EPISODE 14 – HOW TO GET FREE PR FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Why hello and welcome. Welcome to Episode 14 of the Small Business Made Simple Podcast.
Now my business philosophy is that business is simple but it’s definitely NOT EASY – and there’s a massive distinction which I know I don’t need to tell any of you about!
And a lot of it is about consistency and commitment. For those of you who follow me on social or listened to Episode 1 of this podcast will know that at the end of 2018 I committed to doing 52 of these – 1 a week for 52 weeks. So far so good!
But now I’m putting it up a notch. I have a great little Facebook Group I’m building called Like Minded Business Owners – I’d love you to join – just search Like Minded Business Owners on Facebook!
I know we all belong to lots of groups on Facebook so I’ve been pondering what I can do that’s different – so, again, I am making the commitment to go, at least once a week to help YOU my listen and those in my world with their biggest challenges or those burning marketing and social media questions.
I’m going to go live every Thursday. So if you’d like to connect and get social on social – head over and join my group. I would LOVE you to come over and say HI!
But onto today’s episode. Today I’ve got a special guest. Her name is Jules Brooke and she is coming along to talk to us about how you can get FREE PR for your business. PR stands for press release – so basically Jules is going to tell us how we can get in newspapers, online blogs, or even on TV!
I 100% guarantee you it’s not as hard as you think.
I write for a couple of magazines each quarter and I got those gigs simply by reaching out to them a little while ago – now they just keep coming back and back for more!
Big, small, micro, medium – whatever, FREE PR is a fabulous way to not only build your audience, your customer or client base, but also to set yourself up as the expertise in your industry – whatever that is.
Jules has some really practical tips and tricks so if you haven’t done much PR in your business or haven’t tried it as a marketing strategy – then listen up – you will be inspired to do so!
But first, of course, our Discovery of the Week.
THIS WEEK’S DISCOVERY!
This week’s discovery has come just in time for me this week!
As mentioned just before, I have a guest coming on to chat today. So, I needed a transcript for my Show Notes – which incidentally you can get a www.socialmediaandmarketing.com.au
Normally I use www.rev.com they will transcribe your videos for you and then allow you to have captions on your video – which is becoming more and more important – just saying!
Rev costs about a $1 a minute – pretty good really and a fabulous service.
But that’s not my discovery.
Today I used www.otter.ai to do my transcription. It’s FREE so I thought I’d give it ago so I could recommend it to you all.
It was super easy – I just uploaded my audio file and it didn’t too long at all to transcribe. About 2 or 3 minutes (but my NBN was playing up a little!).
Was it as good as Rev.? No, it wasn’t. I certainly had to go through and correct some words and phrases and it did take a little time to make corrections.
Would I use it again – absolutely – but probably on shorter videos – like ones for social media rather than for my Podcast.
So, if you need some video transcription – go to www.otter.ai or www.rev.com and have a look. Transcription of video and audio are becoming more than more important in our digital marketing lives. So well worth a look at both!
HOW TO GET FREE PR IN YOUR BUSINESS
Just before I bring Jules on – I wanted to tell you a little about her.
I have known Jules personally for about 3 or 4 years now and I can tell you, hand on heart, she is probably one of the most passionate people I have ever met about their business.
I love Jules because I think she’s a little like me – go hard or go home. Be 100% on something or don’t bother.
She’s a real go getter.
Jules founded HYOPR in 2008 after the GFC made funds even tighter for already cash-strapped small businesses. Having run her own small business and specialised in small-business PR for many years, Jules had seen the power of PR to transform and grow businesses first hand. She also knew that many small businesses had incredible stories to tell, that the media is desperate for new content all the time and that PR is a process that can be taught. With this knowledge, Jules has set out to empower small businesses to manage their own PR.
I know you’re going to love this episode with Jules – so let’s get into it.
So, thanks, Jules, thanks so much for joining us on the podcast today. For those out there who don’t know you, can you tell us a little bit about Jules Brooks and what handle your own PR is all about?
