Mickie Kennedy founded eReleases 22+ years ago to help small businesses, authors, and startups increase their visibility and credibility through press release marketing. He lives in the Baltimore area.
FREE PR Strategy Video Training – How To Build A PR Campaign Designed To Get Massive Media Coverage
eReleases – Visit and connect with the #1 Press Release Distribution Service For Small Businesses!
3 Value Bombs
1) The headline and writing are essential aspects, but the most critical part of the press release is its strategy – what are you announcing?
2) The most important metric that you can use to measure your press release performance is your sales.
3) A press release is an effective way to get yourself out there and share what makes you different from the media.
Klaviyo: Customers want more from brands. Delivering more means owning the customer experience. Klaviyo calls this “owned marketing” and they believe it’s the best path to growth. For more, visit Klaviyo.com/fire!
**Click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.
Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: Hacking the Press Release with Mickie Kennedy
[1:01]– Mickie shares something that he believes about becoming successful that most people disagree with.
- He believes that creativity can be the difference for building a successful business.
[1:54] – What is a press release, and how do they work?
- A press release is an announcement to the media. It is usually written objectively.
- It explains the who, what, when, where, how, and why of what you are announcing.
[2:44] – Mickie shares some tips for writing a winning press release.
- The headline and writing are essential aspects, but the most critical part of the press release is its strategy – what are you announcing?
- It is vital to catch the journalist’s attention so they share with their readers, viewers, or listeners.
- For Mickie, using a survey or a study is the best hack for writing a winning press release.
[4:44] – Mickie shares examples of winning press releases.
- What is the strangest thing you’ve ever found in a customer’s car?
- What will get shared? What will get talked about?
- What are the blind spots in your industry?
[10:27] – Why do so many press releases fail?
- Mickie believes that the reason is mindset; people write what is important to them, not to the reader
- You also have to consider whether your article is essential for the journalists to share
- Have a better understanding of what readers want to read about.
- Ruffle some feathers, but be careful not to say things that can alienate you from your audience.
[18:04] – How do you measure press release performance?
- The most important metric that you can use to measure your press release performance is your sales.
- Most of Mickie’s customers tend to see an increase in revenue as they get their articles published.
- Journalists turn the press release into an article, and it may open the window for people to search for you.
- A credibility boost is also essential.
- Press Releases are an effective way to get yourself out there and share what makes you different
[24:49] – Mickie shares a specific example of how an offline company used media pickup to convert more sales.
- A carpet company creates a big brag book that they share with their listeners.
- A local carwash did many press releases related to the strangest things that happened inside an automated carwash.
- Good PR can take you out of obscurity and build an emotional bond between you and the customer.
[28:09] – Mickie’s parting piece of guidance.
- Mickie highly suggests that you do a proper press release campaign. Do six press releases, try different strategies to see which will be effective, and from there, you can gauge if PR is a good fit for you.
- FREE PR Strategy Video Training – How To Build A PR Campaign Designed To Get Massive Media Coverage
- eReleases – Visit and connect with the #1 Press Release Distribution Service For Small Businesses!
Boom, shake the room, Fire Nation, JLD here, and welcome to entrepreneurs on fire brought to you by the HubSpot podcast network with great shows like the salesmen podcast. Today, we'll be focusing on hacking the press release to drop these volumes. I are brought to Mickie Kennedy on the mic. Mickie founded II releases 22 years ago, to help small businesses authors and startups increase their visibility and credibility through press release marketing. He lives in the Baltimore area and fire nation. Today. We'll be talking about what the heck is a press release. How do they work? Some tips for writing a winning press release.
Why so many fail? How do you actually measure a press release performance and so much more? When we get back from thanking our sponsors, customers want more from brands delivering more means owning the customer experience, taking control over data acquisition analysis, creative and delivery. Klaviyo calls this owned marketing, and they believe is the best path to growth for more visit Klaviyo.com/fire. That's KLAVIYO.com/fire hiring can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack, but when you post a job on ZipRecruiter, their matching technology finds these qualified candidates for you and invites them to apply. So while other companies give you too many options, ZipRecruiter finds you the needle in the haystack.
