Posted by: Holly Clifford Corral on Thursday, September 10, 2020


It’s no mystery 2020 has been a strange & challenging year, but little did we know what it would have in store back when I met Avril Stinson for coffee early on. She asked me if I would be willing to speak to the Chamber’s Minority Business Accelerator cohort she was leading, so I jumped on the opportunity.


Our agency, PRESS PR + Marketing, has worked with Tampa Bay Wave and its start-ups in the past, to generate media coverage and promote the good work that Wave does in Tampa Bay. We’ve always been very familiar with the benefits of an accelerator program and knew immediately that PRESS could knock this out of the park in helping the members of the MBA. We were honored and excited about the knowledge and contacts we could provide these companies as it relates to PR and marketing.


Fast forward to today, and our world has changed drastically. All businesses are struggling to get their message out - whether about their products, what they provide, what their safety precautions are, etc., and this hits smaller businesses even more. Being heard and getting noticed in a sea of daily pandemic stories has been a perfect storm facing BIPOC & small businesses.


Coming out of the COVID quarantine, we all met and thought “How can we help? How can we make an impact?” It wasn’t something we took lightly. We wanted to really help people - beyond simply donating and supporting BIPOC businesses, but we had to find that idea that solved the ‘how’ riddle in an inspired way.


Through hours of team meetings and brainstorms, we developed an initiative to help teach BIPOC entrepreneurs & business owners how to advocate for themselves - to become even more savvy & independent in promotion of their businesses.


In June, PRESS launched Above the Fold, a community initiative with the goal of ensuring BIPOC stories are amplified, heard and highlighted. “Above the Fold” is an old industry term that refers to the top half of a newspaper or website where important stories are displayed to ensure visibility. 


This new, step-by-step initiative consists of three categories:


A PR/Communications tool kit: This easy-to-navigate kit is a free how-to communication & PR guide to equip BIPOC businesses and organizations with the tools to succeed in media relations. It offers detailed instructions regarding how to craft and format effective press releases, media alerts, industry terminology, and more.


1-on-1s: PRESS hosts communication strategy meetings with BIPOC small business owners to develop organizational goals and external communication strategies to achieve those goals.


Community Spotlights: Through our social channels, PRESS highlights BIPOC community members, businesses, organizations and initiatives that are making a difference in Tampa Bay.


Above the Fold is in full swing, and we are loving how rewarding it has been to support other businesses and help them grow and thrive. We are confident it’ll be around for a long time and our hope is that we can make a big difference in the success of minority businesses in our community.  


We encourage you to download the free toolkit on our website under our Resources tab and reach out to us to set up a one-on-one. We can’t wait to get to know you! Visit Above the Fold to get started or email us at [email protected].