Raj Girn: With this week’s media and communications-themed show, where we’re deep-diving the question: Do I really need media exposure to get clients? To help me with this discussion, I’ve invited the founder of eReleases, Mickie Kennedy to join me.
Here is Part Two of our conversation:
Raj Girn: I want to ask you this, Mickey: If an entrepreneur had a small, medium or large budget, what media assets would you recommend they consider for each of these three different budgets? Because that’s the other thing that I find with my clients is they really don’t know how to optimize their budget to the goal that they’re trying to accomplish when it comes to media. Talk to us a little bit about your thoughts there.
Mickie Kennedy: So I think if you have a very small budget, I think that you could write the release yourself, send it to our staff and see what they think. And then you could do the new customer special with us. And it’s not a huge commitment to do a few releases with that approach.
If your budget is bigger then utilize us for writing. And that way you get a polished release that’s more likely to get media pick up and coverage. And commit to that ongoing PR campaign of at least, like I said, six to eight press releases.
If your budget is larger, there are things that you can consider. You know, having good photos that are engaging. You might spend a little bit of money to get a better camera or better lighting or something for a product or something like that. Or actually pay to have someone go out to a customer and get some pictures in the field that you could include. That would really add some drama to a piece and things like that. I’m not seeing a lot working with video. I think that we’re not quite there yet. I think that’s where we’re moving to.
But I wouldn’t necessarily say to devote a lot of energy or expenses to video when it comes to doing a press release and getting it out there. I do think that is where we’re headed. We’re just not there yet. And I think that the journalists and media are still trying to figure out how this is all going to work. You know, incorporating your video content with them and then presenting it on their platforms and things like that. So I think that the idea of copyrights and what editing responsibilities are appropriate for a journalist. All of that has to be dealt with and resolved, I think before that moves a lot.
Absolutely. I want to ask you a question that just came into my mind regarding what you just said there. And that is this whole idea around the value of press releases when it comes to increasing your findability in Google. Any thoughts around that that you’d like to share with people as well? Because oftentimes people feel that if they get media coverage that their positioning is better. But my experience has told me that any kind of content out there is going to push the algorithms to benefit you. Talk to me a little bit about your experience there with the press release world.
So we get really mediocre press releases from people who are thinking that when the press release goes out, it gets syndicated on a lot of different websites and they think that’s going to boost their SEO. It really doesn’t anymore. I’ve been told anecdotally that there is a little bit of a bump. But I would just ignore it. What we’re looking for is actual articles to be written about you. You’re not going to do that with safe press releases that were written for search engines. You have to write a copy for a journalist. And when you get those articles, whether they link to you or not, you’re going to get an SEO improvement.
“What we’re looking for is actual articles to be written about you. You’re not going to do that with safe press releases that were written for search engines. You have to write the copy for a journalist. And when you get those articles, whether they link to you or not, you’re going to get an SEO improvement.” ~Mickie Kennedy
Google came out a while ago with their patent that said, we’re going to give credit to you if we can contextually tell that an article online is about you, even if there’s no link to you. So if the New York Times writes about you but doesn’t link to you, you’re still going to get credit. There is a link. It’s almost like an implied link is there because Google, with their A.I., knows that this mention of the company is you. And so that helps really well. I’ve had a lot of really advanced SEO people use eReleases and they get articles for their clients. These are the people that tend to do the surveys and studies because they know they always work. I think the least we’ve ever had with a survey or study is four articles that resulted from it.
And so I had a local auto repair shop in Pennsylvania do a press release, and they had done a survey with a small trade association, and they got picked up in about 20 different places. About a dozen of them were auto trade publications. And so those links from those auto trade publications to them really helped their SEO. They also got several newspapers picked it up because it was a quirky little subject in the survey. I always say if you’re asking questions and it doesn’t cost anything throw one or two oddball questions in there, left-field questions. Sometimes those can really yield some amazing results. In their case, it was an open-ended question. They just said, “What’s the strangest thing a customer has left in their car while being repaired?” And people went crazy over it.
