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01:01 – An entire career built on PR
02:08 – Where to put the spotlight on
04:04 – The impact of social media
04:53 – What is PR?
06:29 – PR vs. social media
10:25 – What involves PR?
12:40 – Tactical steps to implement PR
15:08 – Share the hero’s journey
16:07 – Newsjacking
18:27 – The power of expertise
20:38 – Getting your own soapbox
23:13 – Does the number of followers count?
25:29 – How much should you publish?
26:24 – Quick summary
27:00 – Who does PR work for?
28:27 – What’s the point of doing PR?
32:56 – Repurposing
35:27 – Advice to listeners
38:15 – The easiest starting point
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James: James Schramko here. Welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. Today, we’re talking about PR, and I’ve brought along a special guest, Catriona Pollard. Welcome.
Catriona: Thank you. Happy to be here.
James: Now you’re quite famous in your market about using PR and social media. You have a website called unknowntoexpert.com. Why don’t you give us the short overview of why you’re qualified to talk to us about PR today.
Catriona: So I’ve been doing PR my entire career. So that’s over 20 years. And in the last 5 years, I’ve really gone through a personal journey about how I realized that I needed to step up and I needed to move from relative unknown to a recognized expert. And I needed to be able to use the tools that I actually knew, which was public relations and social media to be able to do that. As a result of that process, I wrote a book, which is “From Unknown to Expert,” and I now talk about it and teach people about not only being an expert but also understanding personal branding and how critical that is for entrepreneurs and startups and using PR and social media to be able to do that.
James: Right. You’ve got good endorsements from lots of people who Australians would certainly be familiar with, some good authors there and some experts who I’ve bumped into in the past. I guess small businesses often the personality starting the business can actually be the business in the beginning until they can transfer some of that power across to a strong brand name. How important do you think it is to put the spotlight on the founder versus the business itself?
Where to put the spotlight
Catriona: I really think the way that the media landscape is at the moment in a way that we really like to do business with the people that we know, and the people that we trust, and ultimately organizations that we know and that we trust. I really think it has to start with the founder.
When I talk to startups, it’s saying, well, it’s great that you have a business idea and it’s an amazing app, or whatever it is. But you also need to understand that you have to at some point step into the spotlight and you have to own the stories around how you came up with your business idea, or what the app does, or whatever the startup is or the entrepreneur is.
I definitely think that the founder has to absolutely own their stories and be prepared to step in the spotlight because people want to know the humans behind the organization and it’s even more critical now than it was when it was traditional media.
James: Yeah. I was wondering what the place of PR is when social media has become so relevant. We are more or less exposed to people’s opinions and the ability to share amongst networks rather than the structured newspaper or news outlet. Back in the old days, people would go to the movie cinema to watch the news and then there’s been newspapers and you’d have to say in the last decade at least, social media has made it much easier for people to communicate word of mouth marketing rather than be pitched a story or someone sort of structured some press that’s going to be spun in a certain way. Do you think this is having a big impact?
“Step into the spotlight.”
The impact of social media
Catriona: Social media is so critical to being able to tell the stories of an organization, or an entrepreneur, or a startup, or a founder. It’s really, really critical, but I definitely think that PR needs to be a part of that mix. You can’t ignore PR now, and I know for a fact, I’ve seen it so many times and I’ve worked with so many startups where traditional media has been more critical than social media at the beginning, particularly when you’re looking for funding and particularly when you really need to build your reputation and your visibility really quickly, then PR and pitching stories to the media, and writing stories for the media is really critical part of that mix.
James: OK. So I think it’s probably a good idea for us to define what PR actually means to you. How would you explain it to a business person?
What is PR?
Catriona: With PR, it’s really about using the media. When I say media, it is newspapers, it’s magazines, it’s what we call print media, and it’s using online media. So it’s all over those news sites that you read and you get content from. The Huffington Post and Forbes.com. It’s also broadcast. So it’s TV and it’s radio. There’s a number of different channels within media that you can pitch stories to or write stories for.
