Monday, December 19, 2011


It is so exhilarating to get results! After many rejections, a compelling pitch got a "YES" from NBC5 for a client.

And, when it's a major hit like NBC, all of the hard work and anguish and frustration make it worthwhile.

Monday, December 12, 2011

So, you didn't get the account

Always be gracious when you don't get the account. I've gone from second place to first place on many occasions. Why? Oftentimes the "winner" over promises and the client discovers very quickly that the number one can't deliver.

Whether they call on you hinges on how you handled the rejection initially.

I always send a "Thank you for the opportunity" note and indicate that if something doesn't work out that you'll be glad to work with them.

That type of graciousness is the door opener for when the first choice flames out. And, it's the type of response that has helped MELODY'service get the account. So, you can go from a bridesmaid to a bride with the correct and measured way of handling the initial "Sorry."

Whoo Hoo!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sorry. I don't do "free."

Recently, I sat down with a prospect who had a great vision. I was referred by someone I know and that is why I attended the meeting. He talked a loooooooong time about his strengths and of the promise of the project. He hoped to use this project to launch his business.

Then, it occurred to me that he didn't have the money to fund it and that he wanted me to be a partner in starting his business. And, he "hoped" to get seed money for this.

At that point, I tuned out. After over 30 years in business, I just don't do free. And, unless your last name is McDowell, there is no compelling reason for me to give free counsel and free time.

So, that was a "pass."

Sorry. I don't do "free."

Monday, November 28, 2011

If you turned something down, be brave: New Doors Open

If you have the courage to turn down a project to teach a lesson, then you should know that something better is on the horizon.

I recently grit my teeth and turned down a potentially-lucrative assignment because they had not been timely in getting information to me. It would have paid well but, I feared that the unreliability would compromise my ability to generate results. And, they would have blamed me.

Two days later, something better came along and I'm immersed in that project.

Stick to your guns. Have the fortitude and the courage to turn something down. Something better will come. And, the clients you declined, will gain respect for you too.

Monday, November 21, 2011


You must hold clients to matter what. I am editor of a trade publication and clients must think this is produced magically. Not so. So, for the first time in 20 years, because they continue to fool around and get copy to me late, the publication will not be done.

I refuse to work Thanksgiving.

Some things are non-negotiable.

Monday, November 7, 2011

When you get a comp ticket

I am often invited to events where I get a comp ticket. However, it is important that you support the event by buying a raffle ticket, supporting the silent auction or paying in some way. It shows your gratitude and support of the mission and it helps and uplifts the person who gave you the ticket.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Ingratiating yourself to clients

I have a policy that when a relative of a client passes, I do the writing for free. They don't know it but it's my way of providing comfort during a time of distress. A client's wife died and asked me to help with writing the obituary and to be the liaison with the printer.

While the work was time consuming, in the end I responded to the client's request for an invoice by saying that it was my way of providing comfort and that there would be no charge.

He was so glad...and that made me special in his eyes -- particularly during a time of bereavement. And the relationship was strengthened.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Great networking at...

OK. Maybe not the most glamorous or appealing place for networking but....

I went to the services for a high school chum last Saturday. In addition to getting a chance to see some old friends, I also saw a lot of business prospects. So, I ran to the car and got my business cards...and worked it like it was a networking event.

And guess what! It was! I'm sure the deceased would be pleased to know that, in death, he was helping to make things happen.

I'm not saying that you should troll the newspapers for funerals but, if you have to attend one, make the most out of it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Take a breath

Recently, I met with a client to open an account at a bank where I'm pitching for business. She was completely "discombobulated" and had lost the papers I sent her that we were to sign. I was completely exasperated. Rather than roll my eyes, sigh or exhibit any type of disgust with this "carelessness," I did a mental count to ten and said: "It's all right. I will retrieve a new document and get it to you. When would you like to meet again?"

She seemed totally relieved that I didn't go "off" but remained professional and pleasant. I was looking at the long-term business prospects rather than the short term laxness on her part.

Did I mention that the drive was long to get to her and it was a beautiful day. Now I can sigh and roll my eyes...but not in front of her. Perhaps my generous spirit will reap some rewards. If not, I was able to exercise restraint and patience and that is a personal reward.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Presentations and Quotas

I gave a presentation on Saturday and only four folks showed up, although 40 were promised. So. I presented like there were 400 people there. You can't punish those who made the effort by not giving your all.

