Mothers are special gift from God!

Where moms and those who love them proceed to change the planet! Together we can create a place in which kids, parents, and businesses prosper; and end discrimination against mothers.

Tips & Ideas For real mums

Gadgets for Kids

Both parents and experts have discovered that these gadgets will help alleviate anxiety and enhance attention in all children–not only people who have disabilities.

News & ideas

A Website Spiders Can Build

Step 1:

Choose a free website service. There’s lots of obtainable, and they usually have similar characteristics. Most are designed to be simple for beginners to make use of. When setting out to build a professional net site free, try to choose a service that won’t place an advertisement or logo on your pages. In addition, think about the kinds of templates (page designs) obtainable.

Step 2:

Sign up for an account. The most important consideration here is selecting your username. often the URL of your free net site will include your username. In order to build a successful professional website, it is vital to have a URL that is memorable, or at the least professional sounding. Skip your usual online tag and go for the name of your business, or possibly your actual name.

Step 3:

Choose a template. Most free website services have a variety of predesigned page styles to choose from. When you build a professional website, your best bet is to go for a simple, neat template. Keep in mind that it is simplest for most people to read black text on a light background.

Step 4:

Generate a page featuring the basic facts about your business. It doesn’t must be long, in fact, short and to-the-point informative pages may be most appealing to customers. Hire experts on web hosting but first you need to read  web hosting Canada reviews.

Step 5:

Add images. This is not strictly necessary, but online page with any type of mixed media is usually much more successful.

Step 6:

Add other pages to the main page if necessary. Try to stick to subject per page. For example, a restaurant might add a page with a sample menu. Usually your website creation service will let you do this basically.

Step 7:

Check and double-check all the content on your website by going to your actual URL. When you have gone to the trouble of building a professional website, it is worth the additional hard work and time to eliminate any typos, grammatical errors or technical issues.

Five Things to Do Right Now to Redesign Any Room for Almost Free


With Spring being all the buzz and Spring cleaning being on the top of everyone’s list, don’t you think a little revamping is in order? I love opening windows and playing around with a room for a whole day. It’s quite rewarding to get a whole new look and feel on the cheap! Here are some tips to get you started.
1.) Empty the room of everything small, and if you can handle it, the furniture too.

Cleaning out a room completely will give you an instant new perspective as what the room could be. When filled with your things, it’s hard to see the potential it’s hiding. It’s also a good chance to scope out if you really love your wall color, fan selection, and window dressing. When you bring the stuff back in your room, play with new layouts. Make sure not to block windows, and the sun really does something special to a room.

2.) Take home paint samples, and play with them!

We all know paint is the cheapest way to transform any room (furniture, floors, wooden dinnerware, and fireplaces for that matter!). I don’t know about you but I get excited when I am at the hardware store in the paint section. I am little a little kid collecting shiny new jewels every time I pass by the paint samples, and it’s served me well. It’s always good to have the samples on hand, but it’s even better when you can envision them up on your wall. It’s free. It’s fun. And it will motivate you to change things up!

3.) Make some art

We are FAR from artists in this house. I am not going to lie, I am a fine arts major switched to marketing because I had a professor tell me I was so bad at it. Dreadful, I know. So then, how do I make “art”? Easy! I don’t need to be Picasso to make something pretty I love. We are big on shadow boxes, found object art, doily lamps, and photography in this house.

4.) Let the light in
Ohhhh. My fave. Sunshine all the time! Can you tell I’m a Florida girl? A sun-filled room is a glorious room as far as I am concerned. If you have small windows or big windows, it doesn’t matter – let the light in.

5.) Go shopping in your other rooms
I love to shop. And I even have fun shopping in my own home. One thing I like to do is pull a bunch of stuff from a variety of rooms that hold a common feel or theme and use those things to decorate a whole room. It cuts the clutter down, and gives new life to already loved objects.

Pretty easy, right? We really do love “shopping” from our other rooms. It’s probably our favorite thing to do when we don’t feel like spending cash. For more home improvement tips and how to’s, come say “hi!” at!

Free and Low Cost Day Care for Fort Greene Residents


Fort Green Council, Inc. on Fulton Street may be known for being a senior center, but it also provides valuable low cost and free childcare for the community.
The Universal pre-kindergarten program offers free to low cost childcare for children between the ages of 2 to 4 years old. The day care center serves three meals and a snack according to the Fort Green Council website. An after school program, Out of School Time Program (OST), is available for children in first to sixth grade at Teddy Kids Kinderdagverblijf.

