Standing Out from the Crowd

In this, The Faces of Business, Mickie Kennedy, Founder & President, eReleases, talks about standing out from the crowd so you get noticed.

In this, The Faces of Business, Mickie Kennedy, Founder & President, eReleases, talks about standing out from the crowd so you get noticed.

At eReleases, Mickie provides small businesses with affordable press release writing and distribution services. Since 1998, Mickie has been dedicated to making PR accessible to everyone, regardless of their budget. Unlike many PR firms that only work with big clients, eReleases has helped over 10,000 small businesses get their message out to the media and the public.

Mickie is an expert in PR strategy, publicity, press release distribution, writing, and submission. He profoundly understands the media landscape and knows how to get your brand noticed. Through eReleases, Mickie distributes press releases to their in-house database of subscribing journalists and, through a partnership with PR Newswire, posts them over a true newswire that reaches newsrooms nationwide.

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Damon is excited to have Mickie on his show. The host wants to know how Mickie got into press release writing and distribution services. In response, Mickie shares his story, highlighting his transition from pursuing a Master’s degree in Fine Arts and Creative Writing to launching his business as a press release matchmaker. He started by faxing press releases to journalists and later switched to email distribution. PR Newswire approached him for collaboration, targeting his clients—startups, small businesses, authors, and speakers—with affordable pricing.

Mickie further expresses their satisfaction with his role as a small business owner and representative for their clients.

Damon asks why Mickie may choose not to do a press release for specific companies, despite the common perception that press releases are necessary for all businesses.

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The guest explains that he often receives one common type of press release related to personnel hires, such as a new VP of marketing or HR assistant. While he understands its motivation, Mickie advises against spending money to issue a press release for such announcements through the wire. Instead, he recommends saving the budget for more strategic press releases that can generate better results.

Damon acknowledges and requests the press release wizard to explain a press release before delving into the preparation process.

Mickie answers that a press release is an announcement written in the third person and intended for the media. It typically includes a dateline indicating the headquarters location. The press release follows an inverted pyramid style, starting with the most strategic and interesting elements and providing supporting information and facts. It also includes immediate contact information, often a phone number, primarily when issued over the wire. This allows busy journalists to quickly clarify any last-minute details and potentially save a story at the risk of being cut.

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While talking about the goal of a press release, Mickie reveals that companies often mistakenly believe that it is to get syndicated on multiple websites for SEO benefits. However, the primary goal of a press release is to get earned media and for journalists to write articles about the announcement in their own words with their copyright and headline.

The press release serves as a foundation for the article.

Mickie shares a successful example of a press release she worked on, which generated over 150 articles and $10 million in revenue. The press release was about a dining bond initiative to help restaurants during the pandemic. It was considered breaking news that spoke to the audience and provided actionable steps for people to take.

Mickie talks about elements in a press release that enable journalists to craft a story. He mentions that common press releases often lack these story-building elements, such as case studies and customer quotes. Mickie suggests including a case study highlighting the experience of someone who used the product and achieved positive results, along with the product features. By providing these additional elements, journalists can create a story arc that engages readers and provides a clear path for the article.

Mickie challenges the myth that small businesses are not suitable for press releases. He explains that journalists often prefer to showcase small, unique businesses rather than big, well-funded ones. Journalists act as curators and enjoy highlighting lesser-known startups, mom-and-pop shops, and crowdfunding projects because it piques their audience’s interest. “Journalists want to tell the human story.”

“That’s so cool,” exclaims Damon. The host then asks about challenging press releases that Mickie has encountered.

Mickie shares two interesting press release experiences: saving a client from deportation through media intervention. His client faced potential danger upon returning to Russia after testifying against white-collar crimes.

The second story revolves around a client called Allerca, who introduced a genetically modified hypoallergenic cat for sale as a pet. He talks about the media frenzy surrounding a company’s launch of a genetically modified cat, which later faced controversy and skepticism.

During the session, Mickie addresses concerns about survey implementation, suggesting tools like Survey Monkey and leveraging trade associations to distribute surveys. He emphasizes the relevance of asking timely and industry-specific questions, focusing on current trends and issues.

Mickie highlights the benefits of gaining authority and media attention through surveys and studies. Clients who follow this approach often receive numerous original articles, contributing to their website’s authority and visibility in search engines. The guest suggests creating a news section on the company’s website to showcase the media coverage.

Mickie shares his experience of creating a free masterclass during the pandemic, featuring successful customers and their strategies. This course is still available on his business website. Furthermore, the PR wizard advises against simply joining the trend in newsjacking, suggesting that taking a contrarian or nuanced approach can garner more attention from journalists and make a company stand out.

