WELCOME VIN HENEY TO NORTHPR

I’m very excited to announce that Vin Heney has joined NorthPR!

As demand for a more personable and agile approach to PR becomes the norm, I am thrilled to have Vin Heney join me at NorthPR. Vin and I are not strangers to working with each other—he used to be a client of mine where I admired his strong writing and editing skills, and his very kind personality! His ability to keep me organized is a big plus, too! Vin has been working alongside me since the fall after going out on his own venture, becoming a copywriter and communications consultant. Vin continues to run his own consultancy while working with NorthPR.

We’re excited to take 2019 by storm! Off and running already with a strong client roster whose stories we are so excited to share this year.

Welcome Vin!!

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Summertime at NorthPR!

Wow, it's been a while since I've posted an update to my blog. If this was a client blog, I wouldn't be very impressed with them.

I wanted to write a quick update on what's happening at NorthPR. Spring flew by with lots of one-off PR projects and work with my ongoing retainer clients. I'm also excited to partner with two new Canadian startups - Lowest Rates and #paid.

LowestRates is an online rate comparison site allowing Canadians to make more informed decisions about mortgage, insurance and credit cards - think Expedia for personal finance. They just relaunched their website and new brand, and a consumer-focused marketing campaign will be rolling out soon.

Many Canadians are unaware sites like Lowest Rates exists, so I will be working to build awareness that Canadians should shop around before settling on big financial decisions. We've already secured some great media hits including a contributed article in The Globe and Mail by CEO, Justin Thouin, and a spot on CHCH News discussing Ontario's car insurance changes. There's lots of things in the works with this team, and I'm excited to be part of their rapid growth. 

With the proliferation of social media apps like Snapchat, Tumblr and Instagram, #paid is simplifying the way that brands connect and work with digital influencers. #paid matches social media influencers with brands to create partnerships that allows influencers to make a living and help brands get their message out in a more authentic way.  They’ve facilitated influencer partnerships with some of the world’s biggest brands, including PepsiCo and Anheuser-Busch.

I’m excited to watch this young startup really take off. I believe in the team and what they've built (so many PR people can also benefit from this platform). Since working with #paid, they've had two very exciting announcements. The team inked a deal with leading marketing agency Dentsu Aegis to expand the agency's access to digital influencers, and today, Two Small Fish Ventures, founded by Wattpad's CEO Allen Lau and his wife, Eva Lau, announced an investment in #paid. Read more about it on Two Small Fish Ventures blog here.

I'm looking forward to a productive summer working with these great clients! As always, Regus Canada continues to keep me busy with its ongoing workspace expansion across Canada, including its latest in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Mississauga.  And I'm always having a blast with the team at SoHo Metropolitan Hotel. 

Hope everyone is having a great start to summer!

Cheers,
Linda

NorthPR Working On Another Innovative Project!

We're working on another interesting and innovative project with the Public Services Health & Safety Association (PSHSA). Using Fatigue Science Readiband technology, PSHSA is taking major steps to understand fatigue in the workplace.

Check out the press release below to learn more!   

PSHSA Takes Steps to Prevent Fatigue in the Workplace
PSHSA works with leading work-related injuries researcher to implement new Fatigue Science Readiband technology

TORONTO (October 13, 2015) – Fatigue in the workplace is a major health and safety issue that requires increased understanding of its impact and prevention. With its mandate to improve safety in the workplace, the Public Services Health and Safety Association (PSHSA) is taking major steps to improve how fatigue will be prevented and handled in the workplace.

Today, PSHSA announced it is providing leading work-related injuries researcher, Lora Cavuoto with Fatigue Science Readibands, a wearable wrist-worn technology that monitors sleep, activity and fatigue. The goal is to gather data-driven research to understand the impact of fatigue and implement innovative solutions to prevent it as a workplace hazard.

Studies have shown that fatigue is about four times more likely to contribute to workplace impairment than drugs or alcohol, and a fatigued worker is at 70 per cent greater risk of accident than a non-fatigued worker.

