Be the… Mother of the Bride

At my sisters wedding back in 200? (sorry I don’t remember) I recall saying to my mom “you’re not a loud to plan Dana’s wedding” (the youngest and next one to be married) because the poor woman barely had a chance to slow down the entire weekend while we alphabetized escort cards and showed up to the rehearsal dinner venue to find it closed.  Alas, Emily’s wedding went off without a hitch, but that’s was because we worked are bottoms off to make sure it did. WORKED being the key word.  We worked that wedding. Yes, there was lots of celebrations happening, but did we live in every moment? Grasp every memory possible and be present in all the conversations with friends and family?  Probably not. We were busy putting on the show!  That was part of our inspiration in rebranding Occasions Magazine to The Celebration Society.  In searching for our ultimate brand message and what separates us from every other gazillion wedding blogs/magazines out there the images that filled my brain were those of being too busy worrying about the event that I couldn’t just enjoy the events from my life.  The night before my wedding I was hot glueing artificial ivy and hydrangeas together (BARF << Don’t ask me what I was thinking) for the pew decorations instead of gushing with my sisters about why I chose to marry Andrew.

This is why The Celebration Society exists >> to elevate the importance of hiring professionals. To say it’s okay to spend that money on their services. To encourage delegation.  To build trust in the system and to eliminate the unnecessary stress of a wedding. And to help you make more memories. When we pinpointed what our switch would be, what it would mean, I always knew I would come up with a branding campaign to drive the message home to make it click…..and I feel pretty certain I was finally able to put into design the message my brain so clearly saw with these ads running in 2017 our Annual issue.

Tonight, validation came to me when I checked my phone and found a text from my mom with this picture and she said “best ad ever.”  😉

A Memorable Resume Example for Creative Job Seekers

I gather Human Resource Managers at banks and medical offices would turn up their noses at the sight of a non-traditional resume, but for creative job seekers, there’s nothing better in my opinion than an outside-of-the-box resume that screams…. “look at me!”…. “remember me!”

I receive piles of resumes to sift through all the time and 90% of them are BORING, but today this beauty came across my email and I couldn’t help but share with you.

Lavender, Emerald copy

Emerald Lavender is a writer who sent along the resume above.  She says “Most people color inside the lines when it comes to resumes, but since I’m a creative, I decided to take full advantage of the space. As a fashion, beauty, and interior design writer, I’m always describing colors and shapes. It seemed only natural to translate that over to my resume.” If you think you can’t do the very same thing because you’re not a graphic artist, your’e wrong.  Emerald actually worked with a graphic designer to execute her vision and personality on paper.  You can follow her blog at

If you’re a writer, graphic designer, web developer, photo stylist or anything that falls under the realm of using your creative juices on the job….  let your personality and style shine through on paper. Not only will the words explain your expertise, the graphics will say so much more.  As a small business owner, I appreciate the extra effort and I imagine most other employers will too.

SWAG: Make it Memorable

I’ve been wanting to post this blog since my last issue release party in January. We had a big event at the venue featured on the cover and gave swag bags to all the attendees. Each of my Occasions Magazine advertisers had the opportunity to put marketing materials in the swag bags and I was most impressed by Atlantic Limousine & Transportation. They gave pens with their logo. Sounds boring huh? They weren’t. Instead, they took the traditional pen and made it memorable by placing it a box and including in the box a message that made it make sense.

The pen lite up so the message, along with the company’s business card said…
“Are you like me? I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about tasks that I have to do. With this lighted pen, you make make your notes bedside, git if off your mind and get back to sleep. Simply click the top for a light and twist the end to access the pen.”

Genius. No longer are they the stranger company giving you stuff to fill your drunk drawer. Atlantic Limo made it personal, made it make sense and made it memorable.

If you are going to spend the money on swag bag items, make them memorable or don’t do it at all. Your postcard will end up in the trash, but if you engage the recipient your chances of turning that swag into an inquiry will increase. I promise.

