Author Archives for PR over Coffee

The pros and cons of brand collaborations

HR-and-Branding-–-The-Perfect-PartnershipCo-branding is not a new concept, but it’s one that’s seen a lot of popularity in recent years due to the increased reach brands have on social media and online.

Strategic collaborations can be a smart way to raise brand awareness, reach new customers and explore new opportunities. But before you partner up with another brand make sure you’re aware of both the pros and the cons of doing so:

Pro: Double the audience size

Teaming up with another brand means having access to a whole new audience. While the brand you partner with doesn’t necessarily have to be in the same industry, you both need to have the same target audience and similar brand lifestyles. An example of this is Red Bull and GoPro partnering up for the “Stratos” space jump stunt. Although one is an energy drink and the other is a gadget, both brands target an adventurous and active audience, so collaborating on a thrilling space jump was a great way to reinforce each brand’s image. Through co-branding, both you and your partner brand can come out of it with more business and new followers. A win all around!

Con: Less creative control

Partnering up with another brand essentially means you’re now part of a team, and with that comes less control and independent thinking. If you’re not partnering with the right brand — one with similar brand perspectives, target audience and marketing strategy — it may result in differing creative ideas. Before you decide to co-brand with a company, make sure you choose your partner wisely and both parties are on the same page when it comes to strategy and creative direction.

Pro: Combined budgets

In addition to doubling audience size, you’re also doubling the amount of money you have to spend on the campaign. This is especially beneficial if you’re a small business partnering with a larger, well-known brand. If you’re able to land a collaboration with a bigger brand and they’re willing to provide a good amount of the marketing budget, make sure you’re putting in your share of the legwork.

Con: More time and effort

While all new campaigns or projects require a lot of time and effort, co-branding is an additional amount of work. From brainstorming new ideas to cross-promoting on social media, working with another brand can be time consuming, especially if there are multiple brands involved. To minimize the stress or confusion that can come along with co-branding, make sure there’s a game plan set in place before you begin the campaign and that each party knows what they’re responsible for.

Pro: Creates new opportunities

If you’re a business that’s just starting out or you still have a small audience, co-branding can help put your brand on the map. Partnering with a bigger brand can help establish your reputation and reach a wider audience as well as opens you up to more collaborations. Having an established brand work with you on a social media campaign, a giveaway or any other collaboration can help persuade other brands to reach out to you for future projects.

About Sam Lauron:  Sam Lauron is a Communications Associate at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with digital marketing, social media, blogging and tech PR activities and helps run the newly launched Startup Over Coffee, a crowdsourced map of local startup resources. Manzer Communications provides digital PR and marketing services in Austin, Denver and Houston and for any national brands seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.



How to set up a landing page in Unbounce

Marketing campaigns of all kinds — email marketing, white papers, webinars and anything else that requires capturing contact information — require a landing page. That’s where Unbounce comes in.

Unbounce helps create high-converting website and campaign pages through its simple, customizable landing page development platform.

If you’re unfamiliar with Unbounce and want to integrate it with your website, here is a quick how-to for creating a landing page for WordPress.

1. The first step is to make sure your WordPress page and the landing page are connected. You can do this by using a redirect. On the page you created for the campaign within WordPress, use a WordPress redirect plugin such as Quick Page / Post Redirect Plugin and activate it to be used on your pages.







2. On the page in your website, you can apply the redirect to the page into Unbounce where you want it to go. Make sure you set it as a 301 Permanent.


3.The URL for the campaign is created in the Unbounce landing page. This is the URL that you will set in WordPress to have it redirect.




4. Now go into the Unbounce page itself. After you set up your dialog box you will need to set up the Goal for the landing page which, in this case is to capture the data.









5. Now this is the important part: setting up the confirmation dialog box. Make sure you set the CLICK ACTION in the right hand menu to Download File and set it to the PDF that you want to be downloaded.








And there you have it! You’ve just set up an Unbounce landing page for your website. Now you’re all set to generate leads and convert website visitors through all your future campaigns.

About Sam Lauron:  Sam Lauron is a Communications Associate at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with digital marketing, social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications provides digital PR and marketing services in Austin, Denver and Houston and for any national brands seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

Startup Over Coffee is now live!