You can also extend PR from when you’re thinking about a PR strategy for your business. With things like speaking, so making sure that you get in front of the audience that you need to get in front of. So getting up on stage and telling your stories as well. There’s a number of different ways that you can actually pitch stories to the media and so on. But that’s traditionally what PR is.
James: What does PR stand for?
Catriona: It stands for public relations. Sorry.
James: Right. So you’re more or less saying that it’s everything that encompasses how you relate you and your story to the public via different media channels.
PR vs. Social media
Catriona: Yeah. I mean I guess it’s called public relations is because it’s building relationships with the people that matter to you, your public, your target audience. And the thing that’s different between PR and social is traditionally with PR, you actually have to pitch a story to a journalist. So essentially, they’re a gatekeeper to you getting your messages out to the people that matter to you. It’s coming up with an idea or a news hook and finding a journalist, pitching that, whether it’s over the phone or via email. When I first started in PR, it was via fax machine. And getting them interested in your story, and they will say yes or no and write the story.
The difference between that and social media, why social media is so powerful and really important part of this mix is that you no longer have to rely on journalists being that gatekeeper. It doesn’t matter whether they like your story or not. You can start a blog and start writing your stories and be essentially our own broadcaster.
James: Well it’s been my approach, to just publish my content. I’m literally self-published and I’m putting out podcasts and written content into the marketplace without having that gatekeeper. It’s really why I was asking if the traditional role of PR person is less valuable. I actually went to a conference just a few days ago and someone got up there and was talking about brands with soul and being able to communicate directly to their end user, and that anyone hiring a PR agent these days is going about it in an old fashioned, less authentic way when you can now have that direct relationship because of social media. It seemed like they were pitching one against the other.
Catriona: Yeah. It’s really interesting that that’s kind of how it’s been PR versus social media, where I would actually say that they really want them to say no. We still get a lot of our news through places that we consider reputable such as Huffington Post or Forbes or Inc.com. They’re all news outlets and you have to pitch your stories to that. The thing that’s really good about getting into that kind of news site, say for example, with you James, you’ve created your own audience. You’ve created your own channel and that’s great but that takes time. You’re building your role as an expert and you’re putting a lot of effort doing that.
At the beginning and even once you’ve got an established business, what’s really great is actually going into those places that already have that pre-defined channels and they already have built their audiences. So what you want to do is hook into that and find those places that have the audience that matter to you, already reading, already got eyeballs on those sites, they have the reputation. So you being published on those sites, you automatically get that transfer of reputation. So you running content or pitching stories into those sites is pretty critical to building visibility and building reputation.
James: Yeah, it’s an interesting thing. I think when I look at PR, I’d consider it as a tactic and I would say that social media is a channel and that these are part of an overall marketing strategy. I certainly use social media but more to syndicate my news channel or my story production if you like. PR I think is a tactic that we could do ourselves or we could have someone else do.
I remember back when I was running the Mercedes-Benz dealership, when we would engage at PR expert, their main role was to come up with news stories or ideas that might be picked up by mainstream press and also to introduce us to opportunities within their own contact network. How much of that old school introduction and controls and networking is involved in PR these days?
“Be your own broadcaster.”
What involves PR?
Catriona: You know, you just talking, I remember just recently for a client of ours, they’re a really small sort of mental health addiction hospital with a great reputation that they really wanted to build their visibility. Something that we did, which not a PR person who’s not trained to do this couldn’t do this, in Australia anyway, and I guess it’s a worldwide issue, this and ice epidemic, it was massive mainstream news.
So what we did is we actually, we just hooked them in, we pitched stories for them as experts into that news cycle and we essentially newsjacked a lot of the stories and we got them, it was nearly a million dollar worth of media coverage just doing that one tactic, and that just put them on a national sphere, which they weren’t before, which opened a whole bunch of doors to the government and lobbying, and one which they wouldn’t have before.
So I definitely think that there is a role to play from a PR perspective, either whether you teach yourself, which is what I do. I teach people how to do this, or you get a PR agency to do it. It’s irrespective of the fact that there are definitely things that you need to think about and there’s amazing powerful things that you can do to actually hook into those news cycles.
