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Giftbiz Unwrapped Features Abbe Sparks This Week





Giftbiz Unwrapped features Abbe Sparks this week on its podcast episode. Giftbiz gal host Sue Monhait interviews Abbe on all things ‘Sparks’ for business owners to know in the podcast episode 090. Beginning Monday, December 26, 2016, Abbe’s interview is available on soundcloud, itunes and google play.

Abbe Sparks, founder & chief igniter, Abbe Sparks Media Group

Listen to Abbe give the 411 plus invaluable tips on public relations, social media marketing, cause marketing and more.  She talks about her career, the evolution of Abbe Sparks Media Group and her newest venture — digital news site Socially Sparked News.


About the Show ‘Gift Biz Unwrapped’

Whether you own a brick and mortar store, sell online or are just getting started, you’ll discover new insight and advice to develop and grow your business. Hosted by Sue Monhait — a/k/a the Gift Biz Gal — Sue has been working in the retail and online spaces for over 25 years. After 15 years in corporate sales/marketing to both boutique shops and larger brands, she went on to open two profitable businesses of her own. As host of the Gift Biz Unwrapped Podcast, she provides free content weekly to assist those searching for answers on how to start and grow their business.



#socialmedia #PR #socialgood #Entrepreneur dI also chat about Abbe Sparks Media Group & my newest venture

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5 Killer LiveStream Apps to Know

Live Video Streaming Via Social Media: 5 Killer Apps You Should Know About

JUNE 17, 2015


Social video live mobile streaming is the current and most likely future darling in the social media fray as evident by the recent crop up of new social video mobile apps and live streaming partnerships – the most recent being June 9th’s Huffington Post announcement of its partnership with Broadband TV.

Abbe Sparks Media
LiveStreaming Video is going Mobile

All indicators are pointing to the fact that social video will quickly become an important new tool that every marketing communications professional should be aware of. Video currently accounts for over three fourths of all web traffic and that number is expected to grow. And, native video is seeing even faster growth. I am always on the lookout for the most optimal methods to promote my clients’ brands and initiatives and this week, I thought I would share with you my top five picks of mobile app offerings in this social marketing arena.  

Five Social Video Mobile Apps Brands Should Know


Periscope– acquired by Twitter in March, this is the app I am most enthusiastic about. Fully integrated with Twitter, it allows you to immediately connect with your existing Twitter followers – your built-in audience – and engage them in real- time live video streams by sharing your experiences, such as an event or speaking engagement. Periscope will save your videos to the app if you choose, and they’ll be available for viewing by your followers for 24 hours. You can also opt to save your videos to your phone’s camera roll. While still in its infancy, Periscope is quickly catching on with PR and Ad agencies for brand building and engagement.

Meerkat – is also an inexpensive and easy to use mobile video app. Similar in use to Periscope, the key differences are: when you live stream on Meerkat, your viewers can also text chat with you during your broadcast in real time, plus the mobile app doesn’t automatically record your videos. But, your video will automatically save to YouTube if you use the katch hashtag in your broadcast title or comment with #katch during your stream.

Hang w/ – Launched in March 2013, this mobile app claims they were the early adapters of live streaming video. Hang w/ allows users to stream live video plus broadcast it simultaneously to friends and followers on their Facebook and Twitter networks. You can host your live stream on a web page and send followers there using Hang w/’s web widget.

Facebook – Not that long ago, the social network added native video to their plethora of consumer-friendly offerings. Using its own video player, when you upload videos to your page, the news feed publicly shows how many views you receive. For brands seeking ways to connect with their FB fans, natively posted videos are now a sure bet as they are getting better organic reach than video posts hosted by competing social networks.

YouTube – The granddaddy of video sharing, this google-owned social video network has its first serious competitor in Facebook and its video sharing platform. Yet, YouTube is still very much a major force to consider when sharing your brand’s messaging, so do not discount them as a key weapon in your overall marketing mix.

According to several speakers at last February’s Social Media Week in NYC – Facebook is giving Google’s YouTube service a serious run for itsmoney and warned us not to be surprised if some day in the not so distant future, the social media giant overtook YouTube as the video streaming social network of choice. And, in a recent Fortune article, it was reported that Facebook’s video traffic has reached 4 billion daily views, making the social network YouTube’s first real rival in online video—and an even tougher contender in the battle for digital ad dollars.

