All posts by All Points Public Relations

June Seminar Recap: How to Integrate TikTok into Your Brand Marketing Strategy

From small businesses to large corporations, TikTok is a melting pot for brands looking to expand their audience. All Points TikTok ambassadors Freddy Drzewiecki, Amber Fry and Alana Guggenheim led our monthly agency seminar to discuss TikTok success stories, strategies, and more.

TikTok Brand Success Stories

With over 4.3 million followers, Duolingo is one of the greatest brand success stories on the platform. TikTok is having a tangible impact on the company, skyrocketing their app to the top of the Apple Store education charts.

This didn’t happen by chance – Duolingo’s phenomenal success is thanks to a coherent Flicker, Flash, Flare content strategy. Here’s how it works:

  • Flicker content – reactive (i.e., participation in viral trends)
  • Flash content – proactive (i.e., planned/episodic content)
  • Flare content – interactive (i.e., large-scale campaign initiatives)

Their success has other brands jumping in on the action, including Scrub Daddy and several of our own agency clients.

TikTok & the News

Our agency is constantly staying up to date with changing digital trends, and TikTok is no exception. With 52% of people between the ages of 18-29 receiving their news from TikTok, major news outlets are shifting the way they report on the platform.

Our PR Pros have implemented pitching TikTok trends into their repertoire, securing a number of media placements for our clients. Whether it’s sourcing TikTok influencers in local markets or pitching TikTok trends to news stations, we’re always looking for opportunities to involve our clients in the conversation.

TikTok Client Strategies

With more and more people joining the TikTok community, franchise businesses are jumping in on the action. Our agency is leveraging TikTok for many of our client social media strategies, utilizing them to market PR campaigns and to increase brand awareness.

Participating in trending challenges, using top hashtags and leveraging influencer partnerships are great strategic tactics that can grow brands with buzz-worthy content.

Be sure to check out All Points PR on TikTok to keep up with the office.

 

Presidents Point: 5 Things You Need to Create a Highly Successful Career As A Public Relations Pro

Congrats to all the 2022 graduates! You’ve got the degree, and now you’re ready to enter the public relations industry.

With so many different directions in the PR field, our President Jamie Izaks sat down with Authority Magazine to share more about what our agency looks for when hiring eager, motivated individuals to join our integrated agency.

Here are 5 things you need to create a highly successful career as a public relations pro:

 

  1. Writing: It’s obvious that being a good writer is a non-negotiable trait for someone that wants to pursue a successful career in PR. But, far too many candidates for our openings in media relations, social media and content marketing don’t even come close to having the writing skills they need. We receive in the neighborhood of 400 to 600 applicants for every opening. Every position we hire for requires applicants to complete a writing test when they get down to the final 10 or so for the opening. The cream always rises to the top, and writing quality is usually the most definitive way we make our hiring decisions.

 

  1. Resourceful: As an agency of record for our clients, we have mounds of information saved in our computer system, including press releases, background information, notes from calls, photos, guidelines, and so much more. Taking advantage of that information is key. It contains the details we need for future press release writing, media pitches, photos for stories and social media. Individuals that know where and how to locate information in a timely manner so that they can do their jobs are trustworthy and efficient. Those are the types of people we want to work with in the agency.

 

  1. Time Management: Organization and prioritization are rally cries at the agency. To be successful in a PR agency environment working on multiple clients each day, it is imperative that you have your days planned out to the minute, and prioritized so that you are addressing client work in a timely manner.

 

  1. Media Relationships: The old adage, it’s not what you know, but who you know, certainly holds meaning in the PR world. Having relationships with reporters, producers, and really anyone that stands between you and a story for your client or your business is crucial. Relationships lead to press coverage because you become known as a reliable source, which is exactly what you want with media contacts.

 

  1. Perspective: Rarely, if ever, does our work have life or death consequences. So, it is important for anyone and everyone entering the PR world to stay creative, take risks and believe in your ideas. At the same time, I highly recommend not letting your workload get the better of you. If you lose your way in terms of organization and prioritization, take a step back, seek perspective from others and map out a plan that doesn’t overwhelm you. 

Are you interested in joining our team? Check out our open positions.

Be sure to check out All Points PR on Facebook, TikTok and Instagram to keep up with the office.

United with Ukraine: All Points PR Supports Ukraine Through Positive Impact

Due to the current situation, the All Points PR team recently visited the Ukrainian National Museum of Chicago, educating ourselves as Ukraine continues to face ongoing war.

Celebrating 70 years within Chicago’s Ukrainian Village, the museum is a cultural epicenter of documents, artifacts and records related to the country’s rich history, culture and immigration experience.

With the mission to preserve and share Ukrainian culture, the collection is comprised completely of donations of items brought to the United States. Its latest exabit includes dozens of photos from Ukrainian photojournalists, showcasing the devastating destruction as the Russian conflict continues.

Thank you to the Ukrainian National Museum of Chicago for hosting us and sharing more about your enriched culture. Our agency is proud to support Ukraine and have the opportunity to educate ourselves on the country’s history and impact on the present day.

Check out All Points PR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the office, and click here to learn more about the Positive Impact program.

COO’s Corner: The Great Return to the Office

Ditch the sweatpants, and let’s get back in the office! After two years in work from home mode and perhaps not wearing traditional work-wear, offices across the country are calling their teams back to the office.

Our agency has been in our structured hybrid for the last year, with safety always being our top priority for our staff. Returning to the office was not a decision made lightly, and we are always evaluating what environment is best based on the current landscape.

An office space is often at the heart of your company culture. As workforces adjust to new working models, I’ve reflected on some of the benefits I’ve seen since returning to the office in a hybrid structure.

Cross Pod Pollination 🐝

One huge benefit of the office environment is that it enables more cross-department, or in our case, cross-pod interactions, and moments of serendipity to generate out-of-the-box ideas.

Not only does working side-by-side with our team members inspire working relationships, but I’ve also noticed a positive shift in the culture. Whether it’s eating lunch together in the kitchen, stopping by a friend’s desk to ask about their weekend, or taking our office pups, Cubby and Ivy, on a mid-day walk, this shift in workplace camaraderie has improved happiness and productivity in our office.

I’m thrilled to see collaboration and bonds amongst our team. You can catch a glimpse into the culture at All Points Public Relations on our TikTok!

Setting Boundaries Between Work and Home Life ⚖️

With the flexibility of being able to work from your kitchen table or couch, there has been blurred lines between work and home. I’ve noticed several of our staff struggle with “powering off” and continuously answering emails beyond the traditional work hours. 

As we commonly say, this is PR, not the ER, and you’re not expected to be on call 24/7. Stepping outside of your specified work from home space after hours creates a healthy balance, separating work mode from relaxation and recharge time.

Dress to Impress 👚

After two years of Zoom calls, you may be wondering, “What should I wear?” While we may not be ready to say goodbye to loungewear pieces, we’re saying hello to spring fashion.

The pandemic has loosened office dress codes to “business comfort,” the evolution of business casual. We’re now finding unique ways to incorporate athleisure in stylish, yet work-appropriate, ways.

Returning to the office doesn’t mean you have to get too dressed up – but it does allow you to dress for a purpose.

As our agency continues in our structured hybrid format, I’m happy to see the tremendous benefits and advantages of working in person.

Lauren Izaks is the COO and executive vice president of All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.

April Seminar Recap: Mastering Account Management

When it comes to leading client accounts, senior account lead Cole Koretos has mastered account management. In his career at All Points, Cole has launched several clients, including Snap Fitness and Killer Burger, swiftly earning their trust and respect.

For our latest agency seminar, Cole walked us through how to lead successful accounts from day one. Here are his tips:

Step 1: The Launch Process

All Points has structured systems and processes, which lay the groundwork for launching a new client. The account lead funnels all communications and has a hand in the initial press release and franchisee questionnaires

The kickoff officially begins with a discovery call, the first opportunity to build trust with the client contacts. While it may be the first time meeting the team, preparation is essential. Our account teams come prepared with a set of questions that cover the bases of the entire scope of work to ensure we collect all the necessary information.

Step 2: Ongoing Relationship Building

As you further the client relationship, there are several ways to build trust. Client visits are a great opportunity to get out on their home turf and experience their company firsthand.

Cole reflected on his trip to visit Killer Burger in Portland, where he tried the brands iconic food, met with the leadership team and presented our biannual idea generator. With Q3 & Q4 idea generators on the horizon, this presents several travel opportunities for our team to continue to foster client relationships with new and existing clients.

