The Things That Come Back to Haunt You

If you’re a parent, you’re probably familiar with the following conversation, a scene that takes place at the breakfast table on a weekday morning

CHILD: My class is having a Halloween party.

MOM: That sounds like fun.

CHILD: We all have to wear costumes. Can you make me one?

MOM: Sure, honey. What do you want to be?

CHILD: (with a shrug) I dunno. Maybe a dinosaur. Or Spiderman. Or a pirate.

MOM: Okay. So when do you need this?

CHILD: Today.

On the one hand, maybe your child thinks you have super-powers to just whip these creations up in a nanosecond. On the other hand, forgetfulness on his part doesn’t constitute emergency on your part and maybe this is an opportunity to impart a lesson. In either case, you’re still the one who comes off looking badly to your child, his peers, and his teachers if your first reaction after panic is to mumble an apology and then do absolutely nothing.

It’s the resourceful mom who takes a pair of scissors to an old shirt and pants, pats flour on his face and arms, rims his eyes with dark eye shadow, musses his hair and sends him off as a zombie. Crisis averted. And maybe he even comes home with a prize, no one the wiser that the whole ensemble was improvised in 20 minutes with items already on hand.

So what does this have to do with the media biz?

If you’re the owner of any type of business – including those in which you promote your talents as a writer, artist, musician – it’s only a matter of time that you’ll get a last-minute call from a journalist asking if you’re available for an interview. This usually occurs when a scheduled story falls through the cracks and there’s suddenly an opening that has to be filled. Under these circumstances, the worst thing you can say is, “Uh, can you call me the end of next week so I can throw something together?”

Trust me, you will not get called back. Why? Because there are enough other people with the wits to have anticipated this moment and assembled whatever a journalist needs to move the story forward – a press kit, plucky quotes, photos, a professional website. Not only does such preparation save them the stress of a zero-hour scramble but also averts the scary tragedy of a flaky reputation in the very circles they can’t afford to ignore.

*****

Here’s the lineup of this month’s blogs by my guest contributors:

How to Make Your Advertising Appetizing – by Brandy Wheeler

Your Business Elevator Pitch – by Noelle Sterne

Your Brand as an Adjective: How to Define Your Brand with Design – by Pete Kelly

Choosing a Professional Photographer – by Devin Ford

 

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