Local Market Monopoly Episode 38
Proven PR Tips for Small Businesses with Joshua Kail
Joshua Kail: I think the mistake companies of all sizes make is confusing what's important to them with what's important to the consumers of the press and to the journalists themselves. And most of what PR really is doing is finding that bridge between what's important to the company and what's actually newsworthy and valuable story.
Clarence Fisher: Welcome back to Local Market Monopoly. It's Clarence Fisher, your host. And today we're going to talk about public relations, PR. If you're really cool and how you can use it to increase your authority, positioning, which, you know, we're all about making you the authority in your market so that you can own the block. And as I was sitting here and I was thinking who best can speak to public relations, and instantly in my mind jumped Joshua Kail from Venture Public Relations. We worked together like over a decade ago on a product that just blew up and he was instrumental in getting them on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The view, Good morning, America. They started he'll tell the story. It's amazing. But what I wanted to know was what are some of the mistakes that businesses make and in their PR strategy and getting it out.
Clarence Fisher: And what we ended up covering was, I mean, he's just dropped gold. Like what is, what is the perfect, the perfect time to drop, press releases, how to do them, of course, we covered the common mistakes, but then also how do you get a local TV and then parlay that into bigger national and bigger national appearances. Because with the clients that we worked with together, I mean, they started on mommy blogs and then all of a sudden, you know, within, I don't know, I'm, I'm not going to put the time on there because I don't want to give any guarantees, but I'll tell you, we went from like mommy blogs to all of a sudden Barbara Walters saying, Hey, this is the best item under so many dollars that you need to get. And a whole website Bray was just, it was a fake. So don't go anywhere. If you've been looking for some kind of direction, some consultation on how to get better PR, especially in this hyper-local market, they're in, you're in the right place. Hold on.
Intro: You're listening to Local Market Monopoly with Clarence Fisher, uncovering the tools, tactics, and strategies the most successful small businesses used to their local market and own the block.
Clarence Fisher: Welcome back to Local Market Monopoly. And as I told you in the intro, I have a special treat for you today. And we were just talking before the intro and all this stuff. And, Josh, I'm gonna go ahead and bring you on, Joshua Kail.
Joshua Kail: Thank you.
Clarence Fisher: And before, before this, you know, and I told you, I've known everyone listening. I've known of Joshua Josh for probably a decade or more.
Joshua Kail: Yeah, I think it's moreover.
Clarence Fisher: But I never actually seen his face.
Clarence Fisher: You know I heard his voice and I told him about an instance way, way back. And we are both just getting started. And, you know, I was just getting started in the internet, digital marketing. And we had a client that turned out to man, they sold like a bazillion dollars worth of stuff. And we're both working on this and he's running the PR and all of that stuff and doing a great job. And I got this, they called me and they were like, Hey, I need you to get on the phone with our PR person because whatever you're doing is like whatever. And what I was doing was I was putting out press releases, just so you know, I was putting out press releases. Like we used to do back in the day, strictly for SEO link value to get the client rate. But what I was not doing was really caring at all what those press releases said, as long as we could get a link. And so, you know, Josh being the professional that he was told me that I need to cut the crap, Which I did. I got heated. I got, I couldn't, I couldn't tell you. He didn't know what he was talking about. I'm like, you don't know what you're talking about. He's like, you don't know what you're talking about. So we were early in our careers.
Joshua Kail: Yeah. Young and hotheaded. Yeah.
Clarence Fisher: Yes, yes. Because we know exactly what but fast forward I had, I told him I had to give it up to him because, you know, you have those situations in those instances and then years online, you're like, eh, he was so right.
Clarence Fisher: You were right, Josh.
Joshua Kail: It happens on occasion. And I treasure those moments.
Clarence Fisher: So now you are a director of public relations at Venture Public. And so you guys work with a short-term and long-term strategy. How does that work? What does that look like?
Joshua Kail: Yeah, sure. Thanks. Venture Public Relations or VPR is a primarily tech-based PR firm based in LA. We're actually one of the few out here that really focused on B2B and B2C technology. So for consumer and for business purposes, and when we work with clients, we really do everything from the kind of helping them find their voice, for an external purpose with media, finding that elevate the thought leadership of their executive team or scientists or developers or whatnot, and really with the goal of expanding their market visibility over the short, and long-term to create a clear establishment of what they do as a product or service to create a market trust in these, this is a company and these are people that know what they're doing. They're committed to the industry. They're not going to be a fly-by-night company. So if you're investing your money on the B2B side of things, it's a worthwhile investment. And also to help further the conversation around whatever industry, those companies that are in so that they can not only be known within the industry and within their potential customer base, really for that conversation, that message in tune with what their company goals are.
Clarence Fisher: So when you say short-term and long-term, are you brought in for both? Do some of these companies just use you for a short-term kind of boost or, of course, you're always wanting to parlay that into a long-term kind of routine.
Joshua Kail: Well, I mean, from right from a business perspective, of course, but from a PR strategy perspective, PR is really a long-term gameplay, right? It's not a direct sales school. In most cases, it depends on consumer products. Like the products that we worked on together, we're very low cost for the consumer. Right. I think they were like $5. Right? So in that one, it was a quick conversion from a consumer perspective, but for more expensive consumer products and for more expensive, obviously B2B products, it's not that right. It's not a quick sale. What it is is that long-term build of that brand image and brand understanding the short-term aspect of it is when you're talking about press releases about a product launch or an investment round or a new hire in 70 ways, right? So you have the small wins, which are the bumps in attention over a specific event, or a moment for the company. And you have the long wins, which are really taking those and building up along with all of the other work that goes in between those moments because we are isn't the moment PR is not the press release, a press release is a single tool and the overall strategy. So it's really finding that balance and the bridge between one moment to the next, with all of the really important filler stuff.
