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What Makes a Good News Story?

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When telling a news story, choosing the audience wisely is as important as the writing itself. Not all audiences will want to read all news. This has always been true, through the many eras of news. However, with the current flood of information and availability of news anytime and anyplace, it is especially important now. Ask yourself these questions before you even pitch a story. Who are my readers? Who is going to care about this story?

Once you determine your audience, you can start to research publications that are relevant to that industry or vein of interest. Avoid sending your press release to every publication you can think of. For example, if your story is about an office remodel that caters to the work habits and needs of Millennials, you wouldn’t pitch the story to Cat Fancy or The New Yorker. It may take some time to find the appropriate publications, but the leads you discover will be far more qualified than sending your pitch to as many publications as you can without doing research.

Another facet of news is relevance to current trends. It is a difficult task to create a buzz about something – better to ride the tide of another trending topic or collection of stories. For example, in the above story about remodeling an office to appeal to Millennials, you may use references to research done by larger companies such as Apple or Google that state the importance workplace satisfaction plays in productivity. You could even relate the story to studies that have shown that inactivity leads to health problems – the newly remodeled office provides employees with areas that promote physical activity and thus wellbeing. This is where you get to be creative and perhaps learn a bit more about the story yourself. Doing some research into the topic can help you make relevant connections that will be very effective in relaying the importance of your story.

Even after you do your research and create connections to relevant, trending topics, your story may not be viable. In the current information atmosphere, people have access to so much news that it is increasingly difficult to capture their attention. The 24-hour news cycle has yielded to an even more rapid moment-to-moment news cycle, so trending topics can appear and become obsolete in just hours. Appealing to emotions helps, great quotes help, relevance to trends helps, but ultimately the often fickle audience of today decides what is going to be newsworthy. Reporters and news outlets are forced to keep up with their ever-changing tastes.

Despite the challenges you face with pitching your story to the media, don’t be discouraged and don’t take it personally. In the event that your story is chosen for publication, the resulting piece is extremely rewarding after the obstacles you’ve faced in today’s news environment.

Pinstripe Marketing offers public relations as one of our many services. Public relations is one aspect of a complete marketing strategy – we help create pitches that tell the story of your brand. Check out the below links for more advice on what makes a good news story.

What Makes a Story Newsworthy?

The 11 Things That Reporters Consider Newsworthy

Of Taglines and Slogans

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Practically everyone knows the word, ‘slogan.’ You may have also heard the term, ‘tagline.’ Even if you aren’t intimately acquainted with these words, you probably realize they have something to do with marketing. You can be forgiven, though, if you don’t quite understand the difference between the two words, as it’s not uncommon even for seasoned marketing professionals to occasionally slip up and wrongly use ‘slogan’ and ‘tagline’ interchangeably.

Both taglines and slogans are short phrases, issued forth from some business entity, that are meant to be easily remembered. However, taglines (should) spring from a company’s brand and evoke an understanding of what the business is about from a holistic perspective. As such, taglines may remain the same for years—possibly decades—and are sometimes presented in conjunction with the company’s logo. Slogan, on the other hand, comes from the Scottish word for ‘battle cry’ and will pretty much change with the advent of any new advertising campaign or from one of the company’s product lines to another.

The situation does gets a little muddy because not all companies have an official tagline (or if they do, they seem to keep it to themselves). Typically, they will come up with a slogan that they use for many years and then go on to something else. AT&T used “Rethink Possible” from 2010 until 2014, then the company went to “Mobilizing Your Life.” Coca Cola has changed to tagline many, many times over the past century. So often in fact, that you probably don’t even know what it is—which is why you shouldn’t change it that often. (Raise your hand if you thought it was still, “The Real Thing.”)

As for slogans, companies may not use them at all … letting imagery or various other elements of a campaign carry the attendant message without putting it into specific words. Or they may enlist the established tagline to do the work of a slogan as well. Publix’s “Where Shopping is a Pleasure” is a good example of a very active tagline contributing to ongoing marketing efforts.

But there are many companies that have clearly delineated the two types of marketing phrases. Here are a few better known company taglines as well as some notable campaign slogans.

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World famous taglines aren’t vital to branding, and carefully crafted slogans aren’t critical to marketing campaigns. But when there are deployed, they should be short, memorable and make a promise to the customer, whether it’s about the company as a whole (tagline) or about a specific product, feature … or limited good (slogan). In the meantime, you can feel superior and annoy colleagues and errant marketing professionals by correcting anyone who uses either term incorrectly.