I sure can. Okay, so I, I basically fell into PR myself in about 2003 when I had a little baby and I got a job from someone, which was to do with PR, and I didn’t have a clue how to do it. But I really needed the work. So, I kind of taught myself how to do it. And then on the back of that I set up an agency and we specialized in small businesses and start-ups. So, I did that for about 2003 whilst running the agency until about 2014. And then I thought, you know what I just want to focus on Handle Your Own PR. So, I gave my agency away to my business partner, who have been helped me found Handle Your Own PR, and she gave me this one. And at the time, she said, I think you’ve made the wrong decision. It was great. I was like, I haven’t because I love teaching people how to do PR. So, on the back of that in 2017, we launched a PR platform, which is really unique. There isn’t anything really like it in the in the world, particularly targeting small business owners. A platform called Handle Your Own PR (www.handleyourownpr.com.au) and what you do is you can go on, you choose the media that you want to contact. So, I’ve got categories and subcategories, so you choose who your target market is. And then you choose whether you want TV, radio, print, or whatever. And then there’s a template on there so that you can write your media release. And then you actually get to see the journalist’s names, their phone numbers, their email addresses, and you choose who you want to send it to. And you can send it from the platform, it goes from your own email address. So, all the answers go back from the journalists to you. But it’s a really easy way that you can send out and then do your follow up. So, it’s all in one platform. And it’s less than $400 a year. So that has always been my focus to make things affordable for small business owners. And then I started training people and I’ve got two or three different coaching programs. Now, almost all of them include journalists that come along that you can pick their brains about what’s the best angle for my story, or what’s the best way for me to get it out there. And they work with you to come up with the angle, and then they edit your media release. So, you still learn how to write because I think that’s really important. Even people that can’t write, and I can’t tell you how many people come to my courses saying they can’t, write. It’s only four or 500 words really for a media release. So, we just help you get that hook and help you understand what the media is looking for. So that’s kind of what Handle Your Own PR is. And I’ve got, I’ve helped people do over 650 campaigns now. So, it’s pretty exciting. And at the PR accelerators, which is my sort of main focus, we have a 90% success rate. So, everyone is getting published and 50% of them are getting on TV. So pretty exciting.
Yeah, that’s really exciting. So, I guess Jules, when you talk PR, what is PR? What does PR look like? You know, as far as getting your message out there? And why PR as opposed to every other piece of marketing that we could do – all the other marketing channels? Why is this an important one? I guess a lot of small business owners don’t really look into.
I think that is a really, really good question. Because a lot of people confuse PR with social media as well. But the kind of PR I’m talking about. So, PR stands for public relations. But the kind of PR I’m talking about is getting yourself featured in the mainstream media. So, it’s talking about getting yourself in magazines and newspapers, on radio and on TV and in blogs. So, it’s not about getting yourself an Instagram influencer.
And the reason that I think a lot of people don’t think about it is they think Firstly, that it’s going to be really hard to do. Yeah, and I also think that people are intimidated by the idea of contacting the media, and we all have that kind of thing where we go little old me, like you wouldn’t want to talk to a little old me. But the reality is that journalists are desperate for people to send them stories. We have a whole lot of journalists that come to our events, and one said that the journalists these days have to come up with seven articles a day. So, you do that by yourself, you have to have people give your ideas.
Yeah, that’s incredible. And I guess that was probably one of the biggest things that you taught me about PR, was that they actually they want to hear from me as much as I want to get contact with them. Which you kind of almost think of these people is all my little superstars, you know, that superstar, they wouldn’t want to hear from me, they write the x, y, and z or they’re on TV. So that was a really big learning curve that you’d actually given me myself. So yeah, right. Thank you.
And in terms of why PR is so good. It’s because firstly, it’s free. So, there is no money that exchanges hands, if you can come up with a good story, a magazine or a newspaper will run it and you don’t have to pay them to do it. So that makes it very attractive if you’ve got a small budget. The other thing is that the other two things really are that you get that third-party endorsements. So instead of like with an ad, where you have to basically say aren’t I great or isn’t my business great, come and use me, this is somebody else saying, look at this great business, we found, or here are some great tips from an expert that we found. And on the back of that you get that third-party endorsement and people straight away go, Wow, I must go and check this out. There’s none of that kind of have a shonky feeling because people feel that the media have checked you out first, and that you must be a leader in your field. And the other thing to go back to leader in your field is that positions you was being an expert. Yes. So you know, if you manage to write an article, for instance, if you wrote an article about you know, five things that small business owners are doing wrong when they use their social media channels, and you send that to a small business media outlets, they would love that, and they will run it for you. And that gives you credibility straightaway. Yeah. It’s a beautiful thing, really. And there’s a lot you can do with it afterwards.