Parents have to contact the day care center and find out how to apply. A list of the day care centers can be found here. Each center has licensed teachers and is funded by the NYC Administration for Children’s Services.

This not-for-profit organization is funded by the NYC Department for the Aging and also provides home delivered meals for seniors. Another well known program provided by the Fort Green Council, Inc. is Jazz 966, a Friday night Jazz and Blues concerts for the community.


Treat the 10 Most Common Skin Complaints


With a million products that promise to erase bags under the eyes or zap a zit, the average medicine cabinet can get a little crowded. Instead of stocking up on every “promise in a jar,” here are the core ingredients that are actually necessary for the ten most common skin conditions (for example, you should know that there are better solutions than lip balm for those cold-weather chapped lips).

1. Occasional breakouts
Look for a spot treatment with a minimum of 10% sulfur to dry up a pimple in a pinch, advises Jamie Yee, Director of Education at Kate Somerville, a skincare hotspot that tends to the complexions of celebs like Demi Moore and Kate Hudson. Pair this with derma roller amazon and you’re good to go.

2. Dark circles under the eyes
Skincare guru, Liz Earle, notes that dark circles are rarely caused by lack of sleep. Instead, blame fluid retention and nasal congestion, which causes the veins that usually drain from the eyes to your nose to become diluted and darker. To combat, drink plenty of water to fight dehydration and discourage fluid retention. Topically, witch hazel’s astringent properties can help to shrink the capillaries.

3. Chapped lips
Exfoliate with gentle scrubs (jojoba or man-made spherical beads) then follow with hydrating ingredients like shea butter, allantoin, beeswax, candelilla wax, or try overnight treatments like straight olive oil or argan oil, advises Yee. Honey can also provide an instant lip repair.

4. Dry, flaky skin
Look for hard-working botanical ingredients like shea butter, which is very nourishing, advises Earle. Other ingredients that calm extra-dry skin include borage oil and St. John’s Wort, which heals and sooths the skin.

5. Brown sunspots
Try ingredients like Alpha-Arbutin, licorice root and kojic acid, as well as 2 percent hydroquinone for more stubborn spots, says Yee. Small sunspots can also be treated with a nightly application of rosehip oil mixed with a vitamin E capsule, according to Earle. Kate Somerville uses more aggressive treatment, lasers like Cutera’s IPL or LimeLight to target challenging areas of pigmentation.

6. Fine Lines
Look for makeup and creams that include peptides to stimulate collagen, and light-diffusing pigments. Products that reflect light will minimize the appearance of fine lines, says Yee.

7. Puffy eyes
Products with cucumber extract are the most helpful, along with the application of a cold spoon or cool tea bags (black teas work best because of the caffeine, according to Yee). Earle also advises refrigerating eye cream for 5 minutes before applying to reduce puffiness.

8. Acne
For full-fledged acne, Somerville recommends products that combine AHA and BHA acids, time-release Benzoyl Peroxides, and oil-balancing ingredients like marine extracts. If the acne is severe, the ingredients to reconsider may be in your food. Try ditching refined sugars, yeast, gluten products and dairy. Instead, load up on water, fruits, veggies and non-processed foods. If there are still no results, LED treatments such as Omni-Lux use blue and red light technology to target breakouts, bacteria and oil production.

9. Large pores
Exfoliate with gentle jojoba scrubs then follow with lightweight, non-clogging moisturizer. Look for water-based algae extracts because they aren’t heavy and won’t settle into pores.

10. White spots/reverse pigmentation
Some treatments can lighten the skin to “blend” it so that it will be as light as the white spot but be careful as those treatments are risky thanks to the high percentage of skin-bleaching ingredients. A laser treatment known as Fraxel can also help with some loss of pigmentation caused by acne.

Mp3 Players Just Keep Getting Stranger: A Look at the X-Mini Happy Speaker


This assignment recently came across my desk, and my head perked up all of a sudden. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of music. I can’t get enough of it. I probably spend a good 8 hours a day with a set of headphones on my head (which will be a review for another time…I’m planning on ordering a particular brand of headset, and I’ll give you the inside scoop when they arrive).
Music transforms me. I own thousands of mp3 files (all purchased / obtained legally, thank you – support your local artist), and music is capable of evoking the most amazing range of emotions inside me. So when I saw the chance to review an mp3 player, I jumped at the chance. As it turns out, the mp3 player from  Holoplot in question – the X-Mini Happy Speaker – evoked an emotion in me all right. It evoked a sense of incredulity.

