Much to blog about.

Bohlsen Group Case Study

B is for Balance book finds wide appeal in publicity campaign

February 11, 2016 | by Karen Hurt

Couldn’t we all use a little more balance in our lives?

B is for BalanceThat is the daily challenge that author Sharon M. Weinstein, MS, RN, CSP, tackles in her book, B is for Balance: 12 Steps Toward a More Balanced Life at Home and at Work. Through partnering with her publisher the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), Bohlsen Group sought to boost awareness of the book, author, and publisher through a traditional media campaign.

Although the first edition was originally written for nurses, the second edition expanded the target audience. Bohlsen Group also found in preparing for media outreach that Weinstein’s message of simplification and stress management had a much broader appeal and could bring value to many types of audiences. In addition to nursing trade publications and websites, Bohlsen Group created story angles that appealed to not only nurses, but CEOs, social workers, graduate students, HR professionals, and general consumers.

While STTI as an organization is well known within the nursing industry, Bohlsen Group needed to overcome name-recognition issues when reaching out to editors and reviewers outside the sector. In addition, the book faced some challenges securing interest as a second edition.

Through a six-month campaign that included preparation, a press release distribution, media outreach and follow-ups, Bohlsen Group secured not only book reviews, but live author interviews, guest article opportunities, and book excerpt publications.

In the nursing industry, outlets including, Nursing Management, and NURSINGmatters covered the book. Weinstein and STTI also reached new audiences through media coverage by The CEO Magazine, The Globe and Mail (Canada’s top daily newspaper), Mom Talk Radio,, and Human Resources. B is for Balance’s geographic campaign reach was wide: outside of the U.S., the book generated interest in the U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Hong Kong, and South Asia.

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A participant’s inside look at the upcoming Brackets For Good Pep Rallies

February 2, 2016 | by Jaymie Shook

Going to The Speak Easy last February for my first Brackets For Good pep rally, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The invitation promised pizza and beer, so that was enough to get my husband to come along, and I knew my colleague Andrew Hayenga would be there as a coach for the participating nonprofit organizations. It turned out that another board member from my group was able to make it, so I had a team of connections to help me process the meet-up.

In short, Brackets For Good blew me away.

Before unveiling a wall-sized bracket with match-ups (such excitement! And a great photo opportunity), executive director Matt McIntyre gave an inspirational introduction to the tournament with a speech and a video presentation.

He led participants through the history of Brackets For Good all the way from an idea the co-founders had in their basement while watching Butler in the 2011 NCAA tournament to expanding the nonprofit tournament from 8 nonprofits in Indy in 2012 to 128 nonprofits in two states in 2015.

As cool as it is to have gone from 8 to 128 participating groups in three years, the jump in the last year has gotten even bigger. This year, 320 nonprofits will compete in five different states!

At the 2015 rally, co-founders McIntyre and Matt Duncan led the group through the multiple technology tools available free to all participants and the user interface to be used by donors during the tournament. (Incidentally, I’ve had a sneak peek at the new tools and new interface for the coming 2016 tournament, and they are so awesome, they will melt your face off.)

Besides the information download, the pep rally was the perfect time to meet representatives from the other nonprofits and also from the sponsors, one of which set up video interviews to help nonprofits spread awareness about participation in the tournament.

All in all, the pep rally was a fun, inspirational way to kick off an adventure that led to more than 7,500 donations and more than $800,000 raised for the Indy and Louisville communities.

While Brackets For Good is based in Indianapolis, it has branched out, as I mentioned, to four other areas in the Midwest. Pep rallies will take place in each city for participating nonprofits, sponsors, media, and other special guests on the following dates:

  • St. Louis Pep Rally presented by Commerce Bank 
    • February 8
    • 6 to 8 p.m. local time
    • Morgan Street Brewery
  • Ann Arbor Pep Rally
    • February 10
    • 6 to 8 p.m. local time
    • Eastern Michigan University
  • Minneapolis Pep Rally
    • February 12
    • 6 to 8 p.m. local time
    • 514 Studios
  • Louisville Pep Rally presented by the Center for Nonprofit Excellence
    • February 16
    • 6 to 8 p.m. local time
    • The Foundry at Glassworks
  • Indianapolis Pep Rally presented by Celadon Trucking
    • February 18
    • 6 to 8 p.m. local time
    • The Speak Easy

Community members, mark your calendars and set aside some dollars for February 26—the date when the tournament will launch and the competitive giving will tip off. For now, you can check out the list of participating nonprofits in each city online at

I can’t wait to attend this year’s pep rally, this time as a public relations contact for Brackets For Good. Good luck to all participating nonprofits, and remember to tweet during the rallies using #BFG16!

