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


Try to Remember

According to the calendar, it will be Autumn in just a few weeks. The view of blue skies and palm trees outside my office window, however, is evidence that Summer clearly has no intention of leaving gracefully. Still, my longstanding fondness for September goes back to the early 1970’s. I had just started out in theater and was hopelessly crushing on J.H., one of my fellow actors (“hopelessly,” I should point out, having much to do with his own crush on a dancer named Charles).

Of all the productions he directed, the one I most poignantly recall – The Fantasticks – embodies themes that I realized only recently have a correlation to modern media practices.


  •  “Try to Remember,” the show’s most popular melody, speaks to the nostalgia of what our memories often label as a blissfully uncluttered past. Yes, we’ve adopted all manner of complicated technology to make our lives – and our communications – spin at the speed of light but when did you last write an old-fashioned letter or make time for a face-to-face conversation?
  • “Never Say No” is a whimsical truism that it’s not just children who are drawn like moths to whatever flame they’ve been warned is bad for them. In order to create a call to action, an effective sales pitch often translates to the customer thinking it was actually his or her own idea.
  • Lastly, take away the golden moonbeam and the tinsel sky – the glitzy trappings of a campaign that promises more than it can deliver – and “This Plum Is Too Ripe” becomes the signature song of buyer’s remorse. Anything can look enticing when it’s masked in shadow but can it stand up to the scrutiny of bright lights?

If you want to attract a following as enviable as what currently reigns as the world’s longest-running musical, you don’t need a lot of song and dance, just a message that is simple…and unapologetically authentic.


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

How to Tweet With a Purpose – by Jeremiah Sullivan

The New KISS is Keeping It Real, Pure – by John and Katie Stellar

Twenty-Four Things To Do in the Dark – by Shannon Mouton

Being an Author Goes Far Beyond Just Selling Books – by Anthony Kirlew

I’ve also added a new page this month called “Meet the Experts” in which you can acquaint yourself with the men and women who contributed such fabulous chapter content to the book.

As always, we look forward to your comments, questions, and suggestions on media topics you’d like to know more about.

The Summer Game Plan

“Summer” is often synonymous with “vacation” but when you’re the one solely responsible for promoting your company’s image, products and services, there’s usually no such thing as “time off.” This month’s guest blogs are here to ignite your imagination and reframe your strategies for success:

Catching Flies With Honey – Lori Bumgarner

An Out-of-Date Bio & URL Can Lead to Disaster – Amandah Tayler Blackwell

Always Be Authentic In Your Marketing: Forget the Bait & Switch of Years Gone By – Leanne Hoagland-Smith

The Urban Legends of Social Marketing – Shannon Mouton

We look forward to your comments, questions, and suggestions on media topics you’d like to know more about.