Step 3: Day-to-Day Management

 Beyond our regular update calls, the leader of an account is responsible for the day-to-day management and acts as the point person for communication. Account leads are typically the first to review content marketing materials and social media calendars, and are responsible for making sure items are sent in a timely manner.

Be sure to check out All Points PR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the office.

Agency Archives: MUFC Takeaways

This year’s Multi-Unit Franchising Conference (MUFC) remains one of the most valuable and lively events in franchising. The All Points team headed off to Las Vegas once again to reconnect with clients, bond with industry vendors and grow our professional network.

With a wide array of franchisors, multi-unit franchisees and operators, the convention center was alive and well, setting the tone for thoughtful discussions, dynamic events and deals closed.

After a few fun days in Vegas, we’re energized and ready to apply our learnings to create integrated results for our clients. Here are some of our top takeaways:

Dynamic Events

One of the best ways to create a buzz at conferences is to host evening dinners and socials with prospective franchisees and clients.

This year, our team attended our client Bobby’s Burgers event at Amalfi by Bobby Flay in Caesars Palace. Bobby’s Burgers recently launched its strategic franchise initiative, and this event provided the opportunity for the corporate team to network with potential multi-unit operators. The event was a success, and Bobby’s Burger’s franchising debut at MUFC made a big splash.

Reconnecting In-Person

Of course, conferences present the exceptional opportunity to connect face-to-face with current and prospective clients. All Points was fortunate to host a bourbon tasting social, where we got to catch up with clients and new connections in a relaxed setting.

Additionally, we set up private meetings to discuss strategy and share more about our new lead qualifying department – to fuel rapid development in the months ahead.

Opportunities for Growth

Even after a jam-packed visit, our real work began at the end of the conference. Follow-ups and thank you notes are an important courtesy that should not be missed, whether you’re a franchisor, franchisee or supplier.

We look forward to furthering those conversations outside of Vegas, setting the tone for potential new clients and broadening relationships.

Be sure to check out All Points PR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the office.

Five Skills Every PR Pro Needs

Becoming a well-rounded, consistently reliable and savvy public relations professional takes more than just a degree in the field. From research and communication skills to writing and creativity, a PR pro embraces variety, with each day bringing new challenges to embrace.

We asked some PR pros at All Points to share their tips every public relations professional needs to succeed:

“Being a news junkie is very helpful in PR! Constantly consuming the news and keeping up with timely current events can help when coming up with angles for our clients and for keeping the interest of reporters.” – Alana Guggenheim, Account Lead

“PR professionals need to be both persistent and strong writers, but I would say being creative and thinking outside of the box is most important. Not only do we want to hook the press with creative pitching ideas, but we also want to impress our clients and our employers with big and unique ideas that go far beyond the ‘traditional’ PR approach.” – Maddie Darling, PR Associate

“I think the biggest thing that makes a PR pro is PERSISTENCY. Persistence is a mission we live by at All Points, and you must be persistent when pitching reporters and getting results from clients. You even have to be persistent by always thinking about how you can put your team in the best position to generate results. Persistency truly is the name of the game when you’re in PR.” – Cole Koretos, Senior Account Lead

“To become a PR pro, you need to be curious and desire to learn more about the world around you. Oftentimes, PR pros are asked to work across multiple industries, from restaurant brands to junk removal services, as well as both B2B and B2C perspectives. Our clients appreciate when we take the time to get to know the ins and outs of their industries and this helps us stay in-tune with all the latest trends and new stories.” – Emily Cashen, PR Account Lead

“It is important to reevaluate your pitch if you find that you are not receiving any traction or responses from reporters. This can look a few different ways: switching up the subject line to better align with a reporter’s typical beat or to mirror their usual article titles, starting a new chain with the reporter or adjusting the pitch to be timelier.” – Rachel Nehring, Senior Account Lead

Are you looking for a workplace that provides exciting client work and a fantastic team? Then All Points might be a fit for you! Check out our career page to see open opportunities.

President’s Point: IFA 2022 Takeaways

This past month, the All Points PR team headed to sunny San Diego for the 2022 International Franchise Association (IFA) annual convention. For the first time since 2020, franchisors, franchisees, suppliers and colleagues gathered together for franchising’s largest annual event to learn, educate and network with various industry professionals.

With 10 APPR team members in attendance, it was our largest presence to date. Our team connected with clients and furthered relationships with trade outlets and suppliers. The convention center was lively, and the content throughout was thought-provoking in many ways.

Here are some of the top takeaways I want to share with you:

1. The Spirit of Franchising is Alive and Well

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that the franchising industry is stronger than ever.
The past two years have been an unprecedented, harrowing time, and business owners were no exception. It was clear through the many informational sessions and panels that the entrepreneurial essence is alive and well, with many franchisors pulling in record-breaking sales years and tremendous growth.

2. Driving Revenue and Growth with Technology

Many of the conversations circulated around the growing need among franchisors and franchisees for advanced technology to drive growth and revenue. Many brands have pushed for investments in digital innovation, including mobile apps for online ordering, to enhance brands and franchisees’ collective capabilities.

During a keynote session with Paul Brown, CEO of Inspire Brands, he spoke on how Inspire heavily relies on technology and automation to deliver quality data analytics to Inspire teams. It’s crucial that people at Inspire – from corporate executives to franchisees – understand the power of the data and leverage it to improve the customer experience and grow their bottom line.

3. Dynamic Keynote Speakers

Shaquille O’Neal headlined the convention, and his engaging personality did not disappoint. Known of course as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, Shaq positioned himself off the court as a savvy business investor, with an impressive portfolio of nine Papa Johns, 10 24 Hour Fitness, 28 Five Guys and several Auntie Anne’s.

Most recently, Shaq stepped into the role as a franchisor with Big Chicken, which began franchising late last year. Our agency is proud to support Big Chicken with its strategic franchise growth, and we were thrilled to meet Shaq in person. Check out our team photo op – we promise we don’t actually look this short in person.

 

IFA’s annual convention continues to be one of the biggest opportunities for industry professionals to further their education and resources. The 2022 convention did not disappoint, and the APPR team looks forward to attending in 2023.

Jamie Izaks is the president of All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.

Letters for Our Elders: All Points PR Brings Smiles to Seniors for Positive Impact

Our elders hold a special place in our hearts. Whether it’s a grandparent, teacher, or neighbor, these individuals have influenced us in one way or another. Sadly, there are many seniors that feel isolated and alone, especially given the lack of socialization with the pandemic.

As part of our agency’s mission to make a positive impact in the community, we recently supported the Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly – Chicago chapter by decorating spring and summer themed cards.

The mission of Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly is to advocate for elders who are isolated and at risk by developing long-term companionships to provide greater well-being and stability, promote independent living and instill a sense of belonging.

A thoughtful card can be just enough to bring a smile. Our team spent the afternoon decorating 66 cards to drop-off throughout the Chicagoland area.

Making a difference in the Chicagoland community is a core principle for All Points PR, and we strive to make a positive contribution through our quarterly Positive Impact program.

Check out All Points PR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the office, and click here to learn more about the Positive Impact program.

COO’s Corner: Filling Leadership Positions from Within

Nothing is more vital to a company’s long-term health than the cultivation of its future leaders. Not only does leadership development boost employee engagement, great leaders attract, hire and inspire great people.

This mission reigns true at All Points, where 100% of our senior staff started as an entry-level associate. We believe in fostering the development of our staff through educational opportunities, mentorship program and opportunities to develop within their careers.

Part of what I believe allows us to stand out from other public relations agencies is our non-competitive culture. At All Points, promotions and raises are earned based on merit. You don’t have to wait for someone to leave or a position to open to take on a larger role.

In fact, our Vice President of Sales & Strategy, Bailey Hewitt, began her All Points career seven years ago as a PR associate. Her continued desire to grow her skills, take on new challenges and demonstrate leadership on several levels, cementing her path in the agency.

Through continued education, our agency encourages the professional development and growth of our staff. Several team members have had the opportunity to attend conferences to better their skillset and network with industry professionals.

When an organization promotes from within, no matter the level, employees can see that their input and experience are truly valued. It’s a positive signal to entry-level employees interested in furthering their careers.

Did you know we’re hiring? Take a look at our current openings here.

Lauren Izaks is the COO and executive vice president of All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.

VP Volume 1: Staying Organized with Project Management Tools

When you’re balancing multiple projects, clients and teams, you can find yourself bombarded with incoming everything — emails, texts, calendar reminders, “quick questions.”

Being organized is all about how you handle all those requests, conversations and questions, so you can maintain your workflow and deliver projects in a neat and orderly fashion.

With so many projects going on simultaneously, organization is key to making sure our agency is running effectively and efficiently. Among all the ways our team stays organized, the star of the show is Monday.com.

