The Daily Scoop from Charlotte Shaff

A look back at the start of THE MEDIA PUSH (and lessons learned along the way) July 25, 2012

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Back in the summer of 2005, I made a lot of changes. After enduring micro-managing bosses (twice in 5 years) and not feeling fulfilled or happy with what I was doing, I decided to quit my job at an ad agency and start my own business. Before quitting, I had saved up some money to take a vacation…to Europe. I had never been and thought this would be the best time to do it. It was scary and exciting at the same time to travel alone, which I soon learned was just like starting a business for myself. But I had support for both and I think that is what you definitely need behind you before starting a big endeavor. 

I’ve become very nostalgic this week because the media is hyping up London and the 2012 Olympics and I spent most of my ten days in England (Birmingham and a 2-day trek to London) with my friend Julie who moved there with her UK husband. She let me stay with her family, even though she just had her second daughter just weeks before. Now that I have been through two newborns, I still don’t know how she stayed awake or sane with a house guest who wanted to be a tourist! I also flew to Amsterdam for a few days by myself and other than a little sightseeing and museum tours, I spent a lot of time in my hotel room because I felt really out of my element and was too shy to talk to the locals or make friends. I still regret that, but I also regret some of the things I did while starting my biz, but have learned from them.

When I started my business, I decided to do PR, marketing and event planning. I didn’t really have much of a plan, I just knew I liked these things. My support during the first few months was my former boss, Nancy. When I worked for her in TV when I first moved to Phoenix, she was encouraging, supportive, fun and helped me blossom as a creative writer and producer. She understood her audience, both the viewer and the organizations who worked with us at the station. Ironically, when our paths crossed in 2005, she was leaving her own PR biz to be a PIO for a school district. She still had some clients needing help and she offered to show me the ropes of what she did and bring me on to finish up her projects. Former reporter friends from the station heard I was looking for clients and one got me clients they met while working. This support meant so much to me. I truly believe you can’t burn bridges, and while a select few will not be friends in my past work lives, the majority of the people I worked with are still in my life now…and I think that speaks volumes. 

So, what lessons have I learned in those early months of running my own business?

Let’s start with the PROS:

-You can make your own hours! Granted, they sometimes end up being 24/7, but it is nice to know that if I need to get some grocery shopping done or wait for the cable repairman, I don’t have to take time off of work or explain where I am.

You can find your niche! I started out doing a lot of everything, but soon learned what I really liked to do (PITCH) and decided to just focus on that. As I networked, I found great people in marketing, writing, events, graphics who I could team up with that I liked and could refer to clients who may need that help. 

You are paid what you are worth! I started off charging very low rates, but eventually found my rhythm and began offering competitive rates. And, guess what, the more clients you get, the more money you make! You can only get so many raises or bonuses in a regular job. Plus, my jobs never allowed second jobs, though I never had much time to do anything but work my main gig in the first place.

You can work with the people/biz YOU want to work with! Yes, in the beginning, I wasn’t picky and there were a few times I wasn’t really excited about who I was pitching, but now that I have a solid business and clients, I can choose who I want to work with. And, because there is a “lid for every pot,” I usually am able to refer anyone who is not right for me to another Indie. 

Now for the CONS:

You can go from rags to riches in a month! I had quite a few months where I would borrow from Peter to pay Paul. I know what it is like to have the credit card company call you…or to send a check to pay the mortgage and hope that a client pays me before the check clears. If there is any lesson I have learned, get a GOOD bookkeeper and CPA and stick to a budget. Put money away in savings for those slow months. But, DON’T GIVE UP when times get rough. Sometimes the lessons we learn during those low times are the ones that make us a success later.

You will long for the good ol’ days and friends. I admit to still getting a rush every time I walk into a local news station. The people, the energy, the creativity were what drew me to working in the media. Maybe this is why I do PR now…I still gotta keep my fingers in the industry somehow. But, I also remember the depression, the long hours, the low pay and the BS…and I perk up again about working for myself and having control of my destiny.

