By Audrey Webster

While blogs have been around for more than a decade, the role they play as an effective media channel has increased dramatically over the past few years. They have become a powerful tool in helping businesses and organizations reach targeted audiences, increase brand awareness and grow revenue.

As the newest member of MP&F’s blogger outreach team, it’s only taken me a month to realize how much time and attention the team is devoting to maximizing the many opportunities that exist in the blogosphere for clients.

Mom Creative formatted

Kat and Kate, the leading ladies of MP&F’s blogger outreach team, refer to  bloggers as “informed brand ambassadors,” and continually encourage our team to seek outside opportunities to improve our outreach strategy. Recently, I had the chance to attend an IABC Nashville luncheon, where Jessica Turner, professional blogger and founder of The Mom Creative, spoke about the do’s and don’ts of blogger outreach. In discussing various types of campaigns and what she looks for in a pitch, Jessica did a great job explaining the key points communications professionals need to know about the blogging business. If a blogger is not treated like a businessperson, the quality of the post (given the blogger agrees to write one) will show it. Here are some of the main takeaways from the luncheon:

  • Blogs are much more relational than traditional media. Successful bloggers earn the trust of their readers, giving their content the credibility that traditional media often lacks. Jessica explained that she will not hesitate to say no to a pitch if the brand doesn’t appeal to her or her audience.
  • Blogger outreach must start with building relationships. It’s crucial that the content in a pitch be relevant to the blog’s message, style and followers.
  • What to look for in a blog: a strong following, content that is clear, engaging and consistent (the length and quality of the comment thread are good indicators!), and SEO tags. Displaying these tags or a search bar shows that audience interaction is important to the blogger.
  • Offer the blogger various campaign and partnership options. These include unpaid features, product reviews/giveaways, sponsored posts, affiliate posts (compensation based on effectiveness of a coupon or promo code) and advertising. Social media promotion is also an affordable option, and is particularly appealing if a brand’s Twitter following is 10 times that of the blogger’s.

The real eye-opener was a story Jessica saved for the end of her presentation. She had posted on her blog, Facebook page and Twitter account promoting a four-hour sale of a brand she’s worked with multiple times. Her posts generated more traffic (and sales) to the brand’s website than the 1 million emails the company had sent out that morning. Needless to say, Jessica later received this particular product free.

It’s clear that blogger outreach can lead to measurable results for brands and businesses if executed correctly. Like businesses, bloggers want to be given expectations up-front, they want to be paid on time, and they want their content to be shared on other media channels.

By Annakate Tefft Ross

Have you heard of Wannado yet? It’s a hyperlocal event curation app that helps users find out what they “wanna do” in Nashville. The startup is a client of ours and officially launched the app today. Read the Nashville Business Journal story on the launch here.

logo

We love seeing the Nashville technology and startup communities grow, plus we love finding out about awesome activities in our fair city, so we’re thrilled to help spread the word about Wannado.

According to CEO Steven Buhrman, the app was designed to help Nashvillians spend less time figuring out what they want to do and more time doing what they love. Here’s a video the company put together.

Not only does the app use your tastes and preferences to point you in the direction of events you might be interested in, but it actually learns its users’ preferences and makes personalized event suggestions. The idea was to create the Spotify (a digital music streaming service) of local events. Pretty cool, we’d say.

So, what can you do with Wannado?

  • Keep a pulse on your favorite live music and entertainment options
  • Get tickets and add events to calendars directly from the app
  • See what your friends and other locals are doing
  • Discover service opportunities based on the causes you care about
  • Find out where professionals are meeting up
  • Follow your favorite venues and organizations
  • Find nearby drink specials and invite your friends to join

Once you’ve downloaded the app, you “tune” or specify your interests.

Wannado-App-Launches-In-Nashville-1

After that I can get “Suggestions” for upcoming events by date, based on my criteria as selected above. I’ll also receive daily suggestions from Wannado.

Wannado-App-Launches-In-Nashville-3

From there, you can “Explore” anything under the sun, from over 60 categories. So if your mother-in-law is in town, you can browse museums or wine tasting events, regardless of whether or not you like these kinds of events. You can also search for events by keyword.

Wannado-App-Launches-In-Nashville-4

Lastly, I can use the “Community” function to see what my friends have “Wannado’d” or starred as an event they’re interested in. The app integrates with Facebook so my “friends” are based on existing Facebook friends.

Wannado-App-Launches-In-Nashville-2

Wannado curates its events in part by allowing anyone to post an event (you can submit one directly through the app) and by leveraging partnerships with prominent local organizations and cultural curators, including:

In a nutshell, we’re pumped. Help us spread the word about Wannado! Get the app, then check them out on FacebookTwitterInstagram and the blog.

