Realtors and Brokers Have New Options: IDX Broker Approves Charleston PR & Design, LLC as Developers

Real estate websites

Present branded content in real estate websites

Realtors and brokers wanting to present custom real estate search within their websites have a new choice in South Carolina as Charleston PR & Design, LLC (CPR&D) is now approved as a developer for the IDX Broker platform.

“The real estate industry is one of the largest contributors to the economy of South Carolina and one of our most important client sectors. We’ve been looking for a way to integrate branded real estate content into real estate brokerage and Realtor’s websites, and with our approval by IDX Broker as developers, we have an incredible platform to offer our website clients,” said Cheryl Smithem, the firm’s principal.

IDX datafeeds used in real estate websites

Using internet data exchange feeds from area multiple listings services; CPR&D builds custom WordPress websites using the IDX Broker platform. CPR&D’s ability to code made-to-order brand-focused and SEO friendly sites gives more brokerages flexibility as they compete online for buyers and sellers.

Most desired real estate marketing tools included in dashboard

Sites built by CPR&D using the platform include the ability of home seekers to create accounts and save favorites as well as request information and share socially. The platform’s robust lead generation and management dashboard include Realtors’ most desired marketing tools which give real estate professionals the ability interact with potential buyers and sellers. Realtors and brokers who choose CPR&D for the development of their website have personalized support through CPR&D as well as no sign-up fee to use the platform as part of their new website.

Based in Eugene, Ore., IDX, LLC is nationally known as a leading provider of real estate search applications. IDX, LLC actively manages more than $1 trillion worth of active listing data from more than 550 individual Multiple Listings Services (MLS). IDX, LLC provides integrated IDX software, customizable listing search utilities and lead management tools for real estate based websites (IDX Broker.)

Charleston PR & Design, LLC is a provider of marketing communications and public relations consultation for diverse clients. The firm formulates brand strategy and positioning; researches and develops marketing plans and collateral; plans and implements social media strategy; develops content-managed websites; and plans corporate and small business public relations to earn awareness to effectively meet goals. CPR&D provide crisis communications management consultation to firms who find themselves in a crisis. For more information on Charleston PR & Design, LLC, visit their website [].

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Public Relations Promotions: Five Ways to Capture Attention

Public Relations Promotion Tactics Include Online Survey

Online surveys are one way to gather data as a component of a public relations promotion.

Business in the doldrums?

Every business finds at one time or another that you need a jolt of attention. While you can always purchase print, television, radio, or social media ads, what public relations promotions can your company use to gain attention?

These time-tested, enduring tactics have been used for decades. They’ve endured because they work. They do take time to concept and plan and best promote your firm when they align with your brand, products and customers.

Public relations promotions that work

  1. Be community minded and involved. While this is not just a promotional tactic, it is one way to make your firm really different from other businesses. Over time, firms who are active in the community — for the good of the community — win over those who aren’t involved. If you embark on this path, make it truly a part of your company’s DNA.
  2. Hold a contest. From essay contests to photo submission contests to best mom of the year, companies have been holding contests for years. Whether it’s soliciting input to name a new product, or getting people to enter to win a trip, contests continue to be one of the all time promotional tactic that work. Be wary of setting the entry point too high. If you require too much effort, today’s consumers may not want to take the time or trouble to enter. And when you hold the contest, at the point of entry be sure to capture names and email addresses, and with permission, use them in the future to communicate sales, specials, or news about your company.
  3. Give an award. Media companies do it. Professional associations do it. You can do it too. If you choose to give an award, be sure it aligns with your products or services and involves the community. For example a spa could solicit nominations for Mom of the Month, Year, etc and award services. A restaurant could solicit nominations for New Parents Most Deserving of a Night Out, partnering with a limo service and a babysitting service to give new parents a night on the town.
  4. Conduct a study or take a poll and announce results. Almost daily in the news or social media, we read announcements of the results of studies or polls. Many of them capture attention because they announce interesting or compelling results. Examples include topics such and the true cost of being ticketed for DUI announced by an insurance firm; or 9 out of 10 Moms Agree…You will need to involve someone to help conduct the poll or study in a scientific manner or blind study if you want the results to be valid and hold up to intense scrutiny. However, you can also conduct straw polls or online polls which allow you to announce results gathered in a less scientific manner.
  5. Demonstrate or offer samples. It’s a fact of being human that most people don’t know how things taste or understand new or different products until they see them demonstrated. In days past, boardwalk hucksters demonstrated products before crowds each summer. Nowadays food demonstrators offer quick tips on using the latest products on offer at Costco. Breweries and wineries allow you to visit and taste their brews and vintages, promoting their brand and sometimes selling right from their tasting rooms. If you have a new, innovative product, you can also video the product in use and put that demo on your website.

