The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 4 months ago

Use PR To Build Credibility & Boost Sales w/Mickie Kennedy


So your lead generation channels have reached a plateau and your sales operation is stuck in second gear. There’s enough happening to get by but that electrifying atmosphere is waning. You’re wondering whether PR will help kick things up a notch but the PR climate is evolving as fast as business tech. Where do you start?

Mickie Kennedy, Founder & CEO of eReleases, a leader in affordable press release writing and distribution, provides the answer.

What we talked about:

  • PR strategy must-haves
  • Stay ahead: 3 tips for a strong PR game
  • Profitable PR in action

Check out these resources we mentioned during the podcast:

For the entire interview, you can listen to The B2B Revenue Executive Experience.

If you don’t use Apple Podcasts, we suggest this link.

You're listening to the bb revenueexecutive experience, a podcast dedicated to help in executives traintheir sales and marketing teams to optimize growth, whether you're lookingfor techniques and strategies were tools and resources. You've come to theright place. Let's accelerate your growth in three two one: welcomeeveryone to the betabel executive experience. I'm your host chadsanderson today we're talking about how you can build your credibility throughpublic relations and drive more sales, both online and offline. This is oftena challenge for not only marketing teams but sales organizations ingeneral to help us with talk about this topic we have with is mickey kennedy,ceo of e releases, a leader, an affordable press, release, writing anddistribution making. Thank you for taking time and welcome to the show,thanks for having me all right before we jump into the topic of the day. We,like start with the question, to kind of provide an insight into you for ouraudience. I'm always curious to find out something you're, passionate aboutthat. Those that may only know you from the work world might be surprised tolearn about. I guess that i'm a poet i have a background in creative writingand have been writing poetry off and on for thirty plus years wow. I did go togo all the way through to mfa. When i did, i got an mfa and creative writingwith emphasis and poetry at george mason university. Oh nice excellentunderstand that passion, my undergrad was in english and did a lot of writingas well. Never did go to mfa made the mistake of going the nba route, buthere we are and so curious to know visit the writing background that gotyou into the interest in media coverage and press releases, and then it is. Ihad assumed that i would wait tables being a poet major, and i did that,while in grad school and it quickly became obvious- that waiting tables isway harder than i assumed it would be. It was very physically taxing and i wasa guy at the time that you know routinely ran five or six miles threetimes a week and i just found it excruciating on my legs and my back andmy hip. Just being you know, on my feet, forty to sixty hours a week, so iquickly transitioned to a desk job and i got a job at a telecom start up inwashington dc, and i was employee number three and among the many thingsi did, i focused on sales, but i also was in charge of writing press releasesand giving them out to the media and at that time that required facing- and youknow anybody who's had the fact it it's it's slow, tedious and you have toprogram these numbers into a machine and our machine only held a hundrednumbers. So i'd enter a hundred ad hit, send it would take all day to send andthen the next day i'd have to delete those numbers and put like eighty orninety more and because we had additional journalist we needed toreach. So i started to get journalists asking if i could just email therelease, because we worked at a lot of telecoms statistics and numbers andthey just found it easier to cut in pace from a word document. So that'swhen the light bulb went off- and i was like email is the future of this, so ispent about a year reaching out to journalists and asking them if i couldjust email them relevant press releases and most of them said yes and that'ssort of how he releases began wow, and so many when we say the term pressrelease. This is that it's a term that you know the vassene were o people areon to be familiar with, and many, i think, probably don't understand howthey get read, let alone how they get created anymore or what role they play in kind of that whole media coverage,feeling that media coverage. So i'm curious if you can kind of help theaudience understand. How does what part does the press release play in creatingor starting to create those ripples, so to speak, it's sort of like a fodderfor what could be an article, and so you know, press releases are generallywritten in the third person they might have. First person quotes you're tryingto really position your most newsworthy...