I’m not the most fashionable guy. I know that, and I accept it as part of who I am. When I find a t-shirt that I like, I buy a dozen of them, all identical. I like my technology to be solid, clunky, heavy pieces of stuff that I can take apart with a screwdriver and mess with. I barely – barely – survive owning an Apple ipod Nano, which is “artsy” enough (with its sleek design and retarded control wheel) to put me on edge; I only bought the thing because I needed something light to slip into my pocket as I worked out at the gym. But the X-Mini Happy Speaker?

Just look at it, for goodness sakes! Are you kidding me? Who designs this rubbish? Amazon is selling this thing for $80! Eighty bucks! Why don’t you just burn your money and skip the middleman?!

Okay, I’ll review it. But I don’t like it. It looks like it was designed by a mentally deficient chimp. Reluctantly – very, reluctantly – I’ll admit, it does have some positive aspects. I have to give it props for combining an mp3 player and a speaker into one unit. I’ll skip over the fact that the speaker always starts off at the loudest possible volume, or that navigating amongst the mp3s or attempting to organize them is, as far as I can tell, impossible. It starts, and it stops. The actual mp3s are stored on a flash memory card, which fits into either SD or micro SD slots on the device. It also possesses a cable that’s carefully hidden away underneath that you can unravel and hook up to another speaker.

Think about that for a moment. It’s a combination mp3 player and speaker. That’s what it has going for it. You can’t navigate or organize the mp3s, they always start playing as loud as possible, and the sound quality of the speaker is so awful that the designers had to include a cable so that you could, you know, connect the thing to a set of speakers that actually sounds halfway decent. There’s also a headphone jack – more bad news, isn’t this thing supposed to be its own speaker? About the only positive thing I can say about the device is that it collapses down like an accordion into a black, roughly spherical lump of plastic. Perfect for playing a game of rounders, or for smashing walnuts.


Functionality: 2 out of 10
Style / looks: 0 out of 10
Chances this will be a hit if American consumers have even one brain cell between them: 0 out of 10.

Don’t waste your money. By all means, buy music, and enjoy it. Just don’t try to be artsy and edgy by popping out this device at a social gathering. You’ll look like an idiot, and I’m beginning to suspect that was the designers secret agenda all along. Fail.

LightCMS for Designers


After you have signed up for a free account at, the first thing you will want to do is login to your new site. When you sign up, you choose the name of your site, and will start off being You can always decide to use a custom domain name whenever you are ready. To login, simply type “/login” at the end of your URL, and enter your user name/password credentials. The user name will be the email address you inserted upon sign up. When it’s time to add another website, don’t create a new account, but add the site through your account settings. This way you can manage all your sites with one login.
Now, it’s time to familiarize yourself with the graphical user interface and the administrative toolbar options. In this article, the goal is to fast-track your learning curve, but for a more in depth understanding of what LightCMS (asp .net cms) has to offer, you will want to set up your free 3 page website. They will provide you with online support sites, and a forum for more advanced users to congregate and share knowledge of the system.

You can always return to your home page administrative view by clicking on “My Website.” Just to the right of this, you will see the “My Account, Help, and Log-out” options. Below that, you will find the buttons “Content, Designs, Users, Settings, Pages, Stats, and Billing.” One more level below those, you will see “Page settings, Preview page, and Add a new page.” These tools are invaluable to you as you focus on the design of your website.

Take a moment to locate the Design Gallery where LightCMS offers over 75 template designs that you can customize and make changes to at no additional cost. This is a remarkable feature because in just a few short minutes, you can literally add new content to your live site right away, or even change the overall design in seconds.

First, click on the “Designs” button. On the next page, click on “Design Gallery” tab and take a look at all the web design templates LightCMS has to offer. Click on any template and from within the pop-up window, you should select “Add to My Designs.” Click “Ok” to continue.

Welcome to the “My Designs” area! This is the section where you will administer changes to the .html and CSS template files, add Google Analytics, or add LightCMS tokens. I’ll mention more about tokens in a moment. Click on a template and select “Apply” to load the design to your site. To enter the Design Manager where you have all the control over the code and style sheets, just click the “Edit” link after selecting a template within your “My Designs” section. All your files will be on the right, and the text editor will be on the left.

