Inside Edge PR, `PR Secrets’ Workshop Receives Testimonial from Suze Solari

Testimonials are a great way to build your brand and build trust with your target market. Anyone can toot their own–it’s much more convincing when someone else does it for (and about) you.

Along with other pointers last month, the above message was part of what I conveyed to about 20 local business owners and other leaders last month at a “PR Secrets From a Media Insider” workshop sponsored by the Oak Park and River Forest Chamber of Commerce.

Of course, my preaching flowed from what I practice–and yesterday I put it into action once again. During a follow-up meeting with author and personal stylist Suze Solari, she graciously shared edifying remarks about the workshop.

Below is an excerpt:

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Famous / Infamous Moments of Miscommunication, World Series Edition

Communication matters…and that’s never more evident as when it breaks down.

A recent case in point: Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts’ decision to pull Dodgers starter Rich Hill in Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday night. Or was it even his decision? Therein lies the heart of this communication snafu. This ESPN.com piece by Tim Keown is one of the first drafts of this little slice of history—the “why oh why?” of that highly questionable move.
 
While Keown provides context that wasn’t immediately captured during the broadcast, already this account is old, incomplete news: Fox broadcasters last night noted (and video replay of Roberts’ trip to the mound appears to confirm) that Roberts was not necessarily looking to replace Hill–only to check on him.

Having just left the game a few batters earlier, Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill reacts to a three-run home run that sparked Boston’s comeback win.

 
Without a word being exchanged, Hill, assuming Roberts was taking him out, handed his manager the ball. Only then did Roberts signal to the bullpen for another pitcher. In that fateful moment, the Dodgers may well have handed the Series to the Red Sox.
 
We’ll never know how the game would have turned out if Hill had remained for at least one more batter, and very possibly through the end of the 7th inning. Given Hill’s excellence on this night, it’s highly doubtful it would have unraveled as it did, ushering in a Red Sox offensive surge that resulted in a remarkable 9-6 comeback triumph.

Red Sox outfielders (L to R) Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Beets rejoice after the World Series clincher.

On Sunday evening, the Red Sox rode the momentum of their unlikely victory to a 5-1, Series-ending win. They are flying back to Boston for a Victory Parade, not Game 6.

You can trace that outcome directly to this momentous mound miscommunication.

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Maximize Your Micro-Engagements, Personalize Your Points of Connection

In a world of ever-escalating automation, it takes effort to retain personalization.

The effort, I would argue, is well worth it.

Take LinkedIn’s relatively new feature of offering prompts like “Thank you” and “You’re welcome” and “Congrats on your work anniversary!” Flowing from our own initiative, all are lovely sentiments, and our moms would be proud and pleased. Problem is, with each click of these automated notes, we fall prey to the rising de-personalization that relentlessly encroaches in our Artificial Intelligence world.

It takes only a few seconds to customize a reply by adding the individual’s name and perhaps a word or brief phrase.

Who knows—maybe you could go a step further and check in with that person and see what’s new in their world, set up a 10-minute catch-up phone call, or otherwise focus on the quality of each relationship rather than rely on sheer quantity of activity and/or connections to carry the day.

Another opportunity to build off a template comes when inviting Facebook friends to become fans of a page. The Facebook-manufactured content falls far short of making an authentic connection that communicates what’s “in it” for the recipient.

Here it is, in its full vanilla-bot glory, for my Inside Edge PR page on Facebook:

By contrast, when I invite people to like a Facebook page, my first step is deleting that lame block of copy. Next, I type the person’s name and create something original. For example, this is a recent outreach for my “Go Figure: Making Numbers Count” page:

Even if Tom doesn’t become a fan of the page, the tailored message represents a concise commercial that is much more memorable than the automated Facebook note. And it’s certainly better than including no note at all, which is a path taken by some folks who recognize the need to delete automation but fail to seize an opportunity to create a connection.

In conclusion, whether it’s on a social-media platform, or in any other context, resist the temptation to short-cut your precious moments of interaction. Don’t regard people like a number to “get through” before you move on to more important stuff.

Instead, treat the unique individuals in your world like the significant people that they are. In my career, whether it was reporting on deadline for a newspaper or magazine, representing the PR interests of a company, or building my own brand, I have found that these micro-engagements are the important stuff.

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On October 16th in Oak Park: “PR Secrets From a Media Insider”

Since 2001, associations and companies across the United States have hired Matt Baron of Inside Edge PR to train thousands of journalists, publicists and other professionals to develop immediately applicable, improved story-telling skills.

 

On Tuesday, Oct. 16th, through an Oak Park – River Forest (OPRF) Chamber of Commerce Lunch and Learn at Adam Doe State Farm, he brings PR Secrets From a Media Insider. In this practical workshop, rooted in the rapidly evolving communications landscape, Matt teaches how to:

• Craft compelling, publication-ready news releases
• Establish yourself as an expert in your field
• Use social media to expand your communications reach
• Secure media coverage that leads to greater profits

To register, contact Mark Walden at mwalden@oprfchamber.org.

Guinness World Record PR: My Latest Chapter

Over the past dozen years, I have provided public relations and media relations support for Guinness World Record attempts in ultra-endurance physical feats (I’m looking at you, George E. Hood), a Mass Dog Wedding (yeah, you read that right), and a record established this year for the Largest Gathering of Organ Transplant Donors.

That most recent milestone gained certification in mid-September, and I wrote about it this week in a news release posted at  the Chicago Tribune’s TribLocal and disseminated to other local media.

Laurie Lee speaks to a reporter during the April 21 gathering of 410 organ transplant donors at Millennium Park in Chicago. Lee was co-organizer of the event.

Overall, Inside Edge PR was able to secure widespread coverage across the country–most of it even before the record-setting day.

Congratulations to Laurie Lee, the teams at Swift Passport Services (which she co-owns with her husband, Rob) & Transplant Village (among many others) on this wonderful effort. It took five months after the event to receive the official thumbs-up from Guinness World Records, but as I note in the news release, it was well worth the wait.

Securing Guinness certification is an arduous bureaucratic journey–especially if you do not hire (for at least a few thousand dollars) an “adjudicator” from Guinness to be on the spot when the record is being set. I had cautioned Laurie that it would be a painstaking process.

To her enormous credit, Laurie was equal to the task. As a result, I am confident more people will learn about the life-saving ability to donate an organ while they are still alive, rather than the common notion that giving up one of your two kidneys (or some other organ) ought to be filed away under “Things To Do After I’m Dead.”

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