thanks to clients, customers, employees, and supporters.

We can help you create and share memorable online video Thanksgiving messages, Seasons Greetings, and Happy New Year wishes.  Record a “Year in Review” video and celebrate your achievements.  Create a video “annual report.”  There are so many possibilities!

You have two easy options.  We can take your high resolution images and messages, set it to music, and create an appealing holiday video card ($250, 30 seconds – 1 minute long).

Or let us record you in person, adding images and music to create the perfect, personalized holiday video greeting ($350 at Fletcher Prince between 11/16-11/19; $550 at your home or office on other dates).

We’ll show you how to share these on YouTube, Facebook, your website, blog, Twitter, and on other social networks, as well as in email communications.

Holiday Social Media Images

Deck your Facebook Page with a Holiday Cover Image. We can incorporate your images, if you like, in a seasonal design.  Choose Thanksgiving, Seasons Greetings, or Happy New Year ($125/each), or a bundle price for all 3! ($300)

We also design holiday versions of your social media profile logos ($125) — so jazz up Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Facebook, and with a custom holiday logo.

Holiday Cards, Thank You Notes, and Invitations

Our gift to you is special savings on graphic design for printed collateral.  Let us design a branded holiday greeting card for your company or organization (starting at $125/design).

Reserve your spot during our Holiday Greeting Video Marathon!

Make plans now to join us during our Holiday Greeting Video Marathon November 16-19 and record your video at Fletcher Prince! We have props, backgrounds, and help you with wardrobe, hair and makeup advice, if desired.

2012 clients get a free video recording session during our Marathon!  Call (571) 269-7559 for details and to book your session.  Best wishes to you as you plan for the end of the year. 

Marketing Ideas and Content Themes for your October Editorial Calendar

Tuesday, October 2  The informative conference Digital East takes place in Herndon, VA today and tomorrow.  There are a dozen registrations left for $375 each.

Wednesday, October 3  The first Presidential debate between President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney airs tonight.  If you choose to post to Twitter, keep your tweets topical this evening.  All the debates this month will be aired live on YouTube.

Monday, October 8  Columbus Day is a federal holiday, kids will be out of school, and people will be online in numbers. This is a great time to reach out to your Facebook Page followers.

Today is the last day of the George Bellows exhibit at the National Gallery of Art.  See it before it leaves!

This is also Fire Prevention Week.  Use the Twitter hashtag #FPW.  This would be an excellent time to remind your followers to check the operation of smoke alarms and hold home and office fire drills.

Tuesday, October 9  Learn how to pitch the reporters at the Washington Business Journal at their Power Breakfast and presentation today at 8:30 a.m.  Register for $25.

Wednesday, October 10  Wish Fletcher Prince’s David Hyson a Happy Birthday today on his Facebook profile.

Thursday, October 11  The Vice Presidential debate airs tonight at 9 pm.

Tuesday, October 16 Wish Happy Birthday to social media sweetie Meghan McMahon, aka @Meggiepoo on Twitter.

The second Presidential debate airs tonight at 9 pm; also live on YouTube.  Use hashtag #

Today is also Boss’s Day.  I wouldn’t forget that one if I were you! 🙂  Send a card around the office to sign, and treat your boss to lunch.

Wednesday, October 17  Join your Fletcher Prince friends for networking and a lunch of authentic German fare at Cafe Mozart in Washington, DC.  Cost of lunch is on your own.  Register here.

Thursday, October 18  Every ad agency account executive has a story to tell, and not all of them are pretty.  Attend Ad2DC’s  MadMemoirs – Horror Stories from Behind Agency Walls  and vote for your favorite tonight at 6:30 pm at Bus Boys and Poets ($15).

Saturday, October 20  Step back into 1771 and check out the 18th century Market Fair today and tomorrow at Claude Moore Colonial Farm in McLean, VA.  $6 adults, $4.50 for AAA members, $3 children.

Monday, October 22  Wish Happy Birthday to Ascend Communication’s principal Lorelei Harloe!

The third Presidential debate airs tonight at 9 pm (also on YouTube).

Tuesday, October 24  Learn how to leverage LinkedIn for your business and networking at this Reston Chamber of Commerce event, 8:30 a.m., $10.  Register here.

The Town of Vienna presents its 66th annual Halloween Parade today at 7 p.m.

The Washington Ballet presents Dracula at the Kennedy Center, tonight through November 4.

Thursday, October 25  The DC chapter of the American Marketing Association celebrates its 80th anniversary and recognizes the Top Marketer at a gala this evening.

The Prince William Chamber of Commerce holds its B2B and B2C trade show 2012 Connections from 4 pm to 7 pm today.  Admission, parking and food are free.