0 (1m 26s):
And right now you can try ZipRecruiter for free at ZipRecruiter.com/fire. Mickie say what's up to fire nation and share something that you believe about becoming successful. That most people disagree
1 (1m 40s):
With. What's up Fire Nation. I believe that creativity can really be the difference for, you know, building a successful business. Creativity's the thing that sort of have kept, kept me on my toes and you know, I keep reinventing myself and my business over time,
0 (2m 1s):
Fire Nation. I really hope you're absorbing these comments by our guests because sometimes it's like this out of the box, thinking it's like a different shift. That's going to give you that aha moment is going to crack open something for you. And I think this is a great example of that, because today we'll be talking about hacking the press release, and there's gonna be some out of the box thinking and chatting and strategies and tactics we'll be talking about in regards to hacking the press release because Hey, if everybody was doing it, it wouldn't be successful. So what exactly Mickie is a press release and how the heck do they even work?
1 (2m 34s):
Press release is basically an announcement to the media. It's usually written very objectively third person, pretty boring. It's basically explains the who, what, when, where, how and why of what you're announcing. You know, we see a lot of them that are like a new hire at a company, like a new vice president of HR or something like that. And those are the worst types of press, but they're also the most common type that we see. And so
0 (3m 3s):
We want to talk about not just doing the common. We want to talk about doing the above the beyond and really writing that winning press release. Let's go into some pretty deep detail. Now give us some tips, give us some tactics, give us some strategies for a wedding, a winning, not losing a winning press release.
1 (3m 25s):
I think that the thing that a lot of people get tripped up with press releases is they spend a lot of time writing and following the format of what a good press releases the headline is. Of course the most important aspect because you lead with that. And it's what journalists see when they are on a Newswire like PR Newswire looking at press releases and that determines whether they drill down. So a headline is important and you know, the writing is important, but it's not very important. The most important part of the press releases the strategy behind it. What are you announcing? I would say like 80% of the press releases that I move through E releases. Don't do anything.
1 (4m 5s):
They get zero media pickup, and it's not surprising because a lot of the press releases that we're moving aren't newsworthy. They don't move the needle there. You know, nobody really cares about a personnel change at your company or the fact that your website is now, you know, mobile responsive. It, you may have invested a lot in that, but it, it's not something that a journalist as a gatekeeper is going to want to share with his audience. So you have to sort of think what can I announce, or what can I say from my company that a journalist would want to share with his readers or viewers in the case of TV or, or listeners with a radio.
1 (4m 46s):
And I think that once you change your mindset and start creating content with that in mind, you can really come up with some compelling stuff. The hack that I see utilized that works the best is a survey or study. You know, we had an auto repair center in Pennsylvania that wanted to do a press release. They were looking for the SEO benefit of getting links from articles, and they did a survey and they partnered with a small trade association of independent auto repair members. And one of the survey questions that they asked was what's the strangest thing you've found in a customer's car and just left the field open.
1 (5m 32s):
They ended up getting a lot of weird responses. And that was what a lot of the articles were about. It was like top 10 strangest things left in a customer's car at the auto repair center. And, you know, it was like boa, constrictor, grandma, and earn really strange stuff. And that's the kind of stuff that readers like to read. I mean, it's captivating now, the rest of the survey questions that were in there were included in a lot of the articles as well, but the real meat of it was something that was sort of unique and sort of stood out. And that's something that anybody can do. You know, that's an auto repair center in Pennsylvania that did it.
1 (6m 12s):
They also ended up getting local media press as well, but they didn't necessarily go into it with that in mind. They were just looking for blinks from other trade associations and things like that because they didn't have a very strong presence on the internet said, oh my God, that survey you guys did was really crazy. I can't believe all the things that, you know, people leave on their car and they're like, yeah, with drugs was one of the top ones. I mean, you know, marijuana, bongs, things like that. But it, it, it was something that I think a lot of people can identify with. You know, we all have, you know, exposure to weird stories and strange things. And when you collect those in one space, that's, that's kind of interesting and compelling.
