Freelancing Buzz with Michelle Garrett [Podcast]

Freelancing Buzz with Michelle Garrett [Podcast]

On this week’s episode of the PR Talk Podcast, Amy is joined by Michelle Garrett, owner of Garrett Public Relations and host of two Twitter chats, #FreelanceChat and #PRLunchHour. Michelle’s 23 years of experience helps guide those just entering the freelance world as well as elevates the voices already there. During this episode, the two talk about freelance work and its trending direction.

Why Did You Start #FreelanceChat?

Michelle began the podcast by explaining how she started her freelance journey in Silicon Valley, where she worked in both corporate and nonprofit organizations, and also at a PR agency. However, she felt self-employment was in her blood, and through her experiences, she was eventually prepared to go on her own.

As they talked about how Michelle came to start her own business, Amy asked what her chat was like and how it helped freelancers. Michelle responded, “I created the chat to share and support other freelancers because it can sometimes get lonely.” Every Thursday at noon via #FreelanceChat, she offers guidance and support for a diverse network of professionals who have questions about freelancing.

Amy asked what profession is primarily represented during the chats and Michelle said the most popular category is freelance writers; however, there are a good number of marketers, graphic designers and PR pros, in addition to many others.


Switching to the Flexibility of Freelancing 

Many people have switched to freelancing during the Great Resignation because of its flexibility. With this in mind, Amy asked Michelle if she thinks there are too many freelancers? Michelle thinks that while many people are dabbling in freelance work, a lot of them won’t stick it out, since more work goes into freelancing than one might think. Still, she said, freelance work can accommodate a good volume of workers because it is usually not too competitive, if the freelancer goes to the right sources.

When working her nine-to-five desk job, Michelle would think about whether such a traditional work model was necessary for financial and personal stability.  As the uproar of the Great Resignation took hold, it truly validated her feelings that there were other viable options to make a living. Both Amy and Michelle agreed that staying at a traditional nine-to-five job may seem stable, but ultimately, it is no more a guarantee of steady income or long-term employment than if one is freelancing.

Michelle added that during the pandemic, agencies laid off a lot of their staff. However, once things started to open up again, they had to hire. While agencies searched for full-time employees, it was a prime opportunity to outsource work to freelancers, which not only offered flexibility, but allowed companies to continue to capitalize on the importance of digital marketing. 


Tips for the Novice Freelancer

Because beginning a journey into freelancing may seem scary, Amy asked Michelle for some tips, which she shared:

  • Tap into your network for referrals.
  • Get involved with groups to grow your network.
  • Constantly show up and be present in your work.
  • Create a blog or some other visible/accessible platform to get your name out there.

Michelle also said, “One of the most common mistakes people make when going into freelancing is not preparing for the ups and downs.” She reminded listeners that even when someone posts on socials about making six figures in a year, many factors can contribute to having such a good year, and circumstances can easily change. 

The most crucial tip Michelle gave – and Amy agreed – was to put yourself first in a freelance business and to make sure you get paid for your work upfront. Finding a community of fellow professionals who understand, will help navigate the moving pieces that are inherent in freelance work. Listen now to hear more about Michelle’s Twitter chats and other valuable advice.

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About the guest: Michelle Garrett

Michelle is a PR specialist with more than 20 years of experience crafting strategy, plans and programs for companies ranging from small start-ups to large corporations such as HP, Adobe, Arthrocare, SGI, Sun, Symantec and others. After spending seven years in Silicon Valley, she returned to her roots in Ohio, where she runs her own consulting practice, specializing in media outreach for companies who want to get noticed.

Connect and follow Michelle on social media:

Michelle Garrett on PR Talk

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This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

Why You Need to Create an Effective Content Marketing Strategy

Why You Need to Create an Effective Content Marketing Strategy

Way back in 1996, when the internet was still in its infancy, Bill Gates wrote what has now become a famous essay entitled, “Content is King.” In this essay, the Microsoft founder described the future of the internet as a place to distribute and monetize content. “.. [T]he broad opportunities for most companies involve supplying information or entertainment,” he wrote. “No company is too small to participate.”

