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Preview: Minnesota Public Relations Blog

Minnesota Public Relations Blog

The most recent news, jobs and events in Minnesota Public Relations. On twitter @mnpr.

Updated: 2017-04-28T09:41:29.497-05:00


Caitlin Tvrdik Becomes Partner at Rocket55


Digital marketing agency Rocket55, one of the fastest-growing digital agencies in the Twin Cities, continues to propel forward with Caitlin Tvrdik becoming a partner and the hiring of eight more team members.“Since joining Rocket55 in 2013, Caitlin has gone from simply a stellar employee to a major contributor to business growth,” said Steven Ayres, Founder and CEO of Rocket55. “I realized in the last year that her contributions and commitment warrant an equity position in the business and I am pleased to call her a partner.”Tvrdik currently is Chief Marketing Officer for the agency, and also has worked for the organization as Marketing Director and Senior Project Manager. She was named to the AdFed MN “32 Under 32” list last year.Rocket55 also has expanded by adding the following new employees:Pierre Balian -- Web DeveloperJenna Ferrell -- Sales and Marketing AssistantRachel Holtz -- Web DeveloperTracy Kelly -- Account ExecutiveMatthew Pfeifer -- SEO SpecialistJon Robson -- Web DesignerGreg Thompson -- Account ManagerJenessa White -- Project Manager“We continue to position Rocket55 as a powerhouse digital agency, and we pride ourselves on offering all of our services in-house,” said Jake Butzer, Partner at Rocket55. “These new hires help to set us up for future success with our holistic search marketing strategies.”Balian and Holtz, new Web developers, will create and update websites for clients, assisting both SEO and pay-per-click clients with website changes that will increase leads and improve campaign return on investment. Balian most recently worked as lead Web developer for Hooker & Company Advertising, and before that was a freelance website designer for a variety of corporate and business clients for more than 10 years. He has an associate’s degree from Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Holtz worked for Ready Set Scout and has a bachelor’s degree from University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and an associate’s degree from Minneapolis Community and Technical College.Ferrell, Sales and Marketing Assistant, will support the work of marketing managers and executives on projects directed at maximizing company profits. She has an associate’s degree from Minneapolis Business College. As Account Executive, Kelly will help organizations start their journey with Rocket55 and begin to utilize digital marketing strategies to accomplish measurable objectives. He previously worked in sales and marketing roles for Starcke Abrasives USA,, State Farm and Schaefer Ventilation Equipment. Kelly earned the Excellence in Leadership Award while attending St. Cloud State University, where he double-majored in marketing and Spanish.As SEO Specialist, Pfeifer will analyze and implement opportunities for Rocket55 clients to become more visible to target audiences online. He also has worked for MP Fire Marketing, Robert Half Technology and Pioneer Industries. Pfeifer has a bachelor’s degree from St. Cloud State University.Web Designer Robson also has worked for Capella University, Absolute Marketing Group and Smart Search. In addition, he worked as a freelance web designer and front-end developer for several years. Robson majored in web and multimedia from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design. He also has an associate of applied science degree in graphic design from Minnesota State Community and Technical College.Account Manager Thompson will play an essential role in determining strategy and guiding Rocket55 clients to success in their digital marketing endeavors. He recently worked as the Digital Marketing and Events Specialist for CFMOTO USA and as Visual Media Producer and Advanced Services Client Liaison with Erik’s Bike Shop. Thompson has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and film from the University of Iowa.As Project Manager, White will ensure that client work is done on time and budget. She will also establish communication with clients to make sure processes go smoothly. In terms of her experience, White is a freelance web developer, and has worked for SportsEngine a[...]