...thing that you're trying to announceand you're, hoping that the media will turn it into an article you're, notlooking for them to copy and pace the exact press release on their website.You know real media organizations rarely do that they would be themwriting a story based off of the facts that you provided to them. It's notvery complicated, it's not very sexy, but it is one of the main ways in whichjournalists build stories. I know that a lot of people are familiar withhelper reporter out and for big feature stories. That's great, but the averagejournalist can't create go through the trouble of creating and then siftingthrough all of these people trying to pitch for a particular story. You knowmany of them are doing three to five articles a day, some less some more andthey're just constantly looking for another great idea, a good thing thatthey can sort of chariat and discover and bring to their readers or theiraudience, and hopefully they'll find it intriguing andwhen. We start thinkingabout what it takes to be successful with that portion of the strategy thatthe press release being kind of the starting point. What sets them apart?What makes one better than another more effective than another right. I thinkthat you have to sort of look at the press release through the lens of thejournalist and he's acting as a gate keeper for his audience, and a lot ofpeople send press releases that are really just promotional only without ahigh caliber of news worthiness or anything, that's really intriguing, andthat makes it very difficult for a journalist to find a story there so tryto approach it as what could i say that an audience a potential audience wouldfind really of interest? What could i say, and how could i say it to make itreally compelling for them that sort of changes, the type of quotes you mighthave in a press release rather than a safe mediocre quote? You might reallygrab someone and say something if not controversial, maybe a bit contrariansomething along those lines. The actual news that you're issuing is theresomething else that you could say that would be more newsworthy. One of thethings that i suggest to a lot of my clients is, if you don't fill yournewsworthy, make the news, and by that i mean come up with a survey or studyin your industry. Anybody can release a survey or study and generally, if youask good thoughtful questions as well as maybe a couple oddball questions,you stand a really good likelihood that several people are going to pick you up.I have customers who one was a local, auto repair shop in pennsylvania, justlooking to get links from auto industry trades, because there their websiteused to be the free one provided by the yellow pages and when that went away sodid their website. So they had a new website. They didn't have any links toit and they weren't ranking, and so they had been told by a really good, soguy that if they could get links from the auto in the street tradepublications, they would rank very quickly, and so i told them to reachout to a trade association to send the survey because they didn't know how, toyou know, get other auto repair shops to fill out. This survey and theindependent, auto repair trade association was very willing to do itbecause they see it as a win win. The smaller and independent tradeassociations generally don't get a lot of love or visibility. So here wassomeone saying i want to do this survey. Could you send it to your members andi'll promote you in the press, release that i'll be issuing, so it was sort ofa win win and i think that they got between eight and twelve auto tradepublications. Several newspapers picked it up, even their local newspaper,which wasn't really intentional from the beginning, but it was really greatthat it happened and what got picked up by most publications was this one leftfield question that i suggested was: what's the strangest thing a customerhas left in their car while being repaired, and it was just an open fieldwhere people would just enter stuff, and you know there was a bow ofconstrictor. There was someone there...

