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You’re Listening to the Systems Made Simple™ podcast, Episode #63, which is all about PR in business, building brand awareness, and PR marketing! Today I’m sitting down with my dear friend Kristin Marquet, who is THE expert when it comes to getting media attention for your business. She’s going to reveal her 5 easy secrets to get your business noticed by media outlets Forbes, Business News Daily, Entrepreneur.com, Thrive Global, and more, all for free. How do you do it? Well, stay tuned and find out!
Before we jump in, I’ve gotta give a shout-out to our featured listener of the week: Diane, who says: “This podcast is an exceptional resource with practical and real-life advice that’s easily applied to your everyday life. It’s a wealth of info for anyone looking for simple ways to increase their impact and decrease their stress. I especially love Courtney’s approach when it comes to mindset and changing from the inside out.”
Back in the day, I used to do my own pitches when it came to PR in business. I was the one pitching myself to be on people’s podcasts, I was the one pitching myself to secure TV segments on our local news stations, I was the one pitching myself to outlets Thrive Global, MindBodyGreen, and more. It was a lot of work, but it paid off! One of the resources I used at the time was called HARO.com, which stands for Help A Reporter Out. Anyone can create a profile for free, and every day you’ll get media opportunities emailed to you that you can review and pitch the ones that are a fit for your brand.
And that’s how I met Kristin, who quickly became one of my best friends in the business. Kristin Marquet is a woman of many talents, who started her business as a simple way to help emerging fashion, lifestyle, and beauty entrepreneurs grow their businesses. She scaled that company from freelancer to full-service agency with a team within a few months, all while attending grad school at New York University.
From there, she scaled to a full-service creative agency and created a spin-off media company and community called FemFounder.co to help teach first-time entrepreneurs (who can't afford to hire a PR or marketing firm) up their branding, PR in business, and social media marketing on their own.
And that’s when my path crossed with Kristin’s. I pitched her for a feature on her FemFounder platform, she interviewed me, and the rest is history. We have been close friends ever since and she has single-handedly helped me skyrocket my visibility and learn the ins and outs of generating traffic to my business through strategies such as SEO and PR in business.
Kristin, as you will quickly see by the time you finish listening today, is one smart cookie. Not only does she have advanced studies in data and marketing analytics, but she’s also attended MIT, Boston University, and New York University and holds degrees in literature, finance, and marketing. She’s contributed to Forbes.com, Inc.com, HuffingtonPost.com, Entrepreneur.com, and NYDailyNews.com, and she’s recently pivoted to pursue yet another long-time passion of hers: aerospace engineering. She’s the author of three best-selling books, all focused on helping you generate big publicity for your small business.
And what she’s going to share with you today are her top five easy secrets for getting media attention for your business, so you can stand out from the rest of the pitches and get your business and your message the attention it deserves. Let’s roll the tape on that interview.
Courtney Elmer: [00:00:00] Kristin welcome to the show. I am so excited that you're here.
Kristin Marquet: [00:00:04] Thank you so much for having me. It's only been about 14 months in the making.
Courtney Elmer: [00:00:09] I know! Seriously, how long have we been planning this? We'd have to go back and see when that initial text exchange was. It's been a year at least, for sure. I'm excited that we're finally here and for you to share your expertise on all things PR in business and media related with our listeners, because this is a big sticking point for entrepreneurs. They want more visibility, but don’t know how to get it. They also don’t want to waste time, because they don’t have a lot of it.
For me, I always knew PR & media sounded like a great thing for my business, but I had no idea where to begin. The time commitment involved seemed like a lot more than I could handle, especially in the early days of growing a company. So let’s start here: what are some of the major misconceptions that entrepreneurs and personal brands have about PR in business?
Kristin Marquet: [00:00:54] Yeah. If you want to get coverage that's going to help move your business from point A to point B, it goes a lot deeper than drafting a press release. Each pitch that you draft has to be specific, and meet the tone and the style of the publication that you're pitching. That's the best way to start opening those doors with different editors, podcasters, and television producers.
