The Importance of Community Relations

Community Relations is the driving soul of an organization – it is not an afterthought or reactive endeavor but a strategic undertaking for all companies, big or small.

When an association commits to community relations as part of its core strategy, it helps attract and retain top employees, positions itself positively among customers and
improves brand position.

Positive, proactive connections to the community can translate into a boost to the bottom line.

Here are 10 steps to Community Relations best practices:

1) Create a written vision statement, which acknowledges the importance of community issues, and the direct relationship they have on your association’s future success.

2) Mainstream this vision statement as foundation throughout the organization.

Edan Gelt Chicago Business

3) The leader, boss or CEO must continually communicate and act on the organization’s commitment through emails, presentations, websites and collateral to employees and also take a personal leadership role in the community.

4) The relationship-building activities, community programs, charitable benefits and plans must be uniquely tailored to the organization. Focus on the association’s goals; unique products, services and core competencies; and the access to resources, such as finances, people, products and services.

5) The vision statement and the organizational strategy must become a key part of the organization’s culture. This means a commitment beyond words, one that is actually used to guide an organization decisions.

6) The association should create a structure to allow for the implementation, including ways to involve a cross section of managers and employees in the plan – like a matching program.

7) The corporation must allocate resources, including naming a senior-level community relations director or a person in charge of the endeavor, to implement the strategy and community relations must become the responsibility of the entire management team and not just the community relations staff.

8) The organization must establish policies and procedures for implementing the strategy. Volunteering should be rewarded in some way.

9) Training activities should be established to make sure the community relations strategies are implemented regularly.

10) Evaluate internal audits to monitor the strategy and its progress.

Community Relations

Community relations projects can be as simple as matching funds donated to charitable organizations or as complex as setting up your own organization for a cause.

Companies can start simple by inviting a charity to set up a giving tree for the holiday season. Another simple start is donate a percentage of sales from a certain product towards a community or charitable organization it chooses.

Inform the community of what your plans are, as an organization you have social
influence to make a difference and your efforts will be rewarded.

Written by:
Edan Gelt, CMD, MBA
Communications Strategist and Child Life Volunteer

Edan Gelt is an award-winning, innovative, energetic, highly creative and consumer-centric communications leader with successful results in increasing sales and traffic.

Her experience includes B2B and consumer advertising, media-buying, branding, e-commerce, public and community relations, strategy creation/implementation, budgeting, direct advertising, grand openings, trade shows, grass-roots advertising
initiatives and special event planning.

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Presentation or Content: What is more important?

A communications strategist for more than two decades, Edan Gelt has often debated with colleagues and clients about which is more important, presentation or content. This argument has covered everything from RFPs and presentations to advertising campaigns and website development. On one hand, you want to present the importance of your concept but on the other hand, a ton of data does not entice someone to consider you.

Decisions

The best way to describe the presentation and content is to relate it to the way children make choices.

It’s a holiday, you offer two equally sized packages to your child and tell him/her to choose one to open. One of the packages is wrapped in sparkly paper with a beautiful bow – the other a brown beat up, raggedy box.

In the brown box sits a brand new iPad, the other sparkly package contains a blank old notebook of the same weight. The child doesn’t know what each box contains. Which box will be chosen?

Plan Ahead

Before you create your presentation, RFP, website, etc. – know your target audience. According to Edan Gelt, if you don’t know your audience, you won’t know how to engage them. For example, my son would want something wrapped in blue where my daughter would immediately go for the sparkly wrapping.

Are you presenting your ideas to clients, partners, or colleagues? Do you want to encourage, inspire, or persuade them to take action? Knowing your audience and your goals will help you craft your content and presentation. What package do they want to open and what do they expect to find?

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Content with a Kick

This involves gathering data and supporting information about your content and including visuals to make your message clear. Consider what your audience needs to remember after you deliver your message. Begin by removing all the information that isn’t important or may be confusing.Then add color, pictures, metaphors, examples or whatever it takes to make the content visually appealing and relatable

Designer Delivery

If you are emailing an RFP or delivering a speech – connecting with your audience doesn’t just depend on the presentation itself. The delivery is just as important – the introductory email, the passion that shines through when you talk, or the platform you use to introduce a new product.

