By Alex Greenwood
I’ve written previously about “The Bump.” Put simply:
“Your interview is important, but it has been bumped by something more newsworthy.”
It happens. Roll with it. (Read the post for more on that.)
Interestingly, there’s something related to the bump that’s just as frustrating; I call it “The Dump.”
Let’s say you pitch a reporter on a story or interview. The reporter says “Yes, I like it,” then interviews you or your client–or has you complete an email “interview.” Once complete, you wait.
And wait. Weeks pass and no story appears online, in print or via broadcast.
Soon you realize that the story was either killed (the editor didn’t like it, a better story came up, too similar to a recent story, your interview/info wasn’t all that interesting, no room in the publication, etc.) or the reporter simply forgot about it and moved on.
Hence, “the Dump.”
Been there. Done that. It’s not a good feeling, and it’s even worse when the reporter doesn’t tell you they’ve elected to dump the story.
For example, I once invested a couple of hours on an email interview with a publication. Many weeks later, the interview remained unpublished. Beyond checking that my interview was received, I didn’t follow up with the reporter (who has a bit of a reputation for this sort of thing). It’s obvious the story isn’t going anywhere, and I’d rather not waste my time (or the reporter’s) trying to litigate the merits of the story any further.
Trust me, it’s more than an average “bad day” when you have to explain to a CEO client that the twenty minutes they spent on the phone with a reporter (whilst running to catch a plane at LAX) isn’t going to materialize–particularly if the reporter gives you the silent treatment when you follow up. I don’t like it–I think it’s common courtesy to tell an interviewee or their PR rep that the story is dumped–but reporters have no obligation to do so.
The point is, you can spend a lot of time, effort and energy pitching, interviewing–and yes, even writing–something that by all indicators looks like a sure thing, yet it never sees the light of day. It’s frustrating, but it helps to remember there are no guarantees (if you want guaranteed coverage, buy an ad). Even a good story or interview can simply end up–through no fault of your own–in the dump.
Don’t get mad. Remember, just like “the bump,” “the dump” may not be forever. Perhaps that same reporter will remember you as a source when a similar story pops up. So, no sense starting a feud about it. Brush yourself off and move on. Opportunity awaits.
(And you can recycle your interview on your blog…)
I received an email from LinkedIn recently, suggesting I congratulate “Jane Smith” (not her real name, obviously) on a high-profile position with a respected institution. I was stunned.
Why? Because “Jane Smith” was fresh out of college, and not twelve months earlier she had implored me to help her find a job–any job.
I’d worked in proximity with “Jane” on a project for a client, and figured that though she was indeed young and a tad immature, she deserved a shot at a job–especially in this tight economy. So, I spoke on her behalf to a client, who agreed to interview “Jane” for an open position. It wasn’t a high-prestige job, and it didn’t pay the precocious “Jane” what she wanted, but it was steady work.
“Jane” agreed to the interview.
The day of the interview, my client contacted me and said “Jane” was a no-call, no-show. She never went to the interview, never emailed, called or sent so much as a tweet telling my client she was going to ditch the meeting; nor did she ever apologize. That made me look just dandy with my client, I assure you. I emailed “Jane” and asked why she didn’t go or at least let my client know she was no longer interested.
I did a little research and found out that in between agreeing to the interview and the date for which it was scheduled “Jane” had apparently scored a job that was probably a better fit than the one offered by my client. Good for her; but I was dismayed at the rudeness and immaturity she demonstrated to my client and me. I stuck my neck out for her, and she made me (and herself) look foolish. I was stunned by her immaturity and ingratitude.
So, fast forward a year and imagine my further dismay to find out “Jane” was just promoted to a job requiring strong social skills that most people ten years older than her don’t often get. Color me flabbergasted (and what her boss was thinking when making this decision is beyond me).
Certainly “Jane” is smart, but if the networking and social skills she demonstrated previously are any indication, “Jane” will eventually make a similar mistake–and do it to someone who has a longer memory than mine. I don’t wish her ill, but I do hope she grows up–a lot. God only knows how many other people she carelessly disregarded climbing the ladder. The old saying about being good to “people on your way up…” comes to mind.
Needless to say, I did not congratulate her on LinkedIn.
I’m honored writer of adult fantasy and children’s stories, blogger and artist D.J. Bowman-Smith nominated me for a “Very Inspiring Blogger” award. Thank you, D.J.!
It’s a nice idea, and I humbly accept the nomination.
Seven facts about me
1) At age four, I was bitten by a rat caught in a trap trying to help it escape. I got a nasty bite and rabies shots for my trouble and learned that no good deed goes unpunished. (But I still try to help people, whether they’re rats or not.)
2) I’ve written a series of mystery/thriller novels that have certainly given James Patterson absolutely nothing to worry about.
3) I never want to feel more helpless, hopeless, and angry than I did working at Children’s Hospital of Oklahoma after April 19, 1995.
