I’m often asked a tricky but important question about business communication:

“When should I be formal or informal with my business emails?”

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proposal

Travis Burch proposes to his girlfriend, Avian Lain, after they completed a skydive at Skydive Suffolk, our PR client.

 

 

When we learned a young couple planned to become engaged after a skydive at our client, Skydive Suffolk, we jumped into action.

What a perfect opportunity for media coverage, we thought.

Turns out, we were right.

On Saturday, January 28, Travis Burch surprised his girlfriend, Avian Lain, with the proposal once they landed on the ground after respective tandem jumps (a jump while connected to a trained professional).

Spoiler alert: Travis had proposed while on the plane with a candy ring pop. The actual ring was waiting safely back on the ground.

When they landed, Travis walked over to Avian for the official proposal — no more ring pop needed!

Travis told us, “I wanted to do a skydiving proposal because I didn’t think anyone had ever done it before.”

Was Avian surprised? You bet! “I had no idea about what Travis was up to,” she said.

Within two hours of the jump (around 3 p.m.), RCG sent the media a short press release and video of the couple’s skydive and marriage proposal.

That night and two times on Sunday, the story appeared on WTKR NewsChannel 3. The TV station also posted the news online.

So much of PR is instinctual. We felt like a skydiving marriage proposal had potential for media coverage. So we trusted our gut.

But the coverage only happened because we acted quickly and gave the media everything it would need to report the story:

– Recap of the event

– Link to the video

– Quotes from the engaged couple

– Contact info

We made it easy to report on the event and, in turn, we landed the coverage.

How can we excite the media about your big news? Contact us to get started!

 

 

 

 

By Joel Rubin

One reason I started this business in 1991 was the opportunity to be on the ground floor of big things. As a reporter, you generally know little about a new idea, a big event or an amazing product or service until some PR type tells you about it. Being there on day one to shape the story, or conceive it, is exciting and that’s what keeps me going at age 63.

So do the younger people on my staff whom I have the honor to mentor and lead. Sometimes they laugh at my suggestions, but other times, they say “great” and off we go. It works the other way too. We are now in the midst of formulating a big project that we created out of thin air, “Rock the Squads!”, next May 7 to call attention to the amazing and selfless work done by our volunteer EMTs in Virginia Beach. I thought of it, Jennifer named it and Ashley, who works year round on behalf of Kitty Schaum and the Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad Foundation, will be in charge of it. That’s how we roll at RCG.

Read more →

By Joel Rubin

Every city in Hampton Roads, in partnership with the local Chambers of Commerce, conducts a State of the City event each year.

It typically features an uplifting speech by the mayor, a PowerPoint with lots of pictures and a feel-good video. Some are better than others (often based on the mayor’s speaking ability), and most are typically a bit too long for the audience of business people who are looking at their watches, wondering when they can get back to work after lunch. Still, they are popular and well-attended programs, which is why city staff invests a great deal of time in producing them.

I’ve attended lots of these state of the city events but rarely have had an opportunity to be consulted about the content. Hampton changed that this year, thanks to their dynamic economic development director Leonard Sledge and city manager Mary Bunting. They wanted some creative ideas because Hampton has a new mayor, Donnie Tuck, and they wanted to help him make his first State of the City memorable. Read more →

We can’t seem to get enough of “Coast Live.”

RCG clients like Diamonds Direct, Access College Foundation and Skydive Suffolk have already been guests on WTKR’s weekday show since its premiere in September 2016.

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Our clients have enjoyed meeting the hosts — and you can meet them here.

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And you may have even recognized a familiar face when RCG’s Danny Rubin was a guest promoting his new book, “Wait, How Do I Send That Email?”

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Part of being a good public relations steward is knowing about opportunities before you need them. These can range from online calendar listings, publications that will run a post-publicity photo with caption or which television stations take guests promoting an upcoming event.

Haven’t caught “Coast Live” yet? Here’s your chance. Check out representatives from India Fest, another RCG client, promoting the November 12th event tomorrow from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

We knew the video that Joel Rubin and JPixx Video in Virginia Beach produced for the Southeast Maritime and Transportation Center (SMART) was good. But when Brad Mason of AMSEC, a national firm which provides technical services to the Navy and commercial maritime industry, told us that “every high school in our area should see” it, we knew we had hit the spot.