You will learn that some people just SUCK! As most any Indie will attest to, you will get screwed over. Clients will refuse to pay you. You will encounter shady people who want to partner with you on a project and they either don’t live up to their hype or they steal your ideas or client. One thing I have been very careful of now is to not become too close of friends with a client. You MUST keep the relationship professional. “Friends” will get upset when you offer criticism or need to make business changes they don’t agree with. 

You can’t do this alone! Yes, you are working for yourself, but you must have support. I remember sitting on my couch crying my eyes out, with the phone ringing from a bill collector and reading an email from a client saying they were ending their contract. I had a few really depressing months, but luckily, I could reach out to friends to get me out of my funk. I spent my first year networking like crazy. I found a great group of PR Indies to learn and share with. I found organizations I wanted to be a part of and grow myself professionally. 

Well, this is turning into a novel…so, I’d just like to end this by thanking my husband, my friends, my family, former and current clients and all my colleagues and friends in the local media and PR. I could of never done this without you all. 

Char in London

This is me in front of Big Ben in 2005!


Social Media Basics – Are you socially acceptable? June 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — themediapush @ 3:32 pm
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sociallyacceptablelogoI’ve been asked to talk Twitter and other hot social networking sites a lot lately by the media and local communications groups. Part of the reason why is that the producers and group organizers see me online, being social. I am not wasting time online, but instead building and nurturing relationships with others who are in the biz (media, PR pros, clients, etc.) Thats basically the point of social media. A new way to build relationships and get the word out and learn.

I was on 12 News Morning show today. Here is a clip.

If you’d like a few bits of info on what social media is about and how it can help you, see below:


Social media, broadly defined, is internet communications services that provide the means to interact with a narrowly defined or selected group of people who share similar interests.

Popular Social Media Sites:

YouTube: Videos online of anything and everything. Send, comment or upload your videos to share with others.
Yelp: Allows users to post reviews, photos and descriptive information and can become a top referring website
Flickr: Photosharing site. Post photos, do basic editing, share photos or have others upload their photos with yours (for example a family gathering, everyone puts their photos on one page.)
Facebook: Created as an interface for social interaction where users join groups and share information between people with similar interests.
Digg: Is a way to classify and bookmark web content. It allows users to share important URL’s with others and together build a storehouse of knowledge about a particular subject.
Twitter: Twitter is like a micro-blog, where you can follow people you find interesting and share common interests

Tips to get started: Find a blog that is of interest to you. Or, find a blog about a topic you’d like to learn more from. Comment once in a while.

Start a Facebook page and look for old school friends or neighbors to get back in touch. Become a “Fan” of your favorite busineses, tv shows, etc Start a Fan Page for your business or cause and use it to update others on whats happening in your biz and interesting articles that relate. Post photos, events, news.

Use Twitter to discuss topics, news, etc in 140 characters or less. Use it on your phone to discuss whats happening now, wherever you are!

It’s a Marathon, not a sprint. Learn as you go. Good way to find more common ground with younger generation, too. Social Media is how they converse!

STILL CONFUSED? Take a Hands-On Class for Social Media or WordPress this weekend!


WordPress, PR/Marketing and Social Media Workshops this June May 26, 2009

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sociallyacceptablelogoHands on WordPress Workshop, Build Your Website or Blog in a Day
Saturday, June 13, 2009 / 9am-4pm
Gangplank HQ
325 E Elliot Rd
Chandler, AZ 85225

What’s the point of a website if you can’t update it, when the name of the game today is constantly providing fresh content to users? Everyone is blogging- how do you get one of those? The beauty of WordPress is that it allows you to quickly mount a functional, professional website or blog that you’ll be able to easily maintain and control yourself.

Learn the different between posts and pages, what a plugin is and how to get them, how to install and change themes, and how to moderate blogs.
We’ll start from scratch and mount a wordpress website of your own by the end of the day for you to experiment with, or turn into your own online brand. This is a beginners class, but a sense of comfort with the internet and your own computer will be helpful. Attendees may follow along, or actively participate with your wifi enabled laptop.

