Friday, September 22, 2017

Fall: A Season of Change

With Chicago weather in the 80s and up all week, and more in the forecast, it’s hard to believe we are celebrating the first official day of fall. Yet as many of us can’t wait for cooler temperatures, change is already in the air for these finds this week:
  • Rolling Stone Up for Grabs – Jann Wenner, found and owner of Rolling Stone for the last 50 years, has put his controlling stake of the magazine up for sale. The era of print advertising and circulation is changing, and this landscape can be seen as other magazine editors have stepped down as well. To name a few editors: Graydon Carter of Vanity Fair, Robbie Myers of Elle, Nancy Gibbs of TIME magazine and Cindi Leive of Glamour have announced they are stepping down.
  • Amazon Baby Registry – A large number of Amazon customers this week experienced confusion and panic after receiving emails that customers had purchased gifts from their baby registry – which they had not created – some did not even have a baby. This technical glitch has since been corrected, but if you’d like to check out some of the many responses on Twitter, you can check them out here.
  • Toys ‘R’ Bust – What used to be a mecca for children in the ‘80s and early ‘90s has now become barren, as this week Toys ‘R’ Us filed for bankruptcy. Experts say the company’s failure to focus on its online presence led to its downfall. With brands such as Amazon, Walmart and Target dominating the online space, it is easy for toy shoppers to navigate online. Researchers estimate 41 percent of toys and games in America to be purchased online this year, twice the proportion from 2009. The future of Toys ‘R’ Us still remains to be seen, but it in the meantime it may have great deals for holiday shopping?
  • The Upside Down – Movie and television themed pop-up cafés have become trendy, with a Game of Thrones pop-up in Washington D.C., a Star Wars themed cantina in Hollywood and a Stranger Things bar here in Chicago. “The Upside Down” has been gaining popularity until this week, when Netflix provided them a very ‘80s themed cease-and-desist letter. While you only have one more week to visit the establishment, you have to admit Netflix handled this legal situation with the right amount of flair to keep fans happy.
  • Pinterest Sections – There are now more than 100 billion Pins on Pinterest, which has also reached 200 million users. This week Pinterest announced new “Sections” in Beta testing, which will allow users to create sub-boards. For example, users could have a recipe board with sub-boards broken down by categories, so you don’t have to search through all your food pins to find desserts.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Going Above and Beyond for Beyond Paint

Before and after photo featured on blog "In My Own Style."
Who doesn’t love a good makeover? This was the thinking behind our recent campaign for Beyond Paint – a revolutionary new refinishing paint that combines primer, finisher and sealer all in one product and bonds to virtually any surface with no sanding, stripping or priming required. Inspired by the mindset that seeing is believing, we tapped our home PR team's network of lifestyle, home décor and DIY bloggers to coordinate a series of makeover projects ranging from flea market furniture finds to kitchen cabinets and countertops. We provided the paint and let the bloggers do the work – and the publicity in the form of before-and-after posts, video testimonials and social content.

Bloggers provide authentic and relatable perspectives on product experiences that consumers find refreshing. Our collaborations with trusted influencers including Remodelaholic, The Taylor House, In My Own Style and more, helped Beyond Paint drive brand and product awareness among targeted home enthusiasts. The program also racked up online impressions and shares that drove increases in Beyond Paint fans/followers, as well as traffic and sales leads to the brand website.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Apple of My Eye

