From freelance to full-time, Cheryl Harrison has turned her knack for touting beer into two-person public relations and social media agency speechbubble.
In college, Harrison studied both ends of the news spectrum, covering PR and journalism. Post-graduation she worked at a few agencies around town, getting in on the early end of implementing social media strategies when it became a thing in 2009-2010. A move to a software company put the kibosh on social media planning as it wasn’t something that was effective for the company and their focus.
“I really missed it,” Harrison says. “It’s something I’ve personally always really enjoyed.”
She started doing some freelance work on the side, picking up clients like Woodland’s and Zauber Brewing.
“I was approached by several other companies and didn’t have the time to do it as a freelancer and continue to have my job anymore,” Harrison says.
She quit her job to pursue speechbubble full-time in January of 2013.
speechbubble works primarily with small businesses in Central Ohio, finding a sweet spot with breweries and booze-related entities, and takes on pretty much whatever a client needs done. That could mean everything from working with other agencies on projects, to copywriting, to manning a client’s booth at an event, to implementing their entire social media strategy. Harrison says they don’t want to limit themselves on how they can help a client, but do have some core service offerings.
“Our core offering is definitely the social media community management piece,” Harrison says.
Using primarily a combo of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, speechbubble helps clients manage their daily presence online. They’ll also dabble in reddit and managing and monitoring online forums, as well as some video work.
speechbubble’s second most utilized service is media relations. It’s the traditional PR-type duties that help clients share the news they have and drum up opportunities for exposure.
In the beer world, speechbubble works with clients like Zauber Brewing, Smokehouse Brewing Company, Crafted Draft and Superior Beverage Group.
“Outside of beer we work with Celebrate Local at Easton,” Harrison says. They will be taking on the Cincinnati location as well, and local eatery Schmidt’s is also on the list.
“I just really like working with brands that I’m really passionate about,” Harrison says. She makes it a point to visit clients frequently to make sure she has a feel for the brand and what’s going on.
“It’s really important for us to embed ourselves in our clients,” Harrison says.
The beer aficionado is also behind popular local blog Drink Up Columbus, which helps her be on the lookout for new clients.
“Drink Up Columbus often acts as a business development channel for speechbubble, as many of our clients are first introduced to me and speechbubble’s services through Drink Up,” Harrison says. “It’s also a promotional channel for speechbubble clients when appropriate, but really, we try to keep the blog and the PR business separate as best we can.”
speechbubble has been growing its list of clients enough to hire its first employee earlier this spring. Harrison wasn’t necessarily planning on hiring someone, but when she met Account Manager Abby Hofrichter, she knew she had to hire her.
As the right people and the right clients continue to come along, Harrison hopes to grow the firm, but, “There’s no rush to grow any faster than makes sense,” she says.
For more information, visit speechbubblepr.com.