The approximately three-minute piece, which profiles four former apprentices who are now employed at local shipyards, was the latest in a series that Rubin Communications Group has produced. Most can be viewed at www.maritime-technology.org and several are now on the Department of Labor’s website as well. Called Make the Smart Choice, they tell high school students, career changers and veterans separating from the services why they should consider pursuing an educational path to job opportunities in the maritime trades and transportation logistics at the nation’s ports. Read more →

By Jessica Bensten and Jenn Hill

Social media is constantly evolving and providing new avenues to reach the masses — especially Facebook.

Have you noticed friends “going live” the last few months?

Facebook Live is one of the latest options on Facebook to create your own news by utilizing your smartphone or computer to broadcast directly onto your personal or company Facebook page.

Thinking of trying it out?

5 Do’s of Facebook Live

  1. Pick a good topic. When using Facebook Live for your business, choose a topic that’s applicable to your target audience or at least timely to current events.
  2. Utilize a host or narrator. If you’re shooting video of something, it’s important to actually talk at the same time. Your audience only knows what you show them, so if the video is confusing and there isn’t someone narrating, they’ll lose interest.
  3. Respond in real time. Take time to type to your commenters and answer their questions. Mention them by name!
  4. Test the WiFi strength before you start. Nothing says disaster like spotty WiFi.
  5. Use a selfie stick. If you’re taking a live video on the move, a selfie stick will give you a steady video and better angles. We all like to avoid the double chin shot.

5 Don’ts of Facebook Live

  1. Don’t go live when you’re not ready. Yikes! Not only is it unprofessional, but it could actually be disastrous. Alert the people around you that you’re going live. They’ll want to check their teeth, hair and language.
  2. Don’t…broadcast without an audience. To have an audience, you need to promote ahead of time.
  3. Don’t…live feed anything and everything you do. While you may think what you’re doing is important, not everything you do is live-worthy.
  4. Don’t…shoot video with inadequate lighting. It’s just polite.
  5. Don’t…be boring! Facebook recommends your Live feeds be at least 10 minutes long so you can build an audience.

Overwhelmed with social media and not know where to start? We’re be happy to help create a plan customized just for your business’ needs. Contact Jenn at 456-5212 or jennifer@rubincommunications.com to schedule a meeting.

By Jessica Bensten

Beth Sholom Village is rooted in tradition.

Along the nursing home’s walls are large-scale black and white photographs honoring treasured past residents. Each day staff and visitors make their way past these smiling faces to assisted living, rehab or maybe the wellness center.

We know these walls well. Read more →

By Jenny Freebus

Senior, Ocean Lakes High School

With summer coming to an end, it’s time to wrap up the internship I was fortunate to land through Virginia Beach City Public Schools.

My time with Rubin Communications Group has been filled with memorable experiences and opportunities. Within the next week, I’ll be back at Ocean Lakes High School to start my senior year, and I know the skills I learned this summer will play a significant role in my work habits. Here’s a list of the top five skills I learned at RCG:

  1. Quick thinking is a must. Whether it’s brainstorming ideas at a staff meeting or searching for a quick fix in the field, thinking fast will serve you well. In the public relations world, everything tends to have a short turnaround time so there’s little time to waste.
  2. Maintaining a professional attitude is crucial when representing a business and talking to clients. It’s important to remain calm, cool and collected so as not to damage the reputation of the business you represent. A bad encounter now could jeopardize work in the future.
  3. Keep a positive mindset. When talking to current or potential clients, it’s essential to remain positive and practical because pleasing the client without setting their expectations to an unreasonable height is the biggest priority.
  4. The importance of research. Whether the task is to find background information on a potential client or local nonprofits in the area, doing research shows investment in your clients. It also helps you gain a better understanding of the work expected of you.
  5. Soft skills. The Hampton Roads community is large, but it’s also friendly. People are interested in how your day is going so having the skills to converse with clients and other professionals goes a long way. In the business community, it’s important to be personable because it opens the door for networking and forging new relationships with other business and community leaders.

Through the internship, I experienced the “real business world” for the first time and learned the difference between advertising and public relations. The PR world moves pretty fast, and the skills I gained will help me no matter what career I pursue.

I am grateful to everyone at Rubin Communications for their constant support and guidance.

The vast majority of our clients are good people who give back to the community.

But everyone, us included, can learn a lesson from Jim Lang, an environmental attorney with Pender & Coward in Virginia Beach.

Not only did Jim finally prevail on behalf of his own client, but he then rolled up his sleeves and convinced others to roll up theirs, to really fix the problem his advocacy solved. Read more →