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 shared with 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.

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.

Mega Millions Media Frenzy Recalls Surreal 1998 Powerball Scene in Streamwood, Ill.

USA Today Powerball lawsuit

My December 1999 feature story in USA Today.

All of the buzz about the world record Mega Millions jackpot has gotten me reminiscing about the surreal events of May 21, 1998 that played out in Streamwood, Illinois.

At the time, I was a reporter for The Courier News, and was dispatched to Bill’s on Bartlett Pizza Pub, a neighborhood joint that I’d frequented a few times over the years. Word had circulated that the winner of the then-record Powerball lottery ($195 million), Frank Capaci, was celebrating his mind-boggling fortune.

As I came upon the scene, all was jubilation as the 67-year-old Capaci, a regular at the pub, was bellied up to the bar and treating everyone to a round or two of drinks (capping it at $500–he hadn’t, after all, yet cashed in his ticket).

Perhaps the most compelling part of the story was how Capaci’s ticket had been purchased a day or two earlier on his behalf by a pair of bartenders, Patti Rooney and John Marnell.

Because Illinois did not partake in Powerball at the time, the duo had made the effort to trek north across the state line, to Wisconsin, to buy the tickets for him and other customers.

Later, as so often occurs when big, big bucks are involved, this feel-good story of honor and integrity descended into controversy. The bartenders contended Capaci reneged on a promise to give them $1 million from his take-home winnings (he had opted for a $104 million lump-sum payment, which became a `mere’ $68 million after taxes).

In December 1999, I wrote about the saga for USA Today. The bartenders’ lawsuit against Capaci was later settled out of court, for an undisclosed sum. (And believe me, I tried repeatedly to coax this piece of information from the plaintiffs’ attorney, Bob Winter.)

It’ll be intriguing to see what becomes of the new record sum, especially since only one name, from the winner in Illinois, is guaranteed to become public.

I can’t imagine that the other two winners, from Kansas and Maryland, would willingly go public with their identities, though that doesn’t mean their names won’t surface, at least at some point and in some fashion.