Check out the resources below to help you create memorable taglines and slogans:

Tips on How to Write a Killer Slogan

How to Craft a Powerful Tagline

Cool Business Card Design

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Have you ever received a business card that felt more like a gift than an exchange of contact information? Business cards like this may seem like a distant goal, something to yearn for but perhaps never to achieve. We are here to tell you that this is not the case – with the right designer and a solid goal in mind, you too can have the business card that everyone envies and admires.

What is it About This Card?

Cards like this are special because they look and feel great, but they also represent the company or person in just the right way. Think of the cards that left the biggest impression on you. We certainly can. There was the artist who gave us a choice of a couple different cards that featured her artwork on the back – we now have them hanging on our bulletin board as tiny pieces of art; people see them and want to know about them – they are talking pieces. Someone saw the card once and immediately wanted to find out about prints. They visited her site and ordered three. She knew that having her art displayed in miniature form would lead to people wanting more.

There’s also the intelligence and security expert whose cards are thick, smooth and shades of royal blue. The thickness of the card brings to mind something solid and secure, assets we want our security professionals to possess. The smooth face screams confidence and intelligence. And blue is soothing, calming. If you have a security problem, you can be at ease knowing that he will do everything he can to solve that problem. All of these implications are contained in one beautiful business card.

How Do I Get One Like It?

Before you toss out your white card stock and Times New Roman font, think about what you want to say with your card. Cool business cards are not cool just because you chose great paper and used a funky font and graphics – they should speak volumes about you. If you just apply the cool parts without a goal, your card may end up seeming jumbled, busy, or worse – it may send the wrong message. If you are a  family law firm and your card is metal, this is confusing. Why is it metal? Just because metal is unique? Is this a law firm for rock bands? What’s the metal all about? You can see why that is the wrong approach. Depending on the type of law your firm practices, you want to convey the intellect, tenacity, and sophistication of your attorneys. Color, font, logo, paper, and orientation will be affected by the goals and mission of your company.

New business cards are a big deal, and this is perhaps the perfect time to revisit your logo, mission statement, and goals. Like many busy professionals, it may have been some time since you’ve looked at your business and marketing plans. Now that you are on the precipice of choosing a brand new design for your business cards, take the opportunity to look at your current marketing materials – this is a good time to reevaluate everything. It may be best to work with your marketing department or an outside marketing agency to see if a fresh look is in order. A marketing agency that specializes in helping businesses in your sector solve problems can help revamp your marketing plan and give advice on what areas you could improve to keep current. Once you have an overall strategy you can revisit design to fit that strategy.

Designing the Card for You

Once you determine what your card should say about your company, find a great designer or agency to conceptualize and execute your design. We understand that budget constraints affect this decision. Know this: a great designer will help define your business and seek the answer to your problem; a mediocre designer will use the tools that they have to put together the pieces that you give them in an acceptable way. Great design demands critical thinking, passion, and creativity. Mediocre design requires knowledge of the software used to piece together your design. Hire a great designer to achieve that cool business card. This designer will not only create the graphics for your card, they will suggest different papers, colors, textures, and other elements to complement your design and further convey your message. Don’t bother trying for a cool business card if you are going to skimp on the designer – that is half the battle.

For ideas or even just for fun, check out this list of super creative business cards.

 

 

Spotlight On: Norman & Claudia Fisher, The Pearl on First

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We’d like to introduce Norman and Claudia Fisher, two people with a lot of imagination and even more energy. Together they have masterminded the renovation of a dilapidated Northeast St. Petersburg apartment building, transforming it into a community of luxury apartments, adding unique design elements, gorgeous amenities, and community spaces. There’s even a car share available for resident use. We are excited to see what the finished apartment building looks like.

Norman and Claudia Fisher

Co-owners

The Pearl On First Apartments

 St. Petersburg

www.ThePearlOnFirst.com

Years in this industry:  20 years

What inspired you to pursue a career in real estate?

We are newlyweds, both of us over the age of 50 and wanted to do a joint project using both of our skill sets. Norman’s background is in corporate business administration and organization assessment. Claudia’s background is in Classical Architecture and interior design.

We recently moved to St. Petersburg and real estate offered us an interesting arena to combine our abilities. As St. Petersburg is truly going through an urban renaissance, we thought it would be fun to design and build something truly elegant for people who choose to rent in the area.

What is the first assignment you remember?  Why?

Norman’s first foray into real estate was the purchase of a few small houses, which were renovated and rented out in the Clearwater and St. Petersburg area. He wanted to learn about real estate with hands-on experience. Claudia became a licensed realtor in Florida but with the idea of doing research in real estate rather than working as a practicing realtor.