The calendar says we still have one week left of summer, but the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte says it is already fall. That’s right, that means crunching leaves, carving pumpkins and – my favorite – picking apples. Check out my apple picks from the news this week:
  • A Line at the Apple Store – A full ten years since the iPhone was first introduced, Apple announced three new iterations of the iconic device at its release event this past Tuesday at the new Steve Jobs Theater. To most, the news means not much more than higher quality photos and a hit to their bank account, but to the communications industry it means new technologies driving the way we connect with brands and with each other. Forbes looks beyond the hype to what the new iPhone means for the future.
  • International Eat An Apple Day – Tomorrow, September 16th, people all over the world will be celebrating International Eat An Apple Day with fresh apples, caramel apples, apple pies, and every apple concoction you can imagine. Some of our LCWA Team members have been down in Kentucky this week with our client Jim Beam, so may we suggest a little happy hour celebration with a Jim Beam Apple & Soda?
  • An Apple A Day Keeps the Doctor Away – but that may not be enough. A new study has found that people stay sedentary for 12.5 hours or more a day have the highest risk of death from any cause. So maybe eat your apple a day while walking…
  • Pink Ladies in the Big Apple – New York Fashion Week came to a close this week with some definite trends popping up beyond the runways. While NYFW is about the new spring collections debuting, just as much attention is given to the street style of those attending. One of the biggest trends in street style was combining pops of color, specifically red and pink together. Spring fashion in the last week of summer and a blog post about fall…now I am really confused. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

To Market, To Market

As one of the country’s top agencies specializing in promoting home products, it seems every time we turn around we are facing another “Market.” Between the Spring and Fall Home Furnishings Markets in High Point, N.C., and the semi-annual Las Vegas Markets, planning for “Market” has become a quarterly tradition for LCWA. So, it only makes sense
that over the years we’ve learned a trick or two (or three) for maximizing media coverage for our clients.
  1. The early bird gets the word (no, that’s not a typo). When it comes to securing Market-related media coverage, timing is everything. What many don’t realize is that trade media in the home industry plan their Market coverage long before each event occurs – more than a month in advance for most. For our client Fashion Bed Group (FBG), which attends all four Markets during the year, we just finalized our press materials for Fall Market (which begins October 14) and have already done an initial round of outreach to our key media targets. This “early bird” approach has proven effective in generating buzz for the brand in the weeks leading up to each Market, which in turn helps to drive showroom attendance and business leads during the actual events.
  2. Find something new in your “news.” With four Markets each year, inevitably we are faced with repeated products and company news from show to show. While the audiences for each event may vary, the media that cover these shows are mostly the same. And, to them, a product or announcement is only “new” once. Therefore, we are continually faced with the challenge of creating “new news” out of subject matter they may already have seen and even covered. Part of what our team brings to the party is the ability to work with clients to find new ways to tell the story to keep an important product or topic in the news.
  3. A little personalization goes a long way. No one likes to receive bulk mail or a form letter. This rings especially true for media. One of the benefits of hiring a PR firm that specializes in a particular industry is working with a team that has nurtured strong relationships with media that cover that industry and knows how they tick. Our home PR team of experts has worked with some of the same editors for more than 30 years. We know what they like and don’t waste their time, our resources or a client’s budget on information they won’t use. So, while FBG sells a wide array of products ranging from youth beds to bar stools, we don’t send every press release to every editor we target. If a contact covers adjustable bases, that’s the only information they receive from us. This level of customization and personalization is what has earned LCWA our reputation as the go-to agency for media and companies in the home products arena.

 Strategic timing, a nose for news and a personal approach are just a few tricks of the trade that we employ to achieve media success for our clients. Based on the more than 30 placements we generated for FBG in coverage related to the latest Summer Las Vegas Market, it’s a formula that works. Next stop, High Point!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

LCWA Fires Up The Great Distillery BBQ Cook-off with Jim Beam Bourbon

Fierce competitors set aside their differences in the name of barbecue and a good cause as some of Kentucky’s finest distilleries and cooperages gathered at the Jim Beam® American Stillhouse in Clermont, Ky,. last week for the inaugural “Great Distillery BBQ Cook-off.” Together with the world’s No. 1 selling bourbon, Jim Beam®, LCWA helped demonstrate that the world’s best barbecue comes from the world’s best bourbon distilleries.

