440 - You can skyrocket your business using publicity: Tom interviews Mickie Kennedy - Screw The Commute

440 – You can skyrocket your business using publicity: Tom interviews Mickie Kennedy

Mickie Kennedy founded Ereleases over twenty two years ago to help small businesses, authors and startups increase their visibility and credibility through press release marketing.

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Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 440

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[04:13] Tom's introduction to Mickie Kennedy

[06:21] Press releases are the result of a train wreck

[07:38] What a “newswire” is

[09:33] The perils of free newswire services

[10:49] What to look for in a press release service

[14:32] The Inverted Triangle

[20:10] Anybody can access PR Newswire

[31:17] Sponsor message

[33:58] Transition to having his own business

[38:07] Masterclass of Press Release strategies that work

Entrepreneurial Resources Mentioned in This Podcast

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How To Automate Your Businesshttps://screwthecommute.com/automatefree/

Internet Marketing Retreat and Joint Venture Programhttps://greatinternetmarketingtraining.com/

Free Press Release Master Classhttps://www.ereleases.com/plan/

Mickie's websitehttps://www.ereleases.com/

Internet Marketing Training Centerhttps://imtcva.org/

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Crowdfunding – https://screwthecommute.com/439/

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Episode 440 – Mickie Kennedy
Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.

Hey everybody, it's Tom here with episode four hundred and forty is Screw the Commute podcast. We're going to talk about a topic that really helped my career get started. Long before the Internet was around. I built my whole speaking career based on publicity. I've done over a thousand interviews in every format you can imagine, and we got a guy here that's been for a long time helping small business people get this same kind of result through his press release service. So his name is Mickie Kennedy, new friend of mine. And so we'll bring him on in a minute. Hope you didn't miss Episode 439. That was crowdfunding. And I'm revisiting this after a couple of years because there's been quite a few changes in that field. But this is a way where you can get money to fund your dreams and not have to pay it back. How cool is that? All right. So that was episode 439. So make sure you if you missed that to go back anytime you want to go to a back episode, check out Screwthecommute.com and then put a slash and then the episode number. Crowdfunding is 439. And I'm absolutely sure you'll want to come back to listen to Mickie's or send it to somebody, because he's going to give you some great ideas on how to get enormous amounts of free publicity.

So that's episode 440 is what we're on now. Now, for all you people that like me to send you big checks and PayPal stuff, don't forget my affiliate program for products and services. You can make anywhere from eight dollars and fifty cents to up to as much as five thousand dollars per referral. Okay. So so I love sending checks out to people because you're introducing me to people that maybe never heard of me and I'm happy to pay you for it. And I've been doing this for many, many years, so I love to send those checks to now check out our automation book that we give to everybody that listens to the show. It's we sell it for 27 bucks, but it's helped me handle up to one hundred and fifty thousand subscribers and 40000 customers without pulling my hair out. And we actually figured it out. It saved me seven and a half million keystrokes. Just one of the tips in this book. It's cell phone automation on desktop and tablet automation. All this stuff is right in front of you and it'll make you go lightning fast. So grab that at screwthecommute.com/automatefree. And don't forget, grab a copy of our podcast app at screwthecommute.com/app. All right. Here we're doing a big thing. One of the reasons crowdfunding was on my mind. We're doing a big thing with my school. Many of you know, I have the only licensed, dedicated Internet marketing school in the country, probably the world that it's license to operate by SCHEV, the State Council on Higher Education in Virginia. You don't have to be in Virginia because it's a distance learning and it's good quality distance learning, unlike the four year traditional colleges that all of a sudden they're distance learning and so they can rip you off remotely instead of locally. I guess so. So anyway, we got a big program coming up. It's a pilot program for people with physical disabilities. And we are going to do a crowdfunding campaign to finance their tuition and also to hire a disabled person to be the liaison. And so it's a great project that's coming up within the next couple of weeks. And if you know anybody that's got physical disabilities, check out IMTCVA.org/disability and it tells them how to apply. Deadline is Friday, so make sure you you pass it on.

