Is your Team Moving in the Right Direction? Understanding the similarities between sailing and PR & the Meaning behind “Ballast”

Posted by on Jun 22, 2017 in Lessons, PR Methodology, Sailing | 0 comments

As another Chicago summer sets the tone for humid heat and warm winds, public relations firms and sailing teams prepare for a busy season. America’s Cup fanatics are watching the 35th Cup this week from Bermuda as Lake Michigan sailors get ready for Chicago Yacht Club’s 109th Race to Mackinac, taking off July 15 east of Navy Pier. Similarly, PR professionals are gearing up for a season of outdoor events, new seasonal products and holidays that celebrate the excitement of summer fun. Though it may seem strange to liken business to sailing,...

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The Importance of Internships: How to Get a Jump-Start on Your Confidence and Your Career

Posted by on Jun 8, 2017 in General, Lessons | 0 comments

At the start of senior year, most college students begin contemplating what the ‘real world’ will look like. They prepare for that ever-so daunting job search and stress over securing their first post-graduation position.   As college seniors everywhere are graduating, there are a few helpful tips for freshmen, sophomores and juniors on how to get a jump start on your career and bypass most of the senior stress. The first, and arguably most important tip, is securing not only one but two or three internships during college. When I was in my...

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Find Your Inspiration: Best 2017 Commencement Speeches

Posted by on Jun 1, 2017 in Entrepreneur Thoughts, General | 0 comments

It’s that time of year again when the weather warms and the tassels are turned to the left side. As college seniors graduate from private and public institutions across the country, news organizations flood us with headlines of commencement speeches with the “best advice” or “words of wisdom.” Twelve years ago, as Kellee Johnson started The Ballast Group, one commencement speaker’s words stood out. Delivered by Steve Jobs at Stanford University’s 2005 commencement address they were: “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.” Those words inspired The...

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How Entrepreneurship Fuels Job Growth

Posted by on May 16, 2017 in Entrepreneur Thoughts, General, Lessons | 0 comments

“Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.” For those of you who know The Ballast Group or our founder, Kellee Johnson, it is likely that you have seen or heard these words — especially around college graduation time. This quote, from Steve Jobs’s 2005 Stanford University commencement address, is the inspiration behind Kellee Johnson’s entrepreneurial spirit and the force behind her drive to continue finding best storytelling practices for The Ballast Group everyday. In 2005, Kellee founded The Ballast Group after working for Tropicana, Abbott Labs...

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12 Leads in 12 Minutes: Now What? Never Assume Your Client Defines PR the Same Way You Do

Posted by on May 9, 2017 in Client Talk, General, Lessons, PR Methodology | 0 comments

Every public relations professional and many CEOs know the power of earned media. A lead in a major metropolitan newspaper or an interview on a network station that gets syndicated — this type of exposure can lead to millions of impressions that increase a business’s revenue and reputation. While PR contributes to sales goals, sometimes different levels of leaders can misinterpret the role and responsibility of the PR function. Typically business leaders dictate the strategy for building the internal structure necessary for managing an...

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Built to Last: Why Honesty and Transparency Matter between Public Relations Professionals and Journalists

Posted by on May 2, 2017 in General, Lessons, PR Methodology | 0 comments

Behind every great story is a journalist. And behind every great journalist is a public relations professional offering ideas and sources for those stories. With increasing access to stories breaking around the globe, journalists no longer have time to develop a story the way they used to. When a PR professional does his or her job well, journalists are brought good stories to consider. Once these stories are told, PR professionals and journalists are launched into relationships built on mutual trust. According to The Ballast Group founder,...

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Define Success before a PR Engagement Begins

Posted by on Apr 25, 2017 in General, Lessons, PR Methodology | 0 comments

A question that I like to ask CEOs or sponsors at the beginning of any new project is: “How will you define success at the end of this project? If your definition was a news headline, what would it say?” A former Baxter executive founded a medical education start-up company that taught physicians how to practice a simulated procedure instead of practicing on a real patient. He answered my question with a commanding: “I want to be on the cover of Fortune magazine as the most feared man in medicine.” Alrighty I thought — a very articulate...

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The Importance of Joining a Board

Posted by on Apr 18, 2017 in Entrepreneur Thoughts, Lessons | 0 comments

Many young professionals who launch a career consider three things before starting: Can I support myself financially doing this work? Will I like doing this work? Am I offering the world some type of benefit by doing this work? Often for motivated career professionals, these questions never stop. In fact, Presidents and CEOs of major companies ask themselves these types of questions annually. The search to find that perfect balance between happy and doing good becomes a lifelong quest. The Ballast Group’s founder, Kellee Johnson, offers...

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Amplyifying earned media: why the story is only the start

Posted by on Feb 27, 2017 in General, Lessons, PR Methodology | 0 comments

Earned media results always starts by asking “why.” Why is this story relevant? Why does your audience care? Once this is clear the chance of your story getting published greatly increases. The story is only the start. Earned media is the most credible of the four types of media – paid, earned, shared or owned- also known as P.E.S.O. Earned media begins by convincing editors, writers, producers and bloggers that your story has merit. You can’t buy earned media. According to Amplify, LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions Report, “Earned...

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How PR has grown up: the evolution to a blended branding approach

Posted by on Feb 10, 2017 in Lessons, PR Methodology | 0 comments

The purpose of public relations has not changed in decades — build interesting and accurate narratives and tell great stories that include stakeholder perceptions.                                                       What has changed quite significantly in the last two decades is the way stories are told. The number of available channels has increased to make parts of our jobs 24/7 – online news, blogs, and social media. Despite the number of increasing channels, knowing your audiences and where they are online is the first step...

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