From concept to reality in one month, LCWA’s expert team of in-house event and media relations specialists brought new meaning to bourbon and barbecue. The result was big and bold, just like the whiskies the Beam family has been making for more than 220 years. Guests enjoyed a series of hands-on activities such as cornhole, make-your-own barbecue rub and interactive tableside cocktails as they watched teams smoke, sear and sauce their way to the winners’ circle.
The competition not only celebrated camaraderie and America’s native spirit, but also
supported Operation BBQ Relief, a nonprofit consisting of volunteers from competition barbecue teams who provide hot meals to displaced families and emergency personnel in areas impacted by natural disasters. The organization was recently deployed in Texas and soon will be in Florida providing relief to those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Chocolate, a Commercial Blunder and Cooler Weather

Now that Labor Day has passed, the first feelings of fall are upon us in Chicago. With a new season and cooler weather approaching, here are my favorite finds from this (chilly) past week.

  • Healthy Sibling Rivalry – It’s apparent that Facebook stories never took off in the way the social media giant had hoped, and now it’s turning to sister company Instagram for some help. The photo sharing platform is now testing the option to let users share their Instagram stories directly to Facebook. It will be interesting to see if users take to this new tactic and give Facebook the boost that it’s look for.
  • CNN’s Commercial Carelessness – With the impact of Hurricane Harvey last week, many brands looked to reevaluate their marketing and advertising plans and shift the focus to relief efforts. Apparently, CNN didn’t get the memo. Despite the news channel’s constant coverage of the storm’s aftermath, it failed to pull an ad for the Hurry Cane, which included claims such as, “Americans are loving the Hurry Cane!” CNN has since said the ad only aired in certain markets, but not before angering many of those who saw it.
  • Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice – With Labor Day marking the unofficial start of fall, brands are looking for every opportunity possible to capitalize on the pumpkin spice craze, which is still going strong. From cough drops to every beauty product imaginable, there’s no shortage of items for pumpkin lovers to get their hands on. And beware PSL fans, your beloved Starbucks drink will be a bit pricier this year.
  • Think Pink – Millennial pink lovers also had reason to celebrate this week as Swiss scientists debuted the first new kind of natural chocolate in over 80 years – ruby chocolate. Along with milk, dark and white chocolate there is now a rosy-pink confection that is made from the Ruby cocoa bean and has an all-natural unique, fruity taste. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Fibre-Craft Wants You to Dab It Up

LCWA client and local Chicago company Fibre-Craft, a leader in creative activities, has recently launched a new high-tech coloring sensation, DabitZ!

The new DabitZ series, launched this August, combines innovative technology with artistic spirit to take classic coloring to new heights with “dabbing.” Starter sets come with everything you need to try this photomosaic art form and to make your own masterpiece. DabitZ is inspired by the painting technique called Pointillism, but users don’t need to be talented artists to “dab it up.” Starter sets include templates called DabDesignZ, and the free DabitZ app can transform any picture into a template design as well. Simply take a photo, create a template, print it and dab it up!

LCWA has helped to lead a flurry of activity surrounding the official DabitZ launch, from the official release, to developing a feature story which has received pick-up nationwide, including in the LA Times, Houston Chronicle, Chicago Tribune and The Baltimore Sun.

As we head into September, LCWA coordinated a co-op SMT just in time for back-to-school season! DabitZ was touted as a wonderful, creative addition to after-school activities, and the SMT was booked on more than 19 affiliates nationwide.

Our PR push will continue to build as we work with social media influencers to raise awareness of this new and fun activity. We look forward to continuing to work with Fibre-Craft as “dabbing” becomes the newest trend. Get yours in time for National Coloring Day on September 14!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder?

From celebrities to the sky, the world was all about the absence of color – or content – this week. As the week comes to an end, we’re bringing light to some of the “dark” events that happened.
  • Total (Solar) Eclipse of the Heart: On Monday, a total solar eclipse enchanted the nation as the moon completely blocked the light of the sun’s corona. From Oregon to South Carolina, viewers flocked to locations to be in the path of totality to witness the first since 1979 to have a path of totality in the United States.
  • A Blank Space, Website and Social Media Presence: August 18 marked three years since Taylor Swift released “Shake It Off.” That same day, her internet presence went rogue. Instagram? Gone. Facebook? Just a gray box where a profile picture should gleam at its viewer. And her website? You could call that a blank space. Finally after five days and a few ominous videos of a snake on her Instagram, she announced that her new album, “Reputation,” will be released on November 10.
  • Official to Disappear: Snapchat, the app where photos disappear after a maximum of 10 seconds, will now verify accounts. Much like other platforms the app will now extend the verification notation to influencers and “top creators”, a privilege formerly limited to celebrities.
  • A Storm’s a Brewin’: Hurricane Harvey is expected to hit Texas as a category 3 storm and residents are on high alert. The storm’s biggest impact is supposed to hit Southeast Texas and is predicted to strike late tonight or tomorrow morning, with a historic amount of rainfall anticipated. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Fun in the Sun