MCC

Image Credit: TVSDESIGN / TUCK-HINTON ARCHITECTS / MOODY-NOLAN via The Tennessean

So we’re coming off a pretty big couple of weeks, huh, Nashville?

The opening of the Music City Center gave us another feather in a cap that is starting to make us look like quite the peacock. With all these people telling us how wonderful we are (I’ll spare you the many links), I guess it only made sense to open a 1.2 million-square-foot building and admit, with a sheepish grin, “Yeah, we are pretty great.”

As I looked out from one of the balconies of the MCC last week, I wondered how newcomers to Nashville would see the city through the prism of this new entertainment district. How would their version of Nashville compare to mine?

We have a great opportunity – and, perhaps, a responsibility – with the Music City Center to ensure our visitors experience the Nashville that we enjoy every day. I think the powers-that-be recognized this, and there are hearty doses of local flavor throughout the building. The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. The $2 million in art installations. The architecture that gives the feeling of being inside a guitar (or maybe a whale). And it’s a good sign that the first big event in the center will be our local Music City Sports Festival.

Is it going to feel touristy? Sure. The MCC is surrounded by hotels, honky-tonks, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Bridgestone Arena. Convention visitors to our city are still going to get the amped-up, ABC television-show version of Nashville, and that’s OK.

But as the city continues to market the MCC and the great new amenities around it, we would do well to incorporate the little things that make Nashville what it is and what it’s becoming. Mention in its promotion that you can escape up to Rolling Mill Hill for great views, some awesome coffee and food from one of the best chefs in the country. Encourage intrepid B-Cyclers to make it over to Five Points, or Jefferson Street, or Centennial Park. Remind them to catch a baseball game at that old college-days couch of a stadium we keep meaning to replace (and to grab a burger at Gabby’s if they’re lucky).

City leaders have made it a point to say that the MCC is for Nashvillians to enjoy. Just as important, let’s make the MCC a place for visitors to enjoy Nashville – the Nashville we know.

Participants at NashvilleNext events have given their ideas of what they want to see for Nashville's future.

Participants at NashvilleNext events have given their ideas of what they want to see for Nashville’s future.

By Colby Sledge

On a recent trip to Atlanta to visit friends and catch a ballgame, I saw the city a little differently than in previous trips. Our work with NashvilleNext, the countywide plan to determine Nashville’s civic planning over the next 25 years, has forced me to notice my built environment a lot more. Now, whenever I see new developments or empty storefronts, I think about returns on investment, density levels and public-private partnerships. Really nerdy stuff, I know.

As we drove through the mega-highways that connect Atlanta and its seemingly endless suburbs, I remarked to my wife that such urban sprawl was a planner’s nightmare. On our way to our friends’ house, we passed construction to extend six-lane highways even farther away from the city. As anyone who has been to Atlanta knows, few people (less than 10 percent of the metro Atlanta area population) actually live within the city limits. Residents define themselves by their suburbs and surrounding counties, and attached to those locations are subtexts regarding income levels, demographics and overall quality of life. Those realities are not unique to Atlanta, but they are perhaps more pronounced due to the city’s many tentacles.

In Nashville, we often remark that we never want to be like Atlanta when it comes to traffic and sprawl. But there are positive examples we can take from Atlanta as we consider what kind of city Nashville wants to be. Inside the Perimeter (as the notorious I-285 is called), we found neighborhoods that incorporated housing for a variety of incomes, as well as restaurants and small retail that encouraged foot traffic. Atlantic Station, a mixed-use Midtown development on the site of the old Atlantic Steel mill, has gained attention for its focus on reuse, energy efficiency and density. (It also attracts a jealous side-eye from Nashville toward its IKEA.)

As is often mentioned at NashvilleNext events, our population is going to increase by more than a million people over the next 25 years. Surrounding counties like Rutherford and Williamson will grow at a faster rate than Davidson, but the jobs will continue to be in Nashville. We’re going to have more commuters, meaning we’re going to have to come up with solutions that use our existing infrastructure – our highways – and encourage sensible transit options. That’s where we can avoid a lot of the gridlock and asphalt that Atlanta has created.

Neighborhoods like Atlanta's Virginia-Highland have accessible retail storefronts, a mix of businesses and homes and a high degree of walkability.

Neighborhoods like Atlanta’s Virginia-Highland have accessible retail storefronts, a mix of businesses and homes and a high degree of walkability. (Source: Flickr)

But we’re also going to need to create spaces that allow people to live, work and play where they are, without having to spend a disproportionate percentage of their income on transportation and housing. We can look at Atlanta’s examples like Virginia-Highland and Atlantic Station to see what we can incorporate both within our urban core and in our suburbs.

