Nine Tips for a Happy Union Between PR Agency & Client

When PR agencies experience “revolving door” client relationships, there are several reasons that go beyond quality of service. With all things being equal that the agency is doing a good job, ill will can still sprout and grow quickly, if service executives aren’t paying attention. Here are a few tips that will preserve client goodwill and ensure enduring relationships:

  1. Call the client at least once a week or more frequently. There is no substitute for face time. One PR colleague took on a new partner and learned the hard way that she was averse to talking with clients, despite his insistence of a weekly call. The partnership didn’t last.
  2. If your policy is not to issue a formal monthly or bi-monthly written PR activity report, call the client frequently with updates. Staying in touch is critical, and there’s no substitute for the PR professional’s voice. Video conferencing saves money and still gives you face time.
  3. Honor your promises to clients; we learned the hard way when we accepted a project, and extenuating circumstances, or so we thought, short-circuited our timeline and we were late with the deliverables.
  4. Create a PR plan and timeline that shows your client exactly what you’ll be doing. Have the client buy into the plan, and once it’s the way you both want it, both of you should sign it. Granted, it’s only a framework, subject to change as opportunities dictate, but it clearly delineates what activities you’ll provide, what is outside the scope of what you’re hired to do, and cost.
  5. When you pitch a new account, avoid word-bloat in the proposal. The number of words doesn’t substitute for “meat and potatoes,” including creativity, strategy, and demonstrable capabilities that make you a stand-out and better for the job than your competitors. Use action verbs, good descriptive language, and above all, create a picture for the prospective client that “shows, not tells.”
  6. Don’t be afraid to disagree with your client on media relations or other aspects of the public relations process. Your client is paying for your expertise. Still, there’s a point at which you don’t argue, and, unless your client is asking something that’s unethical, unprofessional, or illegal, accept it and move on.
  7. Keep time sheets, in case your clients have questions about how you’ve spent the PR activity time they’ve bought from you. This serves another purpose: if you’re putting in hours that eclipse the PR fee and eroding your profit, then you’ll have a case for going back to ask for more fee. The other alternative, especially if you’re on a retainer, is to explain that you must draw back on services and will be glad to roll them over until the following month.
  8. Be aware that in this day of tight budgets and bottom line mentality, many clients don’t like charges for expenses, preferring that they’re charged one fee that includes expenses. This is particularly prevalent in the travel and tourism industry, right now, and it’s often a hardship for the agency.
  9. Created a plan for quantifying the impact of your PR programsMeasure Your Successes. Your clients are interested in results, and by setting benchmarks and goals, you show them return on investment.

 

Communication is Fragile and Open to Misinterpretation

Have you ever had someone email you in monosyllables, giving instructions on a complex issue, only to leave you scratching your head, trying to extrapolate what they mean? Well, it happens all the time, and it’s the surest way to ensure mistakes in translating and acting on instructions in your communication.

Email and messaging apps are used constantly by today’s communicators, because they have their own vernacular, truncating text and allowing a time-deficient writer to hurry through a message and get it to the reader. Great, you say, but it’s not.

Unless you’re an attorney, whose written language is excruciatingly precise, you could be guilty of delivering puzzling, incomplete messages. Unfortunately, you can’t assume that your reader knows what you’re talking about, based upon past discussion of the subject. Information must be within context of what you’re delivering right now, with relevant background and related facts.

Believe it or not, there are simple shortcuts to writing lucid, clear messages that can be created and delivered quickly. Mind Tools – (Twitter – @mind_tools) offers “The 7 C’s of Communication”, which we synopsize here, as a great way to put out clear messages:

  1. Take a minute to organize your thoughts before you start typing or dictating. Be clear in what you intend to write, putting one clear idea into each sentence.
  2. Be concise – stay on point, and stay brief, using short sentences. Your audience doesn’t want to read six sentences, with a lot of filler words, when the point could be made in one sentence.
  3. Support your message with concrete details relevant to the topic. Confusion can reign when the writer gets caught up in superfluous words that are unnecessary for clarity.
  4. Correct grammar and punctuation is critical. Read the message a couple of times before you send it, looking for grammatical errors, including syntax and spelling. Being perceived at literate lends credibility to your message.
  5. A clear communication must be coherent, with a logical order of ideas and thoughts that reinforce the topic.
  6. A complete message provides your reader with all of the tools necessary to be informed and to take action, as necessary. Ask yourself whether your message has a “call to action” as well as relevant information, including names, places, dates, times and such.
  7. Courtesy is an essential component of effective messages, because words can sometimes be taken the wrong way. If you’re uncertain whether to use a particular word, characterization, description, or sentence structure that could trigger the wrong response, rethink it. That’s the beauty of the English language; there are so many clear ways to relate your message, accurately.

