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.”

Related Posts:
Inside Edge PR’s Media Support of Living Donor Guinness World Record Attempt
No Guinness World Record, Doggone It!

Tech & Modular Construction Summary Caps 10th Anniversary of ULI Chicago Coverage

“Unlike many other sectors of our economy, construction has remained largely rooted in the 20th century as leaders have resisted technological changes that have transformed the way other industries do business.”

Moderator Christian Beaudoin (left) and panelists at the historic Union League Club.

That’s the opening line in my summary this week for ULI Chicago’s panel discussion, “Tech and Modular Construction: Disrupting the Traditional Development Process.”

The coverage marks the 10th anniversary of my writing for ULI Chicago. That encompasses over 75 panels and 150,000 words.

Each and every time, it has been a learning experience. Doing challenging work, and learning in the process, are both wonderful fringe benefits of this ongoing gig that draws on my journalistic experience covering a variety of local government bodies for the Chicago Tribune and others.

Related Posts:
ULI Update: Writing About the Future of Retail
Leadership–Without Being in the Limelight

Sharing the Story of StorySlam: A Benefit for Farther Foundation

Honored to be serving as the emcee, and to be providing some media relations support, for StorySlam: A Benefit for Farther Foundation. It’s coming up fast–on Thursday, October 11th, at FitzGerald’s Nightclub.

Tickets are $50 and include food and all the entertainment. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to www.fartherfoundation.org or call 708-497-7240.

Founded in 2008, the Oak Park-based organization has supported 221 students–mostly high school sophomores and juniors from Chicago and nearby suburbs–who have traveled to 27 states and 32 countries.

Farther Foundation enables students from economically disadvantaged circumstances participate in life-changing educational travel programs. While traveling, students interact with people from diverse backgrounds, become immersed in new cultures and experiences, learn and develop skills and engage in community service.

See the news release at the Chicago Tribune’s TribLocal.

Related Posts:
From Magazine to Video, My Two-Year Journey With the NIU Foundation
Mancini’s Promotion Exceeds Expectations, Raises $1,800 for Hephzibah

Petco PR & Communications Team: Will You Help Me Improve Your Donation Pitch?

Guess which button I pressed (again)?

Soliciting donations is an art form—there’s no single scientifically proven method that’s best in all situations and for all causes.

Ideally, you want to hone a message that lies between these two extremes:

A) Craft a pitch too subtly, and folks won’t even realize you’re raising money.

B) Arrange words that conspire to push too hard, and you’re liable to repel your audience.

Which of those extremes, do you suppose, is illustrated by the overture to Petco customers at their point of purchase:


When I first encountered that query while purchasing kitty litter about a year ago, my first reaction was that pressing “no” comes at the risk of going on a guilt trip. But upon further reflection and with each subsequent purchase (and pressing of “No”), it has bred resentment. How annoying that, at a moment when I am patronizing this shop, it is implicitly challenging my compassion for homeless pets.

And isn’t Petco already using a portion of my money toward its efforts to help homeless pets? Rather than hearing “thank you for your business,” it feels like the company’s parting sentiment is “OK, now we see: you care only about your pet.”

One of my two cats, very much enjoying her housing, rests comfortably–oblivious to homeless felines everywhere.

I don’t have exhaustive analytics to back this up, but common sense would strongly suggest that neither guilt nor resentment serves any business very well.

Central to Petco’s donation-pitch problem is that it makes personal such a strong-armed tactic. Much better to dilute the directness by shifting to a collective “team” effort in saving homeless pets.

Simple addition or subtraction—a word or two, either way—would do wonders to improve this solicitation:

Will you help us save homeless pets?

Want to help homeless pets?

Want to help us save homeless pets?

Help us save homeless pets!

My closing words, then, are a direct (and, I daresay, neither too subtle nor too forceful) appeal to the Petco PR and Communications team:

Will you help me improve your donation pitch?

Related Posts:
An Uber-Important Lesson on the Impact of Brand Ambassadorship
A Tower of Untapped Marketing Potential: Volvo of Oak Park’s Iconic Tower