Posts Taged a-wordsmith

A.wordsmith Continues to Grow

Portland A.wordsmith

June was a big month for A.wordsmith.

Last month, A.wordsmith saw a surge in new projects for our copywriting and content development team, as well as expanded marketing, media and publicity demands from established clients.  All told, we shattered a record in terms of client and firm productivity.

Since opening in 2009, the agency has grown from a one-woman operation to a dynamic business with a local, national and international footprint. The growing number of clients and projects have allowed the firm to fine tune and develop its offerings with new team members. Since June, A.wordsmith has made new hires at the director and manager levels, increased the involvement of our writing support team, and resumed the internship program. Roles and opportunities at the associate level have also expanded. These additions have contributed new skills and areas of expertise – all part of our growing capacity and knowledgebase.

3 Tips to Create an Effective Media List


The creation of an effective media list is an essential component to any PR plan. A media list is a compilation of media outlets including specific reporter contact information. As someone who is just beginning my career in PR, I find myself looking to the below tips when creating media lists from scratch. They have helped to direct my process and break down the task of creating a media list into manageable parts. Here’s hoping it can do the same for you.

Understand Your Audience and Scope

This is a crucial starting point for beginning your media list. Who is your client and who are they trying to reach? What industry are they in and what industries are do they want to engage? What kind of publicity are they looking for? The more specific you can be with these answers, the better. This gathered information should guide the media outlets you target, whether it’s print, online, broadcast, or some other form of media.

Similar to understanding your audience is determining the scope of the publicity you want for your client. Where do they want to be seen? Do they want highly localized media coverage? Regional or national? This will help broaden or narrow your focus on media outlets.

mobile social media


Check Twice and Use Twitter

Finding the perfect media outlet for your client will only be helpful if you pitch to the right reporter. Media databases like MyMediaInfo will have information about reporters and their beats, but they could be out of date. It’s important to cross check this information with other sources. This can be done with media outlet staff directories, such as The Oregonian. However, while some media outlets have detailed staff directories, others do not. You can also look up past articles written by a reporter to ensure they align with the content you hope to pitch.

Social media can also provide additional insight on a reporter. Check out their Twitter or other social media platforms to see the kind of content they consistently post. This can be a helpful indicator of what content interests them. Additionally, interacting with reporters via social media can help them get to know you which is beneficial when pitching.

Have a Little Patience

Sometimes finding the right reporter at the optimal news outlet can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Some clients may be highly specific and have less outlets that are applicable, while others may be broader. Be persistent with your research. Crafting a great media list can take time and that’s okay. Happy hunting!

The A.wordsmith Model | A Culture for Work/Life Balance

The A.wordsmith Model

The A.wordsmith model is build to reflect our commitment to not only high-quality client service, but also work/life balance. In the office we are kick-ass communication professionals, with world-class public relations, branding and marketing expertise. At home we are mothers, partners and friends with those we value most.

The firm’s flexible model means our team manages results-driven national thought leadership and reputation management programs for clients, all while putting kids on the bus in the morning, making soccer practices and catching kindergarten graduation. Who says you can’t have it all?

If you’re a communication professional with 10+ years’ experience in agency and/or corporate settings and you’re contemplating how you can move your career forward while raising your kids to be outstanding human beings, give us a shout and learn more about the A.wordsmith model at

From One Working Mother to Another

working mother

A frustrating truth

Today a powerful column appeared on It was written by Katharine Zaleski, a former journalistic powerhouse who held top roles at The Huffington Post and The Washington Post in her mid-20s.  She is open and honest about how she viewed and treated women who were mothers during that time. Honestly recalling how she killed a potential partnership with an online editor because of the number of kid photos the lady had up in her office; also confessing her agreement to fire a woman “before she got pregnant”; sharing that she regularly scheduled meetings at 4:30pm, dismissing the fact that working mothers may need to be leaving to get their kids from daycare; and admitting to looking down on mothers who couldn’t join happy hour functions because of family commitments.  Wow.

Today this same woman is a working mother – with a very different perspective. After having her daughter she resigned from her role in journalism and founded her own business, PowerToFly, a technology company geared at helping mothers find work they can do virtually from home. She readily admits that “mothers are the people you need on your team” and is proud to share that the editor she dissed because of the children photos is now the executive editor at PowerToFly. IMG_4672

Since the column first appeared earlier today the social media world lit up with comments and shares, most overwhelmingly positive toward Katharine for admitting her previous short-comings and furthering the conversation on this controversial topic.

Life as a working mother

What it means to be a working mother is hard to describe. Just because we are mothers does not mean we have lost our will, or ability, or drive to work hard. And just because we want to work does not mean we don’t care about our children. Every mother is different and what feels right in her gut is something that only she can determine. For me, I am proud to be a mother who works. That is what feels right to me. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come without sacrifice or challenge. Sometimes it takes a village to coordinate client meetings, make sports practices and still get dinner on the table. But at the end of the day when the kids are asleep and I sit down with a glass of wine, my soul feels fulfilled in a way that it wouldn’t should kids and work not co-exist.

