Behind the Scenes: Story-Telling Artist Shines Light on Realtor Building Transformation

This summer, I had the pleasure of collaborating with friend and next-door neighbor Joe Crosetto to write a story about the work that his firm, Interactive Building Solutions (IBS), is involved in: the make-over of the Realtor Building in downtown Chicago.

It is located at 430 N. Michigan Avenue, where the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is making major changes to the 56-year-old building that has been their headquarters since 1978. The complex effort benefits from other experts, including Grumman/Butkus Associates, GNP Realty Partners, and ONE Development.

Joe has the title of “sales engineer” at IBS, but an overarching description of him really must begin with “artist.”

Those artistic talents extend to a variety of creative art forms, including sculpture and pottery-making. Among other pieces, he makes beautiful travel mugs and pots that you can see at Art-O-Rama.

The four-page story spread.

In much the same way, from conception to completion, Joe brought this story to life. Through words and images, he translated his initial vision for communicating the behind-the-scenes transformation of this Magnificent Mile building.

The result: this striking November 2018 cover story for Chief Engineer magazine, which you can read here as a PDF posted on the IBS website. Thank you, Joe, for allowing me to come along for the ride!

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Don’t Wait ’til News Breaks–Anticipate the Break, Break Through With Coverage

“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”
–Wayne Gretzky

That philosophy surfaced on the PR front last week with a news release providing insights and counsel on snow and ice management. The release had been in the works for over a week for McAdam Landscaping, a longtime Inside Edge PR client.

Then Old Man (Early) Winter cooperated with the blizzard to make it especially timely. You can see the release online at TribLocal.

Here is a particularly interesting detail that I learned in the course of developing the release:

Clients must also be conscious of new legislation in the state of Illinois. With the passage of the Snow Removal Service Liability Limitation Act in 2016, property owners can no longer transfer liability to a contractor for losses that were not the fault of the contractor.

“This is very important legislation for our industry and even more important for clients to be aware of,” said (Scott) McAdam Jr. “Prior to this Act’s passing, a property owner could transfer all liability to the contractor, even if the contractor fulfilled their obligations and were not at fault. With this Act, the client assumes some of the liability for potential losses, so choosing a quality contractor will greatly reduce that liability.”

Speaking of liability in another vein, you don’t want to get caught flat-footed when a “change in the weather” (metaphorical or literal) offers an opportunity to serve your client’s want (coverage) while also taking care of the media’s need (timely, newsworthy content).

The media relations moral of the story: don’t wait until news breaks–anticipate the break, and be ready to deliver quality content when it does.

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Blogging Statistics & Trends 2018, Thanks to Andy Crestodina & Orbit Media Studios

This is a blog post about blogging: how original.

But really, it is original… that is, original research by Andy Crestodina of Chicago-based Orbit Media Studios.

As was the case at least a few times before, I was one of those who responded to this year’s survey. The results from my answers, as well as those of 1,095 others, are linked below. It’s an excellent overview — with fascinating trends and clarity on what tends to work most effectively (measured by the subjectively termed “strong results”).

Having created well over 500 posts in a decade-plus, my pace has slowed considerably (as you can tell by clicking on the month-by-month archives on the left side of this page). At the same time, I have been getting better at reviewing, updating and in some cases re-purposing old blog posts. (Hey, there’s no such thing as plagiarizing yourself.)

A few other observations from my experience:

*It’s remarkable how many links get broken over time.

Be sure to clean ’em up on your website, as I strive to do on mine. Spot a broken link or some other problem on this post, or anywhere else on my site? Let me know at In fact, I have blogged about the power of kindly alerting folks to these types of boo-boos.

*A few years ago, I added “Related Posts” at the bottom of each post, to guide visitors interested in digging deeper on a topic.

I have also “back-filled” many of the posts from over the past 11 years or so. It’s a continual process and I chip away at it, little by little in 10 to 30 minute pockets of time. Speaking of time, did you know I have included the word “time” in over 20 blog posts, including this one about disgraced Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte?

OK, enough about me and my precious hyperlinks. To learn about the latest trends in the world of blogging, just click on the image below:

Blogging Statistics and Trends: The 2018 Survey of 1000+ Bloggers

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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 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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