The country might be buzzing about the total solar eclipse, but our obsession with social media, public relations and pop culture simply won’t be overshadowed. Here are a few recent stories that caught our eye
– no special glasses required.
  • No Points for Popularity? According to @Entrepreneur, the most important goals when meeting with a new client are to convey sincerity and establish your competence. We all want to be liked, but keep in mind that the relationship will evolve over time – no need to rush it. 
  • Filling Your Virtual Cart. Want to reach millennial customers? Your best bet is through Instagram. Nearly 53 percent of millennials say that Instagram has the greatest influence over their purchasing decisions, according to new research. The next closest platform is Facebook, at 32 percent.
  • Refresh, Refresh, Refresh. Addicted to social media? You’re not alone. The average American checks social media 17 times a day! This handy infographic breaks down our social habits by the numbers and how to best reach certain audiences.
  • Take Deep a Breath. The LCWA team celebrated #NationalRelaxationDay with some mindful meditation. However, you don’t need to wait for a special holiday to get your zen on – here are 15 tips for reducing stress and creating a sense of tranquility at work.
  • Calling all Luna(r)tics. Can’t get enough of the solar eclipse? While an eclipse comes and goes in a matter of minutes, popular fascination with the phenomenon has lasted centuries

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Healthy Office Habits

In the office, it is easy to prioritize productivity over your own personal well-being. Even with the best intentions, this mindset can lead to high levels of stress and even damage your quality of work. Taking care of yourself will help you when taking care of business.

Around the office at LCWA, we know how productivity and personal well-being go hand in hand. Here are some tips from our staff on how to stay healthy in the workplace—mind, body, and spirit:

  • Cluttered Desk, Cluttered Mind. Tidying up at the end of each day for five minutes can help put a pin in the work you just finished and save valuable time by having a clean start in the morning. For more tips on office organization, check out our recent blog post Time Management Made Easy.
  • Address Your Stress. While some pressure in the workplace can help boost productivity, unmanaged levels of stress can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Finding time to prioritize yourself will lead to your best work and your healthiest mind—so book that spa day, spend time with your family, or just curl up with a good book. A healthy balance will do you some good!
  • Let the Sunshine In. Even on your busiest days, it’s important to step away and regroup. With our offices across from scenic Millennium Park, we know what a little Vitamin D from a brisk walk can do. Take a few minutes and see how a breath of fresh air can add a breath of fresh air to your work.

  • Bend So You Don’t Break. Even a little physical activity inside the office can do
    LCWA team members during the daily plank break
    wonders for centering yourself. Get together with a group of coworkers and try a few minutes of afternoon yoga to shake off the 2 p.m. blues. Or do what we do! A minute and a half of planking in the afternoon helps build the core muscles and brings focus to the last few hours of the day. Check out more office fitness tips here.
  • Keep a Productive Posture. It is far too easy to go day after day hunched over, staring at a computer screen. A very simple fix that can bring many health benefits is addressing your posture. Chair type and height, spine position, as well as computer screen and keyboard position all can affect your short-term and long-term health.
  • Pick the Right Fuel. Swap out that last cup of coffee for water and you might be surprised that you didn’t need the extra caffeine. An extra boost of hydration helps keep you alert and focused, and can boost your metabolism. Keep a bottle on your desk for a constant reminder and boost of energy.

