Written by Smoak PR

The Importance of Media Relations When Building a Brand

Media Relations gives your brand depth and personality whether you are building your personal brand or one for business. Establishing and developing lasting relationships with those in the media landscape is critical to your brand’s success. These relationships will be helpful as you look to tell your story and ultimately increase your overall brand awareness throughout your community.

Below are a few tips on why building relationships with the media is critically important.

Happy storytelling!

1.       Work smarter, not harder – Utilizing the platforms that media outlets have access to like their social media pages, print publications, comprehensive email databases and more, allow you to share your message to a larger audience with great efficiency. By introducing yourself and your brand to local writers, reporters and influencers you are able to build relationships with those in the market who have the loudest voices, and therefore, the greatest impact.

2.       Establish yourself as a thought leader – After introducing yourself to local media outlets, as well as sharing your story, you will hopefully gain the opportunity to have your story published. Coverage in a local business magazine, or highlighting your expertise in the local major daily newspaper, establishes you as a thought leader among your peers, and within your industry. This is great for building a solid reputation and continuing to enhance your own brand moving forward.

3.       Challenge yourself – As PR professionals, it is our job to build relationships with local media in order to effectively tell the stories of our clients. We realize that you may not have the expertise to simply shoot an email to a reporter and ask for coverage. What you can do is pick up the publication that you wish to be featured in and read it! Look for who is writing the articles that most closely resonate to you and your brand and then do a bit of research for contact information. Once you find their email address, a simple email introduction and “pitch” can go a long way! Getting out of your comfort zone to build your brand is important, and challenging yourself to do research and ultimately start to build relationships with those who can tell your story, will be very helpful as you continue to grow.

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Written by Smoak PR

Intern Blog: What We Look Forward to Most During Our Time at Smoak PR

As rising juniors and seniors in college, we are ecstatic to intern with Smoak PR this summer.  Each of us have a strong interest in the communications sector, and we are eager to put all that we have learned in the classroom into practice, as well as gain invaluable knowledge that we will carry forever. The current set of circumstances under which we are living have proven to be unique and challenging. Conversely, it has provided us with a rare opportunity to generate new ideas and gain real-world experience, navigating working in an industry that thrives off of in-person communication and events. Looking ahead to this summer, here are a few things that each of us are looking forward to about interning at Smoak:

My name is Emily Gallman and I am a Winston-Salem, NC native. I am looking forward to getting true hands-on experience in the workforce. As a rising senior at Clemson University, my studies focus on Marketing and Brand Communications. While brand communications has given me a small glimpse into the advertising and public relations world, I truly believe that my experience this summer will far surpass the knowledge I can gain within the four walls of a classroom. Throughout the summer, my hopes are to develop and strengthen tools like writing, strategizing while deepening my creativity. I also want to explore career paths that incorporate event planning and social media management, so I am at the perfect place.  I am so excited to spend the next few months at Smoak PR and cannot wait to reflect on the skills I gain throughout the summer!

My name is Meg Einstein and I am studying Communication Studies and Advertising at the University of Alabama. I was born and raised in Greenville and plan on moving back after I graduate. During my time at Smoak PR, I am really looking forward to developing and sharpening skills such as writing, creative thinking, and developing relationships with people in and out of the office. There is only so much about PR that you can learn in a classroom, and I am excited to get some hands-on, real world experience in a field that is constantly evolving.

My name is Kate Childs and as a rising senior and Communications major, I am thrilled to spend my summer interning with Smoak PR. Greenville has become one of my favorite cities over the past three years during my time at Furman University. As a place that is rapidly expanding and growing, it serves as an ideal location for gaining hands-on experience in public relations. I am also a politics and international affairs major, therefore much of my passion lies in the overlap between public relations and politics. As such, I am looking forward to gaining experience working on political campaigns, and as a result refining my writing, branding, and rhetorical skills. Additionally, I am excited to gain experience working at a PR firm, learning about what a job in public relations entails on a daily basis, as well as getting to know everyone in the office. Finally, interpersonal relationships are deeply important to me, and an integral part of a career in public relations. I am so excited to form new relationships with co-workers, clients, and others and build on those relationships in years to come.

My name is Breya Moss and I am a Greenwood, SC native. I am currently studying Communications with a focus in Public Relations and a minor in Marketing at Coastal Carolina University. As a rising junior, I am looking forward to gaining real world experience in the PR field. I look forward to developing professional relationships and gaining hands-on experience during my time at Smoak PR. I am interested in pursuing career paths in social media management and community relations, so I am excited to dig deeper and learn more about how these sectors work together. During my time at Smoak PR, I hope to find my passion in the PR field and am excited to grow and learn more about all that comes with PR.\

This summer carries the potential for endless opportunities for growth and creativity. We are going to put all of our efforts into this internship and cannot wait to experience interning at Smoak PR!