The guest also talks about AI-generated “compelling questions” to brainstorm.

Moreover, Mickie suggests writing your press release instead of relying on others to ensure accuracy and effectiveness. He highlights the importance of including a quote in the press release. It provides an opportunity to speak in the first person and deliver a profound statement that journalists cannot easily paraphrase.

Damon agrees with Mickie’s advice on writing press releases. Furthermore, he asks the guest to answer Muhammad’s question about whether press releases are more suitable for product-related ventures.

Mickie replies that service-based businesses can be more challenging to benefit from press releases effectively. However, he suggests that being strategic in approach increases the chances of generating media pickup.

Toward the show’s conclusion, Damon restates some of Mickie’s insights on using press releases and implementing strategies to help businesses stand out and establish themselves as industry influencers. He highlights the power of creating compelling stories and mentions the example of a restaurant that generated significant revenue through a press release.

Damon concludes the session by thanking Mickie for his valuable time and practical tips.

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41:02

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

press release, journalists, people, survey, article, company, cool, industry, story, mickey, write, media, faxing, newswire, results, interesting, generated, business, clients, news

SPEAKERS

Damon Pistulka, Mickie Kennedy

 

Damon Pistulka  00:00

All right, everyone, welcome once again to the faces of business. I am your host, Damon Pistulka. And with me here today, we have none other than Mickey Kennedy from E releases, man. Glad to have you here today, Mickey.

 

Mickie Kennedy  00:18

Oh, it’s great to be here.

 

Damon Pistulka  00:20

So when we’re, we have guests on Mickey, we always like to start out with the age old question. How did you get into what you’re doing today, you’ve been, you’ve been you’ve had your company for more than two decades, which I don’t see how it’s gonna be because you don’t look like you’re that old. First of all, but you’ve taken care of yourself well, but what got you into doing press releases.

 

Mickie Kennedy  00:49

So it is a story I was pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts and Creative Writing with an emphasis in poetry. And my my career plan was, I’m going to wait tables. And in my downtime, I’m going to read and write. And so I graduated, I worked a summer doing exactly that. And I gotta tell you, I tip 40 50% now, but for a reason. It was terrible. My ankles hurt my, my knees hurt. I was fried at the end of the day. And I wasn’t reading and I wasn’t writing. So I said Mickey needs a safe office job. So I applied, I applied to a lot of places. And a telecom research firm, hired me as employee number three.

And one of the things they said is, hey, you have a writing background, figure out press releases for us, and send them to the media. And that meant writing press releases, looking at their data and figuring out what was interesting. What’s, what story is there behind these numbers, and then faxing, we fast to about 200 people. And our fax machine was state of the art. It had 100 numbers saved, but I had to send to almost 200 people. So I did Delete. I did spend like hours and hours programming numbers and then deleting them.

And I would I begged my boss is like, can we buy a second fax machine? And he’s like, Oh, they’re just so much. They’re like, at the time. I think they were like one like that was like $5,000? Yeah, so I did that. I sent it out. I got lots of media pickup. And what I noticed is, over time, journalists would say, Hey, could you just email me press releases in the future? And I mentioned to my boss, that email seems like a better solution than faxing.

And he said, that could be a business there. And so I took the idea. And I contacted journalists in my downtime and said, Can I send you press releases on your beat? And they’re like, for free? I’m like, yeah, and they’re like, Sure, Sign me up. So I launched a little over 24 years ago with 10,000 journalists in my day to day database that I reached out to and I was just a matchmaker, I was taking clients press releases, and just sending them to journalists that were, you know, in that industry, or that they covered that subject.

And over time, the newswire PR Newswire, which is the oldest and largest newswire press releases, reached out to me and said, Hey, you should also be sending press releases through us. And I’m like, my clients are spending two or $300, you’re charging $1,500 To move a press release out naturally. And surprisingly, they didn’t walk away, they were just like, well, you know, tell us about your customers. I’m like, they’re startups. They’re lean. They’re mom and pops, their authors or speakers. And you know, they have small budgets, and they’re probably doing just a few press releases a year like three or four.

And so they said, our salespeople, we’re never going to reach out to people like that. So this would be a completely new audience for us, and we will be able to support you, but you handle all the customer service dealing with these people and holding their hands and walking them through the process. And that’s sort of what we what we do. And you know, our prices are a bit more than they were when we when I started 20 Some years ago, but there’s still a fraction of what the newswire itself actually charges for the same distribution.

