Quoted in Fox Small Business

It’s always exciting to see your name in “lights.”  And by “lights,” I mean the press from a national outlet’s website.

This past week, the Fox Small Business article I had been interviewed for back in July was published.   (Yes, July!  True patience on my part while natural disaster stories trumped this article.)  The topic: what every small business needs to know about making their sponsorship dollars work for them.

The article discusses what makes an event “sponsor-worthy,” what a small business should do to take full advantage of their sponsorship dollars, how to examine ROI and more.

Others have asked me how I came across the lead.  Although I do have a few fabulous writer friends with national credits behind them (like Sarah and Ashley, for instance), this article in particular was completed thanks to the free press lead service HARO. (Want more information on HARO?  See my previous blog post here.)

I follow them daily, or three times each day, as the each e-mail comes out, and make sure to not only comb each lead for possible ways to integrate The Leone Company, but also make a habit out of sending along leads to clients, friends and peers.

When a strong fit comes up, I make a point to send my complete input along to the writer, pitching them only the story they’ve noted.  If they want more information, they’ll be sure to ask.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. What do YOU think makes an event worthy of sponsorship?  What pitch story makes you proud?

Don’t forget to pass this blog along… or subscribe if you haven’t already.

8 Things I Learned from Growing Bolder’s Marc Middleton

When Maria Diestro, Online Services and Communications Manager for Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida (and fabulous former co-worker) let me know about the Central Florida Bloggers’ Conference, I couldn’t have been more excited to attend. 

Coming away with pages and pages of notes, here are just a few things I learned from the morning’s keynote speaker, Growing Bolder‘s Marc Middleton:


  1. Always look for leverage and leverage what you have. Leverage your friends, but give more than you ask.  I recently sat down for a “just to catch up” lunch with friend Kristin Weissman, who created Studio K this past year.  (We met when her former company was a sponsor of an event in which I was, well, in charge of seeking sponsors.)  She’s insanely invigorating and a breath of fresh air, because she’s not only incredibly successful, but she’s not afraid to tell you where she’s looking for help.  The best part?  I was able to help her, because I just so happened to know players she’s looking to reach.  I didn’t want anything in return, and it just turned out that way.  But now, she’s asked point blank, HOW CAN I HELP YOU?  How incredibly cool is that?
  2. Learn to do everything yourself.  As a small business owner, I serve as the mail collector, the accounting department, the IT department, the new business department, the creative department and the waste management department.  I’m now the web producer, the cleaning staff… you get the drift.  I’m learning that there’s a whole lot you can learn through Google.
  3. Provided it’s a thoughtful leap of faith, the more leaps you take, the less scared you’ll be.  The universe will catch you.  It’s true.  I left my steady job with a few prospects.  Those prospects turned into contracts, and the networking time (and hard work) is paying off.  So is the leap of faith that it would all work out.
  4. Don’t spend a dollar you don’t have to (which ties in to…) Repurpose, and simplify whenever possible. I use both sides of a sheet of paper.  I asked around (read: raided my mother’s house) to decorate the office.  I have built my site on WordPress and use Mint for budgeting right now.  I’ve found out about these things from talking with others.
  5. Have a mission statement, and a clear and understandable elevator speech.  The Leone Company’s tagline: Marketing.  Fundraising.  Community Relations.  Life.
  6. Nimble wins.  Your competitors can’t turn on a dime, but you can.  Use that!  A true advantage to being a small company here.
  7. When you decide to do something, you defeat the option not to.  Like, say, leaving your steady job, and going out on your own, perhaps?  Or taking on that new client that’s far more impressive than you ever thought you could land?  Yup, like that.
  8. Your product is hope.  For my clients, it’s hope for new dollars, stronger messaging, new partnerships … or just a little more time for their families while I do their work.

TED Talks and Morgan Spurlock: The Business of Product Placement

If you’re on either side of the table, as a marketing professional being pitched a sponsorship or as an organization seeking out potential partners, check out Morgan Spurlock: The Greatest TED Talk Ever Sold (see the trailer above), which carefully covers the world and making of and, POM WONDERFUL PRESENTS: THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD.  (Hey, they paid for the rights… POM WONDERFUL deserves the credit!)

For the past 2 1/2 years, I’ve been in the sponsorship world for, yes, a film festival.  We’ve had the “Nestle CRANBERRY Raisinets Audience Awards” and the “AirTran Airways Audience Awards.”  We’ve had “Olive Garden Italian Cinema Night.”  We’ve had “Peroni and Popcorn: A Hitchcock Happy Hour.”  (Okay, for that one, I have to admit that our Director of Operations loves alliteration.)  In all of our press releases, we make sure to state, “…the Florida Film Festival, sponsored by Full Sail University…”

So, what better way to combine my interest in naming rights, the film industry and my passion for continuing education?  Last night, as we watched the TED Talk, I laughed, knowingly and with much appreciation, as Spurlock told of his journey approaching potential sponsor after potential sponsor.  Sometimes, you know exactly how you’re able to garner attention for the company.  Sometimes, you have a vague idea and have to hope the person on the other side of the table is receptive and responsive enough to meet your “science fiction” ideas halfway.  (Like, say, offering each person you interview Ban deodorant to calm potential nerve-induced perspiration).

But I ask you, what is the greatest sponsorship relationship you’ve ever experienced?