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Written by Smoak PR

Caldwell Constructors Hires Three New Team Members

GREENVILLE, SC – June 2, 2020 – Caldwell Constructors is proud to announce the addition of Paul Avery, Richard Heath, and Zach Miles to their team. With over 50 years of combined experience, all three new employees will bring their knowledge and skillset to Caldwell Constructors while upholding the company’s core values of integrity, honesty, respect, service, and communication.

Paul previously worked in and around the construction industry for 18 years, most recently serving as the field manager for a local framing contractor. Paul joins Caldwell Constructors as a Foreman. Richard is serving as a Senior Estimator and joins Caldwell Constructors with over 35 years of construction experience as a carpenter, superintendent, project manager, business owner, and estimator. Richard currently serves as the National Director of the Professional Construction Estimators Association Upstate Chapter. Zach is serving as an Assistant Project Manager helping manage multiple projects. As a recent graduate from the Construction Science and Management department at Clemson University, he served as President of the National Association of Home Builders student chapter and earned his LEED GA certification.

“We are excited to welcome three very talented and experienced new members to the Caldwell Constructors family,” says President of Caldwell Constructors, Gary Caldwell. “They each provide a valuable set of skills and will be an exceptional addition to our team.”

About Caldwell Constructors

Caldwell Constructors is a full-service construction company that focuses on building relationships and providing exceptional service to clients across the Upstate of South Carolina. Caldwell Constructors has extensive experience in commercial, industrial, institutional and medical market segments. Their approach to delivering projects with unwavering integrity, creative problem solving, and tireless work ethic has earned Caldwell Constructors an excellent reputation in the Upstate. For more information, please visit the Caldwell Constructors website at www.caldwellconstructors.com/.

Written by Smoak PR

Equip Fulfillment Provides Solution to Shortage Crisis Surrounding Need for Personal Protective Equipment

Greenville, S.C. – May 19, 2020  – Equip Fulfillment, Greenville S.C.-based uniform and supply company, is proud to offer pre-packaged personal protection equipment at bulk pricing, primarily focused on those serving within the transportation industry with duties that places them on the front line during the global pandemic, COVID-19.

Prior to the pandemic, Equip filled orders for items such as branded apparel, hand trucks, and furniture pads. Today, the top priority is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Despite nation-wide shortages, Equip Fulfillment has worked diligently to provide access to hand sanitizer, disposable gloves, shoe coverings, as well as 2 million KN95 masks. During this unsettling time, it is critical to ensure that Equip could provide PPE for their team members and clients alike.

“It only made sense to acclimate our services given our company’s purpose,” says Brian Hoggard, Director of Business Development for Equip Fulfillment. “We provide our clients with easy access to supplies while eliminating the expense associated with managing local inventories.”

Equip began sourcing hand sanitizer and hard surface disinfectants in unprecedented quantities at the arrival of COVID-19. They are now able to ship single-gallon, 5-gallon buckets and even 55-gallon barrels of sanitizer to clients among a variety of other sanitation necessities surrounding required safety measures of today’s climate. Equip has already serviced 440 businesses in 110 locations across the nation.

“Providing PPE to the essential work force of various client companies quickly took precedence over all other supply needs. After all, what good is a shoulder-dolly if you cannot protect the people using them in the customer’s home?” stated Alex Baigis, Director of Operations for Equip.

During this time, Equip Fulfillment has also provided a long-term solution to the face mask shortage by partnering with a third-party manufacturer, to develop their own reusable masks with built-in filtration system as shown in the image provided. The masks are designed for optimal comfort and can also be customized with brand logo and colors.

For those in need of swift access to high quality PPE equipment including gloves, face masks, hand sanitizer, or disinfectants, please visit Equip Fulfillment online at equipfulfillment.com.

 

ABOUT EQUIP FULFILLMENT

Equip Fulfillment is designed to provide easy access to infinite types of materials and supplies for logistics companies ranging from office supplies and furniture to warehouse equipment and technology hardware. Equip also eliminates the need for local inventories because it provides locations with fast access to client supply needs as orders are shipped within 24-hours of being submitted. Equip Fulfillment’s technology allows them to ensure supplies remain consistent across all locations, captures every transaction for data purposes, and provides a reduced cost with an abbreviated fulfillment window. Equip is intentional to work alongside their clients to best meet and exceed their supply needs. For more information visit equipfulfillment.com.