So my fellow colleagues, social live video mobile apps are definitely worth experimenting with. It costs you nothing to see if you have an audience ready to view your brand’s content, experience or event. And in the process, you might become an instant hit film maker. Have a Wonderful Wednesday! AS

Tags: #socialmedia #mobile #videostreaming #tech #marketing #PR #advertising

*Originally posted by Abbe Sparks in her blog “ABBES SPARKS” for RFPalooza.

Latest News RFPalooza

Branding Yourself for Business Bliss

5 Steps to Effective Self-Branding

Last week, I talked about finding time to brand your agency or self. (Branding Me: A Matter of Time) This week, I elaborate on self-branding by offering tips on how to compile a checklist for a small to medium-size agency’s and/or individual practitioner’s self-branding agenda.

To thine own brand be true.

As marketing communications professionals who are experts at branding others, the most difficult challenge we face is branding ourselves. Yes, it’s a given that in order to be successful, retain existing clients and secure new accounts we have to promote our achievements. However, quite frankly, when do we find the time?

We must find the time to self-brand; its essential and the key to ROI. The same rules of thumb that apply to branding our clients also apply to us. We just have to stay the course and create a bullet proof self-branding program that we can fit into our busy schedules..

Here are 5 Tips for Agency and/or Self-Practitioner Branding that should be on everybody’s checklist:

  1. Join Professional Organizations. There are numerous professional organizations in our line of work that tout our accomplishments, provide endorsements and the like such as Public Relations Society of America, the Advertising Association, Direct Marketing Association, Better Business Bureau.
Finding time to brand one's self is key to increasing ROI
Finding time to brand one’s self is key to increasing ROI
  1. Network, Network, Network! Attend professional organization events, meet-ups and client-category events.
  1. Showcase your Expertise. Seek out speaking conferences and panelist opportunities that reinforce your role as an expert in your field. No time? Write a guest blog or share your professional opinion on social media channels such as LinkedIn.
Membership in professional organizations can help elevate your profile.

4.  Gain Recognition in your Profession. Apply for awards in your category. There are many opportunities to be recognized in our field – whichever communications specialty you focus on.

5.  Promote Yourself! Capitalize on media interview opportunities as an expert in your field.

Winning a few awards doesn’t hurt either.

So, fellow marketers, these are just a few of the myriad of ways to jumpstart your branding of your agency or self. Have a wonderful Wednesday. As

Tags: #SelfBranding #marketing #advertising #PR


By Abbe Sparks

Abbe Silverberg Sparks is the founder of Abbe Sparks Media Group, a boutique communications firm specializing in media relations, cause and social media marketing, branding and special events planning.


Latest News RFPalooza

Stealing Time to Self-Brand

Branding Me: A Matter of Time

Clients and Family First, What About Me, Me, Myself and I?  – Promoting Thyself or Thy Agency

To some, self-branding may be narcissistic, but it’s a vital tool in today’s economy.

Promoting and Branding yourself or your agency is essential to every marcom professional’s business –whether an individual practitioner oragency owner – from acquiring new accounts to retention to notoriety to return on investment. Yet, most often, the practice of marketing oneself or agency takes a back seat to existing clients’ needs, family matters, and professional, charitable and volunteer commitments.

The old adage – woman and children first, can be rephrased here to state “clients, family and charity first.” Case in point – this blog comes out, for the mostpart every Wednesday dependent on a variety of factors: my business, workload, etc. Today being Thursday, obviously I did not get to this blog. Reason being: client deadlines, writing a speech for my mother, my children’s travel plans now that college year is almost done, and the list goes on.

Sometimes there just aren't enough minutes in the day.
Sometimes there just aren’t enough minutes in the day.

For me, it is essential that I continue a steady stream of branding Abbe Sparks Media Group, Abbe Sparks and our clients, and this ‘Abbe’s Sparks’ blog. Due to the frustrations I encounter when I can’t get it all done, I thought I’d share a few tips on time-management when it comes to branding yourself or your company:

Early bird catches the news – Wake up an hour earlier in order to schedule social media postings that highlight your company or its endeavors for the day; check your inbox and make sure you share the relevant news with all.

• Steal Time – Try to block 15 minutes to a half hour during lunchtime to catch up on social media notifications, posts and updates. Or, use this free time (I know, what’s that, right?) to delve into your to do list of self-promotion items, such as award entry forms.

Nothing like a few endorphins to revitalize one's self.
Nothing like a few endorphins to revitalize one’s self.