Gates’ essay is so well known because his predictions proved to be remarkably accurate. Twenty-five years later, the internet is awash in podcasts, videos, blog posts, songs, photographs and anything else that can be digitized. Much of this content is free. However, many creators and corporations have figured out how to leverage their talent and available tools to sell content online. What’s more, internet users have shown a near-endless appetite for this material. From searching how-to videos on YouTube, streaming the latest release on Spotify, or reading someone’s take on the day’s political news, billions of hungry eyes are eager to consume relevant content.


What is Content Marketing?

It didn’t take long for digital marketers to use these online tools to produce content for their clients. Unlike digital marketing, which is a more overt attempt to sell products or services, content marketing distributes information using digital platforms to build community and brand affinity or help people make decisions. 

Let’s consider skis, for example. Where digital marketing uses tools like search engine marketing and social media advertising to sell someone a pair of skis, content marketing attempts to create an experience around skiing or mountain adventures, while still pursuing traditional marketing goals. This could be through explainer videos that teach consumers how to maintain tune their skis or an infographic that helps someone choose the type of skis that are right for them. Content marketing aims to create material users find valuable so they’ll associate those positive feelings with a particular brand when they eventually make a purchase decision.

Content marketing is a popular technique in business-to-business marketing campaigns, where traditional digital marketing tools are less useful. Companies can accelerate prospects through their sales funnel by creating content that explains crucial products or anticipates potential customer’s questions or objections. 


Examples of Content Marketing

This technique is as old as marketing itself. However, content marketing has become increasingly popular as more and more of our daily activities move online. Over the years, some companies have found very clever ways to send their brand messages using the approach. 

In 2015, the Unilever-owned brand Dollar Shave Club launched Mel, an online magazine that focuses on lifestyle and culture topics from a man’s perspective. While Mel targets the same audience as Dollar Shave Club, it doesn’t sell razors. Instead, it’s become a respected outlet for thoughtfully written content with a distinct voice. While Mel is now its own company with a dedicated website, some of its content is cross-published on the Dollar Shave Club site, which shows how versatile this kind of content can be. 

Content marketing isn’t only about writing. Search the free stock photo site Unsplash for home office images, and you’ll find a series of photographs provided by Dell’s XPS brand of laptops. These images feature sleek and modern workspaces that any home office warrior would covet, with the sleek and modern XPS laptops front-and-center. Every blogger or web developer understands the value of free stock photography. In this instance, XPS has found a way to harness that built-in demand and provide helpful solutions that also happen to send a strong brand message.

Photo by XPS on Unsplash

Photo by XPS on Unsplash

The goal of these two examples is not to make a conversion. Instead, they associate a brand with an attractive aesthetic, relatable point of view or aspirational identity. When a purchase decision comes further down the line, it will hopefully be informed, in part, by the content the buyer consumed up until that point.


How Can Content Marketing Drive Public Relations?

Public relations professionals can use content marketing techniques to drive public opinion or sentiment in the same way marketers use content to drive customer behavior. In early 2019, Slack, the popular workplace messaging app, revealed an extensive logo redesign that was met with… mixed reviews. As part of the launch, Slack published a piece of content on its website explaining the very practical reasons why the change was so necessary. Even though not everyone appreciated the new logo design, Slack’s rationale for the change was widely cited by the media. As a result, their content marketing had driven extensive media coverage (see Google News results) including links from 392 domains.

Media Coverage for Slack via Google News

Media Coverage for Slack via Google News


Fifty years ago, a leading business automation company likely would have issued a press release explaining a significant brand change. Today, companies can steer the conversation through carefully created talking points while achieving better results using tools like a company-owned blog and social media channels.

It doesn’t take controversy for content marketing to be a successful PR strategy. PR experts can take day-to-day content like blog posts, videos, white papers, podcasts and more, and break them into smaller, more digestible pieces they can use in many different ways. When done correctly, content marketing creates flexible assets that sales, marketing and PR professionals can use to bring more attention to your brand. It only requires an overarching strategy that guides those efforts


Utilizing Your Team to Create a Winning Content Marketing Strategy

Fortunately, you don’t have to be Unilever or Dell to develop an effective content marketing strategy. Instead, you need a focused approach that defines your audience, goals, and deliverables. Here are a few things to consider as you begin developing your own content strategy:

Define Who You’re Talking To:
Every piece of content you create should begin with its audience in mind. Start by defining your audience and the solutions you’re trying to provide.

Set Your Goals:
Next, define what you want to accomplish with your content. This step will inform how you distribute what you produce and the tools you’ll use to measure success.