“We know that fatigue in the workplace is a major health and safety issue,” said Glenn Cullen, VP Corporate Programs and Product Development, PSHSA. “We need to learn how to prevent fatigue in the workplace and new technology like Fatigue Science Readibands will help us develop effective Fatigue Risk Management Programs. We are aiming to develop ways to intervene before fatigue becomes a risk to the health and safety of workers and control the hazard once it has been identified.”

PSHSA is supplying researcher Cavuoto with Fatigue Science Readibands that provide 24/7 measurement of sleep patterns and mental fatigue. Wearing the Readibands, study participants will be asked to perform a set of tasks, with participants’ natural variation in sleep-related fatigue and work-load factored in to the experiment. With this data, Cavuoto will be able to estimate fatigue based on work schedule, sleep and work conditions, and test these findings in a real-life scenario.

The research will evaluate the interaction of sleep-based fatigue and workload in targeted industries that utilize shifts such as emergency services environments, nursing and manufacturing. This research will also evaluate fatigue mitigating interventions for the purpose of improving program effectiveness in the workplace.

“Today, we have little understanding of when and how fatigue intervention should be implemented,” said lead researcher Lora Cavuoto. “This research partnership with PSHSA will allow us to build first-of-its-kind fatigue interventions and customize them for particular industries, like fire departments, police and mining to name a few.”

The study is scheduled to begin in Fall 2015 and run through Summer 2016.

About PSHSA
Public Services Health & Safety Association (PSHSA) is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Labour and works with Ontario’s Public and Broader Public Sector employers and workers, providing training, consulting and resources to reduce workplace risks and prevent occupational injuries and illnesses.

About Fatigue Science
Founded in 2006 and based in Vancouver BC, Fatigue Science is a trusted pioneer in sleep and its relationship to human performance. Our platform quantifies the source and extent of fatigue in the workplace and helps mitigate risk related to that fatigue. As well, we work with sports teams like the Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Mavericks and Vancouver Canucks to provide technology-enabled, data-driven insights that help them perform better at game time.

About University of Buffalo
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 29,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

Press Release: Borrowell Launches Better Borrowing For Responsible Canadians

Borrowell Launches Better Borrowing For Responsible Canadians

A new and innovative borrowing solution lets Canadians be smarter about managing debt

TORONTOApril 21, 2015 - Borrowing for Canadians just got smarter. Borrowell, the new peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, offers affordable, fixed-interest loans giving Canadians a smarter way to manage their debt. The online platform accepts applications from Canadians with good credit scores who want better alternatives to high interest rates on credit cards and avoid the inconvenience of bank loans.

According to Equifax, Canadians currently hold over $80 billion in credit card debt with a typical interest rate of 19.9 per cent or higher. Borrowell is designed to let responsible Canadians be smarter about their borrowing, and customizes interest rates based on the borrower's credit profile. The marketplace lending platform offers loans up to$35,000 on three and five-year terms with rates starting from 5.9% APR. Interest rates are fixed, loans are fully paid off at the end of the term and there are no early pre-payment fees.

"We believe Canadians deserve better borrowing options," says Andrew Graham, CEO, Borrowell. "We reward responsible Canadians who have good credit by giving them an affordable alternative to the traditional, expensive and cumbersome options currently available. Our goal is to help Canadians conquer debt by giving them a smarter solution."

How It Works
Borrowell matches people who want to borrow with lenders who want to lend money to responsible Canadians. Its proprietary technology does the matching quickly and securely. Borrowell operates exclusively online, cutting down on cost and complexity to pass the savings on to the borrower.

Growing Popularity of Peer-to-Peer Lending
Peer-to-peer lending is disrupting traditional borrowing. In the US and UK, online marketplace lenders have served over one million customers to date. Goldman Sachs estimates online lending could grow to take over $1.7 trillion of an addressable $4 trillion of debt. In the past year, the industry has seen rapid growth and has been named 'Innovation of the Year' by American Banker.

