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COO’s Corner: Be Present in 2022

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 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.

What the All Points PR Team is Thankful for This Year

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

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.

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Directors Digest: How Not to Scare Away Reporters

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

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

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

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.

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Director’s Digest: Writing a Winning Award Submission

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.

NIFA Q3 Recap: IFA Strategy Update

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.

COO’s Corner: Fostering a Culture of Leadership

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.

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

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.

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

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

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.

APPR Seminar: Idea Generators Are on the Way to Clients

APPR Seminar: Idea Generators Are on the Way to Clients

This month’s seminar, hosted by Senior Director Bailey Hewitt, set the tone for an exciting next few weeks to come. Our idea generators have been shipped to clients and will arrive shortly, and our team couldn’t be more excited to share what we’ve brainstormed together for our clients for the latter half of 2021.

As discussed in our most recent seminar, idea generators are part of our biannual planning process in a proactive approach for building integrated strategies for our clients. We brainstorm, design and present our ideas in a collaborative presentation as we lay the groundwork for the coming months.

With these presentations comes dedicated practice. Bailey led the team in discussing the wins and learnings from last year’s presentations. She offered tips and tricks for leading an informative, interactive and engaging client call that accurately reflects the time, thought and creativity that we infused into our Blueprints.

On a similar note, Bailey also refreshed the team on best practices for structuring our monthly update reports to better communicate the valuable results of our integrated public relations, content marketing and digital and social media initiatives from the idea generators from first half of this year.

We always strive to go above and beyond for our clients, and update reports are an excellent visual tool representing all aspects of our work and indicating the immense value our team provides.

Both update reports and idea generators present opportunities to showcase our hard work and creativity.

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

COO’s Corner: Stress Awareness Month

COO’s Corner: Stress Awareness Month

April is stress awareness month, and I’m challenging you all to take a moment and reflect on your overall mental wellbeing. Stress is a natural part of life and can be motivating in the short term. However, it’s important to find healthy ways to cope with long-term stress to remain positive, and productive.

Feeling burnt out or stressed can happen at any point in one’s career, and shouldn’t carry any feeling of shame or failure with it. In fact, you should feel the opposite—acknowledging that something isn’t quite right in your headspace is a first step towards making a mindful change.

Here are a few ways to help cope with stress related to your career:

Plan for the Plop

Planning ahead to stay organized can greatly decrease your stress at work. In our office, I use the phrase “plan for the plop,” which means scheduling time in your day to handle any unexpected demands that require immediate attention. That way, as things come up, you aren’t overwhelmed with working that into your list of priorities.

My biggest piece of advice for my senior staff and account leads is to write out a list of tasks for each client. You’d be surprised how much better you feel just writing a list and getting it out of your mind.

Radical Self-Care

It’s crucial to take time to rest and recharge. You have the responsibility to take care of yourself first before attempting to work on other tasks. Take this scenario for instance: if a road needs repair, the city will close it and repair it. If one aspect of your life is causing stress, you need to close out other things and repair it.

Take a radical approach to manage stress, whether it’s binging a few episodes of your favorite show while eating pizza or opening up a good book, pause and allocate time to fix yourself first. Remember, you’re doing your best. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, and we all deserve a little compassion.

Working Out to Manage Stress

Stress doesn’t always begin in your head. Your body can have its own physical reactions that manifest in mental fogginess or unrest. To help cope, exercise your body to help your mind. Countless scientific studies have shown regular exercise can provide significant changes to your body, your metabolism, your heart and your spirits. Exercise has a unique ability to exhilarate and relax, to counter depression and stress.

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.

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COO’s Corner: Refresh Your Workspace with Spring Cleaning

COO’s Corner: Refresh Your Workspace with Spring Cleaning

After a year of pandemic living under our belts, we’re probably all pros at scrubbing, disinfecting and using a little elbow grease. As our office transitions towards a hybrid model, a quick office spring cleaning is a fresh jump into sunnier days. It’s time to clean and organize your desk space, both at the office and at home. Check out our staff as they tidy up their workspaces and get more organized for the year ahead.

