S. 1 Ep. 50 – How To Successfully Leverage PR To Grow

Cece Payne

Cece Payne

Content & Graphic Design Manager - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!
Cece Payne

Cece Payne

Content & Graphic Design Manager - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!
Technically Speaking S 1 Ep 50 - How To Successfully Leverage PR To Grow with SpeakerFlow and Justin Goldstein

In today’s episode, we’re talking about what it really takes to leverage PR and see success with it.

The perfect person for the job?

Justin Goldstein, owner of Press Record.

Justin is an award-winning public relations practitioner, developing and implementing communications programs that have supported clients in public affairs, technology, consumer markets, lifestyle and more. 

His work has been recognized by PR News, PR Newswire and the Hermes Creative Awards. 

And that’s why we brought him in to help us understand how to successfully leverage PR to grow, what some of the misconceptions are, and how PR compares to other advertising channels.

Let’s dive in!

Watch the Podcast 👀

Listen to the Podcast 🎤

Show Notes 📓

✅   Check out Justin’s Company, pressrecord.co

✅   Email Justin! [email protected]

🎤  Thank you to our sponsor, Libsyn Studio (formerly Auxbus)! Want the best podcasting solution out there? Learn more here: https://www.libsynstudio.com/

🚀   And as always, don’t forget about all the mind-blowing free resources at https://speakerflow.com/resources/

Read the Transcription 🤓

Taylorr: Welcome to another episode of Technically Speaking. We’re your hosts, Taylorr and Austin and today we are talking about how to successfully leverage PR in order to grow. We’re talking about some of the misconceptions and how PR compares specifically to other advertising channels and the perfect person for the job, well, that’s Justin Goldstein owner of Press Record. Justin is an award-winning public relations practitioner, developing and implementing communications programs that have supported clients in public affairs, technology, consumer markets, lifestyle, and more. His work has been recognized by PR News, PR News Wire and the Hermes Creative Awards and that’s why we brought him in to help us understand how to successfully leverage PR. So, if you’re wondering how you can leverage PR to grow and how to do it successfully, this is the episode for you. Don’t forget to stick around until the end for some awesome resources and as always, we hope you liked this one. And we are live. Welcome to the show, Justin. It Is incredible to have you here today. Welcome.

Justin: Thanks so much for having me.

Taylorr: Yeah.

Austin: Yeah, it’s our pleasure, really. It’s been a little while. We chatted about doing this podcast like months ago and we had to reschedule once, but we’re finally here so it feels like [cross-talk 01:27]. Yeah.

Justin: Very happy to be here.

Austin: For sure.

Taylorr: Yeah, certainly. So, we’re going to talk about PR today as you know Justin, and I really just want to uncover all things about PR what some of the misconceptions are, how people can leverage it appropriately, what the right mindset about PR should be. So, let’s kick off by diving into your background. How did you get into the PR space and what was your journey like?

Justin: Sure. So, I started, I guess you could say my venture into PR in college. I was a PR major at Hofstra University on Long Island, go pride, here in New York. And then after that, I interned at a couple of different places Allstate Insurance in their PR department and Hofstra’s Sports or Athletics Department. And once I got out of grad school, I worked part-time for an accounting firm. I was looking for a job, but then I went to my first firm that was based in DC. We had a solid office here in New York and worked there for about two and a half years focusing mainly on the broadcast PR space. And then after that, I went to a larger firm called Finn Partners and worked in business-to-business tech PR. And then couple f years ago, I decided to make the leap and start my own practice, which focuses on what’s called strategic media relations, basically a fancy term for publicity.

Sort of spanning across broadcast print online, and then we’re going to be venturing into content development from a broadcaster audio and video perspective as well. So firm is growing, thankfully we’ve been doing really well in the past couple of years, came out of the pandemic nicely, and now we’re just hoping to set up for future success.

Austin: Yeah. Cool story. And it sounds like you were like called to the PR world pretty early on. Why do you think that was?

