Category Archives: Yearick-Millea

How to Keep Readers Interested

How many times have you started reading something and then, before you were even finished with the first paragraph, became disinterested and stopped? I will throw my guilty hand in the air, and I know I’m not the only one. Something made us interested enough to look at it in the first place, so why were we turned off by the content as soon as we started reading, and how do we stop ourselves from writing articles that do the same?

    • Make sure you are interested in your subject. If you don’t care about the subject you are writing about, it will show. There needs to be some passion or spark behind the words on the page or a reader will be just as bored reading it as you were when you wrote it.
    • Approach the topic from a different perspective. Think outside the box and come up with something that doesn’t sound like every other article covering the same topic. People will always be more interested in reading something from a perspective they have never heard before, even if the topic is being written about often.
    • Make it relevant. If no one can relate to your topic, chances are that they won’t continue reading. To keep the reader engaged, it should feel like you are talking directly to them.
    • Think of your audience. What group of people you are trying to reach? When you try to make an audience too diverse, you lose relevance and the ability to relate to what you are trying to say. Narrow your audience and you are more likely to have a better turn out.
    • Make them laugh. Humor is always risky however, when used correctly it can make all the difference. People like to read something that makes them smile and if you are able to manage that, your reader should definitely make it to the end of your piece.
    • Keep it short and sweet. Try not to ramble. Have you ever closed out of an article because it looked like a long read? People are increasingly multi-tasking, and they typically only browse articles online. The fewer words it takes you to prove your point, the better.
    • Stay on task. Don’t write about several different topics all at once. If you get to the end of what you were writing and you see that the end result has nothing to do with the title of the article, go back and see where you started to stray. If you can pinpoint the moment you started to get off topic, it will be easier to go through and take out the unnecessary information.

Any additional ideas on how to keep your readers interested? Tell us in the comments below!

Yearick-Millea Acquires SWZ Design, Adds Design Capability

Yearick-Millea is pleased to announce that Kristi Schaefer and Scot Wallace, formerly of SWZ Design, have joined our staff following our acquisition of that firm.

As long-time collaborators and neighbors in our building, Kristi and Scot have furnished their creative talents to several Yearick-Millea clients, and independently to Eat ‘n Park Hospitality Group, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, DRS Architects, Cleaveland/Price Inc., Elliott Group, the American Heart Association and other well-known organizations.

Over the next few months, we will be working with Kristi and Scot to integrate their design, creative and strategic capabilities, as we chart an exciting new direction for our firm.  We’ll post more news to our social media feeds, website, blog and e-newsletter as progress continues.  In the meantime, we invite you to see samples of Kristi and Scot’s work at their website.

Our Favorite Super Bowl XLIX Commercials

Super Bowl XLIX is in the books, and though the New England Patriots came out on top, so did a lot of the commercials.

The Yearick-Millea staff has compiled a list of some of our favorites. Here’s a look:

Budweiser’s “Lost Dog”

Lauren: I enjoyed the Budweiser lost puppy commercial – for the way that it evoked emotion. It was obviously pretty cute, too!

Stephanie: A cute puppy works every time.

John: You can’t go wrong with the puppy and the Clydesdales.

Esurance’s “Say My Name”

John: As a “Breaking Bad” fan, I got a big kick out of the Esurance commercial starring Walter White (Bryan Cranston).

Discover’s “Surprise”

Heidi: I’ve watched YouTube videos with screaming goats because they’re so funny! Even though this commercial aired pretty early on in the night, it was definitely my favorite.

Loctite Glue’s “Positive Feelings”

Ian:  I liked it because the last thing I thought I’d see on Super Sunday was a hilarious glue commercial with a catchy beat and fanny packs.

NO MORE’s Domestic Violence PSA

Jay: This is a sensitive subject, but it was very well done.

However, not all commercials–serious or funny–are getting the thumbs up from viewers. Nationwide Insurance’s “Make Safe Happen” spot has received a lot of criticism for being too dark and depressing for the Super Bowl, and some viewers were confused about the insurance company’s intent. What do you think?

In your opinion, what were the best and worst Super Bowl XLIX commercials? Let us know in the comments!

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things—Point State Park

As we welcome September, it’s hard to believe that fall is almost here. But there’s still time to enjoy one of our favorite things in Pittsburgh—Point State Park (or, simply, the Point).

