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@bensonhendrix I must say, I enjoyed Santa Fe more, for whatever reason (maybe it's better for tourists), but I still dream of that breakfast in Albuquerque. Should have bought some of that jam.

21 hours, 34 minutes ago on The Spin Sucks Inquisition: Benson Hendrix

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Good morning, Benson, and congratulations! I love New Mexico and I had an incredible breakfast in ABQ. The jam had chile(i?) pepper in it. Sweet and hot. Amazing!

1 day, 8 hours ago on The Spin Sucks Inquisition: Benson Hendrix

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Yay, Corina! NOW I'm sure all your goals have been achieved!

1 week, 1 day ago on The Spin Sucks Inquisition: Corina Manea

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@Craig Hadden Thank you, Craig. People do seem to respond well to the simplicity. And once they have the core down, we can get into extra ingredients and refinements like sharpening the turning point, physical details, scene setting, etc.

1 week, 5 days ago on How to Structure a Story in 3 Easy Steps

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@biggreenpen Truth! Fear is the #1 killer of creativity. Everybody says they want to stand out, but when it comes down to it, most prefer to blend in with the crowd.

2 weeks, 1 day ago on Six Tips to Improve Business Innovation

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@LauraPetrolino @ginidietrich Maybe if I'd read Facebook before the blogs and seen the various posts about people being kidnapped in Mexico, quitting their jobs, rooting for the Cubs, etc, I would have been properly conditioned for April Fools.

2 weeks, 3 days ago on Creative Marketing the April Fools’ Way

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I will just say this: every year, EVERY year, Seth Godin has me going almost halfway through his April 1st posts. Nobody does it better. But then, I'm easily fooled.

2 weeks, 3 days ago on Creative Marketing the April Fools’ Way

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@Corina Manea @ginidietrich True! I'm just having a very specific flashback to a manager basically saying, "Hey, we can spell this all out for you. Just be aware that you might not like what you see!"

2 weeks, 4 days ago on The Horrible Case of Unwritten Rules

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@ginidietrich @Corina Manea I know this exact situation and have experienced it in multiple settings and workplaces. 

I'm generally on the side of, "Exercise common sense and good judgment," but have found that many people want very clear, hard-and-fast rules explicitly spelled out.

2 weeks, 4 days ago on The Horrible Case of Unwritten Rules

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@ginidietrich @Danny Brown I remember when "casual Fridays" just started happening and how an organization really goes down the rabbit hole when you start putting the rules in writing.

2 weeks, 4 days ago on The Horrible Case of Unwritten Rules

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More important! I was doing crisis communications for a company in the middle of an earnings restatement crisis. A memo from the CEO (which went out before we got there) said warned employees that they'd hear a lot rumors, but unless it comes from company leadership, it's not true. Wishful thinking!

2 weeks, 4 days ago on Crisis Communications from the Inside Out

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I'm with you: employees are at least as important (I think more important) as external audiences. I was working with a company on a crisis related to earnings restatements. A message went out from the CEO (before we were brought in) saying, "You're going to hear a lot rumors. Just know that unless it comes from the company, it's not true." Wishful thinking!

2 weeks, 4 days ago on Crisis Communications from the Inside Out

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"THATS's how you look after running a marathon???" says every person over 35 ...

Congratulations and happy Friday, Stephanie!

3 weeks, 1 day ago on The Spin Sucks Inquisition: Stephanie Vermillion

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@PWalsh Tonic Good point! Having a more neutral party doing the presenting is probably the right thing. Sometimes nobody's doing it and that's where the problems come up.

3 weeks, 1 day ago on The PR Pro’s Guide to Working with Creatives

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I read that New York Magazine piece and was amazed at how, a few steps back from the heat, it really undermined a lot of my assumptions about Sacco and the whole incident.

One thing I find curious. A number of publications have taken to requiring people to post using their Facebook profile, and yet the comment sections on their website remain a cesspool. I suppose some people make up fake profiles for the purpose of attacking others and spreading racist vitriol, but it seems many of them just don't care.

3 weeks, 4 days ago on The Social Media Mob Needs to Go

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I would also add, "Give your creatives the opportunity to 'present' their work." Too often, designs are just emailed around. Instead, there should be a formal presentation, even if over the phone or via Skype, that walks people through the design, reminding them of the objectives and showing how the various elements serve those objectives.

I think there's a feeling among some creatives I've met that the work should speak for itself. That if you have to sell it or explain it, then the design is weak. Also, many creatives are introverts, and don't like the idea of presenting.

3 weeks, 4 days ago on The PR Pro’s Guide to Working with Creatives

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Yay, Bob! Congrats and happy Friday!

4 weeks, 1 day ago on The Spin Sucks Inquisition: Bob Reed

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I've only known two in my career who loved it and were good at it!

1 month ago on Freelancer vs. Communications Firm: Which is Better?

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I agree with all of that. I either work with a team for big scope programs or I'm working solo when it's a discrete, specialty project.

And if money is at all a concern -- like you're not sure you can afford it -- a boutique or specialty firm is going to give you better value. It's very hard for a big public firm to economically service smaller accounts.