Friday, October 26 Wish Happy Birthday to U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

Sunday, October 28  The 37th annual Marine Corps Marathon takes place today

Monday, October 29  The Hunter Moon rises tonight.

Wednesday, October 31  Happy Halloween!  Bling out your Twitter and Facebook profile photos with Halloween themed logos.  If you’re downtown today, check out the exterior Halloween decorations at the White House.

Today is also Dan Rather’s birthday.  Follow @DanRatherReport on Twitter.

The latest social media statistics

A national survey of 1,005 adults by Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project in August 2012 found that

  • 66% use Facebook
  • 20% use LinkedIn
  • 16% use Twitter
  • 12% use Pinterest
  • 12% use Instagram
  • 5% use Tumblr

Read the results here

Is it good form to ask for followers?

Occasionally, you will see the administrator of a Facebook Page or Twitter profile post an update asking for followers.  Often, it’s associated with a goal, e.g., let’s get 10,000 followers by such and such date or time.

Does this tactic work?  And more importantly, should it be used?  Can it backfire for your brand?

I was thinking about this as I read the response of some fans when the Facebook Page owner of a Page I follow, Daym Drops, posted a request for more Twitter followers on his Facebook Page.

Now, this guy recently vaulted to YouTube viral stardom — which can be a short-lived and wild ride — so it’s easy to understand why he’s trying to make the most of it, quickly.

Fam, as I look at my Fam Follow on Twitter; it is all types of nappy and unhappy. (1,759)..Can we hit 2,000 before midnight? Let’s DO THIS!

Well, for one thing, asking for Twitter followers on Facebook is like assuming people like sushi if they also like Chinese food.  It’s not necessarily so.  And one of his Facebook fans didn’t hesitate to tell him, in a nice way, that she preferred Facebook.

I don’t have a twitter account.. dint like it .. I don’t like to feel restricted… n u know us Latinas have a lot to say 🙂

I’ve emphasized before that Facebook and Twitter, while both are social networks, are two different entities with different personalities and uses and these should be approached and treated differently.  And this just illustrates how you cannot give someone sushi when they want kung pao chicken.

But back to the ask.  Calls to action (or CTAs, for short) are tricky on social media. Are they necessary? Yes.  But there is a way to make the ask, and maybe this wasn’t it.  And who knew?  We are all learning.  Often, it’s the community that tells us what works, and what doesn’t.  What struck me were the kindly intentioned but direct responses of two of his Facebook Fans to his ask for Twitter followers (please pardon the crude language):

Hey man, you are f’ing awesome and sh!t… But don’t get greedy on followers. Just be your awesome self, and followers will show up anyways 🙂


Yeah, keep having fun with it and everything else will come along. The second you start thinking you deserve things, you start losing the respect of the people already following you.

Significantly, he did not make his 2,000 Twitter follower goal.  So, maybe there is a lesson here for businesses and nonprofits.  Don’t push your luck too quickly, too soon.  Let the fans come to you.  Do what you do best, and you will earn the reputation.  Focus on what you already have and on engaging your current fans.

Does this mean we stop using advertising, or PR, or social media to try and attract more attention for our services, products, or missions?  No!  Especially for other types of brands, a more assertive approach may be warranted.  Just — keep it real on social media.  It’s important not to lose sight of the fundamentals, or force your hand.

But it’s also very true on social media that if you have earned the love and respect of fans, then they will forgive the fumbles you may make occasionally.  And we all make those fumbles, self included!

Congratulations, Daym Drops, on your new success!  Count me among your fans 🙂

Just for fun, here is one of his funny fast food reviews…

Marketing Ideas and Content Themes for your September Editorial Calendar

I cannot believe summer is over.  I would be devastated about this if Fall were not my favorite season.

Still, it never feels good, does it, the end of summer?  I’m bummed, I don’t mind telling you.

Well, chin up, Skippy, and get back to work.  I might as well make it easy for those of you who have to come up with fresh ideas for your Facebook Pages, blogs, and Twitter updates.  Have I let  you down yet this year?  No!  So here are a few more ideas to round out your September editorial calendar.  And a few events, too.

Saturday, September 1: It’s National Preparedness Month, which means it’s the perfect time to review your workplace emergency prevention plan, crisis relations plan, and check on emergency supplies you have on hand, such as water, first aid kit, crank radio, emergency lanterns.  For $5 per person, you could also equip each employee with their own personal Safety Tube, which I think makes a lot of sense if you work in a large office building. Read more workplace preparedness tips here.

If you have a B2B clients, consider working this theme into your social media updates.  Follow @FEMA on Twitter for tips and use the hashtag #NPM.  Hey, here’s an idea: you could also pin your photos of your workplace emergency response kit or drill activity on a company Pinterest board.