Inventory the Deliverables:
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. If you don’t have the time or resources to produce videos, don’t try and force it. Instead, assess your company’s strengths and create content that aligns with what you’re best at.

Measure and Repeat:
Track your content marketing efforts and draw on those results to improve whenever possible.

Content Strategy Checklist

Of course, not every company has the in-house resources necessary to undertake a fully realized content marketing strategy. In these instances, organizations may look to outside marketing or PR agencies to fill in the gaps or lead content marketing efforts. Under these circumstances, companies will get the best results by treating third-party agencies as full-fledged team members who are just as invested in the company’s success as its employees are.


“No Company is Too Small to Participate”

Just as Bill Gates predicted all those years ago, any company can benefit from a thoughtful content marketing strategy. In the age of content, your corporate voice is a vital component in relaying your brand message and value proposition to potential customers. Because without it, consumers will certainly get the information they’re seeking somewhere else.

How to Choose the Right Communication Channels for Your Communications Campaign

How to Choose the Right Communication Channels for Your Communications Campaign

With so many communications channels to choose from, it’s easy to see how some businesses might get overwhelmed.

According to a recent survey by The Manifest, 64% of small businesses use two or more channels when relaying messages to consumers.

By choosing a combination of channels, businesses can ensure their messages are being received by the widest possible audience.

Although it might be tempting to use as many communications channels as are available, businesses would benefit from a more deliberate and mindful approach.


Know Your Audience

One of the first steps of planning a successful communications campaign is knowing exactly who the campaign is for.

Ask yourself:

  • How old is the target audience?
  • What are their communication habits?
  • What types of messages do they respond best to?

For example, if your target audience is younger, social media might be the best way to reach them.

Businesses should also consider whether the target audience is current customers or people they’re trying to convert into customers.

“Current customers are going to listen to that message quite differently than folks who don’t know who you are or haven’t had any sort of relationship with you,” said Mike Rosenberg, CEO of Veracity, one of the top PR agencies in Portland, Ore.


Consider Your Message

 The next step to planning an effective communications campaign is to consider the message you want to share.

Ask yourself:

  • Are you sharing information about a new product or service?
  • Do you want to share company news?
  • Is the purpose of your message to inform or incite a specific action?

Businesses should always consider the nature of their message before determining which communication channel would be the best fit.


Think About What Kind of Return You Want to Gain

After you’ve considered your audience and the type of message you’ll be sharing, you also need to consider the type of return you want to gain from your communication efforts.

Ask yourself:

  • What is the goal with communication to customers?
  • What action do we want them to take?
  • Do we want them to buy something?
  • Do we want them to start a conversation around our brand?
  • Is this more a matter of customer service?
  • How will we track our returns?

For example, if you want to jumpstart buzz around your brand or a new product, social media might be the best channel. If you want to offer customers exclusive news or discounts, email or direct mail might be best.

Whatever your intended return is, make sure it is trackable so that you can measure the success of your campaign to prepare for future campaigns.


Business-Consumer Communications Requires a Well-Thought Out Plan

While businesses should use multiple platforms to emphasize their messages, they should do so in a deliberate way. By considering their audience, message, and the return they want to gain, businesses can create a communications campaign that strengthens their public relations, marketing, and reputation management strategies.

Featured image from Ethan Hoover
The do’s and don’ts of social media…

The do’s and don’ts of social media…

Reposted February 22, 2018, with updated Facebook security recomendations from PixelPrivacy below

Sometimes a little training is needed even for what seem to be the simplest tasks. A Facebook post for example. Here are some tips (mostly in regards to Facebook) to help you avoid making mistakes in the social media space.


Like most things in life, if we take a step back and evaluate the situation, we are likely better able to determine our goals and dictate the outcomes we desire. So, before you hit “update status” in your Facebook feed, ask yourself:

“Will I possibly regret sharing this?”

If the answer is “no,” go ahead and post. If the answer is “yes” or “maybe,” take a breath, pause and think about some of the do’s and don’ts below.

Think about your audience.

Understanding your purpose for each channel will help you determine who you are going to be “friends” with and what type of content is appropriate to post. You should ask yourself:

“What am I using each channel for?”

Personally, I tend to use Facebook for communicating with friends and family, but I also run a marketing agency, so I end up posting a fair amount about marketing and a nonprofit digital marketing organization I volunteer with.