4) I hate injustice and am very unpleasant when someone is bullying a vulnerable person in my presence.
5) I believe The Police are the greatest rock/pop band since the Beatles.
6) My daughter is the reason I get out of bed in the morning. I have to hear how her dreams played out.
7) I’m plotting my eventual escape from the American Midwest to a quietly freaky stretch of seaside.
My Nominations (Sorry, I know I’m probably leaving somebody out.)
By Alex Greenwood
We often get requests from local organizations, churches and non-profits asking us to perform free work. The first impulse is usually “you betcha!” but that’s not always the most realistic answer to the request.
We’re proud of our long record of helping non-profit organizations by providing free (pro bono) services. We try to perform a set amount of community service hours every year. To that end, AlexanderG PR has helped several non-profits improve their image or promote fundraisers and special events over the years. We do the work with a happy heart: it’s an honor and privilege to serve our community.
However, the realities of the economy, time/scheduling and just plain “paying the bills” prevent us from helping every non-profit organization on a pro bono basis. Don’t get me wrong–we’re happy to discuss an organization’s needs–and if it’s a good fit for everyone, we’re glad to help out. Unfortunately, it’s not always feasible for us to work gratis on a project. However, we do try to recommend another firm or PR pro who might be able to help.
When we do agree to work on a pro bono basis, we’re careful there is a clear scope of work–a list of what we will and will not be able to do. We also make certain the non-profit we’re working for understands their role and deliverables in the process. As a former non-profit board member, I know it’s easy to forget that the company doing free work needs your help in supplying information, personnel and resources to ensure a successful project.
Pro bono work recipients have to make it a two-way street to help the donating firm be as efficient and successful as possible. That’s why the scope of work (hours, deliverables, timelines, etc.) is set in advance and must be respected by the client organization–it prevents misunderstandings, unrealistic expectations and (yup) even recriminations later.
Keep that in mind if you’re the non-profit looking for pro bono help: assurances to the prospective donor firm that a point person will mind the scope of work is a huge help in winning that firm’s assistance.
We also recommend you thank the firm often. In a program, on posters, online, invite them to post-event celebrations–wherever you can. Many firms won’t ask, but they will readily accept some credit and publicly-expressed gratitude for their work.
Being a business that’s sought after for pro bono work is indeed an honor, and we highly recommend all businesses help out their community organizations when possible. The trick to it is balancing the needs of paying the bills while being an energetic community booster.
By Alex Greenwood
The cruel, tragic events in Boston put Americans in that uneasy, hateful place we have visited far too often over the past few years: the realm of fear. Cowards build bombs or fire guns or brandish knives that kill children and innocents. These cowards maim the ordinary–yet uniquely extraordinary–people who are just living their lives, harming no one.
In the coward’s wake, every public place is eyed with heightened suspicion. The urge to be even more secure is palpable. Terrorists seek to dim the light of liberty, to wound the greatest virtue of the American Republic: the spirit of its people.
I submit that though terrible events past, present and future will edge us closer to permanent residency in the dark realm of fear, we must rage against it. As Dylan Thomas said about the inexorable dimming of the light of life into the darkness of death, we as a nation must “rage against the dying of the light.” We must mourn, certainly. We must be vigilant and sensible about security, to be sure; but it’s paramount we not let the cowards win by giving in to fear. Security, yes–but most importantly, liberty must be protected.
I’ve seen a domestic terrorist attack at close range. I’ve seen broken bodies of children and the haunted look in the eyes of first responders. I know the impotent anger of the bystander; I’ve felt the anguish and fear in the aftermath of a terrorist act. I chose then–as I do now–to channel that anger, anguish and fear into a firm resolve not to let cowards change who I am and how I live.
Liberty is a light, and we as citizens must rage against its dying.
By Alex Greenwood
An acquaintance I met through business passed away recently. She was too young, I’d say, to have to battle and eventually succumb to cancer. I won’t get maudlin and assume things about someone I barely knew, but I will echo the words of the late, great Warren Zevon (I recommend this for newbies: Genius: Best of Warren Zevon).
Asked by David Letterman about how he was holding up after his diagnosis of lung cancer, he more or less said “Enjoy every sandwich.” (Comes in around 7:50 mark)
Makes good sense to me.
Some of us are here for a relatively long time–eighty, ninety or even a hundred years. Many never see thirty. But while you’re here, hanging on to this pale blue dot in the cosmos, try to delight in all it offers: the warmth of sun on your face, spectacular vistas offered by mountaintops, the rustle of wheat blowing on the plains, the primordial pull of the oceans.
Normal, even mundane-seeming contact with our friends and loved ones is most important: the sublime moment of a cocktail on the deck with a neighbor, a squeeze of your spouse’s hand, a joke amongst friends or your daughter’s smile when you pick her up from daycare.
And sandwiches. Damn, Warren, you were right. For me, it’s chicken salad–with no damn grapes in it.