$99 for small business
$49 for non-profit 501c3

To sign up or for more info:

STARTUP right. PR, Marketing & Social Media for your New Biz
Sunday, June 14, 2009 / 9am-4pm
Gangplank HQ
325 E Elliot Rd
Chandler, AZ 85225

Thinking about a new business? Opened the doors but no one is walking through them? Are you a victim of “the new economy” and considering working for yourself?
Don’t make the same mistakes so many new businesses make- save yourself money, time and heartache by knowing how to leverage PR, Marketing and Social Media for your new business.

Sometimes the most important part of marketing is knowing what NOT to do. Learn “Top Ten Marketing Mistakes Startups Make” so you can avoid the roadbumps.
You’ll need to let people know about your new business- how do the companies featured on the news get there? For the basics of PR and how to deal with the media, you can learn how to target the right reporter and pitch the right story to gain free exposure through the media with this step by step tutorial.

You keep hearing about Twitter and Facebook, but you’re not sure how to actually use it for your own business. Is it worth the time? What if my customers aren’t on social media? Learn the answers and how to leverage these tools to engage customers and monitor your brand online.

Even if you’ve got a budget to hire a publicist, and marketing department, arm yourself with these valuable knowledge tools so you know who to hire, can be an active participant in the process, and when you’re being taken for a ride.

$99 for small business
$49 for non-profit 501c3

To sign up or for more info:

Hands-on Twitter, Facebook and Linked in Workshop
Monday, June 15, 2009 / 9am-12noon
Jobing Main Offices
4747 N 22nd Street Suite #100
Phoenix, Arizona

Social media. Everyone is telling you to follow them on twitter, from your newscaster to your hairdresser. Your daughter is concerned you’ll show up on her facebook account, and you keep getting emails to LinkedIn, but can’t figure out why people love it. You’d love to send photos online! What’s the hype, and doesn’t this all take a lot of time? Every day, people are telling you why you and your company SHOULD be using social media, but no one is telling you HOW to use it.

Bring your wifi enabled laptop, sit back and get ready to be shocked at how easy it is to dip into Social Media. We’ll take you through how to set up an account, to how to use it and what neat tools each technology has.

We’ll walk through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Flickr, all in one day. Step by step, at a very quick but fun pace. This is a beginner to intermediate class, but requires you have a wifi enabled laptop (you can follow along without one, but will be at a disadvantage) and are comfortable with your computer and the internet.

$79 for small business
$34 for non-profit 501c3

To sign up or for more info:

PR, Marketing and Social Media Bootcamp for Non Profits
Monday, June 15, 2009 / 9am-4pm
Jobing Main Offices
4747 N 22nd Street Suite #100
Phoenix, Arizona

Often non-profit organizations get so tied up in their events and their programs, that marketing principles are broken. These marketing principles are simple to fix and crucial to the long-term success of your organization. Make sure your organization gets a clean bull of health by seeing if you violate “The Top 10 Slaughtered Marketing Rules at Non-Profits”.

Non profits struggle to keep up with the competition, not sure where to go next in their marketing efforts. They see others on television or featured in the local publications wondering “How did they do that?” For the basics of PR and how to deal with the media, you can learn how to target the right reporter and pitch the right story to gain free exposure through the media with this step by step tutorial.

Social Media is a big buzzword, but still confusing to so many business owners and non-profits. How do you leverage these tools to engage customers and monitor your brand online? Once you have an audience, how do you measure the impact you’ve had? Learn how to ensure you’re participating in the conversation about your organization online

By the end of the day, you’ll have a slew of new tools in your arsenal to ensure your non profit is being heard loud and clear, raising donations, volunteers, public education and client awareness.

$99 for small business
$49 for non-profit 501c3

To sign up or for more info:


PR, Social Media & Marketing Workshops this April March 31, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — themediapush @ 3:10 pm
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sociallyacceptable4I am instructing with two other experienced pros this April. If you know a small biz or non-profit, this is an incredibly affordable way to get some valuable information to grow your organization and understand current marketing, pr, social media tools. Please pass on to your friends and associates.