Remember LinkedIn is for business. You can pretty easily grow that connection list, but you have to decide what your purpose is for inviting or accepting all those connections. I am certainly much more lenient on LinkedIn to accept (and offer) connection requests, compared to Facebook. But, I have to at least have met (virtually is fine) the person or have a lot in common with them, (connections, geography, groups) to lead me to believe a mutually beneficial relationship would warrant a connection with them.

Once you have decided that, here are a few quick tips on what you should and shouldn’t do.

The Do’s:

Do be social. It’s called social media for a reason. Engage, ask questions, share the things you see and like. Feel free to let your personality and opinions shine through your posts.

Do provide commentary. It is ok to simply share a link or someone else’s post, but it is better to tell your friends and followers WHY you are sharing it.

Do give credit. Tag people assuming it is appropriate (see Don’t post pictures without permission below) and company pages when sharing or posting content created by others. This is especially true for business pages.

Do read or watch what you share. Don’t share an article simply based on the title nor a video based on the first 15 seconds. You may not want to endorse a video that started out really funny and then took a turn for the worst at the 1:10 mark.

The Don’ts

640px-GremlinStripeByIntiDon’t post after midnight. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying nothing good ever happens after midnight. Take that to heart on social media as well. Not literally of course…it’s ok to post after midnight. But if you’ve had a few and think something’s really funny, it may not be so funny the next day (of course posts can be deleted and edited, see below).

Don’t post pictures of other people’s kids. You know that great shot you got of your daughter’s 5th grade class on graduation day? Don’t post it if other kids’ faces are visible. It’s your right to share pictures of your kids; it’s not your right to decide for others.

Don’t post pictures/videos without permission. We all love throwback Thursday. Except your high school friend who is looking for a job and now has to deal with the repercussions of that sexy kitten Halloween costume you just posted (this rule goes out the window if he already uses it as his profile picture).

Don’t be that guy. You may want to avoid being one of the following types of posters:

  • Negative Nelly – are the majority of your posts depressing? Do you only share news stories of disasters, tragedies and debauchery?
  • Foodie (or drinkie) – seems to always be out at the newest spot, hits three bars on a Tuesday (every Tuesday). Do we all really need to see what your drink looks like or how beautifully moist your burger is, again? Do you want potential employers to know about your Tuesday night escapades?
  • Photo bombers – nope, not talking about making a funny face in the background…talking about those of you that post way too many pics. Do a little self-editing and only share a few at a time. You can still use Facebook as your photo repository and just share with your family (see privacy settings below). But note that every image you post to Facebook gives Facebook a license to that photo (and any other type of content).
  • Spammer – do you send all of your friends constant messages about the product you’re selling (or even a charity you believe in)? Maybe you tag everyone in a post about a fundraiser? Hey, we all have to make a living and supporting charitable causes is good, but show some restraint and tact. Think it through. Even if it is a worthy cause would you want to get multiple messages about something you may not care about?


Privacy settings:

PixelPrivacy shared a great resource they created for Facebook privacy with us recently. Check out their Visual Guide To Making Your Facebook Profile Private Again.

You can lock down (or open up) who sees what if you pay attention to your privacy settings. You can hide a lot of stuff (note that you cannot hide what pages you are a “fan” of, so “like” with discretion if you need to be discrete). Digital Trends has a good guide to Facebook privacy settings.

In general there are three levels of privacy; everyone, friends and friends of friends. You pick a default and you can easily change with each post (and create specific custom groups, like family).

Adjust your tagging settings. Here is your one main action item: Change your Timeline and Tagging settings. You cannot control what other people post, but you can control if you are tagged and if it shows up on your timeline.

timeline tagging

Facebook has a nice little Privacy Checkup you can go through:

Opps, I posted after midnight, now what do I do?

You can always delete (or edit) a post once it is up (unless it is a post from a business page and you have paid to promote it, then you can only delete and repost). There is however no guarantee that the right (wrong) people didn’t already see it and/or take a screenshot.

Last few tips:

If you don’t want someone to see it (ever) don’t post…

Tired of seeing what your cousin ate for breakfast, but don’t want to offend her with an “unfriend”? You can hide posts without unfriending people (look for the little arrow in the upper right corner of their post). That way they won’t get a new suggestion to be your friend again. Ever had someone show up as “People You May Know” and you thought you were already friends with them? You were, they unfriended you.

