BackgroundIn late-December 2006, Corporex retained Inside Edge to provide public relations services for two of its seven Five Seasons Sports Club locations: in Burr Ridge, Ill., and Northbrook, Ill. The corporation’s stated goal was to receive two press “hits” per month as it sought to educate its surrounding communities about the facilities’ transitions from country club to sports club. Despite being open for six years to that point, the club had little name recognition in its own communities.
PR StrategyInside Edge recognized a mid-January Guinness World Record attempt by Burr Ridge club member George Hood, for a stationary “spin” cycling marathon, as a major opportunity to raise the club’s profile in the region. Inside Edge developed information for e-mail updates (at least three times daily) to pique and increase the interest of a growing regional and national media distribution list.
ResultsWithin four days, Inside Edge helped secure global coverage for the Five Seasons brand. In addition to all the major Chicago television, radio and print media, the story of Hood’s effort appeared in hundreds of outlets, including USA Today, the New York Times, ESPN.com, Saturday Night Live, and Sports Illustrated. The momentum of the event has spurred on frequent regional coverage of other club members, employees and programs, including a front-page Chicago Sun-Times story on a club member headed to Iraq to help the U.S. military effort. Three Chicago television stations also covered that story, with national outlets such as Inside Edition and Fox News also seeking interviews.
QUOTING THE CLIENT:
“I wanted to congratulate and commend you on your role with the promotion surrounding our grand re-opening here at the Five Seasons Burr Ridge. It was a complete success by any measure I care to use. The cost of this kind of coverage would have been astronomical…thanks again for taking a good idea and making it a great story.”— Tom Galzin, then-Chief Club Officer, Five Seasons Burr Ridge
BackgroundIn April 2007, Chicago Women’s Health retained Inside Edge to develop the written content for the ob/gyn practice’s new website, including biographies and a summary of services provided, as well as to promote a procedure known as NovaSure, or endometrial ablation, a non-invasive alternative to hysterectomies.
PR StrategyInside Edge recognized the importance of gathering testimonials from patients who had undergone the NovaSure procedure. Inside Edge crafted three before-and-after patient accounts noting the impact that NovaSure had made in their lives, and conducted a thorough review of research findings that showed many women are unaware of their health options. Inside Edge then used those testimonials to anchor regional media outreach that positioned the story as a public-health awareness issue for women. In addition, Inside Edge obtained data from the NovaSure manufacturer to gain data showing the procedure’s rising popularity—a vital “trend” element that helped create the foundation for the story’s newsworthiness.
ResultsWithin a month of the outreach, Inside Edge secured two feature stories, both quoting Dr. Takhsh and telling one of the patient’s stories. One story appeared in La Raza, a Spanish-language publication based in Chicago with a circulation in excess of 200,000. Another story appeared in the Daily Southtown, with a daily circulation of more than 50,000.
QUOTING THE CLIENT:
“Through Matt Baron’s leadership and insight into how to effectively position a story, Inside Edge identified how we could differentiate ourselves from our peers, and communicated that difference on our website and to the media. I was struck by Matt’s ability to conceive great story ideas, and then take the steps necessary to enable those ideas to come to fruition.”— Dr. Eden Takhsh, Chicago Women’s Health
BackgroundIn May 2007, Oak Park, Ill. mortgage banker Kate Hlava had just begun her business with a niche that parlayed her experience as an adoptive mom to help guide prospective clients also looking to adopt a child or children. She called her program “Fund Your Family” but word had not spread beyond her immediate sphere of influence and a handful of people who had attended a seminar she gave the previous month.
PR StrategyInside Edge immediately saw the media potential of Hlava’s story—the compelling “hook” of an adoptive mom using her mortgage-banking enterprise to help others with financial and other issues related to adoption. However, Hlava’s story had one particularly vulnerable element: she had yet to actually help someone finance an adoption through a refinancing of their home. Inside Edge developed an initial press release that provided an overview of Hlava’s background and how that had prepared her for this new venture. The release included comments from Hlava, her husband, Jeff, an adoption attorney and a fellow adoptive parent. Inside Edge also anticipated and counseled Hlava on effective responses to prospective media inquiries, including whether Hlava had yet helped someone to “fund their family,” as she had labeled her program. Based on material that Hlava covered in a mid-June 2007 seminar, Baron also created a second press release timed to coincide with November as Adoption Awareness Month.
ResultsWithin two months, Inside Edge secured a feature-length story with photograph of the Hlava family in the Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest; a full-page feature in Neighbors magazine, a regional publication; and a one-hour guest appearance on a local radio station. In addition, Baron raised awareness of Hlava among hundreds of families by facilitating internal communication with the Chicago Area Families For Adoption (CAFFA).
