Gossip Genie Blog

4 Technology Tips for Long Distance Lovers

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55 days, 15 hours, 32 minutes and 20 seconds – that’s the amount of time I have to wait until I can (physically) see my boyfriend again. When you’re in a long distance relationship, time in between visits can pass slower than a three-toed sloth but thanks to technology, there are plenty of ways to stay connected. Being that my boyfriend is from Ireland, standard texting wasn’t an option for us, so I had to do some “research” to find the best methods of communication available. Some were more obvious than others; Facebook messenger, Skype and so on – but there were others, like the Kissenger, that were just downright creepy. After weeding through the muck, there were few apps (some more practical than others) that stood out the most – check out the ones that have worked best for me below. Are there any you’ve used that you would add to this list?


These two video-sharing services are the most obvious choices of the bunch. Texting is great and all, but nothing compares to seeing your SO’s face when you’re thousands of miles apart. While Skype offers text, voice and video, FaceTime only offers the video capability – but both are great for different reasons. If you’re constantly on the go and would rather use your phone to video chat, FaceTime may be more up your alley. If you want to grab your laptop, sit back and chat, Skype is the app for you. Skype is also available on mobile but if you’re like me and don’t want to clog up your phone space, you can leave it on your desktop. Another cool Skype feature that I’ve recently discovered is that if you need to surf the web or do a little work while you chat, the video stream won’t disappear into the background. Multi-tasking at its finest.


Everyone on God’s green earth knows what Snapchat is – I mean, even my dad has it. Most people use Snapchat to send silly snaps to their friends (all hail the dog filter) or to show everyone what they’re up to. When you’re in a LDR, Snapchat can be super useful to send your boo little snippets of your day that may not be text-worthy. I like to send my boyfriend quick snaps when our dog is being a dingus or when grabbing our favorite take-out (Glaze Teriyaki – try it). Feeling chatty? Users also have the ability to send messages and live video chat.


If you’re in a trans-Atlantic LDR, pay attention to this one – it’s been my life-saver over the past 2 years. WhatsApp Messenger is a mobile messaging app that allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS, you just need data! WhatsApp also allows you to send each other unlimited images, video and audio media messages. Bonus: as long as you have data, you also have the ability to make phone calls through the app. My boyfriend used this many times to call his parents while he was living in Chicago.


Let me start by saying that I have never, and will never, use this one but I thought that it was interesting enough to give it a shout-out. If you’ve lived with your SO for a while, you know that being apart can affect your sleep schedule. PillowTalk was invented for this exact reason. According to Cool Gadgets, the pillow uses sensors built into elastic bands that are then worn around the chest. The sensors record the wearer’s heartbeat and sends it wirelessly to the partner’s pillow in real time. Doesn’t sound like the most peaceful night of sleep to me but to each their own, right?

How To Make The Most Out Of An Internship

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This month marks two months into my internship, which has already gone by so fast! It may seem like a short time, but I am proud to say that I’ve come a long way since I started.

An internship should not be about just completing all the tasks that you’re given and calling it a day. An internship should benefit you by furthering your knowledge in the industry, as well as benefiting your company by demonstrating that you are an important asset to their team.

Be Curious

Asking questions not only helps you learn a lot, but it also prevents you from making mistakes. Being curious shows a genuine interest in the company’s work and wanting to take on new tasks and responsibility.

Stay Organized

If you’re asked to do a task once, be prepared to do it again or offer to do it the next time around. One of the most important skills I’ve learned from working in social media, is time management– I have created multiple excel sheets for various projects and a master spreadsheet to check that I have completed all of my tasks for each day. Learning how to prioritize tasks is also extremely important and helps me figure out where to start when there is a lot of work to do.

Offer Insights

Offering ideas or suggestions can be intimidating as an intern, but I’ve learned that ideas are always more than welcome and appreciated. This shows that you are capable of using your best judgment and that you are able to apply what you have learned from past internships and experiences.