The folks who brought you PR Over Coffee have released a new startup resource, Startup over Coffee, a map of many entrepreneurial resources available for startups in the Austin, Texas market.

Why Austin? Well, for one thing, we got our start in Austin!

More importantly is Austin’s rapid rise among the nation’s top metro markets to become a dominant player in the world of startup ecosystems. Austin came in at #1 in the CNBC Metro 20: America’s Best Places to Start a Business in August. Austin cracked the top 10 on the 2016 Kauffman Index, which measures the entrepreneurial vitality of the 40 largest metro areas on the country. Austin also hit #1 on the Forbes list of The Cities Creating the Most Technology Jobs 2015.  

One of the most important aspects of the success of Austin’s startup scene? An incredibly diverse, mature startup ecosystem made up of all kinds of businesses, organizations and media.  

Claim your spot on the Startup over Coffee map!

This map is meant to be crowdsourced and maintained by those who make up the Austin startup scene. Regardless of whether you own or operate a coffee shop or coworking space, we want to democratize the map’s content in order to make it as up-to-date as possible.

For any organizations who are already on the map and would like to claim their pin, it’s easy to do. Just follow these steps:

  1. Click your organization’s pin (you must represent the organization to be approved)
  2. Click ‘More Info’
  3. Click ‘Claim Place’
  4. Sign-in (you will need to create a MapMe account)

Any businesses that support the Austin startup scene who want to put their pin on the map can easily do so by following the instructions found here.

Don’t just take it from us!

Our friend and local startup expert Paul O’Brien said this about the Austin startup scene:

Austin thrives because of its the convergence of technology with design, art, music, architecture, gaming, and the experiences that we love. Austin lives to work and our entrepreneurs are in coworking spaces, office parks, working from home, and in coffee shops throughout the city; connecting opportunities with talent, resources, and ideas.

Want to help?

Startup over Coffee is our attempt to capture the richness of that startup ecosystem and share it for anybody who is looking for a way to plug-in, network and contribute to the Austin startup community. That’s why we need your help!

We will be adding new startup ecosystems in cities across the U.S. so stay tuned for more. Next up? The Denver & Boulder startup scene! Want to see your city added sooner? Let us know at: and we’ll get to work on it.


Have your mass blast — and personalization, too


It is the kind of conflict that ties marketers in knots. They know it’s important to connect with customers and prospects one on one. Yet sales is a numbers game, and it’s all too easy to think of the recipient as just a name on a list – one that you “nurture” through customized, well timed-email “drip campaigns,” and increase “touch points.”

Marketing jargon aside, how does one achieve the scale and efficiency of automation and digital communications – yet still find a way to treat the customer as individuals and show them that you care? Said another way, how to balance the super ego of good customer relations with the id or baser impulses of mass blasts?

We’ll never get back to the days when great service meant greeting customers by name as they walked into the corner store  Yet today’s tortured marketers can rest easier as there are a number of ways to strike a middle ground.  Think of it as mass customization, a manufacturing principle, applied to your sales process.

One way to do this is send your prospect a handwritten card. “Um, a card? Like, with real handwriting?” I can hear you asking this, and how to make it happen across your hopefully massive database. The super ego is realizing that it might actually be a good idea, while the id is already a couple of steps ahead, wondering how to send the work to India.

But there are ways to scale handwritten communications. Just like marketers in growing numbers are again waking up to the advantages of email marketing (after all you have just one inbox that you check often), they’re realizing the importance of the physical mailbox. Direct mail is coming back into vogue, with 70% of Americans saying that snail mail is more personal than the internet, according to the Direct Marketing Association.

Technology can let you have the “cake” of quantity (mass blasts) and eat it too (i.e. the quality of the manual approach of a handwritten note). You need a way to stand out.

Rising above the Digital Noise

In a world of digital distraction, noise and interruptions, a physical card or note can be the secret to breaking through and connecting with busy customers.  It can provide welcome relief from other things that demand attention. Personalizing the piece with handwriting and other elements creates a special connection between the sender and receiver.