Justin: I think it’s a couple of things. One is I think a creative person so there’s only really a couple of fields that you can really be creative in marketing and PR being the top two. And I didn’t see myself wanting to go full creative, which I think would have been more on the advertising side. I think PR gives you a little bit more client relations experience and also just more of an opportunity to communicate with outside parties like reporters, for example. So, it was a little bit of that, I just like talking to people so it gives me an opportunity to talk to journalists every day, talk to colleagues, whoever it is and have a reason to do so. So, I think it was a mixture of the creativity and the ability to use my personality that I think was a nice combination to draw me in.

Austin: I love that. Well, a lot of our listeners being professional speakers, I think find a similar scenario for their own business. It’s part creative part relationship focused, and it’s kind of a cool middle ground where somebody that likes to deliver results can also be creative in the pursuit of delivering those results.

Justin: I’m sure. Yeah.

Austin: So, can we just take a second to define this? I think PR is one of those terms that gets tossed around a lot. And I think most of us go around our lives just thinking that we really understand what that means, and I’m not sure that all of us do myself included in that. So, from the eyes of an expert, could you just start real high level and breakdown what PR really is in the professional world of PR?

Justin: So, I think there’s a couple of core tenants for what PR really means these days. The first tenant is of course, looking to produce a strategy that’s going to position a brand or an individual favorably. But I think the other tenant that’s really important to keep in mind is that it’s about providing value to key stakeholders. So, you can look at that a couple of different ways. One is that if the brand or the individual is doing really well, let’s say you’re a publicly traded company and you’re a big organization. If the image of the company is doing really well, then your stockholders are going to do really well, the board of directors is going to be happy, your employees are going to be happy so you’re satisfying different stakeholders. And then if you’re an individual, might help to benefit your thought leadership endeavors, like writing a book or doing a speaking opportunity. So, by providing value, you get something back in terms of the benefit long-term for your own business.

But I think one of the key misconceptions, and if I’m jumping ahead here, definitely feel free to let me know. But I think one of the key misconceptions is that public relations is going to necessarily have an impact on the bottom line, which it certainly can, we just talked about it could bring in ancillary opportunities, but it’s not necessarily going to connect the dots and say, well, we did this PR effort so we saw a 10% increase in revenue. It certainly could have that impact, but it’s not always going to have that impact so I think it’s also maybe a third tenant is that PR and even marketing to some extent, plays more of a supporting role for business than it does actually making or breaking the bottom line of a business. It can make or break the perception and sort of the overall positioning of a company or individual, but it’s not necessarily going to increase their, their profits. And so, taking a step back, I would say that one thing to keep in mind about PR is that it doesn’t necessarily increase profits, but it could decrease revenue, profits or business because if you don’t have a favorable image and you do something wrong, you say something wrong, et cetera, that could hurt the bottom line of the business, but it doesn’t necessarily increase the bottom line of the business.

Taylorr: Sure. Yeah, it sounds like it’s just not as direct as people often make it out to be like with things like paid advertising, let’s say you put certain dollars in, you often get certain dollars out. It’s pretty easy to bridge a gap in ROI, but PR is really is an indirect form of building authority, building perception and having that perception and authority I think will have ancillary opportunities to your point increase the bottom line but if we don’t have that authority, we’re certainly missing out and there’s a large opportunity cost involved. Is that thinking right?

Justin: Yeah, definitely. I think the only difference I would say with paid advertising, if you’re talking social ads, for example, is that you can create a lead form for example, and actually get leads from that. Whereas if you get an article place from a media relations or publicity push, it’s not necessarily going to lead to somebody clicking on your site and then emailing you. So, I think that that’s one of the big distinct differences between the two, but what advertising isn’t going to do for you that PR does is that it can establish you, as you mentioned as an authority in your space. Because with advertising, it’s kind of known that you’re paying for it and it’s meant to cater to what you want, as opposed to getting a media placement where you have to work with the journalists that journalist has to vet you out, that out what you’re saying, and then decide to publish it. You earn that opportunity, which is a little bit different.

Taylorr: Yeah. That’s certainly makes sense. So, I know we talked about article placement, but what other channels make up PR a lot of the time when you’re interfacing with these journalists and publicists? Is it only journal placement or article placement? Is it potentially new segments like podcasting? What channels are often leveraged with PR?