If you would rather take some time to design each page before the site is officially published, you will need to access the “Page Settings” of that page, click on the “Advanced” tab, and mark it as “hidden.” This feature allows you to focus on the look and feel of our page prior to it showing up on the main navigation bar. You can easily publish hidden pages by un-checking the hidden option.

To set your default template for the site, click on “Settings” and select a template file from the drop-down menu beneath, “Which template should this website use?” You can also choose this at the “Page Settings” level, but will need to find the “Advanced” tab and select either the “home” or “inside” template. You can always add more template files to choose from by using FTP access to upload your additional template files or custom design templates.

Don’t worry about making any mistakes in the Design Manager area because with LightCMS you can always “select a previous version to load.” Every saved version of your template files are archived, and these save states can be called to revert your template back to a prior state. You can also re-apply the template from the design gallery, or re-upload the custom design if necessary.

Tokens are system specific code blocks that perform special operations within the system. defines them in the following way.

“Tokens are the key to integrating dynamic content management functionality with your custom website designs. Tokens are small bits of code that our servers replace with dynamic content and functionality when the site is run on our system. The content that each token outputs can often be styled through your CSS files to meet your design objectives.”

Tokens allow for the creation of navigation items, editable content regions, search functionality, breadcrumb trails, login status, page titles, and more. These tokens will be highlighted yellow within the Design Manager Text Editor to help you locate them easily.

LightCMS makes it easy to upload a business logo, and this is likely one of the first steps you will take when you begin branding your website. Click on the “My Account” button on the middle toolbar, and then go to the “Account Settings,” and upload an image of your logo.

Adding a logo to any site is just as easy. Click “Settings,” go to the “Advanced” tab and upload a website logo in seconds.

There are many more features that I just don’t have the time to go into them all. Here are some further links to help you get started with LightCMS. I highly recommend giving this product a test drive. Having the opportunity to help others create and develop web pages has been a great joy for me, but best of all, I’ve been able to bring a deeper understanding of LightCMS to users who need a little guidance. We don’t hold your hand, but rather, we point you to the resources that will make you independently proficient with the product.

Article #1

How I Develop Successful Sales Teams


“Why can she go golfing in the middle of the work day?” was a common complaint during the summer months. My sales manager’s response to those who complained about my extra perks was very motivational. He always responded, “Because she made her sales for the month, if you make your sales for the month early you also can leave early”.
From that manager, I learned what positive motivation and incentives could achieve with a professional sales force. Management supported his efforts because his team always made their sales quotas early and they were motivated each month to achieve success.

The Sales Management Model

“The worker is not the problem. The problem is at the top! Management!” is a well know saying of Dr. Edward Deming the founder of Japanese business management. Through personal experience, I have found this belief to be true of most sales organizations. I have found that expecting successful sales professionals to continue to produce without continually adding additional incentives or recognitions when they meet sale quotas often leads to high staff turnovers and decreased sales.

A common mistake within most sales management models is the continued increase of sales quotas for successful sales staff without providing the motivation for them to succeed again. I have found that positive incentives and realistic sales increases keep top sales professionals continually motivated to succeed even when sales quotas are increased.

Sales are the lifeblood for any successful business and businesses should treat their most successful sales professionals as cherished employees. Sales professionals, who produce above expectations, are positive examples and require special rewards. This also motivates other sales team members to succeed. In this type of sales model, sales personnel that regularly do not meet quotas stand out and require retraining or termination.

A successful sale management model should always offer special rewards or bonuses to keep these sales professionals happy and continually motivated. Offering creative rewards such as optional end of the month time off or increased commission rates as staff surpasses certain levels of monthly quotas provides an excellent incentive to attract successful sale professionals and to keep them continually motivated.

Develop a Team

Finding sales professionals with excellent records of accomplishment is critical when creating a continuously motivated sales force. In my management of such personnel, I have discovered that hiring these successful professionals requires an active pursuit. Many of these high performance sales professionals are cherished by employers and are not seeking new employment.

Prior to recruiting sales staff, I always develop an outline of my ideal sales person. Hiring factors to consider include prior sales experience, key interpersonal skills to close sales and self-motivators who understand that rewards come with the completion of successful sales quotas.

