9 Ways You Can Help Those In Need #allin1day

I give because I can.

Did you know?

  • Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.*
  • The Red Cross has won three Nobel Peace Prizes, in 1917, 1944 and 1963.^
  • In 2013, the international Red Cross movement provided food aid for more than 6.7 million people and essential household and hygiene items for over 3.4 million people.`
  • The ICRC’s (International Committee of the Red Cross) water, sanitation and construction projects benefitted some 28.7 million people in 2013.`

Please join us in going #allin1day to help the Red Cross deliver essential aid to those in need.

How can you help?

I gave whole blood for six years before learning that I was an ideal platelets donor, which I moved to three years ago. I don’t give in memory or honor of a specific person, although it is amazing when you meet people who have needed platelets — cancer patients, car accident survivors or organ transplant recipients, to name a few.

Go all in with us on June 2, 2015.

CCC is in. Are you?

I give because I can, and I hope that if I ever need platelets, someone will give for me.

p.s. Did you know the Red Cross has several apps, including one for blood and platelets donations?

Statistics sources: *American Red Cross  ^International Business Times  `ICRC Annual Report

Pay It Forward,
Jaime

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A Nation Full of Dreamers: Who inspired you?

Today would have been Sally Ride’s 64th birthday. She’s widely known as the first American woman in space, no doubt inspiring millions to dream big and shoot for the stars (literally).

Sally Ride's 64th birthday

Not as widely known is her work on Earth, educating millions of kids in science, especially girls and minorities. As someone who broke barriers, Ride, a physicist, wanted non-traditional STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students to know that they could succeed in these fields too.

Most of us have someone who inspired us to do what we do. It could be a family friend or well-known individual in your field. We asked CCC Facebook fans what book transported them to a defining moment or event in their life, and Missy Radecki, an RN and Associate Professor of Nursing, gave a tremendous response.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly….published in 1997, memoir by journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby editor of French Elle. He had a stroke at the age of 43, woke 20 days later and had locked in syndrome, he wrote the book by blinking. It gave me insight into being a patient and how he saw his nurses….I was moved by it and was the cornerstone of how I treated my patients.”

That question was inspired by a book I read while in college, A Big Life (in advertising). The author, Mary Wells Lawrence, rose through the ranks in the advertising world and ended up owning her own agency when few women made it past the secretary pool. The Mad Men finale triggered memories of reading this book, which is set during the same era, and encouraged me to pull it from my office book shelves.

When I read this book, I was pursuing a degree in advertising, so Lawrence’s message of success hit home. Despite ad agencies still being male-dominated, I knew I could survive and even thrive on Madison Ave, just like she (and Peggy Olson and Joan Holloway) did. It was a bonus when I discovered that Lawrence hails from Ohio, just like yours truly.

So thank you, Mary Wells Lawrence, for living your big life (in advertising) and inspiring a fellow Ohioan to follow in your footsteps. Maybe one day I’ll get there.

Who fueled your dreams?   

p.s. Another great book by a woman who excelled during the ‘Mad Men’ era of advertising is Mad Women: The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the ’60s and Beyond by Jane Maas.

Living a big life,
Jaime

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How To Test Your Way To Success As a Small Business

As a small business, you have an advantage over larger competitors: agility. It’s harder for larger, more established companies to be agile. You can, and here’s how to use that to your benefit.

How To Test Your Way To Success As a Small Business

Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3…

Test, test and test some more. Try things out. You may have noticed that the CCC blog publishing schedule has been a little off lately. That’s because we’ve been testing different publishing days and posts per week. We apologize if we’ve thrown off your reading schedule, but things should be settling down now. After studying our data, we’ve decided on a Tuesday and Friday publishing schedule (for now).

Related reading: Social Media Marketing: Try Stuff. Test. Repeat.

In addition to testing out publishing schedules, we also like to test our content in different formats and on different social platforms. For example, we usually tweet each CCC blog post twice within a few days to a week after publishing: once with the title & featured photo and once with a quote or a question that is discussed in the post.

On May 4, we tweeted the above tweet to promote a recent post, Twitter’s Retweet with Comment Feature Changes The Conversation. This tweet with the title and photo racked up 413 impressions and 16 engagements, which are fantastic for us. Then on May 7, we tweeted a quote from the post along with the social media hashtag. That tweet fared much worse, gaining 159 impressions and 1 engagement. Lesson learned: always tweet with pictures. Not so fast!