Clarence Fisher: Oh, that is so great. That is so great. And so, yeah, that now, I mean, thank you for, for stopping rod cause you're going to school me and, and school, my audience, because I've not been able to verbalize that the way that you just said that as far as the releases being the short term. And I think that was the disconnect that I had years ago was being so directly.
Joshua Kail: There's also been an evolution in the use of press releases. I think when a lot of us hear press release, we think like basically back to the fifties where the press release goes out over the wire and the press get it. And it's like, that's, that's the big, big moment. But I mean, I'm of the opinion, really, there are two types of press releases to put out. One is for media purposes. Like one is when you're driving to get a story written about or get coverage on. And those are very short to the point, you know, the bullet-pointed so that journalists can get interested, pull out what they want to spend interest. The other press release and this is where it's really growing in. Isn't the marketing use of it, right? Marketing press release allows for a little more hyperbolic languaging in it. It allows for more detail and a more long-winded type of document. That's the type of thing you can put up on your website for potential customers or partners or whatever, or use in sales materials or having a thumb drive at a trade show or something. But those are gonna be less effective when you're going at the press because the press has a limited amount of time. They just want to get to the heart of what's going on. And more importantly, how is this relevant to everything else outside of what you're doing?
Clarence Fisher: And so are you releasing, I mean, should a company release the same press release in two different, two different accounts?
Joshua Kail: Yeah, I mean, no, but there's sometimes, instances where a company wants to make an announcement and it's not, it's not a newsworthy event, but it is important to the company, right? So when you have that instance, that's when a press release comes into place that you'd put over the wire for the SEO value, not expecting much press pick up and put it over on your website and use it that way. Right. When it's, when it's solely is that it gives you a little more freedom to play around with, with that structure. When you have a big announcement, that's actually important on a media perspective because it's changing, you know, in tech case, it's, it's changing the tech landscape or is changing consumer value out of it or something along those lines that there could be a story written about. It needs to be a little more tightened up for that purpose. It is a little nuanced in how you do it. But like when you go in with the right mindset, you come out with a better product for these specific goals you have for that.
Clarence Fisher: Yeah. I think which is of course why you're in business and what you all do because that nuance is something that, even me as a business owner, I'm like, ah, I don't want to think that hard about this. So you do it. So when, and I'm going to try to kind of shout out this because a lot of our listeners are local businesses, you know, they're doing anywhere from 250,000 a year, all the way up to about 7 million a year. So it's kind of a wide range. And when we talk about kind of our tagline on this podcast is own the block, meaning own the city. Really cute thing is the block. So when we're talking about PR on that level, I know it's a long-term play. I mean, do you think that there's, there's gotta be like a reason to drop, so do you drop like a, would you drop a press release every month? Or is that too frequent or...
Joshua Kail: Yeah, I look at his function over form. Right? You drop a press release when you have something to have a release on the local, and you're talking about like, hyper-local, but it's a little different because there's, well, there's a balance really, even on the hyper-local it's worth going after some national stories, because the idea is the people that live in your city or live in your neighborhood are also reading like bigger publications. They're not just reading like the daily, whatever, but because there's a local limitation for an area, right. You know, what the press options are for you usually in, in the print, right. You know what the local newspapers are, you know, uh, you know, local magazines are folders for it. And it's pretty easy to do a search show, local based blogs and podcasts and all that. Right? So in that ecosystem, you put out a press release when you have something what's called hard news, right.
Joshua Kail: When you're doing something of note or something's happening to you of notes, if you're opening up a new location, if you're suddenly hiring, you know, 20 new people, right. That actually impacts the community around you. Like you put out a press release about that in order to highlight that within the, in between that though. Cause you're not doing that, you know, once a month and you're not doing that maybe once every three months or four months, depending on the nature of your business in between that you can reach out and be in contact about issues around what you're doing that is pertinent to the community. I think the mistake companies of all sizes of make is confusing what's important to them with what's important to the consumers of the press and to the journalists themselves. And most of what PR really is doing is finding that bridge between what's important to the company and what's actually newsworthy and valuable story. And a lot of that is stripping around, stripping away the stuff where you're talking about me, me, me, and talking about like us, we are community using this. Our business is helping us evolve this community or offering jobs or, you know, just offering a good service or good product, like going out from that front and taking the perspective of who's going to be consuming, whatever that new story is rather than what you want to broadcast out to the world.
Clarence Fisher: So do you have, I mean, are you in an office with like world events, ticker going across the, because I've, I've tried to,
Joshua Kail: It's a lot of reading to be honest, like knowing if you're on a B2B market, knowing what the trades are saying, knowing what things that aren't necessarily pertaining to you, but could be government policy changes, world events, they all have a potential of having some value to what you're talking about, knowing your industry, knowing the world within that your product or service lives within and the impact that's outside. Things may have on it, or ideas that you may have on those outside things is, is really, you know, that's where the meat of a lot of it goes because that's where you really get to flex your brain and show like, there's thought behind what I'm doing. It has value to a customer base or potential customer base. It is valued to the markets I'm in and what potential markets I want to move into. But the way you get involved with that is by talking about those markets or to those markets at their level, the value that they need or the challenges that they have.