All right. Let's get to the main event. Mickie Kennedy founded Ereleases over twenty two years ago to help small businesses, authors and startups increase their visibility and credibility through press release marketing. He's from the Baltimore area, and Mickie, are you ready to screw? The commute?

I am.

Well, great meeting you, sir. I am a big fan of this topic, and I'm a big fan of what you've done for small businesses because I understand you worked for big firms that were just shoo away all those little people. And that was one of the impetuses of starting your firm, right?

Correct. Yeah, at the time this was around twenty four years ago, I had someone who won an award in their industry and it was a big deal. And he wanted to get the. You know, and I told them that we couldn't help them because we worked on, you know, large retainers, and so he called around and there was nobody out there who would just do a one time press release, writing and distribution so that, you know, that combined with the fact that I had been faxing press releases with the company I was working at, I saw a transition where we would fax something and then the journalists would call and say, I received your fax. Could you just email it to me? Because I can copy and paste a lot of the data and statistics. And so, you know, the light bulb went off and said, e-mail is the future. Definitely not faxing anymore. And that's sort of I took about a year asking journalists to sign up for my database. Most everyone was like excited and said, sure, send me press releases. And that's what started it releases over the years. We partnered with the PR newswire. They came to me and said, you should also send your releases to us. And I'm like, well, you charge a thousand dollars to do a release and my customers are paying two to four hundred dollars. So we finally came to a middle ground where it was affordable and to include them. And it's a custom national distribution that goes to most of the places that they're regular thousand dollar US one distribution goes to.

Well, that's a far cry from like the Pony Express, the way you used to do this. I understand that the press release is kind of invented because of a train wreck. Right.

Right. It was a message that.

And what year was this like in the early nineteen hundred. Right.

It was the early 1980s and there had been a major accident and they were trying to communicate the facts of the accident and what happened. And they decided to just rather than answer the phone calls of every journalist to just put a message out that had all the facts, figures, the who, what, when, where, how and why of that derailment. And that sort of became the de facto way to to get your news out there rather than, you know, answering numerous calls and, you know, phoning people back and stuff like that. You could just issue one message that would be accessible to all of the media.

Beautiful. Yeah. So so that evolved quite a bit over the years with snail mail. And then and then, like you said, the fax was the way. But, you know, the facts was you couldn't really copy and paste out of it. You'd have to retype the stuff and then probably a lot of errors. Got it right. Yeah. So so can you explain to people what a newswire is? You said you said PR Newswire was charging a thousand bucks for this. Well, what what did you get out of that? What's what is a news wire.

Right. So a news wire is a service that sends content to journalist electronically. There's two types of news wire service, the ones that everything they write is original to them. Reuters, Associated Press, UPI, United Press, International, those type of places. You may have seen them in your newspaper, Reuters or API or AP for that, too.

Yep. And so what they're doing is they're writing the articles with their staff and then they're licensing it to newspapers. So The Baltimore Sun may not need, you know, may have minimal staff. They might have people who work on local breaking news. But if a major story breaks us wide, they might find it more cost effective rather than keeping staff on call to do that, to just license it from those newswires. On the flip side, there's a similar news wire service, but instead of articles, it's press releases. And it's a little bit different in that you're not licensing it to the news outlets. And what you're hoping to that they do is they turn it into an article. It's very rare that someone takes the press release and copies it verbatim and puts it somewhere. It's generally some synthesis that happens where they turn it into an article or a story or mentioned somewhere as a result of the press release. And so in the U.S., there are there used to be five, but now we're really down to three newswires press releases, PR Newswire being the oldest and largest, the other one being business wire and then Globe Newswire.

We get solicited all the time via email for here you put your press is free. We'll put your press release in ten million worthless places, I'd say, but they leave out the word worthless. What are some of the perils of or a waste of time to do with these free services that are just, you know, hammering us?

