Friday, October 26, 2012

Favorite Finds

From ghosts and ghouls to tricks for tweets, our favorite finds on the LCWA Twitter feed this week certainly took on a spookier element as the Halloween weekend approaches.  Here’s a recap of what caught our eye this week:
  • What’s Not to “Like” – PR pros offered these suggestions for improving Facebook. We’re still waiting for Zuckerberg to chime in.
  • Keeping up with the Times (or the Post, Herald or Tribune) – PR News offers four suggestions for working with media in today’s day and age.
  • Tracking Your Tweets – These seven tools will help monitor the effectiveness of your tweets, from how far it traveled to how much traffic it drew to your site.
  • Going to the Dogs – Who knew there were regional differences when it comes to Halloween pet costumes?  The Wall Street Journal explores popular trends in dog costumes. We look forward to seeing lots of “doggy frogs” hopping around Chicago!
  • Scare Tactics – The Chicago Tribune offers a slideshow of 25 inspiring jack o’ lantern designs. We certainly have our work “cut out” for us!
Have a spooktacular weekend!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

In the Mix...Dignity Memorial Takes WGN Viewers on a Unique Tour

With fall in full swing, LCWA and our client Dignity Memorial created a “monumental” way for Chicagoans to learn about their city’s historical events and personalities. We created a map of four cemetery tours, encompassing nine of Dignity Memorial’s Chicagoland cemeteries. The scenic tours include the burial sites of former vice presidents, mayors, athletes and celebrities, the largest burial site and memorial for Southern Civil War soldiers in the North, ornate sculptures and a commemoration of one of the biggest circus tragedies in history. To spread the word about these unique excursions, LCWA worked with WGN-TV to shoot a four-minute segment at Rosehill Cemetery that aired on Friday during the 5 and 9 p.m. news broadcasts. Interested in seeing more? Watch the WGN segment here and then download a map of the tour here.  

Friday, October 19, 2012

Favorite Finds

From an out-of-this-world freefall to a momentous mobile milestone, it was a week of setting and breaking records -- and 50 emerged as everyone’s lucky number! Here are some of our favorite stories from the past seven days:  
  • Free Fallin’: Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner successfully completed a 24-mile free fall to set a new – and likely not-soon-to-be-challenged – world record. In case you missed it, you can relive it here courtesy of some great video posted by Outside Magazine.
  • Fabulous at 50: National retailer Target celebrated its 50th anniversary this week with a big bash featuring Alicia Keys.
  • Mobile Milestone: According to, the number of Smartphones in use around the world has officially surpassed the one billion mark. It’s taken 16 years but analysts believe it will only take three more years for the next billion users to come on board.
  • The End of an Editorial Era: The big news in media came from Newsweek which announced plans to move to a digital-only format. After nearly 80 years of publication, the news magazine will publish its final print edition at the end of this year.
  • Crazy but True: Ragan’s PR Daily reported this week on a new study that shows writers have higher risk of mental illness. We always new PR folks were a little crazy, but now there’s proof!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

In the Mix…On the Road with Trex in 2012

Adam Zambanini, vice president
of marketing for Trex, meets
with media at DeckExpo
From coast-to-coast and places in-between, the LCWA team generated media interest for Trex at three of the top building industry trade shows this year. Here’s a quick recap…
  • Starting in January with the International Builders’ Show in Orlando, we laid the groundwork for Trex coverage in spring and summer issues with new products like Trex Pergola and Trex Transcend Porch.
  • Then, in June – the height of outdoor living season – we provided customized tours of the Trex booth to media and reinforced the brand’s eco-friendly qualities and product innovations at PCBC in San Francisco.
  • Most recently, we met with representatives from the industry’s most high-profile publications at DeckExpo in Baltimore, one of the largest trade shows devoted exclusively to decking and railing.  Our goal was to ensure that Trex remains a hot topic with media even during the cooler months ahead!

While email and social media make it easier than ever to connect with priority media, there’s no replacement for face-to-face meetings – especially when they provide opportunities for interaction with products and client representatives!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

In the Mix...First Alert “Powers Up!” Twitter

This Fire Prevention Month, our client First Alert is bringing the safety conversation to the Twitterverse, hosting its first-ever Twitter party.  First Alert – in partnership with many mom bloggers across the country – will be encouraging families to “Power Up!” by testing their smoke alarms, and replacing old alarms and dead batteries. Designed to shed light on the alarming number of homes without functioning smoke alarms – due to dead batteries, battery removal or alarms exceeding their useful life – First Alert’s Debbie Hanson (director of external affairs) will be tweeting helpful smoke alarm maintenance tips, fire safety statistics and providing giveaways throughout the Twitter party. Want to join the conversation? Follow First Alert on Twitter @FirstAlert from 8-10 p.m. CST tonight!

Monday, October 15, 2012

In the Mix...Snow Joe Sweepstakes Heat Up

Our client Snow Joe is getting jump-start on the cold and snowy months with a series of sweepstakes on Snow Joe’s Facebook page, launching today. From now until the end of  the year, Snow Joe will be giving away 200 Snow Brooms – Snow Joe’s latest innovative snow removal tool –  and 50 electric snow throwers. Each week will feature a different theme and ten new winners. Our sweepstakes were a big hit last year, and we are excited to arm even more Snow Joe fans with some great products for this winter! Visit for more information, and to enter.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Favorite Finds

