How to Pick Good Clients—and How to Avoid Bad Ones!

May 8th, 2013   •   no comments   

When people ask me what I like the most about owning a public relations and marketing firm, my answer usually varies depending on whom I am talking to and what they are looking for. Sometimes it’s young entrepreneurs who want to know what it’s like to start a business. Occasionally, it is a peer working in a corporate role with the desire to know what it feels like on the “other side.” But, a large reason I enjoy owning my own firm is working with the people I like the most. This doesn’t mean the job all roses and honey, at all. The work we do can be tough and my firm has to earn its spot in the boardroom (and the budget) every day by creating real value and results for clients. This doesn’t come easy or instantly and it is an investment in time and trust on both sides of the relationship. Through the years, I have learned that it is vital to choose the right clients.

So, how do you do this and why is picking well important? read more

Being Right is Better Than Being First

April 18th, 2013   •   no comments   

We now work at the speed of thought. Social media, mobile devices and our sense of posting NOW gives us 24/7 information.  Real time work–or the latest Twitter picture, Vine video or Instagram post. Examples abound: Boston, the Iran earthquake, the West Texas fertilizer plant explosion…all are documented in real time. We live in the NOW. While that can be positive on many levels, here are some things to think about:
read more

HOW TO: BE A Good Emcee @ #SoSlam

April 8th, 2013   •   2 comments   

Ya’ll know I’m from Texas and Alabama so you know I’ll be a straight shooter to the point. Last week I had the HONOR to be the emcee of the South’s best social media for business meeting “Socal Slam” in Knoxville (#soslam). It was the best, biggest and most friendly of all audiences since inception three years ago.

Without further stuff you don’t care about, here are the takeaways for being a GOOD (Great) Emcee: read more

Shift into HIGH GEAR! Celebrating the Launch Of “Women In High Gear”

March 29th, 2013   •   no comments   













It’s official – Women in High Gear by Amy D. Howell and Anne Deeter Gallaher has launched and is available for purchase on Amazon:

“The collective 40-plus years of High Gear expertise that wonder duo of Anne and Amy pack into this book is unmatched. Inspiring and educational, this book is brimming with proof of how modern-day women can navigate their way to the C-suite and become admired business leaders. Integrating the fresh world of social media into their marketing mix has allowed these two treasures to become worldwide marketing resources and has given them the attention they so rightly deserve. Reading about how these ladies have overcome the hurdles of owning their own companies, parenthood, and glass ceilings provides valuable insight into how independent, driven women can dominate the professional business landscape.”

SUSAN R. EWING, Director of Social & Digital Media, Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau

Meet us at The Waldorf Astoria in New York City as we celebrate the big release!

How Twitter has Forever Changed #PR

March 19th, 2013   •   no comments   

Twitter is the new trip wire for news! You know it if you are in the PR business and you certainly know it if you have clients in the real world who have had news break via social networks. I could write a book on this, but let’s not. Here are my bullet points on how Twitter has forever changed PR:

  • Twitter is instantly viral and immediate
  • Welcome the citizen journalist – anyone can break news now
  • Twitter makes reporters more accountable to verify what is true versus what is fast
  • Media has more information now than ever: it makes the job easier
  • PR people with a big reach can be their own media machine
  • Twitter is the truth equalizer: you can run but you can’t lie. Verify facts and be right.
  • Twitter puts pressure of being right and first on media. They can’t delay or stall their work
  • Twitter helps PR pros multiply their reach
  • Digital PR is the new way to get the word out, but SEO is the secret sauce of getting found
  • Important and influential people on the internet can boost your Twitter message

This list can go on! Please chime in and add on and as always, thanks for reading this. Cheers to PR and Twitter!

Image via.

Amy Howell Will Emcee Social Slam 2013

March 11th, 2013   •   no comments   

Amy Howell, the Founder and CEO of Howell Marketing Strategies, will provide her wit and leadership as emcee of Social Slam 2013.

Amy’s firm is one of the leading PR and marketing firms in the state.  Her expertise spans from PR and social media marketing to crisis communications and strategic planning.

A chance meeting with Mark Schaefer in 2010 provided the spark for Social Slam.