Written by Smoak PR

How to Position Yourself as an Industry Expert

An industry expert is defined as the go-to company within a respective field or industry. It is as simple as being top of mind for people in various roles throughout your surrounding community. Whether it is a yard maintenance company or a bank, when someone needs expert advice or help with something that falls in your line of work, the first thing that comes to their mind should be YOU.

A common question companies find themselves asking is, “What sets us apart from our competitors?” When you cannot answer this question clearly, it may be time to sit down and analyze how your product or service offerings differentiate from others.  This is not an easy task, and often times companies feel more comfortable hiring a third-party public relations firm to help establish market authority and increase brand awareness. Below are a few tips on how to position yourself as the expert within your industry.

  1. Stay Current – With an overload of information and accessibility in the digital world, it is critical to stay one step ahead and position yourself as a thought leader. Blog writing is an easy way to stay in front of others and provide insight and expertise on what you do best. Another excellent way to maintain recognition is to leverage editorial opportunities within your local media outlets. Offer your expertise to reporters and introduce yourself so that if they need a go-to expert within your industry, they can easily contact you for coverage.
  2.  Differentiate Yourself from Others – It is important to know what makes your company unique and how you can continue to stand out in a crowded room. Make sure to have a brand positioning statement or tagline that you can pull out of your back pocket at all times. For example, “We believe that every business has a story to tell, but we do more than just tell it,” is going to impress others more than simply saying, “We are a local public relations firm that helps tell your story.” Shine light on your work and do not be ashamed to “toot your own horn.”
  3. Maintain a Consistent Brand – Identify your voice and speak it consistently through everything you do! Whether it is a blog post, Instagram story, or public speaking opportunity, always stay consistent with your established brand. Some companies are very casual while others are formal, whatever your style is, remain consistent through all outlets. Whether it is on social media pages or your website, transition your branding across all platforms to become more recognizable as a company.
  4. Showcase Your Experience – People are always eager to hear real life experiences and are more likely to trust you when hearing relatable stories. An expert is ultimately built through experiences, so young or old, always showcase your personal experiences when talking to your clients and others. Even if you have only been in the business for a few years, be sure to share relevant experiences when pitching your services to someone who is not familiar with you.
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Written by Smoak PR

State of Event Planning from Different Industry Experts

With the current circumstances surrounding COVID-19, we are without a doubt experiencing a different time and all businesses have had to pivot. The event world is no exception. COVID-19 has forced all events to come to a halt and determining the next steps has been a challenge.

We reached out to some of our friends in the event industry to gather different expert opinions on what they recommend to best help you move forward with your event. Please find the below pointers on how to navigate the event world during such a unique time.

  1. Perspective from the event planner (Smoak Public Relations): Eliza Hart, an event planner and Account Executive at Smoak PR, suggests, “use this time to get organized, work ahead and make your event even better! For starters, reach out to your venue and get several new event dates to place on hold – request first right of refusal. With the status of COVID – 19 everchanging, it is important to have more than one date option. Be sure to communicate these date options with all vendors. Once things are back up and running, confirming an event date and vendors will be even more challenging than before. If invitations had been sent, be sure to contact invited guests to let them know the event has been postponed and to be on the lookout for a new date. During this time, re-do your timeline and get as many items taken care of as possible. With times being so uncertain, it is important that you continue to stay on top of deadlines and your to-do list.”
  2. Perspective from the event rental company (Professional Party Rentals): Janice Mancuso at Professional Party rentals gave us some insight on what they are seeing from an event rentals standpoint. She shared, “with events coming to a stop it has resulted in most event rental companies temporarily shutting down. We are getting small orders here and there, but we are no longer running at full capacity. At PPR, sales representatives are only working one day a week, therefore, response time may be delayed. Be sure to stay organized and make a list of everything you need so you can limit the amount you are contacting vendors. It would also be helpful to visit our website, where you most likely will be able to find the answers to the majority of your questions. The website will give you a good idea of what items we have and hopefully provide some inspiration!”
  3. Perspective from the caterer (Southern Way Catering): The General Manager of Southern Way Catering, Mark McCalmont shared,with event dates being rescheduled, we will be busy when things are back up and running, however, in the meantime we are taking a hit. COVID-19 has affected scheduling, food orders and staffing, so share updates with your caterer as soon as you can. Most people who order food to-go are picking up from local restaurants rather than ordering meals through a caterer. Most caterers, Southern Way Catering included, have family meal options for any day of the week and especially options for holidays. Use this time to support your caterer and order food to-go so you can sample different menu offerings. This is also a great time to check things off your list and finalize your menu and bar package.”
  4. Perspective from the venue (Bon Secours Wellness Arena): According to Joe Dolan, Assistant General Manager at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena, “the live event, sports, and entertainment industry has been impacted significantly by COVID-19. Our industry was one of the first to cease operation after the spread of the virus, and will likely be one of the last to return as restrictions are lowered.  Customer safety and security is at the forefront of every decision we make, so new best practices will be instituted to ensure each guest is comfortable enjoying the unique experiences our events have always provided.  Our industry is familiar with adapting to protect our guests, and just as we did post 9/11 and in the age of violence against mass gatherings, we will overcome these new challenges to create a welcoming and safe atmosphere for fans of sports, events, and live music.”
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Written by Smoak PR