It was a diverse week – as usual – in the Twitterverse, where fall is in the air, and the home and shopping were on our mind! Here are some of our favorite finds from the past several days. Find even more that piqued our interested by following @LCWATeam on Twitter. 
  • Eco-conscious Baskets – The folks at inhabitat sure have good eyes. These eco-conscious baskets make up an interesting display, the fruit of cooperation between academia and a women’s center.
  • Holiday Shopping on Our Mind – A newsmaker every year, the Neiman Marcus catalog is out, complete with its line-up of fantasy gifts! A fun read!
  • 50 Shades of … Orange – So, maybe not 50 shades of orange, but one shade in particular is the hot color for fall.
  • Winter Weather Watch Already? – Early winter weather has hit parts of the U.S., a testament to our need to enjoy fall and its shades of orange while it lasts!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

In the Mix...Winter Outreach Heats Up for Monessen

With winter on the horizon, fireplaces and wood stoves from our client Monessen are hot, hot, hot. We are taking advantage of the cooler weather to get our hearth products and heating tips from company experts front and center. Just a few of the stories we are pitching:
  • The advantages of vent-free heating appliances, and the variety of d├ęcor and product options
  • Increasing fireplace efficiency and safety
  • EPA-certified wood stoves as an eco-friendly, cost-effective heating option
As a result of the outreach we recently began, we currently are coordinating interviews about vent-free heating, and we look forward to securing more hot coverage for Monessen this winter!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Favorite Finds

The first week in October brought some riveting headlines – from a news anchor throw down to a tweeting disaster. Check out some of our favorite stories below, and find even more that piqued our interested by following @LCWATeam on Twitter. 

  • News Anchor Fires Back:  Possibly one of the most talked about stories of the week is the Wisconsin news anchor who fired back at a viewer for calling her obese.
  • The Mistaken Tweet: Kitchen Aid was in the hot seat this week when a “tweeter” for the brands account accidentally unleashed a political opinion on the handle, instead of their personal account.  Read here to see how Kitchen Aid did some damage control.
  • Amp Up Your Editing Skills: Social Media Today offers up seven editing tips to improve blog post writing.  My favorite: Less is more.
  • Facebook Survival Tips:  Who doesn’t love a great infographic? Post Rocket laid out marketing for Facebook plain and simple with their 17 survival tips infographic.
  • Tweets as Surveys: Twitter rolled out a survey tool this week that allows advertisers to get user feedback via a short survey tweet.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Q&A With LCWA’s Intern: Lindsey Lucenta

Alison Hamer and Lindsey Lucenta
For the last year or so, I’ve served as LCWA’s internship coordinator.  My job is to seek applicants, review resumes, run interviews and ultimately serve as a mentor for the selected intern. Since I began my tenure at LCWA as an intern, I love that my career has come full circle, and now I can help others learn. I recently checked in with our current intern, Lindsey Lucenta, to ask her perspective on what it’s like to be an LCWA intern.

[Alison Hamer:] So, how is your internship going?  What is your favorite part?
[Lindsey Lucenta:] It’s going great! I appreciate that I’m given challenging work and really feel a part of the LCWA team. I most enjoy picking up the phone to pitch media about the great things our clients are doing. While it’s time-intensive and difficult to engage journalists, the hard work pays off when you see the published story.

[AH:] The internship checklist we use is meant to give you a wide range of experiences – do you feel that it has helped you?
[LL:] My time at LCWA has provided a solid foundation upon which to build a career in public relations. When I started, I was allowed to hit the ground running, quickly gaining experience in the many facets of agency PR. As an intern, you aren’t just building media lists – you have the opportunity to write news releases, pitch journalists, engage clients’ social media, conduct research, participate in strategy development and more.

[AH:] What's surprised you most about agency life?
[LL:] A perfectly planned-out day can take a completely different turn if something else comes up that requires immediate attention. I always make a to-do list but, sometimes, that list goes out the window because an unexpected interview opportunity arises or we need to help a client quickly respond to a news story. When that happens, I have to reprioritize my tasks. During my internship, I’ve had to improve my time management skills and learn to be more flexible.

[AH:] As an intern, what skill do you call upon most?
[LL:] It’s difficult to name just one skill to describe a typical day’s work. My communications skills – writing, listening or speaking – are applied in everything I do. Writing is a must-have skill for many tasks, from drafting media materials to sending emails that grab journalists’ attention. It’s important to always be an active listener to guarantee that I don’t miss any details and fully understand assignments. When it comes time to pitch stories over the phone, I have to be able to get my message across quickly and effectively.

[AH:] How often do you use social media in your day-to-day job and why is it important?
[LL:] I use social media nearly every day both on behalf of clients, as well as personally. Social media competence is important because everyone is using it and it offers opportunities to create meaningful, mutually-beneficial relationships. Clients need social media to help build strong, reputable brands and I need it to network and leverage relationships with editors and bloggers to colleagues and others in the PR industry.

[AH:] What is your best advice to someone looking to become an intern at LCWA?
[LL:] Take good notes! Always have a notebook and write down everything. During meetings or even informal conversations, you’ll get a lot of information and instruction, so having those notes will help you walk through the steps on your own. Also, when in doubt, ask questions. It’s best to clearly understand what’s expected of you the first time around so that you’re more time efficient and helpful. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

In the Mix…Power Up Your Home Safety

Sure – you probably have smoke alarms, but when was the last time you actually tested them? Can you remember when they were installed? That’s what we thought. October is Fire Prevention Month, and to mark the occasion, we’re helping our client First Alert spread the word about the importance of testing smoke alarms and replacing them, if necessary. In addition to media outreach and public events, this week we’re launching a sweltering new sweepstakes on the First Alert Facebook page. Ten winners will be awarded every day with a new smoke alarm, and five grand prize winners will receive a new security camera system. That’s at least 300 U.S. households that will be safer by the end of the month! Enter for your chance to win here, and we look forward to sharing our results soon!