On May 8, we sent a title and photo tweet promoting a post, Inside/Out: Brands, Take Your Message To The People. It garnered only 94 impressions and 0 engagements. (The irony is that this same picture was a hit on Instagram, racking up 31 likes and 12 comments.) So on May 11, we sent a text-only tweet (shown above) that was viewed 311 times and engaged with 4 times.

Finally, we posted the picture shown below on Instagram on April 13th showing our love of all things Mad Men. (If you missed it, check out Mad Men: Master Storytelling In Any Era, and you’ll understand at least part of our love affair.) It’s still pulling in traffic, currently at 69 likes and 25 comments. We also posted this picture on Twitter with fantastic results (5/17/15: 556 impressions and 19 engagements) and Facebook with less fantastic results (4/14/15: 11 people reached, 1 engagement).


Can anyone hear us?

Here’s our point: keep testing and trying things so you can stay in front of your audience, who is always moving. You’ll read so many posts that tell you to publish blog posts on Tuesdays at 10am and Facebook posts on Wednesdays at 3pm and LinkedIn posts on Thursday mornings at 7:30am. Those are general suggestions that can help you as you accumulate your own data to study and test. Your audience is unique, so they’ll set their own best practices. The hard part is breaking through all of the noise and clutter to hear, see and follow them.

Your Feedback

As a small business, we love your feedback! So let us hear it.

What suggestions do you have for the CCC blog?

What suggestions do you have for small business owners?

How has testing led you to success?

Enjoy your long weekend, but remember what Memorial Day represents. THANK YOU to everyone who has given the ultimate sacrifice while protecting our country and freedom. And please, stay safe and be smart; don’t put a first responder in harm’s way.

Always testing, always learning,
Jaime

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Think Outside of the Booth: Ideas to Promote Your Brand at Events

Last month, CCC traveled to Indianapolis to work an event for a client, and it was an amazing experience. In addition to fueling the conversation with 32,000 firefighters from around the world, we walked away with some creative branding ideas.

A turnout jacket cling on a bathroom mirror

Think outside of the booth when promoting your brand!

While your booth doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) be boring, there are so many other opportunities to grab attendees’ attention at an event. Take the above static cling, for example. It was hard to miss this manufacturer’s ad of a turnout coat on full-length mirrors in bathrooms around the convention center. It’s crazy. You can almost see yourself in TECGEN® PPE’s gear, can’t you? You might as well go to the company’s booth and try some on.

TECGEN® PPE's unique hallway display shattered convention!

TECGEN® PPE shattered convention — and expectations — with this hallway display at a firefighter conference.

If you somehow missed TECGEN® in the bathroom, the company stopped attendees in their tracks elsewhere too. Instead of shattering glass (to remove a fire extinguisher), the manufacturer shattered convention with its newly redesigned turnout gear — and hallway display. In addition, the company’s unique display was in a high traffic area right outside of a doorway to one of the exhibit areas and a food court area.

Not to be outdone, MSA Safety’s booth was so hot it was smoking. Literally! This may be one of the coolest booth ideas we’ve ever seen.

And we haven’t even talked about the well-placed floor graphics (stairs, anyone?), ceiling danglers, electronic signs, individual event sponsorships, fire trucks in lobbies and so much more.

Remember, your event experience doesn’t begin or end at your booth. That’s just where the party’s at!

p.s. If you’re planning to exhibit at an event or planning an event itself, we’d love to help! Drop us a line so we can help you maximize your event experience!

Cheers,
Jaime

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CCC Turns 3! And the Winners Are…

We’ve been celebrating all week, and today it’s official. My company, Clearly Conveyed Communications, turns 3 years old.

CCC turns 3! The swag has arrived.

The swag has arrived. How do you like the retro touch?

In some ways, it seems like yesterday that I made the leap to start my own company; in others, it seems like a lifetime ago. In 3 short years, CCC has gotten social with first responders, worked with international clients and connected with people the world over. We’ve scratched, clawed, struggled and grown, experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. That’s the life of a small business owner.

And small business owners are close to our heart. While we’ve worked with companies of all sizes, we love helping small businesses succeed and realize their hopes and dreams. If you’re a small business owner, drop us a line. We’d love to hear about what you’re doing, so we can help spread the word.

