News That Means Business

June 10, 2014

Getting Started (or Re-Started): Your Social Media Primer

So you’re thinking of not just “getting into” social media, but of committing to it as a business communications tool? There are so many platforms to choose from – where do you start? Maybe you’ve already experimented with a few, maybe you’ve taken on everything that’s out there. And maybe the returns are not what you expected. Let’s step back for a moment and re-assess. First things first: Define your objective. What do you want to accomplish with social media? Do you want to raise brand awareness, enhance customer service, build your email list, drive traffic to your company’s website, build community? Maybe all of those or maybe a few?

What you want to do will determine the platforms you should choose. Unless you have a dedicated social media staffer or a specialized outside agency, choose a manageable number of platforms. The following “primer” will help guide you to the best ones for your needs and to the kinds of posts that “work” there.

Which Platforms Are Right for You?

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube all demand consistent and constant updating with valuable, share-worthy content. On the consistency front, that means posting regular updates, multiple times daily if possible, and responding quickly to comments and messages. Consider this time factor carefully when deciding how many platforms you want to use. Better to be great on one or two than mediocre on four or five. Here’s a look at the Big 5.


LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional online networking site, has more than 300 million members, including the decision-makers of many companies and industries. The site features both company and personal profile pages you can use to attract new clients, establish expertise, and build a valuable business network.


  • Establish credibility as an industry expert
  • Connect with business prospects
  • Publicize company updates and industry news


  • Build your network by continually finding and connecting with colleagues, business prospects, and industry leaders
  • Join industry Groups from your personal page and start/participate in discussions
  • Share company updates and industry news


Companies large and small capitalize on Facebook – the most popular of the social networking sites – by communicating directly with their customers who flock there by the millions and share content they like with their friends and followers.


  • Build awareness of and loyalty for your company and its brands
  • Showcase your company’s top-notch service through open dialogue
  • Publicize company news and industry happenings


  • Respond quickly to customer inquiries and comments
  • Engage your audience with an open dialogue including questions and calls to action
  • Share company updates and industry news


Twitter is a micro-blogging social platform known for its real-time information, connecting users to the latest stories, ideas and news.


  • Build relationships with customers, prospects and the media
  • Get the word out on both company and industry happenings
  • Find “trending” news, ideas, products and events and leverage if possible


  • Tweet frequently and consistently 140 (or fewer) characters
  • Retweet to build relationships
  • Use hashtags and keywords
  • Share company updates and industry news


Image-oriented and appealing to an audience (more than 70 million) dominated by affluent females in the 25-45 demographic, Pinterest is the perfect platform for any business producing products or services with eye-appeal. Fashion and beauty, home-related products, real estate, travel, personal services (catering, event planning), food and beverages are all naturals on Pinterest.


  • Showcase for products with visual appeal
  • Strong driver of e-commerce traffic
  • Find trending products


  • “Pin” (post) high-quality images
  • Freshen your page (called a Pinboard) with regular pins
  • Re-pin followers’ content to build relationships


Don’t underestimate YouTube. True, it is the world’s biggest repository of funny pet videos, but it’s also the world’s second largest search engine (behind Google) with over 100 million views daily. Consider joining the top businesses and industry influencers who have YouTube channels.


  • Build awareness of your company, its brands and its leadership
  • Establish credibility and expertise in your industry
  • Boost your search rankings via video content


  • Post good-quality video
  • Use animation as well as live-action
  • Feature your management team as spokespersons
  • Create valuable content (how-to’s, tips, insights), NOT ads

Next steps? Explore each of the Big 5 above. Check out what businesses are there. Determine where you fit best. Weigh the time involved in managing each account. Once you have made your decision as to where you want to be, you’ll be ready to develop content, create a content calendar and launch an integrated online marketing campaign. We’ll have tips on how to do that here on our blog.


February 6, 2014

When the Media Call – Be Ready

Filed under: public relations,Uncategorized — Caryl Communications @ 8:54 pm
  • A reporter from a top business publication calls with a question on your new product or service
  • You’re scheduled for an interview with a major trade journal
  • You’re going to make a guest appearance on Bloomberg News

Opportunity is knocking – and so (maybe) are your knees. No need to worry, we have some proven tips for success every time you face the media.

Be Prepared
If you’ve got advanced notice of your interview, practice the Boy Scout motto and PREPARE. Choose a theme for your remarks and support it with at least 3 key points.  Rehearse—making sure you do the following:

-Bring your organization or brand to life
-Convey energy and emotion
-Use numbers and statistics to support your points
-Share trends and changes in your market

Then role-play with a colleague as the reporter. You can even video your performance and critique it. But DON’T memorize—you want to sound natural.

Seven Golden Rules for Media Success
-Be courteous and diplomatic
-Stick to facts
-Help the reporter—suggest sources if you don’t have all the info

-Compromise the confidentiality of a client
-Say “no comment”

3 Tips for TV
1. Today’s microphones are super sensitive—speak at a normal level
2. Engage with your interviewer—have a conversation
3. RELAX!! It’ll help you seem confident and credible.

The Staying Power of The Press Release

Filed under: pr,public relations,Uncategorized — Caryl Communications @ 3:47 pm

The Staying Power of The Press Release
By Evelyn Weiss Francisco

Our commitment as PR professionals is not only to our clients but also to media. The press release has been the standardized method of delivering the full story of a client’s worthy news to media outlets. With the consistent structure of a well-written press release, it has been, and can continue to be, a tidy package with all the necessary components (who, what, when, where, why).  A reporter or editor can either publish the story as-is or re-package it. If a release includes the added bonus of background material, a reporter may even find a future concept or content that can be used to fit another trend or feature.

