Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things—Kennywood Park

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things will be a regular series devoted to the places, things, and people in and around the city of Pittsburgh that all of us here at Yearick-Millea love.

Kennywood is open! Well, almost. On Saturday, May 3, one of my favorite places in Pittsburgh opens for the season.

Credit: Kennywood Park

Credit: Kennywood Park

Kennywood is one of the oldest amusement parks in America, and for me, it represents a feeling of nostalgia. Though I didn’t grow up in Pittsburgh, I’m lucky enough to have made memories at the park throughout my life. Growing up, my siblings and I would spend our summers in Pittsburgh with our grandparents, and going to Kennywood was a highlight during those trips.

I remember being small enough to enjoy the rides in Kiddieland, the Jack Rabbit was the first rollercoaster I ever rode, I’ve attended school/work/community picnics, and I even wrote about new attractions at the park when I worked as a newspaper reporter.

The amusement park features several wooden and steel coasters, thrill rides, classic fair rides and water rides. No matter how old I get or how many times the makeup of the park changes, the Kangaroo ride will always be my favorite because it was the first attraction we’d visit when my grandma would take us to the park.

Finally, a trip to Kennywood trip isn’t complete without delicious amusement park food! While the Potato Patch fries are very popular with the Kennywood crowd, I’m partial to the corn dogs and funnel cakes.

Do you have a favorite ride/food item from the park? Share your Kennywood memories with us in the comments section.

Making Customers Feel Valued Through Engagement on Social Media

The key to having a successful brand on social media (and offline, too) is not just to have a large volume of customers, but to have customers who feel valued. There are many ways you can do this, but this blog post will focus on one of the easiest—engagement.

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First, we should discuss what you have to gain from engaging your customers on social media:

  • Customers feel acknowledged and validated about their concerns or compliments.
  • It tells them that you are listening, and that their business is important to you.
  • It encourages them to share their positive experience with your brand with others.
  • Resulting one-on-one relationships can potentially be leveraged to expand your audience in the future.
  • Most importantly, engagement encourages brand loyalty from your customers.

Compare it to a retail situation – if you enter a store and none of the employees acknowledge you, do you feel valued? Are you inclined to spend your money there? Probably not. Whereas you likely enjoy visiting stores in which employees are always friendly, and you will gladly give them your business—you might even tell your friends about the great experience you have there.

Now that you know the importance of engaging your customers on social media, here are some ways to do it:

  • Like, favorite, share, comment on or retweet their content.
  • Respond to all legitimate mentions of your product/services/brand across social networks.
  • Promote great content from your audience, such as on topic blog posts.

What other ways can you think of to effectively engage with your customers? What has worked for you? Let us know in the comments!

 

Is It Who or Whom?

While thinking of a topic to blog about, I was looking at headlines on a popular news website when I saw, “Whom will Jackson hire to coach Knicks?” I smiled, but then I clicked the link and read, “Who might Phil Jackson want as his first Knicks coach?” My smile turned upside down.

Who vs Whom

While “who” and “whom” are both pronouns, many people do not use them correctly. The rule of thumb is to use “who” when referring to the subject of a clause—the person doing something—and “whom” when referring to the object—the person having something done to them.

There’s a really simple trick to help you figure out which pronoun to use. If the question can be answered with “he” (she, they, or we), then use “who,” but if it’s answered with “him” (her, them, or us), then use “whom.” The “m” in “him” and “whom” is the trick. Simple.

Who/Whom will Jackson hire to coach Knicks?

Jackson is the subject and the soon-to-be coach is the object. Jackson will hire “him,” so “whom” is correct.

Who/Whom might Jackson want as his first Knicks coach?

Here, the new coach is still the object. Jackson might want “him,” so “whom” should have been used.

Who/Whom will start in goal for the Penguins in game four?

Here, the goalie is the subject. “He” will start in goal, so “who” is correct.

Because many of us do not think fast enough on our feet, the distinction between “who” and “whom” is generally less important in speech than it is in writing. Unfortunately, since people aren’t taking the time to learn the difference between the two pronouns, the use of “whom” may disappear altogether.