The Gossip Genie team has been extremely helpful and fun to work with. I can honestly say that I love working here and am excited to continue learning new things!

5 Instagram Accounts I Can’t Get Enough Of

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Insta Blog Photos

If I let myself, I could spend all day on Instagram. With all of its bright colors, crisp photos, and fun quotes, I am constantly finding content that inspires me in both my professional and personal life. However, if I go too long without following new pages, my feed begins to feel dull and boring. That’s why I’m always on the hunt for different accounts to give me fresh ideas and keep it fun.

To prevent you from thinking, ‘Oh my god, why am I still on Instagram when I’ve seen all this?,’ here are a few new accounts to follow. These are my current favorites, and I check them every single day for new content. Enjoy!

Cédric Dasesson – @cedricdasesson

This account blows me away. All of Dasesson’s photos are so clear and eye-catching – there is never one that I don’t like.


A few of my favorites:


Emma + Elsie A Beautiful Mess – @abeautifulmess

One of my very best friends (thanks, Kathryn!) showed me this account when I first joined Instagram, and I’ve been hooked ever since. All of their photos pack a punch of color and personality, and I am obsessed. For more fun by Emma and Elsie, check out their app’s page: @acolorstory.


A few of my favorites:


Sarita Walsh – @saaareeee

There’s only one word I use to describe this account: badass. Walsh’s page is full of gruff, blunt inspiration to work out and work hard. She offers great fitness advice on her progress photos as well as humor, encouragement, and stories. Plus, with her cohesive color scheme, the photos melt into each other to create a really cool aesthetic.


A few of my favorites:


Drake on Cake – @drakeoncake

I love this account because of how unique and contradictory it is. When you scroll through, you’ll see loads of memorable Drake lyrics scrawled out on pretty, girly cakes. It’s hilarious, and I definitely recommend it.


A few of my favorites:


Brandon Woelfel – @brandonwoelfel

Mellow, cool, artistic – these are all words I would use to describe Woelfel’s page. Anyone who appreciates photography will love this page. Shoutout to Kasia for suggesting I take a look at it!


A few of my favorites:


So, there are my faves! Of course, you are all welcome to follow me as well: @kristinaknap. I would love to hear what yours are too – please comment. ?

Tools for Pitching to Media

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information | One Comment

A pitch to press is key to getting your client coverage on any media outlet. Getting media to cover your story or include your client in a segment can be difficult with so many factors going into it—the quality of your pitch, the relevance to that outlet, the time you send your pitch out, the overall newsworthy element of the story or client…the list goes on. PR professionals know this struggle, but there are tools that will help ease and contribute to the success of pitching to media.


There are other media databases, but Cision has been the only one I’ve used since I was in school and have always loved it since. It has various tools for PR pros and even smaller businesses looking to do their own PR.

Cision is a great place to start when working on a completely new project that involves stepping out from your usual or general media contacts and pitching to bloggers, local newspapers, or any other contacts that write for a very specific target market. And, of course, you can find your local TV segment producers in seconds.

Mail Merge

Mail merge is amazing because you can send large quantities of emails all at once— I can send up to 100 with the add-ons, I currently have— and personalize each one at the same time, which is very important. I personally use Google’s mail merge, Yet Another Mail Merge, because it’s convenient since we use Gmail at Gossip Genie.

It’s not only beneficial for sending out emails, but it helps you to update your agency’s own media database. This helps cut down on time that may be spent searching for contacts on Cision and sifting through all the contacts it generates. I like to have a column in my Google sheets dedicated to what that specific contact covers and any additional information that is vital for pitching to them (or not pitching to them).

The Phone

These days, a phone call may seem old-fashioned, but it’s not outdated in the PR industry. Email follow-ups go unnoticed far too much. A simple follow-up call can actually determine whether or not your story is covered. Some contacts prefer not to be called, which Cision has noted under each contact. Mail merge also has a tracking report and merge status that lets you know which contacts have opened your email.

