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Getting Down to Business (Cards) Part 1

Why bother getting a business when you can just get the cards?

Well, not quite my point, but sort of where I’m going with this post. This is actually what a friend of mine jokingly said when he heard I was ordering a new batch of  cards to promote my PR services to future clients. Business cards I argued, (or “calling cards” to the old school crowd), are absolutely necessary for anyone looking to promote themselves, their brand and their services to the world. Even if a bona fide “business” isn’t quite ready to go.  Consider the following:

  • Even if you’re perfectly content in your current job, it never hurts to have something in your back pocket (literally, in this case) to hand to someone featuring your services independently, should opportunity strike.
  • Even in this digital age, business cards are still the most direct way to communicate your brand to others while giving them something to remember you by.
  • Not a graphic designer? No problem. DIY business cards have never been easier or more affordable. In fact, a cool 20 bucks should get you off and running with a tall stack of high-quality, professional cards.
  • With literally hundreds of resources out there to guide you through everything from the card stock to font size, it’s nearly impossible to screw up.  

Added bonus, having your own cards is a wonderfully empowering and confidence-boosting way to tell the world you’re ready for what’s next. When dreaming big, sometimes it’s those little tangible markers along the way that help remind us that we have the power to make our dreams reality.

While I wrap up Part 2 of this post (which will include a complete list of my fav business card sites and pricing options), if you’ve got any business card tips, tricks or insights of your own, please share!


In the City of Light

Sometimes all there is left to do is keep calm and carry on.

This overused british slogan pearl of wisdom is a lesson I painfully learned two weeks ago, when I touched down in beautiful Paris, only to discover that my trusty laptop had died on the way over, killed by a ruthless virus. Suddenly, my Tour de France had turned into my very own 20-day digital detox (eeek!) that promised bleak and sad days of no blogging, emailing, Facebooking, or Tweeting in sight.

Putting my short but ugly withdrawal period aside, unplugging for a few days turned out to be pretty great. Cut off from my cyber world, I was able to explore the big, beautiful world of Paris completely distraction (and deadline) free. So, while being able to blog or email the occasional “Bonjour from Paris!” message to loved ones would have been nice, I am grateful to that little virus that forced my laptop closed.

As my first post back in the States, I figured the best way to start was by sharing a few pics from my dreamy Parisian vacay (posted after the jump.) Hope you enjoy them! Read more

Bon Voyage, Little Brother

Today is the day my baby brother (he’s 27) will tuck away his college degrees and a resume that lists his experience working for the likes of the U.S. District Attorney and swanky PR firms, to begin work on a whale watching/scuba diving tour boat in Maui. Cue the tears from the overprotective big sister.

Meet my brother Kenny.

Interestingly (maybe expectedly), every guy I share this with is consumed with immediate envy and awe. I get it. With 10 years of lifeguarding under his belt (a part-time job in college, and then again in grad school), and with his insatiable love for both water and people, I can’t imagine a more perfect adventure for my little brother to take on.

In the midst of all the going away festivities held last weekend in his honor, I started to think about the kind of courage it takes to embark on a new adventure. Nevermind making a life-changing decision your family may not have expected (ahem, like moving to an island.) The key, I’m learning from my brother, is to simply follow your heart. Because when it’s all said and done, these are the adventures that will bring us closer to our purpose. As I write this, I am reminded of what Chris Brogan had to say on the topic of courage a few months back: Read more

Your Press Releases = Online News, Or Why You Should Be Writing to Your Consumers

Chances are, if you’re still writing press releases with just the media in mind, you’re missing out on one of the most effective ways to communicate directly with your consumers.  In today’s virtually connected world, direct-to-consumer press releases have never been more popular critical. Sure, a few traditionalists out there will argue that press releases should still be written strictly for the press (I’m talking to you, Steve Rubel), but I solidly back the likes of David Meerman Scott in this debate, who argues that in today’s market, great content is valuable no matter what the medium. Combine this theory with the fact that more and more people are ditching newspapers to find their news online, and you have one strong case for creating direct-to-consumer news within the digital space.

Your readers will rejoice over snappy new press releases written just for them!

Added bonus: if you follow a few simple steps (like thinking like a reporter), and have a distribution plan in place that utilizes social media along with a more traditional wire service, (the search engine optimization of most big-name wire services still can’t be beat. I’m a fan of PR Newswire but there are tons to choose from), your press releases can easily get more online exposure than anything printed in your local daily.

In fact, I’m such a believer in the direct-to-consumer press release that over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be scouring my online resources and surveying friends to collect the best tips I can find for writing a knockout press release your consumers will love! Stay tuned.