Here’s how All Points has stayed organized with systems and processes:

1. Implement a Project Management Software

A good project management tool makes planning executing and monitoring project progress a breeze. They create a transparent record of where items stand and who is doing what and when.

Monday.com is a work operating system that powers teams to run projects and workflows with confidence. It’s a simple but intuitive work OS for teams to shape workflows, adjust to shifting needs, create transparency and connect collaboratively.

2. Create a Project Plan

The first step to being organized is getting organized. Laying the groundwork upfront is key to success. For each client campaign, our agency outlines the timeline in Monday.com, assigning roles and responsibilities to meet the objective.

3. Work Within Deadlines

Set due dates not only for overarching goals but individual deadlines. Each deadline holds you and your team accountable for the work you’re doing every day. It guides your daily to-dos and gives a clear picture of what is needed and when.

Did you catch Monday.com’s feature at the Super Bowl? Our team was pretty starstruck:

Bailey Hewitt is the Vice President of Sales & Strategy at All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.

February Seminar Recap: Let’s Convers(ate)!

In a virtual world, cultivating meaningful connections has never been more important.

For our latest agency seminar, we teamed up with Convers(ate) to move past the small talk and transactional conversation to explore fun and more meaningful connections.

Convers(ate) facilitates virtual experiences that help your team to connect – not only as colleagues but as people. As an agency, we’re always striving to form relationships, especially given the hybrid environment.

Through a series of interactive team-building sessions with cross-functional teams, our staff was posed thought-provoking questions that opened up the floor to more significant conversation.

Here are ways Convers(ate) challenged us to get to know our team:

    • What’s the story behind your name?
    • Where do you fall on the scale of extroverted vs. introverted?
    • What type of environment do you work best in?
    • What’s a piece of advice you’ve received that rings true?

It was great to get a glimpse into the ‘human’ behind the formal relationship. It can be difficult to build connections when only talking about work, and Convers(ate) helped us find common threads to relate to one other on a deeper level.

As an agency, we highly encourage “cross pod pollination,” which is the collaboration of individuals outside of their traditional teams or departments. This seminar inspired meaningful conversations beyond just the traditional, ‘how’s it going’ or ‘how was your weekend.’

Opportunities to breakout and interact with other colleagues isn’t as prevalent as it used to be, and this seminar left our team inspired to continue these conversations and get to know our team on a more personal level.

Be sure to check out All Points PR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the office.

NIFA Q1 Recap: From Zoomies to Master Networkers

As in-person events make a resurgence, you may be feeling a little rusty stepping back into your off-line life. Connecting in-person seems a little foreign nowadays, with our professional lives living on Zoom.

Fortunately, the NIFA hosted its quarterly event, From Zoombies to Master Networkers, focused on dusting off your networking skills to make the most of 2022 conferences and conventions.

The event included an esteemed panel of esteemed franchise leaders, who discussed the best ways to step outside our comfort zones and make the most of the opportunity to network and grow as we return to in-person gatherings this year.

The timing of this discussion is extremely fitting, with many in the industry heading to the IFA 2022 convention in the coming weeks. According to Alan Catlett, Vice President for Growth and Operations at the International Franchise Association, with just under a month until IFA, registration is looking to be in line as previous years with over 500 franchisor brands registered.

For many suppliers, franchising conventions are like a kid in the candy store, with many franchisor brands all in one place. However, it can be easy to get too salesy. That’s why Barbara Yelmene, VP of Development at Franchise Update, suggests a soft sell, with a primary focus on building relationships.

“Franchising is built on relationships, and no one wants someone hardcore selling them,” Yelmene said. “You’ll get much further prioritizing personal connections over sales.”

The key to making the most of your conference experience lies in the prep work. Before the conference takes place, look through the seminar and attendee list. As mentioned by Sheila Fischer, preplanning your itinerary will allow you to connect with the right people and productively market your brand.

Outside the conference floor, many brands and vendors will host events or dinners for the chance to interact with industry contacts on a more personal level.

“At these conferences, a prospect is not only looking at the brand but buying into you as well,” said Kevin Pietsch, National Sales Director at Franchise Times. “They’re buying into your personality, your culture and what you bring to the table. Connecting in person and outside the business setting presents the unique opportunity to brand yourself.”

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to our panelists, Alan Catlett, Sheila Fischer, Kevin Pietsch and Barbara Yelmene for making this event possible. Your insights, strong connections and industry expertise fueled a valuable discussion.

If you didn’t get a chance to attend or would like to view the discussion, click here to download the video recording.

To further foster these connections and share best practices, we encourage anyone who would like to stay connected to check out our NIFA LinkedIn group.

Looking ahead, we are planning wonderful events for 2022. We encourage anyone with topic ideas and sponsorship questions for future events to reach out to Lauren Izaks directly by clicking here.

Visit www.northernilfranchise.org for more information about the organization.

5 Ways to Prioritize Your Employee’s Experience in a Hybrid Workplace

Happy people are productive people. When it comes to boosting morale and participation in the workplace, our agency prioritizes engagement across all fronts. Proactively managing morale is just as important for remote or hybrid environments as it is in person.

From quarterly contests to care packages, there are many ways we increase engagement, even in our hybrid structure. Here’s how we keep our agency motivated virtually:

1. Encourage Virtual Meetings and Team Outings

 Even when it was impossible to be together in person, we still made it a priority to host virtual pod outings, including happy hours and game nights, where teams could interact outside the office environment.

2. Introduce Office-Wide Contests

There’s nothing like a little competition to bring the team together. With some creativity, contests can be done from the comfort of an employee’s home. Just don’t forget the prizes!

Our agency hosts quarterly contests, with the anticipated Super Bowl contest set to begin in the coming weeks. We look forward to this every year and track our progress on our social media.

3. Send a Care Package

Unexpected presents are the best. Care packages are a great way to make WFH remote employees feel appreciated, even when you can’t be together in person.

These care packages can be as simple as sending a snack to your employees’ doors. Recently, we sweetened our staff’s day by sending them Caroo snack packages to enjoy at home.

4. Virtual Mentorship

Employees are more likely to serve organizations that offer meaningful opportunities to learn and develop. That’s why some of the most successful companies invest in mentorship programs for employees – like Caterpillar, Fidelity Investments, Google, and General Electric.

Our agency mentorship program, Point Pals, offers a great way for newer employees to connect with, and get advice from, other members of the agency. Pairs meet twice a month, virtually or in person, to catch up on how the week is going, share any positive outcomes, or answer any questions.

5. Quality Communication Tools

To drive engagement in a remote or hybrid structure, it’s important to encourage strong communication practices.

As an agency, we use texts, mass communication platforms like Remind, Zoom and FaceTime to stay in constant communication on projects and client work while working from home. We’re currently testing out morning announcements in video form as another way to be more personal.

Virtual work, whether it’s remote or hybrid, is here to stay for the long haul. Continue to get creative and find new ways to shake up your regular meetings.

Lauren Izaks is the COO and executive vice president of All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.

January Seminar Recap: Building Reporter Relationships

Our agency encourages the professional development and growth of our staff through ongoing education. Several of our team members have had opportunities to attend conferences and conventions to better their skillset and network with industry professionals.

Senior Account Lead Nicole Odziewa and PR Associate Maddie Darling recently attended the PRNEWS conference in Washington D.C. Together, they led this month’s agency seminar to share their takeaways when it comes to interacting with reporters and building relationships.

Relationship Building

Journalists receive hundreds of pitches a day, leaving many pitches to go unopened or deleted. The best way to make sure your pitch gets read is to have a preexisting relationship with the journalist you’re pitching.

To foster those relationships, set up an introductory call with a reporter to learn a bit more about them and what stories they’re interested in covering. Continue nurturing those relationships, and the reporter may think of your client the next time they need a source.

Crafting Your Pitch

Securing earned media is more challenging than ever. In fact, for every journalist, there are six PR professionals. Strong pitches are key to cutting through the clutter. As PR professionals, we need to break through the noise and create tailored pitches that match the reporters’ beat and medium.

Before sending your next pitch, consider the following:

  • Make It Easy: Provide summaries, background, sources and quotes
  • Be Targeted: Customize each pitch based on the medium, reporter and market.
  • Think in Headlines: Provide clever framing to get more attention
  • Connect the Dots: Why should your audience care?

Media Training

 Interacting with the media can be a stressful experience for our clients. Media training is the best way to ensure that our clients positively represent their company and are well versed in the media frame.

When media training for interviews, think of phrases that deliver a headline on a silver platter. Reporters say they look for something controversial, unexpected, that strikes emotion, pulls at heartstrings, and offers perspective– not just the facts.