Upcoming Classes on PR, Marketing, Social Media and even Hands-on WordPress/Website Workshops!

The rules have changed, and your business or non-profit has to change with them. Are you doing everything you can to efficiently reach your core audience while bootstrapping to ensure you’re around a year from now? How is that marketing plan working for you? Have you wondered how to get in the local paper or on TV through PR and not just advertising? And are people talking about your brand online, how can you talk back?

PR, Marketing & Social Media for Non Profits

Saturday, April 25, 9am-4pm


Hands on WordPress Workshop

Sunday, April 26, 9am-4pm

New Small Biz Marketing for the Recession Era

Monday, April 27, 9am-4pm



Vote and Stimulate the Economy! October 27, 2008

Media Push Clients Pushing Valley Consumers to Vote and Shop on Election Day

A group of Valley small business owners are banding together to ask consumers to vote while helping to stimulate the economy by buying on Election Day.

Clients of the Phoenix PR firm and small business specialist, The Media Push, are honoring those who endure long voting lines and confusing propositions with a reward for taking part in American democracy. Voters who visit the companies listed below and sporting an “I Voted” sticker get special offers and deals.

Discounts on useful items and services for car repairs and oil changes or a few indulgent items, like Botox treatments or massages are some of the specials that will be offered by The Media Push clients.

Small businesses make up 99.9 percent of the 27.2 million businesses across the nation. Accounting for about half of all private-sector jobs, they generate up to 80 percent of new jobs each year and create more than half of non-farm gross domestic products. Small business owners are also the first to suffer from a dwindling economy.

“This is a very important time in our lives,” said Charlotte Risch, owner of The Media Push. “Not only are we voting for the next president but many local officials and propositions that will affect our community and small businesses. This is a fun way to cast your support for local businesses in your neighborhood and invest your hard-earned dollars with them instead of big chains.”

Below are the offers available to Valley voters. Please CLICK on the business name to gain access to their website for location, hours and info.

Simply Impressive Cooking School
: Take $10 off your next cooking class. Spend more time with your family at the dinner table and spend less money eating out by learning to cook smart, delicious meals at home.

Derma Health Institute: Feel beautiful and give your face a treat! Only $10 per unit of Botox, or $50 pumpkin peel facial for that day.

Acme Locksmith: Need to get a spare key made? Receive a free key copy (up to $5.00 value).

Community Tire and Auto Repair: Bring in your “I voted” sticker and receive free mount, balance, rubber valve stem and oil change with any tire purchase. Don’t need tires? Bring in your sticker and they will do a basic oil change for $14.92.

Zethina Cosmetics and Day Spa: Get a Massage for only $60 for one hour or a Body Treatment for only $55. Both services will relax and renew the tired stressed out voter.

Money Smart Grandkids: For just $12.95, invest in our youth’s financial future with the book “It’s Likely Your Grandkids will be Poor, Unless…” by Scottsdale Author, Chris Kulpinski. EMAIL HIM: Car owners who visit the free referral network of independent, quality repair shops website ( will receive a VIP Card. This card offers drivers discounts on services and parts.

Team Dean: Get a free appraisal with loan approval and a full review of your credit report. Also, information on how to increase your FICO score with all any application for a home loan.

If you have already voted through an early ballot and didn’t keep your “I voted” sticker, just mention you voted when contacting the business about the election specials.


PR is not enough September 3, 2008

Filed under: THE MEDIA PUSH — themediapush @ 5:42 pm
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A challenge I have when explaining the benefits of PR is that it is not easy to explain.

PR is not a very tangible type of service. The only way to understand its power is to use it in conjunction with other marketing, promotion, advertising and networking opportunities. And understand that PR is about relationships and most importantly, PR is a marathon, not a sprint.

Finding a way to explain PR has been a challenge…but I think I have found a great article that sums up my thoughts and explainations perfectly! For anyone who thinks one segment on the local morning show or a big article in newspaper will propel your sales and image off the charts…please, please read this!