Justin: Yeah. So that’s what I was getting at earlier that there are different facets and channels of PR as you mentioned. So, one is yes, getting an online or print placement, another getting, let’s say a TV or interview segment or a coverage of a press conference, for example. But then it also does go into doing speaking opportunities. So, there’s definitely different platforms to get your message out it’s just a matter of which one is going to benefit you the most and tie back to your goals.

Austin: That makes sense. Is there like a process that you would walk your clients through in terms of helping them determine which of those channels may be best suited for their scenario?

Justin: Absolutely. I think if your clients are more reserved than speaking opportunities probably aren’t going to be a fit for you at least initially until you’d do some training and maybe do a couple of smaller ones. If they’re not comfortable being in front of a camera than a TV interview, probably isn’t going to be the right fit. So, it’s really just determining what their comfortability level is also where their audience plays. So, if their audience doesn’t really read magazines, then magazines aren’t going to be the right fit if they’re more going online, which may not be the best example, because we’re all pretty much reading things online at this point, but there are still printed editions of different publications. Like the New York times it’s print online so if you know that your audience doesn’t read, or maybe they’re in a younger demographic, you might want to go after blogs. So, it’s more so determining who your audience is, which is the most to me, important part before even figuring out who you’re going to reach out to media wise.

Austin: Yeah. That makes sense. So, you’ve been doing this for a while, I’m curious, have you seen some of these channel’s progress, meaning some get more popular while others have dwindled out and what are some of those channels that have increased in popularity in recent years versus those that have started to lose interest?

Jusin: Well, I think the booming space which we’re talking on right now is podcasting. It’s just completely exploded over the past maybe five or six years. We see that with Spotify investing nearly a billion dollars into podcast development and I think it’s over half a million or close to a million podcasts that are out there now. So, the space is definitely booming and I think it will only evolve much like we saw with radio where it went from being just the AM FM dial to internet radio, satellite radio, you could say in some ways that podcasting platforms like Spotify and apple music are radio in some ways. I would say podcasting is booming, the print space is definitely not where it was, but if you want to find a place to read quality news coverage or commentary, local media is one of the best places. It’s definitely a space that is unfortunately dwindling a bit because it’s been getting bought by private equity firms or bigger media conglomerates but the quality of reporting on the local end is exceptional and sometimes to me, even better than the national reporting that’s out there.

Austin: You find that’s because it tends to produce better results, I guess, by whatever that definition may be, or is it because it’s easier to get to or?…

Justin: I’m not really sure what the answer is. It seems to me that the investigative reporting on the local end is much stronger. I’m not sure if that’s because there’s just less masters to answer to, when you’re on the level of the Wall Street Journal, the New York times, there’s many different stakeholders to answer to. Not to say that local doesn’t either, but you’re just playing on a whole different level so that might be one of the reasons why.

Taylorr: Gotcha. Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. How long have you been in the PR industry now?

Justin: 10 years.

Taylorr: 10 years. So, man, so much must have changed even over those last 10 years. How do you think it’s evolved in the last 10 years that you’ve been I’m doing this thing? What do you think’s been the most dramatic shift?

Justin: When I first got into it, I was pretty naive to the business because I was entry level, didn’t really understand it too much and I think the reputation of the industry in my opinion, has actually gotten better where it used to be known as you guys probably know, it used to be known as more of a spin industry. Which I think it still has that reputation in some aspects but now I definitely see those of us in the space being taken more seriously as practitioners and being able to do more for clients than just get a placement in the Wall Street Journal. That’s still something that clients really want. And it’s always going to be there the way in which we go about getting it and the venues to get it are going to change but getting media placements is always going to be, I think, a core goal for clients. But all that to say, I think it’s gone beyond that and it’s more about getting strategic counsel on how to create the right website, make sure that your website has the right language, how to go about pulling together a speaking submission, all these different things that I think clients knew we were doing, but those people outside of the industry, maybe weren’t as aware of.

Taylorr: [Inaudible 13:12] Yeah.