Crisis Communications

With negative stories, try calling the reporter first to learn more about the direction of the story. Talk with them to learn their concerns to see if you can provide info to sway the story to be more neutral/positive.

When it comes to crisis communication, there are several steps to take for reactive statements:

  1. Flag for internal stakeholders
  2. Call reporter to ask questions on story’s direction
  3. Craft statement with background point
  4. Keep statement to 2-3 sentences
  5. Run for internal approvals

Takeaways

With many in-person and virtual learning opportunities in the year ahead, we encourage all of our staff members to be proactively searching for ongoing educational experiences that can better their knowledge and our clients.

Be sure to check out All Points PR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the office.

5 Franchise Marketing Trends for 2022

Marketing trends are always changing, and it can be hard to keep up. As we head into 2022, we’re tackling these trends using the proven methods our team mastered over our 10 years in business in new, innovative ways.

Here are five marketing trends that franchises should take note of as we move into 2022.

  1. All Ears for UGC

    User-generated content (UGC) and postings from micro and nano influencers—staples of our own agency’s influencer outreach strategies—reign supreme in a social media landscape where more users than ever take an active role in content creation. Platforms like TikTok have lowered barriers for content to go viral and for users to monetize content, and other platforms have followed suit. Do not discount organic brand validation even in a franchise development capacity—where can you find ready-to-use brand testimonials from a third party? Tools like Hootsuite provide helpful social listening and mention monitoring to find positive client sentiment to repurpose.

  2. KISS (Keep it simple… and short)

    Attention spans continue to shrink across all demographics, and busy multi-unit franchise investors are no exception. Bite-sized, shareable and informational content means more of your audience is likely to consume and disseminate your message to their networks. We’ve implemented short-form video content like Q&As or live tours in content marketing and social media pieces to communicate more with less.

  3. Alexa, What is SEO?

    95% percent of searchers only view the first page of online search results and voice searching via AI like Alexa is also on the rise, meaning ranking highly within search algorithms is more important than ever. SEO is deeper than backlinking and interlinking processes—it requires a comprehensive content strategy to develop useful site content that many businesses don’t have the expertise to create. When drafting content marketing pieces, we always provide detailed rationale for the keywords and corresponding copy that we use to further business goals via organic search.

  4. Show Me the Numbers

    Concrete systemwide data, consumer reports and industry statistics are necessary to support brand claims. Press outlets and audience members alike react positively to specificity in your data. How can you mine the stats to find golden nuggets of sales data? We assist our clients in finding the best numbers to tell the story of their brand growth in new ways.

  1. Privacy, Please

    Apple’s latest update, iOS 15, provides enhanced privacy controls, including Mail Privacy Protection. Facebook has also acquiesced to users’ calls for less invasive tracking for advertising purposes. These updates require all marketers to scrutinize data differently and devote their content to a highly researched audience. For example, our agency has implemented innovative strategies across the board to not rely solely on data provided by digital platforms and to incorporate detailed profiles to reach the best target audience.

COO’s Corner: Be Present in 2022

It’s hard to believe another year has come and gone. After overcoming the triumphs and tribulations of the pandemic, 2021 truly embodied resilience. With a renewed feeling of hope, brought by vaccines, I’m challenging my staff to live mindfully and be present in the year ahead.

Even in our structured hybrid, we still need to show up – and we need to show up more than ever. In our latest agency seminar, I encouraged my staff to take a moment and reflect on their practices and how they can be more mindful in the year ahead. Here are some tips:

1. Turn Off Notifications

Between my Apple watch, email alerts and text messages, I constantly feel like someone is tapping me on the shoulder.

You may have emails, texts and meetings to deal with, and of course, your own work. To balance all these needs, pausing your notifications for specific periods of time is a happy medium. In the middle of it all, you can apply principles of mindfulness to feel alive and present and even more productive.

2. Talk Less, Listen More

We all like to think we’re good listeners, but there’s a big difference between nodding as you wait for your turn to speak and actually being present.

People do not learn new things when they talk; they learn by actively listening. In today’s busy world it can be hard to shut out distractions that draw us away from the conversation.

Practice mindful listening to eliminate internal and external distractions, so you can absorb and understand fully what is being communicated to you.

3. Get Into a Flow

You may have heard about multi-tasking, but how about single-tasking — doing one thing at a time. Nobody can multi-task, in reality, the brain cannot perform two tasks that require high brain function at one time.

To get into a productive workflow, protect yourself from interruptions and take one task at a time. Be mindful of your deadlines and set chunks of uninterrupted time to get that task done. That goes for respecting your colleagues’ time as well. Schedule a meeting to go over a project or brainstorm new ideas, rather than interrupting their workflow.

4. Stop Working Like Everything’s an Emergency,

Mindfulness at work may seem counterintuitive. You’re slowing down to become more efficient and productive.

Working in a panicky rush leads to bad decisions. As an agency, we live by the saying “this is PR, not the ER,” to keep our staff from constantly working in 911 mode. It’s hard to be present if you’re constantly working in crisis mode.

By purposely managing your technology notifications, listening skills and workflow, mindfulness at work is possible.

Lauren Izaks is the COO and executive vice president of All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.

NIFA Q4 Recap: Entrepreneurial Empowerment

NIFA virtually welcomed Brittany Driscoll, the co-founder and CEO of Squeeze, to its Q4 gathering to discuss her entrepreneurial journey and how she’s inspiring new and experienced entrepreneurs to meet and exceed their dreams.

Prior to launching her own businesses, Brittany spent over a decade in marketing and advertising and an additional four years as the vice president of marketing for Drybar. There, she increased the company value from $30M to more than $100M.

As a female entrepreneur, cancer survivor and wellness advocate, Brittany has a strong passion for supporting other women in business and has become a thought leader in her community.

So, what’s her secret to success?

1. Embracing transition and chasing discomfort leads to fulfillment

To chase discomfort is a personal mantra of Brittany’s, formulated following an experience at an experiential marketing agency, where her passion led her to pitch a global campaign for Barbie.

Every person has a unique drive to fulfill a purpose. Discovering your passion, and dedicating yourself to pursuing it, can make a big difference in your happiness, self-motivation and achievement.

Brittany’s itch to the new reappeared four years into her role as VP of marketing at Drybar. She knew that she was ready to challenge herself and take on a new pursuit. After a heart-to-heart with Drybar founders Michael Landau and Alli Webb, together they created Squeeze.

If it hadn’t been for her willingness to embrace these pivotal moments of transition and embrace moments of discomfort throughout her career, she wouldn’t have had the opportunity to create brands and experiences for people to make meaningful differences. Putting yourself out there is scary, but well worth the risk.

2. Empowering others is fundamental to your success

Empowering the people around you is the key to building a high-performance team. Whether it was at her marketing agency, Drybar or Squeeze, Brittany knew that the gateway to her success was cultivating an empowered team of individuals to make her visions a reality.

Every great visionary is striving for a purpose greater than themselves. If you can show sincere devotion to others in your organization to see them for who they are as humans and not just for what they do, you will unite everyone in bringing your shared vision to life.

3. It’s completely normal to not have all of the answers

Vulnerability has been a huge part of Brittany’s story, especially over the last two years.

Squeeze was just building their momentum when the pandemic caused the world to come to a screeching halt. As trying as some days were, their team stayed focused on their future. But not knowing all the answers is perfectly normal. Be encouraged that you’re figuring it out as you go.

If you didn’t get a chance to attend Brittany’s talk during the Q4 NIFA event or would like to review the discussion, click here to download the video recording.

To further foster these connections and share best practices, we encourage anyone who would like to stay connected to check out our NIFA LinkedIn group.

Looking ahead, we are planning wonderful events for 2022. We encourage anyone with topic ideas and sponsorship questions for future events to reach out to Lauren Izaks directly by clicking here.

Visit www.northernilfranchise.org for more information about the organization.

November Seminar Recap: A Sneak Peek at our New Service 👀

During our November Seminar our staff got a sneak peek at our new lead qualifying service, launching in early 2022.  Senior Director Bailey is spearheading this initiative and shared her learning from early trials.

Across the board, our clients share one universal goal: growth. For years we’ve been helping our clients generate leads, and now we are going to help them decipher the leads that are qualified to move through the discovery process.

All Points PR will contact new leads to learn more about their background and financial qualifications. If they’re a good fit, we’ll alert the client’s franchise development team to continue the conversation.