Yeah, absolutely. repurposing marketing. Now, that’s, you know, very sweet, very sweet piece of advice there. And so, I guess, Jules, is PR for every business? Is there any businesses that you’ve come across that PR just won’t work for? or, conversely, is there any businesses it works exceptionally well for it?
Look, the media really wants to talk to business owners. So, whether you pay an agency, or you do it yourself, in the end, you are the person that they want to speak to, because you’re the expert in your particular area. The kinds of businesses that I myself, it difficult to help people, if they’re in a franchise, because what tends to happen in a franchise that you would; the way that PR works is that you send people to a website for more information. And if you’re a franchise, you normally are going to send it to captain’s news or, you know, whatever the name of your franchises, so therefore, you’re benefiting everyone in the group and not just yourself. That can be a difficult one. And the other one is party plan. So even though you might have your own website for Jeunesse, or for thermomix, or whatever, you are still building the brand, and it’s very hard to get those customers to go to your website and not just google thermomix and go and find whoever their local person is. So, they’re probably the two that are hardest, but there is always a way to spin a story!
So, I guess on that for people who might be listening today who haven’t got to the stage yet, where they have a website, they might have their social media channels, but they don’t actually have a website or they’ve even perhaps they have one that they’re not happy to be seen. Because it needs updating and that sort of thing. What sort of advice can you give those people who might be listening?
Well, I would tell them to have a website. To be honest, I there is no other answer, I would have to say that these days, if you’re in business, the first thing that people will do is Google you. And so, you have to have some kind of a web presence. So, the media won’t send people to a Facebook page, or, or a LinkedIn profile, they will always want to send someone either to a bricks and mortar store, or to a website. But also, the journalist is going to Google you and they want to see what it is that you do, and all your potential customers do. So, my hint there would be it’s 500 bucks, probably to put together a pretty simple website put together the website before, really you do very much marketing at all. I mean, really, websites are crucial these days, I think you’ve got to have a professional presence out there.
Yeah, I do totally agree with you that, unfortunately, you know, some people, it’s just not in their budget and that sort of thing. But if they want to get their name out there if they want to, because obviously PR has the advantage of really growing business name, and you know, your profile and your expertise really quite quickly, as you know. And you are totally right, that if you’re missing that element of a website, then perhaps you know, that’s not making you look like the expert that people perceive you.
I’ve worked with some people that maybe just have a splash page, which is really just a single page under your domain. And ideally on there, you would say, you know, website coming soon, or we’re fixing it up. If you’re interested, you know, leave your email address. And that’s one way of capturing people. So, you can market to them later. Yes, you’ve got to have some kind of a web presence, I think.
Yeah. Okay. So, what makes a good PR piece like before you gave a really great, you know, headline about social media and that sort of thing. So, what are the elements that you’re looking for? Because obviously, it’s not written about me, if we take Social Media and Marketing Australia, my business, it’s not about me, it’s about you know, giving my expertise for free in the PR. So, what are the elements that make a really good PR article that we will be picked up quite quickly?
Well, you actually said it perfectly, then. So, it’s not about you, I think the biggest trick with PR is to realize it’s not about you, it’s about their readers. So, if you can give them something that adds to their knowledge that adds to their day that makes them laugh, that makes them cry, any of those sorts of things, then they’re in. One of the things that we’ve just heard recently is how badly the digital media and looking for videos, which I didn’t realize, so there’s a little tip for you. If you can send them a couple of minutes of video, that is information that is useful to their readers, they will apparently gobble that up. So, I’m about to start promoting that myself and see whether it works.
So, you heard it here first guys! Heard it here first!
