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.


Sunday, December 9, 2018

Revelry & Recovery, Recommended Reading - Big Week Ahead

Hey folks, hope you're all enjoying the last remnants of the weekend. I spent last night at a bar called Let Love Inn in Astoria, Queens. My friend Woody did a DJ gig there and I tagged along for the ride and revelry. Saw a few people I knew, made some new friends, and my dear friend Tiffany came by late night after having dinner with her girlfriends. She recently moved from Park Slope to Astoria so it was nice to see her again. Great person all around and super talented actor/singer/comedienne/musician and voice over specialist. She's also a bartender at one of the truly iconic NYC pubs. Speaking of...

Small world - one of the bartenders at Let Love Inn is also a voice over actor and they've been in a couple of commercials together. Sometimes life is just a bunch of concentric circles. Woody played some great tunes and everyone had a fun night - including yours truly who paid for it today, but oh well, t'is the season, right? 

I spent part of the day catching up on my reading and found two very different, but excellent articles that I thought I'd share with you.

This one about a mom dealing with her adolescent daughter's mood swings and aloofness is equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking. I immediately thought of my friend KK and her relationship with her daughter. I hope you enjoy it, mama and papa bears alike, and I know my fellow lucky uncles and aunts can relate to it, too. And yes, the mention of my favorite song by Led Zeppelin in the essay truly melted my heart and reminded me of KK even more - I know she loves it, too.

Speaking of Led Zep, I stumbled upon this article in a Google Alert I have set up to track the news of my fave band. I like the way the writer describes Black Sabbath's seminal album Paranoid and how he breaks down each song and discusses the band's approach to music and lyrics compared to other bands of the time. I love all kinds of music - from classic rock to jazz to the blues to folk to world music to classical and more - but sometimes there's nothing quite as satisfying as cranking up some Sab nice and loud. I do that often with the boys (and believe it or not, sometimes girls) in my Friday night vinyl listening club. Black Sabbath was a great and highly influential band. Too often they've been written off as "heavy metal" and that just doesn't do. They wrote very smart lyrics, their sound was just as jazzy as it was heavy - they could really swing. I know they're not for everybody, but have a look at this article to learn more about their place in the music scene at the time. Truly revolutionary stuff for its day. I hope you enjoy it.

See? Not all about McCuenications PR or my clients today. Trying to find the right balance in content, posting more frequently, trying to keep these updates relatively short. I know you're all busy and have plenty of other things to do and read. I appreciate you stopping in here from time to time to read my thoughts and observations.

Comments? Questions? Please share. I love hearing from you.

Ok, maybe some quick biz-related stuff. Big week ahead with a Bloomberg briefing in the morning tomorrow and then a Fox Business TV segment on Friday - both for the same client. Fingers crossed everything goes off as scheduled and everyone is happy with the outcomes. Pretty sure the prep and planning is buttoned up as tight as can be. Will let you know!

Enjoy the rest of your night and sweet dreams.


P.S. Are you ready to tell YOUR story? Reach out to me at and let's chat.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Victory! On the Board! Videos?

Super excited to let you know that I secured the first piece of media coverage for my newest client Veras Partners today. Company founder Paula Fredericksen is quoted extensively sharing expert commentary in John Edwards' article on "How to Keep Your Staff Current on Emerging Technologies."

Always a huge thrill for me to break through and get media coverage for my clients for the first time. Love spreading the good word across all social media channels - hey, it ain't bragging if you can back it up, right? What's particularly exciting is that in our business, "coverage begets coverage" - meaning, once you get that first "hit," you can leverage it to secure more media interest. It puts your client out there as a qualified and validated thought leader.

Paula and her business partner have been great to work with since day one, and my personal relationship with Paula goes back many years through a mutual dear friend. We've battled against each other in March Madness tourneys going all the way back to the early 90s (I think). It's been a blast working together on a business level and I'm hopeful we can continue to do so successfully for many years to come.

But as I mentioned in a previous post, now is not the time to get complacent or celebrate for too long. Now is the time to build on that momentum by lining up more opportunities, getting our two completed thought leadership pieces posted, and driving more brand awareness in general across all possible channels. I do my best to reiterate that sentiment in every media coverage notification email I send by signing off "We'll keep pushing for more."

So we celebrate tonight and then it's #back2work on Monday.

Speaking of next week, it's shaping up to be an exciting one for the client I work on in collaboration with my business partners at Indicate Media. For our client Alpha Innovations, we've got a briefing with a Bloomberg reporter scheduled for Monday and an appearance on "Mornings with Maria" set for Friday (our first broadcast media opportunity). I'll let you know how both go next week.

Finally, I'm toying with the idea of posting some videos on LinkedIn. My idea is to film myself walking to the coffee shop in the morning and commenting on either news of the day or giving a quick summary of these blog posts. Short and sweet - no more than two minutes or so. What do you think?

Happy Friday everyone. Shabbat Shalom to my Jewish friends around the world celebrating Hanukkah. Have a great weekend.


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Momentum - Once Established, Keep it Going

Right now - 6:10pm ET on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018 - I'm feeling pretty good about where I'm at with most of my clients. Things are going reasonably well. Coverage is being secured; briefings and interviews are being booked; content is being drafted, finalized and pitched out for placement.

Momentum has been established and things are heading in the right direction.

Now don't get me wrong. Just because things are going well, that doesn't mean I can get complacent or ease up on the throttle. I can always do better and do more for my clients. Line up more briefings, generate more coverage, book more speaking opportunities, write better content and get it placed in more prestigious outlets/websites/publications.

And I can always offer up more creative ideas, make more recommendations on how to raise brand awareness, generate more sales leads, attract the attention of potential investors and more.