This service removes a major pain point for our clients as we know contacting leads is a huge time commitment, as well as creates opportunity for us to gather first-hand information on what motivates leads to explore the specific franchise opportunity which will help us in our franchise development messaging. Our team is excited to kick off this new journey and work collaboratively with our clients to grow their franchise.

Be sure to check out All Points PR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the office.

Directors Digest: How Not to Scare Away Reporters

Though some journalists might like getting spooked outside of work during the Halloween season, sending them lengthy, aggressive pitches with spelling errors will land you in the email graveyard.

Here are some tips for how not to scare away reporters:

Write a Compelling Subject Line

Journalists receive hundreds of pitches every day, and more than half of them find themselves deleted or in the junk folder. Most media pitches without a strong subject line end up in the trash. Creating a subject line for an email is like writing a headline for an article.

To increase your chances of getting noticed, begin with a subject line that is specific and concise to let the journalist know exactly what to expect. The subject line should draw the reader in and promise a story their audience would be interested in.

Keep it Short and Sweet

Long-winded explanations of your client’s history won’t generate a response from a reporter. In general, PR professionals should keep their pitches short and sweet, including only the relevant information.

Remember, writing a pitch is about teasing the newsworthy qualities of your client. If the reporter wants to learn more, they can read your press release or follow up with any questions.

Write for the Media You’re Pitching

No two pitches are alike, especially when it comes to pitching multiple outlets. Make sure your pitch is customized to the reporter and outlet and not repurposed for diverse reporters. When targeting specific publications or reporters, take the time to read their past articles to get an idea of their niche and audience.

Proofread, Proofread, Proofread

Any media pitch sent to a reporter must be free from any spelling or grammar errors. Before you send a pitch, ask a team member to review it and scrutinize for any mistakes.

In addition to looking for typos, triple-check that you’ve spelled the reporter’s name and media outlet correctly. Small mistakes like that look like you didn’t do your homework.

Want more pitching tips? Check out our recent agency seminar for pitching pros.

Bailey Hewitt is a Senior Director at All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.

Good News Partners: All Points PR Builds Up Community for Positive Impact

In continuing our agency’s mission to make a positive impact on the communities where we live and work, our team assisted Good News Partners in remodeling tasks for their facilities as part of our Q3 Positive Impact event.

Good News Partners is a non-profit organization committed to ending homelessness in Chicago. As the #1 champion for quality of life, Good News Partners elevates those in need through dignified housing. They provide otherwise homeless families with a step-by-step transition from interim housing to true independent living, ensuring they have the support and tools needed to jump-start their lives.

Our agency broke into teams to work on dismantling old bunk beds and play area in the New Life Interim Housing shelter, as well as constructing new bunk beds and additional cleaning in the Jonquil Hotel single room residency. We left inspired by their passionate staff and grateful to have made a small impact in the great work they are doing.

Making a difference in the Chicagoland community is a core principle for All Points PR, and we strive to make a positive contribution through our quarterly Positive Impact program.

Check out All Points PR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the office, and click here to learn more about the Positive Impact program.

COO’s Corner: Support Mental Health Awareness in the Workplace

It’s a new era for mental health. Never before have mental health challenges been more prevalent across the country. One study reported 76% of workers experienced at least one symptom of a mental health condition in the last year, supporting the notion that mental health challenges impact nearly all of us on a regular basis.

Our agency continuously promotes the physical and mental wellbeing of our staff by creating a culture of acceptance and access to resources. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Day, I want to share my thoughts on the importance of creating a supportive company culture that promotes mental health.

Understand how mental health impacts our employees

Understandably, poor mental health and stress can have a negative impact on employees. It can impact their productivity, engagement and communication. Strengthening overall mental health is critical to help support our employees to be happy, self-actualized individuals. It’s important that employees feel safe and satisfied at work as they do in other areas of their lives for their personal wellbeing.

Our agency strives to foster a company culture based on trust and compassion. I have an open-door policy and encourage my staff to come to talk about any concerns or personal implications that impact their work lives. There is no stigma and no judgment in regards to mental health.

Prioritizing mental health coverage in our health care plan

The most vital action an employer can take is to offer resources for mental health. Healthcare is part of mental health, so when choosing a healthcare plan, we prioritized one that offered higher coverage, including mental health services.

Additionally, mental health is strongly linked to physical health, and as an agency, we want to support our team’s healthy lifestyle. That’s why our office reimburses for gym memberships, to encourage our staff to get active and clear their mind.

Offer Tips and Strategies 

Since the start of the pandemic, I incorporated weekly staff emails sharing important updates, resources and tips. In my latest email, I shared a piece of inspiration that I recently learned in a yoga class.

Like many, I often feel like I am running out of time, but that is not true. I just need to take a deep breath and relax. I was taught to say “I have” while breathing in and on the breath out say “time.” Again, breathe in “I have” and exhale “time.” Since learning this technique, I have used it frequently and find it helpful and calming. Try it out and see if it does the same for you.

Sustainable Ways of Working 

A critical component in promoting positive mental health practices is providing flexibility and sustainable measures to set employees up for long-term success. A saying that we live by at the agency is, “This is PR, not ER.” Our agency promotes a positive work-life balance where we don’t encourage working nights or on the weekends. Additionally, we offer generous PTO for a much-needed break.

We’ve permanently implemented a hybrid structure, with team members splitting their time working in the office and at home, which provides an adaptable environment and enables staff to be the most effective.

All Points PR prioritizes the health and wellbeing of our staff. We’re committed to doing our part to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health. My door is always open if you have any questions or concerns.

Lauren Izaks is the COO and executive vice president of All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.

AP University Hosts Illinois State Students for Agency Visit

Following the agency’s first summer internship program, we’re thrilled to continue nurturing our relationships with new talent through AP University.

AP University serves to establish meaningful partnerships with universities through on-site classroom and student organization visits, speaking engagements and agency tours.

We recently hosted Illinois State’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) to give an inside look into a day in the life at All Points PR. The group met with fellow ISU alums, Director JoeyLauren Jiracek, and Public Relations Associates Alana Guggenheim and Sarah Lisewski, along with Creative & Digital Account Lead Jonathan Bazar.

After introducing our integrated approach and franchise growth-driven client base, Alana and Sarah shared their look into the public relations associate role. Our agency schedules days with morning and afternoon threes, prioritizing three main goals in the morning and afternoon.

To test their skillset, our team put together a pitching activity for our PRo Community Project client, Erika’s Lighthouse. The students paired up to draft a media pitch targeted at Chicago-based and national reporters and producers in the TV, print and podcast space. With preliminary information provided, the pairs were given creative freedom to do their own research and draft a note specifically to a reporter. The group then came back together to read their pitches to the group and receive feedback from professionals in the field.

As upperclassmen begin applying to summer internships and entry-level jobs, our COO and Executive Vice President Lauren Izaks shared interview tips and what she looks for in APPR candidates. Being successful at All Points—and in public relations in general—requires excellent time management skills, strong writing abilities, people skills, persistence and passion for news. With plans to add to our team and expand our internship program next summer, this workshop shared future opportunities available down the road.

Director’s Digest: Writing a Winning Award Submission

Winning awards as an organization earns widespread exposure, enhances brand awareness and validates your market position. However, earning these recognitions is a highly competitive process, so your application makes or breaks your opportunity to earn these benefits.

We frequently use our industry and client-specific knowledge to craft stellar award submissions on our clients’ behalf. With our assistance, clients have earned first-time recognition or have climbed significantly on key rankings such as the Entrepreneur Franchise 500, Franchise Times Top 200+, Fast Casual Top Movers and Shakers and more.

Here’s how you can stand out from the crowd and submit an award-winning award application.

Research Opportunities

To take home the gold, so to speak, you’ll spend a great deal of time and resources writing and collecting the information needed for submission. For this reason, you should think critically about your chances of being considered, the exposure the award will bring and the necessary materials needed for submission.

Begin by researching the award and previous winners. Does this award carry weight in your industry? For example, each year, we nominate several clients to Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 list, considered the world’s first, best and most comprehensive franchise ranking. This list validates our clients as a prime franchise opportunity.

Have a Story Worth Telling

The fundamental part of any application is answering the why—why does your brand stand out among the other applicants? Many of our clients leverage systemwide growth, brand innovation, corporate support and strength to support their application.

If you truly believe your brand has what it takes, gather your team and brainstorm what you should include. What are you doing that your competitors are not? How can you quantify your success and communicate results? Once you determine what information you need, go out and source it.

Put Yourself in the Judges’ Mindset

When drafting a submission, always keep your audience in mind. Read the criteria thoroughly to determine what the judges are considering. With thousands of submissions to weed through, stick to the facts and to the point with snappy examples demonstrating why your brand should win. Keep in mind your existing brand awareness with the judges in particular and start with the basics if necessary.