Right. I mean, the free services basically are just looking for free content. They put it on their website. They have ads. Often it's to your competitors. So. It doesn't serve, you know, journalists look at it, they're not a major repository of good traffic, you know, Google and other places sort of rank them much lower as far as quality of of content. It's often duplicate content. So it doesn't really help you from a CEO standpoint that it's more of a distraction and a lot of hurt you. Right, because like you said, you're giving them content so that your competitors can advertise, right?

Yeah, it definitely it definitely doesn't help you. But there was a time a long time ago where some people could make the argument that it didn't hurt you or it helped you slightly from SEO standpoint. But that is no longer the case.

So what should somebody look for with a press release service?

The big key is, are they sending it to journalists directly? And also, are they including a newswire in this case, like the three in the U.S. or PR Newswire, Business Wire and Globe Newswire? Anything else that's got news wire in its name is not a real news wire. And, you know, anybody can register a domain name that like TelecomNewswire.com and have a website, but that doesn't make it a news wire. And some of the ways that news wires transmit as they have feeds directly into newsrooms, they might piggyback on some of the other wires that are out there, like the Associated Press. And also they they have electronic feeds available for journalists can log in and look at an industry feed and even make selections so that they're only seeing content on certain types of press releases, like they can say, I don't want anything that mentions, you know, ready to wear in fashion or something like that. So they can put keywords to exclude keywords to include, say, make it very specific for them. And, you know, because of that and, you know, the massive releases that those three organizations issue is largely where journalists go to look for their content.

You know, I know a lot of people like help a reporter out. It's very popular. But journalists are often writing 20 articles a week and there's no way that they can create the criteria and help a reporter out for 20 articles a week. It would take more time to do that than to present it. And and a lot of people are finding that when they do respond to help a reporter out. There's just so many people replying now. The competition is so great. So what used to be, you know, not a well-known thing that would help you get media attention? It doesn't really work right now. And most of the journalists aren't really using it. And so the way to get on the radar of these journalists is to be on the newswire, because when they're hunting for content and doing looking at the news feed and doing keyword searches and stuff like that, the press releases, you want to be there because if you're not, you run the risk that you won't get picked up.

Yeah, and I'll second that motion on HARO because, you know, we use that, you know, I've been around a long time, so, yeah, we used it quite effectively. But lately, I mean, for the last several years, I haven't even bothered to respond to anything. It's just it's just kind of a waste of time now. But people kind of like it because it sounds cool. But the you know, I've never heard of anybody recently getting any results from it. Right. So what's he said something about the fake news wires now. So instead of fake news now, we got fake news wires, right?

I mean, it's literally like one job and you have 500 people applying for it. You know, you really have to have something exceptional to stand out. You know, early on with help a reporter out, you might have, you know, 10 to 30 people replying. So your odds were better then and now it's just, you know, it's really not worth trying unless you fit whatever if it's a very targeted thing that they're looking for and maybe only very few people qualify.

Yeah. And you'd have to sit every day, sit there and just look through all of them to find that one. And you could have reached many, you know, tens of thousands of people by but going the other route that you're you're taking. So what is I've heard you talk about the inverted triangle. What is that?

So basically that's like trying to get the most important information out first. And so when we talked about the you know, who, what, when, where, how and why you want to.

Yeah, we didn't actually talk about that yet. So we're right. You know, I do want to talk about that because that's pretty much the basics for a long time of this whole thing. Right?

It is. And so basically, you want someone to look at your headline in your opening sentence and easily understand what. It is your announcing who it's from and why it's important and, you know, you don't want to. Sometimes they call it bury the lead. You don't want to have the most important element in your press release coming later, because it's quite likely that they'll never get to it, because the job of the headline is to get you to read to the next sentence, the first sentence. Its job is to get you to progress further down the page. Each sentence is relying on the previous sentence and you want to lead with your strongest stuff first, your most important information first.