So number one, no blanket pitches. No press releases, unless you're sending something over the wire, which in this day and age isn't really the best use of $300 or $400.
Second, I hear from e-comm companies “Well, if you get me into Forbes or you get my product on the cover of Oprah wearing it, I'm going to sell 10,000 units of X.” That's not the case. If you want to make money, PR is not the strategy. It's a supplemental strategy, but it should solely be used for building brand awareness, thought leadership, getting yourself and your business front and center of the media.
If you're looking to make money, you have to combine publicity with other forms of digital marketing. So influencer marketing, SEO, you have to have your funnels set so that the PR in business gets you the awareness, the funnel takes care of the sales. It’s more of a holistic approach to growing a business and building brand awareness.
Publicity is great if you're trying to build your thought leadership, you want to get on TV, you want to write for PopSugar. But, publicity should not be solely used to generate sales.
The other thing that I hear so often is that publicity and advertising are the same thing. No, no, no, no, no, no. Publicity is free, whereas you're paying for advertising. You pay for the size of the feature that you want. You control the messaging, you control where it's going to be disseminated.
Whereas with publicity, the objective is to feed the media the most relevant and valuable sources so that they can craft a story. You can't pick where you want to be featured, whether that’s NY Times or Oprah Mag or Pop Sugar or Forbes.
You are at the mercy of whatever the editor or journalist is looking for. Which circles back to my first point, why you shouldn’t blanket pitch. It’s really important to create a pitch that’s going to be useful, valuable, and provide some type of educational or entertainment element to that journalist's readership. We can talk more about that: how to structure a pitch that an editor would want to open. But know that publicity and advertising are very different.
The other thing that I hear so often, especially from my older clients, is that you can't measure the effectiveness of a publicity campaign. Maybe back in the day, it was tough to measure offline radio and television and print, but with all the tools that are available today, it's very easy to measure the effectiveness of any online feature you get through it through Google analytics.
It's very easy to measure your efforts in today's digital ecosphere with something Google analytics, and the analytics are very solid and give you a holistic view of what that media coverage is doing for your business.
Those are the four biggest misconceptions that I hear about publicity, PR in business, and what it is, and how it seems so elusive.
Let me tell you something. I'm nobody. I had over 150 features last year in the national press between Forbes and Inc and Entrepreneur. So if I can do it, anybody can do it. The key is finding your story and positioning yourself effectively.
Courtney Elmer: [00:06:17] Knowing these misconceptions going into it, not only gives you a better understanding of what PR in business is and how to leverage it for growth, but also how you can position yourself strategically so that these journalists pay attention to you and want to hear what you have to say.
Something I really liked about what you said was don't go into PR in business thinking that it's going to make you money. That's your responsibility on the backend, to have those funnels set up leading people to your programs, to have those sales mechanisms in place.
But on the flip side of that coin, publicity can be a very powerful credibility booster for your brand, so that when people come to your website or come to your podcast or they see your email signature, and they're seeing that you were featured in Thrive Global or you're featured in Forbes, they think dang, this person must know what they're talking about.
As crazy as it is, we operate in the world of social proof. What's the first thing we do when we go to Amazon, we read all the reviews, right? So that is key to understand.
I want to go back to this idea of pitching to what the journalist is looking for and not sending out these blanket pitches.
As a podcast host, we get so many pitches for guests to come on the show. I can’t tell you how many generic pitches that we get, it’s laughable. I’m not even on the PR in business side of things, so I can only imagine what a journalist must get.
I don’t say this to put anyone down, but to see the haste with which people are working these days, and they’re not slowing down to take the time and think through the best way to add value, given their expertise, for what this particular media outlet or journalist might be looking for. Let’s talk about this.
What’s the best way to craft a pitch?