There were stories of boa constrictors. Grandmother was left in an urn and they had to retrieve her for a memorial. It’s just a lot of little quirky stories. At the end of the day, you can understand that we like to be delighted. We like to explore funny and unusual things. So this is a way in which that survey had at least one question that provided, I think around 60 or so responses, that were just interesting. And so they did really well with that, and that’s something that anyone can sort of do. And so that you get from that, it’s going to live as long as those articles live and some places will put something behind a paywall after a certain amount of days. But some things just live on the internet for years, and that’s going to help you in a meaningful way.
Absolutely. And at the end of the day, everybody searches every type of product and service that they haven’t come across that they come across for the first time to see what is being talked about. So it really is important to make sure that how you appear in third-party media is important.
I want to ask you this, Mickie: What’s happening in the media landscape today that you feel is advantageous for the small to midsize companies to consider for exposure to the products, services, their brand and their company? What do people need to know? I want to encourage that size of the company to really consider how important getting involved somehow in a media strategy can really be advantageous to them.
I think the media is always looking for different and fresh perspectives. And so you as a small business have the ability to put your viewpoint out there, how you feel about a particular subject, what you’re doing that’s a little bit interesting and unique from everyone else. And at the end of the day, you can sort of claim what’s yours? And if you can write something in a compelling way, even if it’s just a two-sentence quote, a journalist can build a story around it and make you the cornerstone of an article that they’re writing.
“The media is always looking for different and fresh perspectives. And so you as a small business have the ability to put your viewpoint out there, how you feel about a particular subject, what you’re doing that’s a little bit interesting and unique from everyone else.” ~Mickie Kennedy
I know one client who’s in the telecom industry, and every time there’s a merger or even the rumor of a merger, he’s ready to go with the list of quotes that the media can just go to a page on his website. And he’s like, “Yeah, there’s a rumour between these two entities. And if this happens, this is why I think it’s bad.” And so he’s a contrarian. He always is there with the negative experience. And the thing is, every time there’s a merger announcement, you get the quotes from both companies saying this is great for the industry. Very few people are talking about the negative. And so if a journalist wants to be objective and to hear both viewpoints, he’s got to get that contrarian or negative viewpoint. And that’s a go-to guy for that. And he’s just trained the media to come to him and check on almost every subject matter or contact him. And he’ll come with the quote ready to sort of discuss the cons of a particular merger or subject.
I love that. I love having those sound bites ready. And I do believe that a lot of companies out there could really get some advantage from making sure that they are prepped for the possibility that something positive could come out of a release. You know, what’s that next step? Are you ready for it? So Mickey, I want to ask you this: There’s a lot of options today with earned media, digital media, social media and owned media. I want to just ask you, what are some benchmarks people should consider to ensure that they use these to optimize client conversion? There’s just a lot of opportunities today.
So I think the thing is there are so many options and so many different directions that you can do with media. Social media is a place where you can just easily get lost and use up your entire budget, as well as your energy and time. So I would say pick something and and try it. At the very least, if you don’t have a budget at all, you could be reaching out to local media. There’s probably less than 10 people in your local market that would write about you. Usually someone at your local newspaper. If you’re lucky enough to have a business newspaper or magazine in your area, there might be some regional papers and things like that, like community papers or weekly papers. And then you might have a radio or TV where they might spotlight particular businesses, or they might have segments or shows. And so in almost all those cases, if you just figure out who writes about you or companies like you and you just ask for their email address, they’ll give it to you.
And for TV and radio, you’re wanting to reach the producer or the booker of a particular show or program, but just build your Rolodex of like this half a dozen people. And when you have something that is particularly newsworthy for you, write an email and just describe it. It does not have to be a press release, either. And I think to communicate at least four times a year. You can do more if you have more newsworthy announcements. And if you haven’t talked to them in a while and you don’t have an idea for yourself, but you see something trending in your industry, just give them a good tip and they will reward you later if you help them. It’s all about relationships and we’re all human beings. And so anything that you could do to come across as building a natural relationship is going to help you. And that’s why so many times you see in a newspaper the same companies again and again because when someone’s writing an article and they need to plug a company in, they just know somebody because they’re constantly talking to and communicating with them. And so that’s a way at which I think that you can just sort of get your foot in the door and work with a little bit of media. See how it works, and then maybe take some of these ideas, turn them into releases and send them out through a service like eReleases.
