Cameron Herold is known around the world as the CEO Whisperer, and he’s just published his 5th book Free PR to share with you the secrets he’s been sharing with coaching clients for years.
PR NewsWire – The industry’s best Press Release distribution network
MuckRack – Easily search for journalists, monitor news, and build reports.
3 Value Bombs
1) Don’t try to land the biggest outlet, try to get covered first in small, monthly magazines.
2) It’s really less about coming up with new angles and more about understanding the target audience of the outlet you want to speak to.
3) The 3 things you need to know when approaching PR: Know your angle, know your target, and pick up the phone!
**Click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.
Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: Free PR with Cameron Herold
[00:43] – Cameron shares something interesting about himself that most people don’t know.
[02:47] – Cameron gives a teaser of what we’ll be chatting about today
- A CEO asked Cameron to coach his company about PR. Cameron was asked to write a manual about free PR. That was the starting point of his book, Free PR.
[03:41] – Where did Cameron learn all of these things about free PR?
- His dad and his grandparents used to call journalists and tell them things they should write about.
[05:02] – What tools have worked for him and what tools haven’t?
- It’s different when you’re getting hardcore coverage.
[07:16] – Cameron tells a story about a time when he was struggling with PR.
- There are times he really pushes hard to get an article – and then different media outlets mention all their competitors instead.
- You have to be careful about the stuff you say to interviewers!
[09:33] – How do we, as entrepreneurs, come up with new angles?
- It’s really less about coming up with new angles and more about understanding the target audience of the outlet that you want to speak to.
- Take your angle and position it in a way that matters to your audience.
[11:37] – How many angles does any specific company need – does it differ if you’re a small company or a big company?
- For small to medium size companies, 3 – 5 angles are sufficient to push for as much press or free publicity that you want to get over the course of a couple of years.
- The idea is to show up with 2 or 3 angles, and with 3 to 4 bullet points that support each angle.
- Phone up a journalist and offer them a good story. If they didn’t like that story, you give them a second story.
[14:49] – The 3 easy steps to take when approaching PR:
- First, know your angle.
- Second, know your target.
- Third, pick up the phone.
[16:08] – Where can we go to get contact info for different journalists?
- PR NewsWire – The industry’s best Press Release distribution network
- MuckRack – Easily search for journalists, monitor news, and build reports.
- Go to Google! If you open up a magazine, it tells you the names of the writers. Just Google the writer’s name with the word ‘cellphone’ or ‘mobile’.
- Every single journalist woke up this morning thinking about what they are going to write about today. Help them out!
[17:27] – How can we amplify the PR we get?
- Get the online link of your story shared 3 times on Facebook, 5 times on LinkedIn, 5 times on Twitter over the next 3 months.
- Email your story to your email list, then setup a quick little link on it saying ‘Click here to share this on Facebook!’
- Ask all of your employees to share the story as well.
- Share it with any of your suppliers and customers so they can see the media that you’re getting.
- Link to your story on your press page.
[19:10] – The benefit of Cameron’s book:
- His book can help amplify either your personal brand or help grow your business.
- Most people believe what they read in the media, but they don’t believe your marketing or advertising.
- We are doing the media a favor if we share a good story with them.
[20:31] – Cameron’s parting piece of guidance
- Don’t try to land the biggest outlet, try to get covered first in small monthly magazines.
- When you practice with smaller media, it will help you land bigger media in the future.
- The big tip is to literally pick up the phone. You just have to resist the urge to dive in to email.
- Another big tip—call a photographer and offer a good photo story for them. They’re all going to take your call, and they’re all going to want to cover that photo story.
- Free PR: How to Get Chased By The Press Without Hiring a PR Firm – Get Cameron’s book on Amazon today!
John: Light that spark, Fire Nation? JLD here with an audio master class that’s gonna break down how you can get free PR, and as an entrepreneur, small-business owner, we all need more free PR.
And to share these value bombs, I have brought Cameron Herold. He’s known around the world as the CEO Whisperer, and he’s just published his fifth book, Free PR, so that he can share with you the secrets he’s been sharing with coaching clients for years.
So, we’re going to dive into this great content with Cameron when we get back from thanking our sponsor.
Cameron, say ‘what’s up’ to Fire Nation and share something interesting about yourself that most people don’t know.
Cameron: Hey, what’s up everybody? Great to be on, John. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. Something most people don’t know. I would say that considering I’m known to be a speaker is one of the core things that I do. I've done speaking events in 28 countries.