1 month ago on Freelancer vs. Communications Firm: Which is Better?

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Because they hope to land a SVP or MD slot at that agency someday?

1 month ago on Freelancer vs. Communications Firm: Which is Better?

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@Digital_DRK And I win the day! Back to bed!!

1 month ago on Freelancer vs. Communications Firm: Which is Better?

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Oh, how timely. I'm talking to some college students tonight about the freelance world. (Though, like @ArikHanson posted yesterday, I don't call myself a freelancer: http://www.arikhanson.com/2015/03/17/dont-call-me-a-freelancer/)

Yes, I've always said the problem with PR firms is that most do not have a track for advancement for those who want to be a "kick-butt communicator." So these people get promoted to jobs they don't like and they're not necessarily good at (building business, managing people). They're miserable, their direct reports are miserable, and their clients don't get the best work.

Some are doing it -- they have editorial or creative departments -- but not enough that I know of.

I don't have a vote. It all depends. I would say to a client, be careful when hiring a firm. (AND when hiring a freelancer, or independent, though that's an easier decision to get out of if it's a mistake.) At the pitch, ask the classic question, "Who will be doing the work?"And understand that Big Firm economics don't easily support the senior person being hands-on.

1 month ago on Freelancer vs. Communications Firm: Which is Better?

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@LauraPetrolino I'll tell you what makes me an inconsistent contributor: I recently was motivated to make a donation to a big national nonprofit. They then very clearly sold my name/address to every nonprofit across the country. I'm getting hammered with solicitations from all kinds of groups, even ones outside the issue area of the one I contributed to.

I know they have to make money, but I consider this a major violation of trust and I will not be making another donation to them. Or to any of the putzes who glue pennies and dimes to their letters.

Sorry, off-topic, I know ...

1 month ago on How to Use a Reverse Message Strategy

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I love this concept. I myself mocked the Sarah MacLachlan ad in a recent LinkedIn post and a friend said he actually likes that ad and it prompted him to make a donation! I think he's in the minority, since, as your link points out, MacLachlan herself said she changes the channel when it comes on.

It's in the same category as those old Sally Struthers ads for Christian Children's Fund. "Why are you such a terrible person for not caring enough about these poor kids?"

1 month ago on How to Use a Reverse Message Strategy

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Wow, that's a huge pay gap! I would have not guessed that — especially since, as you say, the industry is dominated by women.

Salary transparency is a hard thing to get used to. I was always surprised when employees would ask each other and share their salary information! In an older organization there are SO many built-in inequities. People who have been around for 20 years, people who were hired under a different system, people who were hired when there was NO system, a hotshot recruited from somewhere else, etc.

Aside from the male/female gap which, of course, is reprehensible, I can't imagine how you achieve fairness in an older organization with so many legacy issues.

1 month ago on PR Industry Salary Survey Has Bad News for Women

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@alawrence We're on the Kenai, but close enough!

1 month ago on The Spin Sucks Inquisition: Alicia Lawrence

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@martinwaxman Thanks, Martin -- I'll look into it. There's so much traditional PR that I don't really do anymore, but I suppose if I study up ...

1 month ago on Training, networking and developing your personal academy

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Alaska! My wife was born in Fairbanks and grew up in Anchorage. We try to get up there for the salmon run each summer. Congratulations and happy Friday, Alicia!

1 month ago on The Spin Sucks Inquisition: Alicia Lawrence

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@ginidietrich Hmmm ... I'm starting to feel like the bad kid punished for not doing his homework!

I'm all about trying new things — my whole career has been built on that. I also think part of my success is determining what to say no to so I'm not overloaded and I can keep my other commitments.

I also equated the scavenger hunt with the exercises at the end of each post, which I definitely did not have a chance to do each day. Though I did Evernote a couple to do down the road.


1 month, 1 week ago on The Spin Sucks Scavenger Hunt Results

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Interesting points, Martin. I consider myself a lifelong learner, but I've never been big on "formal" learning. Even in college, where I actually did well. But I much preferred the things I was learning working on the school paper over how I was learning in the classroom. So doing is one other way of learning. Then there's teaching. I'm learning so much by creating lessons for others. But maybe I'll go back for that APR someday ...

1 month, 1 week ago on Training, networking and developing your personal academy

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@annelizhannan Yes, like you, I never promise anything I can't follow through on and I knew I just was not going to be able to do this. (And I hope my answer didn't come across as brusk or harsh!) But when I do say yes, that's a guaran-damn-tee!

1 month, 1 week ago on The Spin Sucks Scavenger Hunt Results

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As always, your transparency is really, really admirable, and is probably a reason many of us come here regularly.

Speaking as a non-participant, yes, it seemed like "another big thing" to try to squeeze into my day. And as I (tried to) joke earlier, I'm not much of a game player.

Though I did make a note of a number of the blogs I'm not already subscribed to and plan on following them. I'm sorry it didn't go the way you hoped, but admire your continued creativity!

1 month, 1 week ago on The Spin Sucks Scavenger Hunt Results

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@ginidietrich @biggreenpen She does great impressions. I remember when she was on SNL a while back and she played Samantha in a Sex & The City sketch and it was SPOT ON. I think I like her comedy better than her singing ...

