Thursday, November 8, 2018

Nice way to close out the day/Get a client quoted in the WSJ (hey, I rhymed...)

Had a call with Alpha Innovations today. Part of the agenda was providing an update on any coverage resulting from the conversation CEO Larry Newhook had with Wall Street Journal hedge fund reporter Rachael Levy last week re: D.E. Shaw.

I let them know nothing had been posted as yet, but we'd keep a close eye out. I could tell the Alpha folks were a little disappointed because the conversation had gone so well and expectations were high. I did my best to assure them it was a worthwhile time investment and even if nothing panned out from this opportunity right away, there was a great chance there would be more in the future.

To back track a bit, I blogged about setting up a coffee discussion with Larry and Rachael a few weeks ago. I touched base with Rachael again the first Monday after to see if she was working on anything that was a good fit with Larry's expertise. Sure enough, she was and we set up a call for them to chat.

I'm convinced it was that follow-up that made today's coverage happen. You can't just sit back and think, "well, I got them a briefing with the WSJ - it's on the reporter now if anything comes from it." No, it's on YOU the PR professional to build and cultivate a relationship with the reporter, and establish yourself as a resource. And you don't do so by hounding them or calling them every day. I call it "persistent without being annoying." PR people have to constantly remind ourselves that our media contacts get dozens if not hundreds of pitches per day. They can't use all of them, and they certainly can't respond to all of them. Use your best judgment. Put yourself in their shoes. Would you want someone calling or harassing you over email every day? Nope - you'd ignore their calls and wouldn't be able to hit delete fast enough. Don't be that PR person.

Be a resource - and even better, a trusted resource who reads a reporter's work and knows the right people to connect them with for stories. That's how it works. See above.


Friday, November 2, 2018

McCuenications PR back in the news (careful what you wish for)

It was a classic case of "what goes around comes around." No sooner did I finish typing an email teasing one of my clients about her head shot being featured so prominently in an online article than the exact same thing happened to me. Also...

Note to self: don't forget to shave the day of a photo shoot. Kidding aside and cringing over my photo notwithstanding, it was fun providing responses for a Q&A conducted by The Authority Magazine (Medium). You can see the resulting coverage - and my scruffy head shot - posted here.

Reading over my responses, I found a few typos and some thoughts I should have tightened up. Don't let that happen to you. If a reporter asks for your responses to be sent over email, be sure to read them over a few times and then ask a colleague or a friend to review it before submitting for publication. It's always helpful to have another set of eyes review your work - whatever it is. Don't rely on a publication's editor to do your editing for you.

In any event, I'm grateful to The Authority for providing an opportunity to discuss running your own business and skills to develop as a PR person. I hope you find it helpful and will benefit from the tips. Any follow-up questions? Let me know by leaving a comment here or on my Facebook or LinkedIn posts. I always welcome your feedback.

Big week for my clients with press releases going out for Veras Partners (official launch of company) and Laureate Digital Securities (partnership with AlphaPoint). I was able to secure some media placements for both to help spread the good word about their businesses.

I also enjoyed meeting Miluska Berrospi from HFMWeek today at the offices of 6th Avenue Capital. 6th Ave Cap's CEO Christine Chang hosted the conversation. Always great to see Christine and hear the latest news from the most reputable small business funder around. As a former Chief Compliance Officer, Christine holds her business to the highest institutional quality standards - and it's paying off.

Miluska is also interested in learning more about Alpha Innovations and Laureate Digital Securities. I'm hoping to set up a background briefing for her with co-Founders Nicole Biernat and Larry Newhook some time over the next two weeks.

Hard to believe it's already November 2 - especially when it was 70 degrees here in Brooklyn today. Sitting inside McCuenications PR HQ and typing up this blog post, I'm wearing a ZZ Top Tejas t-shirt and long shorts. Being able to shed the suit and don the casual wear is one of the many benefits of having a home office.

I hope you're able to close out the week on a high note and head into the weekend feeling good about your business and life in general. Don't forget to take some time out from your smartphone and emails. Do something fun and let yourself unwind a bit. I know that's hard when you run your own business, but it's important to give yourself a break, too.

Ok, that's enough wisdom and advice for this week. Have a great weekend, everyone, and thanks for stopping by.


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Houston, we have lift-off - Veras Partners Launched Successfully Today!

Congratulations to my new clients and friends at Veras Partners. We issued their launch press release earlier today. I spent a good chunk of the afternoon getting the word out to relevant media contacts who might be interested. Short version - former J.D. Edwards and software industry veterans launched an application management outsourcing (AMO) company with a mission to help end users of insightsoftware and ARCTOOLS(r).

Early this morning, I paid a visit to Board Studios based in the WeWork space on Broad Street. Board Studios, Broad Street. Got a little confusing at one point, but I sorted it out. Nice guys at Board Studios. They've turned an office space into a video production studio. While I was there, I got to meet my long-time media contact Dale Laszig who writes for The Green Sheet and other financial publications. Dale is a sweetheart and it's always a pleasure to work with her. We've done so for a few years now but had never met in person. Great to make that face to face connection today. We rode the R train together back to Brooklyn after meeting with the Board Studios guys.