James: Definitely, and you can create news for yourself. I know that our first presentation at my most recent event by Nathan Musson, he very exquisitely described the process by which he was able to onboard serious journalists for a topic that was really revolutionary, and he got them to take on the message through a series of courting through social media channels and then a buildup and combined with a bit of direct response. He was able to get massive investment from them into promoting a new product that was coming out.
And I think that this cultivation of the media is really the real art of the PR and it could be done by the business owner or they might hire an expert to do it. Let’s talk about what would be sort of a small tactical step-by-step initiative that a listener might be able to do while they’re listening to this podcast. What could they jot down and go and implement to start the PR ball rolling?
The people that matter
Catriona: I think that with any PR strategy that you do is you’ll really have to think about the people that matter to you. There’s no point in actually pitching stories or writing stories to publications online or print or broadcast, if people that matter to you aren’t going to look at it. So it’s an absolute waste of time.
James: Just on that, I notice on a lot of the websites and especially yours, you do have these banners with a list of all the publications or news outlets that you may have been appearing in. Surely that would be one reason to get something in a place that may or may not have your exact customer.
Catriona: That social proof is really critical from a reputation perspective, “as seen in Huffington Post” and Inc. and so on. It gives you that instant credibility, and particularly when you sell online, that’s really important to be able to get that instant credibility. And I think that the way that audiences are is if you niche it down and you really think about, if you’re in tech and you’re in the tech industry, then you need to be pitching stories and writing stories for the tech space. But if you’re a small business and your audience is small business, then by all means you can write stories for Huffington Post, but I would also say you would need to think about small business outlets as well.
I think the thing too is it’s not only the relationship, which is what you were talking about before. That idea of the news hook can be hard to understand, and there’s a real knack to figuring out what a journalist is going to be interested in or not interested in. And I think that if you don’t have training in PR or you haven’t taken the time to educate yourself about how to do that, quite often we can fall into that trap of saying, “But I have the best app ever, it’s going to revolutionize the whatever industry.” And journalists will go “Yeah, so what? How is it going to prove to me that it’s going to?”
The appeal of the startup journey
You’ve got to figure out how to use stats; you’ve got to figure out how to convince them that it’s a really interesting idea. And I think one of the things that, especially from a startup perspective, is the hero’s journey, the startup journey. A lot of journalists really like to hear that, particularly in the startup press, and there’s so much startup news sites and websites and so on.
So really thinking about why you started it, but what were the things, the difficulties that you overcame? What were the challenges and how did you actually overcome them and how you were successful in doing that?
James: Right. It’s a recurring theme, especially in the podcasts we have here. Story comes up, everyone from Andre Chaperon right through to Michael Port. Always talking about story. I’m sure Valerie Khoo will be talking about that at some point as well, a mutual friend, I think.
Catriona: Yeah, yeah.
Some highlights so far
James: But you’ve dropped some great hints there, and I just want to highlight them in case they weren’t picked up. Hero’s journey is essentially the same story that we hear in everything from a Disney movie through to a speaker from stage when they tell you that they were sleeping on a park bench and starting their business with a borrowed credit card.
The other thing you said a little earlier and I think it’s worth highlighting is newsjacking. When I look for your name online, I see you’re associated with lots of stories and you’re making expert comments about it. Perhaps you want to talk about that process. So far in the process I’ve got here, we think about who actually matters for your story, the most relevant outlet, and we’re thinking about what is that journalist or the publisher interested in talking about that we might be able to then package our story in a way that can convince them that it’s worth publishing. I imagine anything to do with a shark attack’s going to have a leg up at the moment, and anything that people just swarm to. I remember that news publishing saying, “If it bleeds, it leads.”
James: They always seem to be popular headlines.
Catriona: Yeah, yeah. But I think the thing is that, that’s really mainstream news. And it’s really hard to newsjack it, someone being attacked by a shark, unless you have a brand new device on the market that detects sharks in the local area. Like that’s absolutely something that you could pitch in, at a news cycle when someone’s been attacked by a shark.