Getting your award application just right can equate to a valuable third-party endorsement that differentiates you from your competitors.

JoeyLauren Jiracek is a Director at All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.

All Points PR Coordinated Influencer Visit for Automotive Repair Franchise

All Points PR coordinated an influencer visit with Sarah @sarahleeweaver for client Christian Brothers Automotive. The influencer shared a video to her feed as part of the Keep on Rollin’ campaign with a testimonial on how she valued the kind customer service she experienced during her visit.

Download the PDF file .

September Seminar Recap: Media Pitching Masterclass

Before APPR’s founding, President Jamie Izaks planted his PR roots in both the in-house and agency realms. For this month’s agency seminar, Jamie shared his wealth of experience with our whole team in a media pitching masterclass. Jamie’s presentation broke down the exact steps to increase your chances of securing coverage for our clients.

Plan

Setting up a pitch is like warming up your body to exercise; you need to prepare before jumping right in. Before contacting a reporter, take a step back and reflect on the client’s objectives.

With most of our clients being franchises, their number one objective is to drive awareness and leads toward the franchise opportunity, along with existing location support, new opening announcements and executive thought leadership pieces.

Target

The next step is to determine what type of media you’re going after and type of story. In 98 percent of cases, you need more than one pitch. It’s important to be intentional with who you’re targeting; a TV segment is a much different pitch than a feature profile.

When it comes to targeting national and local publications, the deadlines can differ as well. Dailies and weeklies have different timelines than national publications that plan months ahead of time. It’s important to understand how far in advance to start pitching your topic.

Research

Who exactly is going to run this story? Researching reporters is the next step in the process. Think about what makes the most sense for the outlet and reporter. Identifying a reporter’s beat and reviewing recent bylines can help specify your pitch to their background.

For example, Pod 2 recently pitched a new opening for our client, Pancheros Mexican Grill. When researching a local business reporter in New Jersey, the team realized she went to a college where there was a Pancheros location. This personal connection helped secure a response and press coverage for the client. Taking the extra time to research and personalize a pitch can pay off.

Pitch

You’re finally ready to write your pitch, but where do you start? When looking for inspiration, there are a variety of resources within the agency—from franchisee questionnaires to national pitching sessions to brainstorms—but we challenge our team members to think like a reporter, identify industry trends and pose questions on client calls to get fresh ideas. Engaging with the news is the best way to stay up-to-date on trends and fresh topics.

Overall, persistency is key and follow-ups are always needed. Follow these tips, and you’ll be pitching like our APPR pros.

Be sure to check out All Points PR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the office.

NIFA Q3 Recap: IFA Strategy Update

Never in its history has the franchise industry been more engaged and more vocal about the issues facing our nation.

NIFA sat down virtually with IFA President and CEO Matthew Haller for its Q3 gathering to discuss current IFA initiatives and provide a window into what’s happening in the political sphere. It was an educational event ending with a town-hall Q&A, where franchisees and suppliers had the chance to ask Haller their top-of-mind questions.

Haller discussed the massive shift in political agendas, as franchising remains in the crosshairs on several fronts including, labor, tax proposals, and other small business issues. Just this week, the House Ways and Means Committee released the first draft of tax provisions included in the Build Back Better Act, a $3.5 trillion spending package. The IFA continues to monitor how pending legislation like this directly impacts the franchise realm.

In continuing their mission of P.E.P.—protect, enhance and promote franchising—all IFA priorities relate to one or more of these pillars. The IFA will debut their 2021 Franchise Census, a first-of-its-kind survey to share the true story of the franchise business model and ownership.

With over 3,000 franchise owners surveyed, the census came to five conclusions:

  1. Franchises are more diverse than most people recognize
  2. Franchises offer better pay, more opportunity than other small businesses
  3. Franchising is an entrepreneurial engine for growth and jobs
  4. Franchising expands opportunities for women and people of color
  5. Franchises are good neighbors

This data serves as the kickoff to the Open For Opportunity campaign that will highlight the faces of franchising that are as diverse as our businesses. By providing meaningful jobs and resources that equitably uplift our families and neighbors, we generate opportunity, stability and wealth for the next generation to build a more equitable, better tomorrow.

We want to thank Plante Moran for its support in making this event possible. Plante Moran’s franchise-focused team is dedicated to providing audit, tax and consulting services to the franchise industry with an understanding of the unique nature of franchise operations.

If you didn’t get a chance to attend or would like to view the discussion, click here to download the video recording.

To further foster these connections and share best practices, we encourage anyone who would like to stay connected to check out our NIFA LinkedIn group.

Looking ahead, we are planning wonderful events for Q4 and into 2022. We encourage anyone with topic ideas and sponsorship questions for future events to reach out to Lauren Izaks directly by clicking here.

Visit www.northernilfranchise.org for more information about the organization.

President’s Point: MUFC Takeaways

After more than a year of virtual gatherings that offer little in the way of true networking, client relations and making new connections, All Points PR attended our first major in-person conference, building on team members who attended Franchise Expo South mid-spring this year. Plus, there are more industry gatherings slated for the balance of this year and into next.

The Multi-Unit Franchise Conference (MUFC) was the first in-person franchise conference with more than a dozen of our client brands in attendance and countless key networking opportunities since the start of the pandemic. With its largest registered attendance to date, MUFC had a lot on the line, but it did not disappoint.

While our clients were there for the most part to connect with multi-unit franchisees who could invest in and operate new locations, APPR took part or led several in-person meetings and dinners, and networked with our clients, potential clients and industry insiders, both on the trade floor and in areas throughout the conference and the host hotel. There is no doubt that the energy level was high throughout the three-day event. With so much to offer, here are MUFC 2021’s biggest takeaways:

Reconnecting In-Person

After nearly 18 months apart, reuniting with clients, industry connections, and long-time personal and professional friends was priceless. All Points PR had a fantastic showing—from our client dinner to the networking cabana and other events we hosted, to client meetings and new client opportunity discussions, we represented the agency well. Our time and preparation paid off, and we’re eager to see how the conversations evolve in the coming weeks.

Likewise, All Points PR clients had a great response to their efforts, with potential franchise candidates eager to attend events, visit the exhibitor booths and schedule individual meetings.

High Energy

The excitement of Las Vegas coupled with the dinners, events and other networking opportunities infused palpable adrenaline into the conference. The energy level was high, truly a sign of the unified commitment we have to the industry, one another and our companies. I’ve attended virtual conferences this past year, and the energy does not compare to the in-person version.

We had a chance to see clients on every pod, including Beyond Juicery, Meineke/Maaco, Big Chicken and Taco John’s among many more.

Eye-Opening Content

As with any conference, the keynote speakers and panelists did not disappoint. The fantastic learnings brought by accomplished speakers in the franchise realm offered insightful perspectives to help streamline and inspire business growth.

We strengthened our relationship with the franchising industry and reinforced camaraderie with our clients. We are looking ahead to seeing many again at industry gatherings this year.

Jamie Izaks is the president of All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.

COO’s Corner: Fostering a Culture of Leadership

Companies that make leadership development a strategic priority attract and retain the best talent. Often, it’s a strong leadership team that makes an organization.

At All Points PR, leadership is engrained in all of our employees, at every level. We foster a culture of leadership across the agency through mentorship, recognition and investment, both professionally and personally.

Mentorship

Mentoring is critical in helping mentees and mentors develop leadership skills in a variety of ways. One of the key benefits of mentoring is developing and refining mentees’ leadership philosophies.

At All Points PR, we implemented this idea through our mentorship program. Each team member chooses a mentor from the very beginning of their APPR career to talk through challenges, give advice and serve as another resource for help. Mentees become mentors, continuing the cycle and passing on wisdom to the next group of young professionals.

Recognition

Quality leaders encourage their teams to recognize one another for their achievements. By recognizing your employees for the work they’re doing, you will instantly boost employee engagement and morale.

One small, yet effective way we praise your team is through publicly acknowledging a “win of the week.” Since highlighting accomplishments though agency-wide weekly email updates, All Points employees have jumped at the chance to submit each other for the honor and work to earn the honor themselves.

Investment

There’s no better way to nurture employee leadership than investing in their potential. As an agency, we’re always looking for learning opportunities for our staff. Many have taken courses and attended leadership conventions to expand their skillsets. By offering employees additional training opportunities, we’re investing in the advancement of their careers while adding value to our clients. 

We are fortunate to have the ability to continue to grow our team. Be sure to check out our current job openings here to become the next era of APPR leaders.

Lauren Izaks is the COO and executive vice president of All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.