• Play Time – All work and no play makes a burnt out executive. Make sure to get those endorphins going at the gym, socialize with friends or catch a movie to recharge your batteries.

• Night Owls – Sometimes, returning from a night out can be invigorating and allow you that second wind of creativity to apply to your self-promotion.

• Take Comfort – You are not alone, and eventually, will achieve success.

So fellow marketers, take a page from me as my sign off for this blog is usually have a wonderful Wednesday, but if I can’t get to writing it in time, it turns into have a terrific Thursday – and this week, it’s have a fabulous Friday and wonderful weekend. as


By Abbe Sparks

Abbe Silverberg Sparks is the founder of Abbe Sparks Media Group, a boutique communications firm specializing in media relations, cause and social media marketing, branding and special events planning.


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The Suite Spot: The Value of PR in a Digital World

Do You Know Your Suite Spot?

I write to you from the PR Measurement Conference hosted by PR News at the prestigious National Press Club in our nation’s Capital. Public Relations practitioners — like their marketing counterparts – are on a constant quest to seek the optimal social listening, measurement and analytics tools to maximize ROI and justify their campaigns to clients’ or senior management.

However, the difference amongst these marcom factions and even amongst PR pros themselves is in how they view the campaign leader of the pack and in what they deem as their benchmarks for measurement and for proving their worth.

Despite many efforts, there is still no consensus on how to best measure PR. Photo: Abbe Sparks Media Group

It was not that long ago, when PR was considered the step-child of advertising amongst marcom industry pros and as such, they demonstrated the value of PR in terms of advertising dollars for media coverage and applied ‘The Barcelona Principles.’ Many of you may recall PR pros definition to clients’ et al: “publicity is simply free advertising.”

For some, this practice is still relevant. For others, new measurement tools from granddaddy companies such as Cision, BurrellesLuce and BusinessWire, newer mainstays as Google with its google trackbacks, and buzz words like social listening and social engagement, reach are being applied to dashboards for their social analytics tools. The key here is to apply humanistic value to each.

New measurement tools from granddaddy companies as Cision, BurrellesLuce and BusinessWire are a few in a continually crowded playing field. Photo: Abbe Sparks Media Group

Thankfully, in the ever evolving era of digital, times have changed. Public Relations and its value firmly stand on its own two feet. I’m sure many of you non-PR-centric pros are now thinking “spoken like a true spinster.” But, in all seriousness, the lines between public relations, advertising, marketing and digital PR and marketing are now blurred.

The vaunted Barcelona Principles. Photo: Abbe Sparks Media Group

Today, we have commonality: the collective We; integrated departments and campaigns; ad agencies with public relations arms, and PR agencies with marketing divisions. And, everyone in the marcom industry is either on the digital bandwagon or about to hop on. If not, they’re missing the ride completely.

Successful brands, nonprofits, causes, and corporations are those that ‘get’ the vision of a unified voice in all their communications endeavors – messaging, objectives, strategy and results. PR Measurement Conference keynoters and panelists from all parts of the spectrum – non-profits, agencies, authors, researchers, providers, corporations and government agencies — each had their own spin on how best to listen, learn, analyze and measure to demonstrate PR’s value in and of itself and as part of a bigger campaign.

Creating dashboards with different metrics and headers such as PESO (paid, earned, shared and owned channels} vs. vanity (number of followers and likes) were key buzzwords throughout. The common thread: the end game. Dependent on goals: is it to:

  • IDENTIFY influence to learn effectiveness for the next PR campaign?
  • MEASURE effectiveness based on certain criteria and behavioral patterns?
  • LISTEN to discover true audiences for a brand?
  • PROVE PR’s VALUE: just show how good your agency/department and/or the campaign is? Or
  • All of the above
Meredith Stevens, Director of Digital Strategy for The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association displayed their dashboard at a panel on Integrated Measurement: How to Sell PESOS to Senior Leaders and Client. Photo: Abbe Sparks Media Group

Net, net: Whether you’re the client or agency, companies are still in a constant search for a universal social listening, measurement and analytics solution. PR pros have been striving to find the best data system to validate PR’s worth to upper management. After attending the conference, I soon realized we are still searching.