The other thing that’s really crucial to PR, particularly if you’ve got a product is your photography. You won’t get PR without a good photo. But the flip side is that I was speaking with the editor of a very influential magazine the other day, and she said, If I get a good photo, I’ll find the flipping story. Like I’ll work with you to get the story because the photo is so important to them. So that’s the second thing. And then other than that, it just remember that if you’re writing, you are not writing a letter to a journalist to ask them to write a story for you. You are really writing as if you are the journalist, and you’re offering information to people. So, everybody is an expert at something everybody knows something that other people don’t know. And I think one of the things that I say to people is if you go out to a barbecue or a party, and you tell people what you do, there will be those same three question questions that keep cropping up, the people always ask you take those questions, turn the question into a headline, and explain the or answer it underneath. And that’s a really good way to get started. So, offering tips and advice is the easiest way to get coverage. And your chances of getting picked up become nine out of 10. You know, it’s really, really probable that you will get picked up if you can offer some great tips for people or something they don’t know.
Yeah, okay. Excellent. Now, heading back a little bit, you did actually talk about a PR article, I think you said it was around five or 600 words. That is that kind of the norm of what you’re looking for? Or what they’re looking for?
Yes, yes. So what you want to do is whether you’re trying to get the journalist to write the story, which is what would happen in a newspaper, or if you are doing your own kind of tips for people, you want about four or 500 words, it needs to be very punchy, your first two or three sentences need to say what the whole media releases about. So, there is no point getting waffly at the beginning and then getting into the details, spin it all around, and put the detail up at the top. But you want five or 600 words, you want to get very quickly to the point and then you can expand on it underneath. And you need to make sure that all your details for how people can get to you by your website are down at the bottom. And that’s pretty much it.
Yep. Okay, beautiful. So, I talked to my audience about you know, whatever marketing they do to look at what the return on the investment is. So, I guess to do an article or to get on TV or to get in a newspaper or an online blog type of thing. What’s the return on the investment? What do you generally see with your students and people who you have contact with, if they get that exposure? What sort of return on their investment today, I know the investments free, other than time?
There is a time investment. And normally a small amount of it, you know, like you might need to do something like sign up to our website for the contacts.
But I mean, you could also research them if you literally have no money. So, the return on investment is huge. And I’ve got I’ve just been tracking all my students recently. So, the sorts of things that can happen. We had one person who got an article in Mamma Mia, she got 1000 extra likes on Instagram, within an hour of the article going out. We have a girl that was working with me today has had a whole lot of articles. Last year, she had a 23% increase on her social media following purely from the PR. She’s also had each time she does an article, she gets at least two inquiries from new customers who will contact her saying I read this article about you, you know, where I get people at my accelerators from articles that I’ve original articles that have been written about me, you can often get speaking requests. So, one of one of the girls, who’s had quite a few articles published now said that somebody had looked up Australia and expert on branding. And because she’d written so many articles, they contacted her and asked her if she would go to America to do a talk for them.
That sort of thing can happen for you. If you start writing regular articles, the media will start to know what it is that you do, and they will come back to you for comments, because you are the expert in your field. And I had one other woman who was a business coach. And she did one article. I’m not actually sure where she got it in. But she said she got 16 new business inquiries that month, and that is the only thing that she did differently. Your customers will find you. They will go looking for you if they like the sound of what it is that you’re writing.
Yeah. Yeah. Great. Very powerful. Yes. Well, it definitely sounds like it can be most certainly. And I guess you know, for anyone who’s listening, I often talk about, it’s not about the numbers. It’s not how many likes you get and things like that on social media. But I guess the difference with what we’re talking about today is they’re qualified likes, they have literally engaged with you and now they’re starting to follow you. So, it’s not like running a competition where it could be Joe Blow who’s decided to, you know, when the bars or something like that – qualified leads, possibly. So, it is a little bit different. So, if anyone’s out there saying but Jenn you always say it’s not about the likes, but genuinely engagement. What Jules has just spoken about them is slightly different because they are highly qualified, because I’ve already had some sort of touch point with you.
Yes. And I couldn’t agree with you more, having 1000 likes from people in India is of the next best thing to useless like they need to be your customer. By the way, let me just go back to how do you write a media release two other things, I forgot to say, if you’re writing blogs, or you’re writing articles for LinkedIn, then you’re already writing what could be a media release. And if you actually sent that off to the media before you publish it yourself, it may get picked up, which means that you’d be able to use that article in your blog or in your social media, but with the extra cachet that it’s been published by someone.