If you are a voyeur and never post, that’s fine, just refrain from telling someone their life story when you see them in person. Some may think it’s a little creepy that you know all about what they’ve been up to, but you never participate.

Are you a chronic “liker,” liking every post you see? Great, don’t change, we all like the validation!

Create a Google Alert for yourself to monitor your online presence…oh, and Google yourself. If you don’t know what is out there, you certainly can’t do anything about it.

Social media can be a fun way to keep in touch, stay up-to-date with friends, family and business activities and even get news and learn a few things. Just remember these few basic tips and you will have a better experience.

Do you have anything to add?

Excerpts from this post were originally shared in the Wakefield & Wakefield Business Etiquette newsletter.

Lizzy Acker: OregonLive Trending Team on Digital First Writing [Podcast]

Lizzy Acker: OregonLive Trending Team on Digital First Writing [Podcast]

Lizzy Acker is responsible for driving page views to Oregon’s largest daily newspaper’s website, OregonLive. For just over a year, she’s been combining her creative, personal voice with journalistic integrity in her role as a reporter on the Oregonian’s trending news team, “the most fun team to be on,” according to Lizzy.

The trending team must hold strong value among the ranks of a publication that branded itself as “digital first” after shocking long-term subscribers by slashing its daily home delivery options in 2013. This new approach for the Oregonian requires a different kind of writing that can be quickly measured by clicks, shares and comments — pointing to a reporter’s effective or ineffective writing.

Website news writing versus traditional news writing

Reporters traditionally plunge into their reporting, coming up for air sometimes months or years later with meaningful stories impacting many people. However, these long-lead stories might not attract a ton of page-views which seem to come from quick writing that is often related to what’s going on right this instant. What’s different about Lizzy’s role is that she’s directly tasked with writing for her audience as well as telling the news. This approach has many traditional reporters aghast. But Lizzy doesn’t believe that considering her audience before setting forth is “selling out.” She attempts to continually build her audience, a good thing for the Oregonian who is in the business of attracting eyeballs to content.

While all of her posts end up on OregonLive, a select few make it into the paper. She loves this, saying “its cool to see your name in the paper.” Sometimes the only way she knows her words graced the dinosaur pages is how her audience connects, getting more phone calls and emails from readers as opposed to the usual online comments.

Dead seriousness mixed with slapstick fun

Admitting that she’s been accused of writing “click bate,” Lizzy loves that she gets to write about important and serious topics, along with that of the goofier variety. Writing with a different tone than most journalists, who are tasked with telling the facts and only the facts, Lizzy attempts to infuse a more casual voice into her writing, leaving room for more personality and freedom. For example, embarking on something new for seven days in a row — dancing, water activities and more.

But it’s not always fun and games. Lizzy also confronts race and racism head-on for OregonLive. She was first to tell us about the confederate flag found hanging across from the black cultural center near Oregon State University. She continuously lists the reports of bias incidents that have occurred since the election, adding to it each month to capture what is actually happening. “It seems different [since the election],” she states before rhetorically asking “Is it different?”

Combining journalism with creative writing

Truth be told, Lizzy didn’t want to be a journalist because she couldn’t stand being assigned boring stories. Typical millennial? Maybe not. Lizzy pursued her MFA in fiction writing at San Francisco State University, coming out of that experience with an actual published book!

“Monster Party,” mostly set in Oregon, is a fictitious collection of short stories about “being a girl, relationships, sex in a non-sexy way and trying to be a human being,” she describes. After grad school she also pumped out a zine, which is a funny word for what “could be anything,” called “Half Life,” which is “even less thinly veiled fiction,” confiding that it’s “basically true stories.”

You can reach out to Lizzy to get copies of either book here.

Creating her own opportunities

After grad school, Lizzy found herself answering phones in the membership department of KQED, which is “like OBP but for northern California.” Lizzy offers a bit of advice for newbies: “If you can work at a place that’s doing something you like even if it’s not doing the job you wanted, it’s a good place to start.”

She was eventually handed the management of KQED’s entire Facebook account. “They thought you’re a young person, you can manage the Facebook,” she jokes. But I’m sure that having written a book didn’t hurt. For an entire year she was operating two full-time jobs until the membership duties were taken off her plate.