...was someone who said that they lefttheir grandma and they're like they're, like the cars been here for three daysand and they like, we don't see a person and they're like no she's in anurn in the back and her memorials this evening. So we got to get her, and sothere were fun stories and- and you know, a lot of people really resonatedwith those and it made for good fodder. Some places only listed like the topten some list of like twenty all together. I think there was just overfifty of those strange little quirky questions that they curated when theypublish their survey results, but that's something anyone can do and itwasn't a huge amount of effort. It was you know, just using a link from surveymonkey and getting someone to send it out to their members, and i think thatthey got over eight hundred auto repair shops that completed the survey. So itwas really good and that's something anyone can do within any industry. Youknow this local, auto repair shop is not an authority in the automotiveindustry, but they were able to get a lot of mileage and a lot of success outof just by being the author of that survey, wow, and so there's things likethat. That kind of go viral or e h, they tip into something that that has aconnection with people, especially with what we've been through over the lastyear and a half with the pandemic and stuff. Have you seen a change in thetypes of approaches to this communication channel? That is moreeffective than say you know previously. Maybe right need for human connectionor any changes and kind of what you're seeing resonate yeah. I think thatthings that address people working remotely they do really well positivenews, where you're, making a difference and being a positive influence has donereally well over the past year, mainly because there was so much negative newscoming out that the journalists were really receptive to something that sortof gave another perspective like here's, some good news, and so we did a releasefor the dining bond initiative last year. It was sort of mirrored on thewar bond initiative and it was a way in which you could support your localrestaurants, which were closed down by buying what they call a dining bond.It's sort of like a gift certificate for a discount and the money wouldimmediately go to your local restaurant and it blew up. It was one release. Wequick counting after like a hundred and fifty places picked it up. Washington,post wall street journal new york times all the major papers and minor paperspicked it up. It went viral international, they started spreadingit out to other countries, and you know for a very short lived effort. Itgenerated millions of dollars in revenues that went to local restaurantsand helped people, and it was something that for just two to four hundreddollars, you got millions of dollars in return, i don't care how great ofadvertising person you are you're, never going to create a google adcampaign for four hundred dollars and create tens of millions of dollars inrevenue, but that is the potential that could happen with the media and pr, andso what percentage? You know? There's a lot of you know it s so much data outthere today, so many people trying to have a voice. What percentage of of thepress releases that you see or encounter are successful versus thosethat are? I would say that probably ninety five percent of the pressreleases that i issue nothing meaningful happens, and by thati mean no articles, get written about them. There's syndication, where thatautomatically happens with her press release, where the press release getsreplicated on a few websites, it looks good, but they generally don't havemeaningful traffic. It's not a destination that a lot of people findit. What you're really looking for is to have you know, say the new yorktimes to actually write an article about you and that's harder to do, andit's harder to achieve the success, and the big reason i think, is because somany of the press releases that we're seeing are just typical milestonereleases like a new director of h r- and it's not someone- that's like youknow, really well known in the industry-...

...are really great, probably a greatemployee, but the news worthiness of that announcement. It probably doesn'tgo outside of maybe one trade publication, and maybe your localnewspaper so you're better to just send it to the both of you know. Those twoplaces yourself then use a service like mine and a lot of releases come out ofthis. They have the feeling that they werejust written through committee everything's, safe. The quotes arebland they're, not interesting or intriguing, and it's hard for ajournalist to see anything meaningful or newsworthy there. It's quite obvious at what you're announcingis important to you, but how is it important to a potential reader orviewer in the case of other types of content, and that's what's missing withso many press releases love it, and so, when you think about making this areality, how should people incorporate into their their strategy? You knowwhat does it look like when i start to think about press relic versus otherthings that i might do you know my thought: leadership blogs white papers.How do i think about it in that tapestry of communication? What kind ofrole should i play or how much focus do you think it should have on it forcompanies to be as successful as possible? I think that you shoulddefinitely have a pr strategy in place, one that takes into account things thatwork. I recently created a free master class for my customers, because so manyof the releases i get are just safe and bland, and i have over four sand activecustomers, i've only gotten less than a hundred and fifty to just watch thisfree. You know master classes less than an hour long, and i know that if i wasto get more of them to watch it and view it and just incorporate the ideasthat are there, they would be hugely successful and it's just frustrating tosee that and i'm not sure what the disconnect is. I think that maybe a lotof people have the role of pr, but they don't have the passion and they don'tnecessarily have the need to have the roy and metrics that would necessitatebeing so strategic, and you know that's the only thing i can come up with. Ikeep pitching it and sending it out there and telling people to takeadvantage of it, mostly because i want more people to succeed than arecurrently succeeding with me. You know, but that being said, i have one clientthat does forty to sixty releases a year. Every one of them is about adifferent survey or study that they do. They cover many different industries intheir field, so they just roll with one survey and study after another and theyget on average between eight and sixteen articles in you know uniqueoriginal articles written about every press release. They do so that's justcreating hundreds and hundreds of links to their website and to all theverticals sections of their website that they've created over the years,and so you know they're killing it and a lot of other people could be killingit too. But i think that some people just are so used to safe and easy ways ofoperating that they're, not willing or accepting of going outside theircomfort zone, and i kind of think you do have to push yourself and put thatcreative hat on and think of things in a way. That's like! Okay, if everybodyin my industry is saying x, how can i say just the opposite or be contrarianin an intelligent, meaningful way and what everybody else is: zigging hatingyour voice as the guy who zags gets you a lot of mileage and the potential isevery article that mentions that you could be the counter argument, becauseyou know journalists want to be objective and they want to have bothsides. But so many articles are just one sided, because no one's out therewilling to give a perspective on the opposite side. I love it, and so, ifyou think about, i know you gave us thauto motive example. Can you give usanother example of one of your clients has been really successful, maybe withthe contrarian approach or or the i...