If you are emailing your RFP, relate to the person you are emailing. Learn about them and express interest before adding the “attached, please find”.

If you are giving a speech, be dynamic, use body language and facial expressions to engross the crowd – show the passion behind the product.

If you’re promoting a website through an online platform – engage with the audience with information they find relevant that relates to your website.

Using snail mail? Consider packaging that entices the recipient to open the package.

Conclusion

While many professionals prioritize content, the presentation should never be neglected in lieu of great information. You may have the most relevant and groundbreaking information or product of all time, but an uninteresting delivery will bore your audience or may never reach them.

According to Edan Gelt, a fancy package or dynamic presentation might dazzle the audience but will achieve nothing if your content is lacking. This only proves that presentation and content are equally important to a successful end result.

Originally published at http://www.allperfectstories.com/author/edangelt/

Basics of Search Engine Optimization

PPC, SEO, ORM, SMM? What are they and what do they do? I’ve often been on the other side of the table as a client being handed hefty reports filled with stats and concepts that just don’t make sense. The graphs show me positive and my sales are negative or vice-versa. I’ve also been lead to believe advertising efforts aren’t effective without these fancy acronym strategies in my toolbox.

If you’re like me, relax. It’s okay. Traditional advertising still works but having an EFFECTIVE digital presence is a must in today’s environment. Start slowly and do it right – understand what you are doing and what you are paying for before you sign up for it all.

The TRANSLATION:

PPC = Pay Per Click
SEO = Search Engine Optimization
ORM = Online Reputation Management

SEO

I’ll start with SEO as it is a key foundation to building a relevant website. After all, without a good website, PPC, ORM and SMM efforts may be fruitless.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the areas of website development that improves the ranking by search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo in organic search results. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) relates to visible content on your website which will appear in search engine results.

If a site appears at a higher and more frequent rate in the search results list, the higher number of visitors your website should attract. These visitors likewise may be turned into customers.

SEO covers different types of search that include local information, imagery, shopping, video content, news and more.

Edan Gelt

SEO strategy is understanding how search engines work and developing the exact keywords or terms your target group is searching for, what platform they are using and how to develop content to meet consumer demand.

Optimizing a website includes activities such as editing the content of the website to increase the relevance of searches, backlinks to relevant sites, inbound links on social, removal of indexing barriers, etc.

Basic Ways to Optimize Your Web Contents

Widely recognized as SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, the principles of optimizing web content is continually changing as mobile behavior, social media and search engine algorithms continue to evolve. Here are some tips to optimize your web content to engage, inform, and share information and content with your target audience.

Learn About “Real Time” User Behavior

Before even writing your website content, know your target group. Learn about what their interests are, what platforms they are using to search, what information they are searching for. Monitor Reddit, Facebook, Linked-in, and other social sites to come up with compelling articles and web content to drive social shares and gain influential coverage.

Improve the Format

Improving the format of your web content is also a good optimization tactic. Make use of formatting such as bold, bullet points, italics, short headlines and subheadings, and so on. This will make it possible for your audience to be able to read the page easily and find what they are looking for but at the same time, help enhance SEO.

Headlines should be clear, brief and approximately 70 characters long. Encourage your target audience to click the headline, read the content, engage and share the news.

Even though this may only be one of the factors which determine the visibility of your web content, headlines and subheadings are often the deciding factor if a reader is going to click through to your story or not. Make use of the headline and sub-headings to strengthen the relevance and theme of your story. This will improve the interest of your viewers, as well as the open rates. Make sure the content supports the headline to prevent bounces.

DO NOT include text in pictures formats. If you have a promotion or something that is important, formats such as .jpg or .pdfs are often not recognized by the search engines and won’t be discovered in search (ie…Text embedded in MEMES).

Edan Gelt Chicago Business

Use Natural Links

Natural links are links to your content from other sites. They are often earned and not solicited. The links are often regarded as natural or native since the third-party sites are only linking to your articles and web content because they find it interesting and useful. Using natural links of your own content within your web content will also help enhance your site while at the same time provide the reader with additional relevant information. This will drive more traffic to your website.