 

Damon Pistulka  04:12

That’s cool. That’s cool. What’s cool, first of all, that you are doing this at a time, when you’re still faxing things, right. It’s hard to think back at a time where you’re actually putting the paper in there and get it out there. Is this

 

Mickie Kennedy  04:29

at that screeching sound at me. Like that’s the stuff of nightmares.

 

Damon Pistulka  04:33

Yes, it is. Yes, it is. If you hear it today, you’re just like, what’s that? What’s that? And that’s a good thing. But then, you know, leveraging the 10,000 journalists as a matchmaker that’s cool and, and getting getting that going, but man, it had to be very exciting when you were able to do that with PR Newswire.

 

Mickie Kennedy  04:54

Absolutely. It’s been amazing. I feel like I’m a co op of small business owner. And I represent them so I can negotiate the best price with the wire and ensure that they’re getting a really wide distribution.

 

Damon Pistulka  05:07

Yeah, yeah. So as you’re, as you’re doing this for companies, what are some of the some of the the best? Let’s start about, what are some of the reasons you don’t want to do a press release for that people may think you should.

 

Mickie Kennedy  05:27

So personnel hires rarely do anything. But yet, I think they’re probably the most common press release, we get the releases, it’s like, hey, we have a new, you know, VP of marketing or HR assistant or something like that. It I know that why they do it, because it looks good to the new hire, that we care about you enough to put this together, announce it to the world.

But don’t spend money issuing something like that over the wire, because maybe a local paper will run with it. And maybe like one or two trades, we’ll put a little on the move, little thing. And it’s better just to send directly to those places, and save your dollars more to do more strategic types of press releases.

 

Damon Pistulka  06:09

That’s a good point. Because I know that’s what some people do. And the press releases they do you know, like you said, or hired new VP, whatever. So let’s, let’s talk about the press releases themselves, first of all, so for people that haven’t even seen what goes into a press release, explain to us what makes an attractive press release. And then we can or maybe we should start with the preparation, but whatever you think, but what what is a press release? First of all,

 

Mickie Kennedy  06:45

right, so a press release is basically just a, an announcement to the media that’s written usually in the third person, company X announces something. And it has usually a Dateline, usually where you’re headquartered, but it doesn’t have to be if your exam, you know, for example, an author may want to put New York because that’s the publishing capital of the United States for the most part.

So there’s no hard fast rules in regards to that. And then you have a, you know, sort of an inverted pyramid style, where you put the most strategic and interesting elements of the press release the hook. And then you give just more supporting information and facts as the press release goes, and then you’ll have immediate contact. And usually a phone number, if you’re issuing it over the wire, just because a busy journalist who might have a last minute question, it often can save a story that’s like on the chopping block.

 

Damon Pistulka  07:45

Okay. So as you’re, as you’re talking about this press these press releases going out. So explain where these press releases go. And then how are they used?

 

Mickie Kennedy  08:03

Right. So this is probably one of the things that people get wrong the most, there’s a lot of companies out there that will syndicate your press release, which means your press release appears in several different websites, you don’t get any SEO benefit from that. Google has standards. And this is duplicate content, and their mark to indicate that, that it’s a press release. So it really if it gives you any bump, it’s very temporary just last a couple of days. But what and the newswire does that as well. They also do some syndication. But what the goal of a press release is not the syndication.

And some of these players, that’s all they do, they never send it to any journalist, your press release will never be turned into an article. And that’s the goal. We’re looking for earned media. So the press release is the foundation in which a journalist can craft a story or an article. And, you know, that’s the that’s what we’re hoping we’re hoping the New York Times writes an article about you, and they write it in their own words with their copyright, and their own headline, but you know, it’s about you, and it incorporates your announcement and your fax.

And you know, that, that that’s the one powerful thing about going over a wire and reaching journalists because I did a press release early in the pandemic. It was a dining bond initiative to help restaurants that were closed during the pandemic. And it was just sort of like a grassroots effort type of thing. And so we sent the release at no charge to help out a small PR firm that was aligned with it. And you know, it generated over 150 articles, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, all the food trades picked it up.

Dozens and dozens of newspapers, we quit counting at 150 and it generated in excess of $10 million in revenue, all from a three what would have been a three $150 press release. And you know, that’s the ability of leverage of going over a wire, if you had something that really speaks to the audience and is considered, like breaking news or something, it can really go wide and fast, because it’s happened just in a matter of days and weeks as it unfolded. And, you know, I challenge anybody in marketing to say, plug in $350, and then get, you know, X millions of dollars out, it’s really hard.

And this is history. It is an extreme example, yeah, it just, it just sort of showcases the opportunity that’s there. If you have something that’s strategic, I mean, this was positive news, when there was so much uncertainty and negative news out there.