All Points Lands Influencer Visit for Pet Grooming Franchise

All Points PR landed influencer visit with @rileyandrosiegohiking for client Wag N’ Wash. Their owner posted multiple stories of her pups’ wonderful grooming experience with her 30.9K followers, sharing how happy she was that Rosie was able to receive some much-needed pampering and is now super soft and matte free, along with the delicious fresh-baked doggy treats that she and Riley enjoyed.

Download the PDF file .

August Seminar Recap: Intern Wrap Up & Agency Case Studies

As summer comes to a close, we’re saying a bittersweet goodbye to our team of interns. For the first half of our agency August seminar, we took a trip to “Intern Island” to highlight our three hard-working interns Luke Cunningham, Justin Engerman and Anna Kedjidjian. Our interns became an integral part of our agency, delivering real results for our clients including writing pitches, building media lists and securing press opportunities.

In addition to PR support, our interns supported the creative and digital team and content marketing by drafting email and blog copy, creating graphics and creating social media calendars. Just like our full-time employees, our intern program took an integrated approach with experience stretching across all departments. Luke, Justin and Anna embodied our mission of persistence with a professional, adaptable outlook.

While we’re sad to see them go, we’re thankful for their impact on APPR this summer and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors. And, we’re proud to celebrate our stellar APPR team that spearheaded the summer internship program: PR Account Lead Maddy Valente, Content Marketing Associate Jessica Banks and Creative and Digital Account Lead Jonathan Bazar.

Case Studies & Campaign Recaps

Next up, Creative and Digital Account Lead Marin McCall spoke on the importance of client case studies. Our agency utilizes monthly case studies to record the development of a particular client project over a period of time. These are important both internally and externally as it analyzes the success of a recent project while offering a chance to showcase our achievements.

Past examples include Wing It On!’s new menu launch and Junk King’s Lovestruck campaign where we developed and executed high-performing integrated results. Each case study is visually packaged and shared on our social platforms to showcase our effectiveness with both qualitative and quantitative data.

Be sure to check out All Points PR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the office.

All Points Public Relations Launches Third Annual PRo Community Project to Benefit Chicago Area Nonprofits

Growing Chicagoland Integrated Public Relations Agency is Celebrating  10th Anniversary in Tandem with Yearly Philanthropic Campaign

DEERFIELD, Ill. – All Points Public Relations, a Deerfield family-owned integrated public relations agency, is celebrating a milestone 10-year anniversary this August while gifting its communications services to nonprofits in need.

In conjunction with its decade landmark, the agency is hosting its third annual All Points Public Relations PRo Community Project, an initiative that awards one Chicagoland nonprofit organization with pro bono integrated marketing support.

Playing homage to the All Points team’s philanthropic spirit, the annual contest is geared towards organizations in need of integrated public relations support. From August 2 to 30, Chicagoland-based nonprofits can submit their applicationsharing why their organization could benefit from publicity, social media, graphic design and content marketing. All Points Public Relations will be evaluating entries based on how the integrated PR services awarded will positively benefit the applying organizations through awareness, membership and fundraising for a specific campaign.

“For 10 years, our team’s passion, professionalism and mission of persistence has established us as reputable leaders in all areas of integrated public relations,” said Jamie Izaks, president of All Points Public Relations, who co-owns the firm with Lauren Izaks, his wife and the COO of the company. “Every day we’re committed to making an impact on our clients’ goals—and our hands-on, personalized approach has been foundational in setting us apart. But our drive to make a positive impact on our home community of Chicago is equally important. With the PRo Community Project, we’re pursuing our philanthropic principles and sharing our services with neighborhood nonprofits that need it most.”

Deerfield natives, the Izaks launched All Points Public Relations in August of 2011 in pursuit of their own entrepreneurial dream, using the power of integrated campaigns to help franchise brands achieve their strategic goals. The agency’s expertise in the well-defined franchising niche comes from 20-plus years of work in the industry with brands that vary from well-known, national concepts to emerging franchise systems and innovative start-ups.

As All Points reaches its decade milestone, the agency continues to expand its team with talented young professionals entering the integrated communications industry and has grown its client base nationwide. Despite the pandemic-related challenges last year presented to business owners, All Points has expanded its staff 75% from 2020 to 2021 alone. The integrated public relations agency plans to add six additional team members for senior leadership, content marketing, creative and digital positions.

Using this robust team and integrated expertise to its advantage for the annual PRo Community Project, All Points Public Relations looks to provide one nonprofit organization with pro bono services for the remainder of 2021, October through December. Services may include: media relations (press release development, media outreach); graphic design (flyer/brochure creation); social media (content creation); and content marketing (email and blog creation).

“Nonprofit organizations are essential to representing and advocating for underserved communities’ needs, but those same nonprofits rely on outside help to amplify their mission,” said All Points Public Relations Director JoeyLauren Jiracek, who played an integral role in founding the agency’s PRo Community Project. “At All Points, social responsibility has been engrained in our culture since day one. We’re passionate about using our skills to do good for others, and that especially holds true now as nonprofits look to restore and strengthen their marketing efforts after a difficult year.”

For 2019’s PRo Community Project, All Points Public Relations assisted Culinary Care, an organization dedicated to delivering “one less worry” by providing free, nourishing meals from local restaurants to cancer patients and their families, in raising $250,000 during their annual Gourmand Gala, the largest fundraising effort in the organization’s history. Last year, the agency supported Kidz Express—an education, mentorship and youth employment organization in Chicago’s South Austin neighborhood. The team collectively secured notable press coverage, created an Activity Booklet for children, printed holiday cards and prepared evergreen marketing materials. It was the largest marketing effort ever for the organization.

Nonprofit organizations interested in the 2021 All Points PRo Community Project can submit an application at https://bit.ly/procommunityproject21. Submissions will be accepted until Tuesday, August 31, and the winner will be announced through All Points’ social media channels, as well as contacted directly via email by Monday, September 13.

For rules, terms and conditions, please visit https://bit.ly/procommunityproject21.

About All Points Public Relations

All Points Public Relations is a Chicagoland-based franchise PR firm that offers clients one agency to cover all the points — publicity, social media, content marketing and lead generation strategy. From seasoned serial entrepreneurs and startups to big name franchise brands, All Points PR digs in deep with its clients to tell the stories that generate top quality publicity and drive awareness with a targeted audience. For 10 years the company has served the most reputable franchise brands in North America, serving clients across a wide array of industries including Food & Beverage, Technology, Health & Wellness, Automotive, Managed Services, Technology and Beauty. For more information about All Points Public Relations and its services, please visit www.AllPointsPR.com or call (847) 897-7470.

July Seminar Recap: To-Do Lists are Key for Efficiency

How effective is your to-do list? Does it help you prioritize your day, or is it a never-ending list of tasks that always roll over into the next day? In this month’s agency seminar, Senior Director Bailey Hewitt, PR Account Leads Nicole Odziewa and Rachel Nehring and PR Associate Emily Cashen discussed how we can organize ourselves for a more productive work week.

Organization is a key part of our agency systems and processes. We set ourselves up with strong to-do lists in order to maximize communication efforts and work smarter—not harder. The team shared several organizational methods to help set our team up for success.

Personalize Your Method

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to organization. What works for one may not translate for an entire team. Whether your method is making a checklist or blocking out tasks hour by hour, creating a clear system to manage your various tasks for the given week is essential.

Stay on Top of Your Day/Week

It’s important to set time at the beginning of the week to get organized for the days ahead. Create a weekly plan with tasks slotted for each day. While we can sometimes plan for items several days or weeks in advance, others will pop up as the day goes on.

As an agency, we use the phrase “plan for the plop,” which means leaving flexible time in your schedule to handle anything that “plops” onto your plate unexpectedly. Daily and weekly lists are not static, and you’ll probably have to add and change things throughout the week.

Schedule Everything

Rather than collecting a large bank of tasks to get done throughout a full work day, some people benefit from scheduling everything into a dedicated time slot. Our agency recently made the switch to Google Calendar, which provides unique abilities to create personal calendars to outline your meetings, deadlines and to-dos.

No matter the method, keeping a prioritized list of the tasks helps manage time effectively and beats the work overload. If used successfully, you’ll be much better organized, ahead on deadlines and a more valuable asset to your team.

Be sure to check out All Points PR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the office.

All Points PR Secures Press Coverage for Car Repair Franchise

All Points PR secured press coverage with Denton Record Chronicle for client Christian Brothers Automotive. The article shared commitment to the Celina & Prosper communities and the “nice difference” that sets Christian Brothers Automotive apart from other car care companies. Coverage ran online.