But an example for me that I’ve done recently is there was one morning, I read the news every single morning because it’s what I do, and I noticed that Barack Obama and Bill Clinton had this really funny Twitter exchange. It was a quite hilarious Twitter exchange. And so I immediately thought, well, that’s really interesting. That’s hitting mainstream news, and I talk about how leaders and how entrepreneurs need to use Twitter and need to build their personal brands from a leadership perspective. And these two, the world’s biggest leaders, really, using Twitter to do just that.
The power of expertise
So I came into the office and I pitched a story straightaway to the main financial magazine, here in Australia, newspaper, daily newspaper, the tech journalist who I know is interested in social media, because I know all of the journalists who I should be pitching stories to, I know what they’re writing about, I know the topics that they’re interested in, and so I pitched a story then and there, saying this has happened in the news, I can comment on it. And within half an hour, I did a media interview, and then it was published that day.
James: So you’re using your expertise as the enticement for the journalist, that he can, on behalf of his publication, they can have an expert comment that gives them some attention from this.
Catriona: Absolutely. And that has been critical in me building my role as an expert in PR and social media. Religiously, virtually every day, for the last few years, I have either written a story or done a media interview or spoken about PR or blogged, social media, everything about PR and social media. I have not deviated from those two topics because I made the decision that I needed to increase my visibility and build my reputation as an expert.
And so that’s why it’s really critical that entrepreneurs do that now, because we’re facing so much competition, not only from an entrepreneurial perspective, a business perspective, but a personal perspective, there’s so many people that are starting new businesses. The difference is it’s going to be that person who has the visibility and has the reputation that’s going to get the sale.
So if you have really cleverly used the media to be able to do that, and used your social media channels to do that, you’re more likely to get the sale than the person who hasn’t done that.
James: Yeah, I guess it is one strategy. I mean, for one thing, there’s no way I’d be sending off pictures every day. It sounds like a lot of work and I really can’t get into the whole social media time suck thing. But there’s different ways of doing it for everyone else.
Getting your soapbox
James: I’m certainly lucky enough over time to have created a pool market where I’ve constantly got people inviting me to come and comment on their podcast or whatever. So I think once you get momentum, it’s good. But what you’re saying is that utilizing these media strategies and putting good stories in the hands of people who can publish them in mainstream and smaller publications as well is going to get you up on that platform faster. You get your own soapbox, nice and tall.
Catriona: Yeah. And the more that you do it, the more that you get calls, and you get people inviting you to speak or to do media commentary. Like there’s one online publication that’s in my niche that calls me like two or three times a week to comment on a story. And they know that, while I’m going to provide expert ideas, too, I’m going to do that interview then and there. Because I know they’re an online publication, so they’re online all the time, so I’m available to them. Every time they call, I do the interview. So they call me three or four times a week and I don’t actually have to do anything other than pick up the phone and say what I think, sharing my opinion.
So essentially I make money from sharing my opinion. And that’s what entrepreneurs and startups can absolutely do. If they use the media effectively and are willing to share their expertise and their opinions and be authentic about doing that, then it absolutely works.
James: It’s a little bit of exchanging time for a value audience instead of just spending money on the ads which might be the other channel that you could use in a media campaign.
Catriona: Yeah. Well, you know, it’s really interesting, because I’ve really found, I’ve been doing social media since social media existed, I just find it such a fascinating communication channel. And what I’ve seen recently in the last couple of years, say for example with Facebook, is that if you don’t spend money on Facebook, it’s pretty hard to get that visibility and get that traction. Twitter is now doing advertising, Instagram is as well. So the thing about media is it’s an exchange of time, but it doesn’t cost you anything. It’s completely free to be able to do that, and what I see, it’s kind of the last free thing to do in terms of increasing your reputation and your visibility. Most other things, from a social media perspective, actually cost money.
“Share your expertise and be authentic about it.”
Does the number of followers count?
James: Right. So you’re not measuring things like the number of followers so much, you’re more interested in the contacts that you’re cultivating.