And it was actionable people sitting at home wondering what can we do, it’s like here, you can help out your local pizza place you nominate them, if they accept it, the money goes directly to them, and a secure sort of like as a gift certificate, hoping that they’ll reopen and launch but knowing also, there’s a chance they won’t, but at least you know, the money went there. And hopefully they help support their staff and kept the lights on.

 

Damon Pistulka  11:08

Wow, that’s incredible. That’s incredible. I never really knew what you just said that your press release, your goal is to have your press release be the foundation for articles that someone else writes and puts into the, into their paper into their online, whatever.

 

Mickie Kennedy  11:30

And that and that’s why you want to make sure when you’re writing your press release that you put the elements in there for journalists to write a story. Another common press release that we get at EA releases is a product launch, where I understand you have this new product and you want to sell it and you want the media to know about it. But often, it’s just here’s the product.

And here’s a bullet list of features. And you know, if you really want to build out the elements for them to incorporate a story is put a case study in there, someone who used it, what was their experience, get a quote by them. So Company X use the product and saw a 17% reduction in logistics cost.

And here’s the quote by them talking about how amazing it is, you still have the features and the other elements. But now journalists can build a whole story arc that says, hey, here’s a new product, here’s someone who used it, it was their experience, you know, it takes you on a path. And so many times the elements aren’t there for a path. So the journalist is just really has to be an amazing writer and build, you know, figure out some other way in to the article, but you can help them by including that stuff in your announcements and making sure it’s there.

 

Damon Pistulka  12:42

Yeah, yeah, giving, giving him the information they need, and powerful reasons to write a story followed up with making it as easy as possible for them to turn into a successful story for them.

 

Mickie Kennedy  12:55

Right. And one of the biggest myths that I encounter is small businesses feel like this isn’t for me, I’m too small potatoes, you know, I don’t matter. I’m a large, well funded company. Well, the truth is, journalists don’t like to promote wealth, you know, well funded, big companies, you know, no one likes writing the Google articles or the Microsoft articles because they can afford to advertise.

So a lot of journalists really like to put the spotlight on small mom and pops small little startups Kickstarters Indiegogo is just cool little things, because they know that their audience will see that they’re like curators, they’re like, Wow, this is a little business I’d ever heard of before. And so there are lots of opportunities and don’t feel that you’re too small or don’t matter. Because you know, that that really is an advantage when it comes to the media.

 

Damon Pistulka  13:48

Yeah, that’s a great point. Because you’re right, people always root for the underdog. And if you’ve got a great story, someone’s gonna want to tell it,

 

Mickie Kennedy  13:57

right. And the story can be your end. You know, a lot of people are like, I don’t know what to write about. And it’s like, do you have an interesting story? Like my story about the, the faxing and you know, being a poet, and then stumbling into this? That’s an interesting story. And do you have an interesting story? Or was there an obstacle that you went through in building your business? I had a client that had an embarrassing thing where they had to cancel Thanksgiving, because they dropped some marketing thing right before Thanksgiving. And they were just inundated with orders.

So the whole family was in the garage, getting packaging ready to send out all of these packages, right after Thanksgiving. And I told them, that’s a great story. And they they were hesitant to include it. And they did. And that was the opening paragraph in the Ink Magazine article about this tiny little company. You know, it was relatable, and it’s something a lot of business owners have gone through these little things and it makes you you know, identifiable It makes you you know, your vulnerability is what makes you human. And journalists want to tell the human story.

 

Damon Pistulka  15:08

Wow, that’s so cool. It’s so so valuable because I know that people listening today are thinking press release, they’re gonna go product, people, you know, a new company kind of announcement of you’re launching this for opening an a facility or expanding this geography. But the way you’re explaining it really lays out some interesting uses. For press releases, like you said the story about Thanksgiving. The the other one, helping the the foundation ahead of the restaurants that had a COVID. That’s crazy. Crazy. Cool. So what are some of the some of the more challenging press releases that you’ve been a part of?

 

Mickie Kennedy  15:55

Well, I think, you know, one was I had a, a client reach out to me and say, Look, I’ve done some press releases with you to promote my business. But I’m in a situation where I came to the United States from Russia. And I got protection to be here and testified against some of the white collar crime and mafia type things that were going on in Russia. But there was a change in the administration.

