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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Pride, Follow-up and The Chase - Life of a PR Pro

Today I'm sitting here at McCuenications PR HQ beaming with pride over one of my dearest friends getting an article published on a highly reputable website. It was not only accepted and posted - it's also on the home page of a section. A tremendous placement. My friend works super hard, puts the happiness of others ahead of her own, and now that she's "putting herself out there," was more than deserving of a win. And this is a big win indeed. Congrats, KK. You are the rock star of the day.

Another friend spent the day in Wash DC lobbying government officials to help with the return of her daughter who was abducted by her ex-husband. Long crazy story, but she's fighting the good fight and things are looking good after many years of frustration and dead ends. Hang in there, MMR - we're all rooting for you and "Babycakes."

Life is a numbers game, folks. You gotta keep knocking on doors, expanding your contact network, sending more emails, making more phone calls and on and on if you want good things to happen. This is especially true if you're struggling to put points on the board for a client or searching for a new gig. Salespeople know this more than anyone. I'm not sure if they still live by this ratio, but years ago, experts said you should expect to hear 99 "no's" before you get the one "yes!" that leads to closing a sale. That scale of rejection isn't easy to deal with and it's hard not to get discouraged and give up. Keep pushing and if you're feeling burned out, take a break and refresh. And then get back in the ring and start throwing punches again...

Following-up is big in PR. It was the question I dreaded the most when I was at my very first agency job. I had a client who would always ask, "did you follow up?" when I reported that a media contact didn't reply to my email or phone call. It was annoying as...but pushed me to anticipate that question and address it proactively before that client could ask it again. "Reached out, no response, followed up, will continue to reach out until I get an answer." Boom, next.

Seriously, reporters receive dozens of pitches every day. Plus their own internal emails from editors and colleagues. They're human - they miss things, they get overwhelmed, they work on deadlines and often just don't have time to hit reply and say, "Yes, please send" or "No thanks" or even just "Pass." So yes, you do have to "follow up." Just keep it short and sweet and empathetic. Also, try sending an email or calling during slow hours - like super early in the morning or even late at night on their *office line* (not their cell) to leave a VM - so it's first thing they see/hear in the morning.

We also tend to spend a lot of time "chasing" media in our business. Someone says "Sure, I'd love to speak with your client." Next thing you know, you're sending that secured interest over to the client, feeling good, send back the client's availability to the reporter, get ready to pop the cork on the champagne and then...silence. No response. And then, if you work for someone, the second guessing and Monday morning quarterbacking kicks into full effect. You didn't respond fast enough, your response was too passive, you should have just sent a calendar invite, etc. Everyone's an expert after the fact. Whatever. In these situations, it's important to take a step back and relax for a second. You never know what's going on at the other side of an email exchange. Things happen, other priorities get in the way, reporters get distracted by a breaking deadline. Could be any number of things. If they expressed interest, give them the rest of the day to get back to you - and the following morning, if necessary. Then send a quick reminder - again, short and sweet and empathetic. It works, trust me. Don't panic.

Now I just need to follow my own advice! I've been pushing hard to line up interest for one of my new clients -it's a project I'm working on, not a monthly retainer client. Pressure is on in these situations because you want to make a good impression and turn a project customer into a long-term client. I got a reporter at one of their priority media outlets interested in speaking with the CEO, but when I asked about time zones, the reporter's location vs. my client's (west coast), I got...no response. Yet. Fingers crossed I can get this sorted out early tomorrow morning and move on to that briefing doc. Wish me luck.

Ok, so much for keeping these posts short and sweet. As always, I welcome your comments. Back again towards the end of the week. (I promise, KK).

Best,
Bill

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Quoted in deBanked feature story today (Jan. 3, 2019)

I put my Indicate Media Executive Consultant hat on today and spoke with Todd Stone at deBanked. He was looking for tips on how companies and industries should handle negative issues when speaking with the media on record. He quoted me in the article here. Did my best to practice what I preach during media coaching sessions.

How'd I do?

