what we think

We don’t think of ourselves as know-it-alls, but we do like sharing our thoughts, experiences and POV from time-to-time. We are in continual learning mode and here is what we think, when we think it.

Social Media Drives Membership

Social Media Membership


The August issue of the national Business Marketing Association newsletter features how social media is helping drive membership for the Chicago chapter. We are big supporters of the BMA and play a role in keeping it the nation’s strongest chapter. Check out some of the things we’ve been involved with to make thing happen for this great organization.



Intern’s view – Make Your Connections Count

On July 27 2011, the Tell Your Story team and I had the wonderful opportunity to attend Sima Dahl’s launch party for her new book she co-authored called Make Your Connections Count. The event was held in the beautiful Metropolitan Club at the Willis Tower. Tell Your Story’s Founder, George Rafeedie, was the co-host of the event and gave a rousing introduction. The night was filled with networking, fabulous hors d'oeuvres, and a speech from the one and only Sima Dahl.   Simaspoke to her close colleagues and fans about her pivotal career choices and the path that led her to where she is now. As a University of Illinois graduate,Sima Dahl launched Parlay Communications in 2008 to advise professionals on digital branding and communications. She has helped hundreds of job seekers and ladder climbers learn the art of networking both in-person and online. Sima teaches how to utilize social media...

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Tell Your Story Welcomes Amanda Stewart

Amanda Social PRTell Your Story is thrilled to introduce you to its first full-time team member, Amanda Stewart. Amanda will serve as our Social Media and Public Relations Manager, responsible for developing and executing strategic PR and social media plans for clients as well as Tell Your Story. She will also oversee me, the intern.


Prior to Tell Your Story, Amanda worked as a public relations consultant for business-to-business firm, Gyro (formerly HSR Business to Business), where she helped increase awareness, preference and thought leadership for clients including USG Corporation, Morton Salt and SIRVA. She takes a metrics-driven approach to social media and PR and is passionate about integrating social and digital media with traditional public relations.


Originating from Rockford, IL, just 90 miles outside of Chicago, Amanda attended Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois where she received a bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication and Political Science. Although she initially planned to be an attorney, after interning at a law office in college, knew she was better suited for a career that allowed for more creativity and communication. After her first marketing/PR internship, Amanda was hooked. She was then drawn to the beautiful city of Chicago where she not only loves the abundance of business opportunities, but to the amazing culture, food and people.


“I have loved developing highly- targeted messages, and sharing those messages through public relations and social media strategies. One of the most fascinating things about this industry is the evolution of it,” Amanda expresses. “Just in my 5-year career, the way we communicate with customers has completely changed with the widespread use of social media and user generated content. I look forward to seeing what is to come and helping my clients navigate the changing landscape to their best advantage.”


Amanda learned about the opportunity with Tell Your Story because George Rafeedie, Founder of Tell Your Story, was the Managing Director at her first agency job at HSR Business to Business. They kept in touch over the years after George started his own agency, and when the opportunity arose, they both knew it was the perfect fit.


“I saw Amanda grow rapidly at HSR and her reputation for doing great PR and social media work grew tremendously after I left,” George said. “Once I saw I had the opportunity and clients to get someone like her on board to help craft and tell great stories, I had to go for it. I can’t be more excited about the work we are currently doing and will be doing for our clients. Keep an eye on us.”


Welcome Amanda!

We Love Trade Shows – Here’s Where We’ll Be

Brand and Marketing CommunicationTrade show attendance may be on the decline, but we don’t care. People are still attending meaning there are leads to be had and relationships to be formed. Of course, companies may not be able to spend as much as they did in the past, but attendance at key shows in your industry are still great opportunities to make things happen for your business.We see trade shows as a perfect opportunity to tell your story before, during and after the shows you attend. If done well, a show can be the center of the integrated mix of brand and marketing communications that inspire customers and prospects to ask and learn more about why you are so special – face-to-face.We are currently in San Diego at the National Association of Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) Financial Managers Conference with home care coding client, Daymarck. In October, we’ll be attending NAHC’s annual show with Daymarck in Vegas.