CommunityWorks Announces New Communications Manager

April 21, 2020 | Greenville, S.C. – CommunityWorks (CW) is pleased to welcome Virginia Wilson as the newest member of their team as Communications Manager. In this role, Virginia will lead the development of all branding, messaging and collateral. She will also focus on the planning and implementation of major events to advance CommunityWorks’ mission and position them as the community development finance expert and lender of choice.

“We are excited to have Virginia join our CommunityWorks family, she brings a high level of energy and valuable communications and public relations expertise to our organization,” says Tammie Hoy Hawkins, President and CEO of CommunityWorks. “She has been instrumental in leading us through our COVID-19 response efforts to help CommunityWorks be a lead educator and voice of resources for small businesses and nonprofits during this difficult time,” says Hoy Hawkins.

Upon graduating from Clemson University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications, she moved to Memphis, Tennessee, for a post-graduate fellows program and job in digital marketing. A couple of years later, she returned to the Upstate to pursue her marketing career. Now, with more than five years of professional marketing experience, she is passionate about brand storytelling and working toward the greater good. In her free time, she enjoys trying new recipes, navigating first-time home ownership, and traveling with friends.

 About CommunityWorks

CommunityWorks was established in 2008 as a local housing trust fund through a partnership between the City of Greenville, United Way of Greenville County and Greenville County Redevelopment Authority. CommunityWorks’ mission is to build a brighter future for under served families and communities through financial education, lending, and investing. In 2011 CommunityWorks was certified by U.S. Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) which operates a community loan fund that supports community economic development.

Since its inception, CW has generated over $232 million in local economic impact and has provided 40,000 hours of training and coaching, served 5,030 families, provided over $ 5 million loans to startups and existing small businesses, and deployed over $ 7 million in affordable housing and community loans that have created or preserved over 820 affordable housing units.

Written by Smoak PR

Ready Response Meals and Southern Way Catering to Deliver Meals to Essential Workers

Award-winning catering company responds to COVID-19 with plan to deliver high volume food-safe meals around South Carolina by partnering with Ready Response Meals

Greenville, S.C. | Tuesday, April 14, 2020 – Southern Way Catering, in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, has come together with their team and the Ready Response Meals platform to bring a new way of providing food to the essential workers that need to work to keep our communities safe and supplied with critical goods and services. Ready Response Meals is a delivery service that is focused on delivering high volume, food-safe meals to South Carolina essential workers where they work. The delivery service started on Monday, April 13, 2020 from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.

“Southern Way Catering and Ready Response Meals recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by the first line responders,” said Brittany Stuckey, Vice President of Operations of Southern Way Catering. “We are proud to have the ability to shift our business in order to serve those that are serving our community.”

The mission is to help provide tasty and timely meals to essential workers who remain on the job during this time of crisis. The goal is to reduce the risk of Coronavirus exposure by limiting the need for workers to pick up meals or bring in meals from many different sources. Through high volume meal preparation and delivery with care, Southern Way Catering and Ready Response Meals hope to bring sustenance, a moment of enjoyment, and a simpler way for essential workers and their employers to secure their daily food needs while at work.

“Because Southern Way Catering is accustomed to feeding large groups of people in an efficient and safe manner, we are uniquely qualified to be able to partner with Ready Response Meals in order to effectively feed the thousands of essential workers in our communities,” said Jesse Bullard, Vice President of Business Development of Southern Way Catering.

Ready Response Meals has the capability to deliver orders in quantities from 15 to 10,000 meals with 24—72 hours of notice, pending the size of the order, with a preference to have at least 48 hours of advanced notice. Each meal will be prepared and delivered with both caution and care. Southern Way Catering’s team of trained culinary professionals practice safe food handling as outlined by the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control and the FDA, and will be working with the CDC to enhance their best practices even more.