NashvilleNext is encouraging such discussions in a very accessible and open way. You don’t have to be a city planner to get involved; you just have to care about your community. You can join NashvilleNext online on Facebook, on Twitter and through our online conversation hub, talk.NashvilleNext.net. We can learn a lot from cities like Atlanta as we plan for the future, but it’s going to take everyone’s involvement to ensure we create a plan that is uniquely Nashville.

TEDxNashville

April 10, 2013

by Caroline Claiborne, Intern

I attended my first TEDx event (Nashville’s fourth) this past Saturday, unsure of what to expect. I had seen a few videos from previous TEDTalks, but I had never experienced a room full of eager, ready-to-learn individuals who voluntarily paid for a day of lectures – and I am about to graduate from college.

The experience was like no other.

Photo Credit Keith Miles

Photo Credit Keith Miles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The theme chosen for this TED event was “Next.” The wide variety of lecturers and performers shared what they know and invited us to use that knowledge in bettering our community. Through the course of the lectures, I began to ask myself, “What is my ‘next’? What am I doing for my community?”

Speakers addressed immigration reform, charter education and community organization, among other topics. With each speaker and performer, I stretched my understanding of familiar topics and planted the seeds of new ideas. Musician Mike Farris performed gospel and blues at 10 in the morning and brought down the house from the get-go. After playing for several minutes, Farris asked the audience, “Are you gonna help or are you gonna hurt?” His question framed my experience for the day and forced me to ask myself, “How am I gonna help? What do I have to offer?”

One speech embodied the spirit of Ted: Dr. John Wikswo’s address “The Homonculi and I: Lessons from Building Organs on Chips.” The explanation stretched my capacity for listening to and finding interest in something science-related. He simplified a complex topic – how living human cells respond to drugs, chemicals and toxins – using a swing set, a stick figure, Dr. Emmett Brown and a sense of humor. Dr. Wikswo broke barriers between science and communication and, in doing so, offered his extensive expertise to the larger community.

Dr. Wikswo retold a story of someone’s advising him, “You really need to be normal,” to which he responded, “Normal people don’t do this!” He is correct: Normal people do not break barriers to better their community.

TED is about more than learning. TED is about sharing information and creating a better sense of community, whether it is the geographical community of Nashville or the digital communities we touch. I do not have answers about my “next” today, but TEDxNashville accomplished its goal – it got me thinking.

McNeely Pigott & Fox celebrated 25 years in business during 2012, and one of the ways we continue to celebrate is by answering the 25 questions we are most often asked about our business.

Question 21: Why is video important for public relations?

Why Sponsor BarCamp?

October 15, 2012

By: Ashley Bright

We sponsor BarCamp and PodCamp because it’s cool.

Well, there’s a little bit more to it than just the cool factor, but that’s a big reason.

Perhaps you’re wondering what BarCamp is …

BarCamp takes place this year on Saturday, Oct. 20, at Tequila Cowboy on Broadway downtown. It’s a technology-focused unconference – a time and place for Nashville’s finest and smartest techies to get together to share ideas, network and have fun.

We’re more than music …

Nashville is famous as Music City, boasting one of the highest concentrations worldwide of wildly talented musicians and performing artists. But this city has so much more creativity beyond music.

We’re proud to be a hotspot for health care companies, publishing and technology. Forbes named Nashville a Top Three Boomtown in the nation, and in the recent 2012 Digital States Survey, Tennessee was one of six states to earn an “A-minus” grade for our innovation, progress and effective collaboration. We’re awesome. It’s no wonder they made a TV show about us.

MP&F + BarCamp = Love

As a PR firm, MP&F loves to circle with this BarCamp group. We like smart people, and a lot of the people in the Nashville tech community are those who create the digital tools, websites and apps that we depend on in our profession.

The promise of fun

Who doesn’t love fun?

MP&F does.

I do.

BarCamp loves fun.

There will be fun to be had at BarCamp 2012. We’ll learn new things (always fun), we’ll network and meet new people (double fun) and there will be some really cool chum (the funnest). Oh, there is also an after-party, too (usually fun).

I can vouch for the really cool chum because three of my colleagues and I came up with one of the things for the swag bags.

So come on out to BarCamp. Get involved with this group of fabulous people. This is what Nashville is about – the best and most creative people around.

I will be there wearing my awesome BarCamp Crew T-shirt, and many people will be jealous of it. See you there!