Public relations has always been an essential part of doing business which is probably why you're shelling out big money to an outside PR firm. But the truth is that you don't need them. You already have all the necessary tools in-house to do as good as job as the so-called experts. Cameron Herold and Adrian Salamunovic have taught thousands of company execs how to exploit free media coverage and ditch these expensive, often ineffective outsiders. In Free PR, you'll learn how the media world operates while you gain invaluable insider knowledge on how to: Build your own in-house PR team Provide effective interviews Score great media coverage gratis with just a few easy steps You've got more passion, commitment, a larger stake, and a deeper understanding of your business than any outside firm could ever have. So stop wasting money and take the reins yourself.
Common lore tells us that getting media attention is a complex, almost scientific process that involves hiring public relations firms or consultants who have magical inroads the rest of us don't have access to. In the interest of our business, we pay an average of $5,000 or more per month to these PR magicians, who may or may not deliver on what they're selling.
Still, we pay, because what other options do we have?
The answer is: we have plenty of other options. Not only are these options effective, but they're also free.
Perhaps you've heard of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, a junk-removal service. Its former chief operating officer and this book's coauthor, Cameron Herold, will be the first to admit that junk removal is not necessarily the most glamorous or sexy service. Nonetheless, Cameron managed to grow the business from $2 million to $106 million in revenue and from fourteen head office employees to 3,300 system-wide employees in just six years.
Cameron accomplished this spectacular growth almost solely through media placement-in other words, through PR. In just a few years' time, Cameron built out the internal PR team and systems that landed 1-800-GOT-JUNK? more than 5,200 individual media stories. Among those were huge media hits like Fortune, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CNBC's Squawk Box, and the holy grail, the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Perhaps you've noticed that Cameron's title at the company had nothing to do with public relations. He didn't need any specific degrees or training. There weren't any consultants or external PR firms involved. He built a small internal team, and he used little more than the cost of his own time. He opened these doors for himself through creativity, research, dedication, and his own vision.
While Cameron went on to teach CEOs at major international companies how to grow and scale their businesses through the same strategies he employed at 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, coauthor Adrian Salamunovic was busy working his own magic out of a 600-square-foot apartment in Ottawa. With no more funding than his credit card, Adrian launched DNA11-a company that specializes in turning images of DNA into art. He had no advertising or PR budget to spend and nothing to lose.
Adrian personally reached out to WIRED, Playboy, and Discovery Channel, as well as a handful of influential blogs. All of them ran with the story. To put this in context, at the time, it would have cost $50,000 to run an advertisement in WIRED. Instead, Adrian earned more meaningful editorial space in the same publication for no cost at all other than being interesting. As a result, DNA11 garnered press coverage that generated more than $80,000 worth of holiday sales in just one month. Throughout its first year, DNA11 continued to use PR as its only form of advertising-the best type of advertising, because it was free and reputable. It worked. In its first year, DNA11 raked in more than $1 million in sales.
Despite the fact that he was now running a profitable company, Adrian continued to utilize this exact same strategy to fuel DNA11's businesses for many years to come, ultimately generating tens of millions of dollars in revenue. He then used the same process and methodologies we will cover in this book to scale CanvasPop, an e-commerce photo-printing company, to eight figures in revenue, mostly using the power of free PR. The fact is, almost any business can benefit from PR and apply the strategies outlined in this book, no matter what industry you're in.
On his own accord, Adrian scored hits at highly visible media outlets such as The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, and even an entire plotline on an episode of CSI: NY at the point when it was one of the most-watched television shows worldwide. Adrian has experienced few more thrilling moments in life than watching that episode of CSI with his family and friends in the very same apartment where he launched DNA11 just a few years before.
Over the years, Adrian has gone on to score exposure for his companies and others in sought-after media outlets, such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Verge, Mashable, Today Show, and hundreds more. In the course of this, he learned that with the right process in place, there are no limits to where a company can appear for free.
The Current PR Model Is Broken
Perhaps you're wondering, "Well, if it's so easy to get press for my business, then why am I paying all of this money to a PR agency every month?" The answer is: you shouldn't be. The current public relations model is broken.
Think about it like this: you're spending the equivalent of a full-time salary on a consultant who is likely only focused on you for one day a week. The hard work-the critical work-of developing story angles that will capture the attention of a reporter is assigned to this public relations rep, who you have to hope will craft quality story ideas. If they fail, which there's a strong possibility they will, then you've lost out on a significant amount of money with nothing to show for it.
Part of the problem is that the PR rep you hire will only have a superficial understanding of your company culture, lore, and the ins and outs of your business. They aren't passionate or dedicated to telling the world about your company because they care; they're acting solely out of financial interest. There's nothing wrong with this-after all, that's business. But is this model serving you right? Probably not.
Perhaps you, like so many other companies, signed on with a PR firm because you were sold on the company's list of contacts and relationships with the press. After a while, you come to find out that either (1) those media relationships aren't as solid as initially claimed, or (2) the PR firm only solicits their high-level media contacts on behalf of bigger, more established companies than yours.
So you start to wonder, "What am I paying this PR firm for, anyway?" Good question. In fact, we hope you're asking yourself that question. If you're not, you should be, because there is a better way for you to attain your PR goals minus the frustration, disappointment, and cost of hiring a PR firm.
The answer: do it yourself. For free.
When Cameron joined 1-800-GOT-JUNK? as COO in October 2000, the company was paying a San Diego-based PR firm $5,000 per month to generate media hits. Cameron had a term for this strategy: "a waste of money." Instead, he reached for his phone and, within two weeks, landed more press than the expensive PR firm had generated in the past six months. 1-800-GOT-JUNK? fired their PR agency and hired their first in-house person to do the job. Every single month from thereon out, that in-house person outperformed the PR agency five times over.
You Can Do It Too
No matter what you may have been told (or, more accurately, sold) to the contrary, the two of us are not doing anything you can't do yourself. In these coming pages, we'll show you how we've achieved massive PR hits over and over again without spending money on agencies. We'll share our exact strategy. The tools you'll employ are simple, affordable, and effective. Providing you have a strong product or service and are willing to put in the time and effort PR takes, this strategy will work for you just like it has worked for us.
The tools in this book will work for any type of business. Whether you have a business-to-consumer model or a business-to-business model, whether you're selling a product or a service, the principles remain the same. These tools also work across all sectors, including retail, e-commerce, SaaS companies, apps, and anything in-between. The strategies we'll employ are equally effective for all media outlets, including television, print, online publications, radio, podcasts, and even trade journals.
We'll walk you through how to find the right media outlets; target the right journalists to pitch your stories to; develop the essential stories that your in-house PR team will pitch again and again for maximum results; prepare for interviews with television, radio, print, and online reporters; and demonstrate how to build a dynamic in-house PR team.
Remember Your PR Purpose
Just in case you're wondering, "Is PR really important enough to go to all this trouble?"-the answer is yes. It absolutely is.
A public relations strategy that is well executed will accomplish five primary purposes that are critical to the success of your business. PR is the gift that keeps on giving.
If no one knows about your company, do you exist? Well, yes-but you're probably not very profitable. Public relations allows you to create brand awareness. People need to know you're there in order to bring their business to you....