Kristin Marquet: [00:08:18] It starts by looking at what makes your business newsworthy or makes you newsworthy. There are a number of different things that can make your business newsworthy, whether it's a new product launch and you're hiring a new VP, or you’re the CEO and you’re opening a new office. Or if, unfortunately, your business was caught in some type of controversy or scandal. There are countless ways you can make your business newsworthy, so that’s one element.
The other element is figuring out what makes your business credible, i.e., what your credibility markers are.
I go through this exercise on a very granular level with my clients: we take a look at their education, whether they have any advanced training, where they went to school, what type of business they have, if they've worked with any type of high profile clients and gotten testimonials from them, etc. There are 14 or 15 credibility markers that I go over in my PR in business course. It’s really looking at what makes your business — and you — credible.
Once you have a pretty good idea of what those two things are, and you've crafted your brand narrative, then you can start looking at editorial calendars to identify where your story could potentially fit.
Every magazine has online, editorial calendars. If you want to try and pitch yourself to Vogue or Elle or Cosmo, all you have to do is Google “editorial calendar + the publication.” You'll be able to find out what the editorial calendar is and exactly what editors are looking for.
Once you have that information, then you can sit down and craft a short pitch that’s interesting. Something that's going to help the journalist do their job. Don't be self-serving, because they’ll overlook you.
You don't want to be promotional. you don't want to be annoying. You want to tell your story in a valuable and informative way so that you're going to help the journalists do their job, but also in a way that fits the tone and style of the publication. I get pitched all the time for Forbes, for Inc and Entrepreneur, for stories about CBD and all this stuff.
First of all, I don't write about anybody besides my own thought leadership. So that's why you need to do your research and figure out what a journalist or editor or influencer bloggers are writing about.
I also get a million pitches which are very generic. At the end of the day, I don’t care. Tell me how you’re going to help my audience grow their business, or help them do something. It’s all about what you can do for the journalist or for the blogger.
Then in terms of writing your pitch, you want to make sure that it's written in your own voice, but also so that the messages resonate with whatever publication you're pitching for.
I know it sounds very abstract and very high level. I'm happy to give you some examples so that you guys can get a better idea of what when it comes to writing a compelling pitch, that’s going to maximize your chances of getting an editor or television producer to open it and respond. That's the primary objective.
Courtney Elmer: [00:12:50] Because when you maximize your chances of them opening it, paying attention to it, reading it, you're maximizing your time as well in the time that it takes to put together and craft a really good pitch and send that out.
I'm thinking of Buzzfeed, which I think is a really good example here to make what you’re sharing very tangible. Our process, before we even sent anything to Buzzfeed, was to take a look at my expertise as well as take a look at the topics that were popular on Buzzfeed, e.g., things that Buzzfeed tends to write about.
I remember struggling a little bit. To me, Buzzfeed is super sensationalized, it's all this trendy, silly news stuff. That's not really important to me. How does my expertise on mindset and process management fit in? But we found a couple of ways to really tie the two together and have a lot of fun with it.
The two runs that went through were: 10 Self-Care Practices That Weren't Worth That Aren't Worth Your Time, which I had so much fun writing because I got to be snarky and sarcastic and then give a little bit of advice at the end and it went over really well.
The other one was one that speaks to this idea of looking at those editorial calendars and being very timely in your pitches, which was: Why You Should Ditch New Year's Resolutions
And again, lending my expertise on goal-setting and why New Year's Resolutions don't work and what to do instead, but writing to the tone of Buzzfeed, which is not as formal as a Forbes or an Entrepreneur article might be. I had the leeway to have more fun with it and more play in the writing.
Whereas there's other pieces that I've done that are strictly formal and academic, you have to write to the tone of what the outlets are looking for.
Kristin Marquet: [00:14:30] Yeah. That piece in Success Magazine, that's coming out this spring. That was dry. It didn't really exhibit so much of your personality, whereas as another example is the PopSugar piece that you had, which was excellent.