Here’s a freebie: the Small Business Administration and Agility Recovery are offering four free webinars each Wednesday at 2 p.m. EST this month to help you be prepared at the workplace; register here.  Communicators may be especially interested in the September 19 webinar on using social media during a crisis.

Sunday, September 2: Shoppers are looking for bargains this weekend.  If you’re in retail, or have an online shopping site, take advantage of this by offering special deals all weekend long.  Maybe this is the weekend you launch your online shopping site on YouTube, a feature that is now available to YouTube Partners (like Fletcher Prince).  This is also a good time to market winter getaways and vacations, if that is your business.

Monday, September 3: It’s Labor Day, and a federal holiday.  A lot of people are home from work, so this is a good time to connect with fans and followers online.

If you want a bump in followers, consider taking advantage of the $100 advertising credit being offered by Twitter to many business accounts, and put some promoted tweets out there. Or run a holiday-specific sponsored story on Facebook.

Take this time to celebrate the contributions of your employees, and maybe share their stories on YouTube, Facebook, and on your company blog.  Follow the U.S. Department of Labor @USDOL and use hashtag #LaborDay2012

Tuesday, September 4: Today is the first day of school for kids in most Northern, VA public schools (Maryland, DC and Loudoun County started last week). Wish the kids good luck this year, and please remember to brake for school buses and school crossings.

Back-to-school makes a great theme for blog posts, by the way.  Another hot topic is how parents can keep kids safe online.

Sunday, September 9: Hail to the Redskins!  Football season kicks off today for DC with the opening game of the Redskins vs. the New Orleans Saints.  Kickoff is at 1 pm, EST.  Like the Skins on Facebook.

Hey, people like to talk about football.  If you’re smart, you’ll find ways to work this football chatter into your Facebook Page updates for your brand, so you can increase your edge rank.

Monday, September 10: The DC Ad Club presents Ad Week, a series of presentations and events about, you guessed it, advertising!  Most of the events take place today and tomorrow at the Washington Plaza Hotel.  You can follow the action @AdWkDC on Twitter.

Tuesday, September 11: Today is Patriot Day, a day for remembrance of the tragedies of September 11, 2001.  U.S. flags are flown at half-mast, by order of the President, and there is a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. EST

Sunday, September 16:  Beginning at sundown and running through September 18, Rosh Hashanah is an important Jewish observance that marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year and the start of the High Holy Days.

The traditional greeting is to wish people “Shana Tova,” or “a good year.”

Monday, September 17:  Please join your Fletcher Prince friends at Whitlow’s on Wilson (Arlington, VA – Metro: Clarendon) for our monthly Network and Lunch event, noon.  Cost of lunch is on your own and I guarantee you will enjoy it 🙂  Register here.

Wednesday, September 19: Arrr!  Avast, matey, today is International Talk Like A Pirate DayEverything you need to know is right here.

You know what would be fun?  If everyone in the office also DRESSED like Pirates.  You know you want to do this.  Think of the Facebook pictures and video potential here!

But if you just can’t bring yourself to do it, then try this: change the language setting on your Facebook profile for today.  Go to your account settings, and under “Language,” select: “English (Pirate).”  Don’t worry, no one else will know 🙂

Saturday, September 22: Today is the first day of autumn and also the autumnal equinox, a day when sunrise and sunset occur 12 hours apart.

Tuesday, September 25:  The holiest day of the year for Jews is today, Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, and a time for fasting, repentance and prayer.  The traditional greeting associated with Yom Kippur is to wish people an easy or benefitting fast.

Thursday, September 27: Happy Birthday, Google! The company turns 14 today.  A good day to check out and share the Google Doodle 🙂

Who in DC doesn’t secretly love a juicy Scandal?  The ABC show is returning for its second season this evening at 10 p.m. EST and you can bet a lot of people in DC will be tweeting Olivia Pope’s latest lines: follow @ScandalABC on Twitter.

Saturday, September 29: Tonight and tomorrow night, make sure you step outside to view the rising of the Harvest Moon which is almost always a spectacular sight, when weather conditions are right.

Sunday, September 30: Today is an important day in Asian culture — the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival.  The ancient festival is celebrated with dragon dances, lanterns, mooncakes, and celebrations.  If you’ve never had a mooncake, you must try one!  They’re sweet and taste like flowers.   Visit Eden Center in Falls Church, Virginia to find an authentic mooncake.  Mooncakes are a unique treat to distribute to clients or for your kids to take to school.

I know I’m talking a lot about TV this month, but Revenge, people!  I, for one, cannot wait to see what Emily, um, Amanda, um Emily…oh, you know who I mean.  What she’s up to, along with her trusty sidekick and my fave character, Nolan 🙂  Feel compelled to live-tweet every moment?  Follow @Revenge on Twitter and use hashtag #Revenge

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