2013 New Year’s Resolutions for PR Pros

January 9, 2013 § Leave a comment

By: Casey Schaak

Vollrath Associates is ringing in the New Year as any PR agency should – with some New Year’s resolutions. As we venture into 2013, having survived both the busy holiday season and the supposed Mayan apocalypse, it’s important to look ahead and set both personal goals and professional goals. Keep your career aspirations on track and improve your skills with these four PR resolutions for 2013:

Hone Your Writing Skills

Whether it’s informal employee newsletters, informative customer e-blasts or professional corporate releases, every PR pro knows the importance of developing content and tone to effectively reach the target audience. Don’t lose sight of your audience and don’t get caught up in the monotony of writing projects – develop fresh and unique angles to keep readers interested and informed.daily-writing

Most of us have areas that could be improved – writing style, grammar and spelling, proof reading, you name it! Now is the time to improve weak spots and enhance strengths. Make a list of goals to kick off 2013 as a writing wiz.

Wow with Social Media

Don’t let social media fall flat. Spice up posts with photos, videos, links, and relevant and interesting information that followers will want to see. It’s all about visuals, so start a Pinterest or Instagram account (if you haven’t already) to upload and share photos that will intrigue fans. Above all, keep followers engaged through questions, contests and polls. Social Media followers are your brand advocates – give them something to talk about!

Social Media Logotype Background

Keep Up with Networking

While PR pros are no stranger to networking events, it’s easy to fall into the comfort zone of talking with friends and co-workers instead of branching out. Make it a priority to meet new people when enjoying a lunch, dinner or presentation. Not only can you pick up some interesting tips for the trade, but you will enhance your own speaking skills and meet some interesting people along the way… and you never know when a new business or networking opportunity is around the corner.


Stay on Top of Industry Happenings

We all know the feeling of juggling multiple clients in completely different industries. It isn’t always easy to stack-newspapers-magazineskeep up with everything from food and beverages to technology, transportation, manufacturing and beyond. Kick-off the New Year by refreshing your reading list, daily newsletters and Google alerts. Make sure you have the right clients and the right industries covered – you’re subscribed to the appropriate industry trade magazines and newsletters, the correct daily and weekly papers for your areas and that your Google alerts cover both industry and client keywords. That way you’ll know exactly what is happening when.

With these PR resolutions in mind, along with any additional goals of your own, 2013 is sure to be a success!


Top 11 VA Moments of 2011

December 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Written By: Casey Schaak

With the ringing in of a new year comes reflection on the past year’s accomplishments within public relations, marketing communications, investor relations, events and beyond. While each month comes with its fair share of ups and downs, I’d like to highlight the top 11 Vollrath Associates moments of 2011:

  1.  Winning Awards. Vollrath Associates won an Award of Excellence in the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Paragon Awards competition for the U.S. Bank Milwaukee Air & Water Show PR Program.

    Marilyn and Jessica at the Paragon Awards.

  2. Welcoming New Clients. We are excited and honored to have McCloud Services, BizStarts Milwaukee and SPSI as our newest clients in 2011.
  3. Adding to the Team. Within the past year I was lucky enough to join the VA team, starting in February as assistant account executive, and we also welcomed Liz Grams as account coordinator in June.
  4. Celebrating Promotions. In October, Jessica’s hard work and dedication paid off when she was promoted to vice president.
  5. Working with Enthusiastic Interns. Laura Horan, Jon Mattrisch, Whitney Sleiter, Julie Caan and Maura Phares each spent a semester or summer gaining hands-on experience in our PR agency and devoting much appreciated time and effort towards our various projects and activities.
  6. Keeping Busy with Events. The Milwaukee Air and Water Show and Festa Italiana were two of the exciting events we took part in over the summer. We met some great people, tried some delicious food and watched dozens of planes fly through the air, all while helping promote awareness of these events throughout Milwaukee and surrounding areas.
  7. Bringing Hollywood to Milwaukee. This fall, the VA team, in conjunction with Marcus Theatres, assisted famous film director Penelope Spheeris (Wayne’s World) and actor Matthew Felker (Brookfield-native) in debuting their comedy “Balls to the Wall” in the Milwaukee area.