Yeah, and and I've also heard you talk about this is really this isn't a political statement. This is a democratic system. You're if you're on that newswire, your press releases gets just as much as attention as is Pepsi Cola, you know, Coca-Cola or anything. Right.

Actually, as a small business entrepreneur or startup or author or something like that, you have a much stronger chance of getting picked up than the Coca-Cola and larger companies. Their reason for that is a journalist is always looking for what makes a good story. Having a big multibillion dollar company announcing a new flavor of water is not that newsworthy. And they know they have the money to just advertise in the newspaper. So they're not really looking to give them a free mention or a free article in their newspaper. But if, you know, acting as a curator of content for their readers, they're much more likely to take an undiscovered, you know, a little gem that they find and put that under the spotlight and profile it because it does give the quality of a curation in that something has been selected that you probably don't know about. You know about Coke, you know about all the major companies. It's these smaller ones that have something that's a little bit unique and interesting. And as a result, you do stand a stronger chance of getting picked up over the well-funded companies.

Well, that's inspiring. Should be inspiring in the for folks because, yeah, most most people just sit and think, well, why would they cover me instead of Coca-Cola? And you just told them so. So that's great. Now, you did mention newspapers, but I mean, these things are the outlets are way more than newspapers now, right?

Correct. Includes TV, radio, blogs in fashion. We see a lot of Instagram ers who get press releases and link to them. So, you know, the definition of media has changed and evolved. Trade publications are still really strong, but a lot of those are online. And we've seen a lot of new online trade websites, industry trade websites popping up, some of them privately funded or independently funded. It can start with just one person having a popular blog and building that out and all of a sudden their media presence. So it's become more democratic in and of itself so that it's not just one major industry publication any longer. The larger newspapers and media outlets are adapting and changing, most of them migrating online. Some of them will survive, some of them may not. But, you know, media in and of itself is definitely, I think, grown stronger over the last two decades with a lot more people producing content and competing to get out there in the News World and to interact with readers and engage viewers, because we're also moving to video as well.

Used to be it was just trying to attract a journalist, period, and then hope they picked it up. But now, aren't these things going out to the general public and anybody can access them?

Yeah, anybody can access a press release. And one of the things that I always tell my customers is make sure you share your your press release with your customers. You know, if you have a company newsletter included there, you know, put it on your website. It's content by which search engines can find you and contextually, you know, sort of cement who you are on the web. And those are all ways in which, you know, you can be discovered and found. So it's one of those things that the more content that you put out has a cumulative effect where a journalist may not cover you with this press release. But if you're doing a proper PR campaign of, you know, six or more press releases over a period of time, they'll you know, they may come across you at a point where it's a match. And they've already been familiar with you because you've seen your earlier releases. They weren't a good fit at the time. But now this one, you know, resonates with them. It's much more likely that they'll pick up that release than if you had only sent that release right now.

Do you have to be somebody to access PR wire from the consuming point, not the putting stuff in their point? Can anybody access PR wire?

Yes. So the press releases are public on PR news wire to be able to do the sophisticated stuff like looking at industries and excluding certain types of releases in your feed. That's restricted to journalist login only. But there is a lot you can look at industry feeds. You can look at just regular feeds as a member of the public. So it is out there. It is a way that some people, you know, get content. It's how bloggers used to get content before they were accepted by the newswire. You know, 15 years ago, the newswire was not very accepting of bloggers. And so they would just get the their content from the public feeds. And over time, the newswire realized that these people can be very influential and some, you know, personal blogs became larger than, you know, industry trade publications. So now they've swung in the opposite direction. It's very easy for someone who's even a social media influencer to get login credentials, to be able to go in and create a custom feed for themselves.

Yeah, I was I was going to ask you because, I mean, you got all these citizen journalists and everybody's got a cell phone and, you know, so. So you're saying the criteria is very, very low bar to be able to access that.