Clarence Fisher: So, you know, when I think about these kinds of world events to, to hijack, if you will, is Richard Branson somebody to look up to or is he just doing, or is that like a poor business owner? Is it, I don't know. Is that kind of like the Maury Povich of
Joshua Kail: That's all branding, Moscow, those guys. Right. And that's another interesting thing that happens because a lot of times we'll have clients to be like, we want to be like so-and-so is business theater. And then what you see them doing is mimicking it. And what sets Branson apart or what sets Elon Musk apart isn't mimicry it's they found where their voices, where their niches for better, or whether you like that approach or not. And it branded themselves around it. Right. So, you know, and like Elon Musk, there's something crazy, most likely it's well thought out, well thought out in his mind. Exactly. And approaching that way. But if you've had a mimic that you don't actually set yourself up about it, you just sound like for imitation being comfortable with your own voice, finding out where you actually stand, what your style is. And if it works, because if it doesn't work, there's no point you go out and just be like brash, you know, obstinate for no reason. And it turns people away. It's not a good approach. Being honest to how you actually see things is the most effective way
Clarence Fisher: That makes total sense. Because as I look at Richard Branson and I mean, you're right. I'm like, Hey, how can I be like that? But I don't really care to jump off of a building or anything crazy. I don't know what Elon is doing
Joshua Kail: People want their success. And then they think, well, they got success and they're like this. So I need to be like this to get to success. But really they got success because they put their nose in the ground and did the hard work and made a ton of mistakes along the way, grew from then and all the stuff that's hard work.
Clarence Fisher: Right. We don't ever see that though. So you had mentioned in a local market, we know who the TV stations are, who the, you know, everyone is. And you know, there's always someone in your market who is always on TV. They're on the morning shows they're on all this stuff. And I remember, you know, back when we were working together, you know, sharing the client that we had, that we were like plugging away, plugging away, plugging away, plugging away. And it just seemed like, okay, this is, I mean, cause I got started with them and when we were shipping that out of my, like my apartment, you know, but then, then the view happened or Oh no, good morning America happened. Is the view, was it the view?
Joshua Kail: I can tell you exactly how that happened. Right? Yeah. So what happened was originally the product was focused on kids, right? And so we were focusing on mommy blogs at that time. We're getting a lot of coverage on mommy blogs across the board, doing reviews, giving free samples away in social media campaigns on their behalf. And what happened was Barbara Walters' team saw that at one of the mommy blogs, they reached out to get it featured on the Black Friday, top stocking stuffers under $50, right. That was Barbara Walters choice. And everyone on the view had their own choice of product. And so from there that created like that was that campaign was people talking about wanting a viral campaign. That's what ended up happening with it because after it was on The View is how we were able to get it on Good morning, America.
Joshua Kail: It took us eight months of working with Ellen to get that feature on Ellen. From there, it was on, I mean it was on everyone. It was in rolling stone, ARP. It was like, it was an interesting product because it hit the appeal of beyond what the initial target market was expected to be expected. The initial target market, where it was the kids and then it became kids, but then older people could use it cause it was easy to put on and take off. And then it became in rolling stone as a fashion accessory. We had, I forgot what one of the, I think one of the fashion magazines took a shipment down to South America, do a photo shoot with the models in it. You know, it crossed that board, but it started with mommy blogs. It started with what makes sense for the goals of the company right now.
Joshua Kail: And it happened to blow up that way, those types of things you can't necessarily plan, but it does show the importance of not only looking for top tier the top like you're not going to start off at glossary journal. You're going to start off at the local business publication sometimes. Or, you know, until you get that level of success, you're going to start off at the trade publications and elevate yourself from there. Sometimes it happens really fast. Like in that case, sometimes it takes a lot of work and building up and getting that market understanding trust. I really depend on what you're doing, the complexities of it.
Clarence Fisher: I remember that, man. Thank you for filling that in all these years, it was a wild ride. I remember when, when, uh, Barbara Walters mentioned it, it was all of a sudden, one of the owners was at my door because the website broke.
Clarence Fisher: Yeah. Yeah. And also if you've got to be on a show like that, make sure you have the infrastructure for your command.
Clarence Fisher: And what's so crazy is I, at that time, you guys let, let us know. And I'm like I'm doing everything I possibly can to get ready for what I think is going to be traffic. But I have never seen traffic like this. Like it was crazy. So, you know, we, iit slowly, the site slowly came back online, but it was new to me. Everybody's like in tears like we finally made it
Joshua Kail: The production line of like five people around and folding tables I think, and put it in a box.
Clarence Fisher: It was crazy. And it's like, here's our moment. And, and at that point it's like on me. Right. And it was, it was just horrible. And then it got awesome. So yeah.
Joshua Kail: Well, one of the last things we were doing with them is we got them a pop-up shop at New York fashion week. So it like, it just went that whole, that whole system.
Clarence Fisher: And that is how, you know, my, my business got bigger from there. So when you're starting on the local level, how does, how do you get on TV? How do you get on the morning shows?
Joshua Kail: Well, one, be prepared for failure. Get ready for a lot of nos, but two it's really about, about doing it. Like for TV, it depends. I mean, a lot of the local TV, when you, a lot of the stuff where it's like you turn on the TV at like nine o'clock on Sunday morning and you see like, uh, what is kind of a show that is really more of an infomercial, but that's paid for play. Like, you know, you can, you can buy into that. If you're talking about like a local news segment and you're doing it on your own one, make sure you watch the news to understand what they're actually looking for in a segment, what those stories are going to be like, because they're not going to nine times out of 10 going to come on and be like, what a great product this is.