I’ve mentioned the hope to find a universal analytics system for time efficiency and effectiveness in an earlier blog about social media week, and the same holds true here – there are “Different Strokes for Different Folks,” but no answer yet or unilateral consensus on which method is best. And, when it comes to proving your PR or marcom’s value — It’s still based on whatever your client’s suite spot is – messaging, branding, audience, results, etc. Have a wonderful Wednesday. as

Tags: #powerofpr #AbbesSparks #sociallistening #prmeasurement #prnews

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Curtain Up: Cross-Promotion for the Arts







By Abbe Sparks
BY ABBE SPARKS By Abbe Sparks Abbe Silverberg Sparks is the principal of Abbe Sparks Media Group (, a boutique communications firm specializing in media relations, cause and social media marketing, branding and special events planning.

Curtain Up: Cross-Promotion for the Arts

Good creative event marketing campaigns include cross-promotion as an effective tool to generate impactful messaging and maximum ticket sales for any opening night or event day. I personally find that when promoting an event — be it a dance or theatrical performance, music concert or in-store promotion – there is power in numbers. Joining forces with other entities or companies is a most clever tool to use in event marketing.

The Fall season turns our focus to theatrical, dance and art gallery openings that rely heavily on promotion to drive ticket sales as well as to national awareness months that heighten attention on social, civic and health issues. Here are two examples of cultural arts and non-profit organizations that highlight the best in cross-promoting to achieve their goals.

October is national bullying month so the first example features the acclaimed musical play, Lyle Cogen’s ‘Sticks and Stones,’ a one woman show starring songstress/educator and anti-bullying activist Lyle Educator/anti-bullying activist Lyle Cogen's Sticks and Stones  musical play uses an integrated marcom mix to cross-promoteCogen who travels the country annually to schools and theaters to educate and empower children ages 6-15 on bullying behavior and how to diffuse and prevent it. To further promote the messages and her show’s availability to the schools, she submitted her play to New York City’s Solo Theatre Festival, which was selected as a featured play to appear one-time off-broadway during bullying month. Solo Theatre Festival and Sticks and Stonescombined efforts to promote the play and the festival using an integrated marcom mix including print ads, social media marketing and traditional and digital publicity generated from both entities. The result: heightened awareness of the play and its anti-bullying messages, Ms Cogen as a musical theatre actress/songstress and educator, plus increased awareness for the Festival – all designed to successfully drive ticket sales.


Giordano Dance Chicago actively cross-promotes to drive ticket sales for its fall performances
Giordano Dance Chicago actively cross-promotes to drive ticket sales for its fall performances


The fall dance season is in full swing and most reparatory companies’ are debuting world premieres. For Giordano Dance Chicago’s (GDC) upcoming performances at Chicago’s The Harris Theatre for Music and Dance, the company is actively cross-promoting to drive ticket sales for its two night stint where it will debut the world premiere of ‘Feelin Good Sweet’, a Broadway-inspired full company work by award-winning choreographer Ray Leeper (So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Got Talent). Using a blend of good old-fashioned PR with digital and traditional print ads, a slew of thirty second vignettes, email marketing and social media, the company also barters with like-minded institutions to cross-promote each other’s product offerings via website sharing and newsletters. The jury is still out for GDC’s October 24 and 25 performances but word has it that ticket sales are on the rise.

So, take a page from these two cultural arts organizations the next time you have an opening event to market and promote. The most effective campaigns include cross-promotion. Have a wonderful Wednesday.

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Connect the Dots – Connections Mean ROI for Event Marketers

Originally posted September 30, 2014 by RFPalooza in ABBE’S SPARKS

'ABBE'S SPARKS' by Abbe Silverberg Sparks Principal, Abbe Sparks Media Group
‘ABBE’S SPARKS’ by Abbe Silverberg Sparks
Principal, Abbe Sparks Media Group

Connect the Dots…

Get top ROI by igniting personal and professional connections: an invaluable media tool for event marketers. It’s a given that as marketing communications professionals, we are all extremely connected – after all – we are the mouthpieces to the world for our clients. One of the tools of our trade for any good integrated communications campaign is to create a special event that supports the campaign strategy and puts the exclamation point on the message.

Utilizing personal and professional connections create dynamic opportunities for maximum media exposure and word of mouth. Here are two brilliant special events that demonstrate the importance connections play in enhancing the sparks and putting that fiery burst into the campaign finale.


Event #1 – The Rochester Music Hall of Fame Awards to celebrate the 40thAnniversary of WDKX radio, one of the first urban owned and operated radio stations in the country.