So I wouldn't say it's completely low bar, but it's definitely relaxed. They're willing to accept people who are media influencers in all different types. And that includes bloggers. That includes social media people. But I think it's like you had only twenty four followers on Instagram and that was what you were claiming. You probably would meet their qualifications. But it's a matter of just being recognized in your industry, whatever medium that is, even if it's a large YouTube channel.

I think I saw when you're either a Facebook post or blog post where you said you get much more traction with graphics. And I guess does that include videos?

It does. So we are migrating away from textual stuff to more visual. I think Facebook announced that in a couple of years you won't be able to post text any longer. It'll all be video is what they're thinking. And, you know, we'll see. I mean, Facebook's ever going to alienate their customers. But it is a fascinating idea to think that we won't be, you know, reading stuff on Facebook anymore will be consuming it through video largely and images. So, you know, because so much media has migrated to being online, having a really great photo, a company logo, a compelling video, that's all great. It definitely you want to include that when you send out your release and you know, you will find more and more people using that collateral.

Yeah, and I believe in the the Facebook thing with no text because, you know, people are such morons now. They can't read it. So. So I have a problem with that fact. Well, I mean, you're you're from Baltimore. They came out with that thing that out a 13 high schools. Not one child could pass the math proficiency test. Right? I mean, jeez, this is the sad state of affairs with the educational system. And I doubt if they're all idiots, savants and great writers. You know, right now, you provide a writing service, though. Is that is that still true?

Correct. Yeah, we offer writing services. Most people, when they look at a press release, realize that something that they could probably do themselves, they're they're not very complicated. They're not it's not high writing. It's a very basic, simplistic writing. It's in the third person. And if you look at a press release, template or sample, you can get a good feel for the structure and what should be included. The the the most important aspect of what you announce is, is the announcement itself. What is it you've just deemed worthy of sharing with the media? And a lot of people will often take the selfish approach of I've got something to promote and I've put myself forward here in this press release and now I'm sending it to the media and no one's responding. And the reason is you have to sort of take into account that the journalists are gatekeepers and ultimately, if you want to reach. Are readers, you have to take that into account, why why does this matter to my readers? Why does this why would sharing this with my viewers, readers, my audience matter? And so you kind of almost have to reverse engineer what it is you're announcing so that you are taking that into account and you've elevated the the content or information that would be worth sharing with with an audience.

Yeah. And you really need to hone in on that, because by a little over a year, a year and a half ago when or when this pandemic hit, and I did a whole series of things for the you know, because not customer service, but for public service with some Internet training sessions for everybody stuck at home. And they hadn't really got fully in the Zoome thing with the schools and everything. And so I was running into paper play places like crazy. I'm saying I'm trying to do this for the public and now, you know, for me, 300 bucks for you. So I did get in to Kaihau and did a whole series for that. But but you got to watch for that, too, because there are shysters from the media standpoint that will tell you how great they are. But it's pay for play. Sure.

Yeah. There's definitely a transition with the media where there is these sponsored posts and sponsored things like that. I still try to stay away from that because it just sort of muddies the waters. You know, I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with it, but it's just not the way that we operate as far as, you know, trying to get media attention and things like that. It it is becoming a fractured and complicated landscape. But I also think because it is fractured, there's a lot of different ways in which to sort of accomplish your goal. And, you know, one of them is to just try to be newsworthy. And, you know, I helped non newsworthy clients get media pick up by basically having them create the news. An easy hack that almost anyone can do is create a survey, your own study. And if you don't have an audience large enough to survey, which was the case with a couple of my clients, you just associate with a small trade association in your industry and ask if they'll share the survey with their members. You can offer to Cobre in the survey. Sometimes that works, sometimes it's not necessary. And but it does add some credibility. If you do co brand it and

You can put the the trade associations name on it, right.