Editorial Integrity : Writing for the Reason not the Reward

I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching about editorial integrity lately. I came from a background in Broadcast Journalism, but I never quite “got it” until I became the person responsible for generating editorial for an entire magazine. Now, I get it.

Before my days of publishing, I handled all the marketing for a spa. Public Relations and any type of editorial coverage was numero uno on the list. It is free afterall. Strike that. I shouldn’t say free. Because free means the subject matter in question was originally associated with a price and that’s not the case when it comes to articles, tv spots, radio interviews, etc. You can’t pay for PR people and you really shouldn’t try. It’s in bad form.

Public Relations is by definition the practice of managing communication between an organization and its public. Ways you can manage that communication is internally through emails, newsletters, and advertisements or externally through third-parties like the media.

Media coverage gives your business a whole new level of credibility because it’s someone outside of your organization, who is NOT being paid, who says “ya know, they have a good thing going” or “we tried these products and love them too!” That’s how pr/editorial is meant to work.

Journalist who live by the daily belief in editorial integrity cannot be bought. I once sent a gift certificate to the spa to a writer who we often worked with as a thank you and happy holidays gesture. That writer called to say thank you for the gift card but that she couldn’t accept it, so if I didn’t mind she was going to donate it to a charity auction. I was floored, but even more SO impressed with her restraint and desire to keep it clean. That’s journalism…. writing for the reason not the reward.

PR becomes politics when there is an exchange of cash, goods or services.

I own a magazine and my advertisers make my world go ’round. So being fair and balanced editorially speaking and taking care of the people who make my magazine possible is always a struggle. I don’t mind writing about my advertisers, but it’s because I know each of them personally and when we do write about them, it’s because I truly BELIEVE that they have a good story to tell. But advertising with any media, does not promise you coverage and assuming it’s included will leave you disappointed and your reputation a bit tarnished in the eyes of that editor/producer/writer.

So how do you get editorial coverage without bullying an advertising account executive for an article in exchange for an article or harassing an Editor?

You follow @LaraCaseyReps on Twitter. 😉 Lara Casey is Editor-in-Chief of Southern Weddings Magazine and has been posting tips and advice in the last week on “getting published” that are brilliant.

Her advice is simple. It’s not about bullying, sending bulk emails, buying ads or offering services in exchange. It’s about relationship. Getting to know the media YOU want to be published in. Familiarizing yourself with their style, previous topics covered, sending them article ideas, photography samples, knowing and submitting in the format they prefer, and generally building relationships with the gatekeepers. It does NOT happen over night, but if you put real genuine effort into the relationship, you will get results.

If you’re on Twitter follow the hash tag #GetPublished to keep up with Lara’s updates. It’s extremely valuable advice you can use to get the most out of your public relations efforts in your full circle marketing plan.

The 90’s called…..they want their website back.

Here’s the thing….I originally hadn’t planned on writing about this, but you should have seen some of the websites I ran across today while surfing the internet.

What I have to say might….well hurt some of your egos, but listen up – it’s 2008…you are no longer allowed to boast that you have a website if it looks like you made it in 1994 and haven’t changed it since. That would be the equivalent of bragging about your Ford Tempo that you’ve never changed the oil and is sitting in your driveway with a spare tire on it. You just wouldn’t do that.

It’s simple…marketing your business in 2008 is not what it was in 1998…times change, TECHNOLOGY CHANGES, and your customers change and it’s your job as a savvy business owner to keep up with it or your gonna get run over……or worse, someone else it going to get your business. From now on I challenge you to look into the “impression” your current website is giving to your potential customers. Think of it as this…..Your website is like your company’s bright and shiny digital billboard on the interstate of life. You hold the key to what it says, looks like, etc and you can change the message with every sunset if you wish… why wouldn’t you keep it fresh, new and current. Just like you updated your hairstyle when the 80’s went bye-bye, you should do the same with your website.

Stay tuned for more info and options about updating it soon…… And for those of you who don’t even have one…..don’t even get me started!