“Amy introduced me to a core group of her friends at an event in Memphis,” said Social Slam Founder Mark W. Schaefer, “and this became the heart of the first Social Slam in 2011.  We all got along so well that we wanted to keep the movement going!  Amy has been a big part of this from the start.”

“I’m thrilled to be on stage at Social Slam,” Howell said.  ”I believe in what the Social Slam team is trying to accomplish by providing a low-cost, high-quality, inclusive event. I truly believe this is the best social media conference in the country. There is is something special happening here.”

Her company serves leading companies in the law, aviation, healthcare, hospitality, and real estate industries. Follow Amy on Twitter at @howellmarketing.

Get your tickets to this conference, happening April 5 in Knoxville, TN here.

This post originally appeared on

PR Rx for Yahoo!

February 27th, 2013   •   2 comments   

American women across the country, if not the world, are wondering what Marrisa Mayer was thinking when she announced no more remote working arrangements for Yahoo! employees. As a PR veteran, I can’t help but wonder whose idea this was and what was the strategic thinking behind it? Was the board of directors privy to this policy? Was this really her idea? When did Yahoo! first think that this was a good idea? And did a PR advisor recommend or support this? read more

Women, It’s Now or Never: Create Your Own Economic Reality

February 6th, 2013   •   2 comments   

Recent studies and news reports have surfaced about the lack of women in leadership positions worldwide (example here and here) and the reasons behind it. Simply said, women need to work to create their own economic realities. I’m not saying here that we can’t. What I think is intriguing is that we haven’t.

Men dominate the boardrooms, C-suites and world affairs. We pay so much attention to race but so little to gender. I happen to be writing a book with the great @AnneDGallaher about some of these issues and we hope to get it published in the next few months (#exciting). So why are there so few women in leadership roles? I’d LOVE to hear from you women out there—and hey, chime in, because maybe Fox News in New York will find this and focus on this issue. We love @FoxNews and they have picked up this blog before, so you never know. That’s why I love blogging—you just never know who will stumble across your work. This is advice I give my clients all the time. read more

WOW: Delta REALLY Does Memphis After All

January 25th, 2013   •   no comments   

With yesterday’s news of Pinnacle headquarters moving to Minnesota, I cannot help but weigh in on some key lessons we have learned:
1. Delta controlled our MSCAA for way too long, and the Delta Sky puff piece on Memphis last year was a big smoke screen.
2. In my opinion, leadership is likely changing due to lack of creativity and frankly, the pressure is on.
3. Rumor has it, the Delta had very close contact with MSCAA and inserted power on the Pinnacle board.
4. Do you think the Pinnacle bankruptcy and the Delta move had anything in common?
5. How opportunistic and a great business move for Delta to let Pinnacle go into bankruptcy and then…be the hero to pull them out and finance/own the comeback.
6. Moving and owning them means more restructure and benefit for Delta and personal satisfaction by their leadership. Of course, this is all just my own speculation and my own opinion of how this went down—predictable and now obvious in my opinion. My guess is there’s not enough sand in the sandbox for all the egos that exist. As I said in my June blog, Delta has some leases to fill and Pinnacle is moving.
7. You know you strike a cord when you get an anonymous phone call that says your Op-Ed is “not good for you or your firm.”

Revisiting Social Media Policy: Recent NLRB Rulings

January 22nd, 2013   •   no comments   

A considerable portion of our business at Howell is social media strategy, implementation and guidance. New regulations and rulings affect any client with even one employee. Even if a client does not participate as a business within social media channels, more than likely their employees do.

One of our strongest recommendations is to develop a social media policy and to recognize that one size does not fit all. Continue to update it once it’s been implemented and customize this policy for your individual business culture—this is more important now that ever.

We often see social media policies that include verbiage that attempts to regulate negative comments about that business in the online space. For example: “Do not discuss internal matters publically,” or, “Do not speak negatively about fellow employees or the company itself.” Those who violate these policies can find themselves in hot water—or even fired.

However, it’s important to take note of a series of recent rulings and advisories in which labor regulators have declared many such “blanket” restrictions illegal within nearly all private sector businesses. According to and article in the New York Times, “The National Labor Relations Board says workers have a right to discuss work conditions freely and without fear of retribution, whether the discussion takes place at the office or in the social space.” read more

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