While most physical and virtual messages are quickly sent to the junk mail pile, a real note with handwriting demands extra attention. But it can be hard to maintain these kinds of campaigns, and they cost money and time.  Luckily, there are tools that automate the process, such as

It authentically simulates handwriting and can even replicate the sender’s writing. When combined with the latest marketing automation tools, they can let you stamp each note with your personality on a mass scale.  This combines the power and efficiency of marketing automation with a vehicle that grabs attention, delights recipients and boosts open rates, sales and referrals.

Users can create projects at the site, or integrate with a CRM.  With the latter, you can trigger a card mailing based on rules, such as passing purchasing or donation thresholds.  This allows you to carefully control how many cards are sent, to ensure that they continue to go out over time, and ultimately facilitates measurement of ROI.

For example, if you want to trigger a card to be created and sent out after a customer passes a purchasing milestone or speaks with your team, you can use an automated handwritten card solution, like Thankster, to weave personalized handwritten cards into your marketing campaigns, whether it’s to support nurturing campaigns or loyalty programs.

Other Ways to get Personal

Automating handwritten notes is not the only way to forge a stronger connection with the customer on a mass scale.  Here are two others.

SaleMove offers a dramatically improved online customer experience.  It takes you many steps beyond the the typical live chat and phone support.  Support channels are often uncoordinated and frustrating for the customer. SaleMove elegantly integrates IM, phone support, video chat and email so that the team’s left hand knows what its right hand is doing – and together they seemlessly solve customer problems.

Here’s another. In your efforts to get personal, you don’t want to stray into “creepy” territory. That is exactly what retargetting ads do.  They’re the ones that seem to stalk you, based on a website visit recorded in your browser cookie. Solutions like Listen Loop offer a much smarter approach.  They personalize Web ads based on rules and information about the user’s company.

There you have it – you can have mass communications, and your personalization too.  I hope you found these ideas helpful.  Would you like to share any additional thoughts or ideas?

About the authors: 

Paul Geller (CEO) is a serial entrepreneur with both online and offline success.  After completing his MBA at MIT (Sloan School), Paul ran a computerized analytical trading fund for Kidder Peabody & Co., Inc. and went on to start his own hedge fund (Centurion Capital Group). In addition, Paul was the CEO and founder of, selling a majority interest to a major financial services firm in 2008.  He founded and is currently running

Based in New York City, Bob Geller is president of Fusion PR. He is a veteran of tech sales, marketing and PR and has developed best practices for working social media and content marketing into the PR mix. Bob has been covered in publications such as PR Week, Entrepreneur, MarketingProfs, PR News and Bulldog Reporter. and writes and speaks frequently on social media, content marketing and PR.

Getting your brand into the blossoming festival scene


America’s festival scene is burgeoning with new events springing up every year. Part event saturation, part audience demand, gone are the days where the musicians alone could attract fans – now there is an expectation of art, gourmet food and social interaction and this has opened up the door for brands to shift away from the traditional sponsorship model.

For businesses in the growth phase, you have to get creative in how to grow your brand awareness, particularly in a country where it is said that a new company starts up at a rate of 11,000 per hour!

I’m going to hazard a guess that thousands of sponsorship or marketing dollars are not available to the majority of smaller businesses. That makes getting creative with your event marketing initiatives crucial, and building solid relationships even more so, especially if you hope to infiltrate large events that small businesses typically can’t get into. Cue your new festival strategy!

When you’re thinking festivals, you may be thinking of the big guns – the Coachella’s and SXSW’s of the festival world – where you’re most likely priced out by the big buck sponsors. But success in event marketing is not always about being at the biggest, most expensive events. Targeting new, early-phase events gives you a chance to get your foot in the door, and also to scale up as they do. To get your foot in that door, figure out who the organizers are and get introductions to foster relationships with them.

The strategy is simple, go after the smaller festivals – maybe 2,000-4,000 fans –with an audience that is passionate about the event, the community within it and the artists playing. These size events may be breaking even (sometimes not) and are typically in years 1-4 of their own growth phase but they have a loyal community. Be there on the ground floor as a brand sponsor and that community will most likely remain loyal to you. These organizers generally need to top off their event dollars and this is where you come in.

