Fashionable Proofreading

People have pointed out that I need to do a better job of proofreading my blog copy. What’s “funny” about that is that I’m such a detailed and a perfectionist type of person. So it frustrates me that the copy is not correct.

To give credit where credit is due, I thank my friend Margaret, who has helped me with my writing skills (not my proofreading talents). She has a blog for lovers of the written word that has gotten international attention:

Now, it’s easy for me to use the excuse that because I need a vacation (leaving tomorrow), that’s the reason the proofreading is so bad. However, it doesn’t hold water. Margaret pointed out that clients or future customers might see my blog and notice the mistakes.

So I guess this post is really about something unfunny with PR. Clear communication is always in fashion. I love to write (Thanks Margaret). However, that final clean up job with copy can make all the difference in the world when it comes to your image.

In case you’re wondering where I am going on vacation, my wife and I are traveling to Alabama to visit my aunt and cousin.


Steve Martin Was (Is?) Shy

I’ve been reading Steve Martin’s autobiography, Born Standing Up. He says a couple things that struck me as interesting. First, he shares when he lost his virginity, I suppose that’s needed for some odd reason. Second, he says that he was shy. Now it’s hard to believe that someone with happy feet and an arrow through his head while performing could be shy.

My point for this post is that even “shy” people can be “performers” for the media. If someone simply cannot deal with a TV camera or radio microphone, they can certainly promote themselves with print/on-line media interviews, or through their own written communications (I hear blogs are becoming a big thing these days).

Better yet, even the person who would rather be dead than “on stage” can learn to love the attention when it helps them get their message out.

So I hope the “shy” people who need media attention will learn to get over it. If I offended you with that suggestion well excuuuuuse me!


The Least of Things Can Be the Greatest

One of my joys in life is learning about stand up comedy. I like to go to open mics for new comics and try out my jokes. Most fail and a few are a hit. I am also asked to host events ranging from corporate meetings to church programs where I get to play around with the audience and improvise my jokes.

One of my comic heroes is Bob Newhart. He is very funny, very clean and has found the “magic” formula that has lasted for decades: good humor that anyone can enjoy with anyone around them.

In his autobiography, he points out that he had a stammer in his routine that people told him to take out. He response was something to the effect, “that stammer bought me a house in Beverly Hills.”

The same is true for public relations, often the thing that seems out of place is really what can promote more media coverage. Some years back we had a client that had dance breaks in the office in place of the caffeinated ones. While it seemed liked a quirky HR tactic, it was big news that made national television, dozens of print outlets and even an interview on the BBC.

So the next time you think something is dumb or out of place, remember Bob Newhart’s stammer. It might just buy you a million dollars worth of publicity.

What’s 100 Times Dirtier Than a Toilet Seat?

Yes, the title is provocative. However, I did not write it. I found at at ABC News.

Personally, I enjoy when someone finds a fun way to take everyday activities and turn them into news. However, this story is more than just a “flush in the pan.” (For those who don’t know the reference the original line was “flash in the pan”, and I’m not sure if everyone will get that reference.) Anyway…

Take a look at this excerpt from the story regarding the subject:

She advised: Wash your hands, of course, and avoid touching things a lot of other people have touched, like elevator buttons. Use your elbows to push the revolving door.
She also says, when in doubt, disinfect.
As you might imagine, Janse has a bit of a reputation among her fellow workers of being over-the-top when it comes to germs. But consider this:
since she launched her anti-germ campaign three years ago, not one person in her family has gotten sick.

Take a look at the first sentence in red. It makes me wonder how my life would be if I used my elbow to do everything I normally do with my hands. Combing hair is just one thought that comes to mind. Now take a look at the second sentence. Clearly there is a payoff this expert is able to show. Self-serving, yes. Yet, a payoff.

I often tell my clients that saying or doing something provocative to get media attention is something that I love to do. However, I believe a “publicity stunt” or “headline grabbing quote” alway needs a real payoff.

So get out there and start re-purposing your elbows because it may save your life.


Who’s Funnier: Clinton or Obama?

I have never considered myself to be “politically savvy.” It seems like it was not until I was in my 30s that I took voting seriously. Now that I finally understand my voting privileges, along comes the fun with “Punch and Judy” show for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. And of course, McCain seems to have gotten to his assumed Republican nomination by some default that I cannot understand. All this to set up a joke I use to illustrate what I do as a PR professional:

“PR pros can make John McCain look like he’s breathing, we can make Hillary Clinton look like a woman, and we can make Barack Obama look any color you’ll vote for.”

OK, I might not be the most politically correct PR person. However, this year’s nomination process is the biggest joke of the 21st century. Bigger than the biggest joke of the the 20th century, “Take my wife, please.”


Why I Started This Blog

I’ve been doing public relations in some form or another for 20 years. What has always amazed me is how so many stories are just plain silly because of the media’s choices or the people who do the crazy things to get their names in the public eye.

The purpose of this blog will be to share my sense of humor with some of the day’s headlines.

Tom C