"We're seeing massive growth in marketplace lending around the world," said John Bitove, Canadian businessman and Borrowell investor. "With Toronto-based Borrowell entering the market, Canadians now have an innovative and smarter way to borrow money, allowing them to get a better handle on their debt."

In December 2014, Borrowell received $5.4 million in seed funding and loan capital. Key investors include Equitable Bank and Oakwest Corporation Limited, a private investment company owned and managed by the Beutel family. In addition to John Bitove, notable individual investors include Roger MartinDan Debow and Joe Canavan.

To learn more, visit www.borrowell.com.

About Borrowell
Borrowell is an online peer-to-peer lending platform that provides responsible Canadians with better borrowing options. Its affordable, fixed-interest loans are funded by carefully selected institutional investors, allowing the company to offer better rates, better service and a better customer experience. Borrowell's institutional partners include Equitable Bank and Oakwest Corporation. More information is available at: www.borrowell.com

Is your website PR ready?

This is a re-post from our guest blog on Vordik.com

When a potential client approaches me to help spread their story through traditional and social media, the first thing I do is check out their website. This, of course, is so I can learn more about the company but it’s also to make sure their website doesn’t—to put it bluntly—suck.

If the potential client has a bad website, my advice is to hold off on external PR activities and get back to the basics.

I was speaking with Toronto freelance journalist Jared Lindzon—who writes for top-tier publications like The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Fast Company and The Guardian— and he emphasized the importance of a solid web presence:

Coming across an out of date website while researching sources immediately raises a red flag. As someone who is required to interview only the most reputable of sources, often in the technology and media industries, there is simply no excuse for a sub-par web presence in this day and age. When I arrive at a company’s website I want to see a clear indication of their authority and expertise in their field, and if I have to look too hard to find it I will simply move on to one of their competitors.
— Jared Lindzon

I want to touch on two main points that Jared Lindzon brings up:

1. “A Sub-Par Web Presence”

We’ve all seen them and we cringe when they come up on our browser. Investing in a well-designed and highly-effective website is a good business decision.  It doesn’t have to break the bank, but it does need to be the best reflection of your business.

First thing you should do is test your website and make sure it’s representing your company well. Part of that process is getting acquainted with Google Analytics and your website’s metrics. For example, if your website has a bounce rate of over 70%, it could be cause for concern and is a sign to hold off on any external communications. It’s better to fix your site first to ensure people actually stay on your site in the future.

Your site must also be optimized for mobile devices. In today’s world, it’s important to ensure your website looks good across a variety of platforms because 60% of all online activity comes from mobile devices, and social networking generates more than 70% of its activity on mobile.

2. “Clear indication of their authority and expertise”

Now you have a beautifully-designed and optimized site, but your website upgrades don’t stop there. You need to make sure the copy and content on your site are going to capture the attention of visitors.

I enjoyed reading this blog post by @lisabuyer on Search Engine Watch about the difference between copy and content. She explains the difference well so I’m copying and pasting it directly here:

Content vs. Copy

A brand’s digital copy should communicate the value proposition and what makes you different from the competition. Examples of copy include:

  • About Us Page

  • Services Page

  • Products and Catalog

  • Guarantee Page

  • Executive Team Bios and Facts Sheets in the Company Newsroom

Content is best defined as what helps support and tell your brand’s story and news. This could be visual or text based. Content is more of a subliminal means to communicate a brand’s value proposition and could come in the form of press releases, testimonials, infographics, product reviews, or editorial style articles that might offers tips and helpful resourceful information.

When you proactively reach out to media, they’ll want to know what makes you an expert in your particular industry. Trust me on this one—unless you have the most innovative, unique and shiny new gadget, you have to tell a bigger story.

This is where the content on your website becomes so important. Content is a massive PR component and helps secure those ever-important and cherished news pieces.

The secret to getting good media coverage is to make the journalist’s job as easy as possible. When they arrive at your website, make sure they are seeing you at your best—a well designed website with captivating content, and a well thought out pressroom where they can easily find your latest announcements—all these components and more will help your company get that prized Globe and Mail article framed in the office!

So before investing in PR, ask yourself: “Is my website PR ready?”