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.

APPR Seminar: Virtual Conferences and Webinars

APPR Seminar: Virtual Conferences and Webinars

The All Points PR team held our monthly seminar, hosted by Senior Director Bailey Hewitt with presentations from six other team members, on attending conferences and webinars. Typically this time of year, our team is just getting back from the IFA Convention after a week of learning and networking opportunities. This year looked a bit different, but five APPR team members virtually attended the IFA and shared their biggest takeaways from the sessions.

Bailey kicked off the seminar by discussing her experience with keynote speaker Seth Godin, who advised his audience to make a change by telling stories. So many of our favorite brands found success in telling stories. For example, Starbucks turned a traditionally to-go product into a destination with its push to meet a friend for coffee. As storytellers, it’s our job to create “a tribe of others” and tell people what’s out there.

Senior Account Lead Katie Gibbons sat in on Jimmy John Liautaud’s seminar. Founder of widely popular sandwich concept Jimmy Johns, the chain halted its franchising initiatives in 2003 due to failing stores. Jimmy John shared that of the 70 failing stores, most were not following the systems and processes set forth by the brand. As a franchisor, it’s important to look for franchisees who have a passion for the industry and want to get started for the right reasons.

Next, we heard from Senior Account Lead Mackenzie Coopman about the importance of creating a defined franchisee profile. Narrowing down the ideal candidate allows you to better target prospects—not just by who they are, but where they are. This includes looking at their soft-skill sets, values and backgrounds.

With so much of the franchise discovery process happening virtually, Director JoeyLauren Jiracek says that some virtual events are here to stay, even after the pandemic. Virtual Discovery Days allow potential franchisees to meet more team members. Video is becoming a necessary tool with virtual tours, follow-up messages and connecting with franchisees.

Additionally, team members Alana Guggenheim, Rachel Nehring, Cole Koretos and Jonathan Bazar shared insights from webinars hosted by Cision and Hootsuite on public relations and social media lead generation respectively.

As an agency, we’re always looking for learning opportunities for our staff. Many of our associates and account leads have taken virtual courses to apply their knowledge to our agency. By offering employees additional training opportunities, we’re investing in the advancement of their careers while adding value to our clients.

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

Director’s Digest: Spreading the Word on Signed Agreements

Director’s Digest: Spreading the Word on Signed Agreements

At All Points, we recognize signed agreements as milestone moments in our clients’ growth journey. A signed agreement is when a new or existing franchisee signs a development deal for a specific territory, and this is the first step towards ownership and the final step in a long line of work for the franchisor’s development team.

We work with brands to leverage these announcements and in turn attract more prospective buyers to the franchise opportunity.  So, how do we strategically spread the message far and wide?

Our integrated approach includes public relations, social media and content marketing working collaboratively to generate owned, earned and paid media. The goal is to leverage signed agreements and use them to showcase our client’s continuous growth and momentum.

Owned media tactics—including lead nurturing emails, blog posts and organic social media—are all created and controlled in-house. The more owned media channels a brand has, the larger their digital footprint, or the power to reach customers and followers. To increase organic impressions, we encourage our clients to share the announcement within their internal communications and encourage franchisees to share the news. Growth announcements benefit the entire franchise, as the brand continues to expand, so does their brand awareness and customer reach.

Drafting and distributing a press release to secure positive media coverage is how we leverage earned media. It’s important when pitching a signed agreement announcement to consider your audience. Is it to the franchise trades or a local business reporter? As always, tailor your approach towards a reporter’s beat to increase your chance for growth coverage.

Email blasts, banner ads, boosted social posts and other forms of paid media, help reach a larger audience beyond organic (non-paid) efforts. A small investment can have a large return, as it drives users to your franchise website to seek out more information on ownership opportunities for themselves.

No matter the tactic, make sure your messaging is consistent across the board. Highlight the caliber of people investing in your concept, and allude to the opportunity for others to develop with your brand. A signed agreement indicates a success story, so incite others to celebrate with you with each development deal that comes.

