Hello! What’s your background and what services your agency provides?
Hello, my background is in news media. I started as a newspaper reporter and worked myself up to head of PR at two national TV networks before I founded my PR firm TransMedia Group, a full-service, multi-lingual PR firm providing traditional media exposure, marketing and social media services to clients worldwide.
What motivated you to start your own PR agency?
I started my own PR firm because I prefer being in charge and applying myself, my talents and my communications skills as I see fit. And I usually see pretty good!
Do you still remember how you acquired your first client?
Yes, I landed a client what was at the time the largest company in America, AT&T. I had done a favor for an AT&T executive while I was Vice President, Assistant to the President of NBC and when I started TransMedia Group in New York, I asked him to introduce me to the head of PR at AT&T headquarters in Bedminster, NJ. One meetings followed another until they hired me to work directly with the Chairman of the company during a challenging time in the company’s history, their federally required divestiture of their operating companies.
What’s your typical work week like?
Often I meet with prospective clients who are impressed with my background. I like to shoot them ideas as an example of how creative and resourceful we are. Then I meet with staff to see how I can help them to be more productive and I particularly like to review news releases and pitch memos before they go out as I usually can sharpen them as I’m a good writer with four books to my credit and lots of news media experience so I know how the recipient of a pitch is likely to react or not react.
What are your favorite PR tools that you cannot live without?
I like to blog, at least once a week from MaddenMischief.com and write articles for a broad range of publications, including CommPRO.biz, etc. What do I blog about? Whatever is on my mind at a given moment, usually about something in the news or should be in the news.
What has been the largest challenge in growing TransMedia in the last 38 years?
The biggest challenge is building and maintaining a productive staff. I’ve been fortunate to have talented PR people stay with us for as long as 14 years and thank God today I have a super talented daughter, Adrienne Mazzone, who is the hard-driving president of our firm who keeps our staff hopping and delivering results for clients.
What’s your advice for PR agency founders who are just starting out? What are the most important things to do to grow their team beyond one-man team?
Starting out, the best thing you can have are examples of success and testimonials, upon which you can build a bigger, more attractive image. I’ve been fortunate to have been highly productive and my campaigns written about in many publications from Forbes and TIME Magazines to PR WEEK and O’Dwyer’s. Success like this not only brings in more business, but attracts the right people to work for you.
How do you decide whether or not to hire a candidate for your agency?
Besides looking at evidence of accomplishment and samples of work, I judge people by their enthusiasm and self confidence. I like people with energy who believe in themselves and in their ability to score media home runs for clients.