The Sky’s the Limit…

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Every client has a story to tell, a goal to reach. We believe every public relations story and marketing goal should be approached with a “sky’s the limit” style.

That positive inspiration carries over to the Hendricks Communications’ blog, below. Offering inspiring tips, news and reflections on writing, marketing, social media and much more, join us in the conversations below!

Caretakers for a Century

CaretakersGettysburg is a town forever etched in history–“the most famous small town in America”–and our hallowed battlefields draw millions of visitors ever year. The absolute best way to experience the battlefields, according to many in the tourism industry, is with a Licensed Battlefield Guide. This year, 2015, marks the 100th anniversary of this very elite group of men and women who literally keep history alive, recounting the many interwoven stories that collectively tell the story of the Battle of Gettysburg.

Cel Gburg mag May-June 2015It was my great honor to meet and interview several Licensed Battlefield Guides to find out more about their special calling, becoming “Caretakers for a Century.” This article is published in Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, May/June 2015.

To explore more angles to this story…

  • About 560 people have become licensed battlefield guides since 1915. Joining their elite ranks requires dedication in many ways. The first step is… Click here for How to Become a Licensed Battlefield Guide, published on the Celebrate Gettysburg blog.
Battlefield Guide Tom Vossler-67

Licensed Battlefield Guide Tom Vossler leads a tour group. (Photo credit: Casey Martin)

SchroyerDiary inside July 1863

Looking inside Michael Schroyer’s diary (Photo courtesy Sue Boardman)

Behind the Cover: It was my honor to celebrate the current issue's release with Joe  Mieczkowski, President of the Gettysburg Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides, who was an instrumental source for this cover story!

Behind the Cover: It was my honor to celebrate the current issue’s release with Joe Mieczkowski, President of the Gettysburg Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides, who was an instrumental source for this cover story!

At the Crossroads

At the CrossroadsSpring… a time for renewal, rebirth and growth. Everything about spring seems to contradict all of my preconceived opinions of hospice care. But after researching my latest story for Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, and meeting some of the most compassionate people on earth (really!), I have a new opinion and reoriented beliefs about hospice care. Springtime truly is the perfect time to read about hospice care–celebrating quality of life, honoring life’s journey, and touching lives.

Click here to read At the Crossroads, featured in the March/April issue of Celebrate Gettysburg magazine.

Also – read about patients’ “last wishes, goals and dreams” in Honoring Hospice Patients’ Last Requests… and click here for Residential Hospice Care Options featuring a one-of-a-kind facility located in Harrisburg. Both articles are exclusive online articles found on the magazine’s blog.

Just as spring is a time for renewal, I hope these articles provide new insight into the incredible, life-changing, caring services provided by hospice.

Small Businesses Struggle with Technology

ID-100127146Even with the marketing muscle of social media campaigns such as “Buy Local” and “Small Business Saturday,” a recent survey found that America’s small businesses are severely struggling to keep up with technology trends. The Score Association, a nonprofit organization based in Herndon, VA that partners with the U.S. Small Business Administration, released a number of eye-opening statistics in early January:

  • Only 51% of small businesses have websites, despite the fact that 97% of consumers regularly search for products and services online

Analyzing the 51% of small business who currently have websites:

  • 82% are not utilizing social media
  • 93% of the websites are not compatible with mobile devices
  • 27% did not include a phone number on their website
  • 68% did not include an email address within their contact information

Researchers at Score found that many small business owners are dismissing their web and social media presence because they feel as though they don’t have time to develop these resources, according to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. However, the same study finds compelling reasons for small businesses to devote the time and energy into improving their virtual presence:

  • 91% of consumers have visited a store based upon a positive online experience
  • 96% of consumers surveyed research products or services on their mobile device
  • 73% of mobile searches trigger calls, store visits and sales

Small business owners always account for at least half of the attendance at my social media workshops. It is so rewarding to provide them with the tools they need to succeed on-line! I’m excited to announce several upcoming classes at Gettysburg’s Adams County Arts Council, along with a new location—the PA Guild of Craftsmen, Center for American Craft, Lancaster. Here are the class descriptions, locations, dates and links for more information… hope to see you there! The Art of Social Media

  • Wednesdays, January 21 – February 11, 6:30-8:30pm (a 4-class series)
  • Adams County Arts Council, Gettysburg PA
  • Communication today is multi-faceted. Whether you’re communicating for business or pleasure, in this class you’ll learn to navigate social media channels, select the “best fits” for you, and enjoy connecting with friends, colleagues, and/or customers. Includes how to set up a website or blog with WordPress, plus Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, and Snapfish for photo storage.