  • Set a Happy Hour. Always been meaning to try the happy hour near work? It may even help you in ways you may not expect. While you spend all day with your coworkers, stepping out of the office to have a drink or two will help you strengthen interpersonal relationships. We get better at our jobs through working together, and what better place to forge a happy workplace than happy hour.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Tease for TV Producers

Last week I attended the Publicity Club of Chicago (PCC) monthly luncheon featuring a panel of four Chicago morning TV producers:

The panel provided many great tips and insights that we can incorporate into our ongoing local story pitching for our clients. 

Give us the Tease

The biggest part of watching television is how to keep viewers from switching channels
during the commercial. And the way to do this is with the tease. When pitching story ideas, one panelist suggested “if you can offer up what makes this story tease-able for us, that makes our job easier.”

When pitching, sending a short email is best. Producers care most about getting the five W’s rather than a press release or lengthy email. Many morning producers start work around midnight, making follow up calls difficult as their work schedule tends to be midnight to 8-9 a.m., making email the best form of communication. This further enhances why providing all the vital information upfront can be vital for booking a segment.

Upbeat, Impactful, Local

Producers are looking for upbeat stories, such as “National S’mores Day,” which is on August 10. Morning producers are always looking for stories that are influential to the viewer, such as a story on cancer or an individual doing good in the community.

And most importantly – with local television, everything needs a local connection. Whether it is a local company, individual or event, this tie is crucial to providing a hook for why a local news affiliate should give up precious time to their viewers.

TV-Ready Talent

“Deer in the headlights,” was a phrase used several times by the panelists to describe what can occur when clients are not prepared to do a live TV interview. As PR professionals, we can sometimes want to share our clients’ message on as many avenues as possible, but it is also important to make sure that the client is capable of fitting that media outlet. Producers love seeing footage of experts from live interviews so they get a feel for what to expect.

Media training is an important part of the process we offer clients, and should not be underestimated. Having clients who are comfortable in the space and topic is an invaluable asset, and media training can be a great asset to help turn anyone into a TV-ready spokesperson.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Tips for Media, Measurement and Managing People

Lollapalooza – staged right outside our door – is already a memory, and Chicagoans have
enjoyed lovely weather this week. The forecast on social media is cloudy, with a chance of politics. I’ve selected my own favorite finds from a different sphere:
  •  PR Daily shared a blog post that highlights some fundamental elements of media relations work that are not taught in college programs. Great insight for job seekers and their interviewers.
  • Are your brand social media accounts following the guidelines Facebook has established for the namesake platform and Instagram? Are your own? Find out how to easily prevent an account shutdown with some common sense tips.
  • PR measurement isn’t all about the campaign results – it’s about establishing direction for future campaigns, too. Lots of tools make it ever easier.
  • As a manager of people, I found this article on motivating employees very interesting. Hope you do, too!
  •  Finally, on a random note, happy 80th birthday, Dustin Hoffman! This was a great interview. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Our Recommendations for National Book Lover’s Day

It’s National Book Lover’s Day, so what better time to highlight what the LCWA team has been enjoying while on the beach, train or hammock this summer? From romance and mystery to historical fiction and pulp crime novels, we love getting our read on – starting with the highly-recommended fiction “It’s. Nice. Outside.” It was written by our very own Jim Kokoris!

Here’s what else is on our current reading list, recommended from LCWA to you:

Monday, August 7, 2017

Taking Office Fitness to a New Level

Leading up to and throughout the months of summer, healthy living is a popular topic among many who want to up their exercise regime and be more conscious of eating habits. While striving for a healthier lifestyle is a positive thing, it’s often difficult to achieve – especially if you work a full-time job! For this reason, we deployed the social theme of #OfficeFitness on Boise Paper’s social channels, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

To engage more chatter about how people stay fit and healthy while working a full-time position, LCWA worked with Boise Paper to hold an #OfficeFitness Twitter Chat, hosted by lifestyle and fitness blogger Comeback Momma. Through enticing open discussion topics, exciting facts and engaging photos, people joined the chat to share their expertise as well as learn new tips and tricks. Topics of fitness and healthy eating were the focus of the chat, covering everything from meal prep to workouts for the office. Participants were happy to have a place to express their fitness secrets, ending the chat with meaningful takeaways for everyone.

