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Friday, March 29, 2019

A Brief Interlude

Hey folks,
Thanks for stopping by. A quick note today to let you know that I need to hold off on any work-related posts for a while. All good, nothing to worry about. I just have to sort out a few things with one of my new business partners before I can move forward with this blog (or not, depending on the outcome of those discussions).

In the meantime, it's Friday and my March Madness brackets are a mess! My only hope to win is a Gonzaga vs. Virginia final with Gonzaga finally taking the championship after many Cinderella runs. Wish me luck!

Have a great weekend.

Bill

Monday, March 11, 2019

A little red faced, but undaunted

Hear that giggle off in the distance? That's God laughing at my plan to keep this blog updated on a regular basis. But here I am now, back again, living in the present and not dwelling on the missteps or broken promises of the past. #everonward (I still feel guilty).

Still quite a bit of unfinished business on the personal front. I'm battling a couple of health issues (nothing life threatening or serious, please don't be concerned) and the maddening insurance issues that go along with them. I swear dealing with my dental insurance coverage has been more painful than the root canal I had done a few months ago. I wish I was joking. And just when I think I'm done...they pull me back in!

On the work front, things are chugging along at McCuenications PR. Still doing a lot of collaborating with one of my former colleagues. We have complementary skills and working with him is a hoot. Not a bad combination at all.

I have a few new initiatives in mind for McCuenications PR. One is specifically to reach a goal of signing at least two new clients before the summertime slumbers kicks in. I'll have more specific details, ah, soon (there goes God again...).

In the meantime, to all my fellow PR pros out there, remember that whenever there's a crisis or a something didn't go as planned, you're always one big hit away from getting back in your client's good graces. Learn from your mistakes, don't repeat them, but don't dwell on them. Change the energy from negative to positive ASAP and everyone will be happy again.

Best,
Bill




Friday, February 22, 2019

Been a long time been a long lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely time...

Twelve days since my last update means I'm definitely NOT practicing what I preach when it comes to keeping social media channels and blogs from getting "dusty."

Things are good on the McCuenications PR front. I continue to enjoy a fruitful collaboration with one of my former colleagues. I had a very positive and promising meeting with a former client (one I collaborate on with Indicate Media) who is hoping to re-engage come April 1st. I'm a little behind with some of my new biz dev plans - like issuing a new press release - but should be able to crank that out some time next week.

The situation has been a lot more challenging on the personal side. Everything from some ongoing health/dental issues to insurance problems connected to both to technology challenges here at H(Mc)Q. It all ganged up on me a bit this past week. Life is like that sometimes. There's a great line in Hamlet - "When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions." My fellow William (Shakespeare) knew what he was talking about.

If you're struggling a bit, too, and feeling overwhelmed by life's challenges and unexpected obstacles in your way, take a minute to just STOP. Sit yourself down, take stock of what's happening, tell yourself everything will be ok, and work out a plan to figure everything out. Easier said than done, I know. Believe me, I know.

But you got this - and so do I. And remember, you're not alone. It may feel like that sometimes, but I bet there's a family member or a close friend who'd love to give you a hand or even just lend an ear if you need to vent a little. Chances are good they might need a little (maybe a lot) of the same from you. Don't hesitate to reach out.

Speaking of dental issues, I've got another appointment in the morning. Can't say that I'm looking forward to it, but each one gets me one step closer to the finish line - at least with the major stuff. So that's how I'm going to take this journey - one step at a time.

Have a good weekend, everybody. In case you don't know, today's headline is taken from this Led Zep song. Crank it up!

Best,
Bill

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

McCuenications PR Media Coverage Update - Bill McCue Quoted in U.S. News & World Report

Always fun to be quoted in an article that includes the word "schleps." A pleasure working with my long-time media contact Robin Madell on this one for U.S. News & World Report on the Pros and Cons of Working From Home.

I have to admit that there are times when I miss working in an office and being around colleagues all day. There are ways to avoid "cabin fever" from too much time spent inside the "home office." I'll be back later this week with some tips for you. Until then...

Are you ready to tell your story? Contact me today at bill.mccue@gmail.com

Best,
Bill

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Live TV Broadcast Tips - Dealing with Comments on Articles

Hey folks,

Thanks for stopping by today.