Late afternoon, I moderated a phoner between Rob Daly at Media Markets/Intel Alley and my client Larry Newhook from Laureate Digital Securities. The two gents had a good chat about Laureate engaging with AlphaPoint to help build out Laureate's blockchain driven platform for asset management. Rob's a pro and always brings lots of energy, smarts and enthusiasm to every interview with one of my clients.

After getting into the city for an hour, I was stuck inside for the rest of this awesome fall day and missed all the trick or treat-ers in their costumes. My doorbell never rang. Either word is out that I ignore it no matter what, or Brooklyn kids mostly stick to hitting up the shops along the avenues. Guessing it was a combination of both.

So a day of lots of email pitching, meeting a long-time media contact in person for the first time, connecting one of my clients with another long-time contact over the phone, and meeting a possible new "Trusted Resource" to do business with down the road.

Think I'm going to shut it down for today and watch a few episodes of Bodyguard. Anyone else out there watching it?

Will be ready to get back on it in the morning. How about you? Are you ready to tell your story?


Monday, October 29, 2018

Kicking off the week - Oct. 29, 2018 aka "Breaking it Down"

Hey there, thanks for stopping by. Busy week ahead here at McCuenications PR. Later today I'll be doing a media coaching session for my newest client. These sessions are always fun and even though I'm the instructor, I learn something new every time from my clients' feedback.

Here's a tip from the session. Many of my clients are in the technology and financial services industries. As you can imagine, much of the information they have to share is complex and hard to understand for your average person. During each session, I counsel everyone to break down this information into easy to understand language.

As an example, I talk about a scene in the movie "Cast Away" with Tom Hanks and his friend Wilson, the volleyball. In the scene, the two of them are taking cover from a rainstorm inside a cave at night. The character played by Hanks is trying to explain to Wilson what they're up against in terms of being rescued, and the chances of it happening. To do so, he draws on the wall of the cave, showing where they were when the plane ran into trouble, how fast the plane was likely going at the time, and where it probably hit the water. While he's describing all of this, he's writing numbers down on the wall and pulling together a calculus equation to determine the size of the search area. He finishes the equation, draws a big circle indicating the search area and tells Wilson how many miles it is. Then he says, "that's roughly twice the size of Texas...they'll never find us."

The equation he's doing while describing the situation is extremely complex with a big number at the end, but it doesn't really hit home or make sense until he makes the analogy with Texas - well known as a HUGE state. The film makers throw in some lightning and thunder crashes outside the cave during the scene, and Hanks does a very dramatic pause in between "that's roughly the size of Texas" and "they'll never find us" to emphasize how hopeless the situation is for them.

It's a great piece of acting and film making, yes, but it's that mind blowing analogy that always stuck with me. I hope that's helpful to you as you prepare for your next media interview and have something complicated or "in the weeds" to share with your media contact who then has to break it down for his or her readers/audience.

Later this week, I'll be regrouping with a former client to get an update on how things are going with them, and an introduction to an editor at HFM Week which should be helpful for one of my current clients.

I'm also putting out a press release for my newest client and looking to put some points on the board for them early on in our relationship. First impressions in every client/agency relationship are always super important. At a firm I once worked at, we had data that showed the clients that were highly satisfied with us during the first 60 days of every engagement, were more likely to stick around for a long time, renew contracts, provide referrals for new business and more. So always good to get off to a fast start.

That's all for today. I hope you'll take a look around my website and let me know if you have any questions. You can do so by leaving a comment here, or reaching out to me directly at

Are you ready to tell your story?


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

It's all happening - McCuenications PR website officially launched today

The press release announcing my new website went across the wire today at 1pm. You can click here to check it out. I also posted the link to Facebook and LinkedIn. Many thanks to everyone who left a positive comment or gave me a "Like" or a "Love."

The day started out well, too, with a very interesting discussion between my clients at Alpha Innovations and Landon Thomas Jr. at the New York Times. Even after being in this business for more than 20 years, I still get a buzz from these conversations and making these connections. Landon worked at Morgan Stanley in their Asset Management Group back in the mid/late 90s so it was a very high level chat with lots of shop talk. All good - he has a few potential story angles in mind that might be a good fit for Alpha's expertise. Fingers crossed.

I also had a catch-up call with my contacts at clarkmcdowall - a branding agency based in NYC. Super smart and genuinely nice folks. We worked together earlier this year on a project and hope to do so again in early 2019. Always cool to hear what they're up to and their plans for the future.

I also booked a few more calls with potential new biz prospects and business partners so the press release investment is already paying off. Sometimes you need to spend money to make money, right? The trick is spending that money wisely and on the right things.

I also heard from a close friend today who gave me invaluable feedback on the release and some helpful suggestions for making it better. I'm indebted to her for the solid counsel.