Catriona: Yeah, definitely. For me, I feel like it’s about relationships. On social media too, that’s kind of what everyone goes on about is that it’s not about followers, it’s about the relationships. I definitely think that it’s about followers, the number of followers as well, because one of the things that everyone does if they’ve got a lot of followers is they say, I have a whole bunch of followers. So definitely that’s got something to do with it as well. But I think that it’s relationships.
But I think it’s also, too, is being prepared to actually share content and be present and being available as well. So it’s not about just writing a media release. And that’s what’s changed with PR. You can’t write a media release and just send it out to a whole bunch of journalists and think that you’re going to be in the media that day or the next day. They won’t even look at it. So you actually have to absolutely change the way that I think a lot of people perceive what dealing with the media is.
James: Yeah, absolutely. Like if you’re going to be into social media as much as you’re talking about, you’d really want to have a massive audience to make it worthwhile, is my thinking on that.
Catriona: Yeah. And so that’s what I’m saying, is that PR definitely still has a role, because what you’re doing is you’re pitching stories or writing stories into the publication. So at media outlets, they already have that audience. So what I do is that whenever I’m in the news, which is kind of like every second day, really, I then put that out across all my social media channels.
So now, like traditionally it used to be, I want to be in print, I want to be in print, like all of our clients would be, like, I want print. Whereas now I’m kind of saying you actually kind of really want to get online media coverage, because that’s what you can share. You want to share it as much as possible so that you can extend that reach.
Own site versus other sites
James: How much do you publish on your own site versus getting stuff on other people’s?
Catriona: Well, from my perspective, I have three blogs and we blog every week. So we tweet multiple times a day, we Facebook multiple times a day. So I definitely think that people need to own their content and publish their content, and it needs to be a key part of what they do, especially when they’re building their business. But as you say, it can be such a time suck. And you need to really think about, well, do I need to be on all social media platforms? Where are the audiences that matter to me? Where are they hanging out?
Say for example, if you’re setting up a bridal app business, or something, you only need to be on Pinterest, and that’s all you kind of really need to do. Or maybe find some bride groups that you want to pitch some stories into. So I guess the thing is, is that it’s really having to think about where your audience is, and how often and how frequently you think they need to hear from you from a social media perspective.
James: Right. So, for us to summarize then, we’re thinking about who’s your audience and where the match is for them, whatever platform or media outlets. We’re thinking about what are the interesting storylines or ways that we can package our story, and we’re also taking into account the plan of attack to make sure we have a return of our investment. And if we’re going to do one tactic instead of another, then we have to make sure that it has a payoff at some point. We might run multiple tactics, but the chances are we’re going to find a few sweet spots.
Who does it work for?
James: Who do you think PR works best for?
Catriona: I’ve been doing this for 20 years. PR works for every single industry. I’ve done virtually every single industry and every single kind of business within every industry. But it really comes back down to how good you are at pitching stories, and how much time and effort you put into it.
And it really comes back down to strategy, too. It’s not just going, well, I’m just going to do media today, so I’m just going to write something and send it off. You really do have to do a lot of thinking about it, and you have to do it over a period of time as well. It is very rare that you’re going to be able to change opinions or build your reputation within a week or within a month; it’s probably more likely to be over a year.
But I think that it’s also too, now, because so much online, you can actually get those clicks back to your website and drive traffic back to your websites, so you can do a lot more measurement now around what’s working and what’s not working. And I revise my strategy, my social media strategy and my PR strategy, every single week. See what’s working and what’s not working, did we get hits from that article that we published? No, we didn’t, so let’s try a different outlet. There’s so many different outlets that you can use. So it’s really going back and revising, and absolutely finding that sweet spot.
“Find that sweet spot.”
The point of it all
James: I was going to ask that, what is the result you’re after, what is the point of the media, where does it send people to? Does it end up giving you higher positioning and authority, so that you can say you were published here or there? Does it send traffic to your website? Does it send journalists to you, looking to get into other things? What’s the point?