The Art of Social Media will also be offered as a weekend workshop:

And for those of you who like to plan ahead… Facebook 101 (10am-12pm) & Twitter 101 (1-3pm):

  • Saturday, August 22
  • Center for American Craft, Lancaster PA
  • Brush up on your skills by taking one class or both!
  • Small businesses account for one of the fastest-growing segments of social media due to its free availability and effectiveness.
  • Facebook 101 is a 2-hour workshop. Learn how to best utilize a media staple—Facebook—to showcase your arts/crafts or small business. The session will provide practical tips and helpful how-to’s, geared towards developing and maintaining a Facebook business page—often thought of as a mini-website. Time for personal Q&As is included during the class.
  • Twitter 101 is the focus of the afternoon session, designed to help you develop a comfort level and strategies for tweeting like a pro! This session allows time for your personal Q&As.

Oh Christmas Tree

Adams County Christmas Tree Farms Offer Homegrown Holiday Traditions

NovDec2014Searching, finding, and cutting the perfect Christmas tree–it’s a holiday tradition that flourishes on Adams County Christmas tree farms. “A lot of families come year after year, going on 30 years, bringing their children and then grandchildren,” says Michael Breighner, owner of The Gettysburg (Breighner) Tree Farm. “They have the Christmas spirit, enjoying the view, smiles on their faces–those are the kinds of things that make the Christmas tree experience worthwhile.”

Click here to continue reading “Oh Christmas Tree,” my cover story in the Nov/Dec 2014 issue of Celebrate Gettysburg magazine.

Extras: Get to “The Roots of the Christmas Tree Tradition” and learn about “Christmas Tree Tips,” online content published on the Celebrate Gettysburg blog.

The infinite, subtle variations between Christmas tree varieties is astounding. Enjoy the photos below that demonstrate why many evergreens are considered “blue” or “silver” needled. All of the photos were taken at Gettysburg (Breighner) Tree Farm in September 2014. It was challenging, waiting for a slightly overcast day, so that the lighting would appear natural for the Nov/Dec issue!

"Swiss Silver" Strain of the Concolor Fir

“Swiss Silver” Strain of the Concolor Fir

Long, Lush White Pine Needles

Long, Lush White Pine Needles

The Bluish-Green Tint of Canaan Fir

The Bluish-Green Tint of Canaan Fir

The Silvery Underside of the Normandy Fir

The Silvery Underside of the Normandy Fir

Michael Breighner talks about the relatively quick growth of a Scotch Pine

Michael Breighner talks about the relatively quick growth of a Scotch Pine

Scarring caused by deer, seen in the interior of a tree

Scarring caused by deer, seen in the interior of a tree

The Serbian Spruce is characterized by patches of silvery and dark green needles

The Serbian Spruce is characterized by patches of silvery and dark green needles

Dark blue-green Canaan Fir

Dark blue-green Canaan Fir

Side-by-Side: Comparing the Swiss Silver Strain of the Concolor Fir (left) to the standard Concolor Fir (right)

Side-by-Side: Comparing the Swiss Silver Strain of the Concolor Fir (left) to the standard Concolor Fir (right)

Christmas tree varieties are mixed throughout Gettysburg Tree Farm's 33 acres

Christmas tree varieties are mixed throughout Gettysburg Tree Farm’s 33 acres

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas with family and friends close by your very own Christmas tree!

Branching Out

Autumn conjures up colorful images of crimson and golden leaves… as well as crimson and golden apples fresh from the orchards. Apples have been at the core of Adams County’s economy for decades. However, many local orchardists, wineries, and entrepreneurs are leading a new movement–a revival is the beverage industry–and utilizing Adams County’s cash crop to bring back a beverage that’s as American as apple pie itself.

Celebrate Gettysburg magazine sept-oct 2014Click here to read my latest article for Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, Branching Out: Adams County Apples Give New Taste to All-American Apple Cider. I’m honored to say it’s the cover story in the September/October issue, featuring gorgeous photography by the talented Casey Martin.

“People are falling in love with our wineries & we hope they’ll fall in love with our cider makers as well,” says Carl Whitehill, director of communications for Destination Gettysburg. For another angle on the story, click here for The Apple of Tourism’s Eye, my article on the Celebrate Gettysburg blog.

Freelance assignments have kept me busy all spring and summer! Here are a few additional highlights:

Caught in the Crossfire: Preserving the Stories of Civilians in the Civil War, cover story in Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, July/August 2014

Licensed Town Historians are working to keep the stories of downtown Gettysburg and her 1863 residents, alive, from their York Street location - as profiled in Caught in the Crossfire

Licensed Town Historians are working to keep the stories of downtown Gettysburg, and her 1863 residents, alive, from their York Street location – as profiled in Caught in the Crossfire

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Gardening for Community Good: Adams County’s thriving community gardens, Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, March/April 2014

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A profile of photographer Ted Scarpino, Evolving from Photography to iPhoneography, for Handmade in PA, Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen:

Photography, at its very core, is a merging of art and science. And you could say that photographer Ted Scarpino was truly born into both fields, since his mother was an art teacher and his father taught science. The family’s home even included a dark room in the basement… Click here to read the full article.

