Keeping Your PR Eye On The Calendar

Of all the similarities between being a journalist and being a publicist, one of the most prominent ones is the need to keep your eye on the calendar.

Mine says that today is Jan. 16th, which means, among other things, that it’s well past time to start thinking about Valentine’s Day-related story ideas, whether you represent a client or toil in a newsroom.

I touched on this timing truth in an Inside Edge PR post two weeks ago.

On another front, if you don’t have a Super Bowl-related pitch ready to roll, it’s time to go into the two-minute drill. Yesterday, as I was speaking with Don Riley, the new fitness director at Five Seasons Sports Club in Burr Ridge, a thought popped into my head–how can we tie in his expertise with the big football game on February 1st?

The answer came quickly, and simply: offer simple fitness and nutrition tips that TV spectators (aka “couch potatoes”) can implement as they “watch 22 players desperately in need of rest,” as the late, great football coach Bud Wilkinson has been quoted.

More to come in a future Inside Edge PR post.

An FYI You Want To Apply ASAP: Use BCC!

Growing up, I learned early on about A.D. and B.C.
Around the same time, I discovered ABC, NBC and CBS, and how those three channels dominated images that emanated from something called a TV.

Along the way, I’ve encountered other acronyms, be they musical groups (BTO, for Backhman-Turner Overdrive; and CSNY, for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) or Internet-induced abbreviations, like LOL (laughing out loud) and ROTFL (rolling on the floor laughing).

And BCC, too. That stands for “blind carbon copy” and it’s a magical e-mail function that all too many otherwise-intelligent individuals have yet to discover or continue to refuse to apply. By using the BCC address field, you conceal the identities of those to whom you are sending the e-mail.

Amazingly, sadly, among this group of BCC boycotters is the occasional publicist.

The second word in “public relations” offers a hint that (positive, fruitful) relationships are central to a publicist’s success. Yet just a few minutes ago, a publicist from a decent-sized Chicago-based company (self-dubbed as “Specialists in Mission-Driven Marketing”) just sent an e-mail to me and 60 others whose last name begins with “B.”

I recognize one other person’s name on the list, but the rest are strangers to me. Strangers who now have my e-mail address and, fortunately, will use much better sense than to spam me as this publicist did. I suspect that right now, he’s blazing through the alphabet, onto the letter “R” by now, and sending his hastily created emails to upwards of 1,000 people.

Driven, for sure. But the mission and marketing are sorely lacking.

And he really ought to delete “FW:” from the prior mass e-mail that he sent and come up with something more creative than “thought you might like to see our newsletter.”

Moral of the story: if you are ever in a position of sending e-mails to a large group of people who are not connected to one another beyond simply being in your e-mail address book, then use BCC.