What most people don’t know is I’m painfully shy. When I end up at these conferences, I usually hide out either before I come on stage or before I have to go meet people. I will often hyperventilate or just get extraordinarily nervous, sweaty palms. If you see me walking around outside, people will think I’m either stuck up or I don’t know, something, but I’m just really awkward and nervous about coming into the room.
And I always feel like it’s me coming into a classroom in grade three. I moved a lot when I was in grade school. I was in six schools in nine years, and I feel like every time I shop at a conference like I’m walking into a classroom for the first time.
John: Well, you definitely do a good job hiding it, because we were just chatting pre-interview. We were hanging out a year ago at Trafficking Conversion, which is of course a great conference in San Diego, and you were just a social butterfly. We were walking around, talking, having drinks, plain beanbags, having some fun, so Fire Nation, you honestly just never know who’s the introvert, who’s the extrovert, or somewhere in between.
And if you think Cameron’s voice sounds familiar, well, he was on episode 337 of Entrepreneurs on Fire, episode 1,661 of Entrepreneurs on Fire, and now well over episode 2,100 as we’re talking right now.
Cameron: So, Cameron, I’ve been putting in the work brother. You’ve been putting in the work. I gave Fire Nation a great introduction of you right at the top of this episode, because we’re going to be talking about free PR, which of course is around the topic of your fifth book, which we were also chatting about.
You didn’t even think you could write one book, now you have five books under your belt. So, give Fire Nation a little bit of a teaser about some of the things we’ll be talking about today.
John: Sure. So, I guess the real starting point for this book, Free PR, was around 10 years ago. I had the CEO of a company called Grasshopper.com, and the CEO, David Hauser, asked me if I would coach his company on PR. And I said yes that I would give them a little bit of work, and then he asked me if I would write their manual on free PR.
I’m like dude, I don’t write manuals. And he goes well, maybe it can be a chapter for a book. So, I kinda scribbled down all the notes and stuff that I could think about and sent it over to him, and that became the real starting point for what is now the book Free PR.
Cameron: Wow. Well, we’re going to be talking a lot about PR, free PR, and Fire Nation, these are all things that entrepreneurs, small-business owners, and just human beings could learn a lot more about.
So, where did you learn all of this? Take us back to those grassroots.
John: Yeah. If I go to real, real grassroots on learning how to get free publicity or free PR, it was when I was in grade school. My father owned a company, and both my grandparents were also entrepreneurs. And my one grandfather used to be covered in the media back in the ‘60s and ‘70s about his hunting and fishing lodge, and then my dad used to be covered for his company and stuff that we would do in the small city we grow up and in the newspaper.
And my dad just told me. Because I used to ask him like how come – how do they find you, how did they find you, and he said I just called them. And he kind of didn’t think anymore about it, but he used to just phone the newspaper and tell them to he had a story, and they would write about it.
Asked my grandfather, and it was the same thing. He used to just phone the journalists and tell them about his lodge, and they always wanted to write about it.
So, that was really the initial Genesis. And then, when I was 20 years old, I had my first business. I had 12 employees. I was running a house painting company. I was actually a franchisee of a group called College Pro Painters, and I started calling the media and I got covered on television stations and the newspaper is when I was 20 years old and just realized how simple it was to actually get covered.
John: Now, one thing that I really want to dive into are different results you’ve had from the tools we’re about to be sharing with my audience today.
So, kind of go back, walk us through that point where you were to where you are today and then how you’ve used the tools, by the way, both successfully and unsuccessfully, because I want to maybe hear about a couple times that you use some of these tools and they didn’t work for you, but you learned why and when you came back and used them they were like oh okay. This is why these tools didn’t work and this is how to make sure they do. So, kind of breakdown some of those stories, some of those topics, and some of those results?
Cameron: Sure. So, I guess building four different companies, I was on the leadership team of College Pro Painters, which is the largest house painting company in the world, build another group called Boyd Autobody and Gerber Auto Collision, which is now the largest collision repair chain in the world, and then I was the chief operating officer for 1-800-GOT-JUNK where we – I actually built the in-house PR team there as one of the six areas that I led.
I was the chief operating officer. And when we built that [inaudible] [00:05:38] had his PR team of six people that had no experience whatsoever. We landed 5,200 stories in the media, and this was without using any press releases, no newswires, just independently phone-in stories. And this was before social media, because I left the year that Facebook was launching and before Twitter.
So, we had nowhere to even amplify all the press we were getting. So, those are some of the big successes. And since then, I personally have been covered in the print editions. So, the magazine, not the online edition, but the print editions of Forbes magazine, Fortune magazine, Inc. magazine, Entrepreneur magazine, Success magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times have all covered me personally in the print editions.