Austin: Well, I mean, each individual has never had a greater opportunity to be heard than they do now. So, I imagine in a lot of ways, there’s just more opportunity than ever before to get media places because there’s never been more media available through that time and it’s still not stopping. I don’t know what the statistic is, but it’s like there’s more information being created on the internet each day than existed in the entirety of the internet prior to that day or some crazy number like that. As things progress, I imagine the, the opportunities are going to increase and people will just have more options available to them if they’re interested in pursuing some form of PR.

Justin: Yeah, absolutely. And I think also that’s why journalists, believe it or not, I think really value working with a strong publicist or PR practitioner because they do have to sift through all of that information. And sometimes it can be really difficult to find a source that is credible and will actually provide value and that’s where the PR practitioner comes in where we say, hey, listen, we have this client, we’ve vetted them out, we know what they could talk about. Do you want to talk to them? So they really do value those relationships, but it’s also on the practitioner to make sure they’re keeping those relationships and not messing it up basically.

Taylorr: Yeah. Well, you’re like the ultimate form of sort of a bridge because most of the time these people probably wouldn’t be able to get in touch with those media contacts at all. They’re busy people, I’m sure they get hit up all the time, being able to sort of take the inside route I feel like is one of the main benefits of working with a professional PR practitioner. I’m curious, we’ve talked about a whole bunch of different things so far. A lot of the people that are listening to this podcast are individual business owners with a small team, but generally they’re speakers, coaches, consultants, authors, other podcasters, they’re what we would call the expert niche. So how would the strategy that you may suggest a business like this take versus a large corporation? What are some of the main distinctions in terms of that strategy?

Justin: In terms of coming up the PR strategy, like you said, for a podcast or maybe a smaller business?

Taylorr: Yeah, for like an individual business owner, like a speaker, coach, consultant somebody versus a huge enterprise.

Justin: Yeah. So, I think there’s a couple of things to talk about there. So one is that clearly one of the main differences is going to be… well what it would be is that, again, there’s less voices in the mix, so if you’re an individual, you’re not going to have to worry about getting your CEO involved, like whoever it is to do media or to partake in speaking, whatever it is, so the first thing to understand is that the program is going to be focused on you. And then the second thing to identify, I think really what’s critical is what your budget is because that’s going to help determine what kind of services a PR firm can offer. When you’re a bigger company like Apple, for example, it doesn’t matter, I’m sure. Well, it does, but I’m just saying they don’t have to worry about every penny.

But when you’re an individual, clearly your budgets are going to be a little bit tighter. So, it’s getting an understanding of how much money you have to spend and what’s really a value to you. And then working with the practitioner as well, to figure out what is going to be a value. So, again, if you know your audience doesn’t really read magazines and targeting magazines, we want to take that out, that might help the lessen the budget. If you know in this case that they’re going to show up to speaking opportunities that we want to put an emphasis and a priority on speaking. So, the second part is really understanding what is going to provide that value and then mapping out the next steps from there.

Taylorr: Nice. Yeah. That makes perfect sense.

Justin: I think it’s also having an understanding that it may take a little longer to develop that value because again, if you’re not a bigger company, like an IBM or Apple or Uber, whoever, it’s not going to be like a reporter says, for example, oh, I need to speak to the CTO of Uber or a speaking opportunity and the organizer’s going to say, yeah, I need to book you right now to come speak next week. It might take a little longer to develop those opportunities if you haven’t done so in the past.

Taylorr: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. It sounds like as an individual, you might have to put in a little bit more consistency than just having an impact right out of the gate, which I think makes sense. One of the things that we hear a lot from individuals who want to do PR is like, oh, I’ve got a book coming up, so I need to do PR or I’ve got a new course, I’m going to do some PR or I’ve got this new talk so I’m going to do PR, it always seems pretty reactive rather than this being this kind of compounding, maybe marketing channel that they’re always kind of doing. Is there a best practice there? Should PR be reactive to what you want to promote at any point in time? Or should it just be a consistent thing that you’re always working on? Do you have any insights there?