Catriona: So I really think that it depends on what you want to do it for. Say for example, I had a startup that I was working with, recently, the end of last year, and the reason they came to me was they wanted funding. They had to get their next round of funding. So our objective and the results were, is it going to get funding? So we pitched stories into publications that we knew investors read. And we pitched stories that related specifically to investment and startups and so on. And the end result is they got their next round of funding.
So from that perspective, even if one person read that particular article, if it was the right person that works. So I think it comes back down to what is your objective. I know the work that I do; it really comes back to reputation, so I’m the go-to person from a PR and social media perspective. I get referrals every single day because people have an idea or perspective about me, and so if that’s what you want to do, then you develop strategies to do that as well. But I definitely think that needs to think about clicks back to your website as well.
James: Yes, I like to hear that. Most of the things I’m doing are resulting in that.
Catriona: Yeah! But if you’re in e-commerce, say for example you’re e-commerce, you sell online, you want people to come back to your website because you want them to buy from your websites. So from that perspective, what I would suggest is that you do a whole bunch of writing and you place them in stories like Huffington Post, and I keep on saying Forbes because they are highly read, they got a high reputation.
And at the bottom of that article, you don’t get paid for it, but at the bottom of that article, you get to put your website address, and that’s kind of the deal. So you’re essentially giving them content for free, but you get to put your links back. And then you can absolutely measure how many links come back to your website from those sites.
James: From an SEO perspective, are those links follow or no-follow?
Catriona: They’re follow. So I can actually see from my analytics how many clicks I actually get back from each of those sites. And I’ve got a strategy that each week we’re pitching stories into different online magazines and news sites, so I can actually see what’s working and what’s not working, and I actually stop writing for places that no longer send traffic back to my website.
James: Cool. Yeah, it’s always important to analyze the output and see which ones are effective. There’s always going to be some that over-perform, and some that under-perform. I think you may interpret that as clickable, but I’m just thinking, I’m wondering if the search engine gets the link juice transferring across from these sites or if they’re no-follow links from an SEO point of view.
Catriona: Actually, I’m not sure about that.
How many publishings?
James: That’s OK, I’m sure it’s easy to look up. But one thing I noticed, do you get stories re-published multiple times, or do they tend to use them once?
Catriona: It really depends on that news outlet. So say, for example, in Australia, we have this private media group that owns a stable of news outlets, so that’s a good thing to actually have a look at, to see whether that one outlet is actually part of a larger news group, and when I write stories for one of those news outlets, they tend to publish it across three of their sites.
If they can see that it’s getting good readership and getting good traction, they then publish it the next day or the next week across other sites. So you can absolutely get bang for your buck from doing some research and writing stories that you know are going to read on those particular sites.
James: Right. So you’d say most of your effort is in getting stories on other people’s sites and then you update your own sites once a week?
Catriona: Yeah. And what you can do, too, is then the content that you put on your site, you can edit that content. So say for example, if you write a story for Huffington Post, say for example with me, everything that I write for Huffington Post, I’ve written it somewhere else, and I’ve edited it for my Huffington Post site.
James: Right. So you’re talking about repurposing.
Catriona: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I do a lot of repurposing.
James: Same as me. Even if I do a podcast somewhere else, I’ll usually just take some notes and then come up with a podcast of my own. It’s a good idea to take that core work and leverage it a few different places. So that’s good, it’s a good idea for our listeners to think about their stories as an asset, and then think about where they might want to put them. And you’ve given some tips on how they might go about getting them in some large publications.
Catriona: Yeah. I will use it as an EDM, I will use it as a blog post online, and I’ll use it on Huffington, I’ll then edit it and put it on other sites. So for one article, I might get 5 or 6 goes at it. So it means that it’s just such a massive time-saving tactic as well.
James: You might need to explain EDM for our listener as well.
Catriona: I send a weekly email out to all of my subscribers, with inspiration and tips on how to become an expert, and so I use that content to then put on other sites as well.
James: Do you send the whole article, or do you send a link back to a site?
Catriona: In my EDM, in my email…
James: What does EDM stand for?
Catriona: Oh. What does it stand for? Electronic Document something.
James: (laughs) You’re funny. You use corporate words, but yeah, I think it’s good to explain.
