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Marketing

Personal Branding and the Changing of a Name

By | Jaggers Communications News, Marketing | 4 Comments
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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!

Invisible Employees: How Bringing People into the Light Helps Build Business

By | Marketing, Social Media | No Comments

It shouldn’t be news that people do business with people they like, but it seems as if we need to point that out to business owners periodically. Since that’s true, and it should be a generally acknowledged truth, it’s mystifying why companies often still make their employees online-anonymous.

What do I mean by online-anonymous? I see company blogs where each post is authored by “Admin” which must have been the world’s most popular baby name from 1960 till about 1990, given how many “Admins” there are out there. People — readers, business prospects, business partners, members, customers, etc. — want to know whose voice it is they’re hearing! They want to know who the authors are of the content they’re consuming — always. Better yet if they can SEE the person who is writing/tweeting, etc.

Better still is the opportunity to contact or connect with the person behind the company account. Let your readers or online visitors know where to find your people online — or off — by e-mail or phone, on LinkedIn, etc.

What worries you? I’ve heard from company managers that they don’t allow their employees to have an online presence that identifies them as a member of the company for the following reasons (with my parenthetical responses):

  1. They don’t want recruiters or other companies to steal their valuable people away (My response: be a better employer and you won’t have to worry about that.)
  2. They are embarrassed about their employees and don’t think they’ll represent the company appropriately (Two things: reconsider your hires/weed out, and train/put in place a social media policy to protect you and the employees and make it clear what your expectations are in this realm. Your employees ARE representing you, whether you like it or not.)
  3. They’re afraid of being contacted by too many people. (Huh? OK, I guess I understand if you’re attracting a lot of people who are not the right audience, but if that’s the case, then it’s your communications strategy that’s off, or maybe you’re just trying to go out of business?)
  4. Turnover is high, and it’s such a pain to keep removing people or replacing them online. (Hmmm. If turnover is so high, it’s possible your business challenges go much deeper than your online presence. Even if an employee leaves the organization, you don’t have to remove the fact that they ever were associated with your business. In fact, that looks a little fishy to the outside observer. Unless they were a really bad seed, let that person be part of the incredible history that tells the story of your company. You don’t have any control over what that person does online and it’s likely their LinkedIn profile is going to show their employment with you regardless.)

I invite you all in 2015 to introduce us to the people who make up your business. Let’s see their shining faces and get to know their names. I’m far more likely to remember a person than the company name and I’m definitely more interested in interacting with a human than a faceless logo. Aren’t you?