A Hogwarts Event

Events are my absolute favorite. It’s so much fun bringing an idea to life. Recently, I had the privilege of planning a Harry Potter themed bachelorette party and it turned out totally AWESOME. Personally, I am a huge Potterhead so this event was a breeze, but I could definitely see how it could be challenging for those lacking a Hogwarts degree ;). Anyways, that’s who this blog post is for~

So, the plan included a 2-day 2-park pass to Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando, FL. They’re home to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. I surprised the bride-to-be with our mini-vacation. The unveiling included a white balloon with a hand-drawn owl’s face on the front tied to an acceptance letter. I placed it on her bed for her to find a-la owl post. It was adorable and magical.

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For the letter, I put my own spin on a downloadable Hogwarts Google Document I found online. I visited a FedEx print shop and printed the letter on a long sheet of custom sized paper. Then, I filled a cookie sheet with dark roasted coffee to stain the paper. I placed the wet sheet on a tray and baked it at 250 degrees for about 8 minutes until it started to become a crispy, light brown.

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Since we didn’t want our apartment to accidentally burn to the ground, my boyfriend helped me burn the pages. He used a lighter to slightly burn holes and spots for an authentic, aged look. It was a little nerve-racking considering we only had one shot to get it right. There’s a trick to it… wet the tip of your finger with some saliva and outline the area around the spot you’d like burnt. This creates a ‘fence’ which keeps the flame from reaching other areas. Hold the paper about 3-4 inches from the flame, never keep the flame still by moving it around. When we had our first hole burn through, I freaked out but turns out it looks even cooler with some holes in it. We also burned the edges and very top of the paper too.

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You can view the letter here: Hogwarts Acceptance Letter PDF

I had a blast creating a fan-tastic Harry Potter scavenger hunt too. With some help from Reddit’s R/HarryPotter I got some great tips about the park only true Potterheads would pick-up on. For example, in the movie Hagrid teaches his students to bow before they ride the Hippogriff. Since there is a ride called ‘Flight of the Hippogriff’ they suggested I add a bow in the game.

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You can view the scavenger hunt here: Scavenger Hunt PDF

For the scavenger hunt, I created a 3-section brochure mimicking Marauder’s Map that begins with an ‘I solemnly swear IMG_0078I am up to no good’ first page. It also included a House Points section where each person marks their points once a task is completed to make it competitive. Since we lacked a talking sorting hat, each witch was assigned to their appropriate house through mystery cupcakes!

Yes. CUPCAKES.

Because we all know cupcakes automatically make everything soo much sweeter.

I filled a couple of red velvet cupcakes with colored frosting in the Hogwarts house colors (yellow, red, green and blue). On top, I used white frosting and multicolored sprinkles. That way, the girls had to bite into the cupcakes to see which house they got. They loved the idea…

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I introduced the scavenger hunt and our matching T-shirts in a wooden box addressed to the bride from Hagrid. I ordered the most perfect matching tees from EtsyScreen Shot 2017-06-03 at 7.28.02 PM (check the image on the right). The bride’s shirt said “I Found A Catch” and the bridesmaid shirts said “She Found A Keeper.” It was a charming pun on Quidditch.

I highly suggest tank tops, it helps keep you cool in the unforgiving sunshine state. FYI stay away from Orlando, Florida from May to July unless you enjoy heat strokes – wink. To add a magical touch to the presentation, I stuck some 3-D spider stickers diagonally across the top of the box to tie in with the movie.

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We topped off our mimosas, hidden in disposable coffee cups and headed out to the parks!

The Double Tree by Hilton Hotels at the entrance of Universal Studios made it super easy to get to the parks and back with their free shuttle bus. We also got a free (and very delicious) breakfast every morning. Needless to say, it really helped us stay on budget. The hotel was on the same street, directly in front of Universal Studio’s entrance. We could have even walked there if we wanted to. The bride loved the newly-renovated rooms with a view of the parks from the 7th story. The restaurants and Starbucks on the bottom floor were perfect for some late night drinks and early morning frappuccinos!