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

NIFA Q1 Recap: Franchise Growth Reimagined

NIFA Q1 Recap: Franchise Growth Reimagined

On Thursday, March 4, the Northern Illinois Franchise Association (NIFA) hosted its Q1 virtual event, “Franchise Growth Reimagined.” It was an informative event, centered on a variety of topics including refranchising, finding capital, reimaging and real estate opportunities. We’d like to thank all those who could attend for their thoughtful participation.

The event kicked off with insight from Danielle Scott, a partner at ZGrowth, on reimaging initiatives for Jabz as they refreshed their branding to appeal to a wider audience. The refresh realigned Jabz with current trends to compete with increasing competition. Finding financing for such reimaging opportunities is something that Ryan Linsky of Linsky Capital has seen, as franchisees look to fund these capital investments. Given the state of the economy, Linsky says lenders might not be as eager, but low interest rates make it a great time to refinance current loans.

Brian Kelley of Phenix Salon Suites discussed increased real estate opportunities with landlords eager to fill excess capacity. In some cases, landlords are reducing rent prices which makes it an opportune time to enter key markets. Jon Fischer of Wetzel’s Pretzels says landlords have been accommodating while high traffic areas like shopping malls were closed, but if you’re locked into a long-term lease, expect to only see a rent break for the short-term.

If you would like to view the discussion from the NIFA Q1 event, click here to download the video recording.

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to our panelists, Danielle Scott, Jon Fisher, Brian Kelley and Ryan Linsky for making this event possible. Your insights, strong connections and extensive knowledge of franchise growth, today and tomorrow, fueled a valuable discussion.

In honor of this event, the NIFA donated to the IRAEF Restaurant Employee Relief Fund. This fund provides financial support to restaurant workers in need as the restaurant industry continues to be impacted by the effects of the pandemic. We appreciate those who donated with us.

It’s important that we continue to foster these connections and share best practices in the new year. We encourage anyone who would like to stay connected to check out our NIFA LinkedIn group.

Looking ahead, we are planning several wonderful 2021 events and hope to see everyone in person in the near future. 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.

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The All Points PR Team Writes Letters to Healthcare Workers and COVID-19 Patients

The All Points PR Team Writes Letters to Healthcare Workers and COVID-19 Patients

While we remain socially distant in the All Points office, we stand together in our mission to support our community through our quarterly Positive Impact program. Our Lead Office Manager Kate Leve spearheaded the project, connecting us with an organization that allowed us to make a positive impact on healthcare heroes and COVID-19 patients.

Due to social distancing restrictions, our team explored digital opportunities to extend our philanthropic efforts. In Q1, we wrote letters to healthcare workers and COVID patients through Notes for Support to send thoughtful and encouraging messages to those most deeply affected by COVID-19.

Notes for Support, a student-run non-profit, helps encourage personal connections through the power of words, sent the old-fashioned way—and yes, that means snail mail. On Friday, January 19, we took some time to write heartfelt letters to be distributed to hospitals across the country. The APPR team wrote 98 letters in total.

Through this quarter’s Positive Impact program, we aim to thank those who have been tirelessly working on the frontlines and send words of encouragement to patients fighting the virus. Your organization can join us in our mission and send a message here.

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.

APPR Seminar: The Guide to UTM Codes

APPR Seminar: The Guide to UTM Codes

The All Points PR team held our monthly seminar, hosted by digital marketing lead Katie Rada, on integrating UTM codes into our social and content tactics. Katie is one of our expert sources of all things analytics and will be leading the charge with transitioning clients over to this tactic.

Hear more from Katie about why we are integrating UTM links with our clients:

As an integrated agency, there’s a lot of moving parts that come together to produce positive results for our clients. Marketing analytics help us to maximize our strategy’s effectiveness and optimize content and paid social efficiency.

A UTM code is a simple string of values that you can attach to the end of a custom URL to track a source, medium or campaign name. As a visitor clicks a link, data is captured, providing details on how a person landed on the webpage.

