Posts tagged ‘advertising’

October 15, 2013

Our brand? Fun.

by Kate W. Hall

We dig having fun.

Our fans dig it, too.

So many brands try to sell, sell, sell when much of that time could be spent on fun Facebook posts like this one on our Richmond Rocks book page garnering likes & shares (80 likes since we posted!) and all we’re doing is having a laugh or two.

After all, this is the month for the spooky sequel (and I’m obsessed with Halloween!) so it’s the perfect fit.

I’ve always got a lot of room for new learning in the web advertising space, but this I know: people gravitate towards sincerity and laughter; for this I’m thankful.

October 7, 2013

Advertising the Best: There’s Something About Mary (& Jamie & Co.)

by Kate W. Hall

When she approached me at a party December 2008, there was something I just liked about her.

Her energy, infectious party-going style and sincerity were icing on the cake. Mary Fisk-Taylor, along with Jamie Hayes and the Hayes and Fisk Real Life Studios team became one of my first advertisers and true partners on

I decided to enter into an exclusive advertising relationship with Mary’s team. Not only because I felt it was the right thing to do for my readership & Mary (too many similar advertisers water down the vibrant flavor of just one) but because she believed in when few others even knew about it. Plus, their talent could reach our city limits and beyond.

Mary and Jamie went on to photograph my headshots, my family, promotions we had on the blog and eventually our Richmond Chevy Road Trip Challenge Team in 2012. They also were the creative photo geniuses on my children’s books, Richmond Rocks and The Spooky Sequel. what fun to create and share part of Richmond’s history with children all over the city.


Beyond their energy, talent and unique skills was a platform of true community spirit. We had a blast giving back to Richmond’s non-profits through our collaborative efforts throughout the years like the Richmond Real Cute Kids Contest, Supermom and other fun ventures.

One of the treasures I take with me after transitioning ownership of my blog is having built relationships with amazing, talented people like Mary, Jamie and team, who not only showed me what professionalism was, but sparked creativity all along.

October 7, 2012

Investing in your Brand: Not Optional

by Kate W. Hall


We’re often asked to promote new businesses (pro bono) on and when appropriate, when we have the space and our team isn’t super-stretched, we’re happy to oblige.

After all, I was a start-up five years ago with few resources and I’ve always felt compelled to pay the kindness I received from others forward. Here’s the thing that’s tough for us to verbalize to a brand-new business owner: one pro-bono ad on a blog with 150,000+ unique annual visitors sounds super-sexy, but truth be told it may not net you one sale.

True branding–staying power–takes an immense amount of investment, content, sources, links, and most importantly–relationships and proven customer service.

I’m not trying to be cold here; anyone who knows me knows I’m a bleeding heart. On this issue however it’s been a long time brewing in my message to new business owners: if you can’t afford to advertise or hire a sales rep (or be willing to market yourself), you likely aren’t ready to launch your business.

The first two years of my entrepreneurial journey were spent networking at women’s groups and Chamber of Commerce events, talking with small groups of parents at any (every) opportunity, and yes spending thousands of dollars on advertising, primarily on the web. Note: I’m not saying this because we derive our revenue from advertising. we’re a niche site and there are countless ways to market a brand.

I didn’t make a cent the first two years I was in business, and I was willing to make that physical, emotional and financial investment to make our blog polished, branded, stoic in the sea of come-again blogs that don’t stick.

I did everything myself at first from knocking on potential clients’ doors to mailing follow-up notes and business cards to standing for hours on end at children’s fairs in the hazy Richmond summer heat. Was I exhausted? YES! Was I frustrated? HELL YES.

If you’re not willing to do that, it’s like launching a business and going out for a swing. It may be a while before the breeze whips through your hair, but with careful investment of time and money + a boatload of passion, it’ll click.

December 20, 2010

Try, try again. . .

by Kate W. Hall

Reading a great article from the Wall Street Journal digital network today on deciding when it’s time for Plan B reminded me of an important lesson that several entrepreneurial friends have shared with me:

If at first you don’t succeed, don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. Try, try again.