Traditional Advertising in the Digital Age

The dictionary describes the word traditional as, “something that has been used by society, or a particular group, for an extended period of time.”  In the field of marketing, that definition can be accurately applied to advertising.

Traditional advertising has been in use since the earliest days of modern civilization.  Posters on a wall, leaflets, rudimentary newspapers and even the heralded town crier all existed then—many have survived and grown to this very day with the sole purpose of disseminating targeted information to the general public.  And by doing that, traditional advertising has played a vital role in global history.

But how is traditional advertising faring within our current digital age?  How has the time and preparation required by the standard approach to advertising been impacted by today’s faster, easier and less complicated approach to “stating your case?”  Simply put, traditional advertising is alive and well, and it’s even co-existing quite nicely with web-based methods of marketing.

The secret to obtaining the highest degree of results from both forms of advertising is allowing them to work together for your common goal — profits.  Web advertising alone will not necessarily achieve the desired results. However, incorporating your website and/or social media URLs into your traditional outreach campaign (TV, outdoor, print ads, direct mail, etc.) will increase the odds of attracting customers. Once consumers make it to your website, Facebook page, Twitter page, etc., the web content could hold their attention and increase the chances of new business relationships.

So if you’re on the fence regarding where to direct your advertising revenue for the foreseeable future, you may feel confident in the knowledge that the strategic combination of traditional advertising — utilizing references that drive people to your attractive, informative website and social media pages — will result in increased brand awareness and greater profitability for your business.

 

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things: The North Shore Trail

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things will be a regular series devoted to the places, things, and people in and around the city of Pittsburgh that all of us here at Yearick-Millea love.

Spring is here, and it’s time to get outside! Over the weekend, the weather was absolutely gorgeous, and I had the chance to enjoy one of my favorite city attractions—the North Shore Trail.

The trail is a part of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, which is comprised of separate trails that mainly run along Pittsburgh’s rivers— among them are the North Shore Trail, the Southside Trail, the Eliza Furnace Trail and the Pittsburgh Riverwalk. I am currently training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon, and I rely on these trails for enjoyable long runs (like my scheduled 10-miler this weekend). If the weather is nice, you’ll find a good amount of people running, walking or biking on the trails.

The portion I use most often is the North Shore trail, which runs along the Allegheny River for about eight miles from Millvale to Brunot Island. Though it can get a little crowded during Pirates and Steelers games, I love the stretch between PNC Park and the Rivers Casino because there’s so much to do and see for anyone who wants an afternoon of activity or leisure:

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The North Shore Trail is the perfect place for leisure and activity.

  • Take a walk/run/bike ride along the trail and pass by PNC Park, Heinz Field, the Carnegie Science Center, and the Rivers Casino.
  • Check out the many memorials and statues along the trail.
  • Take the kids to the water steps fountain near PNC Park.
  • Enjoy a meal or a drink at one of the many riverfront restaurants such as the Rivertowne North Shore or the Jerome Bettis Grille 36.
  • Cross over into downtown via four bridges.
  • Pack a picnic and blanket to enjoy at North Shore Park with a spectacular view of the city.
  • Rent a kayak to explore the river.

Which part of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail is your favorite? Let us know!

Tips to Maximize Your Pinterest Presence

Pinterest is an online tool that allows you to collect and organize the things that inspire you — your favorite recipes, decorating inspiration or traveling wish lists, for example. And while you’re pinning away, fellow pinners are providing an opportunity for you to discover new ideas. It’s a social media network that has more than 70 million users, but when you’re pinning for a company or brand, part of your strategic plans may be to build your platform through more and more followers.

Yearick-Millea's Public Relations board on Pinterest.

Yearick-Millea’s Public Relations board on Pinterest.

Gaining followers can be as simple as pinning to a diverse set of boards every day, following a variety of other people and commenting on their pins, and ultimately crossing your pins to your other social media networks.