I am continually inspired by the group of working women at A.wordsmith, and I am proud of the model we have in place. A model that has brought out some of the most talented professionals I know, who also happen to be amazing moms. Thank you to Katharine Zaleski for your honestly and candor about being a working mother and for pushing open the door for women just a bit wider.


What Does it Mean to be a Thought Leader?

Thought Leader Word Cloud


As you may (or may not) have noticed, A.wordsmith has recently changed it’s descriptive title from “a boutique PR and marketing firm” to “a boutique PR and thought leadership firm.” Likewise, you may be thinking, “What exactly does that mean?” Well, I’m here to tell you.

Marketing for the sake of sales

By definition, marketing involves communicating the value of a product or service for the sake of promoting its sale. It is a tactic used by many businesses to procure monetary and economic reward. Don’t get me wrong – part of what we do at A.wordsmith does involve implementing programs for our clients with the aim of boosting their sales. But the main focus of Public Relations is not to help our clients “get rich quick” because that would be a less-than-sincere goal. What we really care about is exactly what “Public Relations” sounds like – helping our clients build strong relationships with and within the community so that they might have the opportunity to properly showcase the quality of their products/services and grow as the healthy companies/organizations that they already are.

Trust in a thought leader

Now, on the other hand, here’s what a thought leader is: an informed and well-trusted opinion leader who inspires people with innovative ideas and turns these ideas into reality. Note that they key words here are “informed” and “well-trusted.” When a business knows a great deal about its field and can answer any and all of its public’s questions, trust and respect is what results. And following its establishment of trustworthy expertise with its customers, it is able to thrive. Even Forbes agrees.

It’s easy to see that, when comparing marketing and thought leadership, marketing fails to build relational trust and respect where thought leadership excels at it. I guess you could boil it all down to a matter of sustainability – marketing seems to be an unsustainable tactic because it focuses on immediate and short-term effects, whereas thought leadership is very sustainable because it prioritizes creating and maintaining relationships rather than selling products. This is not to say that thought leadership doesn’t help clients’ profitability, because often it can and does. But the difference is that any  increased profitability resulting from thought leadership is the byproduct of something much more substantial: the public’s trust and respect for the company/organization itself.

In short, we here at A.wordsmith have changed the way we describe ourselves because we want the public to know that we strive to help our clients improve quality first, and quantity second. Hence why we have made it a point to re-identify as a thought leadership, rather than marketing, firm.

Drew Carney Goes Viral

Portland, Oregon sign

For those of us in Portland, Drew Carney is a bit of a TV superstar. You might get ready in the morning while watching his antics, or catch him emceeing the annual Kells Smoker at the St. Patrick’s Day Irish Festival; however this week he cemented his place in national, viral infamy.  To try to explain what happened would likely ruin some of its impact, so it’s best to just let the clip speak for itself.  GO USA! GO DREW!


A Beautiful Project, Indeed

Lately I have become captivated by the amazing A Beautiful Body Project by photographer Jade Beall.  I am not too proud to admit that my stomach does not resemble itself from nine years ago, before I’d birthed a 10 pound (no, that is not a joke or exaggeration) baby – and then three years later her 8 1/2 pound sister.  The skin is stretched and wrinkled and my belly button is more of an outie now than an innie.  There have been times when I’ve hated that new stomach and contemplated how to get it flatter and firmer, whether that meant shaking through a plank hold or researching plastic surgery.

A Beautiful Body Project is so well done, and it really gets to the core of what matters – loving yourself and those around you.  Jade’s book The Bodies of Mothers which she did as part of the project has the ability to make you appreciate – or at the very least, happily accept – those stretches and wrinkles and what they represent as a mom.  The story behind the project is inspiring and the results of her Kickstarter and subsequent PR campaign speak for themselves.  Jade is single-handedly breaking down insecurities and building self-confidence in women…one stretch mark at a time. @ABeautBodyProj

ABBP Cover

A note to POM

To the PR team at POM,

Your letter is absolute perfection.  I bow down to you.





Inc. magazine recognizes Voodoo Doughnut as one of “Most Audacious Companies”


Great piece in Inc. on Voodoo Doughnut about how the company has earned its spot in history through outrageous doughnuts, word-of-mouth marketing, quirky weddings, and a record label. Love to see Portland businesses making national news!

Welcome Kailee!

Welcome Kailee Pence to the A.wordsmith team! Kailee joins as our spring intern and we’re so excited to have her. There’s much about her to like, starting with her love of country music, good Chinese food and visits to both the beach and mountain. Here are 5 more things you might not know about her unless you asked:

  • As a senior in college, I lived 3 months abroad in Paderno del Grappa, Italy
  • I’ve been a dancer since I was 10, dancing as a Junior Blazer Dancer and a member of the University of Oregon dance team
  • I love to bake! Especially during the holidays I am constantly in the kitchen
  • My favorite music to listen to is country and I rarely listen to anything else
  • I would spend all my time at the beach if I could. I love to be near the ocean eating seafood!