Obviously online as well, but I think people are out there going oh I’m in Forbes. I’m like no you’re not. You got a blogger to write an article with a million other bloggers on Forbes. So, it’s different when you’re actually getting the real hardcore coverage. I mean I had the publisher of Forbes magazine write a full-page article about my vivid vision concept in Forbes magazine.
So, some of the success I've – you know, I've been in American Airlines magazine, covered by trade journals, I’ve been on Donny Deutsch, so lots of – and 1-800-GOT-JUNK. We were covered on Oprah. So, we’ve pretty much been in every major newspaper, magazine, TV show, we were on Dr. Phil 17 times, and lots of great broadcasters and bloggers. So, lots of great coverage.
John: Talk to us about a time that maybe you struggled with PR or you did something you thought was going to work really well and then it just kind of fell on its face. I'd be curious about that.
Cameron: Yeah. One thing that didn’t go well was we were trying to land or I was trying to land a story with the Associated Press, and I was really pushing for the Associated Press to cover us, because when one of their stories goes live, it ends up in multiple newspapers on the same day.
And I remember having to phone the Associated Press probably 15 or 16 times over a three-month period before they finally agreed to cover us. So, I wouldn’t say didn’t go well, but it was really, really a struggle to get them to listen to us, and we were always calling the journalists. We didn’t call the news desk, we didn’t call the editor, but that was certainly a struggle that I think a marketing person or a communications person would’ve run away from.
But when I kept hearing know I’m busy, I just kept thinking well, that means at least I know that’s your phone number whereas everyone else – right, like no I'm busy man, geez I know that’s your desk, whereas other people might have thought that no, I’m busy means go away.
So, when did not go well? Probably having times when we really pushed hard to get an article about us and then they mentioned all of our competitors. We used to feel like that wasn’t good. I think we’re now over it. The fact that anytime they mentioned a competitor, we also tended to be in the article as well.
But I don’t think I’ve ever really had any negative coverage. I had a time one time about a year ago when I told a podcaster that I used to use drugs back in high school, and he said maybe you shouldn't have been so specific. What you’re doing, the customs and the borders don’t really like that talk. I’m like yeah, good point. You got to be careful about some of the stuff you say, right?
John: Well, nobody listens to podcasts. So, it’s not a big deal. So, Cameron, let’s come up with some new angles to stain fresh and relative when it comes to PR. I mean that’s one thing that you’ve really been able to employ as you’ll continue to reinvent yourself over the years and here we are in 2019 now, you’re still being able to figure out ways to get this fresh new angled PR. I mean heck, you wrote a book about it.
So, how do we as entrepreneurs, as small-business owners, but new angles? How do you do it?
Cameron: Well, one of the things is it’s really less about coming up with new angles, and it’s really more about understanding that target audience of the outlet that you want to speak to and taking your angle and – they used to call it spinning it, but that has a negative connotation, but taking your angle and kind of positioning it or your story and positioning it so it matters for that audience.
So, as an example, you have a business listener that listens to EO Fire. Well, the Wall Street Journal has a business audience, Forbes magazine has a business audience, entrepreneur magazine has a business audience, CNN Money has a business audience, but they’re very different audiences. They’re very different kinda personas of the people who are devouring that content.
So, it’s more about thinking of your story and positioning it for the reader or listener or viewer about actual media outlet.
John: Give us an example from 1-800-JUNK, or from Grasshopper, from one of the past companies that you’ve done –
John: – where you’ve actually done that and it’s gotten the success that you were looking for.
Cameron: Sure. So, we had – coverage on Oprah was very much about the heartstrings, right? It was about the emotional tug of helping this woman cleaning up her house and giving her life back, but the same story of this emerging brand of overcoming adversity, of Brian kind of building the story from trash to cash was covered on CNBC Squawk Box, and it was a six-minute piece on Squawk Box, and we didn’t do anything about the emotional heartstrings, we did about the rollup and the consolidation and the building of this emerging brand. So, it was the same kind of story, but it was just a very different audience.
John: Know your audience, Fire Nation. You need to really be focused in on who you are speaking to, the people that are listening. I mean this is all going to be critical for you putting the right content in front of the right people at the right time, and Cameron, you have a lot of different angles that you know how to approach or that you know how to implement when it comes to different kinds of PR, but how many angles does any specific company need, and does it differ if you’re a small company or a big company?
Cameron: When you’re a small – let’s call it a small to medium-sized company. I think three to five angles is sufficient to really push for as much press or free publicity that you want to get over the course of a couple years.
