Category

Marketing

The Importance of Asking for What you Want

By | Marketing, Public Relations | No Comments

In 2010, after working remotely from Virginia for a firm in St. Louis for five years, I decided I just couldn’t do it anymore. The flights, often delayed, once a month back to Missouri, the isolation of being the only person on the team not in St. Louis, and the lack of control over the client work had taken a toll. I knew I could continue my local client work as an independent and began to consider opening my own firm.

There was one big problem. Like most people working for PR firms and agencies, I had signed a non-compete agreement stating that the clients belonged to the firm. Most such agreements require a one-year period in which the former employee steer clear of the firm’s clients. I was prepared to do this, if necessary, but hoped it wouldn’t be.

Since I moved to Charlottesville, every local client I’d gained had a relationship with just me. They knew other members of the firm a little bit, but I was the one who met with the clients regularly, who corresponded with them, and provided the bulk of the deliverables. If I left the firm, who would continue to take care of those clients?

I took a deep breath and I asked my boss to be released from my non-compete. I asked to take my clients with me, allowing me to start my own business. I promised to continue to serve other clients as a subcontractor to the firm and to ease transition.

It was a crazy thing to propose.

But she said yes. That client work gave Jaggers Communications a healthy start. Clients said they didn’t care to what account they wrote their checks, all they knew is they wanted to continue working with me.

Just ask.

Personal Branding and the Changing of a Name

By | Jaggers Communications News, Marketing | 4 Comments
w0077_0485

Gratuitous wedding photo

I got married in July of 2016 and because I feel strongly about such things, I changed my last name to be the same as my husband’s: Oldham.

When I named my business in 2010, I had a different last name, one I’d carried since 1989 and didn’t expect to change. Jaggers Communications is the name of my firm. I like it, I like the logo and the brand I’ve developed.

Because of all the work I’ve done leading up to the launch of the business at the beginning of 2011 and until the present day, there is a lot of good search engine optimization tied up in the Jaggers Communications brand and in my own, former name, Marijean Jaggers.

I thought a lot about re-naming the business. I even settled on a potential new name and embarked on the design of a logo. But I just couldn’t pull the trigger.

I’m going to stick with Jaggers Communications.

My challenge is to publish content with my new last name and earn the Google juice needed for Marijean Oldham, but that’s a challenge I welcome, and it will be fun to be able to track these fresh results.

 

Having and Being a Mentor

By | Marketing, Public Relations | No Comments

I grant a lot of informational interviews. I have had interns as part of my team for most of my professional life. I teach. On the flip side, I’ve reached out to others with something to offer, guidance, experience, more confidence, and local knowledge.

I don’t have formal mentors — I’m pretty sure there’s no one walking around with a name tag that reads “Marijean’s Mentor” even though several people have qualified over the years. There are those who filled that role for just a lunch or a coffee and others with whom I’ve stayed in touch throughout my career who have contributed in some way.

Guess what? Very few have been in my field. Not all of those I’ve been a mentor to have ended up in PR or marketing. Hubspot says mentors are valuable at any stage in your career and I agree. It’s also wise to think outside of your field — what I’ve learned from attorneys, accountants, entrepreneurs, and clients continues to help me daily as my business grows.

Do you have a mentor? Are you a mentor to someone else?

Where to Host your Website

By | Marketing, Social Media | No Comments

My firm manages websites for a number of clients and for some, we set up the client’s very first website, allowing us to make the hosting decisions for them. In addition, I’ve set up several websites of my own, for personal use or for the firm itself. For all of these I’ve used DreamHost for hosting. I’ve used DreamHost, in fact, for 10 years now and the reason I’m writing this is to tell you that I have never had an issue with their hosting. Ever. In fact, any time there’s been an issue with a website (broken code, a bad plugin, etc.) and I couldn’t get it resolved on my own, the online chat customer service has gotten it taken care of within MINUTES. I had an issue with a bad plugin on an old site I was dealing with this morning and it was just six minutes later when DreamHost had it fixed for me.

They don’t pay me — I pay them! This is just an honest endorsement for a service that hasn’t let me down once in 10 years. If you’re fed up with your hosting service or starting a new website, I must encourage you to look at DreamHost. Totally worth it.

Three Important Things I Told University of Virginia Communications Students Today

By | Marketing, Media, Public Relations, Social Media | No Comments

My friend, media personality, and historian Coy Barefoot asked me to speak to his media class today at UVa. I love to teach and miss engaging with college students so I jumped at the chance. I used to teach public relations to college juniors and seniors who were communications majors at Fontbonne University in St. Louis, Missouri and I really loved that experience.

Today, the students had questions about how businesses and brands should be presenting themselves online, how media relations works today, now that social media is so prevalent, and what steps are important in crisis communications.

Three things I told them that I think bear repeating are these:

  1. If you want to be in communications, go buy the domain that is your name today, host it, install WordPress and, at a minimum, publish your resume. Maintain the domain.
  2. In a crisis, if you’re representing a brand, the first, most important step to take is an apology (even if you’re sorry that your community is experiencing this bad thing) and an expression of empathy.
  3. Pay attention to your personal brand; it can make you employable, valuable, and attractive. (Or the opposite of these, obviously. Manage it.)

For the student who showed up late to class and nodded off during — I bet she has a hard time finding a job when she graduates. Bet she never sees this post, either. D minus!