Tomorrow's a busy day with two clients calls, a new business call, and more proactive outreach to my media contacts on behalf of my clients.

I had to pass on an invite to see Kamasi Washington in Denver this weekend, unfortunately. Need to tighten my belt a bit until the dental issues are sorted out and the insurance company weighs in on how much they will cover. Disappointed to miss out on the show and the great fun of hanging with the G4 crew. Next time, for sure. Thanks, AG.

That's all for today. As always, I welcome your comments and questions. Have a look around the new site, in particular. When you're done, ask yourself one question - are you ready to tell your story?

Let's talk.

Billy (there's a story behind this sign-off - please ask)

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Kicking off the week - October 21, 2018

As a lifelong Led Zeppelin fan, I spend many days during the fall season with the song "Ramble On" playing on a loop inside my head. The song opens with the lines "Leaves are fallin' all around/Time I was on my way/Thanks to you, I'm much obliged/For such a pleasant stay/But now it's time for me to go/The autumn moon lights my way..." Now I'm sure you understand why.

Every Monday morning, I send my clients a "Kicking off the week" email that lets them know what's ahead in terms of media interviews, project deadlines, priority projects I'm working on for them and just a general update on the state of our engagement together. It's a good way to keep everyone on track and provides my clients with full transparency on how I'm spending the time they've invested in me. One thing I'm going to add for all McCuenications PR clients moving forward is a "Closing out the week" email on Fridays. This will - hopefully - show progress on everything we set out to do at the beginning of the week, outline what's going to carry over to the next week, and when appropriate, provide a "sneak preview" on the week ahead.

So we kick off the week, and we close out the week. But the truth is, the work is never done in our business. We're always seeking out new media opportunities, trying to find new outlets and contacts to reach out to on behalf of our clients, and we can never stop brainstorming and trying to come up with creative ways to draw attention to our clients, their business and their executive teams.

During the coming week, I'm looking forward to meeting Landon Thomas Jr. from the New York Times with my clients at Alpha Innovations. I've also got my second team call with my newest client Veras Partners.

I've also got a consultation tomorrow morning with an endodontist to talk about root canals which should be really "fun." Yesterday I had a tooth pulled. Wasn't as bad as I feared going into it, but not a lot of "fun" either. Yet another painful reminder to stay on top of your health, address issues as soon as they happen, and just take good care of yourself in general.

I'm also planning on putting out a press release this week to announce the launch of my website. It looks like everything is fully buttoned up with the desktop and mobile versions, and the friends and former colleagues I've shared the beta version with have been enthusiastic and positive in their feedback.

That's it for today's update. I hope you'll visit my website, have a look around, and let me know if you have any questions. Here one for you - are you ready to tell your story?

Hey, before I go, and speaking of Led Zeppelin and Ramble On...some friends of mine are helping to put together the latest lineup of "Virtual Zeppelin." They're seeking a singer for the project and guess which song they've chosen for auditions? You can check it out here.

Have a great week, everyone.


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

A great day to meet and speak with new media contacts

Today was a picture perfect fall day in New York City. Just the right temperature for a PR guy hustling around town in a suit.

This morning I met up with my clients at Alpha Innovations and introduced them to my new media contact, Rachael Levy from the Wall Street Journal, at Zibetto's Espresso Bar - right across the street from Radio City Music Hall.

The three of them had a great conversation about the current state and future of the hedge fund industry along with some background on Alpha Innovations' official launch today. Rachael asked smart and informed questions, and I thought Nicole Biernat and Larry Newhook at Alpha Innovations provided expert and forward thinking commentary. Hopefully today's discussion will inspire Rachael to call on them for quotes and perspectives for future coverage.

After that meeting, I left Larry and Nicole so they could grab some lunch, and jumped on a Q train back to Park Slope to catch up on emails and moderate their afternoon conference call with Madeline Shi at Business Insider - another new contact for me. Prior to joining BI, Madeline was a reporter at CoinDesk. The three of them spoke for about 45 minutes about a wide range of topics related to asset management, blockchain, Bermuda as a domicile and more.

Today was also a good media coverage day for Alpha Innovations with write-ups on the launch and profiles on the company posted to Institutional Investor, Hedge Fund Alert and PE Hub.

We've also got an office visit on the calendar with Landon Thomas, Jr. - an international finance correspondent at the New York Times next week. Landon is another new media contact for me and I'm looking forward to meeting him in person.

The New York Times building is across the street from the Port Authority and it's awesome. Fun fact: my high school friend Kevin Murphy was the project manager for all of the iron work on the building. Murph was also the project manager for the Freedom Tower and you can see him in much of the media coverage around the opening a few years back.

I spent the rest of the day gathering up info and making myself smart when it comes to my new client Veras Partners. A lot to learn about application management outsourcing and other software-related topics on this one. Looking forward to our kickoff call tomorrow afternoon.

Thanks for reading today's update. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out.

Are you ready to tell your story?