    Penelope Spheeris and Matt Felker promoting "Balls to the Wall."

  8. Spicing Up our Social Media. With Bastille Days right outside our window, we took the opportunity to have a “Where in the world is Phil?” contest on Facebook. Those who guessed his location were put into a drawing and one lucky winner won tickets to Festa Italiana. Phil did a great job hiding!

    Phil at Bastille Days.

  9. Spreading our Knowledge. Phil taught classes during both spring and fall semesters at Marquette University, Marilyn and Jessica presented on investor relations for a class at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and Liz and I hosted a group of 10 from the UWM PRSSA chapter. It’s rewarding to get to know students in the area and share our PR knowledge and experiences with them.
  10. Popping Up in the News. Phil provided his insights on persona-based marketing in the BizTimes Milwaukee’s Marketing PR last February. While we are usually pitching our clients’ latest happenings, it’s always nice to see one of our own in the news as well!
  11. Sharing Every Day Successes. From press releases to earnings conference calls, research to writing, newsletters to social media and beyond, each day we experience our own accomplishments and share in the successes of our team and those of our clients.

The VA team celebrating the holidays in our ugly sweaters!

As you can see, it’s been a busy and exciting year for Vollrath Associates and we look forward to what’s ahead for us in 2012! Thank you to all of our clients who continue on this journey with us!

A Time to Say “Thank You”

November 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

Written by Jessica Vollrath

Instead of providing my insight on a PR trend or topic, I wanted to touch on this important week of Thanksgiving. 

This time of year is always my favorite.  The month of November is the time of the year to take in the smell of pumpkin candles, fall foliage, Sunday night football, pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks and the perfect time to bring out those warm, cozy sweaters that have been hiding in your closet during the summer months.

November is also home to my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.  How can you not enjoy this holiday?  The Macy’s Day Parade, the beginning of Christmas and holiday cheer, football and of course, plenty of turkey and all the Thanksgiving Day fixings.  But, Thanksgiving is also a time to take a step back from our busy schedules and appreciate the things in our lives that we can be thankful for.

Thank You for my Job

As I reflect on my own life, there are so many things I am thankful for.  In this very tough economy we are living in today, I am thankful for my job.  I love PR and the team at VA and am very happy we bring value to our clients’ communication programs and continue to help them add value to their clients, customers and shareholders.

Thank You Clients

I am also very thankful for our clients.  Every client we work with is unique.  I want to say to all our clients “Thank You” for trusting our team with your news and stories every day.  At VA, we enjoy being an extension of your team and look forward to adding value to your business and growth plans now and in the future.

Thank You Co-Workers

I want to say thank you to my co-workers at VA. In fact, I think all of us should say “Thank You” to those we work with every day.  These are the people that see us when we have our best days and our worst days, our happy days and our crabby days.  

Thank You Veterans and Active-Day Military

Recently, my great uncle Fred was selected to be a part of the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.  This organization enables World War II veterans to fly to the WWII Memorial in Washington D.C.  These honorable veterans, most of them in their 80s or older,  fly to Washington D.C. and back in one day, to be surprised at their ending point at Mitchell International Airport by their family members and many others applauding, crying and honoring them as they walk through a sea of supporters.  This definitely brings a tear to your eye, at least it did to me, and I just want to say “Thank You” to my dear uncle Fred for fighting for our country and all our military men and women who have risked their lives for ours.

Thank You Family and Friends

And of course, I want to say “Thank You” to my family and friends.  Without you (and you know who you all are) I would not be the person I am today.  It is all of you who fill my heart with love and laughter and help me navigate this journey called life.  Thank you for all the little things that you do – I appreciate them every day.

 So, make today the day that you reach out to your co-worker, boss, great uncle, client, spouse, best friend and family and say “Thank You.”  Those words are what should be celebrated during this week of Thanksgiving.

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