Think about your business offering and, rather than a standard sponsor model, take the initiative and offer festival partners a commission so you both win when you hit your targets. Speaking of targets, decide what they are and make sure you get buy-in from the festival organizers. If it’s in the form of online sales from a discount coupon created exclusively for the event, then spell it out and agree to targets. The higher the sales target, the greater the potential pay-out to the festival.

When it comes to providing promotional assistance, see if you can link in your respective social channels and website to help spread awareness for their events. As long as it’s a good brand fit, you’ll show your ‘cool side’ to your customers. In the process, you will help each other build social media fans via the cross promotion.

Don’t forget to focus on adding value to the people working the ‘hard yards’ to make the event possible. Volunteers are key to any successful event so find a way to reward them to deepen your connection to the heart-and-soul of the event.

Also, once the arrangement you strike with the festival organizers is in place, offer easy management of the processes. Festivals are extremely complex to organize so the lower key you can make everything, the more likely it is to run smoothly.

In a snapshot, if you’re looking to get your brand at a festival, I recommend:

  • Show the value of how your product or experience enhances the festival goers time at the event – think experiential or a value-add that is too hard to say no to. JUCY has campervans so we offered ‘nap stations’ at one event for weary partygoers to catch a recovery nap…it was a success!
  • Be clear upfront on the trade you are offering, including commission or kickbacks, as festival organizers are time starved and event management is a giant beast.
  • Network at the right events and be persistent – it might be the PR company, record label or just a buddy that gets you your ‘in’.
  • Provide a clear, simple contract or agreement and be self-sufficient once you or your team are at the event. The organizers will be putting out fires, don’t have yours be one of them.

If you haven’t been to a festival in a while, you might be thinking your product or service doesn’t suit the scene but the scale and opportunities are far greater than it ever has been before. Get creative, have fun and be tenacious, as it pays off! Good luck!

About the author:  Not every festival partnership has to have a bill in the triple digits. The festival scene is exploding with new events blossoming each year. Zoe Macfarlane from JUCY RV Rentals offers tips on how brands can avoid large sponsorship fees and get creative in their partnership offerings.



10 reasons why your company brand needs a podcast


A whopping 57 million Americans listen to podcasts monthly, according to a 2016 report from Edison Research. That translated into 23% growth year over year for a communication medium that was all but written off when social media took the world by storm a decade ago.

Perhaps a little sobering, however, is the knowledge that there were 75,000 new podcasts launched in 2016, a massive 146% increase in the number of active podcast shows.

With this many new podcasts to compete against and a lot more hitting the market in 2017, you may be wondering if now is the right time for your company brand to launch a podcast.

Before the daunting numbers above scare you away, consider that most podcasts are for personal entertainment and education – think “Ted Radio Hour” or “Radiolab” – and not for company brands.

Also, more and more companies are viewing audio content as an effective marketing tool to reach their tribe of customers and prospects in hopes of deepening those relationships and creating a stronger sense of community.

Podcasts provide a direct connection to listeners, in part because people typically tune in during their personal time – at the gym, stuck in traffic or in their home. The consumption of podcasts is getting much easier with the podcast app on smartphones, in cars with the app in the dash, and with Alexa and Google Home.

Savvy brands are launching new podcasts at record rates and here are 10 reasons why your brand needs a podcast:

Become the Thought Leader in your industry

If the CEO or an executive within your company writes a book about your industry, they instantly become a perceived “industry expert”. A podcast separates your brand from the competition and gives your company an elevated level of respect as the go-to resource within your industry.

Engage with your clients

Interviewing your client’s CEO on a podcast creates incredible goodwill. By regularly featuring clients in your podcast you get to share their expertise with your audience while at the same time create a closer relationship with the client’s key staff. You may soon have clients calling you to be included in an interview!

Generate new business

Interviewing a thought leader at a prospect’s company changes the entire dynamic of the next sales call and also provides the team a great lead-in with sales emails.

            “Did you hear your CEO on our podcast last week?”

Expand your network of professionals in a growing media space

If you are personally responsible for developing your brand’s podcast, you will engage with other podcasters – you won’t be able to help it. The universe seems to be bringing podcasters together so embrace it and learn from others that are ahead of you in the podcast ecosystem. They’ve made mistakes that you can avoid and all you have to do is ask.