Everybody that read it said wow, this was good. You really nailed it in the sense of you adhered to the style. You kept that article in your own voice, but you also made sure that it conformed to PopSugar's overall stylistic guidelines, the grammar and all that. These things are more important than any other element of your publicity campaign once you do become a contributor or start that initial dialogue with an editor or journalist.
Courtney Elmer: [00:15:26] So for those that are getting started in PR in business, let’s say they want to get some more visibility for their brand. They want to build credibility. They definitely want to establish their thought leadership, but they feel a little overwhelmed and they don't know where the heck to begin. Let's face it. They're an entrepreneur, they're busy running a business. They might have a podcast. They have all these other things going on, not to mention family life and all the other stuff not related to business.
Where do you recommend the start on PR marketing? Break it down to brass tacks for us.
Kristin Marquet: [00:15:52]
I would suggest figuring out what makes you newsworthy and what makes you credible. Then, figure out the top 10 places that your story could potentially fit. Find out the journalists that cover those beats or those topics, and focus on your top 10. Forget about everything else.
Work on those top 10 until you land one or two features. I'm going to tell you out of every hundred pitches, you might get 10 runs. This is across the board. This is even if you’ve been doing this for 12 years. PR in business is tough.
So focus on your top 10, your dream 10. You might want to include the lowest hanging fruit within that 10. Look at your friends, look at your colleagues who have podcasts or webcasts, and see how you can build up your arsenal of media. So that you can really leverage that to book more and more features.
Courtney Elmer: [00:17:14] That's something that we did in our approach, which when we first started working together, I had hardly any publicity to speak of. I'd had a smattering of podcasts interviews that I had done an article here and there, but nothing very consistent and nothing noteworthy.
So part of our strategy was as you said, to start with that low-hanging fruit and stair-step our way up to these bigger publications. I didn't get PopSugar the first day that we started working together. That came after a few months of doing these interviews and articles and features leading up to that.
And isn't that true too? That the bigger publications also look at your credibility.
Kristin Marquet: [00:17:59] Big time. If you've had no publicity, then they're going to be like, who is this person? Why should I care? The other thing to consider is a lot of these journalists and television producers look at your social media, and obviously the larger, more engaged following you have, the more likely they're going to want to book you for an interview.
Courtney Elmer: [00:19:05] Yes. It's one of those factors of social proof. You hear about people looking at your social media for job interviews too. People stalk you so you better have your act together. So it does make sense from that perspective.
I want to talk a little bit too about getting told no. This happened to me in the very beginning when I first started pitching myself, because for the first couple of years of my business, because I didn't have anybody to do it for me. It was me out there, saying “Hey, I’m Courtney, this is what I do, this is how I can help.”
But people struggle with getting told no. I did, even though I expected to get told no. None of us wants to feel that feeling of rejection. We don’t want to feel that what we have to offer is somehow not valuable.
Now, someone saying no doesn’t mean that what you have to say isn’t valuable, but a lot of entrepreneurs jump to that conclusion.
So from an editorial perspective and from a PR in business perspective, what would be some of the reasons that a journalist might tell you no? And how could you use that to then improve your future pitches?
Kristin Marquet: [00:20:23] Yeah, that's a great question. You can get a no for pretty much any reason. It could be that the story doesn't align with what the journalist is working on now and for the near future.
It could be due to breaking news. I'm going to give you an example. I had a client who's very notable in Australia. She's the equivalent of Gordon Ramsey in Australia. She was releasing a cookbook here in the States, and I booked her a cooking segment on the Today Show.
The day before her segment, the segment producer emailed me and said we're bumping her because they had something else going on. I couldn't remember what it was. Maybe it was Gordon Ramsey.
So they bumped this very notable celebrity chef and it happens. Luckily, I was able to book her CNN, the next day, but I gotta tell you, you can't take it personally.
It's not a reflection on you. You move on. But if an editor at one publication says, no, you can try pitching another editor at that same publication, that's in a different department or has a different beat. So all hope isn't lost. I would say 95% of the time it's nothing personal.