Phone calls work well when you’re on a time-crunch and to ensure your story or event is on the books at TV stations to be covered that same day.

Quick Tips for a Successful Blogger Outreach

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For the past three months, I’ve been spending a large amount of my time focusing on blogger outreach for various events across the country. Blogger outreach is one of my favorite things to do for a client because it allows me to take an in-depth look at the brand, see which influencers would be a good fit and reach out to them in hopes of forming a relationship that would benefit my client. Nothing is more gratifying than having an influential blogger take an interest in my client and having them willingly write a full blog post. Although the reward is great, like giving my client a ton of exposure across the country, blogger outreach is definitely not a walk in the park. Below are a few tips I’ve compiled for a successful blogger outreach.

Stay Organized

Before starting any blogger outreach, it is important to have a designated spot for all blogger info. I suggest creating a Google Doc because it allows you to create columns where you can list the blogger’s name, email address, website, Twitter handle, Twitter followers, notes, etc. You can also color code rows to see who has replied “Yes,” “No,” and “Maybe.” Not only will this keep your info in one spot that’s easily accessible, but it also shows who you’ve already reached out to. Nothing is more embarrassing than reaching out to the same blogger twice. Please, don’t be that person.

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Know Your Bloggers

Since there are thousands of bloggers in various industries, it can be tricky to figure out which ones are the best for your brand. That being said, it is imperative to do your research and be very selective. For example, you might find the perfect fashion blogger with a large following, but if she hasn’t tweeted since January 2016, she most likely isn’t the best fit for your brand. You want to make sure that any blogger on your list is also active on his or her social media channels. That way when they create the blog post, it’ll be blasted across their social channels, leveraging the reach with their followers.

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It is extremely common for bloggers to charge $500-$750 for a sponsored blog post, but not all brands can afford that. Instead of breaking the bank, give the bloggers an offer they surely can’t refuse. For example, if you’re a footwear company, offering a free pair of shoes in exchange for a blog post is much more feasible than paying a ridiculous amount of money. And let’s be honest, what blogger wouldn’t take a free pair of shoes? Don’t forget, blogger outreach is all about having a mutually beneficial relationship for the brand and blogger. If the brand wants a blog post, the blogger needs something in return.

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Maintain Relationships

 Once you reach out to bloggers and they agree to write a blog post about your brand, don’t end the relationship there. Always make sure to follow up and stay in constant communication when appropriate. To this day, I still communicate with bloggers I initially reached out to months ago. If I need my client to be retweeted in order to gain more contest entries, I’ll ask those bloggers and they will be more than happy to do so due to maintaining a positive relationship. I also know that I can always rely on those bloggers for future reviews and giveaways for other clients I might have in mind as well. We have all heard that saying, “It’s not about what you know, but who you know.” You never know when you may need your fellow bloggers down the road!

How Netflix Viewers Respond to Images (And How To Apply It To Your Social Media Posts)

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Netflix is well known for using data-driven marketing to come up with more intelligent and focused recommendations to keep you watching.

Recently, they conducted a study that goes beyond just what movies and TV shows you like. Their study, “The Power of an Image,” sought to get a better understanding of how the images they use on their homepage impact user behavior, finding that the thumbnails displayed are one of the biggest reasons someone chooses to click play or not. They found that images “constituted over 82% of people’s focus while browsing,” making it a hugely influential factor in what people chose to watch.

In the study, Netflix reports that if you don’t capture a member’s attention within 90 seconds, that member will likely lose interest. On social media, you have even less time to capture someone’s attention as they’re scrolling through their feed. Which is why imagery is so important. Visual content is more than 40X more likely to be shared on social media than other types of content and Facebook posts with images see more than 2X more engagement than those without images (Source: HubSpot).

Let’s take a look at the biggest trends Netflix found in their study and how it can be applied to your social media posts:

Showcase Emotions

The study found that images showing faces that expressed a wide-range of emotions performed better than those without. They said, “Faces with complex emotions outperform stoic or benign expressions — seeing a range of emotions actually compels people to watch a story more. This is likely due to the fact that complex emotions convey a wealth of information to members regarding the tone or feel of the content.”