And all of a sudden, he lost his, his, his rights to be here. And he said, I’m, I’ve exhausted everything I’ve spent over $100,000 With my attorneys, and we’ve gone through every appeal. And I know what my seat Eero number is on Thursday, to be taken back to Moscow. And I’ve been told I’ll be dead within 24 hours of touchdown. And so we sent out a press release, sort of an appeal. And he is still a customer today, Wall Street Journal, immediately picked it up and put it on their website.

And all of a sudden, lots of other places started picking it up. He gets a call from his local congressman, and says, let’s work on this. That was it. That was all it needed someone to intervene. And all of it stopped. And he was able to stay here here in the US. But you know, I don’t I he says it was just crazy that they would say, testifying against you know, white collar crime and stuff that was happening in Russia. You know, they granted it, then they took it away. Yeah, just it never made any sense. And so he’s he swears that I’ve saved his life.

And it is an amazing story. But that’s a lot of pressure to. But I’m glad it turned out the way that it did. But it just shows you know that sometimes just bringing something to attention. I mean, it was an interesting story that he had to tell. And I think that’s why the Wall Street Journal Amelie ran on it. Usually what happens is they would prepare for the next day. And then they would put it in print, and online at the same time, they put it online immediately, and then went to print the next day.

So yeah, they really saw the urgency as well and got involved. That was really great. And it was great reporting, because they went in and you know, really researched it and, you know, brought to light, the things that he was shining a light on and bring to our attention of some of the criminal stuff that was happening over there. So it was it was, it was it was a great opportunity. One of the most interesting things that happened to me was, we had a client called Allerca. And, you know, they have an interesting story.

But one of the thing that they were launching is they were had created a hypoallergenic genetically modified cat. And they were going to sell it as a pet. And this was probably 10 years ago, or so. And I remember being in Midway Airport in Chicago, and looking at the news desk, of all the magazines. And I’d say about a third of them had this company on the cover. Oh, really? It wasn’t positive news. Some of it was like, Are we playing god? Yeah, sure of the cat and, you know, Discover Magazine, People Magazine, everybody was talking about it was really hot.

He got they got millions of dollars for people who wanted to reserve these cats. It all sort of fell apart. Years later, people are saying that the cats weren’t really genetically modified. And it was a pyramid scheme or something like that. But it was pretty interesting story. And you know, it was a very interesting time and to get that out there. But that does go to like the vetting process. When we send out a press release. We’re taking your word that what you’re saying is yeah, you’re true.

We’re not We’re not betting and doing the the actual research that a journalist would do. Now, if a journalist got that they would want to have some vetting and stuff like that. The interesting thing is, they did have a lot of vetting in that they were research company. And they were involved in lab laboratory results for a lot of tests and stuff like that. So it seemed like anybody was going to create something like this, it would be these guys.

 

Damon Pistulka  20:24

Mm hmm. super interesting. Users. And it’s got to be like weird, like you said, even with the the person that was in a witness protection, to see a press release, go out the the high visibility, publications, take it that quickly, and turn it into something and then see the results. It’s just, it’s remarkable.

 

Mickie Kennedy  20:56

Yeah, it really is. And, you know, that being said, the most important part of a press release is what you’re announcing and what you choose to announce. And unfortunately, so many people come to E releases, with a press release, they’ve already written like, they looked at a competitor.

And they saw them do a press release. And they said, let’s do our version of that press release. And often, you’re working with press releases, that didn’t really work for your competitor. So it’s probably not going to work for you. And so I really tried to push my clients to do more strategic types of press releases, the one that always works, no matter what does take a little bit more effort is to do a survey or study within your industry.

Take the results of that, get the biggest aha moments from the survey, build it into a press release, share your analysis of why you felt that the results skewed a surprising way. And put that together, and then send it to the media. Like I have, I have clients that are just like really resistant. So I had some like, well, I don’t know how to do a survey. And it’s like Survey Monkey. It’s easy. Yeah, work. Last four questions per page, four pages, 16 questions. On the last page, you can put some fun, goofball questions.

Because once they get to the end of the survey, if they stop, you still got 75% of their results. Yeah. And, surprisingly, the last page is where a lot of the really cool survey results come from. I had a auto repair shop in Pennsylvania, say we can’t do a survey, we’re just a little auto repair shop. And like, anybody could do a survey. Yeah, just claim it and do it. They said, well, we don’t know who to send it to. And I’m like, do you belong to some trade associations, they’re like, Yeah, we belong to this independent one. And this one, it’s like, ask him, if they’ll send the survey link to their members.

In exchange for you mentioning them in the press release, you’ll be issuing over the wire. And I, you know, the small and independent trade associations don’t get a lot of love. So this is an opportunity for them to get some media attention as well. And often they’ll do it, I have had a couple of pushback and say, Would you be willing to co brand the survey, and I see no downside to that, you know, it just gives you a little bit more integrity, and, you know, authority when you’re when you’re issuing the thing. And and then, you know, send it out there.