Minnesota PRSA Celebrates 39th Annual Classics Awards on April 21st


The Minnesota chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (Minnesota PRSA) held its 39th Annual Classics Awards last night at The Machine Shop in Minneapolis, celebrating cutting-edge creativity and innovative thinking in the public relations industry throughout the past year. Top campaigns featured extraordinary talent and craft by driving engagement among diverse audiences through digital, content marketing, influencer outreach, experiential events and much more.  More than 50 awards were presented to agencies, corporations, nonprofit organizations and associations for exemplary work over the past year on programs in consumer products, consumer services, technology, health care, nonprofit, B2B and more.“This year the Classics Awards are not only about recognizing outstanding work, but also celebrating what makes this community so special — the talent in it,” said Heather Cmiel, APR, president of Minnesota PRSA. “Public relations continues to evolve, shift and change, and I believe the work produced in Minnesota, and recognized at this event, shows our community not only understands the changing dynamic of this profession, but that we are also shaping it.”2017 Best in Show AwardPadilla and Niagara Conservation received the Best in Show award, as well as the Industry Campaign of the Year award, for “#WhatTheFlush: Disrupting the Water Conservation Conversation.” This innovative and holistic campaign called out the white elephant in the bathroom — the toilet, which wastes up to 5 gallons per flush — by drawing connections to California’s extreme drought. Padilla successfully launched the world’s most water-efficient toilet, designed by Niagara Conservation, with limited budget. The #WhatTheFlush campaign utilized online video, out-of-home ads and digital media to surpass client expectations and ultimately save millions of gallons of water.Donald G. Padilla Distinguished Practitioner AwardMinnesota PRSA honored Rose McKinney, APR and former Minnesota PRSA chapter president, with the Donald G. Padilla Distinguished Practitioner Award. The award is presented to an outstanding individual who has made selfless contributions to the public relations industry and demonstrated exceptional professional achievement. McKinney received the award for her dedication to public relations and her commitment to the community, such as her work with Our Young Addicts, a growing community of parents and professionals concerned about the number of young people using drugs and alcohol. Young Professional of the Year Award Receiving Minnesota PRSA’s Young Professional Award was Keegan Shoutz, vice president of client services at Lola Red PR. The award recognizes a Minnesota PRSA rising star who has contributed to the organization, industry and community. Shoutz demonstrates his commitment to the public relations profession through internal team building, client work and community mentorship.Dr. Willard Thompson ScholarshipZach Spanton from Winona State University was honored as the winner of the coveted Dr. Willard Thompson Scholarship. He received $2,000, a free PRSA associate membership and a special lunch with Heather Cmiel, APR, president of Minnesota PRSA.Student AwardsMinnesota PRSA also honored Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) students for their exceptional work. Julie Vu from Augustana University received an Influencer Outreach award for her blog: Julie Vu’s Blog. William Curtis from the University of Minnesota received the Creative PR Campaign award for the Red Balloon Campaign Project: Where Will Your Balloon Take You? Classics Awards Programs WinnersCommunity Relations, Agency/Organization with >25 employeesInsurer Takes a Leap of Faith to Save Its Flock Padilla with Concordia Plan ServicesCommunity Relations, Agency/Organization with <25 employeesMinnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge - 40th Anniversary  Gage with Minnesota Valley Trust, U.S. Fish & Wildlife ServiceInst[...]

Linnihan Foy Advertising announces four new hires.


Linnihan Foy Advertising, an award-winning and industry-leading advertising agency, announced four new hires today: Laudan Fenster, Heather Tietz, Mark Van Cleve and Andy Weaver.

Laudan Fenster has been brought on as Public Relations Specialist and is tasked with public relations strategy, writing and media relations. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities with a bachelor’s in professional journalism.

Heather Tietz is an Office Manager and Production Designer. She manages day-to-day agency needs and supports production design and accounting. Tietz is a graduate of St. Olaf College with a bachelor’s degree in studio art.

Mark Van Cleve has joined as a Digital Strategist and is responsible for digital strategy as well as website optimization and pay-per-click management. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

Andy Weaver is a Senior Designer/Art Director who supports clients branding, marketing and advertising needs by providing visual direction from early concept to full production. Weaver has a bachelor’s degree from the College of Visual Arts.

Marketing Tips For Your Beauty Salon


The beauty salon market can be very competitive, and as a business owner you need to make sure you stand out above the rest. Good marketing is so vital in getting clients to choose to make an appointment with your salon instead of the one across the street.

Knowing the objective of a marketing campaign will determine what elements will be in it. If your goal is to have as many people walk through your doors as possible, the campaign will be shaped differently than if your goal is to get recognition for an achievement. Sometimes a campaign is designed simply to say, "Hey, we are still here" so that people keep you at the the top of mind when they think of beauty salons in your city. 

"It goes without saying today that every business should have a website, and that includes your beauty salon," said a spokesperson for goGLOW, a Minneapolis-based tanning salon. "However, having a website is not enough. With so much competition out there, having a site that sits well down the list on search engine rankings isn’t helpful. Make sure your site is optimized for web searches, so that when people in your area search for beauty salons, your site is right near the top." 

The best advertising is word of mouth. In this age of social media, if you strategize right, you can get word of mouth on steroids. Create a profile for your business on several social media sites, and post content often. Engage with commenters and reviewers quickly and amicably. It never hurts to have some friends and family members leave some positive reviews for you. You can also offer free or discounted services for testimonials on your Facebook page. The more people you interact with on social media, the more other potential clients will see your brand and be drawn to it. Make use of social media and reap the rewards. 

Owning a beauty salon is a highly competitive business at which it can be tough to succeed. Use these marketing tips to get your salon to stand out amongst the rest.

How to Properly Market Your Real Estate Business


Marketing in real estate can make all the difference. If you are just starting out in either a business as a realtor or as an independent selling your house, you need to get the word out as widely and as effectively as possible.