Press Release 101 Redux

Brevity in press release-writing has been stated, written, brayed about, beaten into PR neophytes, and taught in college PR classes, exhaustively.  Why, then, are PR people are still sending multiple-page press releases that end up in an editor’s round file, because they’re too lengthy to read, they don’t get to the point in the first three sentences, and the facts are hidden in the fourth paragraph? Moreover, we’re seeing a blurring of lines between promotional and advertising copy that is referred to as a “press release.”  Promotional copy is integral in the marketing process, but it should not be confused with publicity writing. This blog shows some interesting distinctions between ad and publicity writing.

Editors and media staff writers have more to think about nowadays than recycling paper that doesn’t fit their editorial needs. Those hanging on to their jobs are assuming more editorial duties as newsrooms continue to shrink. We as PR professionals can help by creating press releases that fit the standard and by writing promotional copy that is clearly targeted toward the promotion of goods or services.

Publicity writers can ensure that their press release enjoys the best chance of getting used, not to mention that they will save editors a lot of grief:

–Keep releases to one page, at least 1.5 inch linear spacing, with at least .75-inch margins.
–Editors sometimes lift factual copy from a press release, so it’s unwise to send them pdf’s of press releases.
–It’s risky to embed jpegs into a Word document, then copy the text and images into the body of an email. Some recipients receive it garbled, featuring lots of weird code.
–Instead of a multiple-page press release, use one or two back-links that go to a landing page about the service or product mentioned in the press release.
–Note at the top of the release that good images and more background on the product or service is available at… then give the website site or email through which the reader can get more. information.

Thank-You Notes Never Out of Style

Gifts are a funny thing. We receive one, thank the person sitting across from us who just gave it, and that’s it; we’ve done our duty in acknowledging the kindness. Oh, really? I don’t think so. The dearth of written “thank you” cards that are stamped and mailed is a symptom of a host of changes in communications triggered by time constraints, and growth of social media-speak. It can also demonstrate how people feel about the giver and whether it’s worth the trouble of sending a written thank-you note. The giver could be a friend, father, aunt, sister, mother, or brother that the recipient likes, and, certainly, the monetary value of the gift is a benchmark of how important the recipient is to the giver. Unbelievable, then, that many who receive an important gift don’t think about writing and mailing a thank-you card.

I have a theory about this; maybe, it’s because most people have no idea the level of surprise and delight that a giver feels when he or she receives a thank-you note – perhaps because it’s so rare. Hallmark Cards has a cool guide – that makes it easy to get a card done in record time. Even if it’s an email, a written missive emotionally indebts the giver to the recipient.

6th Annual Taste of the Redondo Beach Pier & Waterfront

Sample over 50 restaurants and businesses along the Redondo Beach Waterfront at the 6th Annual Taste of the Pier in Redondo Beach! Tour the pier, the international boardwalk and King Harbor.

 

 

 

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Redondo Beach Pier 33.838925, -118.390729

12th Annual Rods, Rides & Relics Classic Car Show In Redondo Beach

Cars will be displayed over the water on Redondo Horseshoe Pier

Vote for Your Favorite Car!!

***Cars in this event by invitation only

 

 

 

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20th Annual Redondo Beach Lobster Festival Is the New Gold Standard in Entertainment

Succulent Maine Lobster is still center stage at the 20th Annual Redondo Beach Lobster Festival, Southern California’s original lobster festival. This year’s event, hosted by the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, has an all-new slant on exclusive high-end dining, entertainment, craft beer and wine.

While dining variety still defines the Festival, visitors now have delicious choices in Maine lobster meals ranging from small plate FISHBAR Lobster Bistro favorites to individual fresh Maine lobster meals, Angus beef and lobster tail Surf and Turf, and Kincaid’s New England Lobster Boil, a three-course, hands-on experience for parties of from two to ten diners.