About a year ago or so, I had a great introductory chat with Elizabeth Koraca, Executive Coach and Career Consultant. During the call, Elizabeth gave me some great career advice and recommendations. We've kept in touch ever since then and also connected on LinkedIn. Today she posted some very helpful tips on preparing for a live TV interview segment. You can see them here.

I'll add two more.

1. Remember that if you're going on as a company spokesperson, use "we" or the name of your company ("At XYZ, we believe...") rather than "I." It will reinforce that you're speaking on behalf of your company and not sharing personal thoughts.

2. Whatever method/medium you use to catch up on the latest news, be sure to check it out thoroughly prior to the segment - specifically look for any breaking news that could be considered related to your business. Chances are good you will be asked to comment on it. Be prepared to give an informed response that not only showcases your expertise, but also can "bridge" to your company's business.

How about you? Any tips to share? Leave a Comment and I'll respond ASAP.

Speaking of Comments...

I also had a situation today with a client (one that I collaborate on with a business partner) that might be helpful for you, too. The client received terrific coverage in a highly prestigious business news media outlet. In the article, the company's CEO was quoted among other industry leaders. A big win for their business. Once posted, the article inspired Comments including one that connected my client's quote with a rather unsavory business ("unsavory" in the public eye). I thought my business partner provided great advice when asked how to handle the negative Comment.

But before I share that counsel, I'll stop and remind my PR counterparts of the importance of monitoring your clients' media coverage for Comments - both positives and others like the one mentioned above. Why?

Positive Comments can be an opportunity to engage with a "raving fan" and build on that relationship.

Negative Comments need to be fully assessed and considered before you decide on a course of action - respond or not respond. Questions need to be asked, too:

Who is the "Commenter?" Are they credible? Can you find out through some amateur detective work? (Google is your friend, my friends).

How "bad" is their Comment?

Is it worth responding to or best left alone?

In the specific case today, my business partner's counsel was to "leave it alone" and I agreed with him 100 percent. It isn't necessary to engage with every negative "Commenter" - especially if they're just some random person. Doing so only gives them an opening to share more of their "expert" commentary and potentially gain a greater audience for their negativity.

Don't feed the troll.

Long story short, today's situation wasn't an opportunity for a constructive online dialogue in the Comments section.

Agree? Disagree? Share a Comment below (see what I did there?). I love hearing from you.

Best,
Bill

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Quick Update - Ever Onward!

Hey folks,
Thanks for checking in. Last week was a bit of a roller coaster ride. It knocked me off my plans to keep this blog updated on a weekly basis - at the very least. This week is also off to a hectic start, but I wanted to post a few quick thoughts and updates - and encourage you to come back later this week. Now then...

I'm sure my high school teachers would "love" the irony of *me* encouraging PR people to "do their homework." (I wasn't much of a student back in those days) Many thanks to Ricky Singh for the opportunity to weigh in as part of TheStartUpGrowth.com's "How to get placements with the media" round-up. Cool to see one of my business partners - Indicate Media's Todd Barrish - also included. 

Last week I wrapped up my first 90-day "LaunchKit" (still seeking a catchy name) engagement with Veras Partners. We accomplished a great deal by working together on:
I'm hopeful our collaboration will drive lots of new business leads and help the company achieve all of its growth goals for Q1 2019 and beyond. It was an absolute pleasure working with the company Founder Paula Fredericksen and her team. Smart people, engaged collaborators and fast learners. I look forward to "re-engaging" with Veras Partners when the time is right. 

If you're looking to launch your company and accomplish all of the above, please reach out to me today at bill.mccue@gmail.com. Let's talk about your goals. Shortly after chat, you'll receive an estimate on the pricing option that's the best fit with your budget. 

I've also been working closely with a former colleague who is doing amazing things with his own one-person consultancy. We share the same dedication to doing great work for our clients and enjoy making each other laugh - a winning combination. Never a bad thing when your work is profitable and enjoyable at the same time.

Unfortunately, last week wasn't all laughs and fun, but the important thing is to learn from those rocky times and stay focused on the next challenges. The best way to recover from difficult situations and get back into good graces is to do something positive - and then build on it. I'm off to do that very thing. 

As my musical hero Jimmy Page always said about his band Led Zeppelin, "ever onward!"

Back soon.

Best,
Bill

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