It was so convenient that we never had to really leave the Hotel or drive. It was absolute heaven. Plus, we got a great deal by booking through Expedia. The only thing they don’t tell you is that parking is about $20 per night…

At first, we went back and forth on buying fast pass tickets, but we are so happy we decided on purchasing them. Some lines run as long as an hour and forty-five minutes. With the fast pass tickets, the longest we waited was about 35 minutes! If you purchase fast passes you will have to carry them around with you throughout the park and show it at each ride. They are little pieces of paper that are way too easy to lose.

If we hadn’t bought our Hogwarts house lanyards we most likely would have lost that $110 paper receipt within the first hour. Since it has a clear holder, the park attendants were able to quickly scan the passes without having us go through the hassle of taking out our passes. We also bought cute pins to decorate our lanyards with. Everyone at the parks had their lanyards completely filled with the coolest pins.

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As a Florida resident and frequent theme park goer I rarely purchase luxury extras, but from this day forward I am forever a fast pass gal. emojinails

Have any suggestions for a Harry Potter themed party?

Love,

Script3transp

 

3 Simple and Easy Ways To Improve Your Media Pitch

Every business benefits from media coverage — it all starts with a pitch. 

When sent to the right people, a media pitch is a great way get a company press coverage. There are a lot of factors you have to get just right for a successful pitch well-delivered. Make your email stand out by simplifying it, doing your research, and making your story newsworthy. Once you organize a targeted list of media contacts, draft an email that’s easy-to-read with a conversational tone. Avoid industry jargon and complex vocabulary at all costs. Only use an email template as the backbone of the pitch. Remember, each and every email should be personalized to its intended media contact.

There’s an art to pitching. After spending a few years at public relations and marketing companies, here are a few ways I learned to bring email pitches to life:

  1. Do your research.

Do some stalking before you send them an email. Pitch smarter, not harder. Instead of blasting tons of journalists with cold emails, find a way to make their job easier by fitting your pitch into their editorial calendars. For example, if it’s Christmas time and you’re trying to sell a story about toys in the subject line relate it to an article they have posted the year before which had toys in it. Usually, around this time they write about Christmas wishlists or the hottest toys of the season.

Do some digging. First, figure out every outlet they contribute to. Glance over their articles, do they write about similar products or companies you’re pitching? Next, figure out what they are talking about on social media. Journalists have never been easier to follow. Use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to get a feel for what they are like and how to best communicate with them. Don’t be shy to comment on their posts either, building a relationship with target journalists helps your company down the road!

2. Make it newsworthy.

Journalists are always looking for the next great story.

Although companies may go through a couple of big changes and partnerships a year, they don’t always correlate with trends and current events. See what’s currently trending and tie the pitch into it. This will help bring it some positive attention. I use Google Trends and trending items on Twitter and Facebook to help me come up with some ideas.

Google Trends:

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Sneak peek Google’s insights. Track big events and discussions with Google Trends.

 What’s trending on Facebook:

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Scroll down to see what’s trending on the sidebar section labeled “Trending.”

What’s trending on Twitter:

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My favorite way to catch up on all things trending!

3. Keep the email short and sweet!

The subject line should be juicy and the receiver should be able to get the gist of your pitch by reading it. In the body of the email always remember less is more. Sorry to break it to you, but journalists don’t read pitches word for word. They have become masters of skimming. Only about 1-2 sentences will actually by absorbed and if they’re not interested in those couple of lines, it’s on to the next. Writing less text gives them more time to soak in what you’re presenting. Limit your pitch to 3 short paragraphs ranging from 2 to 3 sentences each.

In the first paragraph, give them a reason why they should care about your story. Give them some insider information and make them want to be involved in what’s going on.

Make a connection. The next paragraph should show them you’ve done your homework. Refer to previous articles they have written and highlight topics they are passionate about. Also, tell the journalist why you’ve specifically chosen them to break the story. Feel free to bring up titles of previous articles they’ve written.

The last couple of sentences should be a call to action. Tell the journalist what to do with the information. If they contribute to a couple outlets, indicate which outlet you would like to see the story breaking on. If you’re interested in all their platforms say that so. You can also use the last paragraph to suggest an interview, invite them to tour the facilities or give them a time and date to a press conference.

Tip: If you’re launching a product, offer to send them a sample! They love getting stuff and it’s so much easier for them to review it when they have actual experience with the product. If it’s a new menu item, have them stop by for a comped meal. Add this in the last paragraph (it’s a call to action). Score.