My Greatest Inspiration

Inspiration is all around us. Like Mitch Joel writes, “you are being inspired all the time.” The trick is to catch the moment and not be afraid to express yourself, no matter how small or silly an idea might seem. As I move from my PR agency work to something more independent, I find myself surrounded by inspiration like never before. It is as though this new journey is helping me see life in a new way. Sure, there are times when I hesitate, doubt or dismiss an idea, but when that happens, I hear a familiar voice inside my head that reminds me there is nothing to fear. I’m pretty sure that voice belongs to my Mom, telling me, as she has ever since I very little, that we’re on this earth to follow our dreams. Don’t waste the opportunity.

When inspiration struck my Mom a few years ago (right around the same time the cancer did), she didn’t waste a moment to take a leap of faith and learn something completely new. For her, this was learning how to paint. Read more

Stress Ball No More: My 5-Step Plan For Better Living

Working in PR can be straight up cray. From missing meals to missing sleep, there can be a lot of sacrifice in this 24/7 job. While I’ve always loved a fast-paced environment, lately I’ve been feeling the effects of going on nearly 10 years in the business (wow, time flies!) without much work/life balance. When a colleague jokingly referred to my recent dip in energy as “battle fatigue,” I knew it was time for me to step it up and get a better handle on my health and wellness.

Although I do plenty to recharge after long stretches of intense, no-nonsense work (surfing vacays are my favorite…shout-out to my peeps at Swellwomen), I’ve recently been inspired to work on the little, daily bad habits that can keep life complicated and stressful.  In case you’re feeling the need for a similar boost, here are 5 simple steps worth trying: Read more

Tagged, Not it: My Brief (and Creepy) Encounter with a “Social Discovery” Site

Call me naive, but when I read about a social networking site called Tagged that is blowing it up with their user engagement, I had to learn more.  I admit, I had never heard of the “social discovery” site, where as the Founder/CEO recently described it,  people go “to make new social relationships.” If you’re wondering how that’s any different from say, Facebook, his answer is this: “Facebook is the place where you maintain your current 150…Tagged will be the place where you refresh that 150.”

As of Sunday night, a quick Google search for Tagged only brought up the site itself, a Wikipedia page, this Mashable article, and the company’s social media. Maybe that’s because the buzz is just beginning for this company,  but with over 300 million members  (according to, it seems there are a few missing pieces to this picture. Am I wrong to think that 300 million members is a whole lotta people for a social networking site to score when it has received little to no coverage since launching in 2004?

It may have been at that point that I decided to jump right in and set up an account. Read more

6 Pages You’ll Want to Dogear in “The New Relationship Marketing”

Here goes my first book review. I’m starting off with Mari Smith’s latest book: The New Relationship Marketing, which is an awesome read on personal branding and social media.

I first picked up a copy a couple of weeks ago at my local library (because I still go to the library), but about half way through, overwhelmed by the urge to start underlining sections and dogearing pages, I returned it, ordered my own on Amazon, and have kept it in reaching distance of my desktop pretty much ever since.

Although Mari’s social media focus is slightly different from mine, and maybe different from yours, (she isn’t one for daily blogging, for instance, but she can be found on Twitter and Facebook everyday, where she has amassed a following of thousands and thousands of people), her book has plenty of useful tips for anyone looking to expand their online presence. Read more

Pinterest We Still Love You: Pinterest Tips Worth Following (Part 2)

Graphic Courtesy of

For your reading pleasure, here is round two of the best pointers I could find for using Pinterest to expand your brand (struggling to relate your brand to a pinboard? a great branding PR tip is to visualize your brand as an actual person and then go from there. What kinds of things would he or she find funny, or adorable, or inspiring? you get the idea.) 

Captions are key.

Pinterest may be a visual platform, but never forget about the power of a strong caption! Although you have a ton of room to work with (the max is 500 characters), as Steve Smith reports, 20-30 characters seems to be the “sweet spot” for being repinned. While the goal may be to keep captions short, you should consider including at least a couple of the following: (these tips and more after the jump) Read more

Pinterest Tips Worth Following

With the Pinterest wave still riding high (nevermind a little leveling off), here is part 1 of a 2-part post on the best tips I could find for using Pinterest to boost your brand equity:

Be a visual storyteller.

This may sound obvious, but since Pinterest is all about visual content, if you want to be repinned, says Mikinzie Stuart from PR Geek Speak, be visually interesting. Look for images that tell a story or that have something to offer the viewer. Keep in mind that the most repinned images are funny, inspiring or helpful.

Here’s one example of visual storytelling in action: the brains behind the Pinterest account for Oreck vacuums often looks for images that show a problem their product can help solve. Hence, you’ll find an entire Oreck pinboard dedicated to very adorable, very loveable and very messy pets (get it? messes to clean?) And pinners go wild for it! You can also visit the Travel Channel’s pinboard for similarly excellent examples. Read more

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