About Jonathan Rick

I'm one of those lucky people whose jobs are extensions of their hobbies: I’m a digital-marketing consultant. Follow me on Twitter and circle me on Google+.

What Everyone Should Know About Wikipedia


Policies

Wikipedia has a lot of rules. And if you don’t know them, you’ll have great difficulty adhering to them.

As a Wikipedia consultant, I encounter the following conflict every day: Everyone wants a Wikipedia page for themselves, their C.E.O., or their organization, yet no one knows what it takes to create one.

Indeed, half my job consists of counseling clients on what’s possible and what’s not. In that spirit, I’ve developed a checklist for those considering a plunge down the rabbit hole.

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What Abe Lincoln Can Teach Us About Anger Management in the Digital Age


Why you should send emails when you’re angry.

“Count to 10.”

“Breathe from your diaphragm.”

“Stick with ‘I’ statements.”

Most advice about anger management comes down to this: Don’t act when you’re angry.

Allow me to offer a contrarian viewpoint: When it comes to email, do act when you’re angry. Received a nastygram? Respond in kind. Hand a mike to that voice inside your head that’s shouting, “What a jerk this guy is!”

Let me explain.

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How AstraZeneca Spun Its Covid Crisis


A Pharmaceutical Lab

By reframing a hostile question.

A few days ago, the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca announced a coronavirus vaccine that’s cheap and easy to make. Yet shortly afterward, the company was forced to disclose a critical mistake.

Making matters worse, AstraZeneca chose not to publicize the mistake, as it had done with its initial results. Instead, the company notified regulatory officials and Wall Street analysts in private conference calls.

Predictably, the story soon spread, which prompted a reporter to ask the obvious:

Why didn’t AstraZeneca share the negative news with the public?

Zing!

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The Worst Way to Begin a Cover Letter


Every word counts — and none more so than your first few.

You only get one chance to make a first impression.

That seems obvious, right? Yet you’d be surprised by the number of people who disregard or downplay this advice when writing a cover letter.

In our business-writing course at the University of Maryland, we teach the art and science of writing a cover letter. We explain how to create a hook. We present ideas for personal connections. And yet, every semester, some students believe that it’s ok to launch this critical document on the strength of a weak opening line:

“Dear Mr. McGarry, My name is C.J. Cregg, and I’m writing…”

If ever there were a wasted opportunity, this is it.

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The 2 Biggest Blunders People Make When Talking With a Reporter — and How to Avoid Them


If you want to speak with the media, then you need media training.

Never confuse a reporter for a friend.

This conflation is often the first — and most damaging — mistake that people make when engaging with the press. After all, it’s tempting to get chummy with a reporter. He’s a professional listener who’s eager to quote you. In the glare of the spotlight, you get seduced by his charm and let your guard down.

But here’s the thing. Reporters have a job to do: To serve up the news in a way that’s interesting. You, too, have a job: To promote your side of the story. Inevitably, those two missions will clash.

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If You Don’t Offer This Service, Stop Calling Yourself a PR Pro


One-Stop Shop

A flack who doesn’t pitch is like a gas station without a tire pump: Annoying and avoidable.

There are two types of PR people: Those who write op-eds, and those who pitch op-eds. Rare is the pro who excels at both.

Why the bifurcation? Let me be blunt: Pitching is a pain. You’re at the mercy of editors whom you’ve likely never met, whose inboxes are inundated, and who are famous for being unresponsive. Indeed, a successful pitch can take one email or a dozen; you never know.

And yet, I’d encourage every PR pro reading this to bite the bullet. If you can’t pitch, you can’t do PR.

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In a Crisis, Use the Language of Empathy, Not Legalese


Holding Hands

If your corporate policy is inflexible, cushion it with compassion.

In March, the federal government announced unprecedented news: It would give every American a stimulus payment of up to $1,200. Yet the check came with a catch: If you opted to have the money deposited into your bank account and your account is overdrawn, then your bank might keep part, or even all, of the payment to make up for your negative balance.

Leave aside, for the moment, whether this action is right or wrong. Instead, consider the diametrically different statements from two of the banks:

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Phone Calls Are a Crucible. Here’s How Not to Get Burned


How I learned to stop worrying and love phone calls.

Early in my career, I hated phone calls. They were time-consuming and inefficient. Why can’t you just email me, I’d often wonder?

My aversion was so acute that not only did I exclude my phone number from my email signature; I also recorded a message for my voice mail that said something like this: “I rarely check these messages; please email me.”

In short, I viewed Alexander Graham Bell’s invention as an unnecessary evil.

Today, I know better. I know the phone is not a burden but an opportunity. I recognize that for a relationship to thrive, you must do more than swap written words; you need to hear the other person’s voice.

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