Publicity Ideas Score Big with Celebrations and Commemorations

Publicists scratching their heads for story ideas need look no further than the commemorative events occurring just about every week in the United States. They’re the perfect occasion around which to build events for a product, service, grand opening, book debut, new attraction, celebrity, award program, or any other commemoration in which publicity is a component.

National Tourism Week will be celebrated May 2-10, 2015, and it’s a great forum for staging events that highlight a client hotel, resort, destination, or travel-related product or service. Build a promotion around the Week, and you’ll be able to ride the wave of national publicity that the U.S. Travel Association generates.

Commemorative dates that celebrate food, such as National Chocolate Mousse Day, Coffee Cake Day, Tater Day and National Grilled Cheese Month provide a host of ideas for themed events that are ideal for drawing attention to a new restaurant, cookbook, or chef through traditional media outlets, or social media. The week after Easter is Egg Salad Week perfect for restaurants and chefs to celebrate the incredible, edible egg™. May is National Salad Month, a perfect vehicle for produce growers and food services.

 A list of monthly food celebrations and holidays can be found at Holidays and Observances.

Here’s a quirky idea for a social media contest: May 12 is Limerick Day, celebrating Edward Lear’s 1846 opus, a Book of Nonsense. Ogden Nash had it right when he wrote his limerick “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker,” and Isaac Asimov, the naughty master of science fiction, kicked it up notch with “Lecherous Limericks.” If you’re a restaurant publicist create a Facebook or Instagram contest for the best Limerick, and award the winner with a prize suited to the event, product or cause you are promoting.

Believe it or not, there’s a National Bathroom Reading Month celebrated in June. If you represent an author, school or bookstore, slate a book signing at your client hotel or restaurant, and partner with local media to help promote your special event. According to the Huffington Post, while cavemen were relegated to counting rocks to pass the time in the loo, modern man is blessed with a plethora of books designed to keep us amused. Barnes & Noble has them all.

PR is Dead? That’s News to Us

In a recent article in O’Dwyers Communications & New Media magazine, a review appeared about Robert Phillips’ book, Trust Me, PR is Dead. While I think that the terms “PR” and “public relations” should be retired, because few people, even those who are buying the service, understand what it means, it does characterize the channels of communications that many of us successfully practice and whose results we are able to quantify for clients.

Mr. Phillips’ claim that PR is dead isn’t factually correct, because most practitioners know that PR has, instead, undergone a most-welcome evolution. Publicists, for example, have more new media in which to place their messages than ever before. New-media stories can be just as, or more influential than what turns up in magazines, newspapers, print and on electronic media. In the realm of travel publicity, for instance, over 50 percent of today’s travelers book their travel online, which provides payoffs to the publicist placing stories on influential websites and blogs. It serves to demonstrate that travel stories appearing online do generate measurable results.

It was a pleasure to see a rejoinder to Phillips’ claim that PR is dead, by Kathy Cripps, president of the PR Council, who writes: “Whether a firm is helping clients to create dialogue in social communities, engendering trust with their audiences, or moving people to action, it’s PR and it’s never been more relevant.”

6 Tips for Managing PR Activity Time for Profitability and Efficiency

efficiency-profitabilitySmall PR agencies, particularly, are given to servicing their clients until the job is done. The operative words, here, are keeping clients happy, and keeping clients, period.

We love our clients and many become friends, because small agencies work hard at preserving the relationship, with frequent personal and phone meetings, and intense servicing that often goes way beyond the retainer or project fee. Let’s face it, almost everyone works at a paid job to earn a living, and if you’re in business for yourself, you’re mindful of ensuring that client service and overhead do not eclipse a reasonable profit.

Here are a few ways to maintain client goodwill, and save precious time AND your sanity:

  • When you’re pitching the business, be kind to yourself and don’t make promises to the prospective client that you can’t keep. Though you are presenting to make the best impression and to get the business, be clear on what you can provide for the fee you’ve presented.
  • As soon as you win the business, discuss with your client all aspects of what you’ll be handling, then create the PR plan. Invite your client to “buy in” to the program by asking him or her to sign it after all parties agree to the terms. This can even be part of the letter of agreement. Within that plan, reiterate the number of hours you will spend on the account for the range of activities. In our experience, it’s prudent to cover deadlines. For example, how much time will you need to execute each project?
  • Cash flow is king; if you bill your client monthly, bill the 15th of the present month for next month’s fee; include expenses for the previous month. If you can help it, don’t mark anything up, unless you get the client’s permission.
  • Monitor your time, carefully. If you’re charging a retainer for 20 hours per month and you’re experiencing a lot of client pop-ups, such as requests for unplanned-for press releases, let your client know that there may be a surcharge. Better yet, remind him or her that you’ll need to schedule the release into your business calendar, and for that, you’ll need lead time.
  • If you are serving a board of directors, chamber of commerce, travel destination, or a client with multiple constituents, identity early in the relationship who your contact is. Rely on that person to provide you with the material and information you need. They are in the best position to resource everything you require. It’s a huge time-saver.
  • Don’t try to figure everything out yourself. If you need office help, virtual assistants are invaluable, and you don’t have to payroll them. We’ve worked with Christine Buffaloe at Serenity Virtual Assistant Services for some years, and she’s peerless. If you need to advance your education on social media, request to be added to Michael Stelzner’s newsletter list; in our estimation, he’s the best. Joan Stewart , AKA The Publicity Hound, is an original thinker and publicity maven who offers some of the best publicity advice to both seasoned professionals and PR newcomers.