But what strategies can you implement to create those posts on Pinterest that go viral?

  • Create an infographic the makes the reader want to read more from your company. Putting text on a photo allows the user to identify an image, but it also requires them to click through the pin that ends up on your website. Another benefit!
  • Provide short, yet detailed descriptions or captions for your pins. People use the search filter on Pinterest to find specific items that may interest them, so it’s important to create those captions with significant keywords for all of your pins.
  • Consider the time or season when you are posting, and make sure the content is relevant. Searching the “Popular” board on Pinterest today, I see a variety of spring time images with flowers and Easter activities. So, posting something today regarding back-to-school or winter themes, for example, most definitely will not gain big results on likes and repins.

To learn more about where your pins are ending up —  what images and videos people have been pinning directly from your website — view your site’s source page on Pinterest by visiting: http://pinterest.com/source/[yoursitehere.com]. Pinterest can be a valuable social media outlet for your company, so maximize your presence today!

Is it just I?

Last week, my colleague, Heidi Dezayas, a former newspaper reporter, wrote despairingly of the Associated Press’ decision to sanction the use of “over” and “more than” interchangeably when writing about numerical values.

Heidi’s right, but her blog reminded me of a piece I saw on TV a few weeks ago about another grammar gremlin that frequently annoys me. Apparently, it annoys Bill Flanagan, a regular contributor to CBS Sunday Morning, too.

In the short video linked below, Mr. Flanagan laments the growing inability of English speakers to use “me” and “I,” properly; then offers some easy instruction to help us keep them straight. Here’s his take:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/bill-flanagan-of-the-grammar-police-on-i-and-me/

What do you think?  Is it just “I,” or does it bother you, too.  Are there other common grammar bugaboos that annoy you? If you want to get them off your chest, share them with us here.

More Than Words?

A few weeks ago, Associated Press (AP) Stylebook editors announced that “over” and “more than” could both be used when writing about numerical values. Previously, the rule stated that “more than” was used to refer to numerical values and “over” was used to talk about the physical, spatial relationship of two objects.

For example: I ran more than five miles this morning, but I had to keep stepping over patches of ice.

On the surface, the change doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, but copy editors everywhere were shocked. Because of my background as a news reporter and editor, I wasn’t thrilled with the announcement. When I was in school earning my journalism degree, the rule of “more than” versus “over” was drilled into my mind.

The words generally are used interchangeably by anyone who doesn’t work in a newsroom, as long as it sounds right in a particular sentence. AP editors stated they decided to make the change because using “over” has become common usage. Some copy editors on Twitter discussed spending a lot of time making the correction when they were editing articles. I’m 100 percent sure that copy editors spend a boatload of time correcting the common, yet incorrect, interchangeable uses of “affect” and effect,” “between” and “among,” and “which,” “that,” and “who.” That being the case, would it grammatically make sense for the AP to be more lenient with those word uses? I don’t think so. Rules should change for grammatical progress, not for simplicity’s sake.

AP Stylebook editors stated that those who prefer using “more than” aren’t required to start using “over.” I can say with absolute certainty I won’t be making the switch, but that’s my own personal preference. What about you?

The Importance of Having an Editorial Calendar

The nature of social media may be spontaneous, but if you are running a company or several companies’ accounts, you need to be more strategic with your planning. An editorial calendar can help you schedule content and stay organized.

Here are some simple steps to take while crafting an editorial calendar for your social media sites:

  •  Organize your thoughts and topics for the upcoming month or months
  • Make sure you don’t have gaps in content, blog posts or on certain social networks
  • Keep important dates, events and topics in mind
  • Ensure your message is unified across all platforms and stays consistent with your brand’s tone 
  • Manage your social media plan across all platforms – different platforms require different types of content and follow different guidelines, etc.
  • Most importantly, free up your time to engage with your audience, and brainstorm campaigns to enhance and evolve your social media efforts

With all this in mind, stay flexible. Your editorial calendar is just a guideline – sometimes breaking news or other important content will come up and take the place of your planned content.