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Aging in Place

“Aging in Place in Adams County,” Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, March/April 2014:

“There’s no place like home” is a beloved line from the classic film The Wizard of Oz, but it’s also a sentiment echoed by more and more seniors who wish to spend their golden years living in their own homes as long as their health and finances allow… Click here to read more.

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Instagram Images: Social Media Eye Candy

The Philadelphia Zoo is wild about Instagram!

The Philadelphia Zoo is wild about Instagram!

By Karen Hendricks

This column examines the latest social media trends, while highlighting Gettysburg and Adams County businesses.This article was first published in Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, May/June 2014.

One of the fastest-growing forms of social media, Instagram features smartphone-based photography combined with a variety of fun apps that add vintage appeal. About 5 million mobile photographers are signing up weekly, and Instagrammers recently surpassed the 50 million mark. It’s a remarkable success story, as Instagram went from a zero-revenue startup to a $1 billion company that Facebook purchased in April 2012.

Instagram’s visual appeal ties in perfectly with one of the biggest topics in social media circles: the growing prevalence of images and the decreasing amount of text, on both the Internet and social media channels.

Whether you join Instagram purely for fun—sharing photos with family/friends—or whether you approach it from a business perspective, Instagram offers a unique blend of smartphone technology combined with a nostalgic twist. The app lets you select from a variety of 20 filters, many of which give your photos a retro feel. For example, there’s the “1977” filter with a Polaroid-type appearance.

Basically, your “feed” consists of photos from people you follow, similar to other social media streams. The big difference is that Instagram is 100 percent eye candy—photographs with very little text except for short captions, which are optional. Like Twitter, hashtags help identify photos within a theme.

Small businesses, associations and nonprofits are hopping on the Instagram train every day and adding it into their marketing campaigns. What a beautiful way to showcase a brand—snapping exclusive, behind-the-scenes photos or highlighting products or events in order to reach new audiences. Some of the most visual and creative Instagram images are posted by USA Today, Starbucks, National Geographic and the Philadelphia Zoo.

Three Adams County businesses currently using Instagram to their advantage by showing local scenery and events include:

If you enjoy Gettysburg area scenery and events, these are three accounts to watch!

Destination Gettysburg's Instagram Profile

Destination Gettysburg’s Instagram Profile

And to read more about the upward trend of visuals, see our previous article, The Visual Vocabulary of Social Media.

 

 

With Teens in Mind

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By Karen Hendricks

Welcome to “Gettysburg Social!” This column examines the latest social media trends and was first published in Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, March/April 2014. 

Ninety-five percent of American teens have access to the Internet and 78 percent own a cell phone—two reasons that social media use continues to soar among teenagers. According to the Pew Research Center, 81 percent of online teens use social media. What can adults do to help teens stay safe and maintain a healthy perspective?

Arm yourself with the e-facts

  • Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the top three social media sites used by teens. All three require users to be at least 13 years old.
  • Sixty percent of teens use privacy settings on Facebook, meaning only friends can see their posts and photos. That means 40 percent grant public access to their photos and information.
  • Ninety-two percent use their real names on the profiles they use most often; 91 percent post photos of themselves.

Set e-rules

Social media can be accessed on cell phones, computers, iPods and other devices. Set usage limits and make sure teens maintain a balance of “real life,” studying, sports/activities, family time and socializing with friends vs. “screen time.” This may not win you a “mother-of-the-year” award!

Be e-savvy

Talk to teens about boundaries, privacy and safety. Topics for discussion include location-enabled services, privacy settings, appropriate language and examples of cyberbullying.

Limit e-photos

Photo-sharing can be a wonderful aspect of social media, especially for teens’ friends or family in faraway places. But talk about the permanence of viral photos and stay on top of a trend that spirals out of control for many teens: posting “selfies.”

Look at the big e-picture

Social media use can impact future college and job applications. Help teens understand that their actions, online or otherwise, have consequences that reach beyond their teenage years.

Show e-love

One last statistic: 72 percent of parents say they do not get involved in their teens’ social media use because they are “overwhelmed by technology,” and they just hope for the best.

To see previous Gettysburg Social columns, click here.

Karen Hendricks, the mother of three teens, owns Hendricks Communications, a Gettysburg-based firm specializing in PR, marketing and related services such as social media. She also teaches social media classes regularly at the Adams County Arts Council.