PR As Hoops: Following Your Own Shot

Playing basketball over the years, I’ve been pretty adept at offensive rebounding, even if I was no Dennis Rodman (pictured).

Often, it’s because I’ve known better than anyone else on the court exactly how that shot I just took was going to careen wildly off the rim.

I try to adopt the same mindset in life–following up with new acquaintances, old friends and assorted family members in my personal life and, of course, the media in my professional pursuits.

Once they say “yes” to a story, then there’s a fair chance they’ll say “sure, why not?” if I suggest a follow-up piece months or even years later.

When I was a newspaper reporter, a solid chunk of my work was following up on one story or another, whether it was my “Where Are They Now?” columns for The (Elgin, Ill.) Courier News in the early 1990s or keeping track of criminal cases, municipal matters or any variety of news threads that I, or even a colleague, had begun at some point in the past.

This all comes to mind on the heels of Windy City Sports’
recent feature story on Wayne Arner.

He is a member of Five Seasons Sports Club in Northbrook, a client of mine. There, Wayne has transformed his fitness level over the past 2 1/2 years from overweight and easily fatigued to his current stature as a rock-hard triathlete to be reckoned with.

What’s so fun about Wayne’s story is that it’s far from over–he’s just now beginning to hit his stride. And now that he’s been featured in publications like Pioneer Press and Windy City Sports, and on sites like, there’s a natural media interest in checking in on how he’s faring, in order to update readers.

I’ve promised Wayne we won’t use up all of his 15 minutes of fame, but I’ll do my best to fill up as much of that span as possible!

A Brave, New Archive-Friendly World

When I began writing for newspapers, in 1984, I needed to clip stories myself and make photocopies if I wanted to ensure keeping track of those pieces.

Today, nearly a quarter-century later, the Internet has created an entirely new archive-friendly world.

A few years ago, for example, I began using Google Web Alerts to tip me off when a particular word or phrase appeared in cyberspace. So any time I begin working for a new client, I add their name to my list.

I also have my own name flagged, and intriguingly enough, it’s not only new content that pops up in the alerts. Just today, a five-year-old item, a brief ditty on that I wrote for Time magazine, came back around.

So did recent material, such as summaries I’ve written for the Urban Land Institute’s Chicago chapter.

If you are in business–and especially in the business of seeing how your business is being portrayed online–then enlisting the help from services like Google Alerts is imperative.

In addition to your own business or organization, you may want to keep tabs on your competitors and general information about your industry.

To set up your own, free Google alert(s), click here.