What do you like most about the real estate industry and community?

Working in real estate gives you a chance to dream and see those dreams take physical shape. When it doesn’t drive you batty, like waiting for building permits, it can be lots of fun!

Working on a larger scale project, in our case The Pearl On First, has also given us the opportunity to meet and work with a wonderful collection of  real estate professionals, vendors, artisans and small business owners. Without wanting to sound cloying, I often say, “It takes a village to design anything well!” Everybody’s skills and knowledge base are needed and appreciated to make The Pearl On First a success.

What challenges does your industry face? 

I think we are too new to real estate development to offer too much comment on this question but I will say that, especially in Florida which is so low-lying, we need to really focus on creative solutions with regard to the rising water levels over the next decades. I am convinced there are solutions out there if we all pull together.

How do you measure your success? 

This is an interesting question, as Norman and I were just discussing this question a week ago. As we met later in life, we are hoping to create passive income with our real estate ventures that will supplement the retirement savings we already have.

But more importantly, the major guiding purpose for our work with apartment dwellings is to offer living environments that truly delight people, by offering elegant, thoughtful design in their private apartments as well as exceptionally beautiful and welcoming communal areas to share life experiences with friends and neighbors. This is what we hope to achieve.

What has been your greatest accomplishment in your career? 

For Claudia there have been a few design milestones. Developing the classical architectural design for The Executive Administration Center for Boston University, designing a 22-foot pierced aluminum chandelier suspended in mid-air for The Royal Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission in Fairfax, VA and now working on the Art-Deco inspired apartment, The Pearl On First.

For Norman, the main one is my recent completion of my MBA from the University of Maryland. I really enjoyed its entrepreneurial learning aspects, and after a career in large corporations, look forward to a next career in a small business environment in real estate.

What do you think is the biggest mistake companies make when working in real estate? 

Not doing enough research can be a major mistake.  Research is not necessarily fun or sexy, but extremely important, as your gathered knowledge will help guide you into hopefully wise decisions. Often as a real estate investor you can get emotionally involved in a deal or property, and it is very important not to forget the results of the research you did.

Additionally, it never hurts to be as organized as possible and keep at least a weekly schedule to communicate with everyone on the project. There are so many trades working in tandem in real estate, we need to  know what’s happening on a daily basis with each other so we can work in tandem comfortably.

What is the most interesting trend you see in real estate? 

It’s been said before, but as the Baby Boomers start to retire and move South, they are looking for interesting new ways to live their next chapter which are very different from their parents. For example, scenarios that are sought after could include friends living in adjoining apartments, apartments that have new and interesting amenities like a “car share”, apartments that have built-in health care facilities… the sky’s the limit.  It’s going to be a very interesting time!

How has technology helped/hindered your work? 

From a drafting point of view, AutoCAD, Rivet and other drawing programs are can be a huge time saver. My background is Classical Architecture so I still do hand drafting but nevertheless, these programs are very useful.

What can be problematic, in my opinion, is that the computer now allows for an unbridled amount of architectural design.  This, in and of itself sounds good but there have been a fair amount of architectural messes built out there that were created with the aide of computer technology. Without wanting to sound unkind, the adage “just because you can build it doesn’t mean you should” comes to mind!

How do you stay on top of your field? 

We both read a great deal – newspapers, periodicals, professional trade magazines, although Norman is much better at being sure he is up on all the real estate news coming in the door.

What resources do you recommend?  

With regard to design, Claudia believes that any disciplines relating to Classical Architecture can provide a tremendous foundation for designing anything better – from traditional to ultra-modern. The Institute for Classical Architecture and Art, based in New York City, is a major educational institution and provider of all kinds of helpful design information. Additionally, the business of real estate is not only national but often also highly influenced by the locality. So continuing awareness of local changes and trends is key. It is as simple as subscribing to the local newspaper and volunteering on various local committees.

If you could give one piece of advice to Tampa Bay companies, what would it be?

If I were to advise Tampa Bay companies on participating in the local rental or condo real estate business, I would advise them to firstly determine specifically, what their target population is, and then be very aware of that population’s desires for a future living experience. Only with that information, would I design a apartment or condo product that serves that market. Often properties are put to market that are generic in nature rather than satisfying specific needs.

What are your hobbies?

Norman’s hobbies are tennis, soccer, reading, and adventure traveling. Claudia’s hobbies are opera singing, ballet, and reading 18th century novels.

Favorite food?

Norman – Italian.  Claudia – anything I haven’t cooked myself.

Last book you read?

Norman – Steve Jobs

Claudia – Disney War 

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