Justin: Yeah. So, I think, especially for book authors doing press more in advance or coming up with a PR plan further in advance of when the book is actually going to come out is really important because you help to see the market, you develop those relationships with reporters, you, again, do those speaking opportunities, hopefully before the book comes out and you build that momentum and engagement. If you wait until like two weeks before the book comes out, it’s just not going to resonate as much and I would also add that after the book, it’s also good to do some PR because it helps to keep the momentum going even for a brief amount of time. If you have the budget, I think it’s worth it to do PR independent of a book because it only helps to again, build your profile for when the book comes out. But if you only have the budget to do it for the book that I think you want to be reactive in the sense that you’re doing it, because there’s a book coming out, but you don’t want to wait until the last minute to do it.

Taylorr: Yeah.

Austin: A little bit of a mix of both, then it sounds like.

Taylorr: Yeah. Well, it sounds like just establishing the relationships early on to make those campaigns more impactful. When you want to talk about a new book or a new talk or a new whatever it is. If you’ve done PR and you have established kind of relationship with a PR professional, it sounds like just getting those things accomplished, becomes more impactful since you have the relationships lined up.

Justin: Exactly, exactly. But also, it’s about having the visibility leading up to that launch that if people know you and they’ve seen you and they’ve heard you, they’re going to be hopefully more willing to purchase your book.

Taylorr: Hmm.

Austin: Yeah. Well, I mean, I think one of the main things that people miss about PR is outside of any direct results the authority that getting on a new segment or something can create for normal people is pretty significant. We look at people that have been featured in news segments as sort of pseudo celebrities, you know, maybe not the, I don’t know Matt Damon’s of the world, but certainly more than the average Joe and so, if you want to sell more books or anything else, then building that trust is really important. And I think this is one of those ways that you can leverage the fact that you’ve done this in the past as a way to build that trust and authority with people to sell whatever it may be, or nothing just to develop the personal brand and be known as the thought leader in any specific sector.

Justin: Yeah, absolutely. A hundred percent.

Austin: So, there’s a lot of people that are listening to this that I know have been attracted to PR in the past and maybe wondering like if they’re in the right place to be investing in PR, and I know that for each individual firm it’s going to be different in terms of who makes somebody qualified, let’s say to be working with them. But if you could just give us like sort of a general snapshot of what makes somebody a really good fit for starting a PR strategy, I think that would help a lot of our listeners decide when they may do that for themselves.

Justin: Absolutely. So, I think that the key to that is deciding and committing to having capacity to serve as a partner to the PR practitioner firm. And the reason I say that is because a lot of times, what I find with clients is that they want to do PR, but they don’t want to put the time into really making it work. And that’s not necessarily their fault, they might just be really busy and not have the time. So, especially as an individual, you have to be willing to come to the table and offer commentary for reporters. You have to be able to feel comfortable going on the phone or a zoom call or whatever it is with a reporter. You have to be willing to accept direction from your practitioner who says, I need this, this and this, to give it to me, and I actually give it to them, right? Unless you have serious, serious concerns. So, I think the biggest thing here is you have to be willing to serve as a partner to the practitioner that you’re working with because you know, of course that practitioner is going to want to take the burden off of you and do as much of the legwork as he or she can but at the end of the day, they need your input and your guidance to help get the job done the right way. So as long as you’re willing to serve as a partner, then you will find success. But that is the biggest thing is to make sure you have the time and the willingness to commit.

Taylorr: Yeah. That makes perfect sense. We see that all the time, too, even the work that we do. If you don’t work on the thing you’ve just purchased, you often aren’t going to leverage it to the biggest extent and that equally goes with service-based businesses. And as you can imagine too, as a PR professional, like it’s difficult because you have to get into the minds of the client, their business, their audience, you really are a partner in this of learning where their audience lives, so you can have the biggest impact on the relations side so yeah, you’re going to have to come to the table to obviously share all those insights. Now, once somebody has gone through some PR work, let’s say, how do we leverage that regularly in our business? A lot of the times we’ll see somebody who’s just got a placement, they might post about it once on social media, but it pretty much stops there. Is there anything we can be doing to be more active in promoting the PR that we have? How do we leverage the PR that we’ve acquired after we’ve acquired it?