Why? Because PR is a results business and you're only as good as what you've done for your clients lately. Yes, it's always important to provide good counsel, deliver proactive and responsive client service, and manage everything going on efficiently and professionally. Yes, you gotta be buttoned up. Those are all positive and valued things.

Ultimately, though, PR pros are evaluated based on the *results* we generate for our clients. Despite what some experts are out there saying to the media, hustle and a positive attitude will only get you so far. In PR and in life. That's my opinion anyway.

To use a baseball analogy, no one ever escaped getting cut from the major league roster by hustling if they weren't also hitting or pitching well. You stay in the big leagues by producing consistently. Otherwise, there's always someone else in the minors ready to take your place.

That's how it is in our industry, too. There are so many PR agencies and independent contractors out there. We can never forget that. Clients have a gazillion choices. We need to provide value and deliver results as often as possible. Or else we're just asking them to walk away and do business with someone else.

Don't let that happen. Things are going well? Keep that momentum moving forward. Work hard to put points on the board every week. Points can be everything I mentioned above - coverage, interviews booked, speaking opps secured, content placed. Be creative, make recommendations. Make your clients feel good about the $ they've invested in you every day.

Agree? Disagree? Leave me a comment below. I'd love to hear from you.


Friday, November 30, 2018

Advice - Giving and Taking

There are few things in life more rewarding for me than working closely with a client or a friend to help them overcome business or personal challenges. I love sitting down with them and devising an action plan - one that includes concise steps we can track to help us measure progress and success.

I do my best to practice what I preach. Over the years, I've found that nothing makes me more productive - personally or professionally - than cranking out a good old fashioned "to do list." For work, I try to make one every Sunday night so I can hit the ground running on Monday morning. For my personal life, I try to carve out time over the weekend to pull one together. In either case, it's a good way to take stock of where I'm at, write down what needs to be done immediately, and what I want to accomplish over the next few days.

I also try to include more long-term goals and projects - just to keep them on my radar. For example, I can't reasonably expect to lose 10 pounds in a few days, but I can set that amount as a goal and put in the daily steps (exercise, cut down on beers, bread and desserts, drink more water, etc.) to help me reach it.

I've also got a brand new guitar that's been neglected for years now. It's on the long-term goals section of the list. Now I can't expect to rock like Jimmy Page after practicing for only a few weeks, but I should be able to strum a song or two in a few months if I play the darn thing every day like I'm supposed to.

Back to business...

Over the past few months, I've been working with two clients (one for McCuenications PR and one in collaboration with my business partners at Indicate Media) to help them use LinkedIn more effectively. I'm not a social media expert, but there are some basic tips that I believe will help businesses effectively raise their profiles through this particular channel. I've touched on this in previous blog posts - don't let your profiles get "dusty" by updating them on a regular basis, make sure you strike a balance between self promotional company news-related posts and helpful/insightful expert commentary on industry news, etc.

These two clients are doing it and it makes me really happy. I see them posting more, commenting more, striking that balance, and inviting their followers to engage on topics. I love it! What would make that even more worthy of celebration is if they get business leads from that activity. Jury's still out on that one. Will keep you posted.

Hopefully you can see that I'm trying to take my own advice by posting here more often, balancing the personal and professional, and keeping my LinkedIn profile page updated on a regular basis. So far so good, but I can always do better - and more. Will keep it on the list.

Thanks for reading. Please leave a Comment and let me know your thoughts on what I've written today.


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

I survived! (root canal)

I was in very good hands this morning with my endodontist Dr. Alison Mancia. I agree 100 percent with Leah F's Yelp review posted here. Dr. Mancia does have a soothing manner and she took good care of this big baby/coward. I also imagined someone I really love was holding my hand throughout the procedure and that helped a great deal. Thank you, KK, for being there with me in spirit.

According to Dr. Mancia, it takes about 24 hours to fully recover but I'm feeling ok so far. A little sore but nothing too bad. I was able to get back in the game this afternoon for my clients and prepare for two weekly update calls and a briefing tomorrow with a reporter at HFMWeek (see yesterday's blog post).

I also got a tremendous assist from a former colleague who hooked me up with a list of contacts who accept contributed content. He saved me hours of research on my own. Todah, havevrim. I owe you one, big time.

On the personal life front, this past Sunday night I was feeling a little blue and decided that getting out of the apartment and hearing some live music would help me shake it off. As always, it worked like a charm. I went to see gypsy guitar player Stephane Wrembel at Barbes - a small bar just a few blocks away. Wow - Stephane (my Facebook friend) is astonishingly good. I've seen him before and he just gets better and better every time. His second set started with two solo pieces that were mind blowing and then he brought the band back on for this number. Amazing. What made the set even more special was a guest violinist who played beautifully and complemented Stephane just like, wait for it, Stephane Grappelli complemented the legendary Django. I didn't catch her name, but she was fantastic.

Wasn't sure if I'd be up to it when a friend offered me a ticket last night, but I decided to take him up on it and go see Thom Yorke at Kings Theater tonight. I don't know Yorke's solo music very well, but I'm sure it will be an interesting show. Meeting my friend Tyson down at The Gate for a pre-gig beer and then we're taking an Uber to the theater, which is an incredibly beautiful venue.

Ok, that's enough personal stuff for you today. Like the hyperlinks? Please leave comments - I'd love to hear from you. Especially if...

You're ready to tell your story.


Monday, November 26, 2018

Media Coverage Update - McCuenications PR quoted in The Green Sheet

I recently spoke with my long-time media contact Dale Laszig about the importance of storytelling in the sales process. Dale was kind enough to quote me (and reference my client Christine Chang, CEO at 6th Avenue Capital) in a feature story that is included in this month's issue of The Green Sheet's e-magazine. You can read the story by clicking on this link:

Are you ready to tell your story?