Thursday, July 23, 2009

How PR Works for a Small Biz (Let Miamore Count the Ways...)

By now, if you are a regular reader of this blog, you already know about my client Tomgirl Tours. Tomgirl's CEO, Lori Carr, is a dream client for a boutique PR firm: she runs a small (relatively new) business that has a fantastic story and an innovative niche (all-inclusive adventure and culinary girlfriend getaway tours to the most AMAZING places). Better, she understands that, regardless of the economy at the moment, a higher-end company that doesn't get its name out there and doesn't remain true to its upscale image has little hope of surviving, much less growing. Better still, she gets both the importance of social media marketing and the fact that even a small business needs to delegate and can't do everything on its own.

Miamore Communications has been working with Tomgirl Tours for 10 weeks. In that time, Miamore hit the "traditional" media, of course, but also encouraged Tomgirl to experiment in the social media realm. Lori gave me a relatively loose leash (did I mention that she's a dream client for a publicist?!) and stepped outside the small business comfort zone.

So, after just 10 weeks, what does Tomgirl Tours have to show for their investment in Miamore Communications and a public relations campaign? Here are some are some highlights:

Traditional media:
  • An extensive on-air interview with Stephanie Abrams, the world's foremost radio travel expert (who boasts syndication in every major and minor U.S. market). Click here.
  • Major coverage in both the leading travel trade magazine (here) and one of the New York metro area's top leading daily newspaper (here)

Social (or online) media:
  • A dedicated Twitter media account that is not only followed by, but has established communication with, travel-specific reporters and bloggers
  • A new blog that generated 100+ hits in just its first couple days online
  • Mentions in 200+ (ok, honestly: I'm not a statistician; I stopped counting around 180, when my eyes blurred) travel websites and blogs
  • A doubling in traffic to Tomgirl Tours' main website the weekend the blog launched (and was promoted via various social medium)

Big public relations firms love to "spin"--everything from facts to numbers. I am a fan of neither the traditional PR machine nor "spinning". As a former journalist, I instead advocate transparency in publicity efforts. However, if I were to play that game--and, with clients always reporting back to me with big-firm "spin"--I will play that game for a moment: in little more than 1 month, we have achieved more than 65,000 online impressions for Tomgirl Tours. For a brand like Chanel, that's child's play. For small companies that (be honest) rarely generate more than 25 impression a day? That's pretty major.

My point: clearly, times are tough. But, if you are a small firm, you don't need a million-dollar marketing budget, nor a slick PR firm, to grow your reputation and business. But you do need to delegate and find a specialist--devoid of spin--who understands both the nuances of the rapidly evolving public relations world, and the financial challenges you face as a indie business in a tough economy.


  1. What a great case study! Congrats to you and to Lori for making such a great "splash" for Tomgirl Tours.

  2. This was a great post, Carrie - and SO true - you are a real inspiration! xx Peggy Jo