Catriona: Yeah. It’s my weekly email. I spend a lot of time writing my weekly email, I love doing it, it takes me ages, but I enjoy writing and so it means that I spend time writing every week, and really thinking about the people that matter to me and what kind of things that they want to hear from me. And so from that perspective, I don’t send them anywhere else to read the full article, I write something specific to them. Then I might actually add an extra 200, 300 words that I’ll put on Huffington Post, for example.
Advice to listeners
James: Yeah. Cool. So what would be your advice to someone now? They’re aware now that there are experts out there who can help them inject stories into the right places, they might want to try some of it themselves, using the tactics of letting journalists know that you could comment on something as an expert, if you see a good story that links up, which is called newsjacking. We know that we should be targeting the right publications, and that the stories have to be really interesting. What would be the next steps?
Catriona: To do it. So many people go, I really should do some media, and they just never get around to doing it. And there’s so many people that just, I get people saying this to me every single day, “I’m just not interesting enough, Catriona, I’m just doing my thing and..”
Everybody is interesting. Everybody has a story to tell, whether it’s personal stories or professional stories. We all have things that I think need to be shared. So it’s knowing that you have the opportunity to use the media to be able to build your role as an expert and to use social media to be able to do that.
So I really think the first step is actually owning the fact that if you’re not doing it now then you should really start doing it. And then of course, you know, buy my book. And then that will tell you step by step of actually how to do it.
And I think that’s the thing, is that with startups you don’t necessarily have to go to a PR agency. You definitely, if you want to spend the time to learn some of these tactics, you can absolutely do it. And if you’re not comfortable doing copywriting yourself, if you don’t feel that you are good enough, then use Odesk or Elance or any of those sort of sites to help you find a copywriter that can do that. Access people to help you do it.
James: Now when you say “ copywriter,” you just mean writing articles and…
Catriona: Yes. Just writing articles.
James: …stuff, instead of the sales copywriting definition that we use in our EDM?
Catriona: Yes, very, very different. As an editorial copywriter, who can actually help you do that, because I think a lot of people who I speak to say, well I can’t write, and that’s a block. If you can’t write, go find somebody that can help you do that. There’s amazing opportunities for startups and for entrepreneurs now that we really never had before. I certainly didn’t have it when I started my business. So it’s really, go make it happen.
James: Yeah. Well that’s good advice; get started, and send out those electronic direct mailers as well.
James: And you’ll be set.
Catriona: Oh, that’s what EDM stands for.
James: In our world too, copywriting means sales copy. It’s selling in print. And if you struggle with that, the easiest way to do it is usually just have a conversation with someone where you’re trying to convince them about your thing, and record it, and transcribe it, and that’s a good starting point. In fact, just about all of our podcasts are transcribed on SuperFastBusiness, like this one will be, at SuperFastBusiness.com, and that’s a good way to get written content if you don’t like to type, like I don’t.
So even if I just talk something, it gets fully transcribed and it creates these huge articles that search engines love, and of course can be repurposed. Actually sometimes, it happened recently, Ontraport asked me if they could repurpose one of my blog posts, because they really liked the infographic that we put up, and through a little project we were able to have that published on their blog and then emailed out to their customer base. So if you do really good content, that’s a nice way to pick up some PR opportunities just by having good stuff.
James: Catriona, thanks for sharing your ideas with us, and your extensive experience in the industry definitely shines through. It’s been good to have the discussion and I know we’ve been a little bit cheeky with some of the topic twists and seeing if it’s still relevant and where it sits with the advent of social media, but I like to think of PR as a tactic that is something every marketer should have in their quiver, whether it’s done personally or hired externally.
And if you think about the fact that any time you’re on stage or writing a blog post or on a podcast, you’re really relating to the public at that time, so make sure your stories are good and your hooks are strong and your message is clear, and of course be authentic. That’s Catriona Pollard, from unknowntoexpert.com, thank you so much for sharing.
Catriona: Thank you so much, James, I really have enjoyed it.
“Good stories, strong hooks, clear message.”
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