Lizzy thought KQED’s constant conversation about tapping into a millennial audience was funny because they had a millennial right in front of them. She proposed they create a first-ever pop culture blog. The station agreed to let her lead the charge alongside her KQED work-husband.

SEO hacks take notice: while at KQED Lizzy wrote two posts that continue to rank among the top page views in the history of the website — We Had So Much Fun while You Were at Burning Man and 11 Steps to Getting a Tattoo You Won’t Regret for the Rest of Your Life.

The problem was that she found herself with two fulltime jobs again—writing for KQED’s pop culture blog and managing the Facebook account. Deciding to turn back to her Oregon roots, she moved back home and freelanced but didn’t like it. “I didn’t have the desire to look for the work and I found myself on the couch watching Law & Order frequently.”

So she jumped at the chance to run social media for Powell’s where she loved working but didn’t love the work of social media because “it is boring and constrained.” Therefore, when the web editor position at Willamette Week opened up she made her move. While in charge of the weekly entertainment publication’s web presence, Lizzy decided where each story would live online and what would be incorporated into social media.

The Maze of Titles at The Oregonian

When Lizzy mentioned her boss in conversation I probably over-enthusiastically blurted out my confusion on the leadership structure at the Oregonian. These new “fancy” titles, as I like to call them, have this dinosaur dazed and confused. Who is the editor of what section? Lizzy broke down the hierarchy like this:

  • Karly Imus, Managing Producer, is Lizzy’s “boss”
  • Ben Sherman, Director of Sports & Trending News, is Karly’s “boss”
  • Therese Bottomly, Director of News, is Ben’s “boss”
  • And finally Mark Katches, Editor/Vice President of Content reigns as supreme “boss”

“Really they are all good bosses,” Lizzy confides while expressing how much she truly loves working with the team at the Oregonian.

So, in examining the titles above, apparently the Managing Producer is the Editor of that particular section assigning stories. The Producer word can throw us off but it communicates the digital aspect of the role, with videos and “posts” of any kind being incorporated into traditional editing. However, how we as PR people relate to Managing Producers largely remains the same.

It should be noted that the trending team works so quickly that Karly isn’t necessarily assigning stories. The other sections such as arts and business do work more traditionally where the Managing Producer could assign stories, with the reporters also aligning with specific beats and selecting their own stories.

Keep PR persistency in check

Lizzy describes the feeling of dread she has in her stomach when thinking about her inbox. PR people often send an email, then a follow up email, and then they call her to see if she got their follow up email. Lizzy hints that if she were to write about something you’d probably already know. She doesn’t know when the last time a follow up email led her to write a story.

That’s not to say that some of her posts aren’t inspired by the first PR pitch that comes through. Here’s how to fall into that category:

  • Make her care: She wants to know why she — and consequentially her readers — should care. “Read what I write and see if something connects with you.”
  • Make it shareable: Think about what people want to read and if they’d share it on social media. If you personally wouldn’t share it, find the angle that would make you want to.
  • Make it local: The pitch doesn’t have to be from a local company as long as it’s related to something happening within Oregon.
  • Make it in early: Send events months in advance, especially to reporters like Eder Campuzano (trending geek culture) who compiles the best events, along with other things like technology.
  • Make it clear: “Do not be cute. Make the subject line very clear. I don’t have time to think about it.”
  • Make it writerly: Don’t ask her to post something in its entirety on her website. She is never going to do that because she’s a writer.
  • Make it picture-friendly: Attach your images or let her know how she can get them if they are available.
  • Do not call her, and probably the other Oregonian reporters.

What does Lizzy want to hear from us about?

  • What’s happening in town.
  • How people are reacting to this political climate.
  • How your story relates to the identity Lizzy is portraying on OregonLive.

And finally I gleaned clarification on the infamous [email protected] email address. This is a different email box with a designated person whose entire job is to go through that email box, determining whom to forward your emails to, probably with a closer eye than how she approaches her own inbox, Lizzy admits.

About the guest: Lizzy Acker

Lizzy Acker is a reporter for The Oregonian in Portland, Oregon. Previously she was Web Editor at Willamette Week.

Her work has been published in The RumpusNano FictionWe Who Are About To DiesPARKLE & bLINKPolicyMic and elsewhere. She was a blogger for KQED Arts and the co-creator and former co-editor and writer for KQED Pop and is currently a co-editor and writer for The Tusk.