The Point, which is a short walk from the Yearick-Millea office, is located at the tip of Pittsburgh’s “Golden Triangle,” where the city’s three rivers come together.

Opened in the 1970s and recently renovated, the Point provides a recreational space within downtown and hosts multiple city events, including the Three Rivers Arts Festival, the Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race and the Three Rivers Regatta.

Visitors can learn about the area’s role during the French and Indian War at the Fort Pitt Museum and Fort Pitt Blockhouse, picnic at the Great Lawn and City Side Lawn, grab a bite to eat at the Café at the Point, or sunbathe by the fountain. The area is also a favorite among walkers, joggers and bikers.

The fountain at Point State Park shuts off some time in the fall, so you still have time to head down there and check it out!

What’s your favorite thing to do at the Point? Tell us in the comments!

The fountain at Point State Park.

The fountain at Point State Park.

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things—The Gateway Clipper

The Yearick-Millea office has a great view of one of the best things to experience in Pittsburgh—the Gateway Clipper Fleet.

The Gateway Clipper

The Gateway Clipper

Docked at Station Square, the Gateway Clipper Fleet offers a variety of cruises—sightseeing, social, dining, entertainment, seasonal and holiday events. Whether you’ve lived in Pittsburgh your whole life or you’re a newbie to the city, there’s a cruise for you.

Tourists and residents alike can enjoy the sightseeing cruises to take in the beauty of the city. The one-hour cruise offers a different view of the beautiful landscapes and buildings Pittsburgh has to offer, as well as some fun facts about the three rivers. Themed sightseeing cruises—think superheroes, princesses and pirates—are fun for the whole family, while dining cruises like the Captain’s Dinner Dance, are perfect for a date night.

But don’t think you have to set aside an afternoon/evening to enjoy a ride on the Gateway Clipper. If you’re heading to a sporting event or a concert on the North Shore, you can take a riverboat ride from the Station Square dock.

If you’re ever aboard one of the ships during the week, wave at the First & Market building!

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things: Summer

If the intense heat wasn’t a dead giveaway, let it be known that summer is well underway. While we are able to enjoy all four seasons—some more than others—summer offers nice weather and a variety of activities: some that you may have been doing since you were a kid and some that you may not even know about. That’s why it’s one of our favorite Pittsburgh things.

Catch a ballgame

The Pittsburgh Pirates are normally hitting their stride and climbing in the rankings this time of the year. Even if you’re not a fan, enjoying a day at PNC Park and the surrounding area offers a variety of activities, whether you’re into food, music, or a casual stroll along the Allegheny River.

Seek some thrill

Kennywood’s open! Whether you are looking for some thrills, roller coasters, driving recklessly in a bumper car, or feasting on Potato Patch fries, Kennywood offers a chance to relive your youth and make new memories.

Fun in the sun

If you’re not lucky enough to have your own backyard pool, it seems like there is one available in every community. But, if you’re feeling more adventurous, spend a day riding the slides or floating around at Sandcastle.

The great outdoors

While there’s plenty to do in Pittsburgh, sometimes it’s nice to get away from city life. There are countless camp sites, rafting locations, and off-roading sites that are within an hour or two.

Beach bum

Ok, maybe you can’t be a beach bum in Pittsburgh, but Lake Erie is roughly two hours away. Pack up the family or gather some friends and spend a day at the lake and work on your tan. There’s nothing more relaxing than having your toes in the water; bum in the sand.

Those are some of our favorite things about summer in Pittsburgh. What are yours?

PNC Park

PNC Park

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things – Market Square

Market Square has undergone quite the transformation in recent years. Because of its proximity to the Yearick-Millea office, it’s one of our favorite places to visit, especially during the warm summer months.

A mix of old and new, the historic downtown Pittsburgh district offers restaurants, shopping and plenty of summer activities. During the weekdays, you’ll find office workers taking a break to enjoy the weather at the many open tables. The “Summer in the Square” programming sponsored by Market Square Merchants Association and supported by the Pittsburgh Downtown partnership provides free live performances and events all summer. Be sure to check out:

Mellow Mondays: Live acoustic entertainment from noon to 1 p.m.

Tuesday: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Reading Room, where visitors can sample a few of the programs offered at the library from 11a.m. to 2 p.m.

Mid-Week Music Wednesdays: Live bands from noon to 1 p.m.