Experience over College

In my career as a recruiter, I discovered that many human resource departments often eliminate successful sale personnel when college is a key consideration for hire. I prefer to dismiss college experience until all sales requirements are met. Certain businesses do require college educated sales professionals but a successful sale record and experience is always a first consideration.

More from this Contributor:

How to Turn a Hobby into a Business

Three Stock Investment Basics All Families Should Know

Passing Your Small Business Down to the Next Generation

Protecting College Savings from Taxation with a 529 Plan

How to Win  Personalised Diaries from Toad


University of Missouri: The Deming Library

Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago: Managing/Effecting the Recruitment Process

American Staffing Association: Staffing Facts

US Department of Labor: Diversifying Your Workforce Hiring Process

US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Business Practices

Research, Education and Economics Human Resources Division USDA: A Practical Guide for Selecting Officials

Zoloft Side Effects I Have Experienced


Zoloft is a miracle drug to some, offering an escape from anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, depressive disorder, and panic disorder. I have personally been taking Zoloft for ten years. A little longer than the time I have been using my skin care product I bought with the help of vitamin c serum for face reviews.

I am very happy with Zoloft, but Zoloft does have side effects. It is really up to you to determine if these side effects outweigh the benefits of taking Zoloft.
One side effect that I have suffered from since I have been on Zoloft is excessive sweating. I know this is not something that you want to hear, but Zoloft does make you sweat more then you normally do. This is easily countered by dressing in a slightly cooler manner and making sure that you are using enough deodorant. I also recommend that you use baby powder if the sweating is a little out of control.

Another unfortunate side effect is the weight gain. I don’t know what it is about Zoloft, but I gained twenty five pounds since taking Zoloft. Weight gain is never fun, but it can be lessened. I found that by drinking a lot of water I was able to curb the hunger pangs that the Zoloft caused. I also increased my exercises regimen. While I am still up 25 pounds since I began taking Zoloft, I have to say for a 10-year run, that isn’t really that traumatic.

When you first begin taking Zoloft another side effect it causes is nausea. I was fortunate enough to not to experience that side effect. I do know some people who suffered from nausea. The good thing about this was that after a month on the medication the nausea subsided. I would recommend that you keep ginger tablets on hand if you do have this side effect.

I also occasionally suffer from insomnia, another common Zoloft side effect. I typically try to avoid all caffeine after twelve noon, and work hard not to oversleep in the morning if I have had a hard time falling asleep the night before.

Some people complain of suffering from headaches while on Zoloft. I have not had any increase in headaches since being on this medication. I have also never heard any of my friends who are on Zoloft complain of this side effect.

Other Zoloft side effects include, but are not limited to: dry mouth, dizziness, rash, anorexia, vomiting, fatigue, agitation, nervousness, somnolence, tremor, Constipation, anxiety and decreased libido.


Web Standards, Semantic Markup and Cross-Browser Compatibility

I have been in the web design field for over eight years of my life now, and only recently has the importance of web semantics presented itself to me.
If you have ever cruised around the blogosphere, or the teen blogging realm of the internet, you may have seen things like “Valid XHTML” and/or “Valid CSS”. These terms are applied when a web developer takes accessability and following web standards into consideration.

At the forefront of validation and web semantics is, or the World Wide Web Consortium. This website recommends using valid, semantic markup to ensure cross-browser compatibility, as well as the accessibility factor of websites. W3C does not, however, create these rules and standards. That is the job of ISO, the International Organization for Standardization.

Let’s say that you are an up-and-coming web designer. You have several years of experience in dealing with HTML, CSS, and designing layouts. You are confused by all of the validation terms thrown about on your friend’s personal websites and blogs, and you want to know what this means, as well as how to utilize web standards in your own designs. In essence, validating your markup ensures that your website will look almost identical no matter what browser or resolution your visitors are using. It also ensures that disabled persons have easy access to your website, resulting in an overall better, more effective website. To know more about this, I do suggest you check out workshops from web development companies.

I used to not even bother with validating my CSS or my markup, and I used to only use one browser to test my designs in. My opinions on the subject have obviously changed, and most of that comes from acquiring more knowledge on the subject, and actually taking the time to understand it and utilize it. I used to think that people who validated put too much focus on everything being “perfect.” After I actually started to read about it, understand it further, and realize it’s importance, I quickly changed my views.

A lot of people don’t validate because they find the idea intimidating, which it can be if you don’t know anything about it. But in reality, it simply doesn’t make sense not to validate. Some people don’t even check to see what their websites look like in other browsers, which is just senseless and lazy.