Justin: Yeah. So, I think what I would recommend is syndication. And what I mean by that is, let’s say for example, you have a media placement. You can use that media placement for developing social posts. You can pull quotes from the actual article and repurpose them onto LinkedIn or Twitter, let’s say and then linked to the article that you were featured in. So that’s one way. If you have a speaking opportunity, you could have the organizers recorded and then use it as video and audio content for your website, for your social channels, whatever it is. So, to me, repurposing or syndicating content is the number one way that you’re going to be able to extract the value out of it. Because that’s what we talked about at the beginning, where PR is more of a support system, I would say, or especially from a media or repurposing perspective, it’s a support system to achieve your goals, whether that be sales, marketing, whatever it is. So, the more that you can kind of plug it in to all those different channels, the more successful you’re going to have.

Taylorr: Gotcha, yeah.

Austin: Is it possible to have call to actions of sorts in your PR as a way to leverage it. So let me take a step back. One of the strategies that we’ll use with a lot of our clients that are working on like a podcast initiative is to have some sort of landing page, maybe it’s my website.com/podcast or whatever, where we can send listeners to maybe deliver a free value ad like a workbook or something, and essentially become part of the list and therefore capture information. So, like podcast is one way where that’s pretty doable since we’re just working with individual brands and so on, but I’m a little bit less clear about how something like that may work, if it could work at all with something like the news space, where if we go get a new segment. Can we actually have call to actions where we can essentially capture people’s information as a way to leverage the PR when we go and do something like a new segment?

Justin: And you’re talking within the actual segments, have that call to action?

Austin: Yeah. Hey viewers…

Taylorr: Or the article, or…

Austin: go to my website.com/this TV show name, and we’ll give you our free thing for whatever. Is that doable? News channels allow for that?

Justin: It really depends. I think especially in the online space, it’s hard because reporters will want to see kind of some value in linking back or having that call to action there. So, a good example is when a company has a new reporter survey, if you can link back to the landing page where you can download it to see the results, that’s an example of where value is being provided. But oftentimes they’ll say, yeah, if we’re just linking back to your site to promote it, sometimes that doesn’t work. So, I think it’s really just thinking through the value or positioning it when you talk to the reporter, for example, the value that going to the website will provide, and that should help to bring that call to action to the finish line a little bit more.

Taylorr: Yeah. Perfect sense, I’m glad you highlighted that. So obviously hiring a PR expert like yourself is best case scenario, but what could somebody just starting out do with PR to start making progress?

Justin: In terms of what are some small steps they could take just to kind of get the ball rolling? Yeah. So, I think one is figuring out a list of maybe three to four key messages or topics that you want to talk about, pulling together your bio and getting your headshots done, which is important as well and then creating a list of outlets that you want to speak to, or again, speaking opportunities that you want to go after and I’m just starting to send emails. Even if it’s just for like a general email That doesn’t have a specific contact, just getting your name out there and starting the processes is a good idea. But I think it’s getting some of the core work of figuring out exactly what it is you want to say before you say it that’s important.

Taylorr: Yeah, for sure. I can see how that can easily go overlooked and we can just go right to just doing the PR or trying to get the PR without having any of that established. So super practical advice for anyone wanting to get started on PR do that first, then make sure you hit up Justin and speaking of Justin, as you know we’re all about creating value for our audience. What’s the best way for people to get in touch with you if they want to learn more about PR?

Justin: So best way would be first email. So, you can email me directly at [email protected] And then you can also visit our site at www.pressrecord.co.com.

Taylorr: Awesome. Well, hey, we’ll make sure those links are in the show notes and hey, if you liked this episode, don’t forget to rate it, like it, subscribe to it. If you want more awesome resources like this, go to speaker flow.com/resources. Thank you so much for chiming in. I just wanted to take a second to thank our sponsor Auxbus. Auxbus is the all-in-one suite of tools you need to run your podcast and it’s actually what we run here at Speaker Flow for Technically Speaking. It makes planning podcast simple; it makes recording podcasts simple; it even makes publishing podcasts to the masses simple and quite honestly, Technically Speaking, wouldn’t be up as soon as it is without Auxbus. Thank you so much Auxbus. And if you are interested in checking Auxbus out, whether you’re starting a podcast or you have one currently get our special offer auxbus.com/speakerflow, or click the link below in our show notes.

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