I guess on that point, Jules, is that an important point – that it has to be original content, that it can’t be necessarily something you’ve repurpose, or that you are intending to repurpose?
You could repurpose it, but you’d need to rewrite the heading and change some of the words because the reasoning behind that is the Google only will value something one. So therefore, if it says the same thing four times is only has value once. So, each media outlet wants that Google ranking. So therefore, they don’t want something that’s been published somewhere else. Having said that, in my handle your own PR Facebook page, I’ve had three people in the last two weeks, talk about getting the same article picked up six times. Yeah. So even though it’s not great for the media outlet, they don’t know, and they do it, it’s fantastic for you, because then you get six backlinks into your website, from other people publishing those articles. And unless they asked for an exclusive, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t just send them something that’s already been published.
Good. Good point. Good point. And just before we wrap up, this has been really invaluable. So I hope this is kind of sparked something in my audience, perhaps someone who hasn’t thought about using PR, or perhaps someone who thought that, you know, PR was, you know, for bigger places, is there any sort of tips or tricks that we haven’t managed to cover so far that you think is really important?
Um, well, I guess for me, I would just say, regardless of your size, so I have people, I teach people to do PR that have Kickstarter campaigns for a start-up. And that doesn’t even exist yet. And that works really well, if it’s a really interesting one, right the way through to big business, but I think everyone should be doing PR. And the other thing is that if you are spending a smaller amount of money advertising in a local paper, what PR will allow you to do is go to, you know, The Sydney Morning Herald rather than the Ennisvale Weekly, or whatever. So you can think really big things in review, think women’s weekly, one of my girls managed to get a 12 page, or she has a business called the called the be kind project and she pitched it to women’s weekly, and they did the 12 days of kindness before Christmas, featuring her business, because she pitched it. So, if you are in regional areas, and you’re targeting women, women’s weekly is another terrific magazine to go to and they look for those kinds of stories. I would just say think big and think of a magazine that you dream to be in or a newspaper you dream to be in and then approached them.
All right, that sounds great. Great.
Dream big dream big. I think you know, my tagline to these podcasts is there’s no point in dreaming small. So, you get that one on the head. That’s great!
Alright, Jules, thank you so much for this interview. It’s been fantastic. I hope everyone has got something out of it. And really encouraged to, you know, try PR in their business. And of course, all the links will be in the show notes. Guys, if you want to get in contact with Jules – well, I guess I should ask you Jules, what’s the best way for someone to get in contact with you,
the best way is probably can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org, you which you will be able to stick in the link. And the only other thing that I was going to say is we do have a trial on our platform. If anyone wants to give it a go that it’s just $1. So, you can have two weeks to play. But you do need to cancel within that two weeks if you’re not happy. Otherwise, we’re going to subscribe you for a year. And I’ve also got a free webinar. So, I’ll give you the link for that. And maybe you can say if people want to know on a half hour little thing on why they should all be doing PR.
Beautiful. All right. Right, Jules. Thanks again. I look forward to catching up with you in person again shortly. But yeah, thank you so much for coming on and providing such awesome value to my audience today.
My absolute pleasure. Thanks so much for asking me again.
Wasn’t that awesome? I hope you got some real value from it and you’re encouraged to see how getting some PR for your small business can help attract more clients or customers.
Jules mentioned that she has a trial of her $1 for 14 days on her platform. If you’d like to take her up on this offer and I definitely think you should. If you’ve never done PR when I think this will give you a real insight into just how easy it can be.
So that’s it for Episode 14. I hope you’ve not only enjoyed this episode. It’s been great to have Jules on. If you have any questions about winning free pr – just head to my Facebook group Like Minded Business Owners and ask them in there. I’m sure Jules would be happy to answer them!
I’ll be back next Thursday with some more marketing know-how and another discovery.
If you’re liking the podcast – please head over to where you listen and leave a rating and even a review – those things are GOLD for podcasters like me! I’ll be eternally grateful, and it helps others find this podcast and enjoy the free training, tips and tricks too. It could be the best gift you give them!
If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to leave me a DM on Instagram at @smallbusinessmadesimple. The DMs seriously make my day! Or, of course, pop into my Facebook group.
Catch you next week, happy winning free PR, ……
…….. and remember small business peeps, as my opening song says, there’s no point in dreaming small!