QUOTING THE CLIENT:
“Inside Edge spurred on a flurry of positive media coverage about my new business that exceeded my most ambitious expectations. To anyone embarking on a new venture, I urge them to consult first with Matt Baron and his partners. They know how to get you where you want to go!”— Kate Hlava, Fund Your Family
BackgroundIn mid-June 2007, one month before the release of the 7th Harry Potter book, Chicago author Laura Ruby retained Inside Edge to promote her most recent children’s fantasy, “The Chaos King,” a sequel to the highly acclaimed “The Wall and The Wing,” which had been optioned into a movie currently under development. Despite her critical and commercial success, Ruby was among the many authors seeking to gain some limelight while in the shadow of literary titan J.K. Rowling. After conferring with Ruby, who had previously done much of her own media outreach, Inside Edge decided to position Ruby as an engaging, entertaining alternative to Rowling and the Potter series. Inside Edge crafted an email media pitch that offered numerous potential angles.
PR StrategyInside Edge waged a high-quality, high-volume media outreach in which more than 200 publications, ranging from mainstream dailies to parenting magazines, received phone calls and follow-up emails suggesting “The Chaos King” as a worthy candidate for a review, and Ruby as a compelling prospective feature subject. In addition, Inside Edge contacted area library officials to recommend Ruby as a guest speaker.
ResultsReviving a prior relationship with the author, the Chicago Public Library subsequently booked Ruby to lead creative writing workshops for teens. In addition, more than 25 publications, including the Chicago Tribune and the Albuquerque Journal, requested copies of the “The Chaos King,” as well as “The Wall and The Wing” for review and coverage.
BackgroundIn April 2006, Wells and Christine Hutchison retained Inside Edge to spearhead a public relations campaign to raise awareness of their new company, an importer of bamboo handbags made in Bali. The couple had befriended their tour guide during their honeymoon in Bali. They learned the man’s life had been transformed nearly 50 years earlier by another American couple who gave him five dollars monthly, hidden inside Reader’s Digest editions they mailed to him. When Christine Hutchison saw bamboo handbags that she knew would be a trendy hit in the United States, the couple began to take steps that resulted in the business launch a few months later. The cornerstone of their business: donating five dollars from every handbag sold to a foundation in Bali, with the tour guide overseeing the bags’ production and the foundation’s philanthropy.
PR StrategyInside Edge developed a plan that not only distinguished this wonderful story, but also sought ways in which the story could be a creative fit for a variety of media outlets, including those:
- Focusing on the fashion market
- Addressing travel-and-leisure industry matters
- Appealing to audiences that thirst for entrepreneurial developments and successes
- Targeting socially conscious and responsible themes
ResultsWithin four months, Inside Edge helped secure coverage from a Chicago television station (Mother’s Day gift idea), a Chicago fashion magazine (Chicago Social), a Texas newspaper where the tour guide’s benefactors hailed from, a regional magazine (Shore), a national magazine (Looking Good Now) and online fashion blogs that helped drive traffic to the company’s web site at www.fiveaccessories.com.
QUOTING THE CLIENT
“There is no one word that adequately captures Matt Baron’s prowess in PR, marketing and name-building, because his skill set is so strong across the board. His oral presentations are incisive, dynamic and attention grabbing, and his written work is absolutely top-shelf. But what sets him apart more than anything is his ability to see connections where others do not–to draw productive links between different people, places and businesses so as to maximize your exposure and tap sources that others in the field simply do not contemplate—and to then aggressively and tirelessly pursue them. There’s no “cruise control” mentality at Inside Edge. Every day brings an effort to improve the process, to think beyond yesterday’s methods and to bring fresh ideas to the concept of getting your company’s name and product offerings out there—where they need to be.”— James W. Hutchison, Co-founder and co-owner, FiveAccessories.com
BackgroundThree times in an 18-month span, Azure Horizons, Inc. retained Inside Edge to write press releases and perform media outreach for the computer-consulting firm. The first time, Azure Horizons had recently earned a contract with the General Services Administration (GSA), enabling the company to engage in a variety of high-tech, Information-security and Homeland Security work for government bodies. About a year later, Azure Horizons wanted to promote that it had become the first Small Business Specialist, as designated by Microsoft Corp., in its region. Several months later, Azure Horizons again hired Inside Edge to promote the company’s ability to install Windows Home Server and Windows Business Server.
PR StrategyInside Edge developed press releases that injected vitality into the topics, conveying the stories with clarity and communicating the impact that Azure Horizons was providing its clients. Each time, Inside Edge then delivered a targeted media outreach.
