At our house, there are certain chores that just never seem to get done during normal times. They might get discussed optimistically, but usually they end up taking their usual place at the bottom of the to-do-list. But these times are anything but normal. For me, darkness and daylight replaced hours and minutes. Tasks left undone due to time constraints no longer seem out of reach. Traditional chores, like cleaning the bathroom or vacuuming remain relevant. But, at least lately, these odd jobs are getting my attention.   One of those jobs sat undone in our basement for years. Half of this unfinished room directly beneath our kitchen serves as a food pantry. The other half is a workshop, of sorts. This is where light bulbs, batteries and tools live. There are paint cans, deck screws and leftover weatherstripping. But it got so cluttered and dysfunctional that my son began to add air quotes whenever the room came up in conversation. Really, Dad? “Workshop?” I took that personally. I needed my workshop back.   It had become a sad gathering place of stuff too valuable to throw away, but not important enough for its own space. Distractions were everywhere. There […]

Turning the table

Let’s start with important context. Our healthcare workers and researchers are brave, incredibly hard-working heroes. We honor all of our essential workers. Folks who care for the sick and provide for our basic necessities do it under the most trying circumstances. History will show these people were the ones who got us through this.   Any discomfort the rest of us might be feeling as we shelter in place pales in comparison. But our stories matter, too. Each of us faces a set of circumstances we’ve never faced before.   My oldest is a junior in college. He lived in a run-down college house about 650 miles away. He has friendly, loyal roommates. At school he’s independent and completely in charge. He studies hard, plays hard and has a great time. Then COVID-19 hit. His college told him to go home. He moved back into his childhood bedroom to live with Mom, Dad, a sister and a brother. Now he’s pursuing his degree in theater performance using the internet with something called Zoom. Let’s just say he’s a little grumpy.   My daughter, a senior at a Minneapolis public school, hasn’t been in class since Friday, the 13th of March. […]

Not a hero on the front lines of the pandemic? Your story still ...

Experts say it’s time “to pump the brakes” MINNEAPOLIS (March 28, 2020) – Saying there’s no time like the present, expert procrastinators from middle school to middle age and above have a message to all those non-essential Americans sheltering in place: grab the remote and put your feet up. “There are people all over this country stuck at home wondering what to do now,” said lifelong procrastinator and accomplished foot dragger Frank Bartmann (who agreed to be interviewed only under a fictitious name). “Trust me. This is not the time to repaint the kitchen.” As world health experts advise people to cancel plans, stay home and avoid crowds, Bartmann says all Type A personalities should turn to procrastinators for guidance. “We actually meant to get our message out a month ago. But, whatever. Here it is—this is our time.” Bartmann says there’s never been a better time in our nation’s history to crumple up that to-do list and toss it into the wastebasket. “We believe the results-driven go-getters of the world are playing right into the dirty hands of the coronavirus,” he said. “You all want to be first in line, first to get 1,000 followers and first to board […]

With millions homebound, America’s procrastinators say put the to-do-list away and relax

MINNEAPOLIS (January 18, 2018) – A small, but nimble Minneapolis PR/media relations practice has earned a coveted milestone universally recognized and respected for standing the test of time. DavenPR, LLC, which launched in January 2016, is officially two years old. “It’s safe to say this is a thing,” deadpanned owner Ryan Davenport. “There’s no Plan B—so that’s got to count for something,” he said. The firm provides strategic communication services to help clients tell their stories and meaningfully engage with audiences critical to their success. Davenport decided to start his solo practice after a nearly 20-year career in corporate communications and six years as a print and broadcast journalist. The time has flown by. “When I started DavenPR, I had zero clients, there was a different occupant in the White House and fake news was not a part of our lexicon,” he said. We’ve come a long way in a relatively short time. The way people and organizations communicate continues to evolve at lightning speed. That’s why it’s critical to stay engaged and to listen to all points of view – whether you agree with them or not.” One of the best parts about having your own business, Davenport says, […]