Increase web traffic

Your company podcast will drive interest in your business. When people are interested in your business, they go to your website. If you want to drive specific traffic to a particular product on your site, create a 15 second ad during an episode that says,

            “Thanks for listening to this episode today, to get $20 off of the product we were just discussing, go to…”

Create a unique page and track the traffic to monitor engagement with your audience. Unique promo codes by episode can also help track listeners that convert online.

Engage employees

Did someone at your company do something awesome? Announce it on the next episode and have them personally tell their story. As the rest of their coworkers are cheering them on, your customers are also listening about how well you treat your employees. A win, win.

Expand your social media reach

Your social media team is always hungry for relevant content to post to your company’s social channels. Industry trends and company blogs are great, but combining a social post with a direct link to a podcast episode expands your brand’s social footprint. Plus, if your content is applicable today and in the future, this will provide the social team with evergreen content to republish.

Cross promote written content

Discussing an article that is published on your company blog puts written content into an audio form. Conversely, creating a written transcript of a discussion around a blog post then creates another blog post about the original content.

One original blog post turns into a podcast discussion, which can turn into a concluding blog post. Content is king and you just tripled yours.

Reach your audience more places with audio content

iPhone, Alexa, Siri…they are always with you so unless your audience is asleep, they are reachable with audio content.

Launch quickly and inexpensively

In under 60 days your brand’s podcast can launch for less than $110. You do not need a sound booth, editing expertise and expensive equipment. Decide the format of the show: One host interviewing one person or two co-hosts discussing industry trends and mixing in guests. Listen to other company podcasts to see what format best suits your company vibe and move forward.


The audio industry has changed and the barrier to entry comes down to effort and hustle. To elevate your brand and drive more business in a relatively new format that is exploding in popularity, your next right decision could be to launch a podcast.

About Author:
Todd Nevins is the Founder of CLICKPlacement, a paid search marketing agency, and the Host of the Go Hunt Life podcast where he interviews people that pulled the ripcord on their normal, safe career path to pursue their passion and follow the path less traveled.




Four signs your marketing needs revamping


It is entirely possible that the marketing strategy which previously brought you tons of customers is no longer as effective as it used to be. Whether the customer base has shifted, or the way your prospects do their product research has changed, or new competitors have joined the market — what worked last year might not be working so well anymore.

Whatever the case, it’s important to look at your marketing strategy with a fresh new perspective in order to stay relevant in your market. Here are some signs your marketing needs an overhaul:

You’re getting contacted less

If there has been a noticeable decline in the number of customers seeking you out, you should probably take a step back and re-evaluate. Unless there has been a clear change in general economic trends (i.e., a recession), then the reason for the drop off is either because your marketing is not reaching the target audience or your competitors are addressing that audience more effectively than you.

Website visits are down

You should be using an app like Google Analytics (it’s free!) to monitor the traffic on your website at least weekly. If you see a decline in visitors perhaps it’s because the information on your website is getting stale. Or maybe it’s not optimized for mobile. Things to look at include the state of your SEO, traffic coming from social media and the frequency of your blog posts. Any or all of these factors can lead to a decrease in traffic. Your website is the face of your business and needs to be up to speed on the latest upgrades and updates to open your brand up to as many opportunities as possible.

Social network follows have not budged

You should be consistently gaining followers on your social media platforms of choice. Fortunately, most social networks are good about keeping you informed on new follows. Try to keep an ongoing record of the new follows so you can spot any trends — for instance, which posts generated more follows versus ones that were duds. Also consider joining a new network that your customers are active on, or freshening up your social media campaigns and profiles by trying out new tactics, messages and visuals.

Your competitors are doing just fine

Keeping track of your own performance metric is clearly vital to your success. Perhaps just as important is keeping track of your competitors’ performance. If your sales are down and your new inbound leads are lacking, it’s worth taking a closer look at the competition to see if they are having the same problems. If they aren’t, take note of what they’re doing differently so that you can quickly figure out a better way to do things.

About Sam Lauron: Sam Lauron is a Communications Associate at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with digital marketing, social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications provides digital PR and marketing services in Austin, Denver and Houston and for any national brands seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

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