She was the co-creator/curator, with Amira Pierce, of the popular San Francisco reading series Funny/Sexy/Sad and she has read with Bang OutRADARQuiet Lightening and others.  Her first book, Monster Party, was released in December of 2010 by Small Desk Press. Her zine, Half-Life, was published by The Gorilla Press in 2014.

She was born in Oregon, lived in San Francisco for almost 8 years and then moved back to Oregon, just like everyone always knew she would.

Connect and follow Lizzy on social media:

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

PR Talk is sponsored by dapulse

In such a fast-paced, multi-faceted work environment, it can be tough to stay on top of everything. dapulse is the collaboration tool trusted by businesses of all kinds to help cut down the clutter and streamline productivity. Learn more at and signup for a free trial. You’ll see in no time why so many teams around the world are choosing dapulse for their project management needs.

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Back to Basics: Optimizing a Facebook Company Page

Back to Basics: Optimizing a Facebook Company Page

My second installment in our “Back to the Basics” series. The first was driven by a specific client request for help optimizing a LinkedIn company page. So naturally, we move on to the most popular social network, Facebook, for the same kind of post.

We will again assume that you have a page already, but if not, simply go to and start by selecting what type of business you have and follow the instructions from there. Note that each category is different and it will ask you for unique information. If you are not sure what type of page to create check out this post on How to Determine What Kind of Business Facebook Page to Start.

Since this is a “Basics” post, I am not going to focus on Facebook Business Manager. However, if you have or plan to have multiple pages and/or run Facebook advertising campaigns, I recommend using Facebook Business Manager. The page elements and strategies are the same, but it is easier to switch between pages and to NOT accidentally post as your page when you want to post as yourself and vice versa. Don’t worry if you do not know if you will advertise or have multiple pages as you can always switch to Business Manager in the future.

Whether you are creating a new page or editing your current one, here are some tips for the overview section. I am going to use a side project podcast (which I’ll create as an “Entertainment” page) for this example:

Page Name

Use the common name for your organization. It does not need to be your legal name (leave off the LLC, Inc., etc, unless you are identified that way). Think about how your page should come up when someone tags it on Facebook. I suggest not having something too long or descriptive.

Use Page Tips

Page Tips will provide suggestions for the basic elements you need to fill out to complete your page. Of course, there will be some marketing messages from Facebook about expanding your reach through advertising, writing effective posts and inviting friends to like your page. Follow those at your own discretion.

Facebook Page Tips

Short Description

You get 155 characters to say what your page is about.

Add Your Website

Here is where you can link to your website or a specific page on your website.

Help People Take Action | Create ButtonFacebook Learn More Button

There are several options for types of buttons to use for your primary Call-to-Action (CTA). You will decide which button to use based on what type of page you have created or your marketing and sales goals via Facebook. Here are the preset button options:

Book Services – use if you want people to book an appointment, book travel or start a food order.

Get in Touch – do you want people to reach out for more info? You can choose between the following “Get in Touch” options:

  • Call Now
  • Contact Us (drive people to your contact us form)
  • Send Message (via Facebook Message)
  • Sign Up (typically for an email subscription or the like)
  • Send Email

Learn More – link to a video on your website or Facebook, or take them to another page to learn more

Make a Purchase or Donation – drive sales or donations

Download App of Game

Note that there are several third-party apps you can connect to your button on Facebook. Evaluate and use at your own discretion.

Know Friends Who Might Like Your Page? | Invite Friends

Want to kickstart your page fandom? You can invite your friends to like your page…just be careful to not spam them. For example, if your page is for a local Portland business, only invite your friends that live in the Portland, Oregon Area. Once you click on the “See All Friends” button, you will have several options to manage whom you invite.



I’m just going to highlight the top settings you need to focus on. Ideally, you will go through every setting and update/customize it for your business page. Some of them are obvious and just leave them on the default setting (e.g. Page Visibility should be set to “Page Published” unless you don’t want anyone to see it yet).


Most of the “General” setting will go unchanged, but you have the ability to target specific audiences and restrict what people can do and/or see on your page.

Edit Page

Templates – by default your template will be set to “Standard,” depending on the type of business, you may want to change the template you use (Facebook may suggest specific templates based on the type of page).

Tabs – you can edit what Tabs to show and the order in which they are listed. There are additional Tabs that can be added and ordered as you like. Hide tabs that are irrelevant or do not have any content (e.g. hide the YouTube tab if you don’t have a YouTube channel). See more about each tab below.