HOWEVER, I had to take the coordinator aside and advise her on how far off the mark she was and I gave her strategies on how to make sure members come...even on sunny days in October.

provide an incentive - members compete for awards and attending this event could have been positioned as an event that would go towards getting that end-of-year award
serve food and publicize that - OK. Food is always an incentive
do follow up calls
raffle a prize for those who attend - announce that upfront

She asked me to come back. I turned her offer down..for now. After all, I sacrificed a balmy day in October and, based on that track record, I'm not apt to come any time soon.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Broaden your horizon when you are in a city for work

MELODY'service recently did the Public Relations for Alpha Kappa Alpha's Public Policy Conference, which attracted coverage from Radio ONE, WHUR, the Washington Post and

While in the City, I took the opportunity to see the King Memorial. But equally important, I visited the Newseum and got some rare insight into the broad historic spectrum of the news. It was fascinating and made me appreciate the importance of going into a city and seeing all that it has to offer.

I was the ultimate beneficiary as my horizons were broadened and my perspective widened.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hosting social events - an investment that pays dividends

On Labor Day, I hosted a Lunch on the Lawn and invited clients and media contacts. It was an investment that will have long-term dividends and something that you should include in your marketing plan.

And, I even had fun watching everyone else mingling and having a good time.

And, mind you. Even if they can't attend, the goodwill continues because you extended the invitation and found another way to reach out to prospects and clients.

That's an all-around winner.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Taking a breather

While it's difficult to take a vacation without taking your Blackberry and laptop, perhaps you can modify your inclination to be in touch on weekend getaways. Last weekend, I visited my niece and her husband in Michigan to celebrate my great nephew's 5th birthday. I had my Blackberry but left the laptop at home and put everyone on alert to stop me from working. They complied. When I had the itch to get on the computer, my niece barred me from using hers. In the end, I realized it could wait so I basked in the love of family and deferred work until I got home. It was refreshing, fun and uplifting.

I need to do that more often. You don't have to be wired all the time.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Cutting a client

Last week, I made the difficult decision to drop a client. It was past due. This client would rewrite all releases, consult others about my advice and wanted to direct the PR campaign.

Since he was second guessing me, I told him to let them do the PR.

Sometimes you have to take a stand.

Monday, August 8, 2011

NABJ - Great networking

Try to attend as many professional conferences as possible. I attended the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Philly last week. Met some great contacts who will help when I begin promoting the Public Policy Conference.

Considering attending the Black Public Relations Society Conference in Milwaukee in October. I'm not good at networking and need to get better. These conferences bring the net out in me and you meet great contacts and good friends.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Off to NABJ

Leaving for the National Association of Black Journalists convention on Wednesday. Very important tip: These are great events for making valuable contacts with like-minded audiences. And, if you have connected with someone, it makes it easier to get your articles printed/aired/blogged/mentioned/buzzed about.

I've been going to NABJ for five years, except for the year it was in Chicago for UNITY. This is the audience that is sensitive to what my clients are seeking for exposure. I'm going with tons of cards and eager to make new connections.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Trying to get out of town

There must be a secret to getting out of town effortlessly. I have to be in Atlanta for Leadership where I'll be working for tomorrow and I'm leaving tomorrow. Seems like I'm not doing this in the right way as I feel pressed and harried. I need someone to provide tips on how to make this less stressful.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Treat volunteers

Great tip:

As head of a group of volunteers, and the paid consultant, I always take my team out to dinner during days-long promotions. They count on it and keeps them inspired. Naturally, I give out a lot of compliments to the team during these dinners.

They work hard for no money so, at the very least, they should receive a dazzling meal..and I provide it. It's always in a room at a high-end venue and I get staff to set aside space/room for a large group to provide privacy, more opportunity to network and less noise so everyone can hear the "luv."

Monday, June 27, 2011


OK. When folks donate time and talent, you have to create a small cushion for them. However, if they say they will deliver something by a certain time, then the deadline comes and goes...and comes and goes again, you have to step in and do the assignment. Then, thank the Volunteers for their service, put them over something that is not crucial or time sensitive, then proceed to do the job yourself.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Balance in Events

When you have an event that is sponsored by a corporation but the event is designed to provide visibility for community-based products and services, make sure to strike a proper balance. Having the Corporate booths drown out the grassroots informational kiosks does not bode well for your event.

It appears like the corporations are using the power of their money to try to penetrate their message with larger booths, greater visibility and better locations.

Try to achieve a balance. Otherwise, there will be resentment, bad mouthing of your event and your brand and loss of goodwill.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Outreaching to Atlanta

I started 90 days out trying to penetrate the Atlanta media market. That accommodates any glitches, can't reach folks, those who are gone. It also allows me to establish a connection with reporters that will yield (hopefully) print exposure when AKA gets to Atlanta.