Humans are curious. We are attracted to things which are new, or different, or stand out. You can take advantage of this by finding ways to create the news, stand out from the crowd and differentiate your company.


Need help standing out? Call us. We can help think up and hold a promotion, contest, survey or demonstration that gets eyes on your company.

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Crisis Planning Must Happen In Advance of a Crisis

Don’t play chicken with your business’s future

Crisis situations happen everyday in all types of businesses. From food manufacturers having to recall mislabeled products, to faulty products causing death and injury, to embezzlement, to billing fraud, your business has many threats lurking in wait.

There is a lot of advice directed to business owners about what to do if you have a cataclysmic event or crisis at your business.

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The time for crisis planning is not during a crisis

If you wait until you’re in the midst of a crisis to plan a response, it will be too late. The time for crisis preparation is before you experience a crisis. Advance planning is essential to making sure your business not only makes it through the crisis, but is able to carry on in the future.

Planning can help prevent chaos in social media as the story rages and company execs are wring their hands.

Esteemed crisis communications consultant and author Jonathan Bernstein observes,

Responding to a crisis without a plan in place can be like trying to buckle your seatbelt after you see a semi cross the center divider and head straight at you.

What usually results is a lot of chickens perambulating rapidly without their heads, until one who retained his/her head can manage to calm and organize them.

What also results, invariably, is the organization incurring more damage that it would have if a plan had been in place and executed.

So, how do you plan in advance to respond to a crisis?

To prevent becoming a headless chicken, start by conducting a crisis audit for your firm and then creating a crisis management plan.

According to Bernstein, a crisis prevention audit identifies threats, analyzes public perception of your business, and analyzes your internal staff’s perceptions.

“Bernstein gives these examples of issues that have been detected as a result of recent vulnerability audits and/or have been the cause of avoidable crises:

  • perceptions of racial and sexual harassment and discrimination
  • employees accused of wrongdoing (sometimes accurately, sometimes not) on and off the job
  • union actions and/or hostile attempts to unionize
  • blatant violations of customer confidentiality around the workplace and in public areas
  • damaging rumors — online and off-line”

By identifying threats, you can remediate the cause, thus preventing the probable crisis and build responses to threats before they occur.

Create your crisis communication plan

To create your plan, designate one staff member to lead the audit and prepare a crisis response plan.

Your crisis plan should:

  • List members of the crisis communications / management team and their contact information (including personal cell numbers and vacation home numbers.)
  • Identify where you’ll meet. Whether a board room, or external site such as your public relations agency’s office.
  • List the technology and information you will need to communicate with the media. Be sure the appropriate people and or your communications firm have updated media contact lists and permissions for all social media channels, as well as access to your corporate social media account management dashboards like HootSuite. Create and set aside unpublished pages on your website where the designated team member will post crisis communications and responses.
  • Specify the location of and access to or permissions required for critical files needed to compose your responses, such as accident reports, HR files, safety audits, annual reports, financial audits, etc. If you cannot back up these critical files to a “crisis response” network accessible file or drive, have the subject matter experts for each threat area make sure to have ready access to any and all files.
  • Identify the company spokesperson. It is imperative that the company spokesperson have completed media training before any crisis arises. It is also imperative that your communications plan clearly explain who may communicate with the media (online, offline, print, and broadcast), when, where and how. One of the worst things which could happen is having an unauthorized person communicate with the media.
  • Delineate all communications policies which must be included in staff and employee training. For example, if you have multiple outlets, or a single outlet, every employee must know what to do and whom to refer a member of the media to should media contact them. If you don’t have a communications policy in place, have your public relations team or consultant author one for you to implement.

Compose your initial crisis responses

Once you have delineated these elements, you can now compose initial responses to be used in each of the broad categories of vulnerability. These need not be elaborate statements, just an initial response which provides you immediate ability to respond to the crisis.

With advance crisis planning, you will have a ready team with access to all the necessary information, a prepared spokesperson, and messages.

Now, you must drill. Without drills, you will not know if all your planning will work. Every year in the summer, Charleston County and surrounding counties conduct an emergency drill. They refine their plan and keep all elements up-to-date.