Once your email has been created, attach a full press kit for their convenience. I use Canva.com to make eye-catching kits that are simple are enjoyable for others to view. Also, make sure to include several high-resolution photos they can use in articles. Provide a press release if you have one too. The more information they have, the better! After you proofread, as you would with anything else, have another set of eyes review the pitch. I like to ask those proofreading my pitches to relay a couple of points they drew from the email. Do they understand the point you’re trying to get across? Is it newsworthy? If they were the journalist, would they understand the call to action?

Then, proofread it again.

Any little mistake can totally throw away your credibility. I highly recommend installing the Grammarly extension on Chrome for this. It has saved my life about a million times. It’s a 100% free grammar checker that not only reviews spelling errors but sentence structure and punctuation too.

And WHATEVER you do, make sure their names are correct! Even outlets spell the names of their own journalists incorrectly. Cross check their names via social media, Google and Cision.com (if you have access to it).

Tip: If you’re working on a spreadsheet, use the highlighter in black to fill cells after you email contacts. That way you don’t accidentally email the same person twice or worse… call them another name with a different email pitch.

Wow, I even had a mini-panic attack just writing that!

Have any tips or tricks that you’ve learned from pitching to media contacts? Share it in the comments below 🙂

Happy pitching,

Script3transp

Build Web Street Cred. with Domain & Page Authority.

There are tons of theories out there about how to increase Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA). After working with these two on a daily basis for almost a year, I’ve learned it’s all about backlinks and content. There’s no need to complicate it.

Similar to when a former boss recommends you for a position, websites can recommend your site to Google by linking to you somewhere on their site. The more websites that recommend you, the more credible your website becomes. Although Google is the only one who knows your site’s true value, third parties like Moz use a ranking system to estimate its strength.  A site’s ranking is mostly determined by a number of websites that link to you.  Based on your score,  the site can go up or down in rank.  As long as you keep your number of external links (also called backlinks) high your DA is sure to rise.

The best type of external link includes anchor text rather than a clickable image. It helps even more when those keywords relate to your site. I call this doubling up on a website recommendation. Moz reads these hyperlinked words like a new career opportunity reads an endorsement of a specific skill. And of course, keywords (or skills) also affect SEO in a positive way! Case in point, take full advantage every time a site mentions you.

There are a lot of ways to receive these recommendations, the way that gives you the most ‘brownie points’ with Google are through articles by credible sources. My dream external links have a lot of rich text with words I associate my client with. Another way is by becoming an affiliate partner or sponsor of a page. HINT AHEAD! This is how you get companies and businesses to offer you awesome sponsorship opportunities.

As a marketing partnership coordinator, whose main objective is to collaborate with those who have large followings, a HUGE thing I take into consideration is the domain authority of a person’s website. In my book, good DA ranking is anything more than 45, but companies looking for quick partnerships will go even as low as 30. If you meet these numbers companies seeking out your site for recommendations will offer you tons of cool products, fun projects and top-notch sponsorships. People could literally quit their day jobs for the type of opportunities that can come from this.

Is your DA not quite where you want it? Start adding some new, quality content to your site. Make sure they are original ideas. The more unique your content is, the better. Google eats up original content. They prefer to guide users to sites with original thoughts as a way to build credibility on the world wide web. Also, contact pages similar to yours and ask for a shout-out. You could also accomplish this via forums and blogs with guest posts.

PA is the less successful sibling of DA. It’s great to use for determining ad placements… and that’s about it. You can use it to charge an advertiser more for an appearance on a page with a higher ranking. You could also use it to keep tabs on your sites and see which of your pages is most successful.

Sometimes determining the DA of a subdomain gets tricky. In this case, it’s best to use the PA of your site’s homepage to determine its credibility. Subdomains are any site with URLs like example.wordpress.com or Eample2.Tumblr.com. FYI having your own domain and building authority on it gives you way more credibility with Google and makes more sense than a subdomain.

Stay tuned for my next post on how to get sponsors to find you once you have a good DA rank. I’ll be pointing out some forum search engines and giving some tips on approaching companies. Get email updates on my posts, scroll down to my footer and hit follow!

Happy Friday,

Chelsea Suzanne