Correct. Yeah. You just let them know you're doing a study and you'll be releasing it through a press release to the media over PR newswire and that small trade associations like oh we don't get any love, the big trade associations do. And here's an opportunity for us to just send a link to our members and we get included in a, you know, a press release going out over the wire. So, you know, there's a likelihood that we could get some media attention over that as well. So it creates a Win-Win between the two. And if you throw in, I always advise to throw in a couple of quirky questions whenever you do a survey, because often those are the ones that the media responds to or gets receptive. But we had a local auto repair place in Pennsylvania that did one with the Association for Independent Auto Repair Centers in the U.S. And the question that they did that was sort of out of left field was what's the strangest thing anyone's ever left in their car? And they brought it in for repair and it was just an open field. And they got like over, you know, one hundred responses and they just listed them.

And, you know, people pick and choose what they wanted. I mean, it's like 25 strangest things left in someone's car and they just picked twenty five of those hundred things and some were smaller, but they got a lot of media attention out of that. And they're just a local auto repair place in Pennsylvania. They're not an authority. You know, they just happened to put the survey together and released it, but they got a lot of links out of it, which is what they were looking for because they had a very new website, because they had been paying the, I think, the Verizon super pages for years. And that was their website. And then when they realized that people were coming in from the Yellow Pages anymore, they stopped advertising and their website went away. And so they they were trying to get links to their website. And it worked very effectively for that. With more than ten auto trade publications linking to them, they jumped to the top, top, top results in their community just in a matter of a couple of months.

Yeah, and that's and a lot of people think, oh, well, you know, I don't have the ability to do a double blind study or something. They don't want to know the newspapers. Generally, if you have a hundred or more responses, are completely happy with what? Ever strange, like esoteric data or things that you turned up and you know, it's got the feeling of being somewhat scientific, but it doesn't have to be scientific. You know, the statistical relevance of these surveys are very weak in telling us and we realize they're not medical. You know, surveys are not you know, no one's curing a disease based off of this. But what they are doing is just curating data and putting data together. It's interesting. A lot of times if someone's releasing something with the that shows something that either reinforces a trend or maybe even goes against a trend, it just makes for an interesting article. And you can talk about, you know, the results in context with what's going on in the world.

Yeah, and it may it may just be I mean, I remember when there was more magazines out, seeing little sidebars, there were, you know, had the person's website and the survey and the results. And it wasn't a big thing, but there was probably millions of copies going like People magazine does a little sidebars and Vogue and and all the fashion magazines. So so that's that's a great, great hack. So we got to take a response or break. When we come back, we'll ask Mickie, what's a typical day look like for him? And I do want to say how he transitioned when he started his own company. I want to hear about that. And then he's got a master class he wants to tell you about that can help you help you out with all his experience. So the folks about twenty three years ago, I kind of turned the Internet marketing guru world on its head and that people at my level were charging 50 or 100 thousand dollars up front to help people. And I knew a lot of these people give them 50 grand up front. You'd never see them again. So I said that's too risky for small business people. And so I said, I'm just going to charge them an entry fee and then I'm going to tie myself to their success.

So for me to get my fifty thousand, they have to net two hundred thousand. Well, people really like this and seventeen hundred students later and 23 years. A program is still going strong. So longest running, most successful, most unique program of its kind ever. And I don't have any trouble saying that because people I triple dog dare people to put their program up against mine because I'm a crazy fanatic and it's just so unique in that you have an immersion weekend that the great Internet marketing retreat center, of course, after the pandemic craps all gone. And we have our own TV studio here where we shoot marketing videos for you. Everything is one on one. We don't lump in with people more advanced or less advanced. And then you also get a scholarship to the school I was telling you about before, which would be one of the greatest legacy gifts you could ever give to a young person in your life and or use it for yourself, because we only teach highly in demand skills that I have been using since the theatre commercial internet started in 1994. So I've been doing this twenty seven years straight and I'm teaching those skills to people and they're making money before they even graduate.