Joshua Kail: You're awesome. Right? It's going to be involved with the community. It's going to be a story beyond that. So understand what those types of programs are and, you know, reach out and be like, basically you'd be doing a pitch, Hey, I'm a little business. I do this. And this is really where it comes up. And if you have some sort of snow clearing technology and it's the middle of a winter storm, like love to come on and show how your viewers can help themselves from getting stuck in the snow, this winter, you know, something like that, where it's focusing on the viewers. And you're just having to be part of that process. But also you, like I said, don't just look at TV, look at blogs and podcasts and articles and papers and stuff like that. You know, see if you can write an op and a local business publication on a bigger issue, not talking about yourself, but talking about the world that your product or service lives within and build up from there, right?
Joshua Kail: It's a, it's a, it can be a long process of just getting to be known, getting to be recognized, Oh, this person creates value to my publication because on the news side, right, they're looking to have valuable articles in it or valuable content in it so that more people read it and they can sell advertising space. Right. So if you go in and you just try to blog in, what essentially is an advertisement in itself, that's less likely to get through because they have people paying them to put out a color picture, paid placement type of thing. So be aware of that and, and kind of build-up that way. But before any of that happens, you really need to understand for yourself what it is you want to say, what are those messages, those core, what's the thesis statement of your business. So business schools here and then work on outlining what that looks like, because the tighter that is, the more understanding you have, what message you want to get across, the easier it is to apply that message nonproduct or service-focused content. Because at the end of the day, someone reads that article about whatever you wrote about and goes to your website and they get the same sense and tone it's now on your website. There's, you know, you're selling something and it creates continuity in that message and a better understanding of who you are as a business.
Clarence Fisher: Do you find that your ideal, how does a company? I know this is probably totally different in tech. I think the tech companies probably understand that they need you right?
Joshua Kail: Terrible and making clear what we do. And so it doesn't matter the industry, unless someone said his experience of working with PR before or studied or whatever, right? A lot of times the assumption walking in is this is going to give me instant sales. This is going to be a you know, point of sale. There's going to be direct monetary ROI for it. The problem with all of that is between an article being in a newspaper, an article, being on a website and actually selling the product. There's a lot in between, right? That's what you're pointing to sell, comes in. I can drive traffic to a website with a link, but it's not necessarily going to, once I get to the website, if your website is terrible, or if it's confusing, or if your branding on the website, it's not that great. You'll see in your data analytics, you'll see drop-off points.
Joshua Kail: The idea is the value of PR in that sense is to create, understanding, and decrease questions around what you're doing and why you're doing it, but why they need it. Right? So that on a B2B sales call, right, you have to spend less time educating the potential customer on what it is. And more time focusing on their specific needs, right? On a, B2C side of things, you know, like what we were talking about before with the projects we worked on, it was only $5. So that's a little bit different because you see something, you get excited, you buy it cause it's $5. And I didn't lose anything because I like to bring it to like, the candy bar and the supermarket aisle. Like if you're going to go out and it's like a dollar for a candy bar, you might just buy that last minute. You had no intention to get the candy bar. But when you're talking about a multi-thousand dollar business solution, there takes you up. You're aware of something you do research, you do competitor comparisons, you do all this other stuff before you even get to the point of purchasing. Right? So PR helps with that, but it's not that, you know, zip across the way.
Clarence Fisher: I okay. And I like, can I say I liked it, but I totally understand. I was surprised to hear that it's it doesn't matter the industry or the market, because, you know, when I think of tech companies, I think, well, you know, you have to get the word out, but, but I do know working with a lot of local businesses, any dollar that is spent, the owner, the marketing manager is like, when can I have this dollar back with preferably with a company? Right, right? So when is this coming back? And so authority positioning, and I'm not been able to be as successful at this as I want to be with our client base and getting them to understand even on the hyper-local and you, and I know that when I taught, say local, I'm talking hyper-local even on that stage authority positioning is everything. But it is not like ad words and Facebook where we can put a campaign together. And then you've got leads coming in just immediately. We have to look at the long play. So I guess what I'm talking about is like, how do you sell that? Like, how do you sell that to a potential client that is not already coming to you or with that idea, or are you using PR for your firm itself so that they are educated when they call you?
Joshua Kail: I mean, I, I sit in a lot of sales calls, and honestly, honesty is the best policy of that. I'm usually pretty open about what is possible, what is likely, and where we can bend those lines sometimes. It's with anything like going in with your eyes open into what to realistically expect and how this is bound to pay off for you. And again, it's that balance of short-term and long-term for consumer products, it's a little easy to convert sales on stuff, because like their, their media opportunities for consumer products that aren't really there for, you know, a B2B product, like top lists of products that you should buy in this category or sales sides and deal sides and all that other stuff, which should convert a little bit more. But again, PR brings the horse, the water doesn't make them drink. Right? That's what, that's what your point of sales for.
Joshua Kail: That's what it's designed for. That's what your sales teams for. So in that sense, it's getting that understanding. But again, from in getting that shared voice out there, it's really important before you do any sort of external outreach to be again, understand your messaging and be consistent in it, right? Whether you're talking about a piece of sales material, whether you're talking about an interview, you're doing about a bigger picture issue, the heart of what you're saying should be the same. It should be that connective tissue in everything you're saying so that they see something written, or they hear you speaking. When they see product copy on a website, it all feels like it's coming from the same person and from the same place. So that when I'm listening to someone talk about the greater community issues that you're solving, and I'm reading a thing about what you're selling to me, I can understand how they're connecting with her there, and that there isn't a sense of the seat between what you're saying outwardly. And when you're presenting in.