We’re grateful to everyone who’s helped spread the word about us and wanted to thank you. Earlier this week, we announced a contest for those who engage with us on social media and are excited to announce the winners!

The winners of the ‘CCC Turns 3’ contest are:

  • Missy Radecki, Associate Professor of Nursing, FL *** CCC swag prize pack
  • Lyla Larimore, Blogger & Fire Service Enthusiast, IN *** CCC swag prize pack
  • David Rose, CEO at PRSONAS *** Spotify Premium gift card

Congratulations to our winners! We’ll be in touch with more information on your prizes.

A sincere THANK YOU to everyone who has helped shape CCC in any way, from clients and customers to ardent supporters to close friends who serve as sounding boards. We appreciate you!

p.s. We’re still partying! Penelope and Mojo are swinging around the office. 🙂

Grateful and blessed,
Jaime

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CCC Turns 3, And You’re Invited (To Win)!

We’re throwing a party, and you’re invited — to win.

CCC turns 3!

Clearly Conveyed Communications is turning 3 this week, and we’re celebrating with our clients, customers, supporters and fans. All week, we’ll be partying (while we work) at the office, so we’re inviting you along for the fun.

Follow and engage with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the blog for your chance to win CCC swag and other cool prizes. The winners will be announced right here on Friday, so stay tuned!

While you’re here, kick off your shoes and stay awhile. We’d love to help you with your next marketing, writing or social media project. Let us know your challenges, so we can help you with solutions. Have a question? Ask!

To kick your Tuesday up a notch, here’s what we’re dancing to in the office right now. Join us!

Now that you’re done dancing, here’s a chance to win.

What’s your favorite post (or series) on the CCC blog? Let us know below to be entered to win!

(New to the blog? Check out the right-hand sidebar for recent posts, popular content, categories, subject tags, archives and contributors to the CCC blog. You may be surprised at what you find!)

p.s. THANK YOU to all of our loyal readers and followers. We love to hear your thoughts and appreciate everyone who likes, comments on and shares our posts to further the conversation.

Cheers,
The CCC Crew

Jaime, Penelope & Mojo

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Inside/Out: Brands, Take Your Message To The People

Last night, I attended a launch party for a unique concept called Inside/Out Akron. The Akron Art Museum has embarked on an ambitious community outreach program to take art to the people. High-quality art reproductions from the museum’s collection will be installed throughout the city for Akronites and visitors to enjoy as they go about their days.

Taking your message to the people. It’s a concept that seems everywhere today, or maybe I’m just noticing it more. From museums and churches to malls and grocery stores, everyone is reaching out to its audiences instead of only trying to market their products and services to them.

How can your business or brand take its message to the people?

Hit the Road — Exhibit at trade shows, conferences or community events. Take advantage of the tremendous foot traffic that these events generate, and the opportunity to get your message to new audiences. Early registration timelines and product/service trades can reduce your expenditures and help you receive even more exposure. Maximize your return on investment (ROI) by putting together a show strategy and executing a pre, during and post-show plan. Don’t forget about sponsorship opportunities, either at these events or elsewhere. They can be a boon to your business if chosen carefully.

Related Reading: Event Planning: You Need to Have a Plan  |  Sponsorship: Your Name Here

Make New Friends — Look for opportunities to partner with other businesses or organizations to expand your reach. Make sure it’s a win-win situation, so you can develop a long-term, positive relationship. For example, the Akron Art Museum partnered with numerous organizations, including the Summit Metro Parks, Downtown Akron Partnership and Akron-Summit County Public Library, to reach new audiences and increase promotion of the Inside/Out initiative. A local homeless shelter partners with organizations to expand its reach, including Chick-fil-A to host a canned food drive. When you drop off at least two canned goods, you receive a coupon for a free sandwich. The right partnerships can open up a whole, new world.

Related reading: Love — and Marketing — is in the air!

Be the Host with the Most — Step outside of selling your products and services for a minute, and invite people into your building with no strings attached. What can you offer? Host a monthly book club or allow community members to reserve little or unused space for meetings. For example, the Summit Mall has flourished in an era when malls nationwide are struggling by opening itself up to the community. The mall encourages walkers, even opening the building well before the stores to accommodate work schedules, and posting wellness tips from a local hospital system. It also hosts a variety of events, from career fairs to pet expos, and seemingly everything in between. Once people are in the mall, it’s amazing what happens. They spend money! Another win-win.