So this is a very powerful thing that you can do. So if you're in my high level program, you get that scholarship. So check it out at greatInternetmarketingtraining.com and get in touch with me. I'm very accessible and we'll see what your future online looks like so you can tell the boss to take this job and shove it. Or are you not worried about the kids being home from school and you have to quit your job if you even had a job. So all of those things don't exist in my world and my students world, and I want that for you. So check it out at greatInternetmarketingtraining.com.

Let's get back to the main event. Mickie Kennedy is here. He founded Ereleases over twenty years ago, 22, I think, plus years ago. And he's helped small business people because the big companies he used to work for does didn't didn't want us little peons, you know, mucking up their system. So tell us, Mickie, about the transition. When you started your own business, did you just quit cold turkey? Did you save up money? How did it start?

So I worked for about a couple of years after I started my business just because I wasn't producing enough money to live off of it. And I I watched as the money increased and finally reached a point that exceeded what I was taking home from my salary. And I still held off because I was like, well, you know, you can have a rough month and you'd be broke. So I waited until I had a little nest egg of savings and the business was producing more than. I was I was making in my current job and I felt very comfortable, it was very similar when I hired my first employee, I really needed to have hired two or three at that point. But I felt like if I'm going to be liable for someone else's livelihood, I couldn't I needed to be able to feel comfortable enough that the business was producing enough revenue to do that. So I was just very cautious, conservative route.

That's very smart.

Yeah, right. And also another thing that I did was I did not spend a lot of money. I didn't incorporate my company for four, I think seven years as an LLC. You don't need to anybody can set up a DBA. Yeah. And I just went to the bank and set up a DBA bank account. And, you know, I see people they get really roped into lawyers operating their company and spending thousands of dollars on basically a business idea. And I say, you know, we live in a country where it's very easy to start a business. You know, put your shingle out there, see if it works. And if it does, later you can, you know, do the formal stuff like incorporating and things like that. But I started very cheaply. I had a website that I think I paid for 95 or 595 a month. My most expensive purchase was the domain name. And at that time you had to pay for two years to register a domain name as I think one hundred and twenty dollars. And and I had I was paying twenty nine, ninety five a month to something called multi cards, which was like it would accept credit cards before PayPal. Right. Because this was before PayPal. So that was largely my only expenses. And you know, I relied on SEO natural traffic, word of mouth and I contributed to a lot of forms. I think the link to Link Exchange, which I think was bought by Microsoft, was had a very popular forum and emails. And so I would participate and became an expert to talk about press releases. So people just naturally came to me. And, you know, that progression continued today where I talk on podcasts, I share on forums and Quora and places like that, where people ask questions about press releases. And I just put myself out there and share and people discover you that way.

Well, that's I think that's how I discovered. I'm not sure you were on a podcast forum or something. I think I can't remember. It doesn't matter that we found each other. So that's that's the whole thing is put yourself out there. So and then I'm all in favor because I grew up very frugal. I teach my students the cheapest ways to do. But but, you know, I don't want people to think it's not high quality. You can do really high quality things for almost nothing if you know what you're doing. And so I'm totally in that in that thing with you on that. Now, you got a master class, right? Tell about that.

So during the pandemic, I started to collect commonalities between clients that were having success. And I put them all together in a master class of eight press release strategies that work. And they worked time and time again. The survey that I mentioned before is one of those hacks that you can use regardless of how newsworthy you are. And so it's a little less than our training. It gives you everything you need to know about press release strategies, how to build a PR campaign of several press release ideas that will likely work for you or for anyone. And it's at ereleases.com/plan and it's completely free for anybody. I created it to get my customers to start doing more newsworthy type press releases because unfortunately a lot of the releases that get moved through us are not earth shattering. They're like a new VP of H.R. and I know those types of releases don't do very well, but there are releases that are very successful and I sort of put together that masterclass on that so that anybody who's considering a press release, if you, you know, take that training, you will definitely, I think, have a few ideas on what potentially you could do about, you know, a press release for your company, your product, your service that would be effective and potentially work.

