Archive: September 2014


Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Pitching Journalists, But Were Afraid to Ask

The influence of journalists remains as important today as when I started in the communications business. While the Internet has commoditized news announcements, what appears in publications still impacts a company’s brand and reputation. That’s why I was intrigued when I heard that Muck Rack (in cooperation MDC Partners) surveyed a cross section of journalists …more

The Connection Between Anecdotes and Storytelling in Business Communications

I am an unabashed fan of the anecdote. I’m also convinced that it’s one of the most underutilized storytelling techniques in business communications. Executives often perceive anecdotes as fluff and put the kibosh on such content before it sees the light of the day. That explains why if you audited the content generated by PR …more

Cultivating Agency–Client Relationships That Go Deeper Than Procurement

Any type of relationship—personal, business or with the guy at the farmer’s market—always comes down to trust. It’s ironic that the typical person will open up more with the guy at the farmer’s market—“you don’t want to know how I’m doing, but since you asked …”—than with someone from his or her business world. Check out these three data …more

Just Like Bad PR, There’s Bad Journalism Out There

Journalists enjoy taking a shots at the PR profession, often with justification. From classics like BusinessInsider’s “Dear PR Lady, Here’s Why I Didn’t Open Any of Your 3 Email Pitches” to my own “Why Journalists Get Cranky About PR,” this genre delivers a never-ending stream of commentary. Flipping the equation, PR is reticent to return …more

Six Narratives That Make up My Leave-behind Pack for Storytelling Workshops

One of the best parts of my job involves conducting storytelling workshops. It’s both fun and satisfying to help participants connect the dots to a simple premise: Given a choice between “interesting” and “dull,” human beings pick “interesting” virtually every time. I’m constantly refining the package shared with participants in our workshops for business storytelling. …more

Removing the Tension from the Budweiser Puppy Love Video (Literally)

I love talking about failure in the context of business storytelling. It’s a tough one for executives because it’s counterintuitive. You never hear about a company hiring a PR agency “to get the bad word out.” Yet, the ability to bring failure or even a problem to the narrative is what separates industrial-grade storytelling from …more

Companies Still Embracing a Command-and-control Model for Social Media

Like Mr. Quixote swinging at windmills, companies continue to go down the futile path of trying to control social media. A couple years ago I wrote a post advocating for the Piggly Wiggly approach to social media. If you’re not familiar with the Piggly Wiggly, the company’s founder Clarence Saunders invented the concept of the …more

Never-before-seen Footage from “The Graduate”: Mr. McGuire Talking to Dustin Hoffman About Content

Everyone has the content religion. If you toil under the marketing umbrella, your updated job description likely includes the word “content.” And publications ranging from BuzzFeed to Fortune to BusinessInsider have created business units to address — that’s right — developing content for companies. Which explains why the mantra, “Content Is King,” has been chanted …more