Best,
Bill

Happy New Year - Here's to living in the present tense

Here we are in 2019. I hope you all had a very safe and happy New Year's Eve celebration. For those of you who dread the end of year holidays, and all the stress and pressure that comes with them, you made it! Now we can all focus on making some realistic resolutions and positive changes for the days, weeks and months ahead.

I was able to close out the year on a high note professionally by securing some very positive media coverage for one of my clients in Business Insider. These opportunities came about after a background briefing with a reporter. By staying in touch with him afterward to ensure my client didn't slip off his radar, I was able to create two opportunities for my client to provide expert commentary. Great stuff.

I'm also in the home stretch of a 90-day engagement with my first client to take advantage of the McCuenications PR "Starter Kit" package. (I really do need a more catchy/attention getting name for it. Any suggestions? Leave a comment. I've thought about McCueKit but that's generated a lot of eye rolls from friends and family).

Working together, we managed to accomplish a number of goals - Media coaching for two company spokespeople, a launch press release was written and distributed over the wire to establish a digital footprint, I wrote and co-wrote a few blog posts for them, and we secured media coverage for the founder of the company as a software/IT industry expert. We've also worked together to make sure our LinkedIn presence is consistent and we're out there posting, "liking" and commenting on other posts.

Over the next two weeks, I'll be pushing for more media opportunities and coverage, we'll look to finalize a few more blog posts to establish a steady drumbeat of fresh content on their site and more. It's been a great 90 days and I think we've all learned a lot from the experience. I'm my own toughest critic (as I'm sure many of you are, too) and would like a few "do-overs" and maybe some things I'd do differently, but overall I'm pleased with the service and results provided by McCuenications PR. Fortunately, my client feels the same way.

Later this month, I'll be making an announcement about the "Starter Kit" package in a press release and hope to be able to include a quote from this client. Fingers crossed.

Things are a little rocky on the personal front, which is why I haven't updated this blog in a while. Some hard lessons learned about the importance of addressing things proactively and not sitting back and hoping they'll resolve themselves. Also, when you see warning signs, acting on them as quickly as possible. These situations are examples of when owning your own business - and being a single person - can be difficult. You don't have a business or life partner to lean on - or give you a good swift kick in the tush - when you're hesitating to take action for one reason or another.

So here's to being more proactive in 2019 and avoiding the mistakes and indecision of the past. There's no time for regrets - only living and learning and moving on. To quote my favorite musician Jimmy Page, "ever onward." Here's a song I listen to as a reminder of that credo.

I'm also determined to take better care of myself, shed a few pounds of winter weight by making time to work out on a regular basis, and spend more time going to movies, concerts and theater performances and a LOT less time watching TV (especially movies I've seen a gazillion times like The Hunt for Red October, Clear and Present Danger, Patriot Games, Casino, The Outlaw Josey Wales and many others. It's not like the plots or endings are going to change if I keep watching them ...).

Also, I've lived in Brooklyn for more than 16 years now and lately I've been seriously considering if a change of scenery would be a good thing for me. Most of my friends have been priced out of this neighborhood or moved away for one reason or another. I've been thinking about where I'd move to if I did decide to make a change. In this case, being a solo business practioner and single dude is an advantage. I'd only have to worry about uprooting me - and I can do my work from anywhere in the world, really, so long as I have an Internet connection and cell service. Lots to think about...

Thank you for visiting my blog and reading this post. Please leave a comment. I love hearing from you. Wishing you and your loved ones all the very best of everything in 2019 and beyond.

Best,
Bill

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Happy Holidays from McCuenications PR

Thanks for stopping by. I hope everyone is enjoying a nice winter holiday season. For those of you who struggle during this time of year, hang in there. Only one more big day to endure - New Year's Eve. Until we're beyond that big event, try to keep busy, keep your friends and family close, and best you can, avoid spending too much time alone.

I've been trying to practice what I preach. November and December are traditionally the toughest months of the year for me. Over the past 20 years or so, I've experienced everything from relationships breaking up to losing jobs to dear friends passing away.

I remind myself that positive things have happened, too. Including this year. Like the smile on my nephew James' face when he posed for a pic wearing the Saquon Barkley jersey I gave him for Christmas. And the way my mom called my sister "honey bun" when serving her breakfast on Christmas morning. In November 2010, I met Jimmy Page (yes, the Jimmy Page) for the first time. And his mom, too! How about that?