1 month, 1 week ago on Gin and Topics: The Invite of All Invites

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Sounds like @samemac and @lkpetrolino would get along great!

Love the idea that "nice" isn't a dirty word. I was hiring staff years ago and describing the candidates to my boss and mentioned one was "nice" versus the other, and he totally laid into me. "We're not hiring for nice, blah blah blah ..."

Screw that. I want a functional department where people get along and aren't watching their back or bickering all the time.  

1 month, 1 week ago on The Spin Sucks Inquisition: Samantha McCain

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Interesting about ideal headline length being 12-18 words. Yoast is always nagging me that my headlines are too long at 6 or 7 words (something about the ideal width for Google). 

It's funny, I use the goldfish-squirrel(!) thing in my presentations. Everyone (but Gini) loves a great squirrel pic. So I'll just leave this here for her:

1 month, 1 week ago on Four Tips to Help You Create Content in a tl;dr World

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Hmmm ... "work" book. That has kind of a negative spin for me. Could you call it a "play" book, or a "fun" book? Does it have stickers? Pop-up dinosaurs or spaceships?

1 month, 2 weeks ago on Introducing the Spin Sucks Workbook

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@LauraPetrolino Ha ha, I like your style! Maybe next time I'm feeling annoyed and need to lash out I'll take it out on them!

1 month, 2 weeks ago on Customer Experience is an Investment

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@LauraPetrolino Even though it was several years ago, I still entertain thoughts about posting a nasty yelp review. At the time I didn't make a stink because I was more amused than anything else, thinking immediately, "There goes my business, dummies!"

1 month, 2 weeks ago on Customer Experience is an Investment

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First of all, bravo on this: "What happened next will surprise you…. (I just had to say that so I could feel like a headline to an Upworthy column.)" I never, ever click on anything that promises I won't believe what happens next.

Second, a couple of weeks ago I lost my keys and thought of you. (But that was the first time I'd lost my keys in a several decades.)

Third, I find so many small business people doing these little "extras" for no charge. It makes such a huge difference in what you'll do for them (recommendations, referrals, reviews, etc.). 

In contrast, a few years ago I bought some very expensive glasses (all my glasses are expensive because my vision is so bad) from a boutiquey place. I scratched the lenses and came in one week after my one-year warranty ran out. The manager said there was nothing they could do. Guess where I DIDN'T go the next time I bought expensive glasses?

1 month, 2 weeks ago on Customer Experience is an Investment

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@Digital_DRK I'm going to demonstrate the power of community by responding and interacting directly with another member of the community, instead of going through the community manager. I think I read about that somewhere.

Hi, Darryl!

1 month, 2 weeks ago on C is for more than Cookie

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Down here on this side of 48th parallel, we hate our Internet, cable and cell providers, too, but I'll take your word for it that Canada is worse!

I like that they immediately took it to DM. I find it kind of embarrassing if my Twitter feed is filled up with random customer service complaints/inquiries. But it is a good way to get their attention. 

1 month, 2 weeks ago on Five Steps to Insanely Good Customer Service

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Wait, who's getting married???

1 month, 3 weeks ago on How to Build a Community that Thrives

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Yes on #3. People so often have a negative reaction to the idea of "emotion" in business, thinking it means breaking down in tears or punching a hole in the wall. There are lots of positive emotions to be mined.

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Communications Done Well: Seven Things to Do Immediately

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Wow, congrats on the new member of the Spin Sucks family!

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Gin and Topics: The Daughter Edition

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@T60Productions I haven't heard that one, Tony. Reminds me a little of of nauseated vs. nauseous, which I don't completely get myself!

1 month, 3 weeks ago on 10 Confusing Word Pairs Everybody Gets Wrong

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@DwayneAlicie Wait, you went to UVA, too? Wow. I guess I didn't realize it at the time, but they're got pretty highly ranked English department.

I'll tell you, I found Faulkner mostly frustrating. Like Joyce's Dubliners. My favorite classes studied Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Willa Cather. Those are a little more my speed. 

But based on your and @jasonkonopinski's experience, maybe I should revisit. If I remember anything, I believe it was Light in August. In addition to the ones named here, we also studied Absalom, Absalom!

1 month, 3 weeks ago on The Spin Sucks Inquisition: Dwayne Alicie

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Proust and Light in August? Wow. I have (or had) a shelf full of Faulkner books. (I think I was crazy enough to take a Faulkner class in college.) If I had a nickel for every one of those I actually finished ...

So good luck and godspeed to you, and congrats!

1 month, 3 weeks ago on The Spin Sucks Inquisition: Dwayne Alicie

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@ginidietrich @KristenDaukas I don't get nearly as many pitches as you guys get. But what really annoys me is when I do take the time (after their 3rd attempt) to quickly explain that I am the wrong target for their pitch? I get no response! They could at least apologize for wasting my time!

1 month, 4 weeks ago on Media Relations Done Well: Ten Ways to Personalize

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@ginidietrich You must name names!

@martinwaxman Thank you!


1 month, 4 weeks ago on Media Relations Done Well: Ten Ways to Personalize

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