If you’re asked really relevant questions that are very now and specific to right now. The media will want to know, and share with their audience what these results are. So you want to pick the right questions. And, you know, what’s, what’s going on in your industry right now? And, you know, things that are affecting everybody is, there’s a little economic uncertainty. So are you spending more or less in marketing over the next couple of quarters? Are you having hiring or staffing challenges?

Are you planning to lay off? Or are you planning to hire more? Are you finding it difficult to keep employees who want to work from home? So these are questions that you can ask, you can also ask really industry specific ones as well. But you know, if you take anybody’s temperature, like today, it’s gonna be different in six months. So that’s what makes a survey so they need to get out as soon as you can, and share the results because you know, the media loves numbers and data, and all you really need is at least like 100 150 results for it to be somewhat statistically relevant enough for them to be interested in.

 

Damon Pistulka  24:31

You. Yeah, that’s a great point. Because I know a lot of two things. One is the surveys, brilliant idea, because you all by doing the survey in and of itself, you become somewhat of an expert in that industry on that topic.

 

Mickie Kennedy  24:49

When you’re you’re claiming some authority within your industry and when you get picked up and often my clients who follow my my method for the survey often get between six to 14 articles every time they do a survey or study, press release. And these are, again, each one’s a unique, original article, you know, and if you know that gives some authority to your website to you, whether they link to you or not Google gives you link credit, when they tell when they can tell from an article that doesn’t have a URL, that it’s a specific company that’s mentioned, they have a patent for that.

And so you know, you get you get authority by being there. But it’s also really resulted in a lot of sales. For a lot of my clients. They’re like, we only got three or 400 clicks from this article, but two thirds of them bought.

And I’m just like, well, not everybody who read clicked, but the people who did click, you know, there was third party corroboration, a journalist wrote an article about you, it’s social proof, it’s almost like an implied endorsement. So when people clicked it what they weren’t, they didn’t have an ad mentality, they weren’t, their blinders weren’t up saying I shouldn’t be doing business with this company. Instead, they’re like, Oh, I had this warm feeling of reading this great article and hearing about this really cool company.

And now I’ve clicked through and I can, I can actually buy something more from them. So the conversions are, are so incredible compared to like, other types of traffic. And I’ve actually had people tell me that they’ve tested article as a landing page, even despite the fact that they can’t track and put a tracking on this news website. They’re just like, it just when I send traffic to that article, people just buy, they click, come back and buy. And so that’s, that’s, that’s really cool. And it just really shows that, you know, when you do get media attention, it is something that people see differently than an ad.

And it’s really valuable. And you can then take that article, and share it with your own customers, you can share it with your leads, there are people that are always going to be on the fence of whether they should work with you or not. And that same third party corroboration, that social proof that implied endorsement that happens can also be conveyed to your leads, and convert them to customers. So it really is, you know, something that’s really valuable, and you can share it on your social media, and let them know about it and build out a news site on your website as well.

 

Damon Pistulka  27:26

This is crazy. Good advice here. So if people listening here we had Muhammad had a question here, and we’ll get we’ll get to that in just a moment, Muhammad, but this is crazy, good advice. Because anyone can do a survey, like you said about something important happening in your industry, within your region, whatever it is.

And then when you talked about mentioning trade associations or other associated might be a trade association could be even local Chamber of Commerce or government age, whatever the do that in it and to share with their members then after you just hit just to get more on the survey, and then and then come out with a press release with all the results is. That’s crazy. Cool. That’s crazy. Cool, dude, I never thought of that process together like that.

And I hadn’t heard of it before. But I’m sure that you you walk people through this process, like you said, when someone goes through an article and they say that, that Mickey, you know, blah, blah, blah, did this did that and here’s how they’re helping people do even more of it. Boom, they’re gonna go, I gotta do business with Mickey. I gotta get there. And I because because, you know, he knows our industry. He’s been in and doing it. And then they see the third party proof like you said, because it’s not, not you saying it’s somebody else saying it right. And a different article about it.

 

Mickie Kennedy  28:56

Right? Absolutely. So cool.

 

Damon Pistulka  29:00

So I bet I bet you see a lot of light bulbs go off in this new see some different uses of it don’t yet.

 

Mickie Kennedy  29:06

I do I have a I put together during the pandemic a free masterclass of my most successful customers and what they were doing that was working. And the survey and study I would love to take credit for it was actually one of my customers who I noticed is doing 20 to 30 surveys a year.