Clarence Fisher: Are there any other kinds of misconceptions that people that business owners have about PR?
Joshua Kail: There are a lot, but I think one is
Joshua Kail: Bigger is better, right? The idea that the wall street journal is going to be a more important media placement for you than the local paper, right? Or the big newspaper and your city is going to be a better placement for you than a trade publication for your region. Right? Because the idea is, you know, wall street journal has 34 million. I think leaders it's kind of dying recently or not dying with dropping a little bit recently, whereas a trade publication may have anywhere between eight and 30,000 people, right. Obviously 34 million better than a couple of thousand. Except when you look at the percentage of who's reading that and how much, how many of them actually pertained to what you're talking, right? So with the trade publication, you have a much higher percentage of those 30,000 that could be potential customers or partners for you because it's all around people working in the same industry or focus points.
Joshua Kail: Whereas the wall street journal, you have every business under the sun, you have investment, you have traded, you have all this other stuff that may pertain to businesses in general, but it isn't going to pertain to your business specifically. So understanding that dynamic and that nuance between really targeting where you want that message out in order to get the most eaters on you is important. The other thing I would say is it's very interesting, and this again, falls under the fault of the PR industry itself, that a business owner will spend years sometimes developing a product, putting together a business plan, doing all this other stuff. And then they hire a PR team and they expect an instantaneous return, right? Isn't instantaneous results. I started today. I want to have pitches out at the end of the week and so forth, but they're doing themselves a disservice because by rushing out that way, you're not allowing a team or if it's in-house that person to really understand your business, come at it from a very strategic position, had that long-term and short-term strategy put in place, get all of the foundational work needed to be so that when it goes out, it's not immediate, but you have better success rates, more targeted outreach and better quality return as a result.
Clarence Fisher: So, and I can imagine there are a lot of misconceptions just because tying into what you said before of the PR industry, being able to kind of pinpoint what it is you do and what, what the advantages, when I guess we understand what the advantages are of being known, and it's a lot easier, like you said, for salespeople to call and speak on a product or service when you're known already in the market, what are the fears that business owners businesses have when they hire you, or when they run out that we won't say, how are you? We'll just say when they're running a campaign and they're thinking about this, I mean what would keep them from taking that step?
Joshua Kail: Yeah. Right. A lot of times, right? The investment into it, because PR is really a market visibility tool and not a sales tool. Right. There's a constant struggle to see what that ROI is. Right? And so there are a lot of false systems out there in terms of converting that ROI, interpreting the ROI. I think the most common one you'll get from agencies is a comparison to ad spend, right? If you spend $60,000 or a hundred thousand dollars, a million dollars on ad campaigns, again, use publications of this course of time. And each case is going to be valued at X. If we take that same algorithm and apply it to all the PR coverage, right? So an ad campaign, you'll be in whatever publications over the course of time with a PR campaign, you'll be totally different publications, but you're not spending 60,000, $30,000 a pop on it.
Joshua Kail: So then this is valued at the equivalent of $100 million on the advertising. It's a horrible system because they're totally different things. They may both happen in the same magazine, but they're totally different purposes than an advertisement is specifically designed to draw sales, right? That's what an ad is. It goes in the same publication often for six month time period, to be repetitive and all this other stuff. It's a very specific tool for very specific tasks. PR is a very specific tool for basis and the task that happens in the same place, but totally different, right. PR is they're doing increase product trust, company, trust, understanding, visibility, all that other type of stuff so that when they're ready for that point of sale, they're more, the more prepared customer. So the numbers may equal out, but it's not actually the same because you wouldn't be doing the same strategy.
Joshua Kail: What I like to do to show ROI is doing a competitor media audit at the beginning. So you can see where the people that are around your size or maybe right, where you want to be are already existing in the market. It allows you to understand what visibility your competitors are getting, where they're getting it, the type of visibility they're getting, what type of articles or interviews are they doing? These guest press releases and where are they not, What are the opportunities? And then what you can do is you can track that over the course of three months, six months, a year, to see based on where you were starting, how you're growing towards, where those bigger competitors are, and then how you're exceeding them and where you can sell, grow to exceed. Because that gives you a clear, more honest view of, you know, an apples to apples, comparison of success in, in the market and that market.
Clarence Fisher: That's great. That's great. Because ultimately that's what you're going for, right. To your competitors. You're you're man. That's, that's good. So how long is the average campaign?
Joshua Kail: That really depends. It depends on the needs of like when you look at the client we worked at, I think I remember, I think we started working with them in like August for that product. And Barbara Walters happened late November, right before Black Friday. So that was a really quick turnaround was once that happened, that sparked everything up and we were able to do a lot more cool stuff with it. But usually, like the rule of thumb is the first three months, especially if you're new to the PR strategy part, you got to take time to build that foundation, start getting known. So getting that word out there because initially, they're a billion companies out there, right? So there's a general, I'm not gonna say distrust, but you know, hesitancy to just embrace a company just because of the exists, right? From a groundwork, you need to do in order to introduce conceptually the people where they stand for, get those conversations going.
Joshua Kail: Even if it doesn't necessarily immediately return into a feature interview or something, getting a quote in there, building up that a great example I had was I have two good isms one year ago. It was after we worked together, I had a client that was new to the US market. They were what they did on tech side. They were getting laughed out of meetings because they thought the tech that they were producing broke the laws of physics, right? So we came on with that Brown. So it was new to the North American market. And no one believed that it was real. So for that days, we had to go through, went where we were analysts to kind of get them to have more in-depth conversations on the tactical trade publications, to get an understanding of why it's not breaking physics, why it's actually real.