Ten Hooks to Resuscitate the Press Release

Ten HooksThe press release is still alive, but it needs resuscitation. Here’s why: sometimes we forget how little time media have to read our press releases, which is the reason we know to produce only a one-page document, double-spaced. It’s easy to forget, though, especially when a client wants to see scores of facts packed in to a release. Then, it often evolves into a two to three pager, single spaced.

Here are 10 hooks, reminders, if you will, for besting other releases that hit an editor’s desk, and ensuring your news gets read:

  1. Plan the news hook before you ever start writing. You can help shape your hook by using trends that support your subject, and other topical news angles as tie-in’s.
  2. Set your margins at least an inch on both sides of the page and double-space.
  3. Put a date at the top under your contact material, NOT in the dateline. This may seem counter intuitative, but protocol-wise, it’s only the purview of the news media to feature the date in the dateline. One Associated Press Stylebook of the best resources for checking such rules is the .
  4. You only have 10 seconds to get the attention of a busy editor or blogger, so title the release as a veteran traditional media writer would; use a headline that grabs attention. Use caps and lowercase, not all caps, because most of us are distributing releases by email.
  5. Open your release with a sentence that makes the reader want to continue. If you’ve drafted your story and it’s ho-hum, look farther down the first paragraph; you may have buried the perfect lead.
  6. Humor, poignancy, pathos (not melodrama), expressions of generosity, and tie-ins to current events can be components of a first paragraph that takes the reader to where you want him or her to go.
  7. This may seem a no-brainer, but publicity writers sometimes forget to put the most important information in the first paragraph and supporting facts, thereafter.
  8. Media love an articulate writer. Instead of flamboyant words, adjectives and superlatives, try using evocative, descriptive language. After all, you’re “painting” a picture for the reader; it’s a form of “show” don’t “tell.”
  9. Don’t feature a protracted “boiler plate” at the end of your release. People who represent hotels, destination, and resorts, often add these and they simply take up precious news space. A few lines will do.
  10. Write an interesting release with the who, what, when, where and why on one page by using spare prose with hard-hitting action nouns and well-chosen words. Use “active voice” only and no passive sentences.

It’s Lobster Festival Time in Redondo Beach

Get ready to dig into your favorite lobster dishes at The Redondo Beach Lobster Festival, back for its 19th year. It is the South Bay’s best outdoor beach event of the year.

Hosted by the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, this year’s Lobster Festival has new surprises: ‘More to Sea’ featuring new lobster dishes, more music, and more fun.

This waterfront festival will serve fresh Maine lobster dinners, plus their very own Surf ‘N Turf steak and lobster dinners featuring Certified Angus Beef ® Center-Cut New York Strip Steak and Maine Lobster Tail, or a stand-alone 12 oz. Certified Angus Beef ® Center-Cut New York Strip Steak dinner.

Head down to the beach and feast on the best lobster dishes in the South Bay. The new Redondo Beach Lobster Festival Bistro imports lobster straight from Maine. They mix claw, tail and knuckle meat with butter and lemon for a gastronomical adventure!

New Development – The Lobster Bistro

This year, the Festival is introducing their newest addition, the Lobster Bistro, with new dishes created by San Francisco Chef David Seawell.

San Francisco Chef David Seawell creates lobster dishes for the new Lobster Bistro at the Redondo Beach Lobster Festival.

Between bites of the crustaceans, guests will have an opportunity to nibble on lobster that has been transformed into new succulent dishes, prepared by the fine chefs at Redondo Beach Restaurant Kincaids, including:

The Lobster Roll – Chunks of tender, sweet, cooked lobster meat barely napped in a thin coating of mayonnaise, all stuffed into a top-split bun, lightly toasted in butter. – $12

As delicious as it looks: the Lobster Roll.

Open Face Ravioli – $12 – Gluten free pasta, lobster, asparagus, walnuts and corn sauce.

Mac n’ Cheese – $6 – Lobster, decadent cheese, sweet peas and crumb topping.

Lobster Mac n’ Cheese – $6

Lobster Chowder – $6 Chunky rich chowder.

Lobster Chowder. Just… divine.

Lobster Caesar – $6 Chunks of tender, sweet, cooked lobster meat atop a kale and romaine salad dressed in a lemon-garlic dressing.

Lobster Taco – $6 – Lobster, corn tortilla, slaw and corn salsa.

Go here to see and read about all the succulent dishes available all weekend long on the Redondo Beach Lobster Festival Menu.

Another option is the Hands On, 3 Course VIP Feast: Shrimp Cocktail and warm artichoke with dipping sauces and crusty bread.