Reginald Torian, SR & Kathy Sledge at the Rochester Hall of Fame AwardsThe Mission: create an event to enhance existing publicity efforts surrounding the station’s 40th anniversary. Event producer Bruce Pilato’s concept — host a Soul Legends Reunion in Rochester, NY as a tribute to WDKX Radio’s 40th anniversary and induction into the Hall of Fame — bringing together Soul and Rhythm & Blues legends who’ve been significant in shaping the sound of the 70s on the airwaves. Pilato connected with longtime associate and Grammy (NARAS) member Lynn Orman who represents Soul and R&B clients in Chicago. She connected him with one of three legends of soul: Impressions lead singer ReginaldTorian Sr., who joined Sister Sledge’s Kathy Sledge and The Stylistics Russell Thompkin.

The Hook: An All Star show stopping musical finale with all three legends performing, Sledge’s famous song “We Are Family.”

The Result: Maximum ROI- publicity efforts in Rochester and Chicago alone included multiple radio and television interviews plus a stop at WDKX Radio.


Event #2Product Placement at Special Events for Soft National Launch of Natomy Professional HairCare Products 


Natomy achieved a successful soft launch via strategic product placement at upscale events

The Event Strategy: Use his publicist’s connections with upscale elegant events to capitalize on the event attendees, potential influencers for his product line.The Mission: create word of mouth buzz for Natomy Professional HairCare Products in anticipation of its product launch. Natomy inventor and stylist Theodore Perry publicist’s advice was to sponsor and provide give-away samples at nationally prominent charity and society events in NYC and Chicago to solidify the launch plan.

The Hook: sponsor a VIP reception at NYC’s Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center for East Coast Regional Premiere of a classical trio’s performance; joining fellow internationally established sponsors in the retail and beauty arena and having Natomy samples included in VIP custom-made gift boxes – arranged by publicist’s connection to the folding carton consumer product packaging company, M C Packaging, LLC

The Result: heightened awareness of Natomy by event attendees and sponsors well in advance of its launch and maximum WOM and demand for newest must-have hair product.

Connect the dots! Use connections to gain top ROI for event marketing/pr campaigns. Have a wonderful Wednesday.



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Powerful Messaging and Passion are Keys to Successful MarCom Campaigns

Originally posted in RFPalooza Other Stuff, Our Bloggers, Abbe’s Sparks


We are thrilled to share a new weekly blog post by Abbe Sparks Media Group principal, Abbe Sparks in RFPalooza’s Newsroom that appears every Wednesday, beginning today, September 16, 2014.  The blog title is simply called ‘ABBE’S SPARKS and offers her expertise and thoughts on all things marketing communications and social media marketing  Read the inaugural blog post below:

AbbeSparks_2 (1)


Abbe Silverberg Sparks Principal, Abbe Sparks Media Group
Abbe Silverberg Sparks
Principal, Abbe Sparks Media Group





Powerful Messaging and Passion are Keys to Successful MarCom Campaigns

Powerful messaging and passion for our business and for our clients are keys to successful marcom campaigns – whether it is creating word of mouth marketing, grabbing maximum attention/awareness, raising funds, or attracting customers/consumers.

click on title or below link for full story.

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The PR Industry Loses a Leader in the Field

Daniel Edelman Dead At 92: Media Pioneer Called ‘Marketing And Public Relations Genius’ Dies

By VERENA DOBNIK 01/15/13 06:18 PM ET EST AP

Daniel Edelman Dies

An undated photo provided by Edelman Public Relations shows the company’s founder Dan Edelman. Edelman died in Chicago on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. He was 92. (AP Photo/Edelman Public relations)

NEW YORK — Daniel J. Edelman, who built one of the world’s top public relations companies and pioneered celebrity endorsements and media tours, has died at age 92.

Edelman is credited with developing many of the methods now standard in the field, after transforming the firm he started more than 60 years ago with two people into a global marketing force with more than 4,500 employees in 66 offices worldwide.

His son Richard Edelman said he died of heart failure on Tuesday at a Chicago hospital.

Richard Edelman, president and CEO of the Edelman firm, said his father was “a marketing and public relations genius, because he really understood that PR could sell brands.”

The firm’s clients include Microsoft, Pfizer, Wal-Mart and Royal Dutch Shell…

Daniel Edelman, a New York City native and Columbia University journalism school graduate, worked as a reporter and editor for newspapers in Poughkeepsie, about 75 miles north. He was drafted into the Army during World War II and first honed his public relations skills analyzing German propaganda as a member of a psychological warfare unit.

“I provided information about what they were claiming, so we could answer it with our own broadcasts,” he later recalled.