The chat successfully attracted 152 participants and over 10 million impressions. Creating and producing meaningful social events is something LCWA takes pride in, and we especially love when the topic hits home with so many people. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

LCWA Delivers National Media Coverage for Dyspraxia Foundation USA Facebook Live Event

Photo courtesy of Tonda Thomas
Media relations is a foundation of healthcare PR and an expertise of ours at LCWA. So when our Dyspraxia Foundation USA client asked us to generate media coverage for its Facebook Live event with actress Leigh-Allyn Baker, we were up for the challenge. In fact, we secured a five-part story on featuring an interview with Baker, who is best known for her role on the Disney Channel hit show Good Luck Charlie. As a mother of a son diagnosed with Dyspraxia, Baker is supporting the foundation’s efforts to drive awareness and education. Viewers can tune into the live event at 4:30 p.m. Pacific time on August 3 by visiting

Dyspraxia and Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) are neurological disorders that make it difficult to plan and coordinate physical movement, and they’re almost unknown in the USA. But the conditions are far more common than most Americans imagine. The World Health Organization says that Dyspraxia and DCD affect up to ten percent of the population, which is why this famous mom is speaking up about it.

This disease affects the brain, impairing motor, memory, judgment, processing, and other cognitive skills. Dyspraxia also impacts the immune and central nervous systems. Symptoms can include delayed early motor movement, repetitive behaviors, delayed language development, struggle with sensory input, limited response to verbal instruction and much more. Boys are more likely than girls to be diagnosed with Dyspraxia, commonly between the ages of 6 and 12 years old. And according to the Dyspraxia Foundation UK, an undiagnosed Dyspraxic child is five times more likely than an average child to suffer from mental health problems by the age of 16.

Those interested in learning more about Dyspraxia and Baker’s personal story can tune into the event via Facebook Live by visiting

For more information on Dyspraxia and how to support the organization, visit

Friday, July 28, 2017

Stormtroopers, Shoes & Slime?!

And just like that July nears an end and clocks start the 150-day countdown to Christmas. This month’s headlines may have been filled with presidential updates, antics and political banter, but we’ve found our fair share of news nuggets, pop culture trends and PR industry happenings. Let’s round out the month with just a few of this week’s favorite finds.
  • How Do You Watch TV? Nielsen knows that people aren’t watching TV like they used to, and is working on ways to provide its clients, both advertisers and traditional TV networks, the most accurate view of who’s consuming content and how. A recent AdWeek article noted that it’s still too early to tell what Nielsen’s new live TV viewing analysis of streaming services such as Hulu and YouTube TV will show, but this writer sure is intrigued.
  • Choo-Choo the Deals Rolling In! On Tuesday, Michael Kors Holdings said it had agreed to buy the shoe company Jimmy Choo for roughly $1.2 billion. While some experts were surprised considering recent slow profits from Kors or a decline in mall traffic, others say the strategy to build a luxury group focused on international fashion brands is smart. Time will tell if Jimmy Choo will take a step (pun intended!) into more accessible footwear or perhaps even categories such as fragrances or sunglasses.
  • Summer of Slime Who’s to blame for the latest slime summer fad? The unicorns, perhaps? If slime recipes and videos haven’t crossed your social news feeds yet, consider yourself lucky. The modern-day Silly Putty is captivating teens and tweens as they scourer their parent’s cabinets for glue, Bora­­x, baking soda or glitter. And brands like Elmer’s are taking notice by actively sharing child-safe recipes that have received nearly 200,000 social media mentions since March 1. It doesn’t appear that this fad is dying, so be sure to experience the satisfyingly stretchy goo for yourself by searching “slime recipe on your favorite social channel and see what rainbow project pops up.
  • Listen to This – When it comes to product design, inspiration comes from many different places. In fact, you’d probably be surprised where some of the most iconic designs originated. According to a recent TechCrunch story, Apple’s instantly recognizable white plastic earbuds were in part influenced by Star Wars Stormtroopers. Can you see it? And, Coca-Cola’s glass bottle? Well, the curvy shape was crafted by the Root Glass Company in Indiana who entered a contest in 1915, submitting a design inspired by the cocoa pod simply because it had an appealing shape. More than 100 years later the company’s winning design still stands on store shelves.