ResultsIn all three instances, stories gained prominent placements in local publications as well as on websites affiliated with the Chicago Tribune and the Sun-Times News Group. The most recent effort resulted in two new clients who, within two days of the story’s publication, became ongoing clients for Azure Horizons.
QUOTING THE CLIENT
“Inside Edge’s skill translates into bottom-line business results: media coverage the firm has secured has directly led to tens of thousands of dollars in new and continuing business. When Matt says he offers the `inside edge,’ you can take him at his word.”— Keith Carrizosa, President, Azure Horizons, Inc.
BackgroundAfter attending an Inside Edge workshop in January 2007, Bentron Financial Group founder Jim Flanagan retained Inside Edge.
PR StrategyAfter consulting with Flanagan, Inside Edge focused on these primary goals:
- Increase Bentron’s media exposure, largely through the firm’s own public workshops;
- Edit and update Bentron’s written materials, including the Bentron website and a series of informational booklets Flanagan had authored;
- Raise Flanagan’s profile as a retirement planning expert.
ResultsInside Edge developed engaging, timely press releases on Bentron workshops that offered a link to ongoing national news trends. Inside Edge also coordinated media outreach with and served as a Bentron liaison for organizations hosting the workshops. At the same time, Inside Edge provided extensive editing and revisions to Bentron written materials, elevating their clarity and flow. The approach has resulted in consistent coverage throughout the various sub-media markets in the Chicago region and has helped grow workshop attendance, which generates more prospective clients for Bentron. In addition, Inside Edge has successfully placed Flanagan as an expert in national and regional publications, including the Chicago Tribune.
QUOTING THE CLIENT
“You have helped me clearly identify my public-relations goals and implement a plan that is succeeding at reaching them. I appreciate your willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Your can-do attitude is missing all too often in many of the business relationships I have. I also appreciate your guidance and the time you have taken to get to know my business and me. I am sure that is directly correlated to the results we have achieved.”— Jim Flanagan, Founder, Bentron Financial Group
BackgroundPamela Polvere Designs retained Inside Edge in July 2007 to increase the kitchen and bath studio designer’s profile in the near western suburbs of Chicago. The firm’s president, Pamela Polvere, had previously retained PR support only occasionally, and hiring Inside Edge represented her first sustained public-relations commitment.
PR StrategyInside Edge sought to accomplish two major goals: identify differentiating qualities about the firm generally, and develop timely and topical story ideas that would spark local media coverage and reach Pamela Polvere Designs’ target audience.
ResultsInside Edge identified distinctive qualities about the firm that resulted in the development of a variety of marketing materials, including:
- Case Studies with client testimonials;
- A palm card checklist-style marketing piece dubbed the Pamela Polvere Designs Difference;
- Stories, commentaries and letters to the editor highlighting the firm’s design prowess and commitment to “green” environmental stewardship;
- Story placements that included local newspapers in the firm’s target market, as well as the Chicago Tribune, WBBM Radio, and an hour-long segment on a WGN Radio talk show
- Updated written content for the firm’s website.
QUOTING THE CLIENT
“Matt Baron has great energy and has always been very professional in how he operates. He really knows how to take an idea and run with it—I’m so impressed with how his mind works. Matt continually comes up with innovative ideas to help promote my business.”— Pamela Polvere
BackgroundIn December 2007, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association, retained Inside Edge to lead a national public relations and media outreach campaign for the group’s annual Youth Media Awards, to be announced in mid-January. In mid-February 2008, YALSA again retained Inside Edge to promote Teen Tech Week during the first full week of March, including a survey through the end of March that sought input from teens on their technological needs and interests at libraries.
PR StrategyFor the Youth Media Awards, Inside Edge first crafted an overarching press release and then developed more than a dozen distinct press releases, tailored to different media markets and based on prior and current geographical locations of award winners. For Teen Tech Week, Inside Edge executed three rounds of media outreach: the week before the specially designated week to raise awareness of a media event in Arlington, Va.; during Teen Tech Week itself; and two weeks later, to promote the teen survey’s availability on the YALSA website through March 31. For each outreach, Inside Edge contacted over 250 media outlets, via e-mail and follow-up telephone calls.
ResultsBoth campaigns resulted in extensive media coverage for YALSA, with placements in dozens of print publications and online literary sites, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The (Portland) Oregonian, Topeka Capital-Journal, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Chicago Parent, and Newsday’s Parents & Children. The Teen Tech survey outreach resulted in a significant increase in respondents (nearly 200) during the last week of March.
QUOTING THE CLIENT
“Inside Edge has truly helped us expand coverage of our awards and helped us greatly increase our publicity during our second Teen Tech Week. Matt is tireless, flexible, and truly engaged. I recommend Inside Edge highly.”–– Stephanie Kuenn, Communications Specialist, Young Adult Library Services Association