Absolutely. And it always comes back to the one golden rule and that is nurturing relationships is that communications piece that goes a lot further than if you’re not actually using that. So I love that you’ve rounded things off with bringing it back to just something very simple that all of us have the capability of doing. Mickey, as we get ready to close off, I want to ask you: What are some of the main takeaways that you feel people need to get out of our conversation today?
“It always comes back to the one golden rule and that is nurturing relationships is that communications piece that goes a lot further than if you’re not actually using that.” ~Raj Girn
I think that media coverage is something that’s accessible to everyone. There’s a lot of small businesses who just feel like they’re too small. They’re not important enough. And I’m like, you refine your unique selling proposition. What makes you unique? If you don’t have it, spend some time developing a USP because you’re going to need one, especially if you’re going to compete in a competitive landscape. Use that USP in a press release. Can you build something strategic on top of it as well and have messaging that ultimately the media cares about and stick with it? Like I said, if you’re going to test a PR campaign, make sure it’s a proper campaign of at least six to eight releases.
And you know what? What you’ll learn is the pick-ups that you do get. Sometimes you can replicate them again by tweaking and changing then sometimes you have to move on to something different and it is trial and error. But the leverage that you get from it, it’s not unusual for someone to do a campaign where they’ve spent under $2,000 for six releases. And three or four of them didn’t do much of anything, but one did phenomenally and they got like $40,000 in sales as a result of it. And then they had another one that did well, and maybe it’s just a few thousand dollars in sales, but that leverage that you get is really powerful.
We had someone who did a release last year during the pandemic. It was very positive news how you could help your local restaurants. And it got picked up in 150 publications, including The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. It did more than $10 million in revenue. One press release, just one press release. You know they spent under $200 to get one release out and generate more than $10 million in revenue. That is almost an exaggerated response, but it happened at a perfect time where people were looking for positive news. The media was really receptive to it. They thought it was a really cool concept of helping local restaurants and most of which were closed at the time. So you can get that leverage through PR. It’s a huge opportunity. And this was an unknown business before. They weren’t well-funded. It was just a people wanting to help and they created a solution.
Right. That’s the magic right there, isn’t it?
Is there anything that you feel I missed asking you that you feel you want to add before we close out Mickie?
No, but I did want to say that I’ve talked about strategy a lot, and I created a master class that I’ve made available for free to my customers because I’m trying to get them to do more strategic press releases. It’s less than an hour, but I would recommend anybody listening to go check it out. It’s completely free. It’s at eReleases.com/plan and I guarantee that if you listen to that, you’ll probably come away with a dozen ideas of strategic releases you could do for your company and you’re probably sitting right now saying I can’t think of one or two right now, but it definitely get your creative juices flowing and hopefully get you started on your first path to PR success.
I love that. Thank you so much for giving that value. Add, Mickey. Before I let you go, let me just kind of regroup again. How can people get a hold of your company?
Just visit eRelease.com chat, e-mail, phone call. We’re very accessible and we’re here to help. We take a lot of people and hold their hand through the process of press releases, and we understand that you may not know a lot, but we’re going to help you and make sure that you’re on on the right path to get some PR attention.
That’s wonderful. And if anybody wants to hang out with you on social media, where do they go?
LinkedIn is the best place LinkedIn/com/in/publicity is my keyword, and you can also find that link on the lower right of it eReleases.com as well.
Brilliant. Thank you so much for joining me today, Mickie and sharing your insights, as well as a bit of your journey. I had so much fun. Thank you for that.
Same here. Thank you.
And thanks for hanging out with Mickie and I today, folks. I really hope you got some real value from our discussion and that you understand more than you did before how media plays a crucial role in client acquisition, especially if you’re prospecting for new audiences.
If any of what we’ve talked about today helps you shift and amplify a positive perspective on your business, I want to hear from you. Email me at [email protected] and tell me your story. And if I love it, I’ll be inviting you to be a guest on my show to share your story and insights so together we can help someone else expand their possibilities to reach their version of Nirvana.
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And until next week, I’m sending you positive vibes to keep the focus on building your brand, your authority and your best life. See you next week, guys.