Learn more:


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5 Ways Doing Good Can Do Good For Your Business in 2016

January 20, 2016 | by Kathy Pedrotti Hays
Kathy Pedrotti Hays Social Enterprise Associate

Kathy Pedrotti Hays
Social Enterprise Associate

I would bet that your New Year’s resolution included having a positive impact on the world around you. You may have resolved to volunteer more, to mentor a young person, or simply to make greener choices as you move through your day.

With the introduction of the Benefit Corporation status in Indiana and the increasing number of for-profit companies who are becoming Certified B Corps, we’re seeing that companies are committing to do the same.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been an important part of many companies’ cultures since it began in the 1950s. Since then, companies have tried to measure whether CSR was a “feel good” idea or if it truly impacted their business. In working with local, regional, and national firms like Bohlsen Group, we’ve found a number of ways a CSR mindset positively impacts business.

Attract and Retain Top Talent.

Companies that engage in CSR programs see an increase in both talent acquisition as well as employee satisfaction and engagement. CSR is the second most significant factor in determining employee engagement, including improved employee moral, job satisfaction and a reduction in costly staff turnover, according to

Positive Financial Performance.

The combination of increased efficiencies, cost reduction, increased customer cultivation, and improved sales has translated into successful financial performance proving that CSR programs add to the bottom line.

Access to Capital.

Companies are generating new investment opportunities by leveraging the added value achieved through official CSR strategies. Fund managers and finance institutions recognize the stability brought when a firm has an integrated business and social mission. As companies translate their CSR plans into a formal capacity through benefits legislation or B Corp certification, investors are taking note.

Publicity Opportunities.

Despite the proliferation of negative news in the media, an appetite does exist for stories about authentic ways that companies and their employees are doing good in the world. Cause marketing efforts can generate publicity opportunities for businesses that would not otherwise exist in their routine advertising of products and services.

Increased Sales and Customer Loyalty.

Studies show that over 50% of consumers worldwide care about the company, not just the products they are buying. Amy Fenton, Neilson’s global leader of public development and sustainability says that “consumers around the world are saying loud and clear that a brand’s social purpose is among the factors that influence purchase decisions.” CSR programs and added transparency increase a company’s reputation and legitimacy, which positively affects customer cultivation and sales. (Camilleri, 2014)

These are just four very tangible advantages that companies see as they move forward in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility, not to mention the countless intangibles like quality of life, job satisfaction, and knowing that you helped inspire other companies to “up their game,” so to speak.

Over time, Corporate Social Responsibility has evolved from a concept to actionable strategies to programs that have helped propel business and society to mutually beneficial relationships.

I’d love to hear how CSR is taking shape within your organization and the benefits you see from your programs. Tweet at me or email me at

CSR StampFor the full “Why Corporate Social Responsibility Matters” report or to learn how Kathy and her team impacts corporate and nonprofit clients, visit

Kathy consults with Bohlsen Group and its clients on matters of social enterprise and partnered with Bohlsen Group in 2015 to help it become the only Certified B Corporation in Indiana

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2016 Digital Media Trends You Need to Know Now

January 7, 2016 | by Mandy Bray

Need some smart-sounding conversation for your next office party or family gathering? Bohlsen Group has you covered.

Publishing is coming direct to social media

According to research by across 400 publisher sites, referrals to publishers from Facebook surpassed referrals from Google sites in July 2015 and continue to rise. Embracing this, Facebook piloted its “Facebook Instant” articles in 2015, with more than a dozen major publishers, including Washington Post and Buzzfeed, signing on to publish their articles directly to Facebook.

While this provides a faster and friendlier experience for users, the long-term effect on publishers and their business model is yet to be seen. They’re gambling on the benefits of gaining more loyal readers through social media over an inevitable loss of website traffic.

Publishers are experimenting with direct publishing on other platforms as well. In November 2015, Wired became the first traditional publication to release a long-form story exclusively on Instagram.