Flip It Inside/Out: Your Turn!

How can you take your message to the people?

What are other examples of businesses who have taken their messages to their communities and beyond?

Would you be interested in a similar type of art outreach program in your community?

p.s. If you have event-related questions, let us know (or check out these event-related posts). While it’s not a core service that we promote, CCC has plenty of event experience of all kinds and would love to help with your next event.

“Just a small biz owner in Akron, OH,” 🙂
Jaime

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Twitter’s ‘Retweet With Comment’ Feature Changes The Conversation

Last night, it hit me: Twitter’s retweet with comment feature is a game-changer. I was excited about it before, even though it didn’t make our Q1 social media updates a few weeks ago. (Ed. Note: It has been added!) But I didn’t grasp how much of an effect it would have.

Last night, I was watching my favorite show, Mad Men, while following the #MadMen hashtag. Talking to people all over the world and experiencing a show from other peoples’ points of view while it’s airing takes your experience to another level. (It deepens your emotional connection with the characters and encourages you to watch the show live, but that’s another blog post.) I enjoyed reading others’ tweets and gained a new perspective on some of the characters’ actions and scenes.

And that’s when it hit me. I loved seeing people add their own insight to others’ thoughts and contributing to the conversation. While browsing the hashtag stream, I could instantly view a conversation instead of only seeing a reply or straight retweet (because there usually wasn’t room to comment on a retweet before). Previously, you would have to click to view the conversation, interrupting your stream (and experience). Now it’s all right in front of you waiting to be viewed and shared.

What’s the big deal? Engagement. As brands (and people), we all want other people to engage with us. That’s why this update is so big. Retweeting a tweet with an added comment increases impressions and engagement, including followers. Check out the analytics on two tweets I retweeted and added a comment to during the show. My reach and engagement is much higher than if I had simply retweeted these tweets, because I was able to add information for my audience.

Retweets with comments drive engagement!

Retweets with comments drive impressions and engagement over straight retweets.

I’m not suggesting you only retweet on Twitter, but this phenomenon makes sense. Social media is all about getting social with others no matter how hard we try to prove otherwise. Twitter’s retweet with comment feature allows us to engage with others while adding our own insight. It combines the best of both worlds: engagement and original content.

This update is almost as epic as Peggy’s entrance into her new employer last night — drunk, donning shades indoors and enjoying a smoke. Yet another way to change the conversation….

Join the Conversation on the Retweet with Comment Feature

Have you used the retweet with comment feature?

Will this feature encourage you to retweet more?

Are you on Twitter more, less or the same as you were a year ago?

p.s. We’d love to hear from you on Twitter! Tweet us @jaimeshine with your thoughts on this update, Twitter in general or anything else you have on your mind.

CCC’s Tweeting Queen,
Jaime

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Are You Being Heard? Communication Tips For Your Brand

Communication. It’s so simple, right? We learn to do it at a young age, and it’s second nature. So why is it so difficult to communicate effectively with your customers, business partners and employees?

"The biggest illusion in communication is that it has taken place."  -George Bernard Shaw

Sure, you blast out emails to your customers and employees, blast out promotional social updates and blast out glossy hyperbole in your monthly newsletter. But what are you actually saying?

Before you send another email, post another update or publish another newsletter, read what you wrote — as a recipient. Who are you trying to reach? What would a person in your target audience think of your communication? Even if it’s only an email to a colleague, employee or business partner… would you understand what you’re trying to say?

“Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I might remember. Involve me and I will understand.”  -Benjamin Franklin

How do you know what your recipients need and want (two different issues)? Ask them. Observe them (in a non-stalking manner). Put yourself in their shoes. Spend a day in their life handling their challenges and looking for opportunities.

When you take your customers’ needs and wants into consideration, and involve them in your solutions, you stand out in a sea of information overload — and tend to be heard. Which would make one of my heroes, the late, great Gabrielle Bonheur (Coco) Chanel, proud. And that works for me, and CCC. Are you being heard?

“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.”  -Coco Chanel

Communicate with CCC

What is your most effective type of communication?

What type of communication would you like to improve?

Do you have “miscommunication” issues often?

Do you have a communication question? Leave a comment or ask us on social media.

p.s. We’d love help you communicate with your target audience(s)! Check out our marketing, writing and social media services, and contact us to discuss your needs. Each project receives personal attention at CCC!

Your Captain of Communication,
Jaime

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