...don't want, it doesn't have to becontrar, but something that sparked the conversation, a debate and kind of seewhat that looks like. So i had a local carpet company from new jersey reachout to me years ago and said we have a pre budget. We want to do one pressrelease a month and i flat out told them after talking with them andrunning through my typical questions, that i didn't think that pr was goingto be effective for them and they said well, we've got the budget, it'salready been ear marked. We can spend it with you or can spend it withsomeone else. So i took their money and after five months nothing happened, andso i went back and said we need to have another brainstorming session to figuresomething out, and i said you know what is it that they don't talk about inyour industry and they said marketing. They said we are so alone with that andour biggest enemy is the big box home improvement stores, and it's justterrible how you have to figure out how to market against them- and you know,build your compelling argument. You know they. The home depot and lows- usepick up contractors, people that are here today and gone tomorrow. Theydon't know who's coming into your house, it's just bid to the lowest person andthe padding that the the big box, homefront stores, i'm told by my client,are inferior to what the local carpet companies generally recommend andinstall. So we did a press release that talked about that and it got picked upin more than ten floor trade publications and it became very obviousthat we had touched on a blind spot in the industry, and the industry was veryreceptive to it. They wanted to talk about marketing. All these tradepublications are the subscribers or other local carpet, companies andthey're, all in the same boat and they're, all looking for tips andresources and the best practices, and so it did really well. We continue todo several releases on marketing going forward and i think, within a year wehad over thirty clips from trade publications and their local newspaperand the local state magazine- and i pointed out this is great, but i don'tknow that that helps you, because these four trade publications aren't yourcustomers and they said mickey we're killing it. He says we built this. Like a photo album where they put allthe clips and when they go give someone a quote in their home, they open it upand say here: we've been picked up by floor, trade weekly we've been pickedup by this floor coverings. Today, all of these places, national publicationshave recognized us this local carpet company as being really great and whatwe're saying is very meaningful and then they would say the same thing.They've always said we may not come in as the cheapest, but we providesuperior padding and the installers that work for us are salaried. Theyearn benefits. We know who's installing your flooring today and in six monthsyou won't need someone to come in and re stretch your carpet we installproperly at the beginning, and they said that they started converting abouttwenty percent more customers. They said that they'd always said that, butcoming after the credibility of looking through these clippings with thecustomer, the customer believed them and it made a more meaningful. I guessimpression with them, and so they were able to convert hire. So theydefinitely did their homework and they did very well, and so that's thetype of thing that you can do. I mean i've had that work successively andi've also had it not work successfully. When you try to analyze a blind spot,the industry. We had one client that does technology security and theypointed out some vulnerabilities and we found out that the industry doesn'twant to talk about those vunerable ies while they're there, and they can't beaddressed because of some open protocols that you know no one'sfigured out how to sob. Yet they don't want to bring attention to it. But i'vehad other clients where we do find these blind spots, and once we findthem, you can continue to use them again and again with that client we usemarketing as an approach for over a year and continued to get clips, not asmany as the first time, but we you know, like i said they built over thirty toforty clips in a matter of a year or two. And what do you see kind of on thehorizon? Do you see changes for you know with everything? That's happened,there's a lot of sis mic shifts and a...