For example, we recently sent a press release announcing an executive promotion. Within an hour, a number of trade publications had published the release as it was written.  Another daily newspaper called for an interview and added “exclusive” quotes and printed their customized article the next day. Also, a great number of online news sites ran the press release as written.

However, in the age of social media, a high dose of snippets of information are all many reporters will endure, but readers may want to know more, especially readers of print publications. An updated version of the release uses a social media template with short bullets that summarize the key points as well as links or embedded images that include more. Social media actually becomes an additional delivery method for the release as PR firms like ours now reach an expanded audience of reporters as well as the public.

Ideally, a good PR firm with seasoned writers will include the key elements of a story in one package – a well-written, concise press release. At the same time, social media tools will expand the dissemination of the news, reaching media and the public at the same time.

August 15, 2012

Fighting Childhood Obesity is a Family Affair

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caryl Communications @ 7:28 pm
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In my experience, children learn best by example. They watch what we do as parents much more than they listen to what we tell them to do. With childhood obesity in the news everywhere this week, the challenge and responsibility we have as parents occurred to me, and how we can help our own children stay focused on health and fitness by serving as a role model. While not always easy as we often get sidetracked by the daily stresses of our busy lives, the benefits of eating right and exercising will help us cope, physically and mentally, while we can take pride in the way we lead our children by example.


On September 8, the Sax Macy Fromm (SMF) Foundation has planned a great event to do just that and more, with our kids. The 4 Miler at Garret Mountain is a run/walk event for adults and children to support one of the busiest hospitals treating youngsters in the region – the St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. Sponsored by the SMF Foundation, the fundraiser will benefit the hospital’s  Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Department, which provides services for children who suffer from cancer and serious blood disorders, such as sickle cell anemia.

The Saturday morning event will feature a 1.5-mile trail walk and kids’ dashes, set amid the backdrop of one of the region’s landmark parks and most magnificent vistas – The Garret Mountain Reservation – as well as a 4-mile run on a scenic USA Track and Field Certified race course. Prizes will be awarded for all levels of participants, and the festive atmosphere will include a DJ, kids’ activities, healthy food and beverages. Tech t-shirts will be given to participants while supplies last.

The SMF Foundation is absorbing all expenses associated with the event in order to donate 100 percent of the proceeds directly to St. Joseph’s Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Department, and sponsorships are available as well. To register for the event, or become a sponsor, visit or .

Or call (973) 472-6250 for more information. Make a difference for yourself, your family and for children in the region.

May 4, 2012

The NJ Small Business Development Centers: A Valuable Resource for NJ Small Businesses

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caryl Communications @ 4:43 pm
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In my quest to grow Caryl Communications as a company and update my own personal marketing skills, I attended a seminar this morning sponsored by the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), called “Marketing Upstream – Get Out of Your Comfort Zone.” We had a small group of diverse entrepreneurs and a strong leader to direct the group. The course included marketing theory and practical advice and perspective, as well as good action items.


I learned at this seminar that the SBDC is a valuable resource for small businesses in New Jersey. Created by President Carter and expanded by Ronald Reagan, the SBDC offers programs in marketing, finance, business planning and more. Even better, SBDC provides FREE one-on-one counseling about any topic or business challenge you have. They have 10 locations in NJ with programs provided in collaboration with our state’s community colleges and universities. I will be doing more with SBDC and will keep updates coming.

March 2, 2010

A few useful directories

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caryl Communications @ 5:59 am

This is a list of a few useful blog directories that I’ve found. Please check this list often b/c I plan to be adding new stuff to it regularly.

Business Blogs - Blog Rankings

January 22, 2010

Will Newspapers Survive?

Will Newspapers Survive?

The medium is the message” . . . Marshall McLuhan

I was encouraged, professionally and personally, by the WSJ’s article on January 4, 2010 outlining positive signs for the print news industry (Ad Influx Brightens Hopes for Newspapers, Magazines).

The importance of the news media for public relations practioners is obvious, especially those that focus on media placements.  As a result, navigating the changing landscape of the print industry has presented new challenges as well as opportunities for PR firms.

During 2009, recessionary pressures and the proliferation of the Internet presented a real threat to the future of many publications. The loss of ad revenues and declining circulations made even the most trustworthy publications an endangered species as generations of online readers turned to the Internet as their first source of news.

In fact, on the news side, just an hour after the 7.0 Earthquake hit Haiti on January 12, 2010, most of the first news updates communicated to traditional news agencies and broadcast media seemed to arrive through Twitter.

As a result, the debate continues – the immediacy of broadcast is less threatened by new media,  but the question remains — will the print industry survive?

As a personal reaction, during recent vacation time, I enjoyed the pleasure rather than the pressure of reading the newspaper, waking slowly to coffee and the NYT:  Perhaps it was the artistically designed layouts in print — or the tactile experience of turning the pages, folding the paper, separating the sections and seeing the whole as well as the parts. Print offers a feeling and perspective that can’t be duplicated by a rigid computer serving as the medium for the Internet and for reading news. 

Therefore, I don’t believe the print industry will become extinct, even if it evolves into a niche medium for those who want to feel what they read. Because as McLuhan said, “the medium is the message,” and while a computer laptop may heat up your lap, it rarely warms the heart.

January 21, 2010

Advanced Lighting Control Can Reduce Operating Costs and Improve Worker Satisfaction

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caryl Communications @ 7:53 pm
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January 18, 2010

Mike McGuinness, NAIOP New Jersey, talks with Gary Gellman on commercial real estate

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caryl Communications @ 9:40 pm
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Michael McGuinness of NAIOP New Jersey discusses the commercial real estate industry on Let’s Talk, with Gary Gellman:

Real Estate Manager Seeks Business-Friendly New Jersey

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