Lunch menu items can be delivered between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. while dinner menu items are delivered between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. each day, Monday through Friday. Each week will have a different preset menu of items to choose from.

Learn more about Ready Response Meals by visiting their website at readyresponsemeals.com or by calling 803-783-1061.

Learn more about Southern Way Catering by visiting their website at thesouthernway.com, by calling 864-509-1478, or by visiting their Facebook (@southernwaycateringupstate) and their Instagram (@southernwayupsate).

Founded in 1982 by Jimmy Stevenson, Southern Way Catering began as a small company with deep Southern Roots and a philosophy that demanded the best. Southern Way’s philosophy is to provide the client with the most delectable food, the most attentive service, the most memorable presentations, and the most pleasurable event experience. They specialize in off-site catering anywhere in the Southeast with a fully equipped mobile catering kitchen and have catered for as few as eight people to as many as 8,000 including Governors of South Carolina, Vice Presidents, and Presidents of the United States.

Written by Smoak PR

Caldwell Constructors Awarded Building Contracts for Significant Upstate Commercial Properties

GREENVILLE – April 6, 2020 – Caldwell Constructors is proud to announce they have been awarded contracts for three significant commercial properties across the upstate including Asbury Hills Camp and Retreat Center, Bannister Wyatt & Stalvey Law Firm and Burdette Central.

“We are thrilled to begin work on each of these exciting projects across the Upstate,” says Gary Caldwell, President of Caldwell Constructors. “Each project is identifiable within the community, as well as unique in its own way. We look forward to delivering a new space our clients can be proud of for many years to come.”

Asbury Hills Camp and Retreat Center located in Cleveland, SC, is the second project for Caldwell Constructors at the Camp. For this project specifically, Caldwell will execute extensive site work and building construction for a new pool, pool house and future athletic facilities. The future Bannister Wyatt & Stalvey Law Firm located at 24 Cleveland St. in downtown Greenville is the site of the old Chamber of Commerce Building. This project will feature a 13,700 square foot interior and exterior renovation. Lastly, Burdette Central, located in the heart of Simpsonville, will consist of a detailed renovation of a building listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as feature finished restaurant and retail space.

All projects are slated for completion by July 2020.

About Caldwell Constructors

Caldwell Constructors is a full-service construction company that focuses on building relationships and providing exceptional service to clients across the Upstate of South Carolina. Caldwell Constructors has extensive experience in commercial, industrial, institutional and medical market segments. Their approach to delivering projects with unwavering integrity, creative problem solving, and tireless work ethic has earned Caldwell Constructors an excellent reputation in the Upstate. For more information, please visit the Caldwell Constructors website at www.caldwellconstructors.com/.

Written by Smoak PR

Spinx To Host 20th Annual Charity Classic Golf Tournament

Spinx hosts annual golf tournament benefitting local charities

Greenville, S.C.Feb. 11th, 2020 – The Spinx Company, the Greenville-based fuel and convenience retail company with more than 80 locations and 50 car washes statewide will host its annual Charity Golf Classic Tournament on Tuesday, May 12th. Spinx has selected five charities that will benefit from the tournament this year including: the American Red Cross, Safe Harbor, Loaves and Fishes, Pendleton Place and the Children’s Museum of the Upstate.

The tournament will be held at both Greenville Country Club courses, as well as the Furman University Golf Club. To date, the Spinx golf tournament has raised over $1.3 million to help fund 25 charitable organizations.

“It is quite an accomplishment to have sustained such a successful charity golf tournament for all of these years,” stated Stewart Spinks. “I am absolutely thrilled at the amount of money we have raised for all of those in need within our communities, and I look forward to another successful event in May.”

Spinx chose beneficiaries that are aligned with its corporate charitable mission, “Spinx & Kids: Mind, Body, Spirit. Growing healthy kids where we live, work and play.” For more information on this year’s event please visit https://myspinx.golfreg.com/.

ABOUT SPINX – Founded in 1972 in Greenville, S.C., The Spinx Company operates 82 convenience retail stores throughout South Carolina, and with approximately 1,400 employees, it is the largest privately-held retailer headquartered in the state. Spinx is committed to making life easier by fulfilling people’s everyday needs with fresh, on-the-go food, beverages and other convenience products delivered in a safe, clean and friendly environment. Through the Spinx Xtras Loyalty program and the Spinx mobile app, the company offers its loyal customers savings on fuel and special promotions.

For more information about Spinx or the Spinx Xtras program, visit the company’s website at www.spinx.com.

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