...lot of industries. I'm curious! If yousee you know on the horizon, some changes that may impact the way peopleneed to think about or create or issue press releases. I think that theindustry was very resistant to bloggers fifteen years ago, like the we workthrough pr news wire and they did not want bloggers to get access to thepress releases and have the journalist log in credentials with the news wire,but slowly over time. They recognize that an influential blogger can be justas influence ell as a trade, publication and they've begun to bemuch more accepting of all different types of influencers. There areinstagram influencers who are more influential online and instagram, thensay a fashion trade publication and so they're getting access to the log andthey're able to see content and even more important. When you get thatjournalist log in you're able to really sculped and shape what type of releasesyou see, so you might have a fashion feed, but you may want to put a bunchof words to exclude so any time those words appear, you don't see thosereleases and maybe there's ones that you definitely want to have. So you putinclusion words and stuff like that, so you can really tailor it to really getrelevant content for you as a journalist or an influencer and getthat material. The other change that i think that's coming is the transitionto video. I mean i think facebook is said that the next year or two theyexpect that most of their news feeds will be video and you know less textand less links to web pages, and things like that, so i think of that's got tobe something that's going to be shaping the future of news and what we do withpress releases. I think that maybe the press release itself may not change,but maybe there'll be some video content that could be selected out andincorporated in the stories, and things like that, so i think it's going to geta little more. The opportunities will expand in the future and it just makesit. You know more interesting, because you know if you're willing to adapt andmake those changes, then you can, you know, be the first to have the videoready press release when that happens, excellent all right. So, let's changedirection here, a little bit. We ask all of our guess two standard questionstowards the end of each inery. The first is simply as ceo. That makes youa prospect for a lot of people out there that are trying to sell stuff andi'm always curious to know when somebody doesn't have a trustedreferral into you. What works best for you when somebody trying to captureyour attention and earn the right to time on your calendar, it's difficult.I think that for me, just a personalized email works. Well,sometimes link din works. Well, i see linked on done poorly by so many people,but then sometimes people get it right and it's obvious they've done somehomework looking at your profile and that always impresses me, and so i'mmore receptive when that happens same thing with email. If there's somethingyou know meaningful, that they've analyzed about my website or about me,the shows that they've synthase or analyzed the situation a little bit,and so it's not just a general cut and paste response or request. Okay andlast question, we call it our acceleration insight. There's one thing:you could tell sales marketing or professional services people, one pieceof advice that you could give them that you believe would help them hit orexceed their goals. What would it be and why i would say to measure everything, notjust your ads. I am a sucker for split testing and i split test so many thingsin my business outside of ads. I split tested what my customers receive in themail from me as a welcome to the ear leases family, and i got reallysurprising results with that. I split test so many different little aspects,even just regular web pages on my website. I'm often split testing themagainst a slight variant or a slight change, and so there's lots of thingsthat you could be doing in your... where you could be. You know,split testing, different collateral, different web pages. I feel, likethat's an important aspect, and i've made a lot of assumptions over theyears and sometimes when you test them, you realize that your assumptiondoesn't hold water. They data is our best friend all rightmake. If a listeners interested in talking more about some of these topicsor learning more about your services. Where, ideally, would you love us tosend them? He releases com is my website all my social media's on thelower right there, like i said i generally respond and linked in, sothat my direct linked in is there as well. If you do have questions aboutpress releases, our website, we have a chat. We have a phone number. We haveno cells, people, it's just editors. They can talk to you analyze thesituation, there's no quota or anything like that. So if we feel we're a goodfit will tell you just like i told that carpet company, i didn't think theirodds were very good, the beginning t, but we together we were able to workand find something that was successful. I have that free master class. I wantedto mention on pr strategy it's less than an hour. It's at e releases com,ford plan plan and anybody that takes that is going to have a huge educationand they can easily build a winning pr campaign just by following thoselessons there and that's. The most important thing with pr is to reallytry to work up angles that are newsworthy and stand the test ofgetting picked up by the media. Awesome. I love it. Thank you very much be ican't thank you enough for being on the show. Today it's been an amazingconversation, my pleasure, all right, everybody that does it. You know thedrill checks out of b to be rebecca share with friends, family co workers.Until next time we value selling associates with will nothing but thegreatest success. You've been listening to the bteexecutive experience to ensure that you never miss an episode subscribe to theshow and itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much forlistening until next time. I.

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