A craft beer tent will offer eight choices from national and local breweries, and a top flight line up of music kicks off Friday night with Doors guitarist Robby Krieger plus special guests. Saturday will see Bow Wow Wow, The Untouchables, Flashback Heart Attack along with a slew of other bands. With Saint Rocke, the South Bay’s most popular music venue curating the line up, the weekend spells festive lobster dining, beverages and a rocking great time for all.

Chef Jessica Jordan of FISHBAR Manhattan Beach has inspired this year’s Fishbar Lobster Bistro, which features small plates of lobster guacamole and chips, lobster rolls, lobster tacos, lobster corn chowder, lobster grilled cheese, and much more.

Friday, September 25, 6-11pm
Saturday, September 26, Noon-11pm
Sunday, September 27, Noon-8pm
Redondo Beach’s Seaside Lagoon, 200 Portofino Way

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Redondo Beach’s Seaside Lagoon 33.844716, -118.395134

Kincaid’s Restaurant, whose executive chef is Executive Chef Ramon Fernandez, was just voted by USAToday.com as one of the “10 Best Restaurants in Los Angeles” is serving its traditionally sold-out, hands-on Kincaid’s New England Lobster Boil. Everyone at the table, whether reserved parties of 2 to 10, digs in to the three-course mouth-watering meal that starts with shrimp cocktail, warm artichoke with dipping sauces and crusty bread. That’s followed by Fresh Maine lobster, corn on the cob, garlic and potato, and Cajun sausage spread classic New England style in the middle of the table. Then comes the finale — Kincaid’s famous Key Lime Pie. Access to the VIP skybox, overlooking the stage, is included, and private bar and VIP beverages are available.

A star of this year’s Lobster Festival, Chef Jessica Jordan, was born into a Central European culinary family, and she is proof that talent runs in the family. She helped open FISHBAR in 2011, which has since won praise as Freshest Seafood in the South Bay (2012), Best Restaurant in Manhattan Beach in 2012, and Best Seafood Soup for the smoked salmon chowder.

Festival visitors will be able to savor their meals with fine wines, and craft beers from national and local breweries such as The Strand Brewing Co., and El Segundo Brewing. The tempo picks up with stand-up paddleboard demonstrations, and paddle boating for guests. Popular every year is the array of vendors selling jewelry, hats, and other must-have’s.

Watch for updates at www.LobsterFestival.com that feature hotel packages for visitors coming from out of town.

13th Annual Back to School Chalk Art Festival on The Pier

Help us turn the Redondo Beach Pier into a concrete canvas! This annual all-ages family event is free and open to the public. Prizes awarded!

 

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2015 Special OIympics World Games Comes to Redondo Beach

Redondo Beach will be the scene of pomp and fanfare, as it strikes up the band with a parade for Special Olympics athletes from Benin, Haiti, and Suriname participating in the 2015 Special OIympics World Games in Los Angeles, for which Redondo Beach is one of its Host Towns. The excitement begins at 5:45pm, Thursday, July 23, 2015, kicking off the Games that start Saturday, July 25, 2015. Everyone is invited to come out for the parade and cheer on delegates from companion Host Towns, including Hermosa Beach and Hawthorne.

The colorful cavalcade will include 330 athletes and Special Olympics’ personnel, including coaches, dressed in their Special Olympics uniforms and holding flags of their countries. Redondo Beach city officials will join the athletes at the beginning of the pier just next to the police sub station as they take the parade route past Tony’s out to the end of the Pier, moving alongside Kincaid’s, down the ramp in front of Quality Seafood, left at the end and over to Samba’s, then north to Ruby’s and on to the Seaside Lagoon. The Redondo Beach Police Department will lead with a motorcycle officer escort.

The Host Town program is a very special 3-day program that takes place prior to the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics World Games. At their Host Towns, delegations of athletes from around the world will be welcomed and honored. The schedule of events will include getting to know community members, taking part in cultural activities unique to each area, and practicing and resting for the Games. The Special Olympics athletes will feel truly celebrated and Host Town members will make friends for life.

For more information about the LA2015 World Games, visit LA2015.org. Competition events are free and open to the public, and tickets for the Opening Ceremony are available for purchase now at LA2015.org via Ticketmaster.

To support the Special Olympics Host Town Program, please visit their website.

Summer Concerts on the Redondo Beach Pier

For over 20 years, the Redondo Pier Association has sponsored the biggest free outdoor summer concert series in the South Bay of Los Angeles. This year, more shows have been added! See you there!