Here’s looking at you August!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Time Management Made Easy

No two days in the world of public relations are the same! That’s why our PRGN partner, Philly-based Buchanan PR, hosted a webinar to offer PR pros tips and tricks on how to efficiently complete tasks and stay ahead
of timelines. Here are a few key takeaways: 
  • Declutter – Organize your inbox, flagging priority items, and keep your desk clean.
  • Delegate – Don’t be afraid to ask for help if your plate is too full.
  • Designate Breaks – Unwind by checking your Facebook or chatting with a colleague only at a set break time or after a particular assignment is completed.
The biggest takeaway was that everyone needs to find organizational techniques and a time management system that works for them. Here are tips from the LCWA team that can help keep you on top of your game: 
  • Ditch the digital and use an old-fashioned pen and paper to write your to-do list. Just because a method is more technologically advanced doesn’t necessarily make it more effective.
  • Review and update your to-do list at the end of each day. It is refreshing to leave on a positive mental note about the day’s accomplishments and the plan to tackle tomorrow’s tasks.
  • To help stay on track, schedule blocks into your Outlook calendar to work on specific projects. The pop-up reminder is a great way to know when it’s time to switch gears.
  • Self-discipline! There will always be distractions – a personal email, an intriguing Facebook post, a cat video, etc. – that can cause you to lose focus. So hone in, concentrate and get it done.
  • Post-it notes are amazing. For visually-focused folks, arranging color-coded tasks (e.g. each color could represent a different client account) in order of priority near your computer screen, such as the wall or a bulletin board, allows you to visualize your progress.
  • Schedule time for interruptions. A client crisis or urgent media request can pull you away from the project at-hand. Give yourself a little leeway when establishing timelines to allow for disruptions.
If you are need of some more motivation when it comes to conquering time, we leave you with some inspirational quotes:
  • “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
  • “I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.” – Golda Meir
  • “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” – Abraham Lincoln
Carpe diem!

Friday, July 14, 2017

TO-DO LIST: Take Pics, Watch Videos, Walk Around, Hug a Tree, LOL, Repeat

Happy July 14th! In celebration of the Storming of the Bastille, here are some things I found while staring at my computer this week.