Courtney Elmer: [00:22:46] A lot of times in the rejections that I received, someone would offer a little bit of feedback. And if they do, then you can take that and turn it around and say, okay, well, this is an area that I can improve as I go.
Kristin Marquet: [00:23:00] Absolutely. A lot of times, you're not going to get feedback from a journalist, but when you do, I would use that as a way to improve your pitch or improve your credibility.
Courtney Elmer: [00:24:21] Yeah. Go into it with that approach, expecting to get told no and knowing that it's not a reflection of you if you do. And keep going, because sometimes you have to build credibility to get credibility. This has been great, Kristin.
What other tips would you leave our listeners with today on PR in business and how to build brand awareness? What else should know as they go forth and start doing their research, looking at what makes them notable, looking at their credibility markers, and looking at the outlets out there that that would be their dream to get on and trying to figure out where that sweet spot is that they could lend their expertise?
Kristin Marquet: [00:24:57] Don't get discouraged. Rejection is part of the process, so you have to learn how to deal with taking that rejection. The other thing is a lot of the times after you send your initial pitch, you're not going to hear back. I would suggest following up a maximum of twice.
If you haven't heard back after two follow ups, then you can move on. Never stalk, never harass. That's common sense, but I've seen it before and I’ve had people send nasty emails following up on their pitches.
Have good decorum. Like I told you back when I met you, Courtney, this isn't rocket science. We aren't trying to launch people to Mars. You’re trying to get notoriety and into the press.
I'll leave you guys with some resources that you can reference if you decide that you want to embark upon your own PR in business campaign. Femfounder.co is a great resource.
Courtney Elmer: [00:26:29] We’ll link to that in the show notes. If you're looking to do your own PR in business, there are so many tips on there, and great interviews. That's how I met Kristen initially, which is so crazy, but that's where this whole journey started. And yes, don't take it too seriously and don't overthink the process.
So Kristen, I have a last question for you. I ask this to every single guest that comes on this show. No one can escape this question. And no two answers have ever been alike.
What does it mean to you to live an EffortLESS Life®?
Kristin Marquet: [00:27:07] To have manageable stress levels. Not to feel obligated in any way or like you have to respond to that email. It’s about being happy and having the flexibility and freedom to make your own choices in life and business without stressing yourself to the point where your hair turns gray.
Courtney Elmer: [00:27:35] Awesome. Where can people connect with you and find you online?
Kristin Marquet: [00:27:38] Femfounder.co that's probably the easiest.
Courtney Elmer: [00:27:42] Sweet. Kristin, thanks so much for being on today.
Kristin Marquet: [00:27:45] Thank you so much for having me. This was a lot of fun, Courtney, and I'm so glad that we had the opportunity to connect to discuss PR in business.
Courtney Elmer: [00:27:42] Me too.
I hope learning these tips was helpful for you, and I’d love to hear which one you’re going to put into action first. And speaking of gaining visibility and traffic for your business, did that hosting a podcast is one of the fastest and most effective ways to do that? If launching a show of your own is something you’ve considered doing but you aren’t sure where to start or if you’ll even have the time, then you’ll want to make sure you grab my free PDF guide, 5 Things You Need to Know Before Launching a Podcast to find out the ingredients you need to build a successful show. Head on over to courtneyelmer.com/effortlesspodcastingguide where you can download it now so you can make sure that hosting a show of your own is the best move for your business.
When you finish listening today, we'd love to hear your biggest takeaway from this episode whether its PR in business or how to build brand awareness. Follow us on Instagram @theeffortlesslife.co for daily tips on how to simplify your workflows and spend more time in your zone of genius.
Next week on the Systems Made Simple™ podcast, I’m going to show you the 4 surprising Reasons Why You’re not Hitting Consistent $10K Months in your business, and how to turn that around so you can fulfill your purpose, without sacrificing profit. That’s coming up next week, so make sure you’re subscribed to be the first to know as soon as that episode drops, and I’ll see you back here next time. Until then, go live your EffortLESS Life®.