1.25 lb. Fresh Maine Lobster, Cajun Sausage, corn on the cob, garlic and potato spread classic New England style in the middle of the table Kincaid’s Famous Key Lime Pie Table Service $160/couple


This year’s entertainment is the icing on the cake. BARLEY LEGAL has been compared to acts such as Tom Petty, Wilco, and the E Street Band, but have a new, original fresh sound of their own. The three singers harmonize beautifully together, evoking the sound of the Everly Brothers or Simon & Garfunkel. The rest of the band is filled out by acoustic & electric guitars, keyboards, trumpet, saxophone, bass, and drums.

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Parents’ Date Night Package At The Fess Parker Hotel & Resort

Parenting comes with its perks at The Fess Parker a Doubletree by Hilton Resort, which offers the best of both worlds – travel with the little ones to a family-friendly resort, combined with a night out for the parents while the children fessparkerenjoy personal attention from a sitter in the comfort of their room.

Families can now enjoy the Parents’ Date Night Package, available seven days a week, beginning this month, amid 360 newly-renovated guestrooms, inspired by a fluid architecture and Spanish Colonial design at the AAA-Four Diamond beachfront resort.

The Parents’ Date Night Package guestroom rates start at $239, based on space availability for four people. The all-inclusive package includes:

  • Deluxe guestroom accommodations in a newly renovated guestroom. Parents choose from either a king bedded accommodation with a pullout sofa bed or two queen bedded guestroom with two queen beds, plus a complimentary rollaway bed and/or crib.
  • One complimentary bottle of Parker Family Reserve Wine upon arrival, blended and bottled exclusively for the Fess Parker Resort from Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard in Los Olivos.
  • Two complimentary drink tickets for cocktails, wine, or beer at The Set, the Resort’s ocean-view lobby bar restaurant, complete with a romantic patio warmed by firepits and facing the Pacific.
  • A $50 gift card credit towards University Sitters professional in-room childcare. (Please note: there is a three-hour minimum, Monday-Thursday, and a four-hour minimum Friday-Sunday for certified babysitting. To ensure availability, reservations are required a minimum of 48 hours in advance. There is a maximum of four children).

To book the special Parents’ Date Night Package, call reservations at 805-564-4333 and mention L-PK3 (Parents Date Night package). More information can also be found by visiting
the hotel’s website at

Fess Parker Hotel Santa Barbara

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Fess Parker Hotel Santa Barbara 34.416920, -119.676347

Beer Pairing Dinner Rodney’s Grill at The Fess Parker

RodneysSteakhouseThe culinary team, led by Executive Chef Kirk DeLong from Rodney’s Grill at The Fess Parker – A Doubletree by Hilton Resort, believes nothing tastes quite like an ice-cold hand crafted beer to quench summertime thirst.

With that belief in mind, DeLong is taking beer to a whole new level with the resort’s first ever Beer Pairing Dinner complementing a $79 per person (plus tax and gratuity) delectable four-course tasting menu with hand crafted beers from Orange County’s The Bruery. A special $70 per person price is being offered to The Fess Parker Winery’s Wine Club and The Bruery’s “Hoarders and Reserve Societies” exclusive members.

The tasting dinner will be held on July 26th at 7 p.m.

In attendance at the tasting event will be CEO & Founder Patrick Rue whose six-year-old company, The Bruery, will provide a brief overview to guests about the pairing of signature beers with each course. Chef DeLong will share with diners highlights of American dishes and the use of fresh regional produce and ingredients which complement the beers. The Bruery is a boutique craft brewery specializing in barrel-aged and experimental ales. Founded as a small, friend and family run business in 2008, The Bruery takes its unique moniker from founder Patrick Rue’s family surname.

“The Fess Parker family have a long time tradition in the wine and hospitality business in Santa Barbara County, and are delighted to be working collaboratively with the family-owned business The Bruery. The two have worked collaboratively on the release of “Confession,” a sour- style beer fermented with Riesling grapes that tastes like wine, and is ranked high among beer critics,” according to Director of Sales & Business Development Beth Olson of The Fess Parker – A Doubletree by Hilton Resort.

Advance reservations for the tasting event are required by calling the resort’s concierge at 805-884-8533 or via open table at

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Rodney's Steakhouse

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Rodney\'s Steakhouse 34.416920, -119.676347


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Nulla consequat massa quis enim. Donec pede justo, fringilla vel, aliquet nec, vulputate eget, arcu. In enim justo, rhoncus ut, imperdiet a, venenatis vitae, justo. Nullam dictum felis eu pede mollis pretium. Integer.

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BALEENkitchen Bloody Mary Mother’s Day Brunch

Join us Mother’s Day in BALEENkitchen for our famous bottomless – ‘Make Your Own’ Bloody Mary Bar and unlimited mimosas! The Bloody Mary Bar features 20 different hot sauces from around the world, fancy garnishesBloody_Mary and special spices for just $15! BALEENkitchen will also feature outdoor Marina side dining, our A La Carte Brunch Menu and additional Mother’s Day Specials created by Chef Richard!

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Portofino Hotel

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Portofino Hotel 33.845612, -118.397062