Include Multimedia

Including multimedia such as pictures, videos, etc. is also a good way of optimizing your web content. You can insert your company logo for branding, as well as embed photos. You can also include graphics, charts, and video links. Rather than describing the news you are passing across in words, showing what you are writing about in graphs, pictures, sound & motion, is a wonderful idea.

Make Use of the Algorithms

Search engine algorithms are vital to effective digital web content. Algorithms make use of mathematical equations in determining the relevance of your story to a particular search. The goal of the algorithm is to be able to match the right content with the specific requirement of the individual performing the search. This may be best left to an SEO expert as I’m still trying to get a grasp on google-bots (this is even out of my league).

By following all the tips mentioned above, you will be improving the chances of your articles and web contents ranking higher in Google or other search engines.

The above tips lay the foundation of what SEO is and how to start optimizing your own website or content. For more information about SEO, feel free to contact me directly through Linkedin at :  https://www.linkedin.com/in/edan-joy-gelt/

By: Edan Joy Gelt, CMD, MBA
www.Edangelt.com

Advertising Psychology: Maintaining Toy Demand Post Holiday Season

If you’re a parent, have you ever wondered why you find yourself in a line, expensive toy in hand, after the holiday season?

I have.

Whether you are loaded with gift cards or cash-in-hand from family and friends, there is always that one big spend after the holidays.

This is not an accident. Toy manufacturers have our number!

Toy manufacturers are faced with the dilemma of keeping demand post-holiday. Luckily, they have a strategy for that. It starts with the basics of supply and demand, add a splash of advertising and a thick layer of psychology – and wa-la, we are the fools in line in February.

How it Works:

Your kids are dialed into toy advertising pre-holiday, whether on an iPad, the Cartoon Network or the flashy toy catalogs that come in the mail. Retailers and manufacturers spend a lot of money promoting the year’s hottest find(s). Kids beg their parents for the “toy of the year” and the parents undoubtedly promise that if they’re good, Santa will bring it or it will be a gift from mom and dad.

This toy is the primo gift and your child cannot wait to get it. It is the topic of every conversation and you’re excited to gift it.

Edan Gelt Chicago

You go holiday shopping and to your amazement, the toy is out of stock. Everywhere. All the stores have ordered it but they have no idea when it is coming in and every store in a 30-mile radius is depleted.

You look on eBay, Amazon, Craigslist and the toy is 10 times the retail asking price.

In hopes of the toy actually being stocked, you wait. And wait. And wait.

A few days before Christmas, you give in and buy something else. A substitute. Something the same manufacturer has created similar to what was actually wanted but different enough to not be the “ultimate coveted toy”. And on Christmas day, you have one very disappointed child.

In hopes your child will be happy with the substitute gift, you move one. The toy companies don’t, neither does your child. “You promised” or “Santa thinks I’m bad,” is all you really hear.

The manufacturers start once again heavily advertising that coveted toy online, on TV, within games and then, there you have it; you are back at the store buying the promised gift, post-holiday on a blustery day in February.

This is not a coincidence. This is the strategy of economics, advertising and psychology. The toy manufacturers heavily advertise pre-holiday, create a shortage in the midst of holiday but offer a substitute, resupply post-holiday and heavily advertise.

Now that you know how it work, will you still be in-line next year post-holiday?

By: Edan Gelt, CMD, MBA
Communications Strategist

Concept for this blog came from “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert B. Ciladini PhD

The Social Experiment -Social Media 101

Two weeks ago, I tried a social experiment.  I attempted to brand myself as a fitness expert.  I’m 40 years old (maybe 41 but who’s counting), I can’t run worth anything and I would not be considered athletic by any stretch of the imagination.  Regardless, I wanted to try my hand at building a brand and using only organic ways to do it.

Edan Gelt

In the corporate world, I was never truly trained in social media.  I mean, I went to social media conferences, I attended a certification class at U of I  (I’m certified in digital strategist) and read countless articles on the importance of brand building in the social environment.