The most popular UTM builder is Google Analytics. To build a tag, simply fill in your values to generate the link to include in your campaign. Once created, it’s helpful to convert to a short link such as bit.ly for ease of use and sharing.

UTM Best Practices:

  • Use consistent naming conventions. From capital letters to spacing, consistency is critical.
  • Keep a list of all UTM values used to share internally or with the client.
  • Use Google Analytics to see where your traffic is coming from, how your channels and campaigns are performing, and even which links your visitors are clicking to land on your site.

Implementing UTM codes ensures we can properly attribute strong points of each campaign or initiative to their source. This practice will only create more value for our clients as we plan to utilize UTM links across social and content tactics.

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

President’s Point: How to Get the Most Out of Virtual Conferences

President’s Point: How to Get the Most Out of Virtual Conferences

With conferences shifting to a virtual format, there are new ways to branch out and connect with industry leaders from across the country.

Of course, attending a conference from your couch is much different than a large conference hall surrounded by your peers. But that doesn’t mean they’re any less valuable. Here are 5 ways to get the most out of virtual conferences.

1. Turn Off All Distractions

While you may think you’re an expert multitasker, try to limit disruptions. In order to get the most out of a virtual event, you have to give your undivided attention. Set your phone on silent, move to a quiet space and consider taking notes by hand.

2. Make a Game Plan

Just as you would before a big game, go in with a solid strategy to accomplish your goal of attending. Maximize your time and learning by selecting topics and sessions in advance. The point being: do your homework.

One advantage of a virtual conference is sessions are typically recorded and available for later viewing. You no longer have to decide between two sessions scheduled for the same time, and instead attend both at your own convenience.

3. Network Virtually

A large part of attending conferences are the networking opportunities. While we aren’t physically together, virtual conferences still offer opportunities to network.

If you attend a seminar where a speaker captures your attention, follow up with a message on LinkedIn. Utilize the Zoom or Google Meet chat functions to ask questions and connect with other attendees during the presentation. Post about your attendance on social media and engage with others using the conference hashtag. Since you aren’t physically seen, you have to be proactive to be heard.

4. Participate in Roundtables

Virtual roundtables are a great way to learn, share and network within the industry. When opportunities arise to voice your thoughts, make sure you’re not muted and are ready to share something educational, but not promotional. This isn’t time to be a company salesperson but a time to act as an industry leader.

5. Recharge In-between Sessions

Let’s face it—staring at a screen for extended periods of time is tough. Make time in between sessions to recharge by going for a walk, grab a snack or follow up with someone you just met. Taking 5 minutes to refuel can set the rest of the day up for success.

We’ll be physically back at conferences soon enough, but for now, we can appreciate the convenience of a lower cost and time spent traveling.

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

APPR Seminar: New Organizational Practices to Set Your Team Up for Success

APPR Seminar: New Organizational Practices to Set Your Team Up for Success

The All Points PR team kicked off the new year with our January seminar discussing clear processes and systems to set us up for success. This topic truly excites Senior Director Bailey Hewitt and COO & Executive Vice President Lauren Izaks, who led the charge.

Both Lauren and Bailey highlighted how these organizational changes allow for more transparency across the agency. Collectively, there are many moving parts, and having easy access to information boosts our productivity and benefits our clients.

Here are the ways our agency freshened up organizational methods for the new year:

  • Continuing monthly computer checks as a proactive approach to avoid major computer malfunctions
  • Transitioning file storage to Dropbox Smart Sync, so the entire agency has access to files without taking up too much hard drive space
  • Reviewing Monday.com dashboards for an all-encompassing view of daily tasks, deadlines and upcoming priorities
  • Reporting improvements for lead ad tracking and email performance
  • Maintaining “Inbox 0,” a reminder to immediately file emails away rather than storing them in your inbox

Now more than ever, technology is how we are interconnected. It’s important to take the time to familiarize your staff with both new and old procedures to ease the transition and avoid confusion. This seminar was crucial to starting the new year off on the right foot.

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