1 (6m 53s):
Another thing that works really well for press release hacks is blind spots in your industry. We had a carpet company in New Jersey that had more money than sense, and they wanted to do a PR campaign every month with us. And I told them initially, I didn't think that there was much they could announce that would move the needle. And I just kept taking their money. And after five months, I said, we we've got to brainstorm and figure something out because this isn't working. And we were talking and they said, I asked them who their biggest enemy was. And they said it was the big box home improvement stores. And then they went through this litany of all the reasons why they suck and how they have to market against them.
1 (7m 37s):
And I said, we should do a press release on that. And so we did, and it got picked up in every floor trade publication. I didn't even realize there were that many out there, but like 10 publications picked it up and they all responded favorably saying, send us more. People are really hungry to talk about marketing in these four trade publications. They had ignored that it was a blind spot for them. A couple of them even started adding a marketing column because they were getting so much favorable press. So many other local carpet companies identified with the same problem that this company was experiencing. And no one was talking about it. And here was a company that had solved it to a degree and they continue, you know, and they were sharing their tips and their strategies.
1 (8m 23s):
And that was really important. One of the outcomes of that is we did several more releases and they got even more pickups, mostly in the same types of publications, but they also ended up getting picked up in their daily newspaper, as well as a state magazine. And they put together a book of all their clippings. And when they go to give a quote to a customer, they show them this book and they go through it and say, look, we've been nationally recognized by this floor, trade publication, this publication, this publication. And I just want to let you know that, you know, I don't know who else you're getting quotes from, but if you get one from a home Depot or Lowe's just, you know, I want to let you know that the padding they use is terrible.
1 (9m 4s):
And 80% of a carpet is it's padding. And also the people who install your flooring, they don't know who it is. And it changes week to week. Our installers are salary. They receive benefits. They stay with us for decades. We know the people that come into your home and how they will actually install it. And we stand behind it and they started converting about 20% higher as a result of just taking those clippings in. They said that the messaging hadn't changed, they'd always told them that, you know, the padding they use is superior than what other companies use. And they didn't really trust it, or it did. You know, it just seemed like it was an advertising or marketing gimmick.
1 (9m 45s):
But when that was saddled with the credibility and the implied endorsement of all these publications, recognizing them, they trusted them and the messaging worked and they converted more as a result your
0 (9m 58s):
Nation. I want you to be thinking about the things that Mickie's talking about here.
0 (30m 29s):
I mean, surveys studies they've been proven to work best. So how can you work that into your press release? Like, I love that thing. What is the strangest thing you've ever found in a customer's car? People are curious, they're going to want to talk about that. They're going to read that they're going to want to share that. And again, thinking about that, what will get shared, what will get talked about, because that's just leveraging and scaling your press release when other publications are picking up, or people are talking about it at the water cooler, because they just find that interesting for any number of reasons. And that's the kind of press that you want, the press that keeps on giving. And I love how Mickie was talking about the blind spots in the industry. What are the blind spots in your industry? Fire nation, think about those blind spots to get people fired up, you know, think about some controversial things. You know, think about some things that, you know, are kind of on one side or the other. Like that's not a bad thing to kind of stir up a little bit of controversy every now and then, and Mickie and Ellen, we've talked about all the ways to make a winning press release. The reality is so many and I mean, so many press releases just flat out fail. Why is that?
1 (11m 7s):
Because of the mindset that I mentioned before, I think people right by saying this is important to us. And we would like to get exposure media attention because of this thing, we retooled our product or service, and here is the press release as a result. And the, the thing is they didn't take into account. The journalist who's saying, is this, you know, important enough for me to share with my readers is, you know, what, why would my readers care about this? And that the truth is that a lot of the things that people put in a press release aren't really that important.
1 (11m 47s):
Maybe your customers might enjoy a new release that includes some additional features, but for, you know, most people, they really don't care that you've now added a couple of, you know, new features or offerings as part of your service or thing like that. So I always say, you know, do a audit of what it is that you are doing that defines you and makes you unique. And when something comes along that enhances that or improves it, you know, that's something to announce and that's something to celebrate. I do think that people tend to celebrate the wrong things and businesses and the press releases are the result of that.
