When we went from a group of freelancers and friends to a PR firm, in November of 2016, we had no idea what was in store for us. We expected hardships, and a tough year in the competitive Atlanta market, but we didn’t foresee many of the amazing turns business took for us.
We’ve had an eventful year to say the very least. We added two new members to our team, launched two new services, received features in high-end publications, and helped many of our clients complete projects that had been sitting by the wayside for way too long.
Ready for the details? Here goes!
We ended 2016, by hiring a feline teammate on December 13th. A month later, we promoted him to Goodwill Ambassador. Shadow’s main role is to advocate for social equality and rights, for humans and felines, alike.
But there is more to his story than his work in the office. Shadow was a semi-feral when adopted. In fact, the volunteers we took him from were fairly convinced no one would take him in his current state, and that we would return him. We never did.
Within weeks, Shadow went from a skittish kitty to a feisty feline. While he is still wary of strangers, he’s as sweet as can be. His transformation is a constant reminder to us of the importance of animal welfare, and the power of a second-chance in a loving home… or office.
But animal welfare wasn’t the only cause we supported this year. And unfortunately, not all of our other social justice interests were favorably met by passersby.
Those of you who followed the company brand from its inception as Alexis Chateau’s freelance brand, know of our immigrant roots. Alexis Chateau is a Jamaican national, who after traveling to the United States for 16 years, finally moved in 2015. She now calls Atlanta home.
In fact, 4 of the 7 members of our team are either immigrants, or children of immigrants. So when fellow immigrants proposed a peaceful protest, we closed our doors for the day in solidarity.
The decision was supported by our team, and praised by our clients and readers. On social media and even on this blog, however, we experienced some opposition in the form of:
- Threatening to place us on government watch lists
- Posting racist comments on our website, which were deleted. Obviously.
- Telling us they would have worked with us, but changed their mind after seeing the post
None of these dissuaded us from continuing to support this, and other equally important causes, throughout the year.
While taking a stance on matters that affect the company and our team will always be important to us, we don’t have a platform to do so without a healthy business. So for 2017, we focused on expanding our services, to become a true full-serviced public relations firm.
For 11 years, our bread and butter has been content creation and the ability to build an audience. However, this year, we decided to test and then add media relations to our portfolio.
Media relations has assisted us with distributing press releases for ourselves and our clients, and landing media placements alongside some of the biggest brands in business, media and entertainment.
The placement we are most proud of landing, is the one that included Alexis Chateau in an NBC News Better piece. The article talked about the better side of social media, and how Instagram could help us develop healthy habits.
The feature boosted not just our media relations services, but the credibility of the firm. Even so, our public relations focus is still very much centered on content creation and community building.
When we launched the Mother’s Day contest earlier this year, it generated a lot of interest, but very few people actually went through with the application process. Naturally, once the contest ended, we received an outpouring of requests for extensions, but we had already chosen our winner.
Roxanna and the Hoffman Squadron were an excellent choice. A 28-year-old mother of 7, including America’s First Military Quintuplets, she has a lot on her plate. Still, Roxanna manages the household almost single-handedly, as her husband is often stationed far away from home.
While working with the Hoffmans, we rebuilt their website, provided some career coaching and advice, and learned a few lessons about forbearance and self-sacrifice.
With the inpouring of clientele from the very start of our launch, we eventually came to the realization that most entrepreneurs were not truly serious about their business. Many just wanted a platform to boost their popularity. Others had the ideas and the dreams, but lacked the commitment, the capital, or both.
We soon learned that our writers, made for much more serious and often better clients, albeit with less capital in their pockets. To account for their smaller budgets, we launched a separate division in the firm that would handle indie author work at discounted prices and made Shadow the PR Cat, the head of the division, nicknamed black CATastrophy.
In 2016, we struck up a partnership with 1 View Point LLC, our team mate’s tech startup and indie travel agency. The company hoped to get more people traveling, and to revolutionise the way travel bloggers shared their adventures. But it was 2017 that saw us go from 12 months of testing, to an official launch.
Through this partnership, we’re able to provide travel services at discounted prices for our family, friends, teammates, and clients. This year, we traveled from Atlanta to Vegas to Denver to San Diego to Manchester … Miami. In short, we saw more of the United States than we ever had before.
With all these under our belt for 2017, we approach 2018 with an open mind, and much greater optimism than we approached 2017. What have you achieved at work, or for your business, this year? What are your goals for 2018?
Tell us all about it in the comments below!
About Alexis Chateau PR
Alexis Chateau PR is an independent public relations agency with its own built-in travel agency. We have a special interest in independent writers and lifestyle brands. From education to entertainment to travel, we’ve worked with clients in all areas of the lifestyle industry since 2006.