You can control what Facebook notifies you about and how to receive those notifications. I suggest only receiving emails for important notifications and turning all Text Messages off.


Here is a bit more detail about the various tabs you can feature along the left side of your company page:



Edit your Category and Name if needed.

Create Page @username – note that you may need to have some page “Likes” before you can create a @username and it is very difficult to change a @username, so choose wisely. I suggest starting your user name with your primary company name. Think about how someone would begin to tag your company page in a post. For example, our company @username is currently @trueveracity. Not ideal. We chose this because our website URL used to be (and @veracity was taken). We are trying to change our @username, but it is not easy.


Edit story – this is where you can provide a complete description of your business page. While Facebook does not provide a specific word or character limit for your story, it will be truncated with a “See More” button after about 400 characters (+/- 50 words).


Pretty straight forward

Add any “Other Accounts” you want to be connected to your page including:

  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Snapchat
  • YouTube
  • LINE
  • WeChat
  • Kik
  • Pinterest

Edit this section as needed

Picture & Cover Photo

Take the time to create and resize your picture (the square image that will appear on all of your posts) and cover photo (image at the top of your page) to fit Facebook’s specifications. The dimensions for your picture are 160 x 160 pixels with a square layout. For a company page, this should typically be your logo. Cover photos display at 820 x 312 pixels on computers and 640 x 360 on smartphones (image must be at least 399 x 150).

Facebook Cover Photo 820x312

Also, you can either choose to pick an image that will last a long time, like a version of your logo, a headshot for an artist or public figure page, a team photo or something else that represents your company/page. Or, you can change your cover photo on a regular basis to reflect what your company is up to, some important announcements or the like.

Posts, Groups, Videos, Photos, Reviews, Likes

Once you start posting and sharing content (videos, photos, etc.) you can select what you want to feature on each of your tabs. You can also select if you want to show reviews and likes, and to feature and link any groups you are a part of to your page.

What should you share?

Now that you have your page updated and you’ve invited some friends to like it, what do you do? You need to “Write something…!”, share a post as Facebook calls it.

Facebook Write Something

There are four main items that can be shared from a company page; text, photos, videos, or links. All can be combined into one post too.

What to share: these are your thoughts, articles or blog posts that your target audience is interested in. The best sources are your company and industry content, such as:

  • Content you create (blog posts, white papers, how-to guides, etc.),
  • Media hits or other content the company &/or employees are mentioned in,
  • Stuff your employees publish,
  • Content from partners (channel partners, vendors, nonprofits you support, etc.).

(remember to @ tag people and companies)

Sharing photos, videos and updates are also good ways to keep your page content fresh and interesting. Videos tend to have good engagement and you can even share live video content (plus re-share it later), numbered lists get shared a lot and posts with a link typically perform better. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of blog posts about what makes good Facebook content. Here are a few to read, try searching for specific tips within your industry or page category for more targeted articles (e.g. Facebook business page tips for accountants):

What else?

Scheduling posts: Facebook has a good interface for drafting, scheduling and even backdating posts. However, if you are going to post the same (or similar) content on more than one social network, or are looking to be more efficient, you may want to use a third party tool/app like Buffer, Hootsuite or CoSchedule.

Facebook Insights

When to post: The first step is to look at your Facebook Insights and see when your audience is active. Then test out various posting times and types and see what has the best engagement with likes, comments and shares. A mistake we often see is to “only” post on weekdays on Facebook. We have found that most audiences are still active on Saturdays and Sundays on Facebook.

Insights Posts

Page notifications: Another tab on the settings page is to manage your notifications. There are currently ten different notification settings you can turn on or off. You can also select how you receive the notifications you have turned on, via Facebook message, email and/or text. If you choose to be notified by email, be aware of what email address you have set up to receive notifications. Users often have a personal (gmail, yahoo, etc.) email address for their personal Facebook page. This is fine, but if you don’t frequently check that email account, you may want to consider either changing your primary email or using Facebook Business Manager.

That about covers the basics for setting up and at least initially optimizing a Facebook company page. If you have specific questions please feel free to ask in the comments section (or on our Veracity Facebook company page).

If you are looking for advertising advice, check out How to Optimize Facebook Advertising in 7 Steps.