"Your real estate business should have its own web page," said a marketing spokesperson for 651 Housing, a Minneapolis real estate business. "On this page you will should have all of your contact information displayed prominently. You want to make it as easy as possible for potential clients to get in touch with you. This will also make you look more professional and legitimate in the eyes of buyers and sellers." 

Free social media accounts are a great way to establish and promote your brand online. At the very least, you should have Facebook and Twitter accounts, but LinkedIn and Instagram are becoming must-haves as well. Again, you want to make it easy for clients to get a hold of you and interact with your business. 

Email marketing that is not spam or scams can be a very effective tool. Build an email list of close contacts and any potential client who has inquired with you. You should have an email service that can provide quality auto-responses, as well. Send out newsletters and new listings to keep everyone informed about not just your business, but also the real estate climate in general. 

Show the world that you know your stuff by creating a blog about real estate. Not only can you talk about the trends around the country, but by having local content you will draw interested readers from your catchment area. Attaching a blog to your website can also help keep your page at the top of search engine rankings. You can place keywords in the text that will make you easier to find when buyers and sellers are searching the web. 

Running a successful real estate business has many challenges, but many opportunities as well. It is vital to get your name out there and reach as many people as you possibly can. Use these tips to market yourself well.

RBA and IABC Minnesota to Host Lunch & Learn on How to Modernize Internal Communications on May 2


RBA, a national digital and technology consultancy,in conjunction with IABC Minnesota, will host a Lunch & Learn event about transformational technology in today’s workplace on May 2, 2017, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The event will take place at the Microsoft Technology Center, 3601 W 76th St. in Edina, Minnesota.
The interactive conversation will focus on strategies for keeping companies’ mobile workforces informed and engaged in the “digital workplace” era. The lunch will feature business communicators from Minnesota companies, including:
  • Melanie Hohertz, Online Communications Lead at Cargill;
  • PJ Johnson, Architect, Microsoft;
  • Kathryn Lovik, Global Communications Director at Tennant; and
  • Kally Reinke, Learning and Development Specialist at Mortenson.
The panelists will share their experience using technology to modernize their company’s internal communications, and will speak about best practices for improving corporate communications efforts with digital tools to better reach and engage employee audiences. RBA will be moderating the panel.
Public relations professionals, internal and business communicators, and marketers interested in registering or learning more about the event can do so at

Rocket55 Establishes Public Relations Division


In order to expand offerings to current and prospective clients, digital marketing agency Rocket55 has launched a public relations division by acquiring Skogrand PR Solutions, a public relations/social media/search engine optimization consultancy led by Twin Cities public relations industry veteran Brant Skogrand, APR, MBC, CPPM. Skogrand has joined Rocket55 as Director of Public Relations.“The lines between search engine optimization, social media, and public relations are blurring at a rapid pace, and brands that harness the power of the intersection of these disciplines will outperform the competition,” said Steven Ayres, Founder and CEO of Rocket55. “We have been impressed with Brant since working with him as a Skogrand PR Solutions client over time. Bringing someone of Brant’s caliber on board makes the most sense to start offering public relations services to clients.”Skogrand led Skogrand PR Solutions for the past seven years. He previously worked for Risdall Public Relations, Thrivent Financial, Thomson Reuters, Tunheim and The Musicland Group.  He is Accredited in Public Relations, certified in search engine marketing and social media, and is a Certified Professional Project Manager. “By joining Rocket55, we now have the opportunity for even tighter collaboration that will provide better end results for clients in both public relations and digital marketing,” said Skogrand. “I see countless ways that adding public relations to clients’ marketing mix will provide strong benefits.”Skogrand also teaches public relations as an adjunct professor at North Central University and is a past president of the Minnesota chapter of Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) as well as a past chair of the PRSA Midwest District. He has won numerous awards for his work, is the author of the book “19 Tips for Successful Public Relations,” and has served on the board of directors for Matter. Skogrand has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in business communication from the University of St. Thomas.[...]

Preston Kelly Launches New “Love + Medicine” Campaign TV and Radio for Gundersen Health System


Preston Kelly recently launched eight TV and radio spots for Gundersen Health System, headquartered in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The Love + Medicine campaign is in its third year and the fact that it is based on actual Gundersen care stories has received overwhelming positive consumer response. Actual patients and staff appear in the spots when possible. These stories continue the very essence of the “Love + Medicine” campaign. “Large health systems are notorious for treating conditions rather than seeing patients as human beings,” explains Chris Preston, Preston Kelly creative director. “We continue to find situation after situation where Gundersen employees bring true human kindness and love to their professional care. It makes for wonderful stories and differentiates them in this hyper competitive marketplace.”For the fourth consecutive year, Gundersen was recognized as one of America’s Top 50 Hospitals by Healthgrades.  TV Tanner and Spat Painting Accident  RadioHidden Tattoo Birthday Cake Helmet[...]