In a totally different industry, we will be helping clients OnRamp Transportation Services and Equinox Owner-Operator Solutions reach independent truckers at two industry trade shows in the coming months. OnRamp is the only organization suited to provide equipment (trucks and trailers), financing and business services to ensure a trucker’s success. Face-to-face with this crowd is key.


We will be helping OnRamp and Equinox at the Expedite Expo in Wilmington, Ohio, an event for truckers who specialize in expedited truck runs (fast/overnight). In August, we’ll travel to Dallas for The Great American Trucking Show – the convention of trucking professionals.


Amanda Stewart, our new PR & social media manager has traveled the building products trade show circuit for the past three years, meeting with industry reporters, capturing photos and videos, and live-tweeting from shows such as the International Roofing Expo and INTEX (Interior-Exterior) Expo.


So, as you can see, we love trade shows. We’re not so great at assembling the booths themselves, but I did put up a small one today. However, as part of a team looking to leverage their trade show presence, we can make things happen. That’s why we love trade shows.


Stay tuned for a recap of the shows and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for live updates and photos.


If you have a show coming up and need to tell your story there, contact us.

Intern’s View – Tell Your Story’s First Intern Briley Bollinger

Briley Marketing CommunicationGreetings! I am Tell Your Story’s NEW Marketing Communications Intern, and I’ll be sharing my views from time-to-time on things I hope you find interesting. That said, here’s a little about me.I am so excited to embark on this new chapter of life. I am a recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago where I received my degree in Marketing Communications and a concentration in Public Relations. I have lived in Chicago for the past four years, but I’m far from a city girl, for my roots come from good ole Viola, Illinois, near the Quad Cities. Needless to say, it was hard for my mother to watch her little girl and the oldest of five go from population 900 to 3 million.


I have always dreamnt of having a marketing job that gives me the freedom to express my creative talents. Also, I am able to use transferable skills I have learned from Columbia and past employment.


Throughout college, I was employed at Gap, Moody Bible Institute’s Lifeway Christian Bookstore, and the Coach store at Water Tower Mall. I interned at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida in September of 2008 and am currently seasonal status.


Another passion of mine growing up was pageantry. I was an ambassador of Mercer County, Illinois, where I promoted agriculture and county fairs. I also had the honor to represent the Miss Blackhawk Valley Organization where I promoted Children’s Miracle Network and my personal platform Tween Alert: Reach Before Rescue.


My platform allowed me to teach tweens ages 7-14 about making good decisions in their life before bad decisions negatively impact their future endeavors.>As I embrace this new position, I hope to take Tell Your Story to a new level.


I will create brand awareness, build business-to-business relationships, utilize social media, and make use of my creativity on behalf of current and future clients. Everyday I try to remind myself that half of doing anything is just believing that you can. I believe this new chapter at Tell Your Story is just the beginning of the great things yet to come. Connect with me on Linkedin – http://www.linkedin.com/pub/briley-bollinger/35/330/a94

Lots of Activity

Tell Your Story Brand ActivityWhat a crazy last few weeks. I attended almost all sessions and networking events (plus some non-official networking events) at the Business Marketing Association national conference, Unleash, last week in Chicago. What a great event. I also went to the Chicago BMA Windy City Biz Bash where I was the sponsor of the DJ and soundtrack for the night. The BizBash is always a good time and a worthy cause.


In addition, it was finals week at DePaul and I sat through and graded 12 fantastic presentations by my students in my Intro to PR class. They each had a “real client” and came up with a full PR/social media plan and presented it to me, special guests and clients the past two week. I’m a very proud adjunct prof.


Lastly, I made two new hires for


Tell Your Story — my first two 40+ hours a week team members to handle the growing needs of my clients, which I am very thankful to serve. We’ll have more detail on my two hires over the next few weeks.


Other than that, it’s time to make things happen and get ready for several client summer shows and initiatives. Thanks for reading and following