So try not to let the bad stuff overwhelm the good stuff, ok? But if you do feel like the blues are getting the upper hand on you, reach out to me at bill.mccue@gmail.com. I've been there and can help.

I'm using most of this week to line up some year-end media opps for my clients, catch up on admin stuff and complete some project work for one of my business partners. Later today (Wednesday) I'll be connecting one of my clients with a reporter at Business Insider. Should be a good conversation.

More dental work this week, too. Can't wait for it to be done. The procedures aren't all that bad, really - even the root canals. The dread and anxiety leading up to it are far worse. Wish me luck.

Today's soundtrack is provided by The Current out in Minneapolis. Do you ever listen to it online? They play a great mix of old and new music. It helps me keep up with what "the kids" and my dear friend KK are listening to these days. Check it out here.

That's all for today. I'll be back with some thoughts on resolutions for the new year and some changes I'm hoping to make in my daily routine and lifestyle. Come back again later this week, ok?

Best,
Bill

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Dutch, Dr. Woody, Lunch, Winning and Birthday Greetings

To paraphrase President Ronald "Dutch" Reagan, "there I go again" breaking my own rules. I've let too much time go by in between posts. I'm sorry. In my defense, that cold I mentioned last week turned into a full on case of the flu, and knocked me out for a few days.

Woof, Monday night was the worst of it. I've never felt body aches like that before. My shoulders were killing me! My personal physician Dr. Chris Woody MacDermott prescribed two ginger ale and whiskeys to help with the pain and to help me sleep. They worked like a charm. Come Tuesday morning, I was starting to feel a little better.

That evening I followed the good doctor's same prescribed regimen. I took no pleasure in it, mind you. This was purely imbibing for medicinal purposes. Wednesday, again a little better. This morning I woke up fit as fiddle and ready to play on, to paraphrase Al Swearengen this time.

Ok, that's enough organ music. Now then...

Today was a good day. I had lunch with one of my clients and a reporter from Bloomberg at a very nice restaurant on the east side of Manhattan midtown. The two of them had a great chat and there are several potential outcomes from it. Turns out this reporter is also a good contact for at least one more of my other clients, and I've already set up another lunch. #winning

Tuesday I received a check in the mail from one client, and this morning I found that another had wired funds into my account. #morewinning

Over the past week and a half or so, I've been working with a former colleague. Mostly, I've been helping him with a few projects to lighten his load a bit as he prepares to head off on a vacation next week. We've always worked well together and he's got a great sense of humor so it's always fun with lots of laughs. I banged out some press releases for him, and also did some research for an upcoming broadcast opportunity for one of his clients. We're going to talk tomorrow about more collaborating over the next few weeks and into the new year.

I'm also now officially a member of a PR agency's consulting network. Ideally, this will result in a steady amount of work on projects both big and small. I will also from time to time be asked to participate in new business proposals and presentations. There's great potential here. Will see how it plays out and keep you posted.

I've also got a client finishing up a contract at the end of this month, and another due to wrap-up in mid January so I'll be looking to replace both on the balance sheet, so to speak. It's possible both will come back in time. It's on me to make sure both close out on a positive note and see the value in the investment in my services.

I'll close with a few personal notes. My oldest friend celebrates his 56th birthday today. We met back in high school at soccer tryouts in late August and later had a few classes together. Coincidentally, our parents knew each other from teaching CCD classes, and me and my old friend had our first extended conversation during a Religion class! We've had lots and lots of incredible adventures and experiences together over these past 41 years. From hitchhiking to parties to going to concerts together to attending the same college to even working at the same company after graduation (heck, he was my boss for a short time!).

I tell ya, I could write a book of stories about some of those experiences - some you wouldn't believe, but I swear are true. He married a great gal who's just a sweetheart and one of my dearest friends. They have three amazing kids - one of whom is my godson. I love them all like they are my own. They're super cool adults now and doing really well, which makes me proud of them and proud of my dear friends for being such great parents. Anyway, before I get too weepy, I will say happy birthday, JFS! We'll always be friends.