1 (12m 30s):
You know, the, the, the releases that, that we see are often, you know, name dropping of, of, of things like that, a new white paper that you did. And the thing about it is why is that white paper important? What is it that you're that's in there that people really want to know? And a lot of people don't do a good job of honing their sort of unique selling proposition. You know, what is it that makes you unique? And I think that the stronger you get and understand your business and what makes you unique, you'll have a better understanding of what it is that that readers want to read about.
1 (13m 11s):
And you, you can hopefully solve that. One of the things that you mentioned was, and we talked about was controversy, be a contrarian while everybody in the industry is saying one thing, you know, be the person that gets out there and with credibility and, and, you know, logic define yourself by saying something completely opposite. Everybody seems to be pro electric car, and it's all the articles talk positively about it. Very few of them bring up the negative. And if you are willing to get out there and say something, that's contrarian, you have a very strong likelihood of being part of that conversation because journalists by definition are supposed to be unbiased and to give both sides.
1 (13m 57s):
So many articles come out with only one side because there's no one out there, put it sticking out their neck and saying the other viewpoint. So in the case of electric cars, if you get out there and say, Hey, I think that this is a lockable goal, but I don't think we're there yet. You know, the mining and minerals that are used to make these batteries, they're not environmentally sound. We haven't solved what we're going to do with these batteries at the end of their life. We're just creating another environmental hazard. So we should probably wait. And until we solve that before we move forward, embracing electric cars, I mean, that's completely logical, but yet it's a viewpoint that very few people are seeing out there. And if you're willing to get in your industry and ruffle some feathers and say stuff, that's against what a lot of people are saying, you can get impressed and you can get some media attention.
1 (14m 48s):
You just want to be careful that you're not saying something that would alienate you from your customer base or, you know, make you seem like the crazy uncle in your industry,
0 (14m 59s):
Fire Nation, ruffle some feathers, like, what are you scared about? Like do it the right way, like Mickie saying, like, you didn't want to believe in it. You want to stand behind it. You want it to honestly be how you think and feel and want to act, but ruffle some feathers. And guess what? Fire Nation we were talking about, measuring press release performance. Mickie's going to be giving us a specific example of how an offline company actually used media to pick up and convert more sales. And we're going to talk about all this jazz and more. When we get back from thanking our sponsors, if you're a business owner who's hiring, you probably face a lot of challenges when it comes to finding the right person for your role, like not having enough applicants with the right skills or experience.
0 (15m 41s):
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0 (16m 22s):
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0 (17m 6s):
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0 (30m 27s):
And how are you going to dive into that? Because it's important. It's like you want to know what the ROI is. What is that return on investment? And people are paying you, they're paying for the press release and people are just paying, you know, the time, the energy effort to create all this stuff as well. The ROI, the return on investment, what is the performance of this press release? It has to be able to be measured if you're going to continue to do it going forward, tell us how to measure this stuff.
1 (17m 59s):
The biggest metric that I tell people to use is your sales. If you're going undergoing a PR campaign and a push over, say a six month period, what are your sales during that period with all other things taken into account? And what my customers tend to see is they get an increase in revenue as they get articles published. And sometimes they can actually look at their Google analytics and see the actual conversions coming in from the actual article. In some cases they cannot. So I always say, try to ask your customers how they found out about you.
1 (18m 42s):
And some of them will, will tip you into where they came from. Like they saw you in the New York times or something like that. But you're only going to capture a little bit of that. It's important to get out there and do both Google news searches as well as Google web searches. Only about 60% of most news sites are in Google news, but most of them are in Google web. So I always tell people to look at both and you can define a search within both Google web and Google news by the actual dates. So you can pick the date that you moved to press release to, to say today, and look at that and see, are there articles or blog posts or things that happen during that period that you can then link back to the actual press release that you did at the end of the day, we're looking for unique articles, blog posts, things that were written about you that were inspired by the press release.
1 (19m 37s):
What we don't consider a, a positive result is just a reposting of the press release that doesn't really help you very much. It's the same duplicate content. You know, it's, it's, it's not something that's been turned into an article by journalists. So journalists take the press release, they turn it into an article and then hopefully you get, you see the results from that. Sometimes they don't link to you. And for example, the larger publications like the New York times and the wall street journal, they often don't link to the actual place, but people will open a window into a search for you and then find you. And that's why you have to look at that correlation between, you know, the article that got posted on this date, did you see an uptick in sales and, and can you then, you know, extrapolate that that was the result of your media attention in the case of SEO, even when they don't link to you, you still get SEO benefit from the actual article Google patented years ago.
