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!

A Hinsdale Foster Mom’s Heart: When a Great Story Trumps Imperfect Timing

When considering your public relations campaign, it’s obvious that timing is a crucial ingredient.

Want to make a pitch about your cause or business that is tied to the Super Bowl? You’re pretty late–or extremely early, depending on which football title game you’re thinking of.

Interested in raising awareness about your work at a prestigious kitchen walk that happened on Mother’s Day? While it’s tempting to think the moment has come and gone—the occasion was 45 days ago, after all—don’t be too hasty in dismissing the potential.

If you have some other elements in your favor, then you still have a viable story to pitch.

And there’s no element stronger than a great story. Defining “great story” is subjective, of course. But having written thousands of pieces–some compelling, others not so spine-tingling–over the course of 20 years as a journalist, I am confident that I know one when I see it.

Shari and Tom Murphy, clients of Denise Hauser Design.

Such was the case recently with work that Denise Hauser of Oak Park-based Denise Hauser Design had provided for Shari and Tom Murphy of Hinsdale.

It wasn’t the design in isolation—it was how the design, recognized for its superior quality in the Hinsdale Cooks! House Walk on Mother’s Day, meshed with the bigger picture of a longtime foster family’s passion to care for the little children whose lives they touch.

You can read the story at, among other outlets.

“Roadshow” Public Relations: 4 Steps to Telling, Then Re-telling Your Story

A traveling circus and an informational presentation performed in a variety of locations over a span of time.

What do they have in common?

Among other things, each represents an excellent opportunity for ongoing public relations. That is largely because they lend themselves to the approach of building a general news release that you can readily customize based on different dates and locations along the way.

There’s no need to re-invent the wheel–as long as you create a sturdy wheel that will hold up over time. And I have found that a “delayed lead” or feature approach to the release is most effective.

Most “roadshows” don’t merit a breathless, hard-news style. Ask yourself: do you truly need to jam in the date, time, place and topic in one self-important, run-on sentence that clunkily bangs readers over the head?


1. Invite readers in conversationally.

2. Ease them into the topic with a big-picture illustration.

3. Drive home the central point with those pertinent what-who-when-where details.

4. Deliver the “why”–just what is it about this topic that makes it newsworthy?

5. Having touched lightly on the speaker’s background by now, close with more details and information about where the reader can find out more about the speaker.

One current case in point of this five-step strategy is Inside Edge PR’s media outreach for Jim Flanagan of Naperville-based Bentron Financial Group.

Flanagan, whose many volunteer activities include leading the Celebrating Seniors Coalition in the Oak Park area, is presenting “Social Security: More Than Meets the Eye” to a variety of audiences throughout suburban Chicago.

For example, you can read about this upcoming session at Addison Public Library.

Passion’s Vital Role in Effective Public Relations

Are you passionate in your pursuit to spread the word about your company or cause?

Before I bring aboard a new associate, he or she must review and buy into the Inside Edge Mission & Commission. After the Inside Edge PR Mission, the first words of the commission are “get passionate.”

Of course, in order to achieve an authentic and sustainable level of passion, you must learn enough about something or someone. This takes time and effort, but it’s well worth the investment.

Pitching a story you don’t really believe in is a drag–and that indifference come through. Believe in the value that your client brings to the world, and believe that you have something of value to share with the media when you speak on your client’s behalf.

If you don’t care, then why should anyone else?

Introducing the Inside Edge Biography Writing Service

Three years ago, in writing about the importance of writing your business biography, my tone was almost apopleptic as I related the widespread absence of such bios.

At the time, I conveyed three big reasons why it behooves you to craft your story:

1. Distinguish yourself from the competition.
2. Develop a deeper connection with your prospective clients.
3. Lay the groundwork for news releases that help promote your product or service.

That covers some of the “why,” but much more elusive is the “how.”

How exactly do you boil down your life and career path and, furthermore, how tight should you write? Is 750 words just right or too much? Is 500 the magic number? What if some contexts enable space for only for 50 or 100 words?

These are among the most frequently recurring questions that I field, often during my “PR Secrets From a Media Insider” workshops. In response, I have developed a special rate for biography writing–click here for more details.