John: Okay. Now, on that point, let’s pretend we’re small or medium, what are examples of three to five angles? What are a specific angle and name a few of them.
Cameron: Well, let’s use your company as an example. So, we have the John story is to overcoming adversity and the struggles that you've had in building EO Fire. Right? The early days of podcasting. We also have the John story of what you used to do before you decided to do this. Making that transition story. That gives people hope that they can leave their careers and go off and do something they’re inspired by.
We have John’s story of how someone listened to your podcast interview and it changed their life, and it’s really about how your content really helped inspire or change someone.
We have the story of how a dad was looking to reconnect with his son, and they decided to listen to one of your podcast every day for a week while they were out on a fishing trip together and how they built a better relationship as parents and started a company. I don’t know, right?
And you probably have one of those stories so that the cool thing is is that you can pitch let’s say it was that dad reconnecting with the son story, you can pitch that to all the Chicago media for an entire week, and then you can go picture to everybody in Dallas. Then you can pitch it to everybody in Florida. And you can pitch everybody in San Francisco.
You can go market by market pitching the same story to the entire same groups of outlets but that only cover a regional or a city market. And that’s what we – and then, all of those stories link back to your website, right? They all drive your SEO. They all go onto your webpage, and they all help you ladder up the media.
John: Now, let me ask you this. When I would be reaching out to these different markets with these angles and the stories, when I be pitching them all of these angles, these three or four angles at one time or would I just be trying to hammer one angle to them?
Cameron: Yeah. You always stay focused. So, the idea is to show up with two or three angles, right, and what I mean by an angle is that story headline that you might read in the newspaper, that’s the angle, and then you might have three to five bullet points that support each story.
So, your idea is to phone up a journalist and say hey, do you have two minutes? I think I have a good story for you. You’ll start to engage with them, and if they don’t like the story, then you say how about this? I have another story. And you give them story number two. But you just pitch the one story and hopefully they like it and you ask questions and listen.
John: So, Fire Nation, focus. Follow that one course until success, and I just like the idea of hey, if it’s not working in this market for any specific reason, shift to another market and then shift to another market and just keep hammering that home.
Like Cameron was sharing earlier, it took him 16, 17, 18 calls to the Associated Press before he actually got through. It just wasn’t the right time up until it was the right time. So, you just never know when it’s going to be the right time.
And Cameron’s been dropping value bombs. We have more coming up after we thank our sponsor.
So, Cameron, we’re back, and I want to go over the three easy steps when it comes to PR. Break these steps down for us one by one for Fire Nation.
Cameron: Sure. So, the first step in the three easy steps is to know your angle, right? We talked a little bit about that, and it’s coming up with three to five core angles that your business can rally a story around. So, that step one.
Step two is to know your target. And that’s really knowing the target audience for each of those media outlets.
And then step three is to pick up the phone. And this is where most people actually won’t follow the rule. Most people will decide to start doing emails. They’ll start doing press releases or they’ll start just trying to bash the people over the head, and the reality is you’re never going to actually make that connection with the journalist. So, but picking up the phone, you’re actually going to get their attention.
John: Know your angle, know your target, pick up the phone. Now, Fire Nation, it’s going to be really easy if you do those first two things. Sit down after this interview, know your angle, get those three to five core angles that you’re gonna focus on, know your targets, actually being able to figure out who you’re going to target with this information, but it’s that third part. It’s picking up the phone that 99.9 percent of people are going to come up short.
And so, Cameron, make it a little easier for us. Where do we get all the contact info for different journalists?
Cameron: There’re a couple of great databases online. If you’re actually going to build this as a core pillar inside of your company, I would subscribe to Cision or to media outlets, which is part of PRNewswire. There’re other news outlet databases like Muck Rack as well that are available online. So grabbing one of those, I think they tend to be around $1,200 a year.
And then when you have a full-time person in-house or a part-time person in-house pitching, they have all that journalist contact information.
The low-hanging-fruit way just to test it out is to go on Google. You can actually – if you open up a magazine, it tells you the names of the writers. Just Google that writer’s name with the word cellphone or mobile, and it’ll often actually give you their phone number, and then pick up the phone and call them.
Again resisting the urge to email the person, because every single journalist woke up this morning thinking what the heck am I going to write about today? And they got bashed with 300 emails, but no one actually phones them, so if you’re the person that picks up the phone and calls the journalist, chances are you’re going to get through to them.
John: Fire Nation, be that person, that one out of 100 that’s going to pick up the phone and make that call. Use tools like PRNewswire, Muck Rack. Go to Google and just do what Cameron said. You might just get that number that way as well.