1 (20m 40s):
And a lot of SEO people have seen it, where if you get a mention in the New York times or the wall street journal, you'll see your SEO overall increase. And it's because they can contextually tell that that article was about you and give you the benefit as if there is a link, even though there isn't. So, you know, that's some of the earned media improvement you can see with SEO, even in the instances where there's not a direct link to you. Another thing is when people search for someone that was mentioned in an article, they often do not price shop. So they will not open a window and say, can I find this cheaper on Amazon? They want to do business with the company that was mentioned in that article.
1 (21m 21s):
There's almost an implied endorsement that happens when someone like the New York times writes an article about you. It's a real honor to have that bestowed upon you. And people feel like, oh, wow, I've discovered this great company. They want to go. They want to do business with you. And my customers find that the clients that they get as a result of these articles and earned media tend to be the most profitable and the most loyal they'll stick around and keep coming back. And, you know, that's just some of the benefit that comes from that. I wish there was an easier way to measure. Like you can with like say Google advertising, Google ads, where you can just look and measure your conversions and just do your ROI that way.
1 (22m 5s):
But you can do it. If you, you know, the way I talked about where you are looking at your revenue, you're looking at the times when you do get earned media, you can tell when the articles were published and then just get a feel for what kind of bump you see in revenue. And another thing that you can do with this earned media is share it, you know, share it with your own customers, share it with your suppliers and vendors. It's a huge credibility boost. I had one client who said, I shared my article that got picked up with my local bank and they, they gave me a credit expansion.
1 (22m 45s):
It just happened. The conversation happened. Could you use some more credit? And they said, sure. And he goes, the funny thing is we had asked for a credit expansion just nine months prior, and they'd said, no, and here, they just offered it after seeing the article. And I shared it with them. And so, you know, PR is one of those things that a lot of people don't understand. There's a lot of services out there that just syndicate your press release. They put the same press release on multiple websites. And as I mentioned before, that doesn't do much for you. What we're really looking for at the end of the day is to have a journalist look at your press release, and then say, I want to write an article about that. I want to share a story, put my spin on it and get that out there as original content.
1 (23m 30s):
And, you know, that's the thing that happens every day with PR because journalists are looking for stories. They're constantly writing, they're hungry for attention, and they hate writing the same articles for the big guys. They love to find a small undiscovered, small business or startup or an author who published. Self-published a book that's on an interesting subject. They like sharing those stories. And you know, if you look at say something like Inc magazine or fast company, they're often profiling startups and small businesses that are growing that no one's ever heard of as well as the ones that you have. And they try to do that balance because their readers are like every, everybody they like to discover hidden gems and PR is a very effective way to get yourself out there and to sort of share what makes you different to them
0 (24m 22s):
Fire Nation. This is why you listen to the experts while you listen to the masters. Because I asked Mickie to share how to measure pressure Lee's performance. You just heard so many value bombs. Now, Mickie let's end with a bang, give us that specific example I talked about of how an offline company used media pickup to convert more sales. There
1 (24m 44s):
Was the example with the carpet company. And the thing that they did was they created this big brag book that they shared with their listeners. What we also have is a local carwash that is in the area, and they did a lot of press releases of just similar types of stuff, quirky things. A lot of press releases along the lines of what's the strangest thing that happened in, in, in one of these automated car washes and things like that. And, you know, bumpers falling off, you know, people coming in with duct taped Antanas and things like that.
1 (25m 28s):
And they got a lot of people sharing, strange little stories that they've experienced over the year with car washes. You know, everybody has a story where a kids in the car, when it goes through and they'd say, oh, well, we know what happens if I put the window down while we're moving, it happens a lot more than you think. And so they got a decent amount of press. And what they did was they blew them up and made them poster sized and put them throughout their lobby. And every time someone comes in there, you know, when they, after they run through the carwash and then they're getting detailed inside and they walk inside, they, they tend to wander around.