Joshua Kail: And that was, I think probably like six or seven months of that before we actually broke through. And, you know, we were going to get back. They weren't getting left out of business meetings anymore. They were getting clients, they were having more success in that front. We overcame that huge hurdle. Then it allowed us to expand out on the market more recently, have a client that's as an incredible tech. They have no product on the market yet. And so we can't push the product side of things. And all we're doing is pushing the thought leadership on the tech, how this tech is going to apply in the future, how this will make the world a better place, whereas this tech moving from where it was and all this other stuff. And that was started with them back in October. So, you know, between then and now we've had closing in on a hundred media placements since then. Solely, not talking about the company, not talking about what they're selling solely, talking about what they're doing in terms of development and research in order to forward the technology or insight on where the technology exists, really working on that front helps because I get more visibility.
Joshua Kail: And when they're ready for the product, we've already silenced any questions about the tech behind it. And it's really just featuring what it is when it's in a final module.
Clarence Fisher: And so those are running how many months is that?
Joshua Kail: Like eight months
Clarence Fisher: And two different pain points there. One we're getting lapped out of meetings. So we need to bring somebody in to kind of, help and explain this and this and this other one. So they have the foresight. If you will, to say, we need to lay groundwork before it's done?
Joshua Kail: I mean, there are a lot of reasons, for a company to get press. I mean, they came to us wanting to increase their visibility because they knew they were developing and they wanted to lay the groundwork for in general for the company out there. So then we had to go in and look at what their timetables were, what the tech was, what the media landscape is. So for them, they have to be on a very cutting edge side of the tech sector, which allowed for that. So then we were able to create a strategy saying, let's focus on this while that's all going on. We'll work on the side to help with branding and figure out what the product release is going to be when it's ready. And we'll focus on these, these are the different angles we can talk about this subject. Do you have an expert onboard? We can talk about it, intelligently phone interviews, and really focus on that specifically so that you establish the company from the developmental stage as a serious company that should be kept in mind.
Clarence Fisher: Do you find that on the B2B side, do you find that clients don't really want to toot their horns or, or do you, do you run into, I run into that on the local space? A lot of,
Joshua Kail: Yeah. I mean, it goes, it really that's a personality thing, right? It depends on the personality of the company. It depends on the personality of the C-suite and where they, they want to go. I think sometimes people confuse, highlighting their successes or highlighting their perspectives on things with being overly bombastic, right? Because what doesn't work is saying, I'm the best. I'm the greatest you should listen to me at all times. But what does work is I've experienced in this. This is what I've seen. This is how it's impacting things. This is where my concerns are. This is where the successes, this is where the potential is going from putting it forward. Because it's interesting. You don't see those same companies in an advertisement trying to tone it down a little, right? You don't have, you don't have, Coca-Cola saying we're a great drink. If you're thirsty bias, we're good for you right now, in that sense, they're more comfortable because it seems more normal to do that on an individual, but it's really about perspective what you're comfortable saying.
Joshua Kail: I don't think we would ever put a client into a position where even if it's a great thing to say or a great way to go broaching, if they're not comfortable doing with it, we're not going to push them there because it'll come out horribly. They won't do a good interview because they're not gonna be comfortable doing it. They need to be in that moment. Believe what they're saying. It needs to be their honesty out of it. So it's finding, you know, in those cases, sometimes it's finding, stepping a little bit outside your comfort zone and say, Oh, this is the world crashed down on me. Or I didn't like blow anything up or anything like that. Like it's actually, it was valuable. And I enjoy doing a lot of times what happens is they find they enjoy doing it when they get there.
Clarence Fisher: Right. I think that'd be a great ad of a Coca-Cola ad and it just says, Aw, shucks. Okay. So I've gotten you come up with that strategy at first and which, you know, when, even just thinking about the strategy, I would imagine it is just so much more beneficial to speak with someone who has done this and you know, a bunch of times and can put the pieces together and say, Hey, you know of what's possible because I mean, who knows? What's possible. I mean, you're just like, I just want to get the word out. And all I know is the PR one press release site that the fortune 500 or, what is it? The what, not the fortune 500, the Inc 500 says, okay, I can pay this much. And then they'll put out a press release and I'm everywhere, but that's it. Yeah. So, okay. We have a strategy on a hyper-local level. What else can I do? What can I do now?
Joshua Kail: Right. Well, I mean, from the hyper-local level, it's really all the same thing, right? It's, it's just the scale of it, right. Be aware of the media. You want to be in, be aware of the media that pertains to your industry or your product line, work on writing out what you think about things, experiment with, you know, how you talk about things on social media, take a few risks, you know, not nothing controversial, but like in how you present yourself and how you talk about us as you find what that sweet spot is for you and take the risk of reaching out to local press and saying, Hey, I might have some valuable insight on what you're doing. Understand and across the board, it's a numbers game, right? 99% of the time you're going to get no or not now, or more likely no response whatsoever.
Joshua Kail: So it's just the constantly going out in a systematic way where you're not harassing people. You're kind of figuring out who the best people are in your local area to talk to at a publication, you know, who covers the types of stuff you want to be talking about, do web searches for, there are a lot of publications, especially on trays, but there a lot of publications in general that take guest commentary. So find out ones that may be good for what you want to talk about and get that going and start that up. TV is a good example where, you know, you get people they're like, I really want to be on TV. I really want to be in TV. And the nuance with that is, you know, to get on the bigger, bigger TV, or even smaller to some degree, you need to have evidence that you're good on TV.