When I went off on my own, I sold social media as a skill but did I really know what I was doing?  I kept up on the social changes but honestly, I didn’t have a clue.  I posted on FB daily like any social gal should do but my impressions sucked.  Even when I linked the social content across multiple platforms.  I would have 500 followers on a page and get like 30 impressions – blah.

Thankfully I had a friend who spent countless hours with me showing me the importance of linking, building unique content, introducing me to new platforms and convincing me to lose all inhibition and go “all out” – (which later included publicly pole dancing but you can only find that on my social platforms – take a peak).

I set up a Tumblr blog on edanjoygelt.combegan visiting studios and writing opinions on each visit.  Because the content was unique, it was already a win.  But once it was posted on Tumblr – then what?  It was going nowhere unless someone knew it existed.

I then curated the content through Scoop.it to social platforms I had set up, which gave me a little more power but still, nothing to write home about.

The biggest key was Facebook – I started a Joy of Fitness page https://www.facebook.com/edanjoyfitness/, then I tagged everything with my name #fitnessmom #joyoffitness and then also with my name Edan Gelt and Edan Joy Gelt (so it would share across my personal content as well).

I invited everyone I knew, I added friends and asked them to do the same.  This exercise landed me 200+ followers.  Pressure was on!

I started a twitter page, a google plus page and more and began curating my original content on tumblr, sweeping it up through scoop.it to and sharing it across the platforms.  I’m still struggling with tagging on scoop.it so I some times just post direct for my own unique content.

The fitness locations I would write about would also share my facebook page posts – and why wouldn’t they, it promotes the studios too.  The result – the Facebook fitness posts and reviews would sometimes get up to 1700 views!  But wait – I only had 200 followers, how could this be?

This is how organic social works.  The content was unique, the sharing told FB it was interesting and the engagement confirmed it with some sort of top secret FB algorithm.  This shows up organically in people’s feed without paying for ads.

I’m still learning and I’m only on my 11th post but I thought I would share my first ever social experiment.  Stay tuned for more!

By:  Edan Gelt CMD MBA

Originally posted on http://edangelt.com/post/157502587301/social-media-training-101

 

The Fun of Rehabbing an Old Building

All of the shows on TV make flipping homes very attractive but once you purchase an old building, what in the world do you do with it?

When we purchased our first building, it was built in the 1890’s and came equipped with gas space heaters – we had no idea of what they even were.   This means no central heat.  The contraptions looked like large space ships in the middle of the room.  The joy I thought I would feel starting the project suddenly felt overwhelming.

Given below are some highlighted points that help you decide how to approach rehabbing:

Vision

The first thing that you need to decide is if you are rehabbing to hold or rehabbing to flip – this can impact your budget and expectations.  Obviously if you are going to flip, you are going to spend less and will be more focused on aesthetics and may not invest much in mechanicals.

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Renovation

Think kitchen and bathrooms – this is where the value is.  This is what your potential buyer or renter will be most focused on.  If you are renovating to hold, you will have to address not only the cabinetry, appliances, floors and counters but also make sure that the plumbing is updated and the electrical systems are addressed.

Also consider curb appeal, sometimes just painting old siding can give an old home a fresh look.

Electrical

Many homes that were built in late 1800’s or early 1900’s are not equipped to handle today’s electrical load.  They were built with only 30 – 60 amps for the entire home, using a just a few circuits. Combining old circuits with today’s electrical load, the circuits can overload and become hot, sometimes catching fire, according to Edan Gelt

To add central A/C, you will at least need to add a 220VAC Circuit if you are not updating all of the wiring.

Problems

You never know what you will find once you start opening walls to update electric or plumbing, you can find mold issues, structural issues, roaches and more.  It is important to ensure you have reserves to cover the unexpected.

According to Edan Gelt, finding a good inspector before you purchase the property may help you forecast some issues but some won’t be discovered until after your start construction.

 Edan Gelt and her husband have rehabbed apartments and homes with a rent and hold approach.

Originally published at http://www.allperfectstories.com/author/edangelt/