But I'm working it.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Funeral program books

I love recreating the lives of the dearly departed for their funeral booklets. It is a skill set that makes the survivors feel uplifted as the memories of their loved one are vibrantly and lovingly depicted. I've done several of these and am amazed by the gratitude the family feels. My tribute to my Dad was so lovingly done until I'm getting requests for them. I'm glad I had extras printed. Even relatives are asking for extras and they were given extras. Credit to Demis Printing - Bill Demis owner -- for the wonderful and artistic interpretation he created in designing and printing the program. Forget the standard template of when you were baptized and that type of "ordinary write-up." Give it life and love. If you're a past or current client, it's done for free. If not, it's done with understanding. We recapture their life vividly, passionately and lovingly.

Monday, May 23, 2011

An executor

Being an executor for my Dad's estate has created a whole new skill set for me. I'm learning as I'm going and it's an awesome responsibility. I miss my Dad though and would love to have him back to help me on this journey.

If you're in line to be an executor, begin learning now while your loved ones are ALIVE.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Paying tribute to my dad

Rather than use the template of the funeral home's obituary style, I wrote my own tribute to my dad, which was better, more personal and more poignant.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Readying for death

Last week, I saw that my dad was failing and I began the contours of his obituary. He died the next day.

While it is not pleasant, this is something I should have had poised and ready.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Donald - a case of a slam dunk

The capture of Osama bin Laden after Donald Trump's charges only heightens why this was a petty issue. A great primer in PR and how a earth-shaking news event can quash silly news from carnival barkers.

Monday, April 25, 2011


The Chicago Business Opportunity Fair was a wonderful success. Kudos to WCIU for sending such a wonderful team to the Fair for interviews with minority firms and corporations. PHEW! Allstate was interviewed so that should satisfy them. And the interview went well and the piece was well produced. I also give credit to WCIU for entrusting an intern with the interview and assignment. She was awesome and even handled pressure with poise when an interviewer ran off, accidentally, with the microphone still affixed to his collar. She didn't panic and, despite the lost time, was able to get all of her interviews.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Be kind and humble

Kindness pays. Went to Lexington and was picked up at the airport. Saw a fellow AKA and gave her a ride as well. She didn't know I was a VIP but she showed up in my workshop and was taken aback. She said I should have told her I was a VSG (Very Special Guest.) My humility impressed her. I could have boasted but she found out through another route when I was introduced. She gave me the loudest applause. There's a lesson in there somewhere.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Support your friends/associates

Attended Emilie McKendall's launch of her television show, "Emilie and Friends." It is a TV version of her popular radio show. First guest was Tom Burrell, author of the insightful book Brainwashed. It was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon that was both educational and informative. It was great to see new friends and to hear the provocative interchange.

Emilie McKendall is one of my favorite folks from forever. I had a lot to do Saturday but was there for my friend.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Great week in Birmingham - BE PREPARED

Always be prepared! Went to Birmingham to ASSIST with a workshop and the person who was supposed to do it was unprepared.

I had to step in and talk for 90 minutes -- OFF THE CUFF!

Everyone enjoyed it but I was sweating bullets. But I know my stuff and pulled it off.

Moral to that story: BE PREPARED -- you never know when you'll have to step up.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Attending a networking function at a local club tonight and going to the Publicity Club of Chicago luncheon on Wednesday. Remember to incorporate networking into your business MO. And, occasionally review the organizations you support. Determine if there's a Return on Investment.
If not, drop it and channel your money to something else.

Review events, organizations and folks you support every six months and make those determinations.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Who to Pay First...and fast

Always pay your auto mechanic, plumber, snow removal service and handyman FIRST and FAST.

During that monster snowstorm when folks couldn't get out of their houses, I moved around and was able to get to the office with no problem because I pay my snow remover...first and fast.

On that day, it reaped dividends.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Rest and Relaxation

Just back from St. Maarten. What a way to recharge, relax and reboot. Now I'm ready to conquer the world refreshed and revitalized. But, first, must catch up on the e-mails, snail mails and voice mails.

I'm tired from all of that!

Monday, January 24, 2011

A success!

The PR effort in Little Rock was beyond awesome. We hit every newspaper, every radio station and every TV station.

The high point was a lengthy article in the Arkansas Democrat that had photos of the Sorors and then a skip page for more and a picture of the International President. We've sent that all over the world.

It just doesn't get any better than that.

Testimony to the power of preparation and the pitch.

Monday, January 3, 2011

PR for Founders' Day

Ten days away and the PR team has gotten an appearance on an NBC affiliate for Alpha Kappa Alpha's president, Carolyn House Stewart, a radio show and an interview on the local black newspaper. We expect tons more once the pink and green hits Little Rock.