Joshua Kail: Like it's easy to have a conversation for a phone interview. It's easier to write something or get someone to help you edit it and come across looking well, you know, when you're on live on camera or even recorded on camera, if you come off kind of funky, they don't want to put that on the air. So, you know, do stuff like local speaking, or try to get some smaller interviews when possible, just so you have that experience under your belt and what it feels like, but also so that you have evidence of it so that if you go to a local TV station, be like, okay, I've been on camera before. I'm comfortable with it. Here are some examples of how you don't go that way and build your way up. Everything's building up. Sometimes you get lucky and you get that, that top level real fast. Sometimes it takes a long time. Sometimes it goes up and down, right? You know, you get on that top level. You know, the top tier once is not going to be the end all be all. It's not going to suddenly be all the sales you could ever need, and you never have to worry about it again, it's a constant process of keeping yourself up relevant, visible, and being a constant value to whoever your target audiences.
Clarence Fisher: For the one thing I picked up from you just now you said respectfully reaching out in the continuously, reaching out there's, there's one businessman in my local market who fortunately is a friend of mine that it seems like no matter what he does, and he's kind of on the Branson level, but it's like, no matter what he does, it's on the news. Like it's, it's almost like, like he can just call them up. And I know this is not happening. I know I, this can be like, he's on, he's on the board, on the news board, just whenever he decides to get on there. From what I'm hearing you say is he's probably reaching out a hundred times more times than what I'm even seeing him.
Joshua Kail: If he's not doing that now. Cause then you do get to a point where, and this is at any level, where are you? If you're on a TV show or your feature column, enough times you become more of a trusted source, repetition and comfort and familiarity are valuable across the board because it shows that. But I would say probably the very beginning when he's working out that wasn't the case that he was doing that a lot more. The other example I give is, you know, a lot of companies come and be like, we want to be like Apple, right? And they're not the thing is when they think of Apple, I think of Apple today. Really what they want to be like is Apple prior to their 1983 ad, right. Where they're building out Apple was failing for decades. Right. They did a lot of work to rebrand to come up with products and all this other stuff to get to the point that are today. So when you're looking at like, I wouldn't be like Apple, great. What do I need to do from where I am now in order to get there? Not how can I instantly be there? Cause that's setting yourself up for failure.
Clarence Fisher: So we should have a list in our market of the local press and, and kind of with the goal of becoming maybe like for me, when things come down the pike, like Facebook changes, privacy issues or something like that, that I can directly speak to. Then maybe I need to be in touch with these news outlets so that I can be the trusted person. Whenever something like that comes down the line.
Joshua Kail: Yeah. I would say for that for the local news market, there's a Facebook change or a Twitter change, something I've been impacts, marketing or general usership. You'd be like, Hey, I've been working in marketing for X amount of years. I'm a local business. I had prepared five tips on how this change is going to impact you and your business. Send it over, like happy to talk about this more. Let me know if you're interested, something like that. Right. Putting in the position. Right? Because that is, you're not talking about yourself as a service. You're using your expertise to talk about how the changes that everyone's going to say. Every time Facebook changes their, uh, user interface. It's, everyone's complaining. It's not like, what does this mean? Where can I find this? If you become the local voice, talking about what this means and helping people walk through it for the business or personal, right?
Joshua Kail: That's the way you get this compensation. Now the local news station may not cover a piece like that. You kind of have, again, you have to consume what you want to be a part of so that, you know, but there's going to be something mobile, right? There's going to be a local. Everyone was, every city has a local business publication, right? Better Business Bureau puts out stuff. There's ways that there's content out there. You just have to identify it. And it may not be the most eagle pleasing one at first. Right. It's not good. It's not going to be the one that like you can pin up on your wall other than like, I think at the first time anyone gets published, but find out where you can get into and build from there.
Clarence Fisher: So you play the dives before you can play Carnegie. Right? So just for the record, I thought you, I mean, it was so magical to me. Like I thought this guy has, has Ellen in the view, like on his, in his Rolodex, because it was so back to back when he started rolling, I'm thinking, wow,
Joshua Kail: Well that was the first time I got a client on Ellen. And then I was able to use that. Then I had a contact that was at least aware and had a higher chance of reading, reading my, I think a lot of times during the interview process of businesses, looking through for PR firms, every business is like, well, who are you connected with? Like, do you have relationships with the press, the terrible question to ask anyone from PR perspective because they either do, or they've never worked at VPR, right? The nature of VPR, the nature of that outreach is having relationships at some level. It's an even playing field in that. Everyone has it, very few people I'll say very few as they want to go to the screens, have relationships with the press where they can just call someone up and be like, Hey, I got this guy and get them on. And they'll be like, yeah, either it's a horrible outlet.
Joshua Kail: Or they can only play that once. And if a VPR person has like 10 clients and they can all play at once, it's not going to be you most likely like the odds are against you in that the value of a VPR firm, the value of, of in that case with Ellen and everything that came out of it, wasn't in the connections I had. It was in figuring out the storylines and finding out what was most valuable to each individual outlet and how to build off of that. And it became easier when you get these big, big, visible things because then there's a more of a demand for you that tips and scales, but like the get on. Cause we were on Ellen took eight months of outreach because I was one of the first things when we brought them on, is that we want to be an Ellen. I was like, okay. And it was eight months of outreach and working back and forth and the logistics of, and how to give away with Logan, all this other stuff, and finally happened. And it was great. And then the next day I got a call. Like somebody would go next to me a day to celebrate.