They represent several different verticals. And they do a survey or study for each vertical. And then they send it out. And they get all this traffic and links to the individual segments on their website that speak to all these different verticals, and it’s just a huge traffic driver for them. And they get it. They get between eight and 20 articles every time they do one of these surveys. And like I said they’re doing more than 20 a year. It’s just it’s just really exciting.

And I felt like I have to share that with my class. servers are anybody who, who is interested. And I just went through all of these ideas that I see work again and again, and look for the common thread of what these people are doing is different than everybody else. And it’s really exciting. One of the things that a lot of people talk about is this concept of newsjacking, where if there’s something that’s really trending right now, in your industry, you join what everyone else is saying.

And I’m telling you, you don’t want to do that, because everybody’s doing it, and you’re not going to stand out. But if you’re willing, and it’s a subject that you won’t get in trouble with your customers take the contrarian side of it, everybody in your industry saying this, say the opposite. And what you’ll see is, you’ll get mentioned in the media way more than anybody else, because what happens is journalists like to cover both sides of an issue.

Often, they only go to print with one because nobody’s raised their hand and said, I represent the other side. And here’s a different viewpoint on the subject. And by being a contrarian, it allows you to get your messaging out there and stand out, and people will will see you in a lot of different places. So the news jacking doesn’t really work anymore. But you can sort of break that mold by being a contrarian, or in some cases, giving layers or nuances to the newsjacking. Like, when the target had a credit card breach.

Many years ago, I had a client come to me and said, Hey, we’re thinking about doing a press release on that we’re a security consultancy. And I’m just like, there’s probably 1400 press releases out there right now, from security consultants, I said, if you want to do something, make it unique. I said, Who’s your best customer? They go, really, it’s mom and pops, like the pizza, local pizza shop, this place that said, Well, you know, they probably are sitting there thinking, this big company, target got in trouble, they did something wrong. I’m just a pizza.

I don’t even know if this is secure or not. I said write a guide for them. And so they did. And they did get some media pickup. And I think that that is where newsjacking could work. But you have to make it more layered, nuanced, and very specific to a specific audience and making it relevant for them. And so he basically created a guide for the local local businesses to determine are you at risk of the same thing as target? Here’s, here’s things to look for, and things to avoid.

 

Damon Pistulka  32:25

So cool. It’s so cool. So let’s, let’s go back just a little bit. Now you’ve got a free masterclass, you said on this. So where can people find that,

 

Mickie Kennedy  32:36

right? It’s on my website, e releases.com. Forward slash plan, P L, a n, and it’s completely free, it’s less than an hour, anybody that’s new to PR can take this, I guarantee you’ll walk away with six to 10, great ideas for strategic types of press releases, you could do that probably would get media attention.

So if you build a PR campaign of six to eight press releases, and you choose more than half of them are from this list, you’re you’re going to get some media attention, it may not be the first release, it may not be every press release, but you will. And if you take the additional effort, and do the survey or study, I guarantee you’ll get you know several articles from that, if you do it right.

And you ask some really cool, compelling questions. And people always say, Well, that sounds easy. How do I get the cool and compelling questions? And I’m just like, you know, what are things that you would talk about? If you were at a trade show right now with other people in your industry? Like, you know, what, have you noticed that everybody’s late paying, you now is taking 90 120 days used to be 30 to 60?

That’s interesting. And if everything if other people are experiencing that, that could be something that you might want to bring to attention? And, you know, those are the types of questions that you could incorporate into a survey. So ask around as people in your business as people outside of your business, ask, you know, just just brainstorm and, you know, I haven’t tried it. But you can even see if chat GPT can help you brainstorm some compelling questions you could be asking.

 

Damon Pistulka  34:09

Yeah, yeah, we were we were talking a bit. You and I were talking a bit about it beforehand, about about AI and using using AI to generate press releases. And one of the things you brought up too, and this is not by any means an AI conversation, because you or I are not experts in AI.

But you brought up one thing that that I think is really relevant, that a lot of people might fall be falling into the trap of is that there are tools that will tell you if it’s been written by AI, and they’re pretty darn good at at checking that out. And the second thing that you brought up when we’re offline, too, is is that Google will probably be picking up or if it’s not already picking up that if you’re out generating a bunch of content on your website with AI. It could it could, and probably will Oh, someday we don’t know that. But understand that so yeah, don’t be tempted to write your press release with AI was your your

 

Mickie Kennedy  35:11

I think I think it’s safer to write it yourself. And the great thing about a press release is it’s not fine writing, you don’t have to write powerfully are insane. I do say that if you write a quote, and I recommend that you write a quote, and put it in the press release, it’s where you can speak in the first person say, say something really profound, and then quote yourself and your company. I do think that’s the place where you can elevate your writing be really concise, or specific, or have something that’s a flourish or just say something that’s really meaningful, you want to say something that a journalist can’t easily paraphrase.