I'll be back tomorrow with some resolutions for the New Year and some more tips and counsel for you. Until then, I'd love it if you left some Comments. I appreciate everyone who comes here to read my posts - especially you KK - and hope they are helpful in some small way.

Are you ready to tell your story?

Best wishes,
Bill

Friday, December 14, 2018

Mission Accomplished! - Mornings w/ Maria

Fired up by the stellar performance by my/Indicate Media's client Larry Newhook from Alpha Innovations today during his appearance on Fox Business TV's "Mornings with Maria."

The segment featuring Larry and my new friend Frances Stacy Newton starts at the 25:20 mark here.


Sad to report, I did NOT get to meet and chat with Maria Bartiromo. Maybe next time...


If you're looking to get on business TV to showcase your expertise and raise brand awareness around your company, let's talk. I can make it happen for you, and will guide you through the process every step of the way - from securing the opportunity to training you on camera w/ mock interviews to help you look and sound your best. So...


Are you ready for your close-up?


Are you ready to tell your story?


Have a great weekend, everyone. Thanks for stopping by. Please leave Comments. I love hearing from you. 


Best,

Bill

Thursday, December 13, 2018

"Organ Music," an early alarm set, and advice for job seekers

Greetings from Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY, USA where earlier the snow was softly falling outside and now the green tea and water are flowing inside. Yes, I'm sick. Picked up a cold from someone while I was in NYC yesterday doing an on-camera interview training session. I counted six people that I shook hands with throughout the day. I tend to do things like when I'm sick and looking for someone to blame. One more reminder to wash your hands thoroughly during cold/flu season, folks.

By the way, my 90-year old mother Aud refers to sharing updates on your health as "organ music." She only allows 5-10 minutes of it at the opening of her Scrabble, cards, needlepoint and other social club gatherings. It's a good rule. I'll try to follow it here, too.

Hard to believe it's Thursday already. Big day coming up tomorrow with a client going on Fox Business TV at 6:30am. That means I've got to set my alarm for 4:45am. If you know me, you're probably laughing after reading that sentence. Wish me luck. I should probably hit the sack soon...

Also wanted to share a few quick thoughts on the winter holiday season, which can be a tough time of year for many people. There's a lot of pressure to eat, drink and be merry - mostly the latter - no matter what's going on in your personal life. That's not always easy if your business isn't doing well or if you're out of work looking for a new job. I've been in both of those situations over the years and know it's rough.

My general advice is to try to stay positive best you can. If you're out of work, people will inevitably ask, "how's the job search going?" which is understandable, but a really tough question to handle if you're not getting interviews or responses to your applications.

I always fell back on my media training in these situations. Whenever someone asked me a question that made me uncomfortable, or something I didn't want to talk about at the time, I would "bridge" to another topic. "Going ok, how's everything with you, what are you working on these days?" Like that.

Here are a few quick tips for job seekers, too:

1. Keep your LinkedIn profile updated and active. Post news articles relevant to the industry you'd like to work in. Write and post articles of your own on timely and interesting topics to showcase your writing skills. Anything you can do to keep your profile active will increase your chances of attracting the attention of recruiters and people in your network who might be able to help with your job search - either with leads, referrals or recommendations.

2. Work your network. Reach out to former bosses, colleagues, clients, business partners. It's the perfect time of year. Keep it short. "Happy holidays, I'm seeking a new career opportunity, if you hear of anything keep me in mind." Not that short, but you take my meaning. Remember - people want to help you, they really do.

3. Consider reaching out to an employment agency for temporary work. This is a great way to get yourself back in the swing of things - getting up early in the morning, showering, getting dressed, having some place to go, making some money. It all adds up and you never know when a temp situation could lead to something permanent. Plus, it will help you meet new people, make new contacts and give you something to talk about when someone asks that dreaded, "how's the job search going?" question.

Ok, I better get ready for bed. Believe it or not, I've already set my alarm.

Thanks for reading. Please leave a comment. I love hearing from you.

Best,
Bill