Farmers Market Thursdays: Shop a variety a vendors (produce, desserts, wine) each Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. now through Oct. 30.

Market Square Farmers Market

Market Square Farmers Market

If you’re in the area Monday through Friday, make sure to stop in to the Yearick-Millea office to say hi!

 

PR for Small Business: When Is It Time to Call-in The Experts?

When is it time for a small business to call in a public relations professional? Typically, the answer depends on factors such as your current workload, responsibilities, priorities and your company’s overall level of expertise in that arena.  Here are a few common scenarios for small businesses that don’t have a dedicated marketing or public relations function:

  • Your company is set to introduce a new product line.
  • It’s time to open a new store or manufacturing facility in your town and you need to inform the local community.
  • You are in-charge of a trade show presentation and need help creating a display and attracting prospects to your booth.

Now, here are a few questions: Do you or someone on your staff know how to make all the arrangements for a trade show, including reserving space, coordinating panel copy and design, ordering on-site labor or collecting sales leads? Do you have the media contacts necessary to arrange coverage of your company’s trade show presence, product rollout or grand opening? Are you confident in your ability to write a press release, follow-up with reporters or draft associated content for your website, printed literature and other outbound messaging?  If not, it could be time to reach out to the experts.

For many public relations firms and practitioners, the situations I’ve mentioned are their bread and butter. Leaving that type of work to an experienced firm or practitioner not only saves you time and stress, but typically leads to better results, greater awareness and more sales or traffic at your store or trade show booth.

Almost every city has a community of small PR firms and individual practitioners ready to help your business make a splash for fees that fit comfortably within your budget.  Few people would consider handling a legal issue for their company without outside expertise.  There’s no need to do so with your next trade show, product roll-out or grand opening, either.  For help, simply search the internet for PR firms in your city or visit the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) website.  There’s sure to be a good fit for your business.

Tips for Recent Public Relations and Communications Grads

Congratulations to all recent college graduates! It’s quite an accomplishment. Getting that first job, especially in the PR and communications industry, can be quite a challenge though. It’s competitive. Working at an agency, such as Yearick-Millea, is one of the best ways to learn all aspects of the business because of the variety of clients and the different types of projects, from media relations and crisis communications to internal communications and social media. An agency is a great start to a career for any recent college graduate, and today we provide a few tips, both general and specific, on how to land your first full-time position:

Network: Attend local industry functions. The PR and communications industry is relationship-driven, so the more people you meet, the better your chances of meeting someone who can benefit you throughout your personal and professional career. In fact, search for a mentor. By having someone in your life who can give you honest feedback regarding your strengths and weaknesses, you will always be prepared for your next career challenge.
Develop Your Skills: Your writing skills are probably your most valuable asset. Every aspect of a career in the industry thrives on good writing skills for creating good content to support communications plans. Sharpen your writing skills through blog writing and frequent reading (through a variety of media: social networks, newspapers, magazines).
Show Professionalism: Now that you’re out of college, developing skills to interact with all types of people at all levels of management is essential to working at an agency. If you’ve landed an interview, make a good presentation of yourself by dressing appropriately and providing thank-you notes following your interviews.

Agencies like Yearick-Millea are always eager for passionate and motivated young professionals. If you’re ever interested in learning more about what goes on at Yearick-Millea on a day-to-day basis, please reach out to us at info@yearick-millea.com to learn about any upcoming internship opportunities.

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things—Summertime at PPG Plaza

One our favorite places in the City of Pittsburgh is a short walk from the Yearick-Millea office. Now that the weather agrees that it’s spring (and almost summer!), PPG Place Plaza is open!

The plaza is located at the center of PPG Place and has a seating area with tables, plants and a “Water Feature,” where water pulses from the ground. When I was a freshman at Point Park University 10 years ago, the plaza was my first “find” in the city.

The plaza is a great place to visit during a weekend trip to the city, and it’s an awesome way to break up your work/school day Monday through Friday. You can eat your lunch (packed or takeout from one of the many delicious downtown restaurants), read a book, people watch, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the city. At the plaza, you can find friends catching up, first-time Pittsburgh visitors marveling the city’s beauty and local children enjoying the Water Feature.

Have you ever visited the PPG Plaza? What’s your favorite thing about the spot?

PPG Place Plaza

PPG Place Plaza