The business owners in this article are doing just that–and realizing greater results by changing their business plans.

Likewise, so many of my clients and I work together throughout an entire calendar year for this very reason to work on various ways of marketing their messages; this works well because it’s very difficult to knock a “one-hit-advertising-wonder” out of the park. If everyone could advertise somewhere once and have huge success, that advertising source would likely be so highly-priced as to squeeze some smaller or start-up businesses out of the market.

Although the article itself focuses on the business plan and changing that up if results aren’t seen, the same thing is true with marketing.

For example, if your social media plan isn’t working for you, try something new: we’re working with a client now to tap into the mommy blogger market as she never has before and growing her Twitter presence; both are helping greatly with SEO.

If your web ads aren’t providing the desired results, try surveying customers to find out what publications they read–perhaps their answers will surprise you.

In this economy, many high-end retailers have failed: this is the perfect time to diversify inventory and focus on services if the high-end schwag isn’t moving.

Making changes doesn’t mean that you’re doing something wrong, it just means working hard to try and do the right thing. So we work hard and try, try again.

September 21, 2010

Engagement in Social Media is the Key

by Kate W. Hall

Meeting with some of my clients today our goal was to 1) educate them on social media and how it will help their business and 2) to help them to become engaged.

What’s that really mean?

It means reading/understand others on Twitter, “conversing” with others on Twitter, and developing meaningful relationships.

Some questions we covered:

1) What in the world are we going to talk about? Anything. And Everything. When you have time. This means that squeezing in 30 minutes per day for Twitter can be a great way to engage with others; this doesn’t mean dropping everything to tweet. There are exceptions to this, as warns Seth Godin: Doing any of these things halfway is worse than not at all. “People don’t want a mediocre interaction.” But with a team approach to social media, the interaction need not be mediocre, but robust and as a tool to build a team.

Example: A customer tweets to say they had a frustrating shipment experience. One person in the office tweets back an apology, then sends a DM/Personal email to investigate. That person shares this experience with the office to work on prevention in the future. The entire team is prepared to answer similar tweets, and preferably minimize complaint tweets. This is not only a communication tool, but one that can improve the business process.

2) How much do we talk about business? It depends on the business, but I prefer to use the 80/20 or 70/30 rule, meaning the majority of time I don’t tweet for business.

Advertising, referral programs and in-person networking should be the focus of developing new business, while social media is a means to keep branding front-of-mind and round-out the culture and personality of the organization. Those who continually tweet discounts, sales, and similar pitches, unless super-sexy, won’t fare well.

3) What’s the next step once we develop these relationships? Glad you asked. Start networking in person, and you’ll find that when the topic of social media comes up, you’ve already conversed with some of the folks you meet (if local, of course!) There’s no substitute for shaking an actual hand, but the medium of social media allows us to begin relationships before we have the opportunity, or good fortune, to meet in person.

September 19, 2010

If you don’t have an advertising budget, you shouldn’t be in business

by Kate W. Hall

I know, I know you’re thinking “Of course she’d say that, she’s in advertising.” While it’s true advertising is what I do, I’m a niche business so I continually urge my clients to cast the net wide beyond the scope of

What is casting the net? It’s simple. If you want to catch one fish, you throw in a line. If you’d rather reel in a big ol’ net full of fish, you’ll carefully craft a space where your net will be housed, ready to snatch a gigantic, fresh load of fish.

Casting the net refers to using tools like social media, traditional print advertising, television and radio advertising (if it makes sense) and of course online ads. It’s referral programs, rewarding your customers to build long-term loyalty, and going the extra mile to set yourself apart from competitors.

So no, launching a website and starting a Twitter and Facebook account do not a business make. A few people I know have managed to do this, but not as well as they’d like to, including my mom (of all people!) who hates marketing and would prefer to sit by the phone and wait for it to ring. She sews. Few people are in her competitive space. So her phone does ring. She is the exception to the rule. (I do promote her on my site, but that’s pretty much it.)

If you have a business, you should have an advertising budget. Period.


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