1 (26m 9s):
And he said that what he noticed is the people who come in and linger and, and read these articles and share these stories. He goes, they, they tend to come back more. And he says that they have, because there's a rewards program. He says, I can see that the people who go through my lobby, he goes, are, tend to be more loyal people and come back more and more. And, and what they saw was when they put the posters in and people started to just read the posters while they were waiting for their car to be done detailed inside. Th they, they would come back again and again, and people felt a connection. I mean, humor is one of those things that sort of binds us all together.
1 (26m 52s):
And by having these articles that were humorous and sometimes tongue in cheek and sharing these crazy little stories and adventures of just being a small business in a, in, in, in America, it really formed a bond and a connection and people are much more, less likely to complain. They're more likely to be understanding it. It's, it's just one of those things where humanizes us. And that's what good PR can do. It basically can take you out of obscurity and build an emotional bond between you and the customer. And that's, that's the type of things that anybody in business and marketing is ultimately trying lot
0 (27m 33s):
Of genius, Fire Nation, lots of takeaways here, Mickie of all these takeaways of all these examples and strategies of how not to fail, how to get a winning press release, how to measure, press ROI, et cetera. What would you say is the number one thing you definitely want to make sure fire nation, our listeners walk away from this interview with top of mind, then share with us exactly how we can connect with you, your business, any gift or call to action you have for us. And then we'll say goodbye.
1 (28m 5s):
Most important thing is when you do a press release or start a PR campaign, is that it is a campaign you want to do a series of. I usually say six press releases. That's a proper campaign. You want to try different hooks and angles, different strategies to see if it will work. And then you can gauge whether PR is a good fit for you. So many people give up after doing that same standard general launch type press release. I've launched my company. I did a launch press release. I didn't get any pickup, or I got a little bit of pickup, but they didn't really strategically go in there and say, you know, is there something that I can do to address a blind spot in my industry?
1 (28m 47s):
Is there a survey or study I can do that? I can get a lot of mileage out of, at the end of the day, we're looking for like lots of media pickup, you know, a favorable outcome. It's like six to 12 articles about you. And that, and that can happen. That being said, I have a free masterclass on press release strategies that I put together mostly to train my customers, to stop doing the safe releases and get out there and do something more strategic. And you can find it at Ereleases.com/plan PLAN. And you can also look at my social media on the website, lower right anywhere Ereleases.com. And that's a great way to connect with us.
1 (29m 28s):
Our website. You can chat with us. You can make a phone call. You'll only speak to editors. We have no salespeople. There's no commissions. There's no upsells. If we feel we're a good fit and we can help you, we're willing to do that. And we're willing to hold your and walk you through the press release process,
0 (29m 44s):
Fire nation. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. And you've been hanging out with MK and JLD today. So let's keep up that heat. And if you do head over to eofire.com and type Mickie, MICKIE in the search bar, his show spiritual pop-up with everything that we've talked about today, best show notes in the biz. And of course, head directly over to Ereleases.com/plan head over there, fire nation. And of course, you check out the regular website at Ereleases.com for all the great stuff they have going on over there. Mickie, thank you brother, for sharing your truth, your knowledge, your value with fire nation today, for that we salute you and we'll catch you on the flip side. You're very welcome.
0 (30m 24s):
Thank you. Hey, fire nation today's value bound content was brought to you by Mickie and Fire Nation. Over the last decade, I've interviewed more than 3000 of the world's most successful entrepreneurs, and I've created a revolutionary, I mean, revolutionary 17 step roadmap to your financial freedom and fulfillment. I put it all into my first traditionally published book, the common path to uncommon success. It's been personally endorsed by Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, and so many others. The common path on success is a step-by-step guidance guide for you via nation. It's what you need to achieve the lifestyle of your dreams. Visit UncommonSuccessBook.com to learn more and order your copy today, and I'll catch you there, or I'll catch you on the flip.
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1) The Common Path to Uncommon Success: JLD’s 1st traditionally published book! Over 3000 interviews with the world’s most successful Entrepreneurs compiled into a 17-step roadmap to financial freedom and fulfillment!
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