Testing the below images to promote their series “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” they found that the image of the two main characters making exaggerated facial expressions performed the best.


Takeaway for social media content: Using images with faces is an effective strategy to increase engagement. More specifically, you should post images that convey the emotional tone or feel of your content. When taking photos or choosing from stock photography, pick the images that have the most expression to reel in your audience.

Less is More

Netflix also found that images that contain more than three people lead to a significant drop in user engagement. This finding changed the way they approached the promotion of one of their most popular shows, ‘Orange is the New Black’. In Season 1, they featured the entire cast in promotional images, while for seasons 2 and 3, they showcased only the main character.

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Takeaway for social media content: Don’t post images that are too busy. Simple, clean images will perform better, particularly when displayed on a smaller scale. And since most social media posts are viewed on mobile, you have less space and a smaller image size to capture an audience’s attention with your visual content.

Audience Preferences Differ by Region

With artwork for Netflix’ series “Sense8,” the company was able to get a glimpse into the differences in response to imagery across various cultures. Netflix stated that “Examining regional differences helped us see that while great stories transcend borders, it is important to understand how presenting each story in different regions impacts how quickly members from around the world actually discover that story through artwork.”


Takeaway for social media content: Tailor your content and images to your specific audience. Know your target market and make sure every graphic and image you share is relatable to that audience. If you’re not sure what your audience is going to respond to, test out various content to see what’s working.

While the findings here are obviously focused on movies and TV shows, it goes to show how powerful images are and the ability they have to move people in powerful ways. The study offers some interesting lessons in what types of images generate better engagement; such as limiting the amount of people you have in your photos and using images that showcase more complex emotions. Take note of these and you may be able to generate better engagement and get more people to click through and read your posts.

“And love is love is love is love.”

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During the early morning hours of Sunday, June 12, an unfathomable tragedy occurred in Orlando, Florida. In a senseless act of hatred and violence, a gunman entered popular gay nightclub, Pulse, and opened fire on hundreds of unsuspecting patrons, leaving 49 dead and over 50 critically injured. I, along with others across the world, have been grappling with how to put my feelings into the proper words – anger, sadness, sympathy – how can we even begin to describe the level of astonishment, anguish and sadness that we feel for our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community?

Having friends with so many different beliefs would normally lead me to stay off of social media during a time like this. The pointless, and often severely uneducated, arguments on Facebook and Twitter about gun control, religious beliefs and political beliefs tend to be angry, tacky and overwhelming and are not things I want to see when something so tragic and heartbreaking occurs. I expected to see plenty of this on social media after the devastation that took place at Pulse Nightclub, however, I was surprised and pleased to see nothing but love filling my newsfeed.

Companies, celebrities and regular people have all been using the power of social media to spread positivity during an incredibly dark time. People everywhere have been touched by this tragedy, so I wanted to share a few examples of how social media users across the world are coming together to support members of the LGBT community.

Facebook Profile Picture Frame

As we’ve seen during other significant events, Facebook activated a special frame for users to add to their current profile picture. The phrase ‘We Are Orlando’ with the LGBT flag can be added to any Facebook user’s profile photo to show public support and love for our LGBT family.

Orlando Profile Photo

GoFundMe for Pulse Victims

As word of the situation in Orlando spread, Equality Florida (the largest LGBT rights group in the state), created a GoFundMe fundraiser to support the victims and their families. This fundraiser has been shared hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of times across all social media platforms. The group’s initial fund raising goal of $100,000 was quickly met and surpassed and is now at 3.6 million dollars and rising by the minute. Anyone who wishes to donate can do so here.

Orlando GoFundMe

BuzzFeed posts video showing support from around the world

Countries around the world mourned with Orlando after the violent attack took place on Sunday. From Seoul to Rome to Dallas, people have come together to cry, to sing, to hug and to show the victims that they are not alone. This video has over 3 million views and has been shared over 50,000 times.


