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?


Kicking off the week - November 26, 2018 - Persistence Pays Off Again

With the Thanksgiving holiday celebrated here in the States this past Thursday, it only feels right to say "thank you" for visiting my blog and reading what I have to say. I appreciate the feedback that some of you have shared with me, and I'm glad to know the advice I passed along has been helpful to you. I hope more of you will reach out to me - either in a comment here or by contacting me directly at

This week got off to a fast start with a briefing for one of my clients with a reporter at Bloomberg. I'd been after this contact for a while. It felt extremely rewarding to connect him with my clients this morning. Persistence does pay off as noted here previously. Persistent without being annoying. The conversation went well overall. My client did a solid job describing their backgrounds and business models for their two new companies. The reporter is still settling into his new beat/coverage area and building up a "Rolodex" of experts to call upon for commentary and perspectives. So the timing was right. Best case scenario is he'll be reaching out to us soon for quotes. It's also on me to stay in close contact with him so my clients don't fall off his radar.

I have another briefing set up for the same client with a reporter at HFMWeek this coming Wednesday. This time we'll be meeting in person for a coffee in NYC. In person meetings are always an effective way to build a relationship with a media contact. At the end you're more than just a voice on the phone or a faceless person on the other side of an email exchange. Publications like HFMWeek reach a significantly smaller audience than a Bloomberg or WSJ or NYT, but it's a highly targeted audience and one likely to be composed of decision makers. I've already met this reporter on behalf of another one of my clients and it will be good to see her again and keep the lines of communication open between us.

Thursday represents another first for the same client - a podcast interview with the discussion centering around blockchain and upcoming trends using the technology. I still have some prep work to do for that one. Need to make sure my client has the right equipment in place and spends some time testing it beforehand. The interviewer is essentially allowing us to dictate the questions and agenda for the interview so we need to nail that down, too. I also need to coach my client on best way to respond to the questions i.e., keep responses relatively short, think in terms of "sound bites" and compelling anecdotes and analogies. I've been targeting another podcast that's a higher profile opportunity and it will be great to get this one on the books so I can point to it when trying to land others. I'm hopeful my client will enjoy the experience and want to do more. As always, a client's enthusiasm and desire to do something will have a positive impact on their performance.

On a personal note, please send positive wishes in my direction at around 8:30am ET tomorrow (Tuesday). I'm having the first of several root canal procedures done. Fun times. I've had one done in the past and don't remember it being too painful. Hopefully that will the case this time, too. Wish me luck. I'm heading down to Whole Foods tonight for some soup and other mushy food to eat tomorrow as I convalesce.

Thanks again for visiting with me here today. I hope you will also check out and let me know if there's any way I can help you. Most of all, what I really want to know is...

Are you ready to tell your story?


Monday, November 19, 2018

Balance & Consistency - Maintaining Your Social Media Channels

My clients often ask for counsel on best practices for maintaining their social media channels and blogs. My advice is to never let those channels "get dusty" - meaning, keep them updated on a regular basis.

So what did I do?

I went way too long between blog posts here. Shame on me. You can't expect your readers to come back to your blog again and again if they don't find new content during a visit. If they keep seeing the same old posts, they won't bother checking again. There's far too much competition out there for your audience's attention to risk losing their interest.

And remember - your posts can't all be self promotional. Sure, you can sprinkle in some sales pitches here and there, and it's always a good idea to include any recent media coverage around you or your company. But it can't be just that. You need to offer constructive and thought provoking content and commentary to go along with the self promotional stuff to keep readers engaged and returning to your social media channels and blogs.

Case in point. One of my clients is in the financial services industry, and he's doing a great job on LinkedIn lately. He's posting articles from top-tier media outlets on topics relevant to his current business/past career experiences, and commenting on them. In return, he's getting a lot more hits on his profile and his counterparts are starting to add comments to his posts. By gaining their attention that way, it's much more likely those same people will also see the more self-promotional company news and media coverage posts. That's how it works. It's all about maintaining that balance in the content of your posts

I have another client in the enterprise software industry. She just founded a new company and wants to spread the good word. She's determined to be an active participant on LinkedIn in terms of regularly posting on the site so we're starting with the basics. We've updated her profile with a new head shot and added some updated bio information. Then we posted the press release on the launch of her company. It's all part of our collaborative strategy to "wake up" her LinkedIn connections and grab their attention. Now we're trying to establish a steady drumbeat of weekly posts with her commentary on industry news and other matters relevant to her company's business. As a woman founder/executive/entrepreneur, she can also add posts with commentary on "women of the C-suite" and "women in technology" issues of the day, too.

Balance and consistency - those are the two keys to your social media channel posts - including your blogs. It's all part of telling your story and keeping your target audiences coming back for more new chapters. Clearly, I need to follow my own advice more closely. I promise I will. In the meantime...

Are you ready to tell your story?


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.