Ok, well, we'll talk more about this offline. But what do you think about my idea? We're starting a pilot program because my school is perfect for people with physical disabilities, because not only can they learn remotely, but they can legitimately work remotely, which they always could have. But now it's really to the forefront since the pandemic that everybody's thinking, oh. I guess he can work from home, so I think it I think it's a great idea. I think it's something that the media could get behind and be responsive to. I would lead it, anchor it in the beginning with some statistics on how many people there are who are disabled. And and, you know, basically the opportunity that's there and the number of people in that community that, you know, potentially could be affected in a very positive way.

Yeah. So, yeah, I'm going to work with you on it. Yeah. Because the the self-esteem and the depression and the suicide and things like that are all rampant in the community. So. Yeah. So I'm going to talk to you offline about that and get something going there because it's it's coming right up. So, so how do people get a hold of you if they want to discuss working with you.

My website's ereleases.com. In the lower right, I have all my social media. It also has my LinkedIn. That's a really great way to reach me personally is through LinkedIn. But you know, if you're just wanting information about press releases and wanting to talk to someone, I would just recommend opening a chat or calling the number on our website. My staff is only editors. We have no salespeople, there's no commissions, there's no quotas. If we don't feel we're a good fit, we just tell you that it's nice. And, you know, we get people calling all the time saying, I just want local media. And we always say, don't give a dollar to anybody for local media. Local media is the easiest media for anyone to get. And if you think about it, any one person is probably only got about 10 people around them locally who could write or report on that. And the key is just to figure out who those ten people are at the newspaper. It would be who writes about companies like yours or your industry if if you're lucky enough to have a business magazine or newspaper in your area, the same, there might be some radio and TV opportunities if there's segments or shows that spotlight local businesses. So just figure out for radio and TV, it's generally the producer or the booker that you're trying to reach, not the host, but for everybody else, it's the writer. You can look, give them a call, ask for email address, they'll give it to you. It's not a mystery. You know, it's it's the open press and they're wanting to get information, so they'll give it to you.

You can also look on Twitter because some people, journalists like to be on Twitter, but you can get a feel for email and Twitter and then just reach out to them. You don't have to write a press release either. If you just introduce yourself and say, hey, I live locally in the area and this is what I'm doing right now, that I think it's kind of interesting and I feel it would be useful to share with your readers or audience. And I say just connect with them two to four times a year as it seems natural. Sometimes if you have a idea like something that's trending in your industry, but you're not really Apple applicable to be used for it, you might want to just give them the the lead, the opportunity and say, I'm seeing this trending in my industry. You may want to do an article on it. And even if you know it doesn't highlight you, they're going to be appreciative. So the next time you send an announcement over, they're more likely to consider it. It's about forming a relationship and local relationships are the easiest to produce. It's why so many people see the same companies again and again in their local newspapers and things like that. It's because they're the ones that are greasing the squeaky wheel and and helping out and just being in front of the journalist. And it's often just a matter of being in front of the journalist on a regular basis to get that sort of media attention.

Yeah, yeah. Really, really great tips. We had just as many great tips in the last three minutes as the as other parts of this this episode. You know, I wasn't expecting that. That was really great. And I and I triple agree with the you know, there's been loads of times because I get called at the last minute because they know I'm a good interview. And and but sometimes I get called and I say, hey, you know, I don't know about this, but I know a guy that does. And, you know, I help out the reporters, which is the like the hero thing. But but the you know, they remember you when you you're giving them good story tips and stuff and and so.

Yeah. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful stuff. So so everybody jump on that masterclass and then start thinking about this as part of your business strategy. Because like I said, I built my whole career before the speaking career, before the Internet started in my entertainment career. The whole thing was built with this kind of stuff. So thanks, Mickie, for coming on and. I know everybody's going to want to jump over and check out your stuff.

Thanks for having me.

All right, everybody. We'll catch y'all on the next episode. See ya later.

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