DavenPR marks 2nd anniversary; sheds “newbie” label

Have you ever used crazy glue and NOT glued your fingers together? Recently I tried to put the shattered pieces of a ceramic music box back together. Several years ago, I convinced my wife that this delicate family heirloom would survive a flight home in checked baggage. I was wrong. The music box was okay. But the fragile, hand-painted ceramic figure of an Irish dancing girl mounted on top was in more than 20 pieces. At that moment, I quietly vowed that someday I would make this right. I armed myself with several tiny, single-use tubes of super glue and set to work. Impressed with my early progress, I began to work more quickly. Then I promptly fused my fingers together. Panic began to set in while my wife searched the internet for ways to separate superglued fingers. (Try nail polish remover with acetone or immersing the fingers in warm soapy water.) Twenty minutes later, I was back on the project. Within 15 minutes, my fingers were fused again. And so on. Similarly, when a PR crisis hits, the pros know it takes time to put the pieces of an organization’s reputation back together. The pressure to defuse a breaking […]

Managing a messy PR crisis? Be sure to use messages that stick

CYBERSPACE (June 8, 2016) – Internet authorities today confirmed DavenPR is an actual thing—based on newly discovered, irrefutable proof of the existence of a DavenPR website at www.davenpr.com. “We know it’s there because we’ve seen it. We visited the DavenPR website,” an internet spokesperson said. “It has all the characteristics of a legitimate website, so we’ve concluded that’s exactly what it is,” he said. “There are pictures, words, bullet points and a logo. Oh it’s real, all right.” DavenPR, a limited liability company (LLC), actually launched in January 2016 by veteran public relations strategist Ryan Davenport. The company name appears to be a derivation of Davenport Public Relations. The business is dedicated to helping people and companies tell their powerful stories to increase visibility and achieve their business objectives. “This is an exciting and yet very strange moment for me,” Davenport said. “I’m quoting myself in a news release and referring to me in the third person,” he said. “It’s like seeing yourself in the mirror, but the reflection is looking somewhere else.” The website describes how DavenPR can help clients with a variety of communications strategies through effective writing, media relations, multimedia content and social media. Visitors are invited […]

DavenPR now on the internet, authorities confirm

March is basketball nirvana for me. High school tournaments fill large arenas with fans, pep bands and dreams of a trip to state, while top seeded college teams and Cinderella hopefuls push for a national championship. My love of basketball and my career in public relations seem to be inextricably connected. Both were built on solid coaching, fundamentals and hustle. After earning my degree in journalism, I cut my teeth in small market TV news, covering crimes and courts, school boards and features. I chased deadlines, gained experience and put new skills to the test. On the court, my high school school playing days were over, but I searched for a way to stay in the game. After seven years in TV I switched to public relations. I knew what kind of PR person I wanted to be, based on the myriad interactions I had with them as a journalist. I started with a short stint at a large PR firm, then landed a media relations role at a large hospital and clinic system. I pitched incredible patient care stories and the media were happy to gobble them up. This was about the time I discovered a regular Sunday game […]

At work or at play, set a pace that keeps you in the game

Back in my corporate media relations days, I truly enjoyed working with colleagues who eagerly sent me story ideas to earn positive news coverage for their internal clients. Sometimes folks marched in with bona fide, slam dunk headline makers. Sometimes, bless their souls, they dropped off some real stinkers. And yet we loved the ideas, just the same. Because at a minimum, ideas were conversation starters. Conversations often led to more ideas. Sooner or later, something would stick. But every so often the pipeline of ideas would run dry. Years ago my partner and I tried to think of ways to create a steadier, more predictable flow of story ideas into our media relations office. We agreed on one thing: Sending out yet another meeting invitation to “pitch your story ideas to Ryan and Jen” was not going to get it done. Nobody had the bandwidth or the desire because these meetings usually played out like tension-filled congressional hearings. As the meeting drew closer, people began to feel the pressure to feed the insatiable media relations monster—or else. The pressure to share great ideas often smothered conversation altogether. It could also have the opposite effect, forcing people to cough up […]

Want more legitimate story ideas to pitch? Better talk fast!