The search for more meaningful metrics continues

Digital media operates in the “Attention Economy,” competing for a user’s eyeballs not just once, but over a lifespan of consumer consumption. However, the mainstream website metrics—page views and CTRs (click through rates)—inadequately measure a digital publisher’s success in this area.

So, how do digital publishers transition from clicks and page views to more meaningful metrics?

Blog powerhouses Medium and Upworthy now count time spent as a key metric in addition to just page views. NPR is reportedly developing a “Carebot” analytics tool to measure how valuable stories are to readers. The tool will be open-sourced for other news organizations to use. Google and many digital publishers are now using social shares as a significant metric.

Above all, work on your content quality game to build an audience—click-bait won’t cut it in 2016.

The great emoji experiment goes on

In 2015, emojis—the darling of shorthand texting and social media—made an awkward foray into mainstream marketing and digital publishing, culminating with the much-decried selection of an emoji as Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year.

Publishers have had mixed success in integrating emojis. While digital-first publications such as Mashable or HelloGiggles frequently use emojis in their social media commentary, traditional publications have generated backlash. USA Today, for example, experimented with placing an emoji alongside a headline in a November print issue and promptly received criticism that it was blurring its neutrality by telling readers how to feel.

Though the adoption of emojis is still early and isn’t often pretty, brands are onto something with the attempt to connect with readers on a more nuanced emotional level. Reactions to digital content can generate many emotions—empathy, sadness, elation, or even outrage, and digital publishers have very little means at the moment to measure or interact with users based on these reactions.

Through 2016, we can expect brands and publishers to develop a more sophisticated approach to user emotion. Facebook’s pending Reactions Update will allow users to respond to a post or article with emojis representing, “love,” “ha ha,” “yay,” “wow,” “sad,” and “angry”. Tools to measure social media content by sentiment are constantly improving.

How brands choose to respond to the emotions of its readers will separate the titans from the trend-chasers.

Need to stay on top of the dizzying media landscape? Bohlsen Group is the integrated communications agency to keep you moving in the right direction with media relations, social media, branding, and advertising.

What do you hunger for in 2016?

January 5, 2016 | by Vicki Bohlsen


I have one of the same goals every year. It’s not because I fail to achieve it; rather, it is too important to lose sight of and needs to be sustained.

I want my staff to be as good as they can be while at Bohlsen Group, but even better if and when they leave.

Bottom line, I want to make sure I provide staff with what they need to be happy and as comfortable as possible in their career development so that they are motivated to do a good job for our clients.

Two years ago, I attended the Women President’s Organization annual conference in New Orleans, and I heard Lauren Bush Lauren (that is not a typo) deliver a keynote that I will never forget.  Lauren is the granddaughter of former President George H. W. Bush and niece of former President George W. Bush and is married to David Lauren, the son of fashion designer Ralph Lauren.

Account Coordinator Heidi Harmon

Account Coordinator Heidi Harmon

Upon graduation from Princeton, Lauren was uncertain what she was going to do since she had a passion for fashion designing and modeling, but also philanthropy and activism. With her adoring and handsome husband by her side, she shared a look inside what influenced and shaped her. It was a fascinating, motivating story!

Ultimately, Lauren combined all of her interests and became a food system change advocate by creating FEED Projects in 2007.

FEED started with the simple idea of creating eco-friendly bags that would engage people in the fight against hunger in a tangible way, and eight years later it has become a movement connecting people to the cause.

Every one of the FEED products has a number stamped on it that signifies the amount of meals provided with its purchase.

I shared this story with the staff when I gave them each a FEED bag for Christmas. I believe Lauren’s story is the epitome of identifying the hunger within (pun absolutely intended). Over time and with hard work, she has taken all of her gifts and turned them into a life that serves her and others well.

Sure, even with the best planning, we all have times when we aren’t sure what’s in store. Like Lauren, how about making the most of what is available? I believe everyone has had to deal with finding the good in a situation on some level. This ability or inability defines a person… and can be life’s motivator, if chosen.

This is why I strive to help the staff be the best they can while at Bohlsen Group. If Bohlsen Group is just a morsel in a staff member’s career smorgasbord, I want to make sure that the experience they get at our company helps make their feast.

What do you hunger for in 2016?

Learn more about Vicki Bohlsen, founder and president of Bohlsen Group.