Keep your plan updated

Your crisis audit and resulting communications plan will take a month or two to complete and test. From this point forward, you should revise it every quarter, adding and deleting staff who have left, or new information.

Does your firm need help conducting a crisis audit or creating a crisis communications plan? Contact us. We’ve successfully assisted businesses and organizations undergoing many types of crisis.

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Thoughts on Stale Websites and Cold, Outdated Content

Is your website content as cold as an ice cube?

Is your content colder than a block of ice? Keeping your content up to date may take time, but it is your best marketing spend.

Content development leads to white page syndrome

For many years I’ve been working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. A great amount this work is assisting them with the development of websites and content.

Content is the single most toe-stumping, road-blocking obstacle for every single SMB owner I’ve worked with. Whether at the start of the web building or later after outdated content is on the site, keeping a business’s web presence fresh seems to stymie most business owners.

Slow to start

During the web development phase content is what takes longer to determine, author and edit, especially if owners wish to pen their own page text. Most get “white page syndrome” and stare at the blank screen and produce nothing. Cure: Hire a content development expert.

Set it and forget it yields outdated content

After a site is launched many entrepreneurs simply forget their sites and never look back, overlooking the fact that their business website is their always-on, always-open office. Outdated content makes your business look out-of-date. Cure: Develop an editorial calendar to keep you on track.

Most websites we develop are based on a content management system (we prefer self-hosted WordPress), allowing the easy modification of existing pages, and quick publication of new pages or posts.

Yet despite these easy to use tools, most website owners neglect their sites. It is so easy to get caught up in the other activities of managing your business. However, I’d ask you to consider this: almost every single small business I’ve ever worked with has very little disposable cash to spend on paying for advertising placements, or pay per click ads.

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The single most effective marketing spend is that of time and thought to keep your website updated.

From listing new testimonials, to new clients to new business accomplishments to insights designed to help your customers solve problems, you can find many sources of fresh content for your site.

Has your content grown cold?

If you find yourself suffering from white page syndrome, and lack inspiration on how you might update content, use these tips from Site Pro News blogger Adrienne Erin:

    • Make sure every page has some call-to-action. This can be to pick up the phone for a consultation, email for an appointment, download a white paper, join an email list, set up an account, add items to a wish list, etc. Think about what you want to get from every visitor to your site.
    • Rewrite the content on all the webpages. Just as the appearance of a site can become dated, so can the readability. You don’t have to majorly rewrite all the content; even minor tweaks can alter the way a piece reads.
    • Delete pages that no longer apply to your company. Has your business changed its direction? Do you have pages that make zero sense to keep? Remove them or risk confusing your guests.
    • Add pages for new products or services. Just as you deleted some pages, you may want to add others for the same reasons.

Want other tips to develop your website content? A few of our previous articles may help you find exactly the topic or trend or type of inspriation you need.

Blog Post Inspiration Sources

Avoid Writing “Click Here” When Authoring Your Website or Marketing Email Content

WordPress Blog Post Development Checklist

Give me a call. We’ll help get you focused and on track with an editorial plan and if you need it, professional content development assistance.

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Driwood Ornamental Moulding Selects Charleston PR & Design

News from Charleston PR & Design


Architectural moulding and millwork producer Driwood Ornamental Moulding of Florence, South Carolina has selected Charleston PR & Design (CPR&D) as their marketing agency. Following a competitive review, CPR&D was selected to assist Driwood in a revamping of their approach to markets and creative.

Driwood Mouldings

Cheryl Smithem, principal with CPR&D, said, “With our knowledge of building and construction markets, we look forward to working with Driwood as they continue their traditions of excellence and distinction.”

History of distinctive design

With a history of more than 100 years as crafters of architecturally correct mouldings, Driwood, specializes in hand-crafted mouldings made from 100 percent hardwood. Their line of in-stock profiles exceeds 500 designs.

Driwood Ornamental Embossed Moulding

The firm sells mouldings and consults with national millwork firms, architects, interior designers and specifiers, general contractors, home builders and the general public. Driwood’s embossed mouldings are created using techniques and machinery developed and in use for over 100 years and are distinguished by their crisp precision and their perfect proportions.

Driwood Moulding Profiles

Driwood works in concert with architects and interior designers to create period millwork for specific requirements and installations. From overdoor pediments, to fluted columns, to paneled libraries, cornices, chair rails, staircases and cabinet work, Driwood’s years of expertise support outstanding results and distinctive design.

For more information about Driwood Ornamental Mouldings, visit their website [].

*Photo Credit: – All photos taken by Dale Aren

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