Now, Cameron, let’s really drill down on how we can amplify the PR that we get. So, we’ve done all the work, we’ve done what we need to do, the PR’s finally arrived, it’s there. How do we amplify this?
Cameron: Yeah. It’s funny. I actually sent Brian, the CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK a note a few days ago. I said could you imagine how big our company would be if we had social media back in the day we landed those 5,000 stories. We landed 5,200 stories, and we couldn't share it with anybody because there was no where to share it.
So, what you want to do, let’s say that you get a story in Forbes magazine. You either scan the PDF or you grab the online link of it, you share it three times on Facebook over the next three months, you share it five times on LinkedIn over the next three months, you share it five times on twitter over the next three months, and email it out to your list.
When you email it to your list, you set up a quick little link on it that says click here to share this on your Facebook for us. You also send it out to all of your employees and you ask them to share it as well. And then lastly, you share with any of your suppliers and your customers so that they can actually see the media that you’re getting.
You also link it to your press page, so if you even go to my COO Lyons press page or the CameronHerold.com press page, you’ll see hundreds of PR articles about me. I just link them there and those all drive SEO as well.
John: Fire Nation, amplify that PR. And it’s kinda funny I actually just had Brian on the show again to talk about his new book, WTF. And we were talking about how he was saying it’s insane the opportunities that are out there today that are at people’s fingertips, and he was going into some of the things that he and you had to do back in the day just to get a little love, a little press, a little amplification of what you were doing.
So, Cameron, let’s close down our chat today by talking about your book, Free PR. Why should Fire Nation read this book? How is it going to benefit them in their life?
Cameron: Yeah. I think for anyone listening right now, and I would grab the hard copy of it and scribble notes in it as you’re reading it. It’s great to listen or it’s great to read the Kindle versions, but when you grab a hard copy and you scribble your notes in it, it’s going to become your bible internally for PR.
Anyone listening can use it to amplify either their personal brand or to help grow their business. If you’re working inside of a company when you bring these tools back to your company, it’ll help them grow the business. Most people believe what they read in the media, but they don’t believe our marketing or advertising.
So, when you’re the person who’s connecting with the media, getting the media to talk about you, that helps amplify and grow it, and it really doesn’t cost any money to do it.
The other part is to remember that we are also doing the media favor, right? You’re not really asking them to cover you, you’re calling them up and saying hey do you have two minutes, I think I have a great story for you, and they’re all looking for really good content, that content to write about. So, you’re actually trying to help them out.
John: You’re doing the media favor, Fire Nation. Follow the steps that Cameron breaks down and do the media a favor and by the way, do yourself a favor. Do your business a favor. Get the message out.
So, Cameron, break it down for us, one big takeaway. If we could just walk away with one thing that we’re going to do in our business when it comes to PR, tell us that and then share with us the best place for us to pick up a hard copy of Free PR.
Cameron: Yeah. So, the big thing I would do right now is first off, I would not start with trying to land the biggest outlet you want. If you want to be covered in Fortune magazine that’s great, but try to get covered first in a small monthly magazine that’s maybe regional like a business in Vancouver that only a bunch of people read.
When you practice with some of the smaller media, is going to help you land the bigger media, but the big tip is literally pick up the phone. You just have to resist the urge to dive into email.
Here’s another big tip for you. Call a photographer. All of the photographers’ names are right beside the photos in every magazine and newspaper. Even online, they show the photo credit of who took the photo. When you call the photographer and you say hey, I have a good photo op for you. Do you have two minutes? Every photographer’s going to say yes, because no one owns them except their mom.
So, they’re all going to take your call. They’re all going to want to cover that photo story, and that becomes the story that wraps around it. That’s a huge tip.
John: Love that. And where’s the best place for us to pick up the hardcover of Free PR.
Cameron: Amazon for sure.
John: Amazon, Fire Nation. And guess what? You’re the average. Of the five people you spend the most time with, you've been hanging out with CH and JLD today, Fire Nation. So, keep up the heat and head over to EOFire.com, type Cameron in the search bar, and the [inaudible] [00:21:20] page for this episode will pop up with everything that we’ve talked about today not to mention the other two episodes, episode 337 and 1691.
This is the trifecta for myself and Cameron, and I know he’ll be back on in the future when number six, seven, or ten come out. Whoever knows what that will be about, but it’s going to be great content.
So, Cameron, should thank you for sharing your truth, your knowledge with Fire Nation today. For that brother, we salute you, and we will catch you on the flipside.
Cameron: Thanks, John. I appreciate you having me.
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