Download the PDF file .

All Points PR volunteers at Lambs Farm.

Lambs Farm: All Points PR Gets Their Hands Dirty for Positive Impact Program

For our agency’s first in-person Positive Impact of the year, we got our hands dirty, beautifying the grounds of Lambs Farm. Our lead Office Manager Katie Lenninger spearheaded the project, connecting us with an organization that makes a positive impact in the lives of those with developmental disabilities.

In this labor of love, the APPR team broke out into two groups to plant flowers, mulch many areas of the farm, and revitalize outdoor furniture with a fresh coat of paint. Our agency donated our time and funds to purchase supplies for each of the projects, leaving behind a beautiful space for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Lambs Farm is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people with developmental disabilities lead productive, happy lives. We are thrilled to get back to volunteering in person and make a direct impact on such a meaningful community organization.

Our quarterly Positive Impact program strives to positively impact the communities through philanthropic and volunteer efforts. We are passionate about our commitment to corporate social responsibility and making a meaningful impact on social, community and environmental organizations.

Check out All Points PR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the office, and click here to learn more about the Positive Impact program.

NIFA Q2 Recap: Creating Your Peloton

We welcomed back in-person events with the Northern Illinois Franchise Association (NIFA) Q2 June luncheon, “Creating Your Peloton.” It was an informative discussion detailing Peloton’s position as an iconic American brand that disrupted the fitness industry to create a rabid, life-changing community of members spanning digital and physical worlds.

Before David J. Miller was a Peloton fanatic, he, like many others, was a skeptic. How was this $2,000 exercise bike any different from the various bikes and treadmills crowing his garage? With his wife’s persistence, his stubbornness soon faded, and today, David has completed thousands of thousands of workouts, met fans all over the nation before eventually writing a book, Sweating Together, about the brand’s success.

As the wellness industry tops $4.5 trillion, Peloton is unlike any other fitness brand on the market. According to David, “there is no better company for understanding the future of the economy and society.”

How did they do it?

Peloton seamlessly integrated into pop culture with celebrity partnerships and live workout classes, with instructors themselves becoming influencers in the space. They’ve mastered the essence of building a digital community by encouraging people to form groups, challenge one another and interact with the brand and instructors via social. While the bike is physically in your basement, you have the ability to connect digitally and socially with everyone else who has a Peloton.

According to David, all brands have the opportunity to create a customer-driven focus. Known as the Lean Startup method, brands are letting customer learnings drive innovation with customer data. Many QSR concepts are taking this approach, basing their operations on customer purchase decisions.

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to our presenter, David J. Miller, for making this event possible. Your inspiring insight on building a brand community reignited our entrepreneurial spark as we push to build our own digital audiences.

If you didn’t get a chance to attend, or would like to view the discussion, click here to download the video recording.

To further foster these connections and share best practices, we encourage anyone who would like to stay connected to check out our NIFA LinkedIn group.

Looking ahead, we are planning wonderful 2021 events for Q3 and Q4 and look forward to reconnecting with everyone in person. We encourage anyone with topic ideas and sponsorship questions for future events to reach out to Lauren Izaks directly by clicking here.

Visit www.northernilfranchise.org for more information about the organization.

APPR Seminar: What You Didn’t Know About Organic Social Media

Our creative and digital team leverages digital communication strategies across multiple paid and organic channels by creating interactive experiences for a targeted audience, whether that be consumer or franchise development related. For this month’s agency seminar, five members of the APPR Creative and Digital team shared the importance of organic social media and broke down how each platform can be effectively integrated into our client’s social strategy.

Creative and Digital Account Lead Marin McCall kicked off with Facebook, where users spend an average of 34 minutes per day on the platform and nearly 80% access on a mobile device. Video consistently outperforms images and text, with engagement nearly doubling that of text posts. As our clients look to grow their audience on Facebook, it’s important to consider how content appears on mobile and other content mediums to generate greater success.

Next, we heard from Creative and Digital Associate Dylan Pashke about the impact Instagram has on business accounts. With one-third of the most viewed Instagram stories coming from businesses, there is a strong opportunity for growth for our clients. In a recent update, influencers can now tag up to two brands in a sponsored post, a game-changing tactic for our influencer marketing tactics.

With much of our clients’ organic and paid social work focused on LinkedIn, Senior Creative and Digital Account Lead Spencer Abbott shared that people-centric content outperforms the rest. Content posted from personal profiles see 1.5 to 2 times the reach of the same posts from company pages. The greatest takeaway: posting more often from personal profiles and encouraging franchisees to share company blogs, photos and their experiences.

As the latest and continuously evolving social platform, TikTok is a break-out star, with 689 million active users worldwide. Creative and Digital Account Lead Jonathan Bazar shared how TikTok is shaking up social media with its worldwide presence and ability to connect with its audience on a more personal, relatable level.

Katie Lynn Rada, Digital Marketing Lead, jumped in with Google, which generates 93% of all web traffic. On the first page alone, the first five organic results account for 67% of all the clicks, proving that SEO and applicable website content are key to get stronger rankings and traffic.

As an agency, we take a proactive role in promoting social media engagement. Throughout the week, each employee engages with a client’s social account outside of their organic social media calendar, with links to secured press, content marketing pieces or national holiday spotlights.

Be sure to check out All Points PR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the office.

COO’s Corner: Hiring & Retaining Gen Z

Move over, Millennials. On the cusp of their professional careers, Generation Z (born between 1996 and 2012) is joining the workforce at an opportune time. As businesses continue to rebound following the pandemic, this presents a large array of opportunities for the next generation of employees.

Who exactly is Gen Z?

Don’t get confused; while Gen Z shares a number of characteristics with Millennials, their formative years have shaped different attitudes and outlooks on the world today.

Here’s a rundown of Gen Z characteristics:

  • Digital Natives
  • Visually Oriented
  • Financially-Minded
  • Shrewd Consumers
  • Increase in Mental Health Awareness
  • Politically Progressive
  • Diverse

Gen Z has the unique experience as the first generation to grow up with technology at their fingertips. They don’t recall a world without the internet, smartphones or social media. But tapping into this new generation of digital natives has become more strategic than ever before, even platforms like TikTok are piloting their own job site.

As our agency continues to grow, we’re thrilled to open our recruiting efforts to persistent, creative individuals with strong critical thinking abilities. We’re currently growing across all departments with opportunities in PR, content marketing, social media and digital marketing.

So, as businesses push to hire Gen Z, how can we attract them? To draw and retain this new generation, employers need to be more strategically personal, get social and promote opportunities for advancement.

1. Double-Down on Campus Recruitment

Gen Z is on track to be the best-educated generation yet, according to the Pew Research Center. Among 18 to 21-year-olds no longer in high school, 57% enrolled in a two-year or four-year college compared to 52% of Millennials in 2003 and 43% of Gen X in 1987.

For companies looking to recruit this demographic, establishing strong relationships with colleges and universities is a great pathway for referrals and connecting with up-and-coming talent.

At All Points, we’re committed to building connections with nearby universities through our AP University Initiative. This program is designed to strengthen partnerships with on-sight visits, speaking engagements and agency tours. Despite COVID, we’ve upheld our mission and hosted virtual tours and Q&As with our staff to educate the next generation of the public relations industry.

2. Use social media to enhance corporate culture

Considering their connection to the digital world, social media is the most ideal way to attract and engage Gen Z. Use this opportunity to your advantage by promoting your company across social channels, raising your awareness and showing off your company’s unique culture.

According to a survey by Tallo, 87% of Gen Z respondents feel it’s important to build a professional brand online. Take a page from their book and make sure that your culture is accurately reflected across all channels.

If you look at our social platforms, you’ll get a glimpse into the life at APPR. From employee Instagram takeovers to agency seminars, and appearances from our office dogs, Cubby and Ivy, we give a well-rounded perception of what our agency life is like. I always encourage all applicants throughout the interview process to take a look at our blogs, social media and website to fully understand the ins and outs of the agency and our clients.

3. Promote Learning and Development

Gen Z is highly motivated to grow their careers, with 76% seeing learning as the key to their advancement, according to a LinkedIn workplace study. As newcomers to the professional world, emphasizing growth opportunities is key to Gen Z retention.

We offer several programs across the agency for development, including our mentorship program and employee development courses. We see education as an opportunity to invest in our employees’ careers while adding value to our clients.

In reality, there’s no secret to success when it comes to hiring Gen Z professionals. This a dynamic and highly skilled generation of workers, and the best thing businesses can do is understand their needs and be ready to adapt to meet them.

Check out our current job openings here!

Lauren Izaks is the COO and executive vice president of All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.