Michael Levine

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

Takeaways serve two purposes: 1) to force the writer (me) to focus on the key points of the story and ruthlessly self-edit when I start wandering off-track 2) to crystallize the story in the mind of the reader, making it memorable.

In June 2005, I started writing this e-newsletter.

My wife, Peggy, who is the publisher, came up with the idea of having takeaway points―a short collection of bulleted one- and two-liners or short paragraphs at the end of each piece―that summarize why a particular column might be worth reading.

I assume readers are very busy. I have no interest in wasting anybody’s time.

For example, many blogs start off with the writer clearing throat, rolling up sleeves, rubbing hands together, by which time the reader is on Page 2 with nothing to show for the time spent. That is why my private definition of the typical blog is “a cross between a blob and a bog.”

Put another way: It is imperative to remember that on the Internet a writer is one click away from oblivion. If I don’t ruthlessly self-edit, the reader is gone in a twentieth of a second.

Readers of Business Common Sense can scan the lede, and if they have no interest in today’s subject, can be out of here in less than 20 seconds, maybe with a useful takeaway or two, maybe not.

Every now and then a reader would write me and ask if I ever were planning to publish a collection of the takeaways. I said thanks for the suggestion (I personally answer all e-mail correspondence), and put the idea on the back burner.

In 2010, I moved the idea to the front burner and what turned up is:

CAREER-CHANGING TAKEAWAYS!
Quotations, Rules, Aphorisms, Pithy Tips, Quips,

Sage Advice, Secrets, Dictums and Truisms in
99 Categories of Marketing, Business and Life

If you like what follows, you’ll find more information and how to order at www.dennyhatch.com

I persuaded the publisher (my wife, Peggy) to offer readers a fat pre-publication discount.

Enjoy!

This is not about politics or policy. It’s about process—an exercise in public relations and communication that directly applies to every organization—a one-person entrepreneurship, CEOs of a small business or a giant corporation all the way up to the President of the United States.

Over the past year, the Obama administration has botched myriad PR opportunities and come up the big loser in the court of public opinion.

Quite simply, it is imperative to have a system in place to recognize a public relations crisis and deal with it—a plan that can be implemented immediately. Not tomorrow. Not after the weekend. Now! In his seminal book, “Guerrilla P.R. 2.0,” Michael Levine writes:

One of the single most important points to keep in mind when facing a negative situation of your own is to follow the old dictum: The best defense is a good offence. You must never go on the defensive. By anticipating negative questions you can stand ready with positives.

Levine adds, “There are two speeds in modern P.R.—fast and dead.”

Too many CEOs—Barack Obama included—do not understand the art and science of public relations. PR is too important to be handled by well-meaning amateurs.

It’s not good when the face of your organization has egg on it.

"Public relations is the business of letting people in on what you are doing," counseled Evelyn Lawson, my first mentor in the business. And Michael Levine's new guide, "Guerilla PR 2.0: Wage an Effective Publicity Campaign Without Going Broke" (ISBN 978-0-06-143852-3, Collins paperback, 354 pages, $14.95), will put you and your team in the mind-set-and give you the basics-of professional PR. Even if you have a PR department or an outside agency on retainer, here is the inside dope that will enable you to know whether your PR is being done right or not.

My wife, Peggy, and I are cable news junkies. We watch network evening news because we've always watched network evening news and it's on when we're making dinner. But it's a dumb habit.

I go back to John Cameron Swayze and the Camel News Caravan-15 minutes of black-and-white news with primitive graphics on NBC at 6 p.m. On Swayze's desk was a Camel cigarette ashtray, so nobody missed who the sponsor was. This was followed by a 15-minute show starring Perry Como and/or Jonathan Winters.

Since then, network news has attained what TV critics call "gravitas," and what I call pomposity.

Fox News with Brit Hume and Shep Smith is a lot faster, a lot more fun and covers many more stories.

But for us, the real action is on cable-a screaming bunch of what Vice President Spiro Agnew called the "nattering nabobs of negativity" endlessly analyzing flyspecks.

The cable news crowd is fun. But in terms of influence on the national scene, cable isn't worth a bucket of warm spit.—

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