In the wake of devastation and despair, we’ve been able to see a massive outpour of love and support for the victims of this tragedy and for members of the LGBT community through social media. My hope is that this love continues to shine strong and prevail and that it can help provide even a small inkling of hope, love and support to all those who were affected by this unbelievably unfortunate tragedy. My heart is with you all. #WeAreOrlando

“And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.” -Lin-Manuel Miranda.

#OrlandoUnited: The Positive Power of Social Media

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#OrlandoUnited (2)

Over the weekend, the world felt a heavy heart as hate showed its ugly face yet again. 49 people – people spending time with friends, family, loved ones – lost their lives in an Orlando gay nightclub to senseless gun violence and bigotry.

As an immediate response to the chaos taking place the night of the attack, Facebook reactivated its ‘Safety Check’ – a temporary feature that allows users in tragedy struck areas to alert their Facebook friends that they are safe and accounted for. Once a user is marked safe, their friends receive a notification directly to their account.

Photo Credit: PC Mag

Photo Credit: PC Mag

This ability to provide its users with instant updates on the people they care about is an example of social media in its most powerful form. We are so often reminded of its harmful effects that we forget it can connect the world for good as well. We can use these platforms in times of crises to reach lost friends, provide solace, show compassion, and perpetuate love when humanity needs it the most.

I have people near and dear to my heart who are members of the LGBT community. Seeing an attack that not only exemplifies a complete lack of respect for life in general but goes even further to disregard their right to equality and safety breaks my heart. However, I am proud to see the world virtually holding hands against violence. Through the use of #PrayforOrlando and #OrlandoUnited, we stand together to not allow hate the last word.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those whose lives were forever changed by this. If you would like to help the victims and their families, here are the ways you can donate.

Genies In A New Bottle

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Last August, after many meetings, heavy negotiation and endless preparation/research and collaboration, we received an offer to be acquired by a larger company. Ultimately, we did not accept this offer because we could not reach an agreement on the terms. When I finalized my decision, I felt like a bride running away from her groom at the alter. I never looked back and I know I made the right decision. Similar to a happy and healthy marriage, a company merger or acquisition has to be mutually beneficial and cultures have to align. Gossip Genie is more than a company, we are a family and the decision to merge with that company would not have been the right one for my Gossip Genie family.

Fast forward to January 2016, I had just returned from my maternity leave and Marty Pesis from SociaLink Media, (Now Bobber Marketing) reached out to me. I was familiar with the company founded by the Minnesota Native brothers, Marty and Daniel Pesis, because they were a local competitor. Marty asked if we could meet to discuss a potential collaboration. Prior to meeting I did my research and was impressed with the quality of their work and client roster. Upon meeting, we quickly realized the incredible synergy between our companies from the pride we take in our work to the strong relationships we have with our clients and coworkers. The natural next step was to have our teams meet and start exploring the idea of working together. SociaLink hosted us at their office and we all clicked, instantly. Shortly after, Marty came to me with an offer that we could not refuse. He said that SociaLink was evolving into a firm dedicated to email marketing and they were seeking a partner to continue the high level of social media service to which their client’s had grown accustom. By April we settled on a mutually beneficial agreement and shortly after, we slowly transitioned the first round of clients to Gossip Genie. SociaLink held our hands through the process as well as their clients’ hands.

On June 1st, we moved into SociaLink’s office. They had more than enough space for all eight of us and two dogs to comfortably fit. The move facilitated the need for our teams to work closely on all of the various accounts. It also allows for us to offer our current clients the option to take advantage of our now (in house) email marketing experts. Now, Gossip Genie and SociaLink are like one big Brady Bunch family, the only thing missing is a housekeeper. Come visit us at our new address: 1332 N. Halsted, unit 302, Chicago, IL. 60642.

Check out our new space (we are still waiting for our bright pink desk chairs to arrive and you know I am not kidding).

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