Joshua Kail: But it's figuring out because the way we went with Ellen, it was a totally different sprayline than rolling stone. And definitely, the ARP, the biggest print, private location in the country, and that their storylines are totally different than what you would get in any of these islands are totally different from the mommy blogs. So it's understanding the versatility of a story and where to take those points that are most valuable to each individual outlet or each individual person you're speaking to at the outlet in order to make it work for them. It's not a stoic thing. It's a constantly moving, constantly adjusting news cycle thing. An event happens and it destroys the new cycle. Like when the attack on the Capitol, right? We have plans to go out with lots of pitches for our clients that week that had to stop because you come off as totally tone deaf. If you're watching the Capitol being stormed on DV, and then you're calling a resume like, Hey, you should really write about this product. Like, are you watching TV? They're humans, they're Americans, you know, it would be insane to do that. So it's just constantly changing with the times, constantly understanding what that shifting news cycle is. But that story is the value that you bring to different audiences and focusing on those.
Clarence Fisher: That's amazing. What made you start this? Get into this?
Joshua Kail: That I wanted to write for a living, but also be able to afford dinner. So that was, it was a business application of my enjoyment of writing. And then since college vastly evolved into my enjoyment of long-term strategic thinking and doing all the dot, connecting, and mentorship and all that other stuff.
Clarence Fisher: Nice. And that's typically how it happens. I started doing internet marketing, man, just to make money, to pay for the studio, a music studio. And then here I am a decade later and I'm not famous for music. We were young when we got started. Is there something that you learned before that you use today? Kind of,
Joshua Kail: I would say it's PR like everything that I learned early on was like the entry level stuff that I hated doing. It was probably the most valuable stuff because that foundational work, the work ethic, the times I got beaten down as an entry-level person, and the skill set, there were important all the way through like I still do that stuff on a regular basis or teaching people how to do that stuff on a regular basis. If I didn't take that time to focus on the learn properly, then I wouldn't be able to do any of that today. So the stuff that's more fun that I enjoy more would not have been possible if I didn't take the time to do the crap I don't like doing.
Clarence Fisher: Right. Excellent. So, and then wrapping up, you made me think of karate kid when you said that, right? This is stupid. What do you think that is the most important question that clients should be asking themselves if they are wanting to expand their market visibility through this type of media?
Joshua Kail: I mean, the first question is, what is the purpose? What do I actually want to get off doing this? Like, is it solely out of ego, which is totally fine, honestly, if you're doing yourself, but do I do that for friends all the time, I'll reach out and get them press ops for their companies as opportunities arise, or is it to highlight the business? Am I looking to ultimately sell the business? Am I looking at great customers? Am I willing to, what am I looking to overcome certain challenges that my business has seen over? What are the goals of that? Because once you figure out what your goals are and everything else around that, and then targeted, maybe you'll find some other goals along the way that also are related to it. But doing anything with purpose is really the most important part. What is the purpose of doing this and how much time and money am I willing to put in.
Clarence Fisher: Okay. And earlier you mentioned the most horrible question to ask a PR firm when you're wanting to work with them. I mean, what is the most important thing that a business should ask when they're evaluating a firm?
Joshua Kail: I think in that sales process, the biggest value you can get out of that when you're having, you know, you have a call with the sales person, so they understand what the services are and all those, when you get to the point where you're, you're talking to anyone who is actually the PR person at the front of my talking to you about it, it's not really about the whole questions you ask it's about how open you are in that conversation and what you're hearing in the answers, right? Because the value set there is the thought process and approach from the person you're speaking to, or the firm you're speaking to in. Are they listening to me? Does this sound like it's just a rote response? Is this applying to what I want to do? Because a lot of times they'll get it where it's, you know, a lot of our PR strategy is repetitive in how it's done.
Joshua Kail: You know, you have set amount of tools, you have set kind of publications, and there's a way to connect those two, but the problems or challenges of individual companies or technologies or products of services vary greatly. And so hearing how the people during that sales call speak to you about your industry, your product, your challenges, or challenges they bring up or potential opportunities they bring up will give you better insight into how you will be treated as a client and as a campaign at whatever that agency is because anybody has like, you know, who do you have connections with? Or can you get me in this publication? You know, within the first week, right? Everyone has connections. No, we can't get into doing you in the first week, you know, some might say yes, or try to get it and kind of push it forward. But like, you're looking for like instant results. There are definitely ways to jump on that, but it's not that the right way to listen to how they're talking, how they're thinking does this sync with you are these people that I can actually work within a meaningful way, having an open exchange of ideas and really work together for that company.
Clarence Fisher: That is excellent. Thank you. We'll use that. So how can someone get ahold of a lot more about Joshua Kail?
Joshua Kail: Uh, well, I mean, we have the website, which is Venture PR.C O if you want to M at the end, or, um, discoverable on LinkedIn is probably the, the best way to do it. Best way to do that.
Clarence Fisher: Excellent. Excellent. VenturePR.CO.
Joshua Kail: Correct.
Clarence Fisher: Awesome. Thank you for taking the time. I know we didn't know. We went over and I pause, abs that be everything that you were saying was just resonating with me. Thank you so, so much for taking the time.
Joshua Kail: It was good to finally see you face to face.
Clarence Fisher: Absolutely God once every decade. Yeah,
Speaker 1: I think it's a good thing.
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