  • The Eye Roll Seen ‘Round The World: Everyone’s favorite German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, was less than intrigued with what Russian President Vladimir Putin had to say when they met at the G20 Summit this week – cue eye roll. The clip went viral, generating significant responses across social media and underscoring the power of visual messaging and body language. Proving the impact of a picture, new data from LendEDU shows 53% of Millennials’ purchases are influenced by Instagram posts, while 93% of Pinterest-ers use the site to plan purchases.
  • The New Generation of TV: Microsoft announced plans to harness unused channels between television broadcasts – known as white spaces – to get rural America online. The “white-space broadband” service is set to roll out in 12 states – including Arizona, Kansas, New York and Virginia – with the goal of connecting two million rural Americans with high-speed internet in the next five years! Facebook is also rethinking traditional use of TV and researched the difference in outcomes between TV ads and Facebook ads worldwide. The study found TV ads reach wider audiences, while Facebook ads generate more sales. When combined, Facebook and TV ad campaigns improved overall target audience reach. Not to be left out in the cold, Twitter is enhancing its live video offerings across multiple tech verticals – focusing on sports, news and entertainment.
  • Oh Go Take A Hike! No, really… According to a new study from Stanford University, the U.S. ranks 4th worst in physical activity inequality, reflecting the high rate of obesity and low walkability of many non-urban communities. Tracking daily steps using smartphone data, researchers looked at walking trends across the socioeconomic spectrum in 111 countries and the U.S. came up at the bottom of the barrel, while other countries like Sweden had a very small gap in physical activity between rich and poor. To learn more about obesity or other common medical terms, just Google it. An analysis of medical terms Googled by state shows Illinoisans are curious about “diabetes,” Alabamans are concerned about “itching” and Wyoming(ans) want more info on “diarrhea.”
  • It’s The End of The World, As We Know It: A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates Earth is entering its sixth mass extinction event, which would result in three-quarters of all species dying off in the next few centuries – mostly driven by the “biological annihilation” humans are inflicting on Mother Earth. Further proof: an iceberg the size of Delaware broke off from the Antarctic shelf – one of the largest ever recorded! But not all our decisions are bad: a human chain was created off the coast of Panama City Beach, Florida, to save nine swimmers who got trapped in the current! If that doesn’t give you the warm and fuzzies inside, you can always hop a plane to China where a group of students are testing a self-sustaining space station for 200 days to determine if the base could be used on the moon or other planet besides Earth – which we are slowly destroying (see above).
  • Just Taking A Little ME Time: A popular story of a woman taking a day off to take care of her mental health (and her CEO’s lovely response) brought to focus the importance of mental health awareness and care. There are a variety of ways to unwind or reset mentally, including taking time during the day to goof off! To help you follow this advice, here is a kitten startling a dog, a story about “baby tooth” perfume, a conspiracy theory about the Friends show DVD cover and a Lego coffee mug. If you feel like sharing any of these distractions today, make sure you don’t forget to add your version of “haha” or “lol” – as these digital sayings have apparently evolved to represent much more than laughter.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Straight From The Top: UCAOA Taps Experts

When diving into complex topics, expertise can go a long way. And with trade media, bylined articles are a great way to demonstrate expertise. Our LCWA healthcare PR team recently coordinated two bylined articles for the Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA). To educate healthcare providers on how urgent care centers and other on-demand options can serve as alternatives to costly emergency departments, UCAOA president Dr. Pamela Sullivan authored an article in Population Health News in May. Then, in June, UCAOA CEO Laurel Stoimenoff addressed the numerous clinical and economical benefits of including urgent care centers in payer networks with an article in Becker's ASC Review. We look forward to continuing to help position the Urgent Care Association of America as one of the preeminent experts in on-demand healthcare with more bylined articles in top healthcare trades.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Fireworks, Foodies and Fans, Oh My!

From celebrating our nation to celebrating our city’s food, this week was filled with festivities, festivals and fans alike. Here are some of the highlights that caught our eye.
  • HBD USA: Ending the extended weekend on a high note, America celebrated her 241st birthday on Tuesday. Cities across the nation celebrated with extravagant fireworks displays, a tradition that started in 1777 on the nation’s first birthday. This list of the best fireworks displays in the nation will have you inspired to make it a tradition of your own to see fireworks in these cities.
  • Eat Your Heart Out: If all the cook-outs didn’t satiate your hunger on the fourth, Chicago’s annual Taste of Chicago is happening July 5-9 in Grant Park. In its 37th year, the festival will offer more than 60 food vendors, two stages of daily musical acts, 35 cooking demonstrations and a variety of arts acts. For more info on how to get your grub on check out The Chicago Tribune’s expert opinions of what can’t be missed at this year’s Taste.
  • Entitled with TIDAL: JAY-Z (not to be confused with Jay-Z or Jay Z), dropped his latest album this week. “4:44” debuted exclusively on the artist’s online streaming service, TIDAL. Many fans were upset about the limited release, as they previously used their free trial to listen to the artist’s “Life of Pablo” album. This limited release lead to fans, including Snoop Dogg, to pirate the music. However, the album is rumored to be more widely released on Apple Music this Sunday, July 9.
  • Love Across the Pond: The 2017 Wimbledon Championships kicked off on July 3 and will crown champions on July 15. On the men’s side, early favorites include Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, while Roger Federer looks for an 8th Wimbledon title. With reigning champ Serena Williams not competing due to her pregnancy, Johanna Konta and Angelique Kerber are two key players to keep an eye on this year.