News Release on Five Seasons’ Manny Velasco Caps Small-World Story-Telling Connection

If you stay at something long enough, fun interweavings come about.

The first story that I ever got paid to write, nearly 27 years ago, appeared in the Marshfield (Mass.) Mariner. It was a feature on Chris Lapriore, a star tennis player from my high school. A two-time state champion, Chris was about to enroll at the University of Illinois.

A few years ago, as I was doing some PR on Hall of Fame tennis player Monica Seles’ visit to Five Seasons Family Sports Club in Northbrook, I chatted with the club’s head tennis pro, Manny Velasco. In the course of our conversation, I discovered that Manny (pictured below, with Monica) had played with Chris at Illinois.

So it was especially satisfying, and with more than a little feeling of nostalgia, that I wrote my most recent tennis piece last week: a news release on Manny’s receiving Coach of the Year honors in the USTA’s Chicago District.

Makes me wonder what stories I might be telling in the year 2038.

The Power of Getting it On Video: From Youth Hoops to Your Next Public Relations Campaign

Did I mention that my son is a budding basketball star?

Well, to put it more modestly, he tallied his first points in a competitive basketball game earlier this month. To be more precise, I could tell you how he gained control of an up-for-grabs pass (very common among 7- and 8-year-old hoopsters), positioned his body to protect it from a defender, set his feet, eyed the rim and then launched a 12-footer from his right hip.

The ball caromed off the backboard and swished perfectly through the hoop.

Yes, I could recite all of those details–and provide further embellishment. Or I could simply direct you to click on the video below (less than 30 seconds).

Which is more compelling? More apt to catch your attention and create a more lasting impression?

As much as I’d like to think that my writing is poetic and powerful, in certain instances, like this one, it’s no match for video.

As I noted in the first Tips From the Inside Edge post nearly three years ago, video is a powerful public relations ally for a number of reasons. Here are three:

1. They tell the story directly to the world, without needing any intermediary’s approval or being subject to any intermediary’s mistakes of omission or commission.

2. They offer the media a more compelling story suggestion, and can tip them across that intangible line, from somewhat interested to very interested, which means all the difference between taking a pass on the story to passing along the story idea to the assignment producer or editor.

3. If the media pursue the story, it provides them with a resource to share with their audience, further expanding your reach via both traditional (media) and non-traditional (user-generated websites) means.

Resist Tunnel Vision About Your Value, Heed Market Feedback & Turn Failure into Success

In today’s rapidly shifting strategic marketing and public relations landscape, being willing to change is only one part of the equation.

You’ve also got to be continually alert to those ways in which you must embrace change–or invite extinction. That truth comes to mind as 2010 draws to a close and I reflect on what was happening in my professional life five years ago.

In the January 2006 issue of North Shore magazine, I bought an advertisement for Your Front Page. It was part of my big promotional push for a personalized writing service that until that point had been a fun sidelight to my journalism career.

I hoped the ad would trigger a deluge of business from folks in places like Winnetka, Northbrook and communities all throughout the Chicago area who wanted a distinctive way to commemmorate birthdays, wedding anniversaries and other celebrations.

Alas, the placement sparked a grand total of one phone call. And here’s the kicker: it was from a salesperson hoping I’d buy an ad from his publication.

The “Your Front Page” ad
in North Shore magazine

I realize that with advertising, repetition is vital, so I don’t in any way fault the magazine (which has recently been assimilated into the burgeoning Make It Better empire). Besides, I made other grassroots marketing efforts to get the service off the ground.

Despite my grand ambitions, Your Front Page has attracted a mere three clients in the past five years. And while enthusiastic responses to the pieces have been gratifying, it’s obvious that on a commercial level, my blueprint of how I’d shift from journalism has been a resounding flop.

Fortunately, I wasn’t hung up on the exact nature of my value to the marketplace. As a result, YFP’s failure has opened the door to the success of what has become Inside Edge PR.

Like a quarterback who spots a coming blitz and calls an audible at the line of scrimmage, I have been open to market feedback and carved a niche as a Chicago-area publicist who uses a journalistic sensibility to help small- and medium-sized companies and organizations.

Over the next five years, where will it all lead? Will I continue along this path of helping mostly Chicago-area businesses connect with, and expand, their market?

Maybe–though I wouldn’t bet on it coming via some orderly trajectory. New wrinkles continually emerge: over the past few years, for example, Inside Edge PR has jumped feet-first into the use of videos for PR as well as developing a strong social media presence for clients.

Through it all, one thing is for certain: nobody, least of all me, can afford to stay stuck in any preconceptions about how they can best serve the marketplace.

Related Posts:
Zurich Insurance at 100 Years & Its Marketing Lesson in Historical Context
In 2013, Resolve to Thicken Your Skin And Learn From Criticism

Bulldog Reporter Publishes Truth-in-PR Piece

It’s true–I’ve been hammering hard lately on the fibbing front and the damage that lies can wreak on anyone’s credibility, reputation and overall bottom-line in the marketplace.

And so it is that The Four Horsemen of the Apocryphal–the military, academic, athletic and business lies that I have observed in my career–were front and center in an essay I recently wrote.

It was published in the Barks & Bites section of today’s Bulldog Reporter.

You can read the piece: “Let’s Have More Truth in PR: Anticipate Journalist Questions—and Root Out Client Fibs in Four Key Areas.”

The essay, which built off some recent Inside Edge PR blog posts, can also be found at my new Truth In PR blog.

If you have a Truth-in-PR issue you’d like to raise, just e-mail me at Matt@InsideEdgePR.com

In Bulldog Reporter: `Words Still Matter’

Late last year, the Medill School of Journalism solicited input from alumni about the future of journalism. I shared some thoughts at the time, but knew it was an incomplete effort.

That’s almost always the way with the stories I write–the feeling that more could be done. Now, at least, those original ruminations have expanded into fuller form.

They appear today in Bulldog Reporter’s Barks & Bites, in an essay bearing the headline, Words Still Matter in a Web 2.0 World: The Future of Journalism and PR Lie in Storytelling.

I invite you to check it out, and offer your perspective, either on the Bulldog Reporter site or via the Inside Edge PR blog.