Let’s pretend for a moment that you coded your entire website strictly for use in Internet Explorer. You’ve used iframes, and deprecated inline style classes to style your page. I, your visitor, use Mozilla Firefox, and I see your layout totally different. Your alignment is off due to using absolute positioning as opposed to incorporating Floats for a fluid layout, and you have used a chroma filter for transparency in your iframes. In Firefox, that same chroma filter shows up a hideous neon green. I most likely make ugly faces, and leave your site shortly thereafter never to return. These are things you should take into consideration when creating a visually cohesive, aesthetically pleasing design.

Despite the fact that Internet Explorer still dominates the browser market, (which to be honest, is beyond me) if your website is completely off in Opera, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, or any of the other dozens of less popular browsers out there, chances are pretty high that you won’t have as many return visitors as you would had you taken web standards into consideration. It’s not difficult to validate, which seems to be the biggest misapprehension regarding the subject. A lot of people don’t realize that sometimes all it takes is the correct doctype declaration, and adding a few forward slashes to close your tags. It’s obviously not always going to be that simple, but if you follow the right tutorials and use common sense while coding, you shouldn’t have to make that many changes to begin with.

Here are a few tips that would have helped me out greatly when I didn’t know a whole lot about validation; Follow valid tutorials from websites like Don’t use tutorial sites like that dish out badly written, deprecated markup. Always check your website in as many browsers as possible to ensure cross browser compatibility. Use external stylesheets linked to your pages, instead of repeating style tags on every page of your website. Run your HTML through HTML Tidy, and your CSS through CSS Tidy for the best optimization and compression. Finally, validate your markup and CSS with the validation services offered at W3C.

In closing, semantics, validation and compatibility are extremely important for maintaining a successful, professional and effective website.

How to Hire Professional PR Help

Do you need high quality and expensive PR help? Or do you need something basic, because most of the work you can on your own? These are some of the question you need to ask yourself before you go and solicit help from PR companies.
Here is a list of dos and don’t’s you can follow while selecting PR help:

Do use an agency if you feel like you need some real professional help and have the budget to do get some PR help.

Do consider using an agency if you spend more than $3000 a month on PR ventures. This money will go a long way with a professional PR company. You will really be getting your money’s worth while saving you time to do other things.

Do not hire a PR company if you’re trying to cut costs or stay within a certain budget. Getting outside PR help is always more expensive than doing it yourself. Keep on doing what you are doing and continue to advance your PR skills by learning and when you have your big break in the media then you can look into getting some professional PR help.

Do not hire a PR firm if you are just trying to save yourself time. It does save you some time, but you will still have to work with these people. You will still have to have phone conversations and in person meetings to discuss the direction of the material. Changes will have to be made and approved by you.

Do hire a PR company if your company is marketing oriented.

Do hire and agency if you need assistance in planning a special promo event, introducing a new product line and finding the appropriate target market.

Do hire a PR firm if you intend to thoroughly use all of its services especially if they are expensive.

Do hire a PR agency if you get stuck in a rut. Sometimes we can just run out of fresh, innovative and creative ideas. If you are currently in this boat and can afford it get some PR help, it will help to rev things up and give you fresh perspective from another source.

Do hire a PR Agency if you want a first classic look! This of course will come at a hefty price, but it is worth it if the company of your choice does everything top notch. Also, first class agency will tend to get your materials out with much more speed than usual. If you business is related to hospitality jobs for example, your PR person will surely be relating your campaigns to having endorses and tourism sites and destinations as part of it.

Do not hire an agency if you are sure no one else can promote the way you do. If you have a special twist or insight into the industry or your audience, do it yourself. Sometimes, PR firms can get into the rut of doing the same thing. However, if you are always coming up with fresh ideas than just keep on doing it yourself till you get stuck in a PR rut.

How to Select a PR Firm

Selecting a PR firm does not have to be a troubling or stressful endeavor. Here are some key things to look out for when choosing a PR Firm:

Opt for a PR Agency with expertise in your chosen field:

I know this might sound like a no brainier, but Many PR firms will do all types of industries. It is better to hire one who specializes in what you specialize in because they will be way more knowledgeable when putting together your PR information. It will be more thorough and believable.

