The Gong Blog

Making the case for knocking down marketing pyramids

If your newsfeed is anything like mine, you don’t have to do more than a thumb swipe to find a friend posting about some product or service that is CHANGING MY LIFE, Y’ALL. In the 50s, you had Tupperware. The 60s, Mary Kay. But what was once contained to our living rooms has now inundated our social media worlds. Multi-level marketing (MLM), or network marketing, is the practice of recruiting an army of associates to sell products – nowadays, primarily on Facebook, Instagram and elsewhere, adding to already saturated social environments. MLMers who take part in these network sales gigs …

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Two Instagram updates you need to know right now

Ever feel like as soon as you finally get a handle on the latest and greatest in the social media world, one (or more) of the platforms just straight up laughs in your face? Same. Instagram just rolled out two new stickers for its Stories feature, and I’m not going to lie, for once I’m actually very excited about these new offerings. Instagram donation sticker for nonprofits If you work in the marketing department of a nonprofit that uses Instagram, your world is about to change. Yesterday, Instagram launched a feature it has teased out for months — the ability …

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The College Admissions Scandal: A Lesson in Reputation Management

I was on a long car trip a couple weeks back with an old college friend, and as the miles rolled by, we got a chance to share our perspectives on the issues of the day. He’s among my smartest friends (I tell him he’s easily in the “Top 50”) and works as an international consultant advising technology companies about go-to-market strategies. Like me, he stays up on the news, and despite the fact that we live 3,000 miles from one another, we seem to share common wisdom on many issues. When the topic came to the recent college admissions …

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How to prioritize resources and stay on track to meet your big picture marketing, PR goals

I’m a big proponent of taking time to think about the big picture when it comes to establishing and working toward your marketing, PR and overall business goals. After the New Year comes and goes, too often we’re all guilty of letting go of those big picture goals that we had set out for the year.  All too often, we find ourselves getting trapped in the weeds of the day to day. Big picture goals, of course, aren’t tactical goals like posting on your blog or social channels more frequently. Those are the elements that lead to achieving big picture …

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Five Questions with Sharif Ewees, 28 Media

It’s a great feeling coming to work every day knowing we get to work with partners that help make us, and our clients, better. One of those partners that helps expand our capabilities by creating platforms that help our work shine is 28 Media’s Sharif Ewees. Sharif has worked on a variety of websites with us – from our own to client sites like Umgås Magazine, StudyECE and eCMMS | Foxconn Technology Group. If you haven’t met him, here’s a chance to get to know him better. Who are you, where do you work and what do you do? …

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Our Roster: Meet Greg Surber, APR

Behind every successful PR campaign is a strategic mastermind, one who balances big-picture goals with the building blocks that make it happen. At Hodges, Greg Surber is that guy. Recently celebrating his eight-year anniversary with us, Greg has solidified his role as the resident research guru. A self-proclaimed (and proud) introvert, Greg is most in his element reading through data and reports, helping clients connect the dots between their goals and some of the bigger trends and issues impacting their work. A Roanoke native, Greg now lives in the West End with his wife, Stephanie, their two dogs, Butters and …

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Help us help you: five things we need from clients to thrive

There have been a few recent client meetings where I’ve had a client stop and ask, “What can we be doing to make our relationship more productive?” That kind of question is music to any PR person’s ears. After all, it takes two to tango, as they say, and any relationship is better when all parties are working to make sure that it’s as effective as possible. If you work with a PR firm or you’re considering working with a partner on PR efforts in the future, here are five ways you can help your collective PR efforts thrive: Help …

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Can you sell and be a storyteller at the same time?

Imagine this scenario. You’re looking at shirts and a salesperson says, “You should definitely buy this shirt. It’s a really great shirt. It’ll keep you cool, and you’ll look so good in it.” Okay, thanks, you know you look good in cotton. But what if that salesperson said, “The other day I was at the Nationals game, and it was 95 degrees outside with zero shade. I wore this shirt and it was so breathable and light. It saved the day.” The latter approach is relatable, it appeals to your emotions, and it makes you want to buy the shirt …

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Writing Woes: The Losing Side of a Particular Punctuation Point

And Now This Important Communications Issue: The Exclamation Point

My eyes caught an article online the other day that included this sentence: “Officials also stated that an innocent 35-year-old passerby who found himself caught up in a long-winded dispute over use of the serial, or Oxford, comma had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.” My first reaction was, “damn, so it’s come to that.” I know many people whose ardor toward their preferred rules of grammar and usage is consummate. But it’s hard to believe such passions would end so tragically. Only upon reading further did I realize I was hoodwinked again by a satirical piece from The Onion. …

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Why NPR’s New Podcast Measurement Tool is Really RAD

In the 15 years since their inception, podcasts haven’t just become a household name, they’ve become a go-to industry for advertisers. In fact, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) 2018 report, podcast advertising revenue grew from $68.6 million in 2015 to $257.4 million in 2017. And the industry is only expected to continue to grow. While it’s clear that podcasts and podcast advertising aren’t going anywhere, we’re seeing a renaissance in how listenership and engagement are measured. For many years, the gold standard for podcast measurement was downloads. And while downloads are great at showing audience size, they don’t …

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