I’ve had people be wiped out of their own articles where they inspired an article, the journalist wrote the article, it mentioned them had a, you know, perhaps a quote in the article, and the managing editor said, This quote is not very good. So why bother even mentioning this little company I’ve never heard of, and, you know, they don’t realize that you inspired the article, but you can be eliminated. But if you’re, if you have an amazing quote, that managing editor is gonna say, I don’t know who these people are. That’s a great quote. So he might even say, great, great job.

 

Damon Pistulka  36:18

Yeah, that’s great advice, man. Great advice. Because, you know, Mickey, I don’t think that why I don’t think that people really realize some of the things you were talking about press releases a day and how you could use them. But Muhammad asked this one question I want to get to it. He said, Are there benefits for it for a service based business doing press release? And he said, seems like as a product related thing?

 

Mickie Kennedy  36:42

I think it does make it a little more difficult being service based. But I think that if you take that free masterclass, you’re still going to find relevant ideas that are specific to your business, even being service based, and see if it, you know, generates ideas for you. If it doesn’t, then maybe it’s not a good fit. But I think that even being service based and running through that free masterclass, you probably will walk away with actionable ideas that are strategic ideas. And, you know, that’s where I think that you stand a really good chance of getting media pickup, if you can be strategic.

 

Damon Pistulka  37:18

Yeah, I think I think you’re right, because even in in a service based business, there are things happening within that industry, that you can talk about that affects customers and others in the industry that would be popular to know more about absolutely could help you. And then Jose says just confirms what you’re said, you know, right, if you put a PR in as an ad instead of instead of news, and I think that’s, as you’re saying, You’re you’re with the survey, you’re creating news,

 

Mickie Kennedy  37:54

correct? Yeah, you’re generating the actual news and the facts. And you you get the opportunity to be the analyst and say, I think this is why the results turned out this way. And here’s some analysis, and here’s who I am. And get that out there. And the media, you know, generally responds to things that are interesting, novel, exciting. And so you want to ask questions that hopefully will elicit two or three of these like, Aha, you won’t believe this, you know, that two thirds of the people in our industry believe X or Y.

 

Damon Pistulka  38:29

Yeah, yeah. So cool. And you know, as as the title of our show today, standing out from the crowd, I mean, this, this, all these things, help you stand out from that crowd and really make, you know, put yourself like we talked about with the surveys into more of an industry, influencer, not that may not be the right word, but some of this knowledgeable in the industry, and is taking the time to really do some work to understand it better, and then speak on important topics in the industry.

So, right, man, man? Well, Mickey, thanks so much for being here today. Because this is this this event, it’s been so cool, because you uncovered so many things that got my mind just swimming about using press releases, and some of the ways that that people can do it to stand out or express,

like you said, create some great stories that could get your example of the person that was in witness protection that needed help, because her deported and that didn’t happen in the the before COVID The restaurant, cause that that generated millions of dollars from from a press release that that helped local restaurants just so cool. So cool, the different ideas and how you use it. So use press releases. So if people want to reach out to Mickey, what’s the best way to get ahold of you?

 

Mickie Kennedy  39:44

So the websites e releases.com. All my social medias there, it’s my direct LinkedIn link as well. Feel free to reach out to me but also feel free to lead on my staff. We have chat phone, email, and you’ll only speak to an editor we have those salespeople we have no commissions, we generally will be honest if we feel that we can help you. And we’ll be honest, if we feel that we can’t help you. It’s all about having integrity and helping small businesses.

 

Damon Pistulka  40:11

Awesome. Awesome. And that’s what we love, man. Well, Mickey, thanks for being here today. I really appreciate you stopping by and showing us how to use press releases to stand out from the crowd. Well, it’s been a real pleasure.

 

Mickie Kennedy  40:25

Thank you. All right. Well,

 

Damon Pistulka  40:26

I want to also thank everyone that was listening, Muhammad, Jose and Kay dropping in a comment there at the end, and everyone else that didn’t drop a comment. But listen, go back and listen to what Mickey had to say about surveys all my goodness, if you didn’t listen to that about news and press release or surveys to generate cool press releases that will get you articles written. You gotta go back and listen to that. But thanks so much for being here. We’ll be back again with another episode of the faces of business. We’re out for now.

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