Do not hire a PR agency with more capabilities than you need:

When starting out in PR unless you have deep pockets you do not need a PR agency with overseas branching, television and radio promotion. Keep it simple to start. Save all that money for a time when your company is well known and it is worth spending a lot of cash. Get someone who can simply write you an amazing PR release kit.

Make sure that the Agency is the right size for you:

Make sure that the PR agency of interests small enough to be interested in working with you in a dynamic way, but large enough to make a significant impact on your PR results.

Ask to see the PR agency’s work:

Anyone can make an awesome website that can cause you to believe that their work is just as awesome as their website! Even customer testimonials are not even enough. How do we really know if they just paid these people to say nice things about their product? Ask to see samples of their work. Seeing is believing in this case. Never just trust what they say unless you have had a long term relationship with them and you trust their judgment. It is your precious time and money that will be wasted if you do not do your homework first.

Check out the personal chemistry:

When you meet or talked to the PR representative how did you feel? Vibes are so important when it comes to making a decision on what firm to go with. When you meet or talk to a rep over the phone you should sense that they are really listening to what you are saying. You should sense that they are honest and will do what the say they are going to do. Lastly, you should just be able to get along with them and enjoy their personality. If non of this is going on than it is probably not the right business match.

Getting the Most out of Hired PR Help

You have worked hard at putting a PR plan of action together and have researched many PR agency’s and you have found the one that is going to work best for you and your company. Here are some tips on getting the most out of your chosen PR agency.

Brief your agency:

Do not just drop off some information and run. Take time to talk to them about the company in general. Talk to them about your target audience; tell them in detail about your products and all its superior benefits. Tell them what your expectations. The more they know about you, the company, the target audience and the product the more their work will please you.

If you decide to use different agency for your advertising needs hold a meeting:

Hold a meeting with both the PR Firm and the Ad agency. In doing this you will only have to hash out all the details once and everyone will get the same information in the same way. I would even record the meeting just for your own record on what was said and not said!

Do not compete with your agency in the creative area:

Say you do not like their creative process in putting together your press kit, do not make them feel bad. Offer up some constructive criticism and return the work so it can be re-done. If you still do not like what was created and you can do it better, fire the company and do it yourself.

Be reasonable about paying:

Many PR firms and freelance writers have it hard because their clients will not pay them or conveniently “forget” to pay them. So many PR firms and freelancers end up going out of business because their own clients cheat them and do not pay for the work that is done. If you want to have a good reputation in the field you better pay fair and pay on time. In the long run such ill practices will come back to punish you and your company with a bad reputation.

Establish and maintain direction in the process:

When working with a PR firm I would suggest having weekly meetings to check in with them to see how thing are going. This helps to make sure that the company is doing what they said they were capable of doing. This also lets you know if they are really keeping on schedule. In these meetings make sure that the direction of the project is staying true to the message of the company and the product.

Integrating PR with the Rest of your Business

In my last few articles I talked about how PR should be apart of the overall marketing of the product. I went over how to do internal and external research of your company, how to come up with a PR plan and how to choose a PR firm if necessary. Now that all that is covered it is time to integrate PR with the rest of your business, consider the following:

PR should always be fully integrated into other forms of marketing when launching a new product or service.

The PR department should always know what is going on in the other marketing arenas. When you have your strategic marketing meetings someone from the PR department should be present.

PR should not be isolated to themselves when working on a project. PR should actually be working side by side with other marketers even if their components are a little different. The more that PR works with the different components of marketing the better the PR plan will be overall.

Every PR manager whether they are full time or part time should the following to keep in tuned to what is going on in the company’s activities:

Read industry trade journals.
Attend all major trade shows at which your company is exhibiting at, the more they go the more relationships they can make to gain more free press.

Make a habit of frequently reviewing the website to make sure everything is up to date and competitive with other company’s websites.

Read all new sales literature that your company produces. The selected PR person can really put in their helpful opinion about the look and content of the literature.

Respond to competitor’s ads and press. Request sales literature from them and learn what they are doing. You can also learn what not to do from a lot of their literature.

Regularly check in with the sales team to see how the product is doing. Find out from them how the customers are responding to the product or the service. Be willing to take the good with the bad and adjust as necessary.

If and when you have free time go with a sales rep to a sales call and see how the product and service is being promoted. Is it being promoted in a way